Becoming a Druid – The Chat (with Susanna Lafond) and the Knighting of a Hip-Hop Bard #druid #druidry #bard

I wrote these articles years ago, 2006 to be precise. The first is about how I met and grew close to a Druid Elder, a woman who would become very influential in my life later on. The second is about how I became initiated into that Druid Order.

Someone asked me about this story recently. It was written in my old blog but I couldn’t find it then. I have found it now.

I no longer associate with Druidry the way I used to (due partly to the confusion over who and what the original Druids were – some believe the original Druids were “bad guys” who committed human sacrifices and even though nobody alive today knows any of those guys these conspiracy buffs tend to be paranoid, also some believe the original builders of Stonehenge and other stone circles associated with Druids actually pre-date what we call the druids, in fact may have been built thousands of years before the Druids, and therefore lines are blurred and it’s all more complicated and it’s alot easier to simply not call myself a Druid than to try to explain to people who have already made their mind up why there is confusion and what the word “semantics” means. But also partly due to the fact that it just hasn’t been in my flow, I have a loose tribe / group of friends who find themselves at sacred sites on sacred days without the need of dogma and we have been to enough ceremonies to conduct our own.) But it’s all perception. From another point of view once a Druid, always a Druid – and that transcends lifetimes. Anyway, I was knighted a Bard of a Druid Order, it would not have happened if not for Susanna Lafond and the Loyal Arthurian Warband. This is my story. I don’t necessarily agree with everything I have written below, but I am pretty sure I meant every word in 2006.

The Chat (Susanna Lafond, The Rainbow Prophecy, travelling tribes and the importance of women)

Fri, January 13, 2006 – 4:05 PM

I have alot of love for Susanna, more than I can express.
My love for Susanna is not romantic love, nor is it the love one feels
for a close relative or the love one feels for a close friend. It is
the universal love everyone can feel for everybody, but the connection
is more personal.
I admire her ability to be approachable yet strong, I adore her smile
and her wit and I love her warmth, wisdom and understanding. I cannot
express my love because I cannot convey the importance of our first
conversation or the radiance of her smile.

One conversation with Susanna, my first conversation with Susanna,
‘The Chat’ changed my life. I believe that every conversation changes
your life because you carry the information from that conversation
with you for the rest of your experiences but that first conversation
with Susanna, that first chat, changed my life in a profoundly
tangible way. It is all the more profound because I had no idea at the
time that it was so life-changing, even immediately after the
conversation when I was aware that I had learned alot I was still not
in the least bit aware of how what I had learned would help to shape
my future.
Our first conversation – It started as a nice conversation between a
young man and
an older woman and it’s still a nice conversation that seems to
continue whenever I bump into Susanna. How did it start? I think she
might have given me some tobacco so that I could skin up, but that is
unimportant. The chat took place in St Georges Theatre also known at
the time as The Circle Community Centre – that is important. 2015 edit – this was a progressive squat in London where I first met Phoenix who continues to be a pivotal node on the squat scene and the activist scene. It was also where I first saw Doug of the Invisible Circus perform, yes even before the Audi Garage in Bristol. It was a pivotal place at a pivotal time in 2005.

‘I remember a place called St Georges Theatre
A vortex with sacred geometry I used to live near to
Full of Peace Not Warriors and Rainbow Tribes that I cared for
A time and place my life got better and weirder’

But I digress, as per usual.

