Tuesday, 28 December 2010
Midwinter, the hour approaches, outside the ground resplendent in it's crisp white cloak cracks underfoot with sound loud enough to shatter the silence of the night, awakening many of those asleep within the bush and briar of our frozen land, in the distance through the frozen air I hear Reynard calling to his own kin as I take the path to turn the mill.
The fire burns, it's bright flame cutting through the chill night, a welcome friend indeed especially on an eve such as this when the touch of the northern winter alights upon the skin of the hands.
No shadows are to be chased by the flames as Celeste burns far brighter within this crystal sky, as if to prove that having been consumed by the earth's shadow that very morning her own path through the void is only to remain stronger than ever, the great mother magnificent, ready and willing to give birth to the young Horned god and the return of the solar year.
Within the circle round I tread and tread, the crisp sounds echoing the great noise of the loom above, the fire makes no sound as the threads that I twist go to feed that hungry clatter, joining others as they go, tonight I serve the weavers, tonight I give my all to the tapestry that is Wyrd itself, I work, I am the wheel that forms the fine fibre that in it's own turn will join with fate and become.
Clack, Clack the weaving gives rhythm to the compass, the fibres of my being sail up along the cords of destiny, I am unwound, all that I have goes to her, a sacrifice, an act of devotion, with hope to become a greater part of the worlds, the spindle turns, the loom still clatters and I hear nothing else, when as suddenly as it all begins it stops.
I am pitched from my fire side dance and thrown toward the north, dizzy from my vigil she takes the rest and I give it all willingly, quickly I regain my posture and try to see where it is I am, I stand where I started, the moon is dazzling in her beauty as she reminds me that I am with her now, I am with all creation yet alone, the clarity of the moonlit night burns my eyes and yet the greater part of me has gone, silence now on all levels, great knowledge is somehow here but I am a child with no means of tapping into it, I feel powerless, vulnerable and unmade, yet within this confusion the opposite is also becomes truth, I still have that connection, there is but one thread that connects me to the rest, my work tonight is almost done, safe in the knowledge that soon once again I shall be whole.
The holy blood stains the white ground but not before I see the Rune, Othila, a loss yet an inheritance that I have been given, perhaps greater wisdom will become mine upon my return, that we can only wait and see is the order of this time.
Family meals and winter gatherings continue through this season of festivities, blessings truly counted and much excitement from the members of my family, not to much indulgence or gluttony within the confines of this group, but hearty meals, warm fires and the love of company.
Travelling north to my Mendip home across this so rarely white landscape brings great joy and the fulfilment of a pilgrimage, a small gesture to (as I have mentioned previously) one who walked these paths before.
Upon crisp snow still within the darkness of the night I step from within the confines of my mothers house into my car, during the short drive to the hills anticipation builds, even though there is no great ritual planned this is an homage to a great man, will I find the place, it has been nearly twenty years since I walked these hills of my home ground.
It takes no time at all, through the darkness I walk until there before me looms a greater dark, I don my head torch and descend into the chthonic realms of our own world, nervous apprehension as I begin my descent slipping on the frozen mud and wet stones of this place I do not fall and reach half way through the system, I descend no further as I have found a suitable place for my vigil.
A single candle replaces the luminosity of this century and I light some incense, the tiny flame illuminates the stone walls, lines of chalk and quartz crystal reflect back the orange glow of my white candle, deeper within the cave I can hear the gentle drip of moisture as the formation of calcified structures continue to persist across time.
I sit in this place and read a piece that was written about it, I hear the sounds of that strange ballet that once took place there, my tiny flame echos the fire that once burned with great purpose, I can almost taste the smoke that would consume the air of this confined area.
The reading done it becomes as though I myself am at last a part of this strange rite, I can hear the laughter of the feast, feel the energy that such a working would produce.
Staring up along the walls I see the light of a new dawn peering down from the cave entrance, I leave my own offering, draw a rune from the bag, extinguish my light and ascend back to the surface.
The ice begins to thaw, there is rain in the air and I feel we truly begin to enter into this next phase, reborn from this earthly womb I return to my family, like the rising sun that bought a closure to my vigil I see the return of my own fibre far in the distance yet returning still.
Ice put pay to my Glastonbury visit, yet to visit T's oldest friend, her loving partner and their radiant daughter was to bring much love and joy to us all, a most beautiful union indeed, they are truly blessed and I wish them further blessings still for their official union.
As the open road to Cornwall was traveled, the thaw accompanied us as we went, winter green returning to our world as the wheels turned, there is relief to the land due to this repose, fresh water and softened fruit lie together with the bodies of those fallen to bring much needed relief for the wildlife of this isle.
Soon I too will be whole, in what form and where it will take me I am yet to discover, what I am given I will take and then with the blessings of one who swims in the stream of fate make the very best of it I can.
Flags, Flax and Fodder. Tony...
Sunday, 19 December 2010
The sharpened steel of winter's own scythe cuts through the December air, leaving in its wake the adamantine covering of ice and snow, while Geminid fires streak across the night sky, seeds from the divine to bring growth to the coming year.
Chaos consumes the ether, the best made plans are layed to waste, worlds grind to a halt as the wild hunt makes its foray into the lengthening night, collecting, gathering that which is yet to find its place in the wyrd.
Solid ground gives no quarter to the feet that walk upon it's frozen surface, the hidden holes that conspire to snap and splinter the bones of the unwary, glass like slides that remain hidden beneath a blanket of white wait in preparation to bring down the might of mankind's arrogance as it attempts to tread roughshod over the land.
Blood lies in scarlet drops upon the snow as the cockerels of The Cunning Man's own dwelling do battle for supremacy, a re-enactment of the changing tides leaves but one the victor, the other chosen by fate to become sustenance for the family, other birds both fair and foul watch with anticipation at the outcome, more aware than we could ever imagine of the fibres of fate that influence our daily lives.
Shots ring out across the winter landscape, today the earth becomes further stained with crimson as an era comes to a close, a wave of anxiety and loss follows the sound as progress dictates the value of an animal's own place in time and space, this interconnected universe still perceives the ripples that came from the loss of one this year, a rock that fell into the pool and left a great deal in it's wake, there is still much that could wash up upon this shore, how much, we are still to see.
Safe within our protected home we carry on, planned visits this week were postponed due to conditions far beyond the control of this one, only appear to be re-scheduled to a time of greater significance, a missed engagement brings instead a far greater pilgrimage, reminding me that being within fate allows us to recognise those key moments when simple decisions will effect a far greater change, if we exist without we will fail to recognise these as such and the wrong ones are then made, what is convenient is not always what we have to do.
Preparations are under way for the midwinter rites, there is excitement mixed with a touch of anxiety ( if I am to be honest) , a leap into the unknown and all that it brings, to give all that I have to her, then to wait to see what she will do with it, trust and hope that truth favours the brave, and that this fool will not end up with burned hands and a heart full of sorrow, the fire of my compass shall burn with a welcome heat in the cold darkness of this time of birth, in my heart I know that it all will turn out for the best and that fire is burning bright.
In contrast to this winter land, the house is more akin to the forest, V loves this time of year and our home is filled with as much greenery as one could imagine, if every plant brought in would bring with it its own noisy spirit the noise would deafen us all, sleep would be but another dream itself, there would be greater chance of repose within the windswept forest of pine and spruce , with the stars and the ice moon to replace the countless small coloured lights that illuminate the shadows.
As blessed as it is, the evergreen flora lets us have only a touch of its virtue and that is one of peace and welcome as would be appropriate to our dwelling, the family is set to gather in all the blessings we have, to feast and frolic as our ancestors have done for many thousands of years within this heart of darkness there shines a greater light, the brightest of lights serves to cast the deepest shadows after all.
