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.