Tuesday, 24 May 2011

The Dog that climbed a tree and a fool's sacrifice..

Gone and past now, the Rites of spring, all headings are firmly fixed toward the feast of the Baptist, the true heat of the midsummer sun and the unknown dangers that lurk within Salome's captivating dance.
The Blossom upon the white thorn now all but gone, blown to into the air by the warmer winds of early promise, yet outside this home of mine there is a silent call, a precious gem within a sea of fecundity, the blushed tint of our dear friend Rosa Canina who has climbed to the top of the now green May to once more crown her with a jewel worthy of her beautiful spirit, perfectly complementing her gown of emerald green with true virtue.


A creature of the darker months, or so I would like to think, the cloak of winter now a distant memory yet this surrounding vision of Nerthus at her most radiant never will cease to captivate and distract.
Is it not true, that in order to truly appreciate what we have and hold dear, is to have lost it within some unforeseen or foreseen moment, can we truly enjoy the company of others if we have never felt alone, love, if we have never felt loved, bring Justice, if we were never the victim, good health, if we have never felt pain or acceptance if we have never been rejected.

Perhaps, yet those moments that we have, the ones that tear our fibre apart serve a purpose, for without them we could become emotionless fools, incapable of learning the lessons strewn upon the path, the trials and tribulations of this life may be looked upon as blessings and not a curse, if the human mind will allow.

Lucky is the soul who would blunder it's way through this existence and never need to pay good heed to these lessons, a good life indeed for a foolish one, never to stop and take note of the flowers that he has so carelessly trodden in his wake, while a wiser being might stop to smell the scent, hurt and angered by the fact that another had so carelessly turned the blooms to dust. Regretfully, this is the way of things.

Success within our modern world is often measured by financial wealth and accumulation of useless possessions, those with a clumsy foot willing to walk roughshod over the treasures that truly lie before them are rewarded (or so they would like to think), with wealth, property and prosperity, the Fool is king in this world, yet one day that world will end and where will the fool be then, these riches are the trappings of a false world, a human construct that has no bearing upon true spiritual growth, in time the King will be the sacrifice once again and the wiser folk will dance with joy upon his bones, as they shall become dry and bleached beneath Lucifer's own flame, lying trodden in the dust with the skeletons of the underdogs.

So, Simple pleasures are torches that light the way, friends who would walk and play within the light of the moon, the wiser words of another that bring a smile to the face and the treasured company of those who you hold to be dear, bright lights indeed to chase away the shadows of hurt and regret, the finest of dancing partners.

And how we shall dance upon that day my dear brothers and sisters.

Flags Flax and Fodder. Tony.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Sweet Mead and the Cunning Arte

All lies quiet and still within the walls of our home, beloved family safe and warm beneath the blanket of night, recharging the tired and weary bones, to rest and to sleep in order to face the morning sun and all the trials he may bring once again.
There is no such repose for this one however, as the heavy heads of his own kin lie with eyes shut, minds flying into the realm of dreams, there is work for the Cunning man to do.

Heavenly wonders remain obscured by the cloud as the early summer winds threaten to remove the fresh leaves from the tall branches of the trees, thick trunks weighed down with the flowing sap sway and bend to the rhythm of the world, echos of that beating heart as it pulses across this land, the sky, a Granite and slate tapestry reflects in awe the geology of this county, yet beyond this heavenly canopy I see her shadow, still cast, she lies upon the path I need to take, so as moth to the flame I go, and with great joy I accept her as my guide.
Along the well worn track I trudge, fully laden with feast and fuel, night birds throw silhouettes above my head, silent still in their flight yet a welcome company all the same, further across the fields and down to the woodland edge I go, Celeste lights my way and the White thorn that graces my chosen spot now fat with over ripe blossom serves to mark my destination, a beacon to bring me home.

The Oss stands tall, bejeweled in the finery of the season, ever present companion to this one, guardian of the rose and finest of steeds, patiently it stands to watch, as from the axis the compass unfolds, to the East I place the spear.
No circle is cast, this is a flower that must open, and open she does, one petal at a time until she stands sublime beneath the veiled nocturnal glory.
As the sacred Fire springs into life my mind journeys far to the lands of my dearest family who will kindle blazes of their own on this night, across the hills and moors of our island we are one, together within this act of devotion and celebration, and though we may appear the solitary creatures of the night we are never so, as by these acts we are united as kin.

