Æfterra Geola “After Yule”

Full Moon ♋️

Photo taken during the Harry Potter: Forbidden Forest event. The lighting was rigged, the moon was real!

Hello and Happy New Year!

In continuing with the theme of Anglo-Saxon names of the month (remember, they counted from the new moon but I’m using pics of the full moon because…. Well…. Reasons.) I’d like to say that this month was called Æfterra Geola or “After Yule”.

As we learned from the last post (the first of the Anglo-Saxon moon series), giuli or “Yule” was the name given to December and January. I’m taking a guess that the actual Yule was originally the winter solstice, and that the following month was simply named after this time.

I have already covered what happens in this Yuletide season in the last post. Interestingly even the word Yuletide comes from the old word for “Yule-Time”. And it turns out a lot of Yuletide traditions on New Year, in terms of pagan and Christian were full of divination for the new year. As Ronald Hutton wrote:

“…. In the late twelfth century, Bartholomew Iscanus, bishop of Exeter, prescribed a penance for ‘those who keep the New Year with heathen rites’. If these rites were of divination, to see what the year would bring, then the condemnations were ineffectual.”

Although this describes the period in time when the Anglo-Saxons had by now become the English, it is interesting that the divination practices being referred to were likely to have been of Viking belief. However, both the Anglo-Saxons and the Norse shared similar religions. Indeed the following divination methods may harken back to pagan times:

Yule logs were said to be effective against evil spirits and that the remains of the previous Yule log would protect the homestead against lighting and fire.

First footing involved visiting people’s households and depending on the colour of the hair of the first man to cross the threshold and which foot they used, would foretell of that house would have good or ill luck for the year.

Dancing around a tree on New Year’s Day in the open air was said to encourage luck, love, prosperity and health over the next year.

In my native Sheffield, South Yorkshire, it was recorded that on New Year’s Eve, after the bell had tolled midnight, people would stay up watching the sky for the next twelve hours in order to see what the weather would be like for the next twelve months….

Even if none of the above came from pagan times, Hutton was indeed right in saying that any prohibition on divinatory practice was basically ignored and people through the ages saw New Year as a time of gauging the following year.

There were also the wassailing traditions of offering fruit trees songs and drink to encourage a good yield for their fruits…. Which not only provided sustenance but also more alcoholic drinks too. Just saying.

For myself, I have my own divination practice on the night of the winter solstice. I draw a card from the Druid Animal Oracle deck and this will be the advice for that particular year. Incidentally, the card I drew for 2023 was Owl. This is the third time I have drawn this particular card, and my mind stays with its message of staying detached and looking with objectivity rather than emotionally. Owl also means change and even clairvoyance….. we’ll see.

At New Years, I had my own Mother’s Night and toasted my mother, my grandmothers, my great-grand mothers and all my grandmothers back to the beginning. I also toasted the Land, the moon, Mother Earth, the Goddesses Danu and Iduna. I will try to keep it on the actual night (25th December) this year.

However you celebrate the New Year and whatever it means to you, I wish you:

Gōd nīewe gēar cume þē!

(Good new year come thee)

(Happy New Year to you!)

Ronald Hutton, Stations of the Sun- A History of the Ritual Year in Britain, Oxford University Press, Oxford, Reissued version 2001, P.7.

Full Moon Special: Aerra Geola (Before Yule)

Full Moon ♊️

Last night’s full moon at 18:04 hrs, you can see Mars on the right hand side, just before the clouds cover them.

I’m going to do something a little different, a side project if you will….

The Grove of the Corieltauvi have been indulging in photos of Lunar Pornography- yes, I’m being mischievous! The Grove has been sharing photos of last night’s full moon and the above was my effort. As Cthulhudruid was saying mars was visible, I took this as a sign of action.

The past two days in the UK, have been the coldest days so far and definitely the frostiest. Although lots of trees are now skeletal, it has been remarkable by how many are still hanging on to their leaves (here’s looking at you sycamore and horse chestnut), some are still green and I’m not talking about the evergreens!