This man has a plan (not to mention train tickets to travel north very soon) of sorts, much depends on where abouts on this spinning wheel I end up but wherever that is, I can see purpose of some sort within this chaotic yet clear air.
I hope with all sincerity that all of you that may happen upon these words will have a fruitful midwinter and a joyous one, where ever you are and whatever path you are on, and that you find whatever it is you require, take all that you may be given and give all that you have, not strictly in that order of course but you know what I mean.
May the warm fire in your hearths welcome in the new year and may that in truth be blessed also.
Oh and many happy returns LBJ.
Flax, Flags and Fodder. Tony.
Sunday, 12 December 2010
Chaos has continued to stalk the land, the descent into the midwinter darkness and a change in the weave of cloth that is Fate herself , Icy frosts have made treacherous footing upon the roads and paths of our winter wonderland.
The earth frozen to a depth rarely seen at this time of year, crisp brown leaves departed from the parent lie brittle and blown at field edge while the Song Thrush hurriedly searches amongst them them for a morsel of the protein it requires to stave of the sickle of hunger.
Cold air is shattered beneath the pale sky and long shadows, as those who will undertake the December harvest go about their business, lead flies up into the air in the vain hope if will fell the long tail that attempts to avoid the hunters eye, the sulphurous smell of the weapon lingers in the ether to remind all that this yearly ritual is fully underway.
Mankind's own behaviour strangely reflecting that of the world that it would tame as it's own, often only to fail in the task of realising the same.
A reprieve in the cold days bring a time to rebuild and restock, a kind opportunity, all be it short, to ward against the possibilities to come, a thaw in the hedgerows enables our wilder cousins to venture elsewhere to make the most of the warmth, to gather collect and prepare for the next great onslaught of cold, now being the time for us to gather that that we will need to venture through this darker time be that wood, food, family and our precious thoughts.
As we approach this solstice time our thoughts go out to those who may be less fortunate than ourselves, a time of feasting that has perpetuated across many millennia, simple joy within this chthonic realm, a warm hearth and the company of our beloved, indulgent feasts as we welcome into our homes those whom we hold dear, a difficult time for those who have no such blessings.
Counting our blessings at this time is high on this one agenda as the new year approaches (I see Halloween/Samhain as the end of the old year as we enter into the the dark flux of energies, only at midwinter do we start to emerge into a new light, there is no need for me to rush into that one in October as there has to be a time of renewal).
What have we achieved in the year gone past? What is it that we wish should grow beneath the coming radiance of the young Horned king as each day he ascends higher and higher from the darkness?
Needs and wishes are the seeds that we must plant and nurture in this coming time, the ground must first be fertile and then only can it be worked and tilled ready to accept those tiny gems that we hope to cultivate into the fruits of our labours, we must not however lose sight of that which we have produced already, renewal should never be about sweeping everything from the house, only that which we may no longer require, care is taken not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, an Apple tree will not fruit for many years after it is planted after all.
Looking back at this past year fills me with much hope and joy for the future, if success could be measured by happiness and contentment then this year has been a successful one, people I have met and had communication with (in many realms) have brought much new light to my life, the trials and tribulations of the past have been left behind and balance has returned to the house of The Cunning man after a long absence, even the pettyness of others has failed in its efforts to break down anything, it only becomes as leaves that fly into the wind as my feet pass through them, the walls of all our castles are made of a stone that is untouchable by the hands of mortal men, true friendship is also made of this.
There has been one incident that has fouled the water of my thought this week, that is the vandalism of the Holy Thorn at Glastonbury, an act of violence thought to have some religious significance for the perpetrator, this desecration has upset a great many people of many faiths and is unforgivable, the tree itself is a symbol of Christianity and its arrival on this isle, said to have sprung from Joseph of Aremethea's own staff, this is not the case of this particular tree as it has been replaced previously, however it is the significance of this symbol that contains it's importance and if the attack was to undermine that then it was very short sighted indeed, the curses will fly as spears to the hearts of those individuals responsible, not from this quarter but those with less to lose and a great deal more venom than I, myself I can only see misfortune springing from the delusions of one who would commit such an act, committed in what purpose I do not know.
So what of the future, where is it that this one is heading?
Soon I will travel to my Mendip home for a celebration and reflection, my mothers birthday, perhaps a visit to others and then to pay an homage to another who once walked a similar path to me, the call to go much further north will soon be answered, as planned visits to other dear friends are now very much on the cards, the fetters on this ones legs will be broken and I will endeavour to venture much further from my secluded home in the far south of our land.
Devotion will become easier as I move through the fibres of Wyrd in my daily life, I know now that in order to assess the temperature and current of the stream I must fully immerse myself in it and that is exactly what I intend to do, I only hope not to slip on the icy bathwater or trip over any frozen babies.
Flags, Flax and Fodder. Tony.
Sunday, 5 December 2010
Cold still grips this blessed land, the bitter wind pierces the air, cleansing thought and ills as she passes, the silent herald of the wild hunt out to collect the souls of the lost and wayward.
The flux of tides is alive, tearing black streaks in the fabric of the grey sky, moving, ever living, creating, spinning the wyrd into the shapes and forms of tomorrow's being, the future flows with a force from the well of eternity, the clear air lets you taste it,hold it in your grasp and feel the fibrous nature of the worlds.
Upon this the frozen land I work then home to a warm hearth, yet still she calls, beckoning me to depart the comforts of the dwelling to become wrapped once more within the darkness of her cloak, to her call I must go, not the unwilling fool, but with a gladdened heart I depart the house, wrapped warm against the icy breeze.
The covering grey has gone from the day to reveal a bejeweled heaven, as clear as the ice that sits upon the pools of water, not a blemish to stain this gem encrusted canopy, as pure as the snow itself, holder of the mysteries, keeper of secrets, I am the servant, the priest and the student, I belong to them, the wayward child of the stars.
We wander down the track and out across the chilled land the wind is no more, ice crisp and brittle under my feet, the breaking panes of natures own glass sculpture are the only sounds audible to myself and my oss.
As I gaze skyward I see the threads, star to star they run, every point the centre of the web, every one connected to every other, the strands of the wyrd stretch from high above down to my feet and beyond, feeling the touch, I am one with all, the heart of the web, I am land and star, ocean and shore, all things yet nothing what so ever, a moment, a divine gift, this time, I could achieve all that I could dream, through this love,a knowledge that comes on the icy wind that grips our land, the serpent has emerged from the shadow at last as fire streaks the deeper blue.
This special time, this sacred moment, a chance to give all that you have and take all you are given, the traveller between the worlds, within the quiet land of the night, silence, wisdom and communion with the fabric of all life, all work on this land is sleeping, I doubt I will meet another of this world on nights such as these, it is my time, my own Eden, in this time and place that belongs to me, and me alone.
The time of the awakening soul, my beloved and I watched as fallen stars grazed the ether with their splendour, the company of my eldest daughter upon one of my night time forays, a truly blessed week indeed, nothing to cloud the mind and if it came the welcome dawn appearance of the morning star together with the lunar sickle that welcomed in the days this week would strike it from existence, cleansing the detritus from my world.
Cold, Yes, inconvenience also, yet nothing touches the moments I have described, these are not born of desire, they are necessary, tools and methods for understanding, never are they the benign daydreams of an ignorant fool, there are no secrets for those who listen and listen we must, to remain in ignorance is a crime, to wear the blinkers of an organized religion also, we must not stagnate, like the wyrd it self we must remain in a state of flux, adapt and evolve or we become stale.
