Sunday, 1 May 2016

May Day - Beltane

We recently had a special St. George's celebration in the town square, aptly named St. George's Square. There were all sorts of things to see and lots of games for the children to play. Here I'm showing you the Maypole dancing because it's so appropriate for today - May Day.  The children came from a nearby town and surroundings and they really were very good.  Do click on the pictures to enlarge and see the intricate patterns the ribbons make whilst moving down the pole.  In the background are the musicians, all dressed beautifully in their special costumes. It was great fun!

Maypole dancing has been around for many years and symbolises the rites of Spring.  The maypole is a phallic symbol, which is plunged into the ground to ensure fertility for the coming season.  These days we don't rely quite so much on that sort of symbolism, or do we? Perhaps we should because our world is very fragile these days and we do well to respect it.

I wish you all a wonderful May Day. Will you be dancing round a maypole?


Thursday, 7 April 2016

The Wiccan Rede

The Wiccan Rede

Bide within the Law you must, in perfect Love and perfect Trust.
Live you must and let to live, fairly take and fairly give.
For tread the Circle thrice about to keep unwelcome spirits out.
To bind the spell well every time, let the spell be said in rhyme.
Light of eye and soft of touch, speak you little, listen much.
Honor the Old Ones in deed and name,
let love and light be our guides again.
Deosil go by the waxing moon, chanting out the joyful tune.
Widdershins go when the moon doth wane,
and the werewolf howls by the dread wolfsbane.
When the Lady's moon is new, kiss the hand to Her times two.
When the moon rides at Her peak then your heart's desire seek.
Heed the North winds mighty gale, lock the door and trim the sail.
When the Wind blows from the East, expect the new and set the feast.
When the wind comes from the South, love will kiss you on the mouth.
When the wind whispers from the West, all hearts will find peace and rest.
Nine woods in the Cauldron go, burn them fast and burn them slow.
Birch in the fire goes to represent what the Lady knows.
Oak in the forest towers with might, in the fire it brings the God's
insight. Rowan is a tree of power causing life and magick to flower.
Willows at the waterside stand ready to help us to the Summerland.
Hawthorn is burned to purify and to draw faerie to your eye.
Hazel-the tree of wisdom and learning adds its strength to the bright fire burning.
White are the flowers of Apple tree that brings us fruits of fertility.
Grapes grow upon the vine giving us both joy and wine.
Fir does mark the evergreen to represent immortality seen.
Elder is the Lady's tree burn it not or cursed you'll be.
Four times the Major Sabbats mark in the light and in the dark.
As the old year starts to wane the new begins, it's now Samhain.
When the time for Imbolc shows watch for flowers through the snows.
When the wheel begins to turn soon the Beltane fires will burn.
As the wheel turns to Lamas night power is brought to magick rite.

Four times the Minor Sabbats fall use the Sun to mark them all.
When the wheel has turned to Yule light the log the Horned One rules.

Saturday, 28 March 2015


I just love all things Easter. From the eggs to the bunnies, it's all wonderful to me. I also love that Easter has two sides, a sad side and a happy side. That's life!

This year I've been thinking about the hares. Some  pagans believe that when we die we become hares and leap about in the summerlands enjoying freedom everlasting. Isn't that a lovely idea.  I like to think of that. Hares have long been known as mystical creatures and there are many legends about concerning hares. One of them suggests that a hare brought beautifully coloured eggs to the Goddess Ostara encouraging new life and abundance.

It would be nice to think that there is a link between the mystical hares and the Easter bunny, but there is no substance in this.

Ostara is the Teutonic Goddess of fertility and Springtime, who is sometimes called Eostre. The words East and Easter are both named after Ostara because of their reference to the sun rising in the East and the return of Springtime in the Celtic calendar. She is celebrated at the Spring Equinox as the bringer of increased light and the balance between daytime and night-time hours. Here in England we are putting our clocks forward tonight to reflect the increase in light. Call upon Ostara to increase your fruitfulness. fertility or to embark on new ventures.

What sort of things do you find yourself doing at this time of year? Planting seeds? changing the curtains? My mother always used to change the curtains from deep red velvet to Springtime yellow cotton with linings at this time of year. All these little things help to lift the spirits and create a new way of thinking, taking us away from the darkness of winter.

