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- a collection of essays on Neodruidic Studies
- a journal of Post-Reconstructionist Neopaganism





Friday, December 19, 2014

BLESSINGS to ALL - YULETIDE TROVE 2014

Here’s a trove of Yuletide goodies from days of yore…
WASSAIL !
With Yuletide blessings to you and yours… 

DECEMBER SOLSTICE 
occurs at 6:03 PM Eastern Standard Time
Sunday, Dec. 21st, 2014

"Bah- humbug?" - No way... 
Yes, Christians should keep
"the Christ in Christmas", 
...but   YULETIDE  belongs to everybody!

The three faces of the Spirit of the Yule and
the Fractal Mystery of the Twelve Nights
between Solstice Eve and New Years Eve...

The oldest records of Yuletide may be 
from England of the Dark Ages, not Germany...

Don't overlook these basic themes when creating
ritual celebrations for the December Solstice...

 Yes, it's true, you can hear the year turn...


Looking for DRUID-ish 
YULETIDE TUNES ?
Check these out:
by Steeleye Span 



on their holiday album


Sunday, October 19, 2014

A PRAYER to the ANCESTORS






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Download a PDF of the above HERE...

Painting "The Last of England" by the Pre Raphaelite  Ford Maddox Brown, 1855

ALSO,  see 


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

LLEU and the REAL GIRL


Worse than the cruelest “Fairy Lover”.
Worse than that (ok, I admit it,) imaginary girlfriend many of us had in the 7th grade,
Worse even, than the professor's relationship with Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel…

The piece of achingly lovely fluff that Math and Gwydion spun up as a mate for Lleu was made of that same deadly fabric that has laid-low a thousand mighty young princes:
beauty...  lacking substance.

BLODEUWEDD WAS NOT A NICE YOUNG LADY!
She was one of the foulest characters in the whole Mabinogion !

Just because she was awesomely beautiful and she
had been made out of nothing but flowers and magic,
IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT SHE WAS EVER A
WONDERFUL “GODDESS OF FLOWERS”.

And, IMO, whenever any of you 
are foolish enough to honor her as such, 
you risk the curse of the ancient Bards of Wales 
for buggering one of the most precious gifts they have left us. 

This Fourth Branch of the Mabinogion was a masterful piece of storytelling as well as being a truly a mythic construction bearing a timeless message. A cautionary tale; an instructional myth.

Good Gods, guys...
HAVE-YOU-NOT-READ-THE-STORY ?

The ONLY (only!) place in all of history she is ever mentioned is this very story, constructed with the obviously express intention to warn young men* of the dangers of their own inherent vulnerability to the power of beauty when devoid of character; a loveliness without compassion or care… La Belle Dame sans Merci, the monstrous, nay, lethal, danger of transcendent beauty without a soul.

I would go on, but I fear I have already have offended too many friends here, and, although I feel some things must be said,  such was not my intention.

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*    Mabinogi = “lads’ tales”  is as good a translation of the title as any you’ll find.
* * Lars and the Real Girl (2007) - a very sweet and entertaining film, definitely worth seeing.

Friday, June 20, 2014

A Blessed June SOLSTICE to all!


As the Sun came up 
and the 
mists of morning rose,
the Great Stones bristled
with crows 
and crows 
and crows.

- Earrach

The JUNE SOLSTICE, Summer Solstice for the Northern Hemisphere,
 occurs this year at 6:51 AM, EDT Saturday, June 21st, 2014.

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"Midsummers Eve" - Here's an illustration I did back in 1977 
which was recently used on the cover of ADF's magazine Oak Leaves...

(c)1977 earrach; Click to enlarge...
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A HYMN TO THE SUN

GREAT AND GLORIOUS GOLDEN SUN,
SHINING YOUR LIGHT AND WARMTH
UPON THE WORLD!

FIERY FURIOUS FURNACE SUN,
BLAZING SINGULAR CENTER
OF THE CIRCUIT OF OUR YEARS !

HEAR ME NOW AS AGAIN I PLEDGE, 
NEVER TO FORGET
MY PERPETUAL RELIANCE
ON YOUR RADIANT GLORY.

HAIL, PRAISE AND THANKS TO THEE O SUN !
HAIL, PRAISE AND THANKS TO THEE !


