Thursday, 30 October 2008

Winter

Winter is most definitely here; over the past few days there has been a chilling bite in the air that cuts through jeans and though my coat while I’m waiting for the bus in the morning. We even had snow a few days ago in central London – considering this is still October and many of the trees have their leaves still, it is certainly an early strike by winter.

Halloween to me, regardless of whether called that, Samhain or Calan Gaeaf is about marking this point of the year, when the summer is well and truly over. Some of the harvest has to come in – the very last dregs and this is the point when I remember the dead, especially as we approach the darker, harder half of the year. I will be spending this Halloween in Wooten Bassett, I am not too sure what we will be doing though I imagine it will entail a visit to the long barrow at West Kennet and Swallow Head Spring there too. In either case, something will be left for the spirits of those places, especially the springs as that is somewhere where we have already done something for the place in the past (read as: clearing up after fuckwit pagans).



After the past post regarding Mokkonos/Mochon, I went back and read the article I did for Pentacle on my website. I wrote it over the course of a night or two back in the early summer of 2007. I can only compare its conception and birth as something akin to Robert Graves’ “White Goddess” – produced over a very short time and with a large amount of inspiration mixed in with the researched content. Suffice to say, that once emailed off in July I didn’t read it again till several months later and again today.

This afternoon, apart from a good chunk of it flying over my head as being totally fantasy, once part stood out:

Moccus, who brings both life and death in balance as the seasons turn, from the carnage springs life again as the winter kill off restores fertility to the land. During the autumn and winter Moccus guides the dead into the otherworld, and brings the frosts and winter chill that drives life itself underground and into hibernation

What grabbed me about this is that this close association with winter is what I have been feeling in connection to Mokkonos. It may well be that my own thoughts on the matter whilst writing the essay were coming out or it might be I hit something. Alternatively the something that has latched onto this idea is taking what it needs from me to build itself and the mythos around itself. Who knows.

A thought that has occurred to me is the Mari Llwyd “Grey Mare” which I first wrote about when I started this blog a coupe of years ago, the spectral horse who not only roamed during winter but also early spring. Certainly another winter figure and IF it is a survival of an older tradition then something I might bear in mind when considering Mokkonos. My thought process on this is a little jumbled at present as it is late and I am tired and thinking as I type, the idea of Mari Llwyd as the horse of sovereignty during winter as one tale with a different animal in different parts of the country less suited to an equine economy – perhaps one based upon an animal so important it was considered a gift from the Otherworld?

Anyone, ramble over for the night. Have a happy Halloween, may your ancestors find you in good health and good spirits. May they also find good spirits set aside for them.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Mokkonos

When I was bitten by the idea of a swine god in the native British traditions last year, it hit hard and was with me for a few months. One of the ideas I had was that it was a seasonal deity, something connected to winter. Lo and behold the buzz died off in the early part of the year once spring was getting underway. As it happens, a couple of weeks from when it got underway last year, it is back.

The events at Flag Fen have sparked a flurry of activity at Brython, and in doing so have sparked activity within myself. Part of what has been happening has been to crystalise thoughts and ideas into a coherent whole; for instance a common language we will use when referring to Brython matters, the establishment of the tribe identity and tribe patron – in this case the Grey Mare. An idea put forward is that although the Mare may guard the tribe and be the tutelary goddess of the tribe, the various aelwydydd (plural) within the tribe (something akin to a ‘coven’ in modern paganism, though meaning more like ‘family’ of ‘hearth’) would have their own tutelary deities. From the outset I knew there was only one for my own aelwyd (sing.); Mochon. It was one of those times when you know something, you know it is right and can be no other way. Whilst I accept that we cannot know for sure there was a swine god of some description in the native British tradition, there IS someone within that identity now and making contact.

Something I looked into was the idea of a ‘symbol’ for this god. The Tribe/Tylwth/Toloktos of Rigantona has the white horse and she will be at gatherings etc on a banner dedicated to her, I want something for my own aelwyd, something I can take to gatherings a a representation of my tutelary god and a member of the tribe. I found online some information about a silver Iron Age coin that was barred from over seas sale recently (by the government) because of its significance – on one side the common horse imagery, on the other – a representation of a boar. Perfect. A bit of tweaking with the ever handy Paint on my PC and something resembling a workable image came out:



At this stage I will keep quiet about other discussions going on at Brython until an appropriate time to start publicising them. Also, considering things are picking up with Mochon again I will blog more info as it happens and things develop.



Monday, 13 October 2008

Flag Fen Aftermath

The meeting at Flag Fen was this weekend just gone. I hadn’t been to the place before this weekend so took the time to have a look around. It is a lot smaller then I expected though very nice indeed. Before the meeting took place I said a few words at the murky lakeside, cast in an offering (a chalk pebble carved with a face in the iron age style – in keeping with the reconstructed house we were to spend our evening and night in) and then headed off to meet with the others who had gathered. The meeting as it was lasted about 6 hours and went on until about 1am, then some retired to cars filled with duvets whilst the brave slept in the roundhouse itself. Fuck it was cold. There was a horridly cold draught coming in under the eaves all night long, I slept fitfully and was glad to be home to a hot shower and my own bed the following afternoon. It was an interesting experience though not something I will be rushing to repeat during a similar time of year, unless I go with far more warm sleeping gear.



