Roly’s Story

I’ve been a pagan all of my life without being conscious of it but I do remember how my interest began.

From a very young age I watched my mother practise Yoga. She used to put her legs behind her head and twist her body into all shapes; her breathing changed like the air in the room.

She went to many Buddhist retreats and told me stories of other worlds she visited in meditation. She was also a herbalist and taught my sister and I what plants we could use to heal wounds.

At school other kids called her a witch as her hair was longer than Kate Bush’s and gave us her herbal remedies when we were sick.

My dad came from a farming background and taught me the ways of the land; how to read the plants and the skies. He was a quiet man who was a magnet for all different curious animals while working in his garden.

With these influences, I was the kid who looked out of the window at the trees as they swayed  in the wind and branches which caressed and hugged each other. You could say I lived in another world.

I spent much of my time alone creating different imaginary characters as I moulded people from clay and made dens from fallen branches. My dad taught me how to make a fire safely and my imagination was set in fire as I watched the flames dance to their own tune.

In my late teen years I started to visit a spiritualist church and I was invited to attend the open and closed circle. This opened my eyes to meditation and opening of the Chakras. I started to see and feel things. I can’t say I was clairvoyant or clairaudient, but I became more receptive.

I delved into Buddhism and deeper into spiritualism and learnt a great deal at the Arthur Findlay College of Spiritualism and psychic sciences.

For a short time it gave me some satisfaction but I had a deeper wanting and yearning for something more spiritual. I craved for something which was still a mystery to me.

My first solo holiday at 18 was to Nevada, a walking and horseback riding adventure. It was a pure camping holiday and our guide was a Navajo Indian. He told stories at night over a camp fire and I watched him every more give a salutation to the sun. We met his grandfather and he told us stories of the bear and eagle whilst he beat his Shamanic drum.

I started to look at the Shamanic practices and my holidays turned to ancient sites full of mystery lore and earth energy.

Looking back a lot of my experiences were showing me the pagan life, from holidays watching sun and moon dances to listening to storytelling and the beat of the drum.

But it wasn’t until I made a documentary on Druidry (Druids Pilgrimage) that my life changed and I knew I belonged to something greater than myself.

I started the OBOD course and I became diligent in my focus to learn and be involved with the order. I leased a small woodland to practice the rituals and immerse myself in nature. I experienced the undescribable and learnt to listen to the wind.

In the woodland I started a seed grove (as I’m not a full fledged Druid) and I invite others once a month to join me for a vegetarian chilly, drumming session, fireside chat and a night of storytelling by the fire.

I’ve become more eclectic and less concentrated on one tradition. I try to merge my Shamanic interest with Druidry and the craft. I see the similarities and by doing so made me who I am today.

I recently had a pull to go to Christian church, but I know my heart resides with mother earth and father sky.

Roland ‘Roly’ Keates

2 thoughts on “Roly’s Story”

  1. Thank you so much for taking the time to share this, Roly! Hope to see some more Pagan Themed documentaries from you soon!

    BB Jo

Comments are closed.