Another marked turn in the wheel of the year, The corn king has been felled, the loaf has been baked and the offerings have been made to our lady of the crossed roads.
My celebrations were marked beneath a crystal canopy below the white ribbon that is the milky way, a silver sickle poised to strike somewhere within the dark, its presence felt but unseen by this one, as shooting stars scorched the night sky and all of nature cried out in celebration and clarity, a welcome break from the rain that has continued to fall since the children finished school for the summer.
The ultimate sacrifice, our local farmer friend was finally laid to rest yesterday, appropriately at the dark moon, our small village church was packed to the roof and speakers were placed outside the building to allow those who could not squeeze in to hear the beautiful tributes to a man who has left an abyss where he once stood. A life perhaps shorter than many would have liked yet rich and full none the less, R's family were visibly moved and the relief in their hearts was obvious, finally after a month of bureaucracy and pain now finally being able to grieve with sincerity and allow their own worlds together with the community to move on, May your spirit find it's peace my friend.
Lammas, Lughnasgh or the feast of Hecate, call it what you will has been a time of great interest and consideration within the mind of this Cunning man. As those who ponder my ramblings will know, I do not use the calender for any more than as a guide to the timings of any rites and workings, it is the privilege of working alone that one does not have to arrange suitable times when all in a group may gather, due in part to the necessity of the above, together with instinct I chose the last night of the waning moon for my feast, the side effects of which were sent with love to the Friends and family of the deceased, to bring them strength in the day to come, there was much from the mill to send, an energy of hope and love from the black flame.
The Blackthorn rod was with me, intended for its general purpose, however it's use seemed inappropriate for this time, a warning was sent, a link conceived and guidance led me to protecting the recipient of this mans ignorance and cruelty instead of inflicting further upon the oppressor, this act seemed a somewhat better use of my time on this holy night.
There is an interesting point I have to make concerning those who do work to the calendar dates. The night of the 1st of august and indeed through to the 3rd were wild, little sleep for me due to the general mood and activity of them all, I found myself often out on these nights as well, the magick raised through the celebration of the calendar year is fantastic, drinking deeply from this pool of chthonic radiance, it fills my heart to bursting to know that you are all out there, communing, dancing and chanting, I feel your rhythms, hear your voice and share in the love of all worlds, the parasitical hedge pig that takes sustenance from the unwary sow.
My nights are usually much quieter, often when timings cross I will pick up on the workings of another or others (usually through thick Cornish mists), but nothing like the nights marked down within the pages of a diary, One night I was besieged by a chant of what sounded like Three blind mice, so loud and with such intent I can still here the echo of it now, perhaps another was working close by, I have yet to discover this mystery.
If I were once more to work within a group it would have to be akin to a lifeboat or fire station, with one to send out a call to arms "TONIGHT is the night", even then it could be almost impossible for all to agree, after all there are many truths, we all need different things from the year and align ourselves to different aspects, perhaps there is no absolute all encompassing truth .
So with ritual timing there can really be no right or wrong, due to the nature of the modern worlds and the plethora of commitments there in, a calendar is indeed a good and valid way to plan a year of ritual and gathering, the fact that the rites are observed out weighs the idea that the timing may not be perfect, we are not all tied to the land anymore, most do not have my privilege of working out side, so celebrate when you can.
There were three men come from the West
Their fortunes for to try,
And these three made a solemn vow:
"John Barleycorn must die."
They plowed, they sowed, they harrowed him in,
Threw clods upon his head,
'Til these three men were satisfied
John Barleycorn was dead.
They let him lie for a very long time,
'Til the rains from heaven did fall,
When little Sir John raised up his head
And so amazed them all.
They let him stand 'til Mid-Summer's Day
When he looked both pale and wan;
Then little Sir John grew a long, long beard
And so became a man.
They hired men with their scythes so sharp
To cut him off at the knee;
They rolled him and tied him around the waist,
And served him barbarously.
They hired men with their sharp pitchforks
To pierce him to the heart,
But the loader did serve him worse than that,
For he bound him to the cart.
They wheeled him 'round and around the field
'Til they came unto a barn,
And there they took a solemn oath
On poor John Barleycorn.
They hired men with their crab-tree sticks
To split him skin from bone,
But the miller did serve him worse than that,
For he ground him between two stones.
There's little Sir John in the nut-brown bowl,
And there's brandy in the glass,
And little Sir John in the nut-brown bowl
Proved the strongest man at last.
The huntsman cannot hunt the fox
Nor loudly blow his horn
And the tinker cannot mend his pots
Without John Barleycorn.
So, to those of you who are reading this, please feel free to comment, this year has been one of great communication for me and I wish for it to continue, shared thoughts and wisdom, discussion and all, only serve to increase knowledge and wisdom, please feel free to email as not all would wish to publicly nail their colours to the mast.
May the fires of truth burn brightly for all, whatever colours they burn for you.