As I have already mentioned, the Serpent has emerged from the shadows, it no longer retreats from my light, to have noticed that it had in the past was one of the most important lessons I have had this year, thankfully there was one in that place who could tell me where I was going wrong and guide me to the ways of putting it right.
The journey continues, I expect falls and slip ups along the way but the tree continues to bear me fruit, even if on occasion I end up flat on my back because it is to dark on the lane to see the frozen stream that runs to one side.
For those with an interest in astronomy there is a free program down loadable from www.stellarium.org, it is a fantastic guide to the night sky and well worth installing and it costs nothing, I think it is globally relevant also.
Sunday, 28 November 2010
Cattle stand with patience at the trough, waiting among the clouds of vapour for one to shatter the ice and enable the herd to drink, above the bovine rabble the smaller winged fellows huddle together for warmth upon the lines of power and communication that our modern society now worship with all the reverence once payed to the divine hosts of the universe, the lays of modern man that span this Island from coast to mountain, civilisation contained within covered wires of progress.
As the cold descends, it brings chaos to much of our modern world, people risking life and limb in the pursuit of the almighty pound, a preconditioned sense of importance, a feeling that the world might somehow fall apart if Mr Anonymous should fail to turn up to work, unprepared as we are in this land, is it not a great shame that the masses are unable to cope with something a simple as the changing seasons.
The lessons are there to be learned from, do the cows pace up and down the fields? do the birds fly frantically trying to find food and warmth? They do not, they wait patiently, they conserve energy, they know that within their very existence and within this temperate land provision will be made, a farmer breaks the ice, a kind soul will place food and water and an impatient tractor driver will spill some of his cargo in the rush to get things done, somehow all of nature is tuned in to the stream of fate, a flow that so many do not see and acknowledge.
A time to be more like our animal kin, repose and thought, the clarity brought in by Jack Frost is a gift, slow and deliberate action may be the key, conservation of our supplies, we will not rush toward our own demise because we do not have bread and milk, the impatience to maintain this idea is more likely to be the cause of death, do those in lesser developed places keel over when faced with these minor distractions, or do they learn to develop the mechanisms to cope?
An interesting week for this one, work continues alongside greater learning, the period of distraction and indeed disruption is coming to an end.
A good friend and far wiser man than I has been very much forced into making a statement to clarify his position, with regard to those usurpers of an highly disruptive nature, that we have mentioned and have indeed met upon the rambling pages of the cunning man.
The statement can be viewed here http://www.clanoftubalcain.org.uk/luxveritatis.html for those who are interested, beyond that no further discussion is of value here today.
I for one have sound something for which I have searched my entire adult life, I have been given advise on technique which has started to allow me to bring the spiritual aspects of my world together in a solid way with the more mundane, to finally bring acts of devotion into my everyday waking existence and dispense with the distractions therein, to tune in to those distractions instead of trying in vain to block them out, an epiphany, a true revelation that will bring much fruit and contentment on my own search for the truth, at the age of forty one I now have one life, no longer the two separate realms of existence, it requires more practice and devotion but I see it more as an achievable act rather than an unobtainable state of being.
There are those who may read this that would presume this is the failing of a first year neophyte, it is not, it is an area I have struggled with for many years, only recently have I seen the importance in the unity of these aspects, and now with help from others can finally hope to achieve this more priestly existence.
During this week of learning, I have seen many things on many levels, I have paid attention to the petty machinations of others and seen the mess left by dirty undisiplined magics, on a another level I have looked at the mechanics of apparently simple charms, I have been utterly bamboozled and astounded at the depths of symbolism within these tools and trappings of the traditional craft, realising also the need for those of us who would hope to use them with any real effect need also to look beyond and to constantly re-examine the familiar, this is paramount, I am not talking about searching the net for pertaining information but searching with intuition and instinct (there's that word again), going away and then returning to think upon the riddle once more.
Listen to what the symbols say to you, just because another might disagree with your interpretation does not mean that you are wrong, this is the true magic of symbolism, the key to your own doors and not that of another, we all live in the same world but our view of that world is different depending very much on where we stand at any one time, further pushing forward the "Truth is variable " motif once more.
My own keys may not fit any of your doors, but if you hear a jingle and a scratch at the entrance to your home during those hours of darkness ,it might be me trying them out, if you don't try it out how are you to know, only joking of course, I would be looking for an open window.
Flags,Flax and Fodder. Tony.
Sunday, 21 November 2010
A slate grey sky looms over head as wrapped up warm against the cold I depart my abode, no pattern to be seen, no shadow, no points of light to guide, pure infinitesimal nothing in the realms of expectation, a blank canvas.
The light from my candle splutters in the breeze as aloft my head virtue is poured down into my cup, filled to over flowing I see her, clearer than I ever thought possible, with more clarity than could be seen in her reflection, as she bestows her gifts upon me, her loyal servant.
I lower my cup and the flame dies, yet far above my head the curtains of cloud briefly part, just enough for her smile in actuality to shine upon my soul, lighting the way, the brief walk to the crossroads where an offering is left, a devotion made, then to return home, never once to look back.
No fire or mill this night, I seek only communion, and that is what I find.
Many a time myself and others I have known have shown disappointment when upon the full moon night we have seen no sign of our lunar Majesty, perhaps for many a month we have indeed been distracted by the radiant Celeste in all her beauty, maybe as many believe she is but a reflection of the greater virtue within the universe.
I myself am coming round to this way of thought, the above experience although graced with an actual appearance would have held no less magic had it not been so, to say that to see the moon on such a night would be the goal would be to deny the blind man the pleasure of her knowledge, could it instead be thought that we are in turn some what blinded by this bright light within the night sky, that by being so we could remain ignorant of some thing much deeper and of far greater significance.
I do not seek to put down any of those who seek to revel in this Lunar spectacle, I only offer a slightly different take on the whole affair, it is the face of Cain that we see after all.
The moon as a planetary body effects all water upon this planet, as we ourselves are mostly made of this divine liquid we, like the tides are similarly effected, it is assumed that when the moon is full that this would have the greatest effect, mad people or Lunatics * are said to very much react to this phenomena , this may not be true if we examine the great seas and tidal estuaries that surround our island, perhaps we are chasing the lapwing here, seeing what we are told to see, cyclical lunacy may have little to do with the full moon, menstruation cycles rarely follow either, only to coincide on occasion, more likely to align themselves to other feminine influences than lunar ones.
If indeed we examine the tidal pull we see that although at the times when the moon is at it's fattest we also have high tides, when we look at the phase of the dark/ new moon those tides are always higher, which could illustrate a far greater influence.
Could this be why the Dark moon has greater significance to those within traditional craft, a wary time perhaps but one that is often put to good use, a time of chthonic brilliance, not Cursing necessarily, there are indeed other more appropriate activities at this time.
Are we in fact puppets of she who stands reflected in the moon? reacting to her ways, needs and plans for us.
"In fate and the overcoming of fate, lies the grail." R Cochrane.
So why go out?
What is the point?
Well, if one owns a watch there are occasions when you need to set the time, to make the connections to the divine it is important to reset your own clock to keep in time with it, what better way is there than once a month at least, the full moon is easily discernible the dark moon is less so, we are not stepping out to commune with a planetary divinity but the divine entity or source that is behind it. Regular observance of this calendar strengthens all our connections, so there is every reason to do so.
What we see with our eyes wide open to the material world is not all that is there, some times we need to view this world as a blind man would, to feel and sense our way through it without the distractions of what our eyes tell us is there.