As to the meeting itself; Brython were well represented, as were Albion Conclave, also another couple of druid groups and a ‘stray’ who was very welcome and damn near indispensible in terms of advice and wisdom offered.

To summarise discussions; it was agreed that the ship that is modern druidry has long since set sail and is bound for who knows where. Therefore we will not be handing over our boarding passes and will be sticking to these fine shores. For those gathered it as firmly agreed that druid and druidry are no longer worthwhile terms to be used for ourselves. For myself, the term is meaningless, it is now at a stage of being anything to anyone and has nothing whatsoever in common with its original meaning and the responsibilities and roles that went with it. Druidry has come to be community where everyone wants to be the big cheese priest and there is no grass roots level belief or practice. Those gathered at Flag Fen were in agreement that what is needed is a ground upwards building of a community, tradition and a common uniting dogma on which to build. From that community, once it has found its feet and began to get going, the need for priesthood might arise and if it does then the community will find the priest it not only needs but also wants. No imposition of those claiming the title but the community itself naturally finding the right person. As it should be.

Brython is ploughing ahead with the development of this community and shared practice, lots is being discussed (over at the Caer Feddwyd site) and much is coming out of those discussions. All of it being wonderfully positive and perhaps more importantly, ‘feeling’ right for those involved in its synthesis.

Modern druidry and what it has become is right for some people, but not for many others and definitely not for me.

At some point when the next couple of monstrously busy weeks at work are over I will do a big update on my Baedd Gwyn website outlining all of this and direction we are headed in more detail.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Alison Goldfrapp

T-wit T-woo

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Bastille Day II: The Druid Strikes Back

Over the past couple of weeks, discussion has arisen over the matter of modern Druidry. The ignition point was this statement;

Have you ever thought that there’s something wrong with modern Druidry?

We have reached a stage in our evolution as a ‘movement’ where we have become self-satisfied and complacent. The format of our rituals and festivals lack passion and religious insight, but of even far greater concern, they are starting to become set in stone. They have no concept of the Pagan inner mysteries and stagnate in some superficial desire to connect with the seasons and the world of nature. Our practices have become far removed from that which we pretend to honour.

We have been led to fear the words ‘religion’ and ‘dogma’, as if the ancient Druids were as unstructured, undisciplined, ill-informed and confused as we are today. So we accept the received wisdom from a handful of authors and it is leading us down a road to nowhere. We have forsaken the dying and rising sun god, within and without. We have relegated the goddess to a mere spirit of nature. It is we who would seem naive and primitive in the eyes of our ancestors.

In their time our druidic ancestors were at the cutting edge of philosophy, natural science and the understanding of the glory of the cosmos. Yet we insult these ancestors by pretending to be shamans, as if the ancient Druids had not evolved beyond the hunter-gatherers and still clung desperately to some primitive Mesolithic awareness until the arrival of the Christians.

Druidry is more than just animism, more than a counter-culture reaction to monotheism. But still we generalize with the symbolism of the gods. Where is the passion on our tongues and the fire in our bellies? Is there is no yearning in our hearts to look deeper? Do we really believe we already have all the answers we need? Where is the real belief in the gods? Where is the fire in our heads?
Can we say, before our gods, that druidry today answers those questions? No it cannot, enlightened spiritual insight remains our greatest weakness.

Many who read this may find our words offensive, and if we have hit a raw nerve, then having done so is way over due. But if you feel like we do, that it’s time for change, that Druidry today needs to be shaken out of its complacency before its too late, then you will find a way to contact us.

Our illustrious tradition deserves better of us. Together we can make a difference. Lets make it real, lets do it with passion, lets re-connect to the gods and stoke those ancient fires once again.

In Truth/|\
Stefan Allen Seniuk, Head of the Albion Conclave of Druids,
and many others.


A couple of blogs; Ancestral CeltMochen Ddu posted it and made comment, other forums such as the BBC Pagan boards and Caer Feddwyd also ran discussions, in one case still ongoing. As someone whose membership of the druid network lapsed years ago, I cannot see what has been happening there but I am told it has gotten quite excitable.

Credit to Stefan for bringing to the fore the kind of matter which I talked about in small groups but not much really goes on after that. Slap on the wrist for his very dodgy interpretation of what the original druids were (italicised paragraph above in the statement), take this paragraph from the message and the message holds. It makes the same call and raises the same issue – ironically, with the crap history, it has a streak of the thing is riles against – and demands something be done. And what is to be done?

Well, in October there will be a gathering of people, who want to go, to discus the matter at Flag Fen. It seems to be an open invitation.

I am in all probability going to go with the members of Brython. We have discussed this since it was released and what ‘we’ would like to see happen.

My view? I want to see a (metaphorical) druidic French revolution in which we abandon the title of Druidry and any pretence that druids have ANY relevance today whatsoever. The druids of the Britons 2000 years ago were priests, philosophers, genealogists, law keepers and much else besides. They served their community and the gods much as priests do from many cultures. Take away that culture and the need for a priest is gone too. This is a classic case of to many chiefs and not enough Indians. Modern druids aren’t serving anyone but themselves. They are pointless, they fulfil none of the roles of a druid. As someone on Caer Feddwyd pointed out, the only people with any remotely sound basis for calling themselves as druids, as in that they are keepers of tradition, of culture, of song and prose, are the Gorsedd of Druids at the Welsh National Eisteddfod.