– Hide quoted text –
During this conversation I learned three very important things from Susanna
– 1 – The existence of The Rainbow Tribe.
– 2 – The history of travelling clans, tribes and families.
– 3 – The importance of women

– 1 – The existence of The Rainbow Tribe.
Until I spoke to Susanna I did not know at that time that the next Rainbow Gathering
would be held in England, or that some of the people who had become my
friends were already well respected Rainbow Tribe-members.
Most people do not know that the Rainbow Tribe exists. It existed in
prophecy for thousands of years and it exists in reality right now in
many countries.The significance of The Rainbow Tribe increases when
one realises all that it encompasses because it can encompass all. I
am not qualified to tell you what it is, where it is or who it is –
there are people who are alot more involved and have been for longer
than I knew of it’s existence. However if you research then you will
find. <Indeed if you ‘Google’ you will find>

2015 Edit – it is now believed by some that the prophecy was a hoax that grew into something bigger than the sum of it’s parts, and if the prophecy of people of all colours coming together to save the Earth never existed in Native American lore in the past it has become a self fulfilling prophecy because many people all over the world live their lives inspired by that idea and Rainbow Gatherings have become a distinct culture, a way of life even.

– 2 – The history of travelling clans, tribes and families.
Until I spoke to Susanna that day I did not know then that what has become rave culture, festival
culture and the free-party scene is a culmination of various cultures
coming to an amicable understanding. I knew that dancing to repetitive
beats in a club on psychoactives, and especially in a field on natural
psychoactives, is akin to what shamen and tribes have done for
thousands of years in Africa. But I was not aware of the recent
history of the free party scene. You see Susanna had seen it all, she
had seen the 60s hippy movement, she had seen the punks not getting
along with the hippies, she had seen the mods not getting along with
the rockers and she had seen the ravers not getting along with the
police. What she had not seen until St Georges Theatre was all these
subcultures in synthesis, all these ‘tribes’ outcasted from ‘society’
forming their own society based on love and trust. The fact that St
Georges no longer serves this purpose is academic, those that were
there know it can be done.
But the discussion of tribes was more universal than token titles
given to subcultures of the 20th century. She has knowledge of Celtic
history and she has extremely strong family ties to African heritage
and she saw similarities between the Celts, warriors who chose to
travel to foreign lands, and the black Caribbean warriors who were
forced to travel to foreign lands. Susanna was from a warrior
background, despite the fact that she consorts with poets and hippies
her immediate family had a strong military history. Also despite the
fact that I found her warm, understanding and affectionate there is a
determination in her voice and a steely look in her eye that leaves me
in no doubt that she is a force to be reckoned with. In Susanna’s
experience, and in my own, descendants of both the Celts and the
Africans tend to find each other and resonate with each other as I was
resonating with Susanna.
“I’m old enough to be your mother, probably even your grandmother yet
because you don’t have any pre-conceptions about who I am we are able
to have a conversation as if we’d known each other for years.” It was
over a year ago she said that, so it’s probably a mis-quote but she
said something along those lines and it will stay with me.
The point is, and please pay attention because it is an important
point, that all the tribes came together; the punks, the hippies, the
mods, the rockers and the ravers united to fight against the Criminal
Justice Bill. In the wake of that unity that brought subcultures
against the police we have autonomous communities which would welcome
ageing policemen to a cup of herbal tea as readily as a teenage
anthropology student. The Criminal Justice Bill was a negative act (if
I can be permitted for temporarily accepting duality in this
existence) but resulted in unity. My personal opinion, an opinion
shared by ex MI5 agent David Shayler, is that President George W Bush
commited a seriously negative act on 9/11 which has resulted in never
before seen international positive unity. So never give up.
– 3 – The importance of women