After all Odin himself had to sacrifice one eye to enable him to see into the other realms, this is not a flight of fancy but perhaps I may have at least touched on why.
Just to add A note on my slightly morose piece last week, with regard to people who create a nuisance in our communities read on, you know who you are, we all know your dirty business and are indeed aware of your actions.
"This man is fortunate who, can get for himself praise and goodwill;
very difficult it is when a man lays claim to what is in anothers heart." Ods own words maybe, taken from the poetic edda, so those who claim to be his own men might like to take heed.
*(The word lunatic is borrowed from the Latin "lunacus", in turns stemming from "luna" (moon), which denotes the traditional link made in folklore between madness and the phases of the moon. This probably refers to the symptoms of cyclic mood disorders such as bipolar disorder or cyclothymia, the symptoms of which may also go through phases. As yet there is no evidence whatsoever for any causal link between phases of the moon and the progression of mood disorder symptoms.) .
Monday, 15 November 2010
A cold morning, Venus burns brightly by the clouds that tower over the horizon, red, pink and grey, the imposing towers stand vigilant over this waking world as the bovine herds of pasture and field breath mist into the ether, the busy life of the countryside returns to the land of the Cunning Man.
The sun rises, as it ascends it draws the stars back to the heavens, pulling with them the strands of gossamer thread, then only to leave them hanging in the air, pulled this way and that by the gentle breeze on this beautiful autumnal day, finally coming to rest upon the steaming hides of the cattle who tread without a care.
The crisp ground is short lived, warmth is still to be taken when the cold wind of the north departs, this bright star of ours can still comfort the bones when time allows to bask in its radiance, even so at midwinter during those calmer times, blessed indeed those of us that dwell on this blessed isle.
We take what we can from where we are , finding those special moments to reflect on how fortunate we are to walk this land, we complain when it is hot and again when it is cold, often forgetting that variety is indeed the spice of life.
Here in Cornwall we can experience all conditions in a matter of moments, a blessing or a curse , you decide for yourself, but for this one it is a blessing ( providing the right clothing and footwear is available).
My mind has been filled once more with the petty machinations of others, pitfalls and traps await us at every turn as there is much deception in this world, treading carefully is still the order of the day, I despair of the nature of some.
It would seem that there are those who create and build in all areas of this life, unfortunately for them there are also those with no such talent, this failure to achieve creates bitterness and hatred, the reaction is to claim anothers thoughts as their own or just simply to tear the creation down, in the all consuming torrent that follows, people get hurt, it becomes hard to build upon dreams when it is apparent that someone else will tear those very dreams apart.
So how have I dealt with all this?
Firstly, I have tried to remember that it is not something to be taken too personally, while also being aware of how these things may affect those whom we would call our kin, it is only with absolute clarity that we can even begin to heal these wounds and deal with situations such as these, to react openly and with anger is no longer my way, mainly because that particular modus operandi has indeed cost me dear in the past, as you might know.
Look deeper, the obvious is not always apparent, the truths can be obscured in the mists of grey magic, intuition is the key, if it feels wrong it probably is, failing intuition look in what ever other way you are accustomed to, cards, stones, bones or the proverbial crystal ball will all guide, this is the time when any personal use is most justified, however, always be aware that those who would work against us or those we love are lacking any real personal talents, especially of an occult nature, the preferred method is to harass from the position of the waking world, they may be quick to curse but that really has no weight.
So armed with facts at hand that only really leaves us with the baggage that we may have to carry around, today was a good day to deal with this, I will not go into the mechanics of the Arte only that a walk off the beaten track, fast flowing water and a small island in a stream, which is where my baggage now resides.
A much needed healing experience was to lead me up to the high moors for further regeneration of the soul, in the good company of thought and memory who circled calling in the air above.
So with my spirit lifted and my stomach full, home with my precious family I gaze out to a star filled sky that heralds yet another crisp autumnal morning, there is much still to see and know, but with the load off my back I may be able to lift my head a little easier.
Sunday, 7 November 2010
Apprehension and anxiety, the lonely journey into the unknown, perhaps a secondary soaking as wet ground is trodden both with the sun and against, in the compass of living and the compass of the dead, alone yet accompanied by the shades of times past.
At the strike of the witching hour the rain ceases, the wind no longer blows and Herne's own stop the chase to listen to the voices that drift through the air between fires across the land.
One flame to light a fire and the simple flow of this hallowed night unfolds.
Rare is the occasion that things run as smoothly as they did this night, simple ritual the key together with a willingness to listen to the knowledge on the breeze, many of the spirits from this one's own past have moved on and are no longer available at this or any other time of year, even the spirit of the one so unfortunately taken this year was eager to move on to the next, as a wiser man than I proclaimed " the boy was as impetuous in death as he was in life" I never really considered him so until I pondered upon this statement, which of course is true to a point, great to see that this young man's soul was eager to have another go at life.
There were many truths and wisdom to come from the lessons of this man from the grey world, home truths and criticism together with more keys to unlock the doors to further knowledge, direct and very to the point, but I can see further now as a result of our conversation than I have ever been able to see before.
I know the things I must do and the doors in my own workings that are to be done and opened accordingly, only then will the tree truly bear me the fruit, the serpent will not impart his wisdom to the ignorant or the unprepared, only when the time is right and the subject is ready will he emerge fully from the shadow, on this occasion and in that place I did not expect to be, he showed me only a glimpse of his majesty.
The only other thing that I feel I can mention at this time with relation to this rite is the subject of being alone in my work, those who know me also know that on occasion I struggle with this concept, failure to grasp this as a gift has in many ways slowed me down by distracting me, longing for the company of others, especially my dear T, needing more than I to witness these times, the justification of like minded folk to prop up my faulty ego, who knows, but no more.
This is the way it is and I except it now as the blessing it indeed is, it will not always be so but for the time being I will make the most of this part of my journey, a true gift, beholden to none other than the Divine, the holy Fool, Odin's path ( oddly enough, I feel that this realisation was one of the keys T wanted me to find before making any foray herself in my company, a wiser soul indeed).
Interestingly, the noise that brought me home from the circle of the dead on this night was a ravens call, not an unusual sound here in my world but a rare one at one o'clock in the morning, emanating across the fields of the waking world and not the island.
I sat and watched as the embers of the fire began to fade away with the spirits of the ancestors, the gentle distraction as drops of rain started to hiss amongst the amber glow, my work was done, a meditation on the nights happenings to sort the wheat from the chaff , to bring at least some order and sense to the chaos in my head, then that was me to bed, to open the next chapter in my existence as the hunt resumed its own collections of the dark time.
To close this piece I will include part of a song written by Justin Sullivan of New Model Army, it was written about his Friend and companion Robert Heaton and I feel that it is hugely appropriate and it captures the whole feel of this time of year.
" And I'm numb, I'm numb,
like when you've been driving so fast for so long that it feels as if you're hardly moving at all,
my body rigid with tension and my soul all knotted and wound up like a twisted tree,
the way we used to be, when we sang of passion and justice;
and faith was easy and celebrated in a ritual of swirling smoke,
arms all raised up towards the lights...
And we said what we said but we made what we made
Do you get to float and look down and do all of that?
Tonight would be as good a night as any - you'll see the city alive like a great resting animal
lying in the lea of the hills and the moor-land
and breathing little patterns of fire into the cold dark coming of winter
and I'm warming my back against the heat of a bonfire, like the ones you so loved to build,
and I'm thinking about it all and I'm sorry and I'm not sorry -
our time was made up of confused emotions and little whirlwinds
and all those things we couldn't really talk about but,
most of all, it was sealed in sacred moments like these and then it was gone."