Both days have seen a layer of white across the landscape of Nottingham, although not snow the frost has its own sparkling enchantment.

As we head towards the Midwinter Solstice, the days are significantly shorter, and the sky has wonderful shades of peach and gold fading into pale blue shifting into indigo hues. And as the sun sets, you can make out the first stars of the night.

Aerra Geola or “before Yule” is the old English term, from the Anglo-Saxon tongues, to describe the month of what we now call December.

As this year had begun with an unexpected interest in the Anglo-Saxons, the progenitors to the English, ergo my linguistic ancestors; I have been inspired to follow the full moon and their names for each of these moons, or should I say, monath “month”.

More accurately, the month in the Anglo-Saxon calendar begun on the new moon. As my phone’s camera isn’t that good on capturing the new moon phase, I’m going to go with the full moon for ease of aesthetics.

Yule takes its name from giuli, the name given to December and January. Thought to mean ‘Wheel’ it is interesting that the 25th December saw the Anglo-Saxon New Year in a festival called Modranicht or Mother’s Night. So, Yule was split into three parts: Before Yule, Yule and After Yule. If correct, this would be the month before Yule (December), Yule itself being the midwinter solstice and the month after Yule (January).

On Modranicht itself, Gale R. Owen in her book Rites and Religions of the Anglo-Saxons wrote:

…. involved the bringing in of evergreens, the burning of a Yule log and a feast centred around a boar’s head.

From this we can gather that Mother’s Night was one of the Yuletide festivals and took place a few nights after the solstice. The customs above seem almost familiar: the bringing in of evergreens (holly and Ivy?) the burning of a Yule log (most likely Yew as it’s rune Eoh describes it as “a warden of fires…. A joy in the home”). Although almost no one today centres a feast around a hogs head, this may have a few meanings: The god Freyr was said to have had the boar as his totem. But with Mother’s Night having definite female overtones, perhaps this wasn’t the case. Especially as it was Anglo-Saxon custom to sacrifice an animal and bury its head under the foundations of a building, so perhaps the hogs head was a way keeping the spirit of the house or hall or settlement appeased.

Owen, in her book hypothesises that the mothers referred to could either be Freya herself as a goddess of fertility and plenty, or it could be the Matres and Matronae (literally “The Mothers”): images of three women who were likened to the Norns, although The Mothers were often depicted carrying symbols of plenty: bread, fruit, and in some cases had children and nappies with them; possibly hinting at some association with midwifery. Themes of sacrifice involving incense, pigs and offerings of fruit also accompanied The Mothers too.

In our house, the Christmas decorations went up last Saturday including the gift of a wreath made by Devi’s mum. She made it with evergreens! Whilst decorating, Devi carried on with her own tradition of glazing her boiled hams in the oven, and although we had no Yule log, we did switch on the Christmas lights and the electric fire giving us a very comforting glow. And we did get a wreath hand made by a mother…. Not quite the festivities as described from over 1000 years ago, but very close I’d say!

To all my followers and readers I wish you all a Merry Christmas, a Merry Midwinter and a Merry Mother’s Night!

Locksley /|\

Sources: Gale R. Owen, Rites and Religions of the AngloSaxons, Barnes & Noble, New York, 1981. P. 48.

The Rune Poem- Old English Poetry Project, Camden.Rutgers.edu

Tha-Engliscan-Gesithas.org.uk

Englatheod.org

Wikipedia.org

A Moment of Inspiration

New Moon ♏️

I feel the sunlight upon my face, I feel the cool of the earth and the damp of the rain.

I see the grey clouds part to reveal blue sky, I see the trees without leaves and those still hanging on.

I hear the birds call to each other, I hear the roar of the tools of Man.

I smell scents of my kitchen- of spices, of the fruit cordial in boiling water.

I taste the cool water I drank before stillness, I taste the soothing of my spirit.

* * *

Druidry isn’t always ritual, dressing up in robes, reading and research. It’s also taking the time to be still enough to take in the movements of the world.

Patience (Lessons from the Hazel Tree)

New Moon ♏️

“I reach for the light, though I can grow in the shade.

I can grow as one, though I can grow as many.

My nuts form in summer, though they fall in autumn.

They feed many and go back to Earth, I travel with them.

“My lesson is patience:

A time to grow,

A time to flower,

A time to fruit,

A time to release.

For all have their time.”

Though the leaves turn, the catkins “Lamb’s Tails” are just forming….

Alban Elfed- “Light of the Water”

New Moon ♍️

Whitby Harbour, 23rd September 2022

I have to admit, September is my favourite month. I’m biased, of course. Devi and I got married two years ago and we’re still celebrating our second year anniversary by going around Whitby (yes again, but we love it here) and by the sea. Which is fitting because we got married on the beach in Argyll, Scotland with the Paps of Jura behind us, a truly magical day!

And it’s a truly magical month, not only are the fruits on trees and plants full of flavour, falling to earth or ready to be picked, but there are lengthening shadows, beautiful sunrise and sunset colours, changing colours in the leaves, morning and evening coolness and yet warmth in the sun. And the sky has different shades of blue….. the longer nights are coming!

This year, the autumnal equinox fell on the same day as our wedding anniversary and the photo taken that evening (above) summed up my feelings and thoughts of Alban Elfed, the modern Druid celebration of ‘The Light of the Water’.

We didn’t realise it until we got here, but the whole weekend has been the Whitby Fish and Chip festival. This has had various talks on sustainability, raising awareness of Climate Change and there’s even been a push for encouraging people to do one small thing to help in the fight against it. There have been workshops on how to dress a crab and prepare fish, there have even been performances of sea shanties, storytelling and even traditional clog dancing too. And of course various restaurants being visited for that British staple: fish and chips!

Thinking about it, it’s almost like Devi and I had come to an entirely different sort of harvest festival, not one of fruits and vegetables of the land, but the bounty of the sea.

And as if to emphasise the lesson I’ve been thinking of this autumn, it can be characterised by a boat at sea. And this lesson is “Let it go.”

I would love to say I am a completely zen-natured and calm individual always finding a a quiet solution to everything…… I’m not. I’m human, I overthink things, and I when I make mistakes I can brood and sulk about them for hours. I mentally punish myself over and over until something else takes my attention then I can move on. In short, I take things personally and get very defensive because I didn’t get it right the first time. That’s a lot of shit to put on myself and it is entirely self induced.

This has been a year about developing a sense of thinking in the present. The second a mistake is made, or I hadn’t thought of something that should have been common sense, or made a wrong choice, it’s done. So instead of ruminating on the said mistake and feeling despondent, I’ve been teaching myself to “let it go”. And those are the three words that I immediately fire up as soon as something goes wrong. Let. It. Go. Why am I taking this so personally? Behaving like a child isn’t going to fix the situation, so let it go. By no means am I using this to ignore a problem, more it’s of recognising an error and determine if it’s something I can I can put right there and then. If it isn’t, accept it, acknowledge it, learn from it and move on. Let it go.

The people of Whitby are proud of their maritime heritage, the fishermen of this town respect the sea because they know it can mean life and death in the waves.

I don’t think it’s any mistake that the sea is often used as a symbol for our emotions, there’s a reason ships only go out when the seas are calm. However, should a vessel find itself caught in a storm, the crew have to put their emotions aside in order to find the clarity needed in order to get out of it. Doesn’t mean the mixture of emotions aren’t there, they have to let it go in order to do what they must. And when I think of some of the things I stress myself about, they pale in comparison to what a crew have to do in order to make themselves safe and stay alive.

So yes, it’s that kind of detached clear thinking I must seek, so when I encounter a problem, I’m not being overwhelmed or distracted by the waves of my emotions. In ‘let it go’ I am in fact reminding myself to take the objective point of view in order to work the solution if it’s in my power to do so. And by letting it go, I am also being kinder to myself and others.

