Olympic Opening Ceremony London 2012

Spiritual symbolism from Britain's pagan roots

Never before, in modern times, has so much pagan symbolism been used by the British establishment for a state occasion. The 2012 Olympic opening ceremony was a triumph of expression of British identity that for once did not ignore our cultural and spiritual pre Christian roots.

The Olympic flame was lit this year at the temple of Hera in Greece and was flown to Britain. With much fanfare it was then carried around the land by a relay or runners where it visited Stonehenge and other ancient sacred places.


This is a modern adaptation of ancient pagan tradition brought to life by Adolf Hitler, but it was a good idea and so it has remained a part of the modern games ceremonial ever since. In ancient times the Olympics were held at the temple of Zeus, where there would have been an eternal flame representing the light of the gods. The Olympic Games were held every four years from 776 B.C. to A.D. 394, making them the longest-running recurring event in antiquity


For more information on the ancient Olympics: National Geographic


As you will learn if you follow the link above, the ancient Olympics were very much spiritual in substance as much as they were about athletics and competition. More than any other Olympics of modern times the 2012 Olympics in London honoured the spiritual traditions of the games in the manner of our land.

We are not alone in observing this. Historian, mystic and writer Dennis Price has written an excellent article on the subject for his web-site ‘Eternal idol’ in which he explains the significance of Glastonbury tor and William Blake.


Glastonbury Tor, Photo by shimelle Laine.

The Tor (as here represented within the Olympic stadium) is a pagan sacred place associated with the Druids, the Mother Goddess, the Sidhe (faeries), Jesus visiting Britain as a child to learn from the Druids, Joseph of Arimatheia, King Arthur, Merlin, The Lady of the Lake and the sacred legendary Isle of Avalon

Glastonbury Tor, Photo by shimelle Laine.

The tor in the Olympic stadium is crowned by a mighty Oak tree, which every pagan will recognise as a potent symbol of the Druid faith, a sign of the  divine sovereignty of nature, and the protective spirit which watches over us.

How symbolic that the flags of every nation, including our own, would assemble on the slopes of this sacred hill of legend, beneath the sovereign protection and oversight of our sacred tree, the life giving, oak.

The scene indicating the start of the industrial revolution demonstrates the violation of our accord with nature as the tree is plucked from the soil, to make way for William Blakes ‘Dark Satanic Mills’.

Maypole dancing, Photo by Powder Photography

Young people gathering around the Maypole is a British tradition that dates back to pagan times. The dance is said to energise the land, flowers represent the Goddess of the land, whilst the pole represents the male essence. This is still a fertility rite and celebration of the sacred marriage.

In 2007 our grove were granted permission by the House of Lords to process with the Stonehenge Maypole into Westminster and dance in front of Parliament. On the occasion of the Queens Jubilee visit to Salisbury young people danced the Maypole. This is a tradition so beautiful that despite its pagan origins it is loved even by Christians.

Teams of Athletes were led into the arena behind their national flags escorted by a young man or your maiden wearing off-white robes and flowers as a reflection of the traditions of the Druids.

Our green and pleasant land: Photo by shimelle Laine.


Then, after more music and modern culture there was the lighting of the Olympic flame, with one flame for each participating clan, being lit clockwise and being brought together into one. This is an echo of one of the Druids most special rites.

Pictures of the flame by Sum_of_Marc

There is so much more that we could say about the Olympics here. It is sufficient just to express how proud this ceremony made all of us feel, and with our sacred traditions and places acknowledged and given pride of place in the ceremony how this is being seen as acceptance.

The organisers did a very special job. The volunteers of every race, age and faith did our country and the generosity of spirit of the people of London proud. We, together projected the message that Britain is a beautiful and sacred land, rich in beliefs, rich in diversity dance and song. We are, by and large a happy people.

To the athletes of the world, we salute you. You are each the finest. You are each people who direct your energy and mind towards the task of being the best that you can be. You are hardworking, brave, and an example to all.

These are characteristics that Druids have always sought to encourage.

You offer hope and inspiration to us all for the future.