Much love and Blessings of the season to all of you.
Flags,Flax,Fodder and Frigg...
Tuesday, 2 November 2010
From those clear nights, when the light from uncountable stars shine with radiant beauty on the land of our home we awaken to a dawn of silver hue, a refection of the night sky's majesty, crisp and clean, virtue from the heavens beneath our feet.
Is it any wonder that this time in our year should be held with awe and inspiration, moving through the darkness to find the bright fires of chthonic wisdom and knowledge, to reach out , to seek the truth, as the Hornet seeks a warm shelter, a place to rest out the biting winds and bitter frost, so we depart upon our quest, warm clothes and stout footwear are indeed the order of this season.
Commercially speaking, the Halloween festivities are over, to become transformed into the gross commercialism of the yule tide, which as the word tide suggests might well and truly drag away any spiritual importance out to sea with the rest of the detritus cast upon our shores, unlike the supermarkets and chain stores I for one am not ready to move into this phase this is not a discussion for today, my own ritual of the ancestors has not yet taken place, soon though.
The youngest in my home spent the calender night of all hallows eve terrorising the local village with other members of her clan, tired yet satisfied with her lot she returned to the house less a few bits of costume and with a full stomach of sugar based confectionery.
So the night of the 31st passed quietly, no visitors here as usual but then our own outlook is considered to be perhaps a little spooky for those of less understanding.
The Air itself seemed not to speak of other activities, like the etherical leech I went out to listen and soak up some feeling but alas, there was little, I feel in my heart that although this time is considered sacred to many within the pagan community, there appears to actually be some lack of understanding, as if there are many who somehow miss the point, perhaps this is in part due to the media and the saturation of the festival by corporate bigwigs, who knows? Only that the wind brought with it less activity than it did back at Lammas or indeed at any full moon.
As we embark on our voyage toward the truth, how do we know what we see, hear or feel is indeed that truth, does truth in any form really exist?
There are some definites, you are born and you will die, what you come in with and depart with is another matter, to assume that would be nothing may well be considered a greater Lie, perhaps that first statement may also be a lie, philosophy has long argued about such issues, but to get to my point I am reminded of one of Robert Cochrane's wiser sayings, and one I consider to be an undeniable indeed absolute truth;
"Truth is variable – what is true now, will not be true tomorrow, since the temporal truths are dependent upon ethics and social mores –therefore wisdom is possibly eternal Truth, untouched by man’s condition"
Not that it would be my place to say, however I would also add that "What may be the truth for one may be considered a lie to another", concepts globally and locally will vary considerably depending as is said above by the pressures and social mores of life which may in turn reflect an others perception, what I may perceive as a shade of green another may consider it to be a shade of blue, what we see is true for us the individual but not always for others, even the concepts of Good and Evil may be treated with suspicion, no evil act is ever committed for evils sake and vice-versa, this is merely another journey into the moral considerations of personal geography, where we stand at any particular time, who would argue that the deployment of nuclear weapons against the Japanese at the end of WW2 was an act of evil, even though those who perpetrated this atrocity would deny this, even consider it to be a good thing.
So, the search for truth although laden with pitfalls and traps has to continue, it is not important to justify your own perceptions to another as long as in your heart and at that time feel that it speaks true to you, and do not ever feel that time may well have been wasted when tomorrow the truth has turned to dust, it is particles of wisdom itself, there may be truth within the dust.
So as we move toward the Dark moon of this celebration, anticipation and a touch of anxiety reside within my bones, I am ready to pay my respect and dues to the others who built the styles and tracks of the hedges I cross and the twisting paths I walk, their knowledge is there upon the wind for any who will listen (RC), and listen for it I will even if it means cold ears and a damp seat, amidst Cornish mist and November rain.
Blessings of the season to all who read this and some of those who don't.
Sunday, 24 October 2010
The skeins over the house are now a regular event and the local corvids do battle for supremacy, fights erupting in the grey sky over the last few grains and graves on the fields and by ways of our home.
Welcome to the time of thought and preparation, need fire and night journeys.
A great week for this one, as the bitterness of hate and loathing of another turns to serve in part as cement on love and friendship.
Visitors from the north kindly descended upon our family, people whom I have spoken of as those whose wisdom and authority I can admire and respect, people who within this strange culture of neopaganism might well have been washed away in the tsunami of shallow belief, power games and intolerance, but fortune has smiled upon them and indeed myself, for the visit was of great boon and encouragement to one such as I , often alone in this world but now feeling that no longer.
It sometimes takes another not only to show you the doors but to give you the courage to go though them, it was not my place to drag T back into the compass but the right person has perhaps given her the curiosity to take a swim within the currents and pools of chthonic wisdom, an elder spirit resides in her and I am given to wonder that perhaps she is a key to further unlock my own understanding, this is not to be pushed by me and she may or may not decide to tread the mill with this old fool, time and fate will tell.
A beautiful morning on the moors upon the high places and standing stones, the lapwing calling from the dips while Huginn and Munnin gave voice on the summit, a worthy encounter for what I hope will become a firm friendship, far removed from the noisy gobbling of an incessant psychopath.
A warm welcome to Our family my friends and long may we be so.
A warning to those who seek enlightenment in recent times seems appropriate following a conversation with my dear friends.
In this modern age of computers, networking and perceived information, great care must be taken, the way a search engine works has no reflection upon the content of the site that it may direct you to, words lie hidden beneath pictures and other words , put there to pick up on searches and elevate personal websites to higher altitude among the lists, this is no guarantee that the top of the list has any real virtue or authenticity, it is no reflection of the wisdom there it is only a different kind of cunning.
When searching for information on the craft this is especially true, trust instincts, ignore the great promises and be warned, where there are pictures of robed Wizards,velvet clad maidens and crossed bones there may be only pretty pictures and poorly conceived theology at best, falsehood and trickery at worst, where there is personal appeal dig deeper and research further, what you may be looking for might well be further down your google list, do not be fooled by the first on your search, html is a fine skill for those who have knowledge of it, often those who don't have that skill may have the actual knowledge that you seek.
I will further add that you may find something of value wherever you seek, first or last I only urge to take caution, certainly if some kind of actual contact is desired, tread carefully for there are many traps awaiting in the form of promises and false prophets.
For those who wish to look there are links at the bottom of this page, these sites also contain links, if you are interested in Traditional craft there is a great deal to be found there.
So I am left to ponder further upon the mysteries of both worlds, having put to rest the demons of the Internet in a small way, to put to good use the gift given and to further consider the conversation into the world of genetic manipulation, the legless chickens who might be forced to levitate and hover as their wings are of no use, property of Coronal Saunders and the hapless clown of fast food convenience, I have also to mention the devious cunning of one who sold me a car with heavily disguised faults, precious time wasted again, T is insisting on dealing with that one as I am tempted to draw the thorn.
A reading list that seems to double by the day means that I have to reincarnate as it has got so big that I would have to give up work in order to complete it in this life, I wouldn't mind but my lovely family insist on being warm and fed, and the everyday happening of teenagers is often one of noisy distraction.
Monday, 11 October 2010
It would seem that, considering the time of year we now seem to be in the middle of a mini heat wave down here in the wilds of Kernow, at least that is the way it is on those days when I don't have to work outside and can spend by time wittering to you on here.
The Roses about the hedgerows here are laden now with the red fruit of autumn and corbies circle the lanes and fields clearing up the waste and casualties of the road, in the early morning we hear the wild geese in the distance preparing for the daily journey to the estuaries and coasts of our county and the bountiful feeding that awaits them.