We establish our tribe and our community, we get together and sort out what we are first of all. Build the community first, build the relationship with the gods - together. THEN when we have a community the need for priesthood might arise - unless you have a community you don’t need priests and their many roles. if such an occasion arises, people will naturally assume the role and the community will accept them as such - those they don’t accept wont have a role or community to serve.

the whole thing should be an organic evolution, not a forced top down creation.

Right now we lack any cohesiveness as a community, nothing firm that we can say binds us together in a common framework of religious belief and observance. This is where matters such as a dogma of sorts comes in – those things we can ‘sign up to’ as being what we believe to be the Native British Tradition in the 21st Century

I see Brython as being at the beginning of that bottom up, cohesive and (French) revolution. This time though we wont strangle, bludgeon and garrotte someone before throwing them into the Fen. Probably
.


Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Dirty Words

There aren’t that many dirty words in modern paganism. Probably two that spring to mind: worship and dogma. Oh and I suppose: ‘no, that’s incorrect’ is not looked upon to favourably either.

Worship to many pagans, especially those who come from a Christian background (and that covers most of them really) has too many connotations of getting on their knees and bowing down before God, grovelling at how worthless and sinful hey are and asking forgiveness. That is what I recall of being brought up Roman Catholic. So it is not surprising to find that modern pagans shy away from the idea of worshipping their gods. I was one of those pagans, however I have come around to the idea of using worship to cover what I ‘do’ as it were. The definition of worship explains why:


Worship
* noun
1 the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity,
2 religious rites and ceremonies, or
3 great admiration or devotion.
* verb (worshipped, worshipping)
1 show reverence and adoration for (a deity), or
2 feel great admiration or devotion for.
Derivatives: worshipper noun.
Origin: Old English, worthiness, acknowledgement of worth.

All of the above applies to me, I respect, revere, admire and show devotion to my gods therefore it is perfectly fair to say I worship them.

Next comes;

Dogma
*noun
1 a religious doctrine that is proclaimed as true without proof
2 a doctrine or code of beliefs accepted as authoritative
3 A generally held set of formulated beliefs.

Again, nothing worrisome there. No mention of strict adherence or blind subservience. No mentions of one true wayism.

Some degree of dogma within the pagan scene would be a good thing, being able to nail down a core of common held beliefs and values would be a uniting force and something that we could build on. We all believe in X, Y and also Z. At the individual level you can add, along with X, Y and Z I also believe A, B and C.

There is a general feeling of wanting some sort of acceptance from society and the ‘establishment’ in pagan circles, if we are going to all hold to our individual beliefs and weep at the thought of some uniting principles because it smacks of Chrisiantiy and Dogma and losing individuality, then we won’t be taken seriously, we will always be the disparate bunch of people who have 101 different beliefs for every 100 of us.



you dont need a reason to have orchid pictures

Sunday, 7 September 2008

"If we die, the world will be poorer"

I have just got in from watching Hellboy 2: the golden army. a damn good leave-your-brain-at-the-door-and-enjoy-the-action type film.

The premise is very simple; 1000’s of years ago man lived in harmony with the beings of the Otherworld (elves, trolls etc) until man grew greedy and started to age war and take over. King Balor of the elves had a huge and unstoppable army built who laid waste to man. Balor regretted his actions, called a truce and they lived side by side. Balor’s son Nuada wasn’t happy because he doesn’t trust humans. Roll on to modern day and Nuada is sick of seeing mankind trashing the landscape and encroaching into the land of the territory of the ‘Children of the Earth’. So he sets out to reanimate the Golden Army to sort out mankind once and for all. Enter Hellboy to stop him.

There is strong undercurrent of environmentalism here, the idea that we are having too strong an impact upon the world and are doing irreparable damage whilst remaining oblivious to the effects it is having on other lifeforms.



The scene with the ‘Forest God’ was quite moving, as were the words of Nuada at the end. You can detach all notions of pagan spirituality from the idea of preserving he planet, you can look at it from a purely atheistic viewpoint and still see the meaning in Nuada’s final words: "If we die, the world will be poorer"

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Autumn or not?

It is now the beginning of September, it is pissing with rain outside, so has autumn reached us yet? I think I have mentioned elsewhere that I prefer to get my seasonal queues from the world around me. The leaves are largely still green (with a notable exception – see below), the weather relatively warm and still a hint of humidity. The day before yesterday it was incredibly hot here in London and the humidity was rivalling the hot a humid spell of a few weeks ago until a thunderstorm cleared the air and restored the freshness to the air.



I have seen plenty of conkers on the trees surrounding Clapham Common with some already being dropped, something that was happening around this time last year anyway. Something to note is that many of the horse Chestnut trees in London and some surrounding areas have had all their leaves turn brown. This looks like the normal autumnal turning but is actually the action of what is seemingly a plague of leaf miner moths. If you look closer you can see the smaller individual burrows inside the leaves where this parasite has destroyed the leaf tissues. The scale of the infestation on single trees and the population as a whole is incredible.

A quick search of the internet shows this is a recognised invasive pest problem. I suppose all that can be done is see how winter does at killing off the pest.

Monday, 1 September 2008

The Amberlady cont.

The pagan community is very different from any other religious community. There is no unifying authority to guide and teach, there is no centralised dogma which unites us. There is no source to which we may go to find out about being ‘pagan’. The pagan community is made up of many individuals all with differing religious leanings with only a few things in common. What organisations there are, act generally to put people in contact with each other to share ideas. What can be said to unite modern pagans is that they are making their own pathway towards a connection with the divine in whatever form they see it.

