A Druid Geography of Carleton College
Carleton College is rich in Druid lore. Students may not know it today,
but whenever they use the term "Hill of Three Oaks", they're referring to
that little mound with a name invented by Druids!
The early Druid chronicles report that all Carleton services were
traditionally held in what today's students call the Upper Arboretum--
indeed, this is still the case, for the Upper Arb is close to campus
and some places on it feel like they have a special power, whereas the
Lower Arb is very far away and is under constant renovation by the
secular Arb Office. There are many places in the
Upper Arb important to Druids, two of which were named by Druids, and one of which was built by us!
Monument Hill In Early Chronicles 3.6, an altar is built on a hill in
the Upper Arb. According to the note it is Monument Hill, where the
the trees are sparse. The Christian monuments on that hill are still
there today, but there is no trace of the old altars. Hill of Three
Oaks took the place of Monument Hill quite quickly, but in the preface
to "A Service for Beltane" (1976), Richard Shelton notes that the hill
used for services is usually Monument Hill. It is no longer used
The Hill of Three Oaks In Latter Chronicles 8:8-11 the Druids go
looking for a new place to have services. They came to a hill in the
fields of the Lower Arb (this is before the Rec Center was built and
the grass mowed), wishing to dub it the Hill of the Three Oaks, and as
explained in the note, they were surprised to find that the three
trees on the hills were indeed all oaks. Other notes suggest that this
is where most services were held over the next years, including the
one where the President of Carleton was initiated into the 1st order.
Today, Hill of Three Oaks is a beloved place for drunken revelry which
makes it perfect for continued Druid use.
The Druid Den A large fire pit with a stone circle around it,
just across from Three Oaks, was known as the Dancing Sisters in the
early days. Today it's more often called the Druid Den or the Little Grove.
accessible through an old wooden gate; it's also not clear to me who
the gate was ever meant to keep out. Its secluded location also makes
it good for initiations and services.
The Stone CircleThe Stone Circle was built by the Archdruid Irony Sade '99 out of cleared rocks. The admissions website at
Carleton refers to the Stone Circle as the home of the Druids, but
this is not true. Unfortunately the woods around it have been razed to
get rid of buckthorn. Although my 1st order initiation was there, the
other two places have a much more spiritual quality to them and are
used more frequently.
The Lower Arboretum is an enormous and mysterious place, little-used
by students except during jogging. The best places in the Lower Arb
are all secret, and are discovered anew by each generation of students.
I have only the names of many of the locations from past years: the
fairy hills, the old sweatlodge, Dragon Isle, the waterfall, the
fairy road, the wish portal, the prominence of power, the chair
of Arthur, the nest of dragon eggs, the oak tree with boulders,
the prairie altar.
I myself can attest to the discovery or construction of three
locations in the Lower Arb: the deer beds, the crazy beaver's timber, and