Reynard has seen in his wisdom to at least leave us a few hens for the winter, one that yesterday hatched a small black solitary chick that as I speak is running the gauntlet between its two possible sires, natural selection together with fate shall decide if or not the little fellow is to survive, there will be no interference from us other than remembering to shut the door of the pen when we go to bed.
While on the subject of poultry I am pleased to report that the not so wise but very noisy Norfolk Bronze seems to have returned to its own coup, the inane gobble from this most unpleasant species of turkey seems to have died away, they did say that if we could manage to ignore the creature it would most likely just strut off and go and bother some other unfortunate soul, amazing really that it can read as it seems not to be able to write anything worth mentioning.
Yesterday was a sad day indeed here as we said a farewell to our dog “Bear”, he hasn’t passed away but gone to live with another family, for most of his life he has been my constant companion, often coming to work with me, we spent most of our time together, this past year work has changed and I am not able to bring him along any longer, we decided that it was deeply unfair to leave him alone for long periods so we have found him a new home where he can once more have constant companionship, sad for us to let him go yet better for him we feel, he will be sorely missed.
The choices of life are not always simple and the wiser decisions can be the most painful.
Knowledge and wisdom are difficult bedfellows, in the world of communication it is often wiser to keep ones knowledge to oneself, less it be mistaken for arrogance or worse still ignorance.
I am reminded of this situation by the appearance and self-introduction of a young man on a discussion forum to which I have membership.
The Individual in question is undoubtedly an intelligent and well-versed person, but unfortunately opened his introduction with claims and opinions, which could only really serve to at the very least annoy and offend other members of the group, which of course it did.
The opening gambit was one of how Gardnarian Wicca and Traditional Craft were basically one and the same and that Wicca had actually had more of a bonafide right to call itself authentic or “traditional" than most of us think, that Traditional Craft was in fact a mere pretender by drawing insights and knowledge through and from Mr Gardner and not through any kind of bonafide lineage. I am sketching over the facts here a little so as to provide you with the jist.
This may to some be a valid point but definitely not one I would agree with, what I could agree with is the fact that there are many practitioners of both disciplines who at some time have been part of the other, Knowledge and method learned through the neopagan practices could indeed be seen as a kind of evolution of the older Craft, as us such we might be considered foolish to ignore them.
Also to talk in terms of Pagan and Neopagan among those who practice “The Craft” is also a little presumptuous, paganism is not a prerequisite to the craft in any way, personally I happen to consider myself pagan but this is of little consequence to any of my own workings, there would as once said by Robert Cochrane, be nothing to stop a Christian becoming well versed in the arte of witchcraft, to which I would agree, in my youth I would not have seen how this could be possible, as I have only recently discovered , it very much is.
Witchcraft for this fledgling is all about learning and method, nothing at all to do with the acquisition of grand titles or power, this could be seen as a major difference between us and them if you like, as mentioned previously, those promises and declarations are well to be avoided
The Forum itself is a great resource of wise and knowledgeable people, there are no absolutes only opinions and once again tolerance, there is much to learn and discover from such places, I hope that the impetuous actions of a young soul will soon be forgotten and this young man can face the consequences then continue in his voyage of discovery, we all have knowledge and opinions yet it is wiser on occasion to keep them to ones self, or at the least be prepared to face those consequences, if not great opportunities could be missed for one who could achieve good things.
After all, if any of us hadn’t made mistakes in the past we would be a sorry bunch of fools indeed.
Flags,Flax and Fodder.
Monday, 4 October 2010
As the nights draw in and the morning rises late, the muse returns to the house of The Cunning Man, the canvas stands proud upon its easel awaiting the shapes and texture of this one's reflections, adoration and love, the layers build while the fire of the hearth welcomes her into my home and it is there where she reflects the heat and passion of the midsummer, dark inspiration to bring light to the darker times to come, I hope to do justice to all that she gives, patience, careful thought and planning are required once more, unnecessary distractions must be put to rest finally.
The pages of the calendar continue to turn, four weeks or there abouts to the biggest celebration in our yearly schedule, I am reminded by a visit to our local city, whereupon my visual senses are assaulted by a cacophony of plastic skulls, plastic pumpkins, hooked noses and Frankenstein's monster masks, the trappings of All Hallows Eve, all the fun and games for children and adults alike.
Am I offended by this crass commercialism?
The answer is... Apart from the fact that most of this stuff will end up in landfill, and the personal creativity of our own youth seems to be going the same way, not really. Yes, It has fallen victim to the real monsters that lurk in the dark, the retailers and supermarkets that creep around our over consuming society. It does not reflect what we do in our own celebrations however, it is still celebrated, there is a gene in all of us the globe over that recognises this time, even the church acknowledges it(though I suspect they rather wouldn't), one even has to give credit to the church for doing so, as their celebration there is closer to what we do, a thinning of the veil, for us it may be reverence, acknowledgement, contact and affirmation of the wisdom and love of our ancestors, a link to the divine through them, for the Reverend it is a similar celebration only here it is reverence for those within that community that have shown wisdom or performed divine acts, The Holy Saints, the bridge between man and his god.
A million miles from Transylvania's blood suckers and bolts through the neck, let them all have their fun, and why not?
The bobbing apple is after all a close relative of the rose.
A great night to tell the children stories as well, possibly the best night in the year, wired into the event young minds find the will to listen to chthonic tales from the underworld, even absorbing the finer details on occasion.
I have to sadly add here, that we live far enough from regular civilisation that we do not have to endure the fouler aspects of this wonderful time, we used to take our children to the nearest village to do the trick or treat thing, a "jack o lantern" in the window of the home would declare if a welcome treat could be found, but a mile down a dark muddy lane to the house where the witches live will tend to stop the little darklings coming here.
Communication with the wider community brings further lessons, my base animal instincts which I have relied on solely for too long need to be kept on a leash, reaction to offence can cause further offence perhaps even to those to whom you might never consider" if in doubt best not lash out" a pitfall might await the careless traveller indeed.
The greater realisation, at least on this occasion, is that those who we truly count as friends, those whose support and nurture we value, are not afraid to let you know when you are treading close to the line, those who's wiser council is to move on and let the sleeping dogs lie, rather than teasing them with tempting morsels and tit bits just to see if they will bite, they do bite, it is not as bad as the bark, but ultimately if we are quiet they will just fall back off to sleep.
A solitary existence has meant that within my close circle I have been sat atop a proverbial tree, not akin to a wise monkey and on the occasion throwing stuff at those who I see below.
I see before me a much greater tree and there are those within its many branches that may may be willing to help me to climb it, but only if I can continue my journey with wisdom and integrity, it is a great thing to know these people are there.
So as a word of warning, when strolling around the esoteric forest, Do not always head for the first tree off the path, avoid the easy climb, as the one that may be harder to climb may well have the best fruit, most importantly steer clear of the windblown especially if there is a bunch of rather noisy simians on its branches, there is no fresh fruit there, doubtless there ever was.
So it is heads up, treading quietly, avoiding the sticky mud and ignoring the distracting noises from the easily climbable trees, doubtless having to dodge the odd projectile on occasion.
Flags, Flax and Fodder. Tony..
Monday, 27 September 2010
A mercurial time of messages and messaging, some good and some not so, transport issues now sorted much to our relief, not to mention the viral blight that has plagued my family for the last two weeks is finally in remission to the disappointment of messieurs Smithkline Beecham.