The pagan community has people who have been walking their path for decades and people who have only just begun. There is a long tradition of those with the experience and knowledge to share it, whether through books, through magazine articles, by giving talks at events or by simply going online and frequenting message boards where they can discuss with other like minded people and share what they know. It perhaps is not an ideal arrangement but it works; go to an online message board for a long period and you can see changes in people, a growing sense of confidence in themselves and their beliefs, a maturity and commitment. This happens because those who they communicate with in the many forms available are supportive and helpful. As a community we have got to help each other out.

This is where I feel Amberlady lets herself and the pagan community down.

Her general response to a mistaken idea or a persons belief she disagrees with is derision, insults and rudeness. Most often never followed up with corrective information or advice. She sees people like this as beneath her, not ‘proper pagans’ and as such treats them like something unsavoury she has trodden in. THAT is what really gets my goat about her, she has so much potential to further the development of the other pagans in the community - and yes they are pagans Amberlady, whether you think so or not – and yet she chooses not to and to choose the path or being obnoxious.

The Amberlady

Where to begin? Amberlady is a regular poster on both the BBC Pagan message boards and the Pagan Network message boards (no internal linking, I used up my ability quota on the last post) and as such I have had interaction with her for a number of years on and off and also seen a lot of her interaction with others. Amberlady describes herself as an atheist pagan; pagan in the sense that she holds to the pre-Christian values of strength, honour and truth. Atheist in the sense that she does not believe in deity per se, though thinks that if gods do exist that they are grand cosmic sentiences which exist throughout the cosmos largely oblivious and uncaring abut humans and their little endeavors. She also has pantheistic leanings too. I hope this is a fair portrayal of her. She is intelligent, very down to earth, sensible (not in the twee and patronising manner used to describe women 50 odd years ago), practical and someone whom had I only known her from her blog here or another older blogger one she had a couple of years ago which doesn't seem to exist anymore, I would probably like quite a lot and have a lot of respect for.



Her way of ‘doing’ things is rooted in reality and practicality; getting out there and doing what needs doing. An awareness of the world around you, the various tides and changes that occur curing the cycle of the seasons. What you might call a dirty fingernail approach to paganism. This certainly resonates with my own ideas, beliefs and way of seeing things. Hence why I would otherwise like her.

She has similar ideas about research, reading widely and not taking the modern pagan books without a pinch of salt or a good bullshit detector. All things I see merit and worth in. What I am trying to say is that essentially she is in theory a damn fine addition to the pagan community. Or at least she could be.

It’s getting far too late for this kind of thing so I think it best to finish tomorrow. Or later today as it now is

Just Like the Oscars... sort of.

Simone at Ancestral Celt has given me an award;



Which is very flattering indeed, however she says:
"although Lee posts are infrequent they are always worth reading as he expounds on his explorations through brythonic paganism. Thoughtful and thought-provoking, I am always glad to see a new post at this particular site"
which has suddenly made me feel very guilty about my laziness in posting here, hence this post and the one I will be putting up in a matter of minutes. It is nearly 1am, I have to be up at 7am but I am not at all tired. This bodes ill for my state of being at work tomorrow.

In return I have to nominate some blogs too. I don't read that many of them, though i do recommend:

Mark at The Beast's Expvlsions (or something like that) :) It should be fairly obvious why I have nominated Mark from a brief read of his posts. It also happened to be the blog which inspired me to starting spouting the whirrings that go on inside my head into a digital format.

Fog Bank might well be a controversial choice especially considering the 'history' between it's author, myself and others on the BBC Pagan message board over a period of about 7 years. I do think it makes for interesting reading and it is certainly challenging.

And of course Simone's blog Ancestral Celt , it has much in common with my own - a modern pagan's musings as they meander along a path of their own cutting (hacking, slashing and much machete waving is in order).

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Dirt between my toes II

This follows on from the post below, I had to leave it to get some work done and didn’t know if I was going to be back and so posted it half done. So, as I was saying, I don’t really feel the same connection to the landscape in London which is hardly surprising really for obvious reasons. I was giving though to how I can do something about this and something that crossed my mind was to start with the Thames. As a feature of the London landscape it certainly stands out and is a key feature. Anyway, the long and short is that I am thinking I might do a walk from the course of the Thames to its estuary. However, it seems the Thames is about 200 miles long and of course a walked route will be longer still! So perhaps some sort of partial route is in order – perhaps from oxford to the estuary.

Dirt between my toes

Ok, not some reference to a sexual deviancy but towards the connection I feel with the landscape around me.

Since living in London it is becoming more noticeable that I don’t hold the same connection to the landscape. This was brought home to me over the weekend when I went back to west Wales to visit the family. We went out for the morning for a walk along Newgale beach and even the drive there grabbed me, hell I think I was getting that feel on the train heading out of the urban areas and into the English countryside. On the beach the wind was blowing, the waves were crashing and the sun was shining, gulls were hovering overhead and in the distance were the igneous cliffs I know so well. And that is the thing – out in the countryside, I know where I am, I feel the land beneath my feet and I become part of it. This ISNT something I feel in London. Sure I feel a slight connection, even a feeling of home-ness, but not in the same string way I feel when I’m out in a wheat field or in a woodland or by the sea.