To help you feel more energized, try changing your wardrobe: putting away those darker colours and bringing out the sunny ones, yellow and blue and white. If you live anywhere near me though, in England, it might be wise to keep some jumpers handy because winter has a way of coming back, doesn't it.

Thinking of new projects to start? How about decorating a room? It's surprising how much better you feel when you change the colour in a dull room or put on a new lick of paint.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           If you are Christian, then this is the most important time of the year. It's saddening to realise how little many people know about the Easter story as it relates to Christianity in this ever more secular world. The story of Jesus, crucified on the cross, but rising again three days later, is uplifting and the source of our faith as Christians. I have a foot in both camps. How about you?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Friday, 28 November 2014

The Celtic Tree Month of Elder

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We are just into the Celtic Tree month of Elder, an enchanting small tree...

'The tree is said to have within itself the 'Elder Mother', called Elle or Hyldemoer in Scandinavian and Danish myth. She is said to work strong earth magic and according to legend, avenged all who harmed her host trees.  No forester of old would touch elder, let alone cut it, before asking the Elder Mother's permission three times over and even then he was still in dread of her possible wrath.  Likewise, in many country districts of Europe and Britain, wise people will show respect by touching their hats when passing elder trees, in continuance of ancient custom.  Certain North American tribes also believe that elder is the Mother of the human race.

According to legend, witches would often turn themselves into elder trees, and one famous witch-tree turned a king and his men to stone, thereby creating the Rollright Stones in Oxfordshire, England.  This ancient piece of folklore tells of a Danish king, on his way to battle for the English Crown with his warriors, meeting the witch and asking her what his fate would be. 

The witch replied:

Seven long strides thou shalst take,
And if Long Compton though canst see
King of England thou thalst be.'
Source: 'Tree Wisdom' by Jacqueline Memory Paterson

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Trees and conservation

When I was living in Tennessee, I noticed lots of things which were different to over here in England. One of those things was the trees. The trees are very different, all of them. They are all beautiful but different, rather like people! I noticed that there were many more trees in America but that they were being mown down to be replaced by buildings of concrete. You can see it clearly from the aeroplanes. When I first went over, I saw the roofs of the shopping malls and I thought they were large car parks, but the sheer expanse of concrete covering the earth is alarming.
Please stop it!
You don’t need to do so much building. When a shop goes out of business, you don’t need to move on and build more, you just need to revamp what you have.  America is such a big country, huge, massive! that it is thought the land is endless but it isn’t. Pretty soon you will lose your trees if you don’t stop the endless building. I saw it at first hand. Living in Knoxville, we were on the west side. The east side came first, I believe and now a large part of that is derelict, just left to decay. Sad, very sad.
In England we have done the same in years gone by and that is why I say ‘stop it’ to you over there. Keep what you have and appreciate the beauty.
Here is a quote from one of my favourite books:
‘Over many centuries, ancient Britain was transformed from a land covered in natural forestation in which clearances were made to a ”land of clearance” with only isolated patches of forest.  However, the average person still had the security of working the land.  This changed drastically as the peasants were thrown off the land by the institution of the General Enclosures Act of 1845 and while Britain became dangerously deforested by the demands of industrialization, there was a rise in the amount of new species of trees planted as wealthy landowners landscaped their gardens and estates.  On the one hand the rough grazing land of the peasants was taken from them, enclosed and cleared of growth for the plough, while on the other, having cleared so much land, landowners had to literally remake copses in order to house the game they kept for sport.
When timber became the long-term crop of private woodlands, new species of trees were introduced and established.  These were mainly fir, larch and spruce, and they were planted alongside our fastest growing softwood, the Scot’s pine.  During the twentieth century, great conifer plantations arose as a result of the need for quickly produced timber, especially during the times of world wars, after which they became purely commercial producers.
The Forestry Commission was founded in 1919, and it advised private landowners to acquire and plant trees on any land unsuitable for agriculture.  While the Forestry Commission has been guilty of planting acres of sombre, uniform conifers, it has in fact also been successful in arresting the decline of many of our remaining deciduous forests, specifically the seven National Forest Parks.  It is heartening to realise that a new generation of foresters (or woodmen) are now concentrating upon replacing areas of hardwood trees, for deciduous woodland shows the seasonal beauty of Nature in its fullest glory.  New forests are being born out of sympathy with nature rather than for monetary gain and the skills and wisdoms of old are once more taking hold.’
from ‘Tree Wisdom’, by Jacqueline Memory Paterson