The hearth and the chimney are swept clean in preparation for the onset of colder weather, a good opportunity to brush away other issues also, the simple tasks are easy to transpose into magical ones, action becomes action of a different kind, the black soot of the home disposed of along with the unwelcome aspects that hang around the Cunning man's household, our home can once more breath again, the spirits of the house prefer a clean hearth as does my own.
I have always been drawn toward the simplicity and useful attributes of the kitchen witch, often simple in their structure and operation, and even more often over looked by others, a way to retain the connections we make at major workings, cleaning becomes a kind of exorcism, the preparation of food combines and provides actual physical sustenance and spiritual also, all tasks are capable of taking on magical attributes, from locking a door to taking a bath, they become those small rituals that bring magick into our everyday lives, our home becomes a castle, a sacred place in it's own right, safe and protected by everyday actions.
I have often in the past been very scornful with regard to gatherings of "pagans", the politics and personal power games that take place are not for me or my tribe, attendance leading to bitter disappointment has meant that we long since gave up going to moots and such like, I feel now though my mind could be swayed, at least a little, by an event we briefly attended this weekend.
Congratulations on a job well done go out to Chris and his friends who put together the Pagan Pride southwest event in Plymouth on Saturday, we were only able to pop along for a short while but from what we saw it seemed to be a good affair, the mood was light and there were many happy faces, untypically celebrating that which we have in common and not harping on about differences or making claims to correct methods, authenticity and so on, Conducted with pride and honour by all those involved.
Very refreshing, and not just the north wind, I think it went well and the work put in over the recent years has payed off, it will be interesting to see how this will grow over the coming time and if this will become an annual event, great to catch up with a few people that we do know and respect as well.
So we may well, as we are invited, attend a small moot that is as I write this being planned by the above, by our own choice we have managed to fly beneath the Pagan radar for so many years, now may be the time to break cover and get out more, meet some people, and greet them with a better view and less trepidation, I am looking forward to meeting others, soon to be here and early next year the Macleods are flying north.
This has been the year of communication for me, I have found Hermes and he is very much lighting the way, he even allows me to leave Cornwall on occasion, I am very much enjoying the contact with others, an indulgence that I have let go for far too long, there are those in this world that I feel have a fighting chance at understanding my nature, people that in my ignorance I thought could never be found, an acceptance of fate it its entirety and I find myself happily at the start of a new life, I have a bunch of keys but I am at a loss with which door to open first. A student at the first year of college once again, keen and eager, hoping to learn but dreadfully afraid of failure.
There is a door that I cannot open that concerns my own fate, past, present and future, perhaps one day I will have the key to that one, I feel at this time that it is one that may have to be opened for me, a dear wise friend told me of this many years ago and at that time it was not right to open that door, I now reckon the time draws near to perhaps have a peek around the corner.
I have enabled anyone to be able to leave comments on this page, I will moderate so as to avoid those of bad motive and malice, so feel free to speak freely, if your opinions are valid you will of course not be anonymous even if you are a Norfolk Bronze Turkey with delusions of grandeur.
Wednesday, 22 September 2010
Having Knowledge- Kenning or Knowing
The time for anonymity is over, those who follow this blog are mostly aware of who "The Cunning Man" is anyway.
When integrity is bought into question one has to stand by ones principles and if necessary take it on the chin, the question of anonymity was never really an issue for me anyhow, a Cunning man is perhaps more what I would be inspired to become rather than a title I lay claim for myself, it is for others to decide if and when I ever reach that goal.
The morning awoke to thick mists once more, appropriate for this time of the year subtly reflecting the mood in my own head, a feeling of not one thing or another, a confused state of being waiting for the change in season proper, roll on the dark nights of hidden knowledge and pleasure, shorter days of work governed as they are by the light of our solar chieftain, from the darkness spring forth great sparks of light and inspiration. Perhaps that spark which inspires may take the form of dear friends that hope to visit prior to all hallows eve, there is much indeed to look forward to as lady fate lays down another thread for this one.
Knowledge and the pursuit of knowledge takes my mind to the British museum once more, for many years I have(as I have mentioned previously) studied within my social and ethnic sphere, rarely looking around the world for the inspiration that may lie there, happy to sit in my muddy pool of ignorance, often where the answers to my questions could never be found or at best confirmed.
It is by looking around the world and examining articles of another faith that the truths can indeed be confirmed or enlightened upon, again we touch on what is similar over those petty differences and see that in the past of all nations the world over there were and still are many common methods and goals.
There was a time when this one would have considered it not applicable to gaze upon a Asian statue depicting The Night Queen goddess of death, dismissing it as something belonging to another culture from an unconnected civilisation, yet from beneath the blindfold of ignorance I see her, she is beautiful and I know her, she may have a different set of features to those I have seen but it is she that I will one day dance with, one and the same, no stranger at all.
Throughout the museum this can be observed , within the hypnotic carvings the statuary and the art, all pointers to that common ground, signposts that tell me that I am indeed on the right path to becoming that to which I aspire.
Another thought;Could it for one moment be supposed that the Human race reached its peak of evolution thousands of years ago, we have been so wrapped up in the idea that this primal need should be judged on the basis of technological advancement, at the cost usually of art and the spiritual needs of mankind, the pleasure found within the everyday objects used by our worldly ancestors points to this possibility, evolution is a must but how are we to gauge what constitutes evolution.
Gazing into the countless cabinets from across the globe and across the ages of man I see value, not in the way we count it now but in a way that explodes with an understanding of the cosmos, lost to so many in the rush for the latest phone or computer, the artisan craftsmen took delight in the decoration of plates, cutlery and glass, and the owners of such would then in turn taken great delight in using said items, food and wine a pleasure and a gift to be celebrated and enjoyed, not something served on a plastic tray by a modern day slave, processed food in front of a flashing screen that gives imaginary insight into the lives of imaginary people, a meal to fuel the body but no longer the soul.
If we cannot take pleasure in the simple things in life, a meal, a sunrise, art and music, the way the clouds part to reveal the lunar radiance above, then we miss the point of life altogether, our ancestors knew this and I propose that this is why everyday things had to be things of great beauty, a celebration of all aspects, love, history, joy, yet modern society often dispenses with such simple pleasures, Evolution? I think not.
looking deeper into the collection we find the ritual items we can gain even more understanding, the knives, pots, cauldrons and cups, staves, cords and sickles, the obvious importance of the sharpening stone, these treasures were placed within graves or found concealed in that special place the world over, things that to us as witches still have great significance.
The clues not to mention the keys of knowledge are all there in this one building, from Britain to Babylon, England to Egypt, similarity, familiarity the world over, what a place, if any who read this have the opportunity to visit you must, there is too much to talk about here, discover for yourself, the Edwardians and Victorians didn't pinch all this stuff from around the world so you could ignore it.
In a glass cabinet within the Greek section of this storehouse she resides, not pride of place but easy enough to find, no taller than five inches yet gigantic in her stature, our lady of the crossroads stands amidst her kin, dark and terrible, enchanting and inspiring, wise and fair.
And I guess most importantly, not available in the gift shop.
Flags, Flax and Fodder. Tony Macleod (aka The Cunning Man (maybe))
Tuesday, 14 September 2010
A return to the autumnal beauty of Cornwall after an hectic weekend in the big smoke, I can see and feel the sky once more, a great relief after the claustrophobia and oppression of the tall buildings of central London, the Oak, Ash and Thorn of my residence resplendent still with green, tinged with the browns of the coming season, there is a tired restful nature in the trees now empty of the summer visitors to our land, as they prepare for the more dormant time of the year.
The hearth of my home still yet to feel the warmth of the winter fuel, yet I feel it will not be long before the radiant flames cast their shadows across the walls of the Cunning man's dwelling.