I don’t quite know what to do about it.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Lammas Camp

Lammas is here. It has begun at least and will probably be going on for a couple of weeks yet. I am one of those people who takes their cues from the landscape around them rather then a diary, though diaries can be handy when planning a get together in advance.



I have not long gotten back from the Pentacle Lammas camp. I spent two nights in woodland in Tring, Herts. with about 20 others. It was a very relaxed and chilled out affair – no set ritual, no strictly run workshops. A number of activities were available if people wanted (cord making, drop spinning for instance) though nearly everybody was content to just sit about the fire, drink tea and coffee and just ‘be’. I lead the Corn King making again (I’m getting a damn sight better with each one) and this year he turned out to be a 7 ft monster who took an age to burn. I put that down to the slightly damp wheat, damp atmosphere and also slight under ripeness of the grain too. In the end, he went up in flames; the King is dead! long live the King! I feel that something like the making, burning and ash scattering of an effigy of this sort can be as valuable and spiritual as a full on ritual. A thought that occurred to me is that we walk a cycle through the year; the profane wheel as it is whilst alongside us revolves the mythic or sacred cycle. At certain time we step aside and walk the mythic one alongside the gods. This sideways step can be done with ritual or it can be done by pulling the two paths together and living the mythic strand. I see the Corn King work as that pulling together. I see it as ‘doing’ rather then sitting at home, waiting till the 1st of August and holding a ritual. Getting out there and gathering grain, fashioning an effigy and watching him burn contemplatively holds far more depth, value and meaning.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Quick and Easy

Just a quick update seeing as I haven't posted anything on here in over a month. Not much has been happening really, I have taken some time off to focus on the new job and just get on with real life and mundane things. I did some updates on my website; to tidy it up a little as some of the formatting was a bit iffy. I also updated the 'cult' pages to include material from the articles in did for Pentacle magazine. One other mini-project I started earlier in the month as a way of passing some time at work (cataloguing 500,000 specimens can become repetitive and needs breaking up into chunks with other activities) was to look at reconstructing a Cymric pantheon of sorts using continental and Romano-British sources, in a similar vein to Mochon. So for instance I have begun on the idea of the thunder god Taranon, during the course of which I stumbled upon something regarding Gwythyr the eternal combatant with Gwyn ap Nudd. Previously I had never given him much thght but it seems he may be the rememant of a memory of a Romano-British deity. Anyway, more to come on that as and when.



Next weekend I am off to the Pentacle Lammas camp in Ravenswood, Herts. for the weekend. it should be nice to get away for a couple of ays and play in th woods with an open fire. I will of coure be aking the customary corn king to be burned on the fire and have his ashes scattered opn the fields surrounding the woods

I will post some pics and sme info when I get back next sunday.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Bath and Bel

Three weekends ago today I went to stay with Nicky, always a wonderful time with her, her family and herd of cats. I keep telling her that should the worst happen I will adopt Otto and Blodwyn (the cats). On the Sunday we went to Bath. I have been before but never went into the baths themselves. So we did the standard tour, looking around the various rooms and museum that accompanied it. I was particularly keen to get to look at the ‘gorgon’ face that had been on the pediment above the temple to Minerva-Sulis and got to do so as part of the exhibits. Everywhere I saw there suggested it was a gorgon face, however it was male (gorgons are generally female), only had two snakes on it whereas the rest of the face was wreathed in flame like hair, it also had a pair of wings presumably to hold it aloft, it appears to be more solar face rather than a gorgon. Now, as part of the original temple complex, Sol and Luna were already represented on pediments on the other two buildings so it begged the question of who this other male solar-like deity is.

My gut feeling is that it is a solar deity, and in keeping with the mixing of Roman and British pantheons at this place might well have been Belenus. It might not of course, but it is my gut feeling and a feeling shared by others. It works for me as an iconography and I am sticking to it. As a representation, it also seems to work for Belenus too, a point I am about to illustrate.



One part of the museum takes you to an overflow or the hot springs; this is a small waterfall drain under the baths. The rocks here are stained a fiery orange by the iron in the water (which is bloody foul tasting – you can try it for free but it is warm and metallic, I prefer the cold metallic of chalice well in Glastonbury any time), the air is hot and humid with steam at this point in the tour. It was here I took a coin out, held it in my hand and petitioned Belenus, I asked him to expedite the paperwork that I was waiting to get sorted for my new, something that had been going on for weeks and was topping me from getting started. I promised him something in return and then tossed the coin into the hot iron rich maelstrom.

Four days later, the paperwork arrived. Another four days and it was all arranged with HR at my new job. Four days after then I was at my new position in a dream job. That, to me, is a positive response.

All that remain now is for me to uphold my end of the bargain, and with it being the summer solstice it would seem appropriate for me to write about it and also to fulfill my end of the bargain.

Friday, 6 June 2008

One last thing..

I wasn't sure about using the Blodeuedd image I did or a picture the Burney Relief 'Queen of the Night'. After posting the past entry I noticed that Lilith is standing on a pair of lions, and as sad as it is I smirked once it hit me how ironic this is considering th early incarnation Blodeuedd's husband has in account of the Mabinogion.



Geek moment over.

The Owl Strikes Back

It seems Blodeuedd is flitting about in a couple of peoples minds lately, mine plus Bo With that in min i decided it was time to get writing the article I have been promising myself to write for Pentacle Magazine for ages.