-Earrach of Pittsburgh
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"If I am asked whether it accords with my nature to worship the Sun, then I say once again, ‘Completely!’ For it is a revelation of the most high, and in fact the mightiest which has ever been granted us mortals to perceive. I worship it in the light and creative power of God, whereby alone we live and move and have our being, and all plants and animals together with us.”

 - - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Gespraeche, Vol. IV: 441-42).

SEASONAL READING:

"Why Not the Sun?" 
- my standard essay on the Sun and Neodruidic practice. 

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"The (Neopagan) Solar Apostasy"

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"What's a SOLSTICE ? (vs. Equinox, etc.)"
(click here)

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The Gayatri Mantra
(click here)
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Is the Sun conscious? Is it "divine"?
(click here)
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SOLSTICE (SOLC): Either of the two extremes of the Earth’s constant 23.4° axial-tilt, relative to the sunlight falling on its surface. Only at the June Solstice is the Earth’s north pole tilted the full 23.4° towards the Sun... and only at the December Solstice is it tilted the full 23.4° away from the Sun.
EQUINOX (EQX): The Spring or Autumn quarter begins as the Earth’s terminator, the boundary-line between night and day, momentarily crosses the North and South Poles. Therefore, with the Earth’s day/night boundary line briefly poised simultaneously over both poles, only on dates near these times of year are the number of hours of night and day equal all over the globe.

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

On MUSIC for your MAYDAY


Abingdon Morris, 1910
SERIOUSLY GUYS,

IF...
You're a Pagan who celebrates Beltaine using any of the traditional Mayday customs: maypoles, ribboned garlands and crowns of flowers, maypole dancing, etc...

AND
You are involved in the production of group or public rituals,

AND
You are involved with the selection or performance of the music for the occasion,

OR
You simply care at-all about such things, regardless, 

THEN, 

IMHO... you should feel obliged to know at least the following three tunes, 
and to learn their words, distribute the lyrics, and teach them to the others.

1.) Padstow May-Song
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N58hw__JOlk  

2.) Staines Morris
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMIrYeHwyOU    

3.) Hal an Tow
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5vUj6j8hjI   

Three odd old songs.    
Three odd old, 
now increasingly magical, songs...

As a matter of fact, it's good to drill your group in learning to sing them during the weeks leading up to the event. This does not mean enforcing a strict perfectionist's regimen; no, but it does mean working hard enough to successfully engender a sense of familiarity and eventual personal association of this music with that celebration.

WHY? - They are "core" components in an old, if not ancient, tradition and it is through our hands the tradition will continue, or not, particularly in your local community. This same dynamic of association is what powers the near-narcotic effect that Yuletide's seasonal music has on us. Wouldnt it be nice to live our lives in a continual series of somethings, from one season to another, each as powerful as Yuletide's, that stretched throughout the whole year? 

Yes?  Well, that's exactly what some of us have in mind...

The PADSTOW MAY SONG 

Unite and unite and let us all unite, 
  For summer is a comin' today, 
  And whither we are going we all will unite, 
  In the merry morning of May... 

With the merry ring, adieu the merry spring, 
For summer is a comin' today, 
How happy is the little bird that merrily doth sing 
In the merry morning of May... 

The young men of Padstow they might if they would, 
For summer is a comin' today, 
They might have built a ship and gilded her with gold 
In the merry morning of May... 

The young women of Padstow might if they would, 
For summer is a comin' today, 
They might've made a garland with the white rose and the red, 
In the merry morning of May...

BRIDGE:

O! -Where is King George?
O, where is he O?
He's out in his long-boat all on the salt-sea O.

Up flies the kite... 
Down falls the lark O,
Aunt Ursula Birdhood, she had an old ewe ("yowe")
And she died in her own Park -O.... 

Where are the young men that here now should dance, 
For summer is a comin' today, 
Some they are in England and some they are in France 
In the merry morning of May...

With the merry ring, adieu the merry spring, 
For summer is a comin' today, 
How happy is the little bird that merrily doth sing 
In the merry morning of May... 

( CHORUS: Unite and unite... )


STAINES MORRIS 

Musically, this is the most challenging piece. YouTube is rapidly altering the tunes also, so watch out. Have your best singers learn it (only) from the "Morris On" album track and then train the others: 
see http://mainlynorfolk.info/martin.carthy/songs/stainesmorris.html  


- Come ye young men, come along... 
With your music, dance and song 
Bring your lasses in your hands 
For tis that which love commands...  -- chorus:

Then to the Maypole haste away, for 'tis now a holiday... 

