The Golden Gate Park druid circles are one of the more mysterious attractions in Golden Gate Park. The stones that form the druid circles were originally brought to San Francisco by William Randolph Hearst who planned to build a second mansion there after completion of the Hearst Castle in San Simeon. Hearst had all the stones transported in 11 different boats to the United States from the ruins of a 12th century monastery in Ovila, Spain. However, the Great Depression depleted his fortune and the stones were left in Golden Gate Park for decades. Eventually Hearst sold the stones to the City of San Francisco but before the workers were able to distribute the stones around the park, a huge fire broke out that made it much more difficult to move all the crates of stones.
You can find stone druid circles in two different locations off the main park pathways in Golden Gate Park. These are occasionally used as sacred ceremonial places by modern nature worshippers. Other stones were distributed throughout the park during the 1960’s at the Japanese Tea Garden, the Botanical Garden, the Strybing Arboretum Library Terrace Garden, and occasionally situated alongside quiet paths leading through the park’s trees.
In mythology the druids were believed to be primal spell casters who gained their power from a powerful deity or nature spirit. People believed that druids were primal controllers of the wilderness but the druids believed they were simply guardians of the wilderness who saw themselves as extensions of nature’s own power. They had no formal organization but they were divided into local groups that shared common abilities and beliefs. Most druids performed their ceremonies in a circle around a central fire or an altar and the stones they placed around their fire or alter are known as druid circles.
Monarch Bear Grove in Golden Gate Park contains one of the best known druid circles in California. It’s a powerful sacred place that combines 12th century stones from the Abbey of Santa Maria de Ovila in Spain, the spirit of the Monarch Bear (the totem animal of the state of California), and the primal energy of Golden Gate Park’s old oak tree grove. Rodney Karr from the Monarch Bear Institute was the caretaker of this area for 12 years and he took care of the grove’s trees and animals. With its ancient druid circle, Monarch Bear Grove is a great place for appreciation of nature, contemplation and self-reflection.
Peter Cross is an accomplished article writer and creative writer who has produced hundreds of articles for many different clients since 2006 when he retired from his consulting business.