The man thrust of the article is that there is a strong parallel streak between the story of Blodeuedd and Lilith of Jewish myth. Actually there is far more to it than I had thought - the strong and self minded sexuality, the taking control of their own destiny and refusal to follow the path laid before them by someone else. Then of course there are the owls; both ladies are associated with them.

I did some light digging and have found references to owls and sexuality and bad omen in Welsh folklore - in fact a lot of European folklore too. Anyway, the point is I am writing for the magazine and not here so had better get on with it and stop posting the spoilers here.

Probably the only image of Blodeuedd I actually like!


Thursday, 29 May 2008

The Black Sow

Hwch Ddu Gwta a Ladi Wen heb ddim pen
Hwch Ddu Gwta a gipio'r ola
Hwch Ddu Gwta nos G'langaea

Lladron yn dwad tan weu sana


A tail-less Black Sow and a White Lady without a head
May the tail-less black sow snatch the hindmost.

A tail-less black sow on winter's eve,

Thieves coming along knitting stockings.




Why a tailless black sow? What is the relevance of that? This was posed to me the other day and I have no idea. I guess it illustrates nicely that although e have remnant of myth and folklore, they have lost context and meaning in a way we can only guess at. Originally the porcine tail imagery held some meaning or significance in this poem but nowadays e have no idea. If it was a boar then the tail-less would be clear euphemism for emasculation, for a sow though it is a different matter. The only thing I can think of i that back home we used to dock the tails of male piglets to mark them out, I don’t know of anyone else does this or if it was common in the past too. IF so then it might be a suggestion of a beast out of place in the world, marked as one thing when in fact she is another and evidently none too pleased about it too.

Time Flies

Urgh... over a months since I posted anything last. Shocking display of laxity, mind you, if I don’t have anything to post then I have no need to so.

Ok, so catch up time. What’s has been going on - not all that much really, work was very busy up until 2 weeks ago when I handed in my notice and left. I have just had 2 weeks off being lazy and slothful as I am now in between jobs, that’s the wonderfully middle class way of saying jobless, however in my case it very literal and true as I am due to start a curatorship at the Natural History Museum as the curator or assistant curator of their Brachiopods though that site doesn’t do justice to their diversity and prettiness. So, all in all i'm bloody chuffed about it. This is literally a dream job, it gets my foot in the door and something awesome on my CV, this is probably my chance at a career in palaeontology and not to go at it with both hands would be fucking insane.



The Beltane Bash has been and gone, was far quieter in many respects this year which is a shame. Mind you, we got lots of positive feedback about running the catering. Good good. Also, a certain pest was there too and watching him hanging abut outside the food area waiting for me to leave so he could go in turned out to be a highlight. Childish I know but what the hell, its Beltane.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Fad Crafting

Well the Portsmouth thing didn't really take off. i spent a week there and then one day the following week, as it happens i have a new project to work on in Richmond and so will not have to live in a hotel. it's a small mercy in some ways.

i just read over the Hotel I/II posting and to be honest i don't remember writing a big chunk of it, the whole section beginning: "This wary lady is flitting..." very odd indeed. oh well. i have done some experimentation with incense and have abandoned the idea of a burned incense. the smell was too strong and smoky- as you might expect - for what i want. i will therefore be having a go at oils. perhaps in a couple of weeks when I'm off at a friends for the weekend, she has a great stash of essential oils and I'm sure she wont mind me playing with them for a bit.

in other terribly exciting news - i am now the co-subject of a bitchcraft campaign!

a 'man' by the name of Andrew Bamber (London) claims to be a hereditary brythonic cunning man/traditional witch. bullshit and double bullshit. he was new on the pagan scene a fw years ago and i even remember selling him some beginning type books at the Beltane Bash, i also spent time talking to him and quite probably used the 'Brythonic' term with him within the pagan religion context - hence i think this is where he got it from. it isn't common in this context and as far as i know there are only a few sites that use it: this blog, my own website and the Caer Feddwyd/Brython websites.the whole concept of a brythonic cunning man trad-crafter is absurd in itself.i called him out on this. he has since been rather repulsive in him comments, started a poetry competition aimed at deriding me and another person and is generally out to piss me off. suffice to say i WILL be ending this. all in good time and all in bad ways.

p.s Bo - this is what you are missing! see! the pagan scene!

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Hotel II

So I have gotten to thinking about a ritual involving Blodeuedd, let’s assume its purpose is to introduce her to a group of people, let’s say for example a group of coveners who have no experience of her and whose knowledge of her comes from reading the mabinogion and perhaps a website or two.

How would I achieve this?

Something that has been mentioned is incense, something appropriate to Her, something that resonates with Her. The first thing to spring to mind would be a blend of meadowsweet, oak blossom and broom flowers however these sorts of things would tend to smell like straightforward burning plant matter and lack the subtle perfumes of the original blossoms. Some sort of oil would be a possibility in an oil burner – it would certainly have he perfumes and also with the correct carrier it could also convey a slightly sickly sexual smell, something that resonates with Her sensuality and something deeper than a simple perfume to convey the depth to her nature beyond the simple and shallow flower maiden she is most often taken to be.