- Tis the choice time of the year 
And the violets now appear 
Now the rose receives its birth 
And the pretty primrose decks the earth -- (chorus)

- And when you well reckoned have 
What kisses you your sweetheart gave 
Take them all again, and more 
It will never make them poor -- (chorus) 

- When you thus have spent your time 
And the day be past its prime 
To your beds repair at night 
And dream there of your day's delight -- (chorus) 


HAL AN TOW  

Take no scorn to wear the horn 
It was a crest when you were born 
Your father's father wore it 
And your father wore it too... chorus: 

Hal an tow, - jolly rumble oh, 
We were up - long before the day oh 
To welcome in the summer... 
To welcome in the may oh... 
For summer is a-comin' in 
And winter's gone away oh

Robin Hood and Little John 
Have both gone to the fair oh 
And we will to the merry greenwood 
To hunt the buck and hare oh... [chorus]

What happened to the spani-ards 
That made so great a boast oh 
They shall eat the feathered goose 
And we shall eat the roast oh... [chorus] 

( Then, use this modern / pagan-ish verse to finish, )

Our Lords and Ladies bless you now  
With all their grace and power oh  
And send their peace upon us too 
And bring peace by day and night oh... [chorus]

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A NOTE of CAUTION... 

If you're not already aware of such things: 


Beware of referring to these
(actually mainly "English" or "British")
May-Day customs as  "Celtic".

Persons identifying with the Celtic heritages of the last 1000 years of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and Brittany's history harbor much animosity toward anything related to things "English" or "British" or of "the Crown". This includes the Bretons' rejection of "the crown" of France as well. 

There is much reason for their ancestors to have harbored such resentment yet it remains a matter of debate whether it should inhibit their inclusion in our concerns since most of Britain, including England, was thoroughly "Celtic" by modern archeological standards even before the Celtic languages and customs ever even reached Ireland. (Yes, historically, Ireland was the "last" part of Western Europe  to become "Celtic"!)

A "Romano-Celtic" celebration ?

Even to the matter of having the same date, the English Mayday bears too much similarity to the Roman Floralia to be ignored. The Floralia,  a celebration of the spirit of the blossoming May, was undoubtedly celebrated by the Romans while occupying England 1800 years ago and likely wove its way into the resulting Romano-Celtic hybrid cultures left everywhere the romans settled.

BTW:  "
The RAIN in SPAIN does NOT rhyme with BELTAINE !"

If your local Celtic Recon-quisitors have not gotten to you yet, 
here's another warning...

Like most of us,  IF you're too-cool to say "SAM-HAYNE", then you'd better reconsider the way you've been pronouncing Beltaine. The correct pronunciation of our beloved B-word is actually nothing like you'd imagine; it's actually something like "BALL-chin-ah".

Go ahead, just see how popular you remain trying to enforce that one...

Seriously, myself? I've ended up so self conscious about it that I'm increasingly saying screw it and using the term "MAYTIDE" instead.

-Earrach of Pittsburgh, (c) 2006, 2014


Long live the Tradition!


PS, The spelling of Beltaine used here is based on the guidelines for appropriate spellings of Celtic terms in popular settings suggested by James MacKillop in the OXFORD DICTIONARY of CELTIC MYTHOLOGY, pp xxii-xxiii 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

HAPPY EASTRE !



The MARCH EQUINOX occurs Thursday Mar.20th at 12:57 PM EDT/Eastern 
(11:57 Central; 10:57 Mountain; 9:57 Pacific…)

What’s an EQUINOX?:   
In late March and in late September* every year, we enter the next quarter of the year as the Earth’s terminator, the boundary line between night and day, crosses the North and South Poles simultaneously. Therefore, with the Earth’s day/night boundary line briefly poised over both poles, only at these times of year are the hours of night and day approximately equal, anywhere on the globe.

HAPPY EASTRE !
Yes, more and more Neopagans celebrate the March Equinox as the Pagan “EASTRE” and, IMO,  we should all give consideration to adopting/reclaiming the word and common pronunciation.  
see:

FUZZY LOGIC solves the endless dispute over “when” a season begins or ends !

BREAK  A STICK in half at the sacred moment and nab some big Mojo? see:

The DRUIDS’ ALMANAC – lots more related fun stuff here: