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.