Then again, fresh flowers can have a heady scent and an almost cloying smell to them, lilies especially, something like a deep pink tiger lily with its obvious sexual morphology. I am getting thoughts of dipping the stamens or stigma (I can’t really recall my plant biology at the moment and not having the internet in the hotel means I cant check) into some spring water so that it forms a sort of pigment, this could be something to incorporate into the ritual, again its deep red colouration having obvious symbolism and connotation. Maybe into a spirit so that it is preserved and can be used for other purposes and at other times? Gin. Definitely gin. Yes, definitely gin.

No circle as such, a welcome to Her at the four quarters, above, below and at the centre. At each direction, welcoming an aspect of Her appropriate to that direction. Englyn form perhaps?

Hotel I

Well I find myself here in a hotel in Portsmouth, it is rather nice; has a double bed and a decent shower. I didn’t think I would get this nostalgic about this city, but I have. It was gorgeous tonight, heading out for dinner in the last of the bright sunshine, cool breeze and fresh air. I could seriously consider living here again, but not working for the boss I will be working for here over the next 2-3 months. I don’t like the superiority complex he has, I get the distinct feeling he is looking down his nose at me and he hasn’t been too pleasant about the Richmond office and some of the employees. Oh well.

I’m getting well off topic for this blog, but, I have nothing else to write about really so I guess this is better then nothing.

I do have a set objective for the next three nights and that is to consider Blodeuedd more. The Lilith link is something I really want to explore further, that alone opens up all sorts of doorways into what is clearly a far more complex and convoluted figure.

Be warned, I might have a go at poetry! This too has a purpose – personal work and also coven based. This wary lady is flitting at the edge of my thought and the corner of my eye, showing my flashes of her truer nature, the being he is rather than the flower maiden she has become. a sadness at a person misunderstood and maligned. A lady who did what her nature commands and was condemned for it. She is a very unchristian lady; submitting to her animal and human instincts, unafraid to suppress these desires and natures at the command of authority. Someone who did what her very being willed.

Friday, 28 March 2008

From here on in . . .

this could go one of two ways. I will be working in Portmsmouth for the next couple of months on secondment within the same company but a different office. I will be in a hotel most of the time with very little to keep me entertained (i refuse to get sucked into watching television again), i will have sporadic internet access.

Either I will use the nights to write like a demon and then post it up when I have access OR I wont write anything on here until June.

Mind you, it will be a good time to crystalise the thoughts and ideas floating about inside my head concerning the British Mysteries, Mochon, personal devotion work etc.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

once again with vigour

Everything we could consider part of a native British Mystery Tradition is long dead and forgotten, whatever secrets they had haven’t been spoken of in centuries. The experiences of their gods and their ‘dealings’ will probably never be felt again. As depressing as this is, we still have the names of these gods – or titles at least, as most seem to be – and know something of their character. This bare minimum is a foundation and a starting point, a place where many people can begin the contact and start to share experiences with the aim of rebuilding the bridge to the otherworld once again.

What is the value of any Mystery Tradition for that matter? Why does it need to be secret? Why not be publicly disseminated?

I could have been told the Mysteries of Wicca up until now, though they would not have had the same effect as they did from being there in front of me in the way they were. Having seen this happen three times now from three perspectives has le to three different experiences. I don’t doubt for one moment that the next time will have a subtly different effect too. I guess that’s where the power lies: the witnessing and the being part of the mystery. Being the proper person, properly prepared and taking part and enacting it or seeing it all unfold there in front of me.

I think that’s the key - being part of it rather hen reading it in a book, in order to get to that stage you have to be ready, prepared etc which of course tends to require some sort of screening and preparation – teaching and some sort of initiation. Not everyone can be a doctor – you have to undergo the screening and training most can’t do it and those few who can get to have the Dr. in front of their name and the other trappings.

So what would constitute the mysteries within a Brythonic tradition?

No idea really. A few idea come to mind but then those only do so because they jar so strongly with ‘conventional knowledge’ of the deities and form a core of my personal understanding of the gods that it makes me wonder if this is some lost secret comprehension that needs bringing back to modern Brythonic types. That is of course arrogance of behemothesque proportions. Added to that I have started to post on these matters on my website and Caer Feddwyd, this kind of invalidates the issue. Of course I need to know of I’m on to something which requires me sharing my thoughts and experiences with other likeminded people and hence I am disseminating these would be mysteries. For now the way is to continue sharing and comparing individual experience and keep coming up with these independent common points, for every one that arises it points to a new piece of very big and complicated jigsaw, where that piece will go is something will come with time and patience.

So what would the value of a reinvented British Mystery Tradition be?

Now that I think of it, now, at this time and place there is no value. There are far too few people involved in this ‘scene’ in the first place and I value their input, advice and experience to the point where keeping my own findings secret from them is absurd. I need them to be there to talk to about this and to deliberately cut them off and ask for commitment to a mystery tradition is damn fucking rude and stupid. Then again there are always those who will pay a few quid for ‘Mysteries’. Maybe I could move to the USA and make my fortune?

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Brythonic Mysteries?

I have been giving this some thought today, Wicca is a mystery tradition and as such has certain mysteries within it that you witness at the appropriate time. Such mystery traditions existed in the classical world: the Eleusinian Mysteries being the one that springs to mind most prominently. Then of course you have cults such as that of Mithras which also had specific mysteries. A key thing is that these mysteries had to be experienced rather then be explained or talked about, presumably because the effect was in the experiencing, something i can certainly relate to with respect to Wicca.

So, i got to thinking abut what might be called the British or Brythonic mysteries. One I'm told I'm on the track of was with regard to Aranrot; I mentioned some 'thoughts' to someone more experienced and knowledgeable on the matter and he said i was on my way to figuring out one of the British Mysteries. I have ideas about it but haven't yet gone further down that line of inquiry either with him or Aranrot.


So I got to thinking about the value of what the mysteries could be, especially considering that there is unlikely to be some sort of larger cult forming in the foreseeable future. So, one option would be to explain them whether in print or digital format. Alternatively lead people to the experience directly - though this is VERY limiting in the sense that there might not even be a pool of people willing to do this, also, do you lead just anybody and everybody to the experience?

Then of course - what ARE the mysteries?

Dinner needs doing so I will have to come back to this.

Monday, 10 March 2008

These Three Ladies...

...are a go then. How I am to approach this I have yet to work out, though I suppose not doing on my own would be wise. I have the resources there to be called upon so I guess i should do so.

Now with a free week in the month as mentioned it leave open the chance for the beginning of devotional work with another deity. The one on mind is Mochon - the new old God. Or something like that. I have a lovely pig skull coming at the end of the month, unlike the poor horse skull at the top of the stairs (to maraud visitors) I will have to see about bleaching it bit in sunlight before doing something. what that something is remains to be seen though i would like to get things in motion by the summer at the latest.

anyway, feeding time.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

The White Road

extract from 'The White Road'

And when her grave was dug –
A small hole it was, for she was a little thing,
Even big with child she was a little thing –
He walked below her back and forth,
Rehearsing her hearsing, thus:
good evening, my pigsnie, my love,
my, but you look a treat in the moon’s light,
mother of my child-to-be. Come, let me hold you.
And he’d embrace the midnight air with one hand,
And with the other, holding his short but wicked knife,
He’d stab at the dark.

She trembled in her oak above him. Breathed so softly,
But still she shook. And once he looked up and said,
Owls I’ll wager, and another time Fie! Is that a cat
Up there? Here puss… but she was still,
Bethought herself a branch, a leaf, a twig. At dawn
He took his mattock, spade and knife and left all grumbling and gudgeoned of his prey.

They found her later wandering, her wits
had left her. There were oak leaves in her hair
and she sang:

The bough did bend,
The bough did break
I saw the hole
The fox did make
We swore to love
We swore to marry
I saw the blade did carry


I have been reading a lot of Neil Gaiman lately - excellent stuff. one of his prose poems that i read in 'Smoke and Mirrors' stood out:

This section stood out as something that rang with Blodeuedd, the betrayal and revenge though a complete reversal of the myth we have left. Then there is the short story called the "Daughter of Owls": a baby girl is found in a church porch with an owl pellet in her hand. she is thought to be a witch or somesuch and as such she is kept away from the villagers in an old abandoned house. Only the women of the town go there to feed her. after some planning and plotting, the men of the village decide to go en masse and avail her of her virginity, they break in and after much screeching and hooting they disappear and are never seen again, likewise the Daughter of Owls. Again, a nice little devil-bird tale. Actually i dont like the devil bird phrase but it 'fits', the outcast and maligned female who was nothing but her open sexual and strong self.

Friday, 22 February 2008

And. . . . you're back in the room

Crikey it has been a long time since I posted anything here. I don’t think there is a reason, im sure I could cook up some reasoning surrounding the ‘winter sleep’ or ‘hibernation’ however it wouldn’t be true. I have been very busy with work lately – totally new role within the business which I am loving. So, things are stirring so to speak and it is about time to start posting on here again on a more regular basis.


First of all, I giving up on the artwork idea I posted about (Blodeuedd being the first and only one) because of the total lack of anything out there. It all seems to be shite fluffy women in the vain of the piss poor Blodeuedd picture below. They are all limited to “Arianrhod”, Rhiannon and Blodeuedd and appear to totally neglect the chaps. However, there is one artist who is producing some gorgeous work of the gods and goddesses which all tend to be very good indeed; www.thaliatook.com they are abstract enough to fit with most people and yet capture the deity perfectly. I especially like the Gwyn ap Nudd and Rhiannon.


ANYWAY… so where to next? I am not too sure really. I have some ideas in development, one of which being to revamp my devotional space and also my devotional practice. Mainly I want to get back to regular, simple devotional work along the lines of weekly time set aside for thoughts or offerings to a particular deity. I was getting into the habit of weekly devotional work with Anubis but that went astray towards the end of last summer and never really picked up again after moving house. As to who I will be doing devotional stuff for I don’t know, whilst I have strong leanings I think perhaps some should take the back seat for now. Even then I don’t want to suddenly want to be trying to do something most nights of the week. Perhaps something on a monthly basis, with one of four each of the given night of the week? It would certainly allow for more scope without becoming bogged down. IF that were to be the case then three would be Rhiannon, Blodeuedd and Branwen. But then there are at least two gods that I want to start developing ‘something’ with.

Ok.. real time thinking going on whilst typing. This could be dangerous as I am not a multi-tasker (eating, walking and breathing can sometimes be troublesome when I attempt to combine them).

Truthfully I don’t think things will progress with Anubis beyond what is already there. For my own reasons I do want to be focussed on the more indigenous deities, likewise the Baron and Aragne. They will have their places and will receive food and drink on occasion but as for a closer working relationship then I think that will have to wait until a more appropriate time for them and me.

So, three ladies to be tended to...