The Mill turns to the beat of the pulse, the sacred wood burns and above the sounds of our babbling brook there are names upon the wind, Hecate, Hermes, Lillith, Lucifer, Cerridwen, Cernunnos, Nerthus, Ing and Pan, words that travel through the ether as they have done so for all of mankind's history, the sound of the witch blood awakened in the souls of mankind.
Continuing within the round, the rose lies fixed and stationary, it is as though the whole world turns on this point, that it is my compass that remains fixed and the land spins around it, from my steady view point I feel no motion as the trees and bushes continue to pass my eyes, I am strangely removed from our world and existing beyond, outside of space and time, an observer of things that happen in another world perhaps another time.

A leap of faith and over flame I grab the spear and hold it aloft, my being a surge of energy as the worlds collide, movement stops, and the ground almost shakes in its wake, somewhere close by I hear there is another who does dance within the midnight shadows, yet on the pulse continues, waves of pure sound that match my every move, thump, thump, thump as the Spear strikes the dry earth, I match the beat, I am the beat and we are the same, that primeval force that will persist even when the Sons and Daughters of Cain have long since departed this Land.

United in one, Spear and Cauldron, the sweet mead cast to the watchers and a shared meal with the divine, I attempt to replace this holy weapon to the earth from which I took it and I am told in no uncertain terms that it is now mine to wield.
The journey home is longer, a stop made and an offering to Hecate is placed at the crossroads, I turn my back and walk away, never to look behind.

The Cunning Arte of the may tide complete for another year.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Two become one, a Branded cow and a Jewel among the thorns.

Britain stands glorious, adorned in its gown of emerald green, Lucifer's jewel sublime within the crystal beauty of Mari's turbulent waters. The late springtime rain brings radiant fecundity to all that stand within the fields and hedges of our ancient isle as once again the chthonic realm forces it's way to the surface of our land.
There is a pulse that beckons to those who would acknowledge, for some a beat to hear, for others a wave of purity to feel or see, yet all those who see, feel, or are blind to it all, still walk within it's passion and flame, it is life, it is love and it comes direct in it's path from the source of all things to reach out and touch rich man and beggar alike. It does not recognise the bizarre human constructs that govern our world, it surpasses the myriad ego's and sense of the self, it will not discriminate twixt wealthy and poor, man, woman or child, we are one and it brushes upon us all, we only have to stop and pay attention to it's advances and only then will we feel the presence.

Our own journey once more takes us back to the home of our past, time again to stand beneath the hallowed shadow of the island of Avalon, the purpose on this occasion to bear witness to the joining of two souls that with great blessings will remain as close as family to my beloved and myself for a great time to come.
Deep inside these hollow hills we stand, kith and kin united in purpose before the Old ones, pacts are made and blessings abound, the life giving waters of the hill pour with great abundance into the sacred pool that which takes pride of place within the darkened halls of this temple, the Black Madonna witness to all who stand before her, radiant within the candle light vigil in this moment devoted to love and union. Two separate souls that have overcome the barriers of time, distance and space, to become as one before the eyes and ears of those who would gladly give them all they would desire if it were in their means to do so, the word of this bond still echos through my being and shall remain for as long as I remain, longer than that in truth as an eternity stretches out before them both.
A true bloom within the lives of this Cunning Man and his own dear love, a total privilege to be a part of this and my thanks go out to them both for allowing us to be so.
Ash and Patrick, may you truly be blessed with love and devotion as I have so been, fate has smiled upon you both and all those who were present, long may she continue to do so.

The commerce and bustle of this once small Somerset town astounds us both, the new age has not only left it's mark upon this magical place but has branded it as one who would mark their cattle in ownership. It has been many years since I had walked the streets of this overgrown village and I find that so much of what it has become disappoints me, religion is for sale on a grand scale, integrity has already been sold and profit is the king, yet even within this seemingly largely Pagan haven there are gems to be found, those who produce wonderful things do exist within this wholesale world, between the golden Buddha and the dark iron cauldron there are jewels that will hide, once again in plain sight.

Out of the main town Victoria and I were to meet one such artisan, I had arranged to pop in as I was in the area, and I have not seen John for nearly thirty years, we were at the same school, nestled within the heart of the Mendip hills and we have both come of age within the bosom of that dearest of lands.
This gentle fellow does not go into the woodland realm at night to tread the mill as I would, his own ritual lies within the work he does and is no less potent than any I have witnessed, influenced by a love of the land, folklore and his own rich ancestry, he creates devotional pieces that overflow with that same Craft as I feel within the night time rites of my own existence. Another aspect to our craft heritage that could easily be overlooked by those who perhaps have not had these experiences, of course this allows John to sell his paintings to those who will appreciate them as the works of art they are, I personally see perhaps something else within them.
The hills of the home I grew up in, the tales the old ones used to tell of how you should not venture to certain places upon certain nights as there would be Witches there, this was not spooky storytelling to scare small children but matter of fact advise, born out of respect for those devotees of the elder paths, the ghosts that walk the lanes at night, the midnight forays and simple rituals the country folk of our past used to perform, all this and more elegantly captured within the pigments brushed upon these boards, a shared upbringing in a land I will forever love, and proof that no amount of paraphernalia will bring you closer to your gods.
Thank you John Caple, for your generous gift and I for one recognise another true brother of the craft by the parts of your soul that permeate through your work.