Autumnal Blessings and may the Light on the Water show you your bounty.

Locksley. /|\

Been a Druid for 12 years and all I got was this lousy….

New Moon ♌️

It strikes me that I’ve been practising and learning my Druidry for 12 years this year.

It was all the way back in 2010 when I came across a book called “The Druid Renaissance” in a charity shop (thrift store), a collection of essays by modern Druids and all members of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. This was also the same year my good friend, Kelly had lent me her Introductory Package to the Druid courses OBOD had to offer and so I took the plunge. Went online, paid the subscription and awaited the course material with eagerness.

To say my life has totally changed since then would be an understatement. To say that Druidry was the constant in my life since now and then would be a lie: it too, like my life, has changed, grown, fallen and grown again.

There are different approaches to Druidry besides OBOD and not all of them suit everybody, but I’m happy where I am and with the Order to which I belong. OBOD is a mystery tradition and so I cannot go into specific practices or ways of working.

However, I can share with you what I have learned in my 12 years of practise and study and how even though the methods and lessons I use and learn from are from OBOD, my specific Druidry is becoming my own….

What I wanted it to be: By 2010 I was already Pagan and had been so since 1999. Curiously, I was Christian before that after coming to it when I was 9 years old. By the time I was 19, I found Christianity answered some of my questions but not all; so I explored elsewhere.

When Druidry came into my life (as above) I was fascinated- at last, here we are! A key to the original religion of Britain and Ireland and therefore a way of connecting to the indigenous practices of the Pre-Roman peoples!

I wanted it to be a tradition from ages past, I wanted a Druid to be a mixture of shaman and survival expert. Even after reading Peter Berresford-Ellis’ book ‘A Brief History of the Druids’ (which I had found by chance in my workplace back in 2006) I believed that there MUST be an unbroken link and that Berresford-Ellis was being far too cynical about these modern Druids….

What I discovered: there is no unbroken link and that classical and modern Druids are different things. Very different things indeed! Druids belonged to a culture that is no longer with us. Great Britain and Ireland no longer have the caste systems that the Celtic people of those times had. Not only that, but the only people who kept true to the languages are the Scottish, Cornish, Welsh, Irish and Manx. The Druids themselves adapted with the times and became part of the newer religion. At least that last part is according to Berresford-Ellis.

Ronald Hutton in his ‘Blood and Mistletoe’ questions if “Druids” existed at all and even goes so far to question whether the people the Romans attacked on the Isle of Mons (Anglesey) were indeed the last of the Druids…. Either way people were massacred. I personally believe that Druids were the intellectual caste of the Celtic tribes and the Romans did what they could to suppress and even destroy them…. What was left adapted to the times.

I use the terms ‘Classical’ and ‘Modern’ Druids to differentiate between those whom were written about in the Classical accounts by Greek, Romans and Romanised Celts (Virgil may have come from a family of them) and those who started calling themselves ‘Druids’ from the 18th Century onwards.

I discovered Modern Druids are all exploring their own versions of Druidry. Some are reclaiming their cultural heritage, some are attempting to recreate what they were, some are using it as a sense of cultural identity and others (like myself) acknowledge what they were and what they did and know that we are different from them. But we still take inspiration from them. In fact, I think that’s the one thing that ALL modern Druids can agree on.

What I learned: It’s ok to learn from our mistakes and if something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. The performer in me wants to learn the rituals off by heart and that’s exactly what I did.

What I learned during my time with the original Grove of the Corieltauvi was to not take ritual and ceremony too seriously, I still remember attending my very first Grove ceremony and meeting the Grove members of the time and for Simon to call the wrong element in the wrong cardinal direction. But he owned it, that was the thing! He owned his mistakes. On the flip side, I also saw what happened when people take ceremony far too seriously, where people become meticulous in the form then wonder why it didn’t feel “spiritual”.

