Thursday, 25 February 2010

Full Moon - Rigantona

Today is the full moon. Within my lunar observances this means it is a time to honour Rigantona.

The household cult ritual I performed two weeks ago was wonderful; as someone who hasnt made use of a teapot (with associated milk jug and sugar bowl) at home in far too many years, the chance to sit down at a table and make a cup of tea in this way was not only strangely nostalgic but also had that strong sense of 'other' - something I dont normally do and something special I am doing for this specific time and purpose only. I guess it comes down to separating the mundane from the sacred (in as much as a cuppa can be sacred).

There is something also reassuring about this regular, fixed and planned manner of reverence. Something not too easy to put into words but something that appeals, something that I am drawn to (my inner Roman Catholic altar boy clammering to get back out) and something I cant help but feel should remain part of my personal practice.

Anyway, tomorrow is set aside for Rigantona. At present this is what I might call a 'developing' relationship, so i dont have a prepared hymn to offer to Her. I could on one hand borrow from
Deiniol and his hymn, but this time I think it best not to and to allow a hymn to develop itself over time based upon my personal experiences.

That said, for the past three days I have had the words to a song in my head' rolling over and over and the closer it gets to tomorrow the more I feel they are somehow... relevant, if not in the form that has possessing my mind then the sentiment behind them.

* * *

Briganti, mother of the flame, may I pray with a good fire
Briganti, mother of the flame, may I sacrifice well

Into the eye of the first one did Taranis blow life,
the frost in the bones of the land melts away,
the flesh of the land flushes with life
as the blood of the oceans runs hot on the shore

some incense is lit;

Briganti of the flame,
weave our words into your veil, bear it aloft;
to Taranis the sky father
to the Grey Mare on the hill
and to the Lord in the Wave

Incense is burnt

Great Queen,
Mare on the Hill,
The heart in this landscape
I offer you this, as it is proper for me to do so.

Friday, 12 February 2010

The Household Cult

The new moon is a day or two away and I have some plans; on Sunday the 14th (new moon proper) I am off out for a Chinese New Year dinner with some friends so will be carrying out the cult rituals earlier in the day.

I had a brand new – and well overdue –cooker fitted during the week and last night was the first time I got to use it. It seemed appropriate to say a few words to Briganti over it and light the oil lamp prior to lighting the stove – or flicking the switch to let the electric flow as it were.

In terms of ancestors, I have become ever so slightly hooked on and have been tracing back my family tree. I am in the somewhat fortunate position I guess to know most of my immediate and very large family already and have ideas about great-grandparents whom I recall from being a teeny-weeny little Lee. I think this process of finding out about them – their birth, marriage, children and death – goes somewhat towards fulfilling parts of my ancestral practices. I have pretty much reached the limit of my current onboard knowledge at about four generations so am now in the position of having to go and speak with relatives to find out what my great-grandfather’s first name was, who he married, her maiden name etc. it is all proving thoroughly enjoyable and I am looking forward to being able to use late 19thC censuses to get information on whole families. What I do know is that there is at least 250 years of farming history on one piece of land, I just need to trace back the people involved now.

So, come Sunday this is my plan;

The Briganti Flame is lit:

Briganti, mother of the flame, may I pray with a good fire Briganti, mother of the flame, may I sacrifice well

Briganti; your flame in this house
Fill my home with your warmth
Briganti: your flame at my hearth
May it be bright for all who dwell here
Briganti: your flame in my hands
May I work well, may I sacrifice well, and may I honour the gods well.

Food and drink offered

* * *

To the Ladies of this house,
The Matres of this home;
I offer you this food ,as is right to do so
I offer you this drink, as is proper to do so

Food and drink offered

* * *

To those who have gone before me,
those loved, and those never known,
come to me,
share a drink with me

A pot of tea made, a cup of hot, sweet tea offered and come quiet time.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Maija Gimbutas

I went and ordered Marija Gimbutas' "The Living Goddesses" this morning on a whim (ordering on Amazon is far too easy) largely because I came across her ideas while back in university and found a book of hers in the uni library. It was interesting at the time though I didnt make a proper job of going through it, I was probably being distracted by papers on brachiopod functional morphology and pyritization of soft tissues.

Her name haas been cropping up lately in some of the books I have been reading on the Indo-Europeans so I though it time to see what the fuss is about.

From what I recall she had a tendancy to regard everything as 'goddess' this and 'goddess' that; any imagery of an animal was a bear goddess or vulture goddess. Now, I might be simplifiying somewhat from what I recall but this bothered me and sounds like exactly what you find on a wesbite by someone who has read the mabinogion and takes it to be a well preserved mythic corpus (I might have been guilty of doing this myself in the past to be honest).

Monday, 1 February 2010


Right now I have two options before me; compile a database listing 4600 drawers of specimens, their geological age, geographical location and the species contained therein. Or do an accompanying statement for a job application.

The obvious thing is to invent a third task and do that. So here we go…

I have recently been delving into things proto-Indo European and Indo-European. On one hand more academically minded books such as West’s Indo-European Poetry and Myth and the on-order Mallory’s In search of the Indo-Europeans: language, archaeology and myth. On the other hand I bought Ceiswr Serith’s Deep Ancestors.

The value in the first two is that they provide a very well put out ‘what came before’ for someone like me interested in the Britons of roughly 2000 years ago. They set out what we can know from comparative study of the I.E people, what their religious ideas developed in to in various corners of their distribution and as such begin something of a reconstruction of the missing pieces. Couple this with post-Celtic academic work, archaeology and Romano-British evidence and we can make a two pronged ‘attack’ of the time-slice and its inhabitants we are interested in.

So, comparative work can offer insights into what a creation myth might have looked like, who the first gods were and something of the people’s relationship with them. The value of Vedic sources comes into its own here too. It can give glimpses of the gods who are known only from a name.

Serith’s contribution goes back one temporal step to the P.I.E people and using similar lines of academic evaluation reconstructs what the religion would have been like, he then also sets out a kind of ritual framework that is at the very least nothing short of as truthful as possible to the reconstruction. Whilst that side of his book was of less value to me, the main body where he lays out his reasoning and re-assembles the pantheon is wonderful. It provides something of a framework with which to keep an eye on when doing similar for the Brythonic version.

So, all in all, the take home message from this diversion from paid work is to make use of Indo-European sources, they are probably far more instructive than anything you might buy which uses the mabinogion as a basis.