Life goes on, fully refreshed by the company of all those wonderful souls who have crossed by path over these past years, you all bring a greater richness to my life and knowing you all has given me so much inspiration and clarity, the family continues to grow as this world I once considered an empty place devoid of such riches proves me wrong, and this does not disappoint.
I know not what lies at the Rainbows end but my visit proved it was not a decent cup or coffee at that particular place in Glastonbury.

Flags,Flax and Fodder. Tony.

Paintings by kind permission of John Caple
John has a published book of some of his works available on Amazon for those who may be interested, it is called Somerset and is well worth a look.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Flags, Flux, Flowers and Frivolity.

All out of your beds,
For summer is acome unto day,
Your chamber shall be strewed with the white rose and the red
In the merry morning of May.
Where are the young men that here now should dance,
For summer is acome unto day,
Some they are in England some they are in France,
In the merry morning of May.
Where are the maidens that here now should sing,
For summer is acome unto day,
They are in the meadows the flowers gathering,
In the merry morning of May.
"Oss Oss"
(excerpt from Padstow daytime may day song)
Flags and flowers fly high above the small town that lies to the northwest of this beautiful county as once more coaxed from the mouth of a golden lion the Old Oss does emerge once more from its winter lair.
The busy celebration shall pass this one by in body, though not in spirit this year, not unlike the blue ribbon that brings temperance to the frivolity, mine is a waiting game still, there is time yet before this warrior shall mount his own oss spear in hand to greet the changing tide.
Reminders of the flux adorn the great oaks of my home, the crowns of green splendid upon their noble brows, as the world tree that stands proud beside still forces its own emerald fire through the pale brown skin of its branches, the bridge that crosses all the worlds resplendent within a sea of may.

The first of May and the arrival of the May bug, after three years of subterranean voyage he emerges from the chthonic earthy realm to fly for but a short time among the summer breeze of our land, welcome Billy Witch your arrival heralds greater times ahead. Dionysus walks amongst us once again and those that cannot face his gaze scurry back to the holes and beneath the stones from whence they came, now fearful to attempt to hide within plain site, blinded by the light of wisdom they retreat.

Gifts an blessings showered down upon the heart of the Cunning man upon the muted marking of another solar return, a white rose to stand beside the red and a black one that points toward dearest of kin, green fire from Lucifer's brow and wishes in abundance, proof to this one that emerging from the shadows was indeed the right choice to make, although when having lunch with my beloved, there were two of our pagan sisters (adorned with the correct jewellery)who noticed a symbol upon my lapel, then drew visual daggers, perhaps mistaking it for one of those they despise, it bought a smile to my heart at the ability to hide within plain site from those who would feign wisdom and forsake the truth for ignorance..

Within this time of union my own voyage will once more take me to my old stamping ground where another union shall take place, two souls from different worlds, separated by the great Atlantic ocean shall be united, a chance once more to meet favoured kin and those of like minded spirit, as this one ventures further into the light of company unknown, what blessings shall be born of this union I have yet to see, but they have mine and all that goes with it, and they shall relish this short time together upon the shores of Avalon.

As the children of the land prepare to undertake the acceptable face of the rites of spring, the wind howls around the vicinity of our home, the village bunting might well be in the neighbouring village by now, I shall venture forth soon to find out. The Pole erected every year finds the company of youth from the young of elsewhere as the village itself has not produced those of appropriate age for some time, another place's offspring were imported to dance the round last year and I imagine the same will occur this time, a retirement village that heralds the end of tradition and the death of the rural communities, it would seem that as with everything, it is those who would complain of change that force its very being after all.
A bitter lesson that we should treasure the young and the changes they bring, evolution occurs at so many levels and if we were to praise the children for the advancement they make, instead of criticising them at every turn then, refusing to accept change, then this land would be all the better for it, we have much to be proud of in our youth, but to see it we must all open our eyes, for it is there to see, Art, Music and dance, right in front of us, primal skill and evolution of the species in action.

Flags,Flax and Fodder. Tony.

(Cockchafer, (colloquially called may bug, billy witch, or spang beetle))