I also learned I didn’t want to use Irish words and terms for the sake of appearing “Druidy”. I certainly didn’t and don’t want to appropriate the Irish and use their terms because “that’s what we do”. That’s why last year I started using “Bringing in the May” instead of Beltane, Lammas instead of Lughnasadh and Halloween instead of Samhain….. I haven’t found one for Imbolc yet and I don’t want to use the term “Candlemas” as that’s Christian. I’m still wrapping my head around this one and at a Lammas ceremony here in Nottingham I gave a brief description acknowledging both Lammas and Lughnasadh as it felt right to do so. Any Gaelic terms I do use, I acknowledge where it came from: The Irish Ogham, for example or Awen as the Welsh for inspiration.

The biggest thing I learned was something that OBOD is very big on and I’m even applying into my everyday life: if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. This isn’t a spoiler by any means, but I’ve had to adapt my Druid practice for when I’ve moved house several times, I’ve even changed from doing “when it feels right” to making sure I do it on a Sunday evening for either meditation or study, sometimes both. There are certain practices I do now that didn’t when I first started and there are things I haven’t done since my Bardic Grade. That and just taking a present mindset with everything. Right now I’m studying the Irish Ogham and not only learning about native trees, but the properties and folklore of each of those trees. I have chosen to do this because it felt right to do so and I recognised I cannot carry on in my present course material until I have fully explored the Ogham. Because in my mind I’d always be thinking about it and feel like I’m missing something if I don’t do it.

What my Druidry is now: Respect for all things, observing and celebrating the season, looking for wonder.

This isn’t something the OBOD material has shown me, it’s something I came to on my own. A fundamental aspect of both my practise and my beliefs are about showing respect: to other people, to other Druids, to other Druid orders, courses and directions. Respect to all other faiths and those who have none. Respect to those who come from a Celtic culture and of their languages. Respect to my own history, culture and people as well as the Land, the world and all the other beings I get to share it with. To the spirits of the place as well as the dead. And of course, respect for myself.

The more I observed the world around me and actively watching the seasons, I found a brand new respect for that too. I also found that my beliefs in deity changed as well and instead of the world being populated by gods running around the place, the world and everything in it is part of the divine!

And every now and then the divine lets you know it’s there: it might be something working in your favour, it might even be some act of synchronicity.

I like to give thanks by giving back, whether it’s the first fruits I pick from the garden or by simply raising a glass and paying respects to my gods (the divine), my ancestors, the spirits around me, or to the bountiful Earth, the life giving Sun and the Moon, ruler of tides and dream. I learned that as educational as it is to observe the landscape, it’s also important to seek the divine within that, to keep an eye out for anything that brings a sense of wonder.

In conclusion, In religion and any spirituality, there is no “True Way”. Any way that leads to the destruction and harm of others is about control and dominance. Any way that nurtures and allows for people to grow as well show respect for themselves and everyone and thing around them, that’s something else. Any practice, even be it a Pagan practice and Druid practice cannot be limited to a single path….. rather they are paths that lead to forests and it’s in those forests we find there is plenty to learn if we take the time to actually look.

Thank you for reading.

Locksley. /|\

Sihouetted tree before the setting sun at Newstead Abbey, Nottinghamshire. Photo by Locksley2010.

Reviving the Grove

New Moon ♋️

I suppose the term ‘Druid Meeting’ conjures images of old men with long hair and beards (usually white long hair and beards) in a dusky room; yodelling some kind of chant with a fog of incense around them. Or of several of the same long haired bearded men dressed in white robes to go with their white beards performing weird rituals at a stone circle…

Usually the term ‘Druid Meeting’ doesn’t evoke images of being in a tapas bar in Nottingham’s creative quarter on a red hot day with amazing food, cold cider and cold sparkling water. One of us had long hair, one of us definitely has a beard (if either have white in our hair we aren’t saying!) and the third had neither, but wore a blue dress because it was definitely warm. There were no dusty rooms or open stone circles as we enjoyed our catch up with the busy street behind us.