London itself is a strange creature, it works with a hive like mentality only in reverse, lack of cooperation seems to persist, busying about life without any acknowledgement of those who surround you seems to be the key to survival there, it works well and is a demonstration of the evolution of a species that is not really designed to live in such large groups.
To step out of our own land into this world is a challenge to say the least, but a good one, our capital is not only filled with people ignoring each other it is also home to some of the greatest cultural diversity you can hope to experience on this island, art and architecture to marvel and astonish are absolutely everywhere, but despite what any might think there are good people there also.
So why was I up there? As some of you might know the book by Doreen Valiente titled "Where Witchcraft Lives" was launched this Sunday past, my illustrations are on the cover so I was asked to attend and accept my copy upon the stage, a nerve racking moment for one that has opinions and observations yet does not actively court publicity, although by writing this there are further clues to my identity for those who do not know me.
The event was the work of John and Julie Belham Payne and their "centre for pagan studies/the Doreen Valiente trust", the couple them selves made me more than welcome and it was a pleasure to meet them, the event was an interesting collection of speakers that included Professor Ronald Hutton and Philip Heselton, all of which delivered an interesting biography of the late Gerald Gardner, I left the event with a greater knowledge of the man although it did not alter my opinions of Gardner himself, his legacy or many of his subsequent followers, I have come to realise that many are acceptable even decent and honourable people, those willing to listen and learn, unfortunately, due to the actions and behaviour of certain people I am sad to say there is a rotten core, back to the noise of the shallow end once again, far from bringing the pagan faiths into the realms of general public understanding, there are those who would bring the flaming torches and pitchforks of the past back into our world for their own selfish purposes. I will say at this point that this opinion does not have anything to do with the above event or any of the organisers.
A moot in London as a distraction from the above event is the cause of my anger, I knew it would be so was foolish to attend, the focus of one man and his visitors from across the ocean, here to distract attention,politicise, perpetuate falsehood and promote a writing on which I will not comment as I haven't read it, in fact I have no intention of doing so.
T and myself do not perpetuate the stereotype of modern neo paganism so we attended the moot as though we were just visitors to our capital having a drink in a real ale pub, no announcements or declarations, just a quiet drink and the dropping of an eave or two.
The conversations that took place were appalling, the drunken volume negating the need to hush and listen, foul sewage erupting from the mouth of one man, a friend of the moot organiser, a torrent of swearing and opinions, declarations of the fact that no one would be able to teach him anything , he felt it was pointless to even attend the event as he knew it all( he must have complete divine knowledge), yet he still went, slurs and slants against those who have in recent times become very dear to this one, and those also passed from this world, All of this at a decibel level that could have alerted environmental health while wearing a t-shirt that advertised his pagan beliefs like the neon signs of our capital city.
Those visitors from across the pond conducted themselves with the dignity of normal folk even if the entourage did not, all bought together by one clucking bird, keen to build his castle and line his nest with the straw from anothers roof, creating politics where there is no need, forgoing the truths of the world in order to appear the great modern day occultist.
Any castle built of straw with no real foundation will one day burn to the ground with the very fires of corruption and deception that it took to build it, and there will be nothing left at all, so tread carefully, for you do not know whose feet you are stepping on, or who may be listening.
So we have arrived at the same place once again, noisy shallow end of the pool, those who seek to obtain titles and claims of wisdom they do not have, politics and faith are not good bedfellows, so we must avoid all those who try to politicise issues of such.
Back to the British Museum on Monday morning then off to have a pint of beer in the Museum tavern with the spirit of the great beast, into the Atlantis bookshop( possibly one of the oldest Occult bookshops in the world) and back home to the west country.
A great long weekend, Interesting and invigorating in a different sense to what I am used to, regretfully I did not get to meet a friend that I was hoping to meet, but will settle with the phone conversation we had outside the above moot for now.
Grey Sky's and a sense of pleasure in the knowledge, that both physically and metaphorically I have a slate roof, to heavy for the lazy bird, yet a welcome shelter for those whom I hold dear.
Monday, 6 September 2010
Rivenstone, a small festival in the heart of the Devon moors, put together by Nigel Shaw and Carolyn Hillyer on a small farm which they have made their home for the past fifteen years, a truly wholesome place that these two have quite literally put their hearts and souls into creating, musicians and artists both truly in love with this piece of land, only too happy to share this adoration with others, Cairns, stones and even a reconstructed iron age round house, artworks subtly hidden down secluded woodland paths, so much to see and share, the spirits of the rolling landscape content within this sanctuary.
I was more than a little apprehensive with the Idea of spending the weekend with the Ladies who take tea, this tired remnant of the new age movement, the angel and crystal procuring people of the last century, I have never really seen the world as they do and the same can still be said.
However, As my tolerance has grown so has theirs, belief and methods not really discussed with strangers, only between Friends, as I sat upon the grass basking in the early autumn sun sipping my beer I could hear various conversations, on the eaves as it were, the crystal therapy women discussing which of the gurus they had studied with and the cleansing properties of the by products of Uranium mining, all at a festival to promote more sustainable living and how we can be in touch with the land, our land.
These Ladies were few and far between, often found meditating in places set up by the guardians of this farm, I found myself being "tutted" at several times for inadvertently disturbing a meditation in the roundhouse, missing the point a little I feel, as such a place is not a temple but a gathering point for Friends, family and clan, a place for song and story not for quiet thought at a festival, those were my feelings on the place anyway and I did not deliberately force my presence upon them, I just made my apologies and removed myself.
I have to say at this point that I did meet some fabulous people, the organisers and supporting crew were wonderful, as were many of the other traders, the public also were by and large.
Music,discussion, food, dance and the banging of drums, not exactly my cup of tea really but overall a successful weekend, we made money from the sales of our artwork alone and good money too.
I must also add something of an opinion of Nigel's and Carolyn's music, especially a piece called Dartmoor Symphony, These two people are not of the moors, or the west country for that matter, it would be easy for me to dismiss such a piece of music as a deluded attempt to understand an alien landscape, I cannot.
This one musical work alone demonstrates the connections to this land they have made, I am a west country man, the moors have always been and will always be my spiritual home, and this is true also of the writers /performers of this symphony, moving the Cunning man almost to tears, capturing exactly the sound and the very nature of the moor, its birds, streams, its stone circles and the way the wind moves, the noiseless aspects of nature are somehow even captured and through a musical alchemy transformed into sound, even the sun decided to throw his radiance down upon the performance at an appropriate moment.
As Far from being an insult to my beloved land as it could conceivably be, it is in fact a celebration and an act of love, perfectly executed, thank you, this landscape seems to have adopted you both as much as you have adopted it.
Their site can be found here. http://www.seventhwavemusic.co.uk/home.html
Tolerance within some parts of the esoteric and artistic communities is winning through, we are looking more toward the common ground and excepting the differences between us, this is once again the ultimate goal on the path of understanding.
The rain is battering the windows of my home, a day to sort out one or two things then it is back to the restoration work tomorrow, this weekend has been good practise for next when T and I are up to London for the book launch, hoping to meet some good people there also, I don't know how we will fit in with the attendants of that event either.
There are people in this world that do share more common ground with us, those who will welcome us to their hearths relationships that are due to be cemented properly, but those connections fate has decided to postpone till next year at the latest, hopefully she might step up her schedule a little sooner.
Learning to communicate with others has always been a stretch for this one, acceptance and tolerance are my own personal demons, learning I am however, and I for one will be more prepared to take tea with the ladies, especially those ladies who like to enjoy the occasional beer.