Until I spoke to Susanna about this I did not know then about the importance of The Mother as an
archetype or as an individual. I have always adored women and I have
always considered myself a feminist if the definition be that I
believe in equality of the sexes rather than the definition of ‘man
hater’ which many so-called feminists seem to believe. I did not know
that The Church had done all it could erode the importance of women
out of The Bible, nor did I know the importance of women in Druidry.
Mother nature is a Goddess they failed to repress.
But it was on the more personal level that Susanna’s wisdom hit home –
the simple fact that only women can ever know what it is like to have
another life inside them is so obvious that I never considered it. I
suspect the majority of men don’t consider this idea until they are
fathering a child and I also suspect that even then most of us
probably repress the idea. A mother sees the world through very
different eyes, a mother (a friend of Susanna’s) told me that when she
sees Saddam she sees somebody that needed someone to wipe his bottom
for him at one point in his life. Psychedelic experiences can give you
a brief glimpse at the Oneness and inter-connectedness of everything,
but I imagine pregnancy gives you a 9 month continual reminder of the
interconnectedness of life.
I am reluctant to speak about the menstrual cycle because, being a
man, I am highly unqualified. However the 13 moons of the year and
various other natural cycles follow the same 28 day pattern which
makes women aligned with nature on a subconsciously profound level.
The importance of the mother was something I would not even begin to
grasp fully until my rebirthing ceremony 6 months later. Susanna
helped me to appreciate my parents, if they hadn’t brought me up well
I would not be the type of person who would spend such a long time
speaking to someone old enough to be my mother! But it was obvious
that neither of us were the type of people to judge someone by
appearances or to leave an interesting conversation.

I see Susanna when synchroncity permits – at The Big Green Gathering
by the Brixton Cafe, at Unity Works 2012, at The Synergy Centre on the
eve of New Years Eve etc. It was more than a year later that I
realised how much I appreciate who she is. When I saw her recently my
heart rose in my chest and I embraced her like a long lost relative.

There were other things I learned during our first conversation. The
continuing existence of the Bardic tradition for example was something
that resonated with me deeply yet it was only much later that I
accepted my role as a poet as opposed to ‘a rapper that often performs
poetry.’
Susanna is the only female battle chieftain recognised by the
current incarnation of King Arthur Pendragon and due to her warmth,
wisdom and immediate understanding of who I was and what I am yearning
to be I love her more than I can hope to express.

Your Mother Is Headless

Allow me to introduce myself!
I am the being through whom all others have their being.
I am the life force throbbing within you.
I am your inspiration, your muse, your lover, your beloved.
I am your deja vu.
I am the awe you feel when music reverberates throughout your being.
I am your physical exaltation, the adrenalin rush.
I am the world and the word. I am ever personalising, assuming multiple masks.
I am grandmother, mother, daughter, whore
I am detective, saint, storyteller, actor, director, warrior, siren, fireman, shaman, athlete, beautiful, witch, possibility, boundless, electron, nucleus, particle, wave, energy, dealer, priestess,
I am SHE

I am the pearl glowing secretly in the shell beneath the waves.
I am the sacred ash spewed from the pujaris fire
I am the apple falling from the tree
I am the eagle soaring on the spirit wind
I am everywhere at all times

I journey of my own free will to the lower depths, the outer zones, the putrid swamps
I am the source of many rivers – not all are bridged by men – some see only the abyss – some see themselves – some see the mother, the hag.
They all see blindly – I am a mirror, a screen onto which you project your images. I attract your attention like a flare in the darkness, a shooting star to wish upon.
An oracle.
Do I ease your journey?
Where are you going?

Here comes the judge!
Sit up straight.
100% results you want – facts and figures, comparisons, surveys, statistics, critiques – reliable objective information!
All these byways lead to the stagnant pond where you are the Big Fish.
The King Fish is a high flyer – the cosmos is his ocean

To Kev – Blessed Be – from Susanna

____________

SPRING EQUINOX 2006 – THE KNIGHTING OF A HIP-HOP BARD – King Arthur, Avebury, Stonehenge, Trance Parties and Jungle Raves. And Druids, don’t forget the Druids!

Mon, March 27, 2006 – 11:52 AM

arthur and mike 12003165_443913635817287_4904957809186557721_n

ADDITIONAL MARCH 27th Update follows, including the 2nd meeting with King Arthur Pendragon.

Subculture Sith-Lord, Captains Log, March 19th 2006

2015 Edit (in the original edit I had a barely intelligible big up to Big Ric and Bouncing Tim for looking after me and to Erin, Oonagh, Jess and Cari for being amazing too. Just thought I’d delete the waffle and say I still love you guys.)