And yet that’s exactly what we did!

They could even provide vegetarian too! Photo by Tatterhood.

Not really having any over arching theme, we caught up and as I had arrived later than anticipated (failed driving test means carrying on with my driving lessons and this particular day was when my instructor was next available), I met up with Tatterhood and Bex in the Nottingham Contemporary then led the way to the tapas bar.

If there was an over arching theme to the meeting it was one of healing: whilst waiting for me; Tatterhood and Bex managed to share some very personal experiences that simply had to be let out. This was obviously why my arrival was delayed- it allowed them both to discuss what they needed to and find solace for doing so.

We discussed food and caught up with where we all were in life. Where we individually were with our Druidry. And of course we discussed the Grove of the Corieltauvi…..

Of what happened and what led to its closing down in early 2019 (lots of mistakes leading to a fall out between friends and the shutting down of the Grove itself). In fact, I need to thank both Tatterhood and Bex here as I got quite emotional in telling the full story of what happened. My turn for a healing conversation.

Of what the led to the Grove being revived (a textual conversation between myself and Cthulhudruid after watching A Druid’s Pilgrimage in 2020…. Which led to the formation of a social media chat forum with some of the previous members- I want to say this was later that same year, I could be wrong. This forum also included newer members who had contacted us in various ways. We all discussed what we’d like to do and it was in late 2021 our forum voted that the Grove of the Corieltauvi should be opened up again).

Of what the Grove presently is (right now it’s a chat forum on a social media outlet that has only recently started meeting IRL).

Of what where we’d like it to go (holding meetings and ceremonies again, a group that comes together in peace and friendship with Druidry in mind).

Of the challenges we need to face (we’re a diasporic group. Rather than being in one concentrated area we are scattered throughout the East Midlands- Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and even one member out in London. This has made organising any kind of get together a bit of a nightmare as not everyone can drive (in my case- not yet!) and some live quite far away to warrant meeting up for a couple of hours).

In fact, on this last, we discussed we might have been trying the wrong method: rather than try to do what we used to do- meetings on the second Tuesday of every month and ceremonies as close to the actual celebrations of the eight-fold year as much as possible…. How about we accept this is what the Grove used to be like and that things have changed for everyone since then?

Instead of forcing the issue of what we want to do we should rather aim for having monthly meetings again and then build up the momentum to the point we can start discussing ceremonies again. This way by having the meetings more regularly, and hopefully, having more people come, we can find a regular day or date to have them that’s more suitable for all.

This seemed so simple that we had to remind ourselves the Grove was closed during a tempestuous time. Being revived, both it and us will require healing: from the burns of the fall-out, from the closure of the original Grove, from coming out of the pandemic.

In reviving the Grove, we must take care to nurture it like a freshly planted sapling. Giving it the water of our care and attention, giving it the mulch of our lessons learned in order to never let history repeat itself; and giving it the sanctity it requires, allowing it to take root and see how it grows.

The ending of one day and the beginning of another. Photo by Tatterhood.

Q: What do gods and deity mean to you?

New Moon ♋️

The Grove of the Corieltauvi has reformed after shutting down in 2019. Presently, it is in a state of regeneration with some of the original former members and even a few newer ones. If you’ve followed my blog for a while you might recognise some of the names….

The title of this blog post comes from a question that came to my mind regarding a shared article on deity from Tatterhood. And so, this post isn’t so much offering any kind of final conclusions, but a collection of thoughts from my friends within the Grove.

What do the gods and deity mean to you?

This is a subject I have written about previously and no doubt will again. The post linked was written back in 2014 and my writing style, as well as my beliefs, differ from now. Please note there is a link in that article which used to lead to the old Corieltauvi blog page; it won’t work as that blog no longer exists.

Here was my leading post in our forum:

When I first approached Paganism I was a full believer in the gods. This waned somewhat as I began to see them more as ancestors with legends ascribed to them.

When I first began Druidry, it was the Bardic Course that helped me to re-introduce the concept of deity into my practise and my perceptions. I went from believing all gods as being real to conscious energy forms.

