Sunday, 18 September 2011

Hibernation


I shall keep this short; I am putting this blog to sleep for a while. Maybe weeks, more likely months and I doubt it will be years.

Things are changing, my ideas are changing and I think I owe it to myself to have a go at a different approach. Something Francis said on a previous post:

I think that we should be aiming for a lifestyle that aims at making explicit the connection between our lives and the land around us. (I agree growing and/or harvesting your own food from within the landscape you live in is the most obvious way in to this approach).Sustainability is a happy inevitable consequence of re-engaging with the land immediately around us - but focusing on sustainability as a goal can sometimes create a sort of relationship by proxy with the land around us.

So here is the thing; I think I am doing this by proxy. I am thinking the relationship with the gods comes through a relationship with the land not the other way around or separately. Matters such as sovereignty and relationships with the gods as a means of communing with the landscape – in a much more pantheistic sense – are still foremost. This isn't a switch to atheism, more an experiment in trying to dance along a different way as the sun turns.

I will finish off a couple of articles I had in mind for here and get that 'personal theology' page fitted out. I will drop in and maybe post something – we shall see – but for now I am going to concentrate on the other things I do and of course will blog a bit about it elsewhere. By elsewhere I do mean here.

So anyway, this is a goodbye of sorts, I wish you all well in your pursuits whatever they may be and no doubt I will be noseying about at what you get up to and sticking in my oar.

Lee

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The Horse, the Land and Sovereignty III


Something I have discussed with others is the notion of sovereignty; the contract between people and the land by which they live together and coexist. Effectively I guess you could see it as a divine tenancy agreement. We don’t however live in a world any longer here we have a single sovereign who represents the people’s place in that agreement anymore (ok, Queen Lizzie is sovereign over here but it isn’t the same thing in this context – though gods it would be good if somehow the whole land-horse-king thing slipped in somewhere in the next coronation).

With that in mind, and bearing in mind that my current ‘religious community/tribe’ is spread all over Britain, the chance to incorporate Rigantona as the one who grants sovereignty (Rosmerta fits in there somewhere, I have my suspicions) and work some kind of group ritual during which sovereignty is conferred upon us a group seems slim, and will probably not be something that can be carried out too regularly. The option now is to work on this individually; addressing my own personal sovereignty over the landscape I inhabit and work on/in.  I could for instance each year, hold a ritual whereby sacrifice is made, libations offered and Rigantona addressed to confer sovereignty to me for the coming year. In place of a king who takes the responsibility (as embodied by Lugus) it would be me taking personal responsibility. Then arises the question of worthiness.

How is worthiness to receive sovereignty judged? How is it measured?

To be honest, I don’t think it can be measured in such a way. Perhaps in the past disease, crop failure and general shitness of life in a community would be indicators that something was amiss, that the land wasn’t too happy and the land wasn’t holding up it’s end of the agreement anymore because the people had already broken their end of the bargain. Perhaps this could be looked at from a different perspective, especially for those of us who are increasingly getting their food from wild sources or growing it in a garden or allotment. How about looking at this from the other end; at the end of the year when the harvest has been successful, the eggs plentiful and the hens healthy, the brambles and damsons in abundance and perhaps the crayfish traps bursting with invasive species ready for eating, then we see that the land has been fruitful and our actions in accordance with the place gifted to us. How about we hold a ritual of sovereignty retrospectively and pre-emptively at the same time? Sort of along the lines of saying “yeah, things have been good... thanks, and we would like this to continue and as such we ask for and accept for you to grant sovereignty once again upon us”.

For our part in the complex we would need to consider how we recognise that what we have has been given to us by the land and the representation of the land we refer to as Rigantona. The obvious is to look towards living in a manner that takes into account that our lives detract from the landscape around us. We take those things we need in order to live our lives. This isn't 'bad' per se and is vital of course; we need to eat, we need to work, we need shelter. What we should really be doing