Philip Shallcrass

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Philip Shallcrass
Other names Greywolf
Known for British Druid Order

Philip Shallcrass, often known by his Druid name, Greywolf, is Chief of the British Druid Order.[1] He is an artist, writer, poet, musician and singer-songwriter who pioneered a "shamanic" Druidism.[2]

Background[edit]

He was born in Sussex, England in 1953. In 1974 he discovered Druidry through reading Robert Graves' The White Goddess. In the same year, he read Mircea Eliade's Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy. Eliade's book contained descriptions of the visionary experiences of shamans that mirrored events in Shallcrass's own life. Further studies convinced him that Druidry was the earliest recorded form of native European shamanism.[3]

Work[edit]

In 1978, Shallcrass joined an Alexandrian Wiccan coven, being initiated a High Priest the following year. During the course of that year, he had been writing seasonal festival rites for the coven. These were heavily influenced by his studies in Druidry. By the time the festival cycle was complete, the coven's celebrations had become so Druidic in flavour that the members agreed to stop calling themselves a coven and become instead a Grove; the Grove of the Badger. This is now seen as the Mother Grove of the British Druid Order (BDO).[4]

Over the years that followed, the material written for the Grove of the Badger was revised and added to. At the end of the 1980s it began to be published and bring the BDO to wider attention. He married Eleanor Kilpatrick, an Occupational Therapist with the NHS, in 1985. In the early 1990s, Kilpatrick and Shallcrass met and began a continuing friendship with Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, chiefs of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. Philip Shallcrass began to lecture on Druidry at a series of conferences on New Religious Movements.

In 1992, he became editor of The Druids' Voice: the Magazine of Contemporary Druidry.[5]

In 1993, at the invitation of Tim Sebastion, founder of the Secular Order of Druids, Shallcrass composed a ritual to be performed at a multi-faith conference Tim had organised among the old stone circles of Avebury in Wiltshire. This resulted in the formation of the Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri, which grew over the next few years to become what Ronald Hutton described as the "central event" of the New Druidry.[6]

In 1994, following what he described as a powerful vision in a sweat lodge, he adopted the Druid name, Greywolf. In 1995, he began to work regularly with Emma Restall Orr, who became joint chief of the BDO. Together, they lectured, hosted workshops and rituals, wrote new material for the Order, and appeared on TV and Radio in the UK and elsewhere.[7]

The "shamanic" form of Druidry pioneered by Shallcrass with the British Druid Order resulted in bringing the shamanic vision of the World Drum World Drum Project to ceremonies at Dragon Hill, below the Uffington White Horse hill figure in Oxfordshire, and at Avebury in Wiltshire.

Shallcrass is currently (September 2012) working on editing a series of distance learning courses on Druidry for the British Druid Order.[8]

The closing ceremony of the 2012 Paralympics included text from a 1997 Gorsedd ritual written by Philip Shallcrass and Emma Restall Orr.[9]

Books[edit]

Publications by Philip Shallcrass include:

References[edit]

  1. ^ British Druid Order
  2. ^ The content of this article is extracted from booklet 9 of the BDO Bardic Course, Who Are We?, pages 21–31, from biographical notes in Shallcrass & Restall Orr (eds.), A Druid Directory, pages 31–33, from the autobiographical account given in 'A Priest of the Goddess,' Chapter 12 of the book, Nature Religion Today, edited by Pearson, Roberts and Samuel, Edinburgh University Press, 1998, and from the manuscript of Philip Shallcrass' as yet unpublished autobiography, A Druid's Tail. Publication details are from these sources and from Emma Restall Orr's website, the BDO archive, from amazon.co.uk and from the BDO webshop.
  3. ^ See Philip Shallcrass, 'A Priest of the Goddess,' which forms Chapter 12 of the book, Nature Religion Today, edited by Pearson, Roberts and Samuel, Edinburgh University Press, 1998.
  4. ^ See Philip Shallcrass, 'A Priest of the Goddess,' which forms Chapter 12 of the book, Nature Religion Today, edited by Pearson, Roberts and Samuel, Edinburgh University Press, 1998.
  5. ^ See: http://www.druidry.co.uk/about-the-bdo/a-little-bdo-history/
  6. ^ Ronald Hutton, Witches, Druids and King Arthur, Hambledon and London, 2003, pp 255–256
  7. ^ See: Shallcrass & Restall Orr, eds., A Druid Directory, BDO Publications, 3rd edition, 2001.
  8. ^ See the BDO website Courses page.
  9. ^ British Druid Order website, September 9th 2012. BDO Druidry Goes Global in the Paralympics Closing Ceremony