In my (continuing) exploration into the Ovate Grade, the more I learn about the natural world as well as my relationship with it, I now see deity a ‘force’ that flows through life itself. Nwyfre, if you will. I think if it is something that can be communicated with, then subconscious dream is the language.

As for the gods themselves….. I find myself now thinking of them as something we aspire to either improve or be within ourselves. People may be attracted to the Morrigan, for example as they find her independence and prophesying side inspiring as that’s what they’d like within themselves.

For me, I like Brigid for how she personifies Awen or inspirational/creative thought.

Mannann Mac Lir is another; he represents patience, wisdom and an air of mystery that allows you to learn for yourself- all aspects I would wish to be strong within myself.

But would I just simply begin worshiping them? I guess the answer would be to try it out and see what comes….. the real question then is: if by worshiping deity are we enforcing and strengthening these aspects of ourselves that we seek connection with? I would say on the outside view, yes.

Those are my thoughts, how about you guys?

It worked! And other members of the Grove joined in and shared their perspectives too:

Ben:During my meanderings with the gods I’ve felt the presence of many alongside me but have never asked myself what they are….. until this year.

I’ve been drawn to a more shamanic approach (shamanic being another loaded word)
On my spirit journeys I’ve met with many helpers some you could confuse with gods. Most are aspects of me I think. Some ancestors, others land energies.

Maybe over time one or two spirit guides became popular with many people asking them guidance. Maybe this fed them and gave them substance.
People also forgot that these were guides and helpers and began to make offerings to them, the odd temple here, train up a priest there maybe. Then it might have got political……
The chief saw the power growing in this helper guide and so made it officially the guide of the clan or tribe.
Alas a guide became a god.

And of course each tribe wanted to show that their god was better than the others……. War followed war….. mission followed mission and you soon got the one god problem……..
until folk got disillusioned and started taking interesting cups of tea and putting interesting things in their pipes once more……
And they find all the spirit guides waiting once more.

And what were they saying?

The divine is within you as we are within you, the animals, the trees, the rocks and yep even other people!

It’s a beautiful spiral journey of magical ness.

Cthulhudruid: Many of the Pagan Gods characterise important aspects of the human experience. They signify their importance whilst confronting us with the need to acknowledge and work with them, even if they are uncomfortable characteristics that we would prefer to avoid or suppress.

Ellie: Yes. The Divine is always there for us however we perceive him/her to be. I believe always with us and in us should we so wish.

For now:

I think that in sharing our thoughts on the nature of deity that the truth is somewhere between Ben and Ellie’s comments. That the divine is not only around us in the sun, the moon, the wind, the sea, the trees, the multitude of life…. it’s within us, part of us and is always there for us to slow down and listen to.

Looking back on my previous post on this subject was a bit of an eye-opener in the way that looking at our past selves often is. My faith in the gods was absolute back then. Whereas now, my Druidry has become much less about trying to find the ‘original religion’ and seeking the gods and more about observing the sun and moon, experiencing the seasons and allowing for the Divine to approach in any way it chooses.

View from East Wittering, by Roly.

Midsummer Special: Fairy Lore

2nd Waning Crescent ♈️ (23rd night)

The Summer Solstice and Midsummer have been linked to what we call fairy lore for generations. In fact, in the traditions of Yorkshire and beyond here in the British and Irish Isles, the time around both summer and winter solstices were seen as magical times. As they are again.

Perhaps these are left over echoes of practices from our Stone-Age ancestors, or maybe they came about in respect for spirits of the land; or most likely evolved out of rituals for which the original purposes have now been lost in time.

When picking the strawberries from our plant in the garden, I remembered something I had read describing a Yorkshire custom whilst fruit picking: that folk would cast the first fruits picked over their shoulder as an offering to spirits. Although the author, Liz Linahan, writes this of blackberries (bramble berries), specifically, it being the solstice yesterday (21st June) I decided to honour this belief. The first strawberry picked was thrown over my shoulder with a little dedication to the Spirits of the Land. I popped it back into the pot for the insects to claim.