Well yesterday I met a few druids and the current incarnation of King Arthur. Okay, he believes he’s the current incarnation, so do the Druids. The British legal system has accepted his right to bear the sword in the Metropolitan area. But he won me over because BEFORE he had the support of the Druids (a real belief system still practiced) and BEFORE he had the recognition of the British Government he was living in the woods and defending the right for people to visit Stonehenge without any support. Even if the original King Arthur was a myth this King Arthur is fulfilling the archetype. I went to Avebury because I value Susanna’s opinion and both she, and my intuition were telling me to go to Avebury for the weekend of the Equinox and meet Arthur. Besides, it was something random to do on a weekend!

I shall probably tell you what the result of that meeting was when I know, but events are still unfolding…

Suffice to say, me, Mike and Clare the Light Worker had a lovely Saturday in Avebury, I was swapping poems with Pixie in the pub and we were all getting into interesting and entertaining conversations. I performed my (anti-war / pro-peace) song ‘Greed’ with Mike. Later An encore was demanded so I gave them the first verse for poem ‘Innocence’ before we departed.

Any other March happenings? A Vortex bounced to Mexico, Cerrdor is on his way there and as I predicted months ago there is a bit of a Mexican Exodus from Bristol if not all over the world. I am not part of this despite the fact that I could almost hear Mexico calling me during the winter just gone. But The Muse thinks I have to meet the Shamen of England first. I already told you I value her opinion.

MARCH 27th – Update – The Equinox, 2006

After taking my friend Susanna’s advice (because my intuition and series of beneficial coincidences were leading me closer and closer to him) I met the guy who who calls himself King Arthur. This is the man who stands to get voted as an MP in Winchester on several occasions and publicly supports various road protests in medieval garb. “Who cares what he believes” some of you might ask, “he’s clearly insane” yet more of you might say. More to the point 3 Druid orders in England accept him as the current incarnation of King Arthur. Druidry is a pagan practice that involves a worship of nature and particularly in Enlgand the celebration of the Sun on ceremonial days such as the Summer and Winter Solstice. “Who cares what they believe” some of you might ask, “they’re clearly mad as well”. Well I don’t care, the original King Arthur may be a myth, in which case there could be no reincarnation. But the fact is that before he had the support of Druid Order’s he was sleeping in a hammock in the woods and campaigning for opening up Stonehenge to the British Public. The fact is that he was camping in and under trees during road protests and he has made efforts and sacrifices for the sake of the trees of England. Due to these facts regardless of his rather widespread reputation as a drunk and a lecherous old man he has earned my respect. He has earned it because anyone can make sacrifices with back-up and support but he did it before he had any of that. Besides, name me a man that isn’t lecherous and I’ll name you a man who hides his lust well. 2015 edit – we all have lust, some of us are better than others at not acting on it.

Shortly after Susanna had told me about King Arthur at the Synergy Centre (a community arts centre set up by the club night The Synergy Project) in Camberwell the day before New Years Eve 2005/06 I bumped into one of her friends who happened to live round the corner from my parents. This friend of hers Steph is has a practical understanding of spirituality and shamanism. The first time I popped round to see Steph there it was, the book about this Arthur Pendragon and his history. Two days later I’d finished reading the book and knew that we would meet.

I originally thought that the events so far were leading me to interview Arthur for my friend’s internet radio station. Not so. After meeting Arthur in Avebury on the weekend nearest to the Spring Equinox I thought that I could convince him to come to Bristol for an interview. Not so. With no fixed abode and no method of contact the only way to organisie it was to meet him at Stonehenge on the actual day of the Equinox and try to do the interview there. Arthur and the Druids would be camping all night, getting on the mead (fermented honey, tastes a bit like Sherry but it’s even nicer!) and what Arthur likes to call ‘Druid Fluid’ (that would be Cider or Mead, the phrase works as well for either.) I didn’t know how I would manage to get to Stonehenge, I didn’t own a car, or a tent, or a sleeping bag. But I have good friends and there was a momentum building. So I didn’t expect NOT to get to Stonehenge, I just didn’t know how it would happen.

