In ancient times, Celtic months were named for trees. Today, August 4, is the last day of Tinne, the Celtic Holly month. Tomorrow, Coll, the month of the Hazel tree begins, kicked off each year on August 1 by Lammas, the Eighth and last Celtic fire festival of the year. Pagan Lughnassadh, or “Lugh’s Night” celebrates the Celtic god of wisdom, for whom cities like London and Lyon were named. His tree, the Hazel, grew near sacred springs; eating its nuts that fell into the water, or sleeping beneath the tree, brought prophetic visions, and hazel twigs are still used in divination and “dowsing” to locate water.
Santiago de Compostela
In April, I kicked off my newsletter by announcing the forthcoming pilgrimage of my former assistant, Ludovico along the Way of Santiago. Vico completed his journey — 1,010 miles in 2 months! — and arrived at Compostela on St John’s Eve (another Celtic holy day) just in time to leap over the bonfires the required 3 times, and eat lots of fish that the pilgrims were cooking on braziers in the streets. We are still posting pictures of his quest, so you can follow his pilgrimage on my website! (Ludovico’s Pilgrimage)
Sacred Springs & Roman Roads
The fourth pilgrimage path to Santiago de Compostela — is called the “British Way.” It runs along the ancient roads that were graded and paved by the Romans during their occupation of Celtic lands, and which still exist throughout Britain and across the Channel in French Bretagne (Brittany.) These roads were built along the path of Sacred Springs and nearby travel routes that had already existed since prehistoric times. This March, just before Lodovico headed onto the Way of Santiago, I visited the sites from northern Brittany down to the ancient standing stones of Carnac.
Here is a video I recorded of the Road and Sacred Spring in Brittany (discovered by a class of teeny French schoolchildren).
British Pilgrim Routes
To my surprise, when I sent out my April “Pilgrimage Newsletter,” I received this note from a longtime friend & colleague, the noted Cambridge/Harvard botanist and biochemist, Rupert Sheldrake:
Thanks for your newsletter and I’m so pleased you’re talking about pilgrimage.
It so happens that I’m one of the patrons of a newly formed organisation, The British Pilgrimage Trust which is reopening the ancient footpath pilgrimages in Britain. Here’s a link to the website http://britishpilgrimage.org. If you ever think of doing a pilgrimage in Britain this might give some ideas.
All the best,
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