Not a bad bounty that!

Linahan also wrote of other beliefs from my Yorkshire kin that I hadn’t heard of before, such as the belief that the spirits of the dead were thought to become fairies and that sometimes they would reside in flowers! Linahan writes of the associated flowers as being the fox glove and the broad bean, even writing that people believed accidents were more frequent to happen during the broad-bean flowering time!

Foxgloves, definitely NOT broad beans!

Foxgloves themselves are said to be worn by foxes as a charm around their necks to protect against being hunted. Though the foxglove is toxic to our touch, it has been prescribed for treatment of the heart since at least the Romano-Celtic times.

We do get a lot of foxes in our garden, but they seem more interested in sitting in the sun than trying to put their paws around the flowers to make necklaces….

Fox cub getting comfy…. Can’t water the garden (including the foxgloves) now can I!?

I’m not one for believing in fairies, but I do believe every place has their own spirit. I also believe in showing respect and gratitude, and last night’s private celebration of Midsummer saw me grateful and thankful for everything and everyone I have.

Sources:

Liz Lanahan, More Pit Ghosts, Padfeet and Poltergeists, The King’s England Press, Rotherham, 1996.

Terriwindling.com

All photos by Locksley2010.

Whitby 2022

New Moon ♊️

Thursday 26th May marked 125 Years since Bram Stoker’s famous novel ‘Dracula’ came out. At Whitby Abbey they held an event to get as many people dressed as vampires as possible together…. There were 1369 of them!

Sadly, Devi and I couldn’t make it, but we did get to visit Whitby one weekend in early May.

The photos below may look like there was no one around, but let’s just say I took these at the right times (early morning and a couple of evening shots)- especially on the infamous 199 steps and Henrietta Street, seconds later both were swarmed with tourists and school children. Sadly, it was because of the popularity of this town I wasn’t able to get photos of The Dracula Experience or Arguments Yard, or even Justin’s Fudge Shop.

I won’t be giving any in depth posts, even bloggers need a holiday. 😉

For all of you, enjoy:

The infamous Whalebone Arch, the original ones were erected in 1853, replaced in 1963 and again in 2003- these are the jaw bones from a bowhead whale killed by Alaskan Inuits. Rather than displayed for sport, this is a commemoration for Whitby’s whaling past as it was a dangerous business.
Sunset of our first night here.
Same view (sort of) of the above pic on the morning we left for home.
Within the harbour.
The east and west piers, the east one’s said to be haunted….
Emma Stothard’s sculptures of ‘The Herring Girls’. Very hard to photograph without the bins in the background though!
Early part of our 5 mile walk.
I do miss the Yorkshire bluntness, Bollocking translation: “A VERY heated telling off!”
Oh my gorse! …. I’ll get my coat….
View from the east coast.
Couldn’t resist a couple of photos of the Abbey!
Caedmon memorial cross, St Mary’s Church.
Caedmon was England’s first recorded poet. He was a monk of the Abbey, which was then called ‘Streaneshalch’. Supposedly he wasn’t in anyway artistic until he had a dream telling him to sing of the creation of all things.
One local author describes these as ‘The jaws of the harbour’.
The 199 steps! I recall a vague memory about the steps and if you count them and find there are less than 199, then that means you’ll die soon! Or something like that.
Henrietta Street, further up is a traditional smoked kipper shop.
Classic good old fashioned fish ‘n’ chips. Or, if you really want to know: traditional battered cod, beef dripping fried chips and mushy peas. Beautiful!

Praise we the fashioner now of Heaven’s fabric,
The majesty of his might and his mind’s wisdom,
Work of the world-warden, worker of all wonders,
How he the Lord of Glory everlasting
Wrought first for the race of men Heaven as a roof-tree,
Then made he Middle Earth to be their mansion.

Caedmon, English Heritage Translation.

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