I didn’t bring a dictaphone or a Mini-Disc player with me for an interview. I knew that there would be no interview in Stonehenge, I even turned my phone off and took the battery out because the less interference I got during my first time in Stonehenge the better.

Nope, of course I didn’t bring a dictaphone or a Mini-Disc player with me. I went to Stonehenge for the Equinox and was raised as a Bard and Shield Knight of the LOYAL ARTHURIAN WARBAND. (By “I was raised”, I mean I was Knighted and given a title.) 2015 Edit – let me be clear – I went down on one knee and had a big, sharp, sword placed on each of my shoulders, I made an oath and King Arthur gave me a title.

Now I’m not going to expend too much effort explaining about the rank of a Shield Knight because that would simply be inviting criticism and responsibility, although I will say that it is a recognition of an original incarnation. An unexpected honour? Or simply tosh? It’s impossible for me to talk about being Knighted at a ceremony celebrating the return of the sun without alienating people who don’t give a shit about anything they haven’t seen on Television! So I’m not going to try. Susanna, the only female Battle Chieftain in Arthur’s Warband had recommended that I get Knighted for a while, but we both knew it was Arthur’s decision (although she probably had an idea what his decision would be.) I just wanted to interview the man until it actually got to the day, then I was just curious about the whole ceremony. He chose to raise me as a Bard and a Shield Knight. I was reluctant for weeks, my strongest intuition was that I HAD to talk to Arthur, I wasn’t sure why but the first time I heard about him I knew I needed to talk to him. But the intuition whether or not to pursue getting Knighted wasn’t as strong. I was scared at what the responsibility would entail. It was not until I heard with my own ears the oath which one takes that I knew I had to. Funnily enough Kat and Clare thought they had come to Stonehenge more or less solely to watch me get raised as a Bard but had actually come to get raised as Warrior Priestesses, both of them. Funnily enough I was more sure that Kat would get Knighted than I was that I would get Knighted!

For the record the ceremony was great, the statements, proclamations and speeches had a good balance of informality and reverence. Which is what I like about being a Druid the most, the fact that it’s informal and practical. They don’t just talk about the land and mother nature, they bury themselves in Camp Camelot and stop roads from being built through the land and mother nature. Respect. But there are other places to look to read about Druidism, I’ll write the stories that I think no-one else will, I’ll attempt to bestow legendary status on those I believe deserve it but when I think someone else can tell a story better I’ll let them.

Let’s not think KP needs bringing back down to Earth, I’m the same man I was before I was officially recognised as a Bard. But the mission of a Bard is to tell his or her truth and record the stories and opinions of the people which I honestly believe is what I’ve been doing with my lyrics and essays with or without recognition since… well since I was 11.

KP – Your Hip-Hop Bard, Shield Knight, and Druid.

“What happened in William Blake’s time when there was a revolutionary spirit certainly amongst the poets of the time, a whole group of people gathered around Blake at that time. They actually helped him in developing a vision of Albion that was based upon it’s ancient traditions. The whole subject of Blake and his poetry is linked to Druidism very directly in the sense that William Blake was considered the Arch Druid of the Isles by all the Druid Orders – at that moment you have a Druidic revival – a renaissance.” – Tim Sebastian, R.I.P. Secular Arch Druid of the Secular Order of Druids

Post – Script
For some reason everybody is more impressed when I tell them that Arthur Pendragon’s Sword is the Excalibur, the sword from the movie of the same name. Exactly the same sword.
A lady friend of Arthur’s saw a sword in the window of a blacksmith’s from the back of Arthurs bike (did I forget to mention that he’s an ex-biker? Actually sod the ‘ex’, he’s a biker – tattoos ‘n’ all and his motorbike is his steed.) They wandered in and he was told by the blacksmith who made the sword for the movie that unless the ‘Once and Future King’ proved he was there he could not relinquish the sword. Arthur had recently changed his name by deed poll, he had the documents and he walked away with the sword. I love true stories

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