â€˜And Raise Me Up a Golden Barrowâ€™
Narratives of Ancestry and Continuity in Contemporary British Druidry and Beyond
The stories we tell ourselves about our beginnings are a vital part of our sense of identity and belonging. For Druids living in the UK those stories tend to be deeply rooted in a sense of connectedness with the landscape and with the â€˜Ancestorsâ€™, usually situated in an imagined and often idealized pre-Christian past. Since the time of William Stukeley, himself associated with the Druid Revival of the Eighteenth Century; the Druids have been associated in the popular romantic imagination with the ancient burial mounds that proliferate in the landscape. The fact that this association is not historically correct has done little to weaken its power.
This paper will focus on the construction, in recent years, of a number of barrows, mimicking the Neolithic monuments, and designed to take human cremated remains in niches built into the construction. The fact that this initiative has proved hugely popular with Druids, but also with many others testifies to the power that the barrows hold over the imagination. Why is this? What stories are being told about the barrows, and do those stories have to say about connections to â€˜deep timeâ€™, to the land, to each other, to community and to the future.