He was born in Sussex, England in 1953. His parents were atheists, but Philip, from early childhood, always felt that there are spiritual, otherworldly dimensions to life. Early spiritual questing saw him explore Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Norse Paganism, ritual magic and the Kabalah. In 1974 he discovered Druidry through reading Robert Graves' The White Goddess. In the same year, he read Mircea Eliade's Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy. Eliade's book contained descriptions of the visionary experiences of shamans that mirrored events in Philip's own life. Further studies convinced him that Druidry was the earliest recorded form of native European shamanism.
In 1978, Philip joined an Alexandrian Wiccan coven, being initiated a High Priest the following year. During the course of that year, he had been writing seasonal festival rites for the coven. These were heavily influenced by his studies in Druidry. By the time the festival cycle was complete, the coven's celebrations had become so Druidic in flavour that the members agreed to stop calling themselves a coven and become instead a Grove; the Grove of the Badger. This is now seen as the Mother Grove of the British Druid Order (BDO).
Over the years that followed, the material written for the Grove of the Badger was revised and added to. At the end of the 1980s it began to be published and bring the BDO to wider attention. Philip married Eleanor Kilpatrick, an Occupational Therapist with the NHS, in 1985. In the early 1990s, Ellie and Philip met and began a continuing friendship with Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, chiefs of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. Philip Shallcrass began to lecture on Druidry at a series of conferences on New Religious Movements.
In 1992, he became editor of The Druids' Voice: the Magazine of Contemporary Druidry.
In 1993, at the invitation of Tim Sebastion, founder of the Secular Order of Druids, Philip composed a ritual to be performed at a multi-faith conference Tim had organised among the old stone circles of Avebury in Wiltshire. This resulted in the formation of the Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri, which grew over the next few years to become what Ronald Hutton described as the "central event" of the New Druidry.
In 1994, following a powerful vision in a sweat lodge, Philip adopted the Druid name, Greywolf. In 1995, he began to work regularly with Emma Restall Orr, who became joint chief of the BDO. Together, they lectured, hosted workshops and rituals, wrote new material for the Order, and appeared on TV and Radio in the UK and elsewhere.
On trips to Washington State, Greywolf established links with Pagan and Native American groups in and around Seattle, including the Quileute people of LaPush on the Pacific coast of the Olympic Peninsula. The Quileute are descended from shape-shifting wolves, so Greywolf feels a strong kinship with them. Quileute Nation Homepage
The 'shamanic' form of Druidry pioneered by Greywolf with the British Druid Order resulted in bringing the shamanic vision of the World Drum World Drum Project to ceremonies at Dragon Hill, below the Uffington White Horse hill figure in Oxfordshire, and at Avebury. BDO World Drum Page
Philip is currently working on a new distance learning course on Druidry for the BDO and on a book entitled The Craving Soul: A Practical Guide to Sex & Spirituality.
Publications by Philip Shallcrass include:
Faith & Reason: The People's Instinct for Natural Signs One of the Few Fundamental Druid Tenets Is That Nature Is sacred.Christians, Who Regard This Belief as Close to Idolatry, Have a More Complex Relationship with the Material World
Jun 20, 1998; IT WILL be fun at Stonehenge tomorrow: for the first time in nine years, assorted Druids and Pagans will be allowed to celebrate...
Weekend: Standing TALL; the City Once Known for Its Iron Man Now Has a Green Man. Jo Ind Reports on the Unveiling of Birmingham's Tallest Piece of Public Art
Jun 22, 2002; Byline: Jo Ind Druidry is an indigenous spiritual tradition which respects the natural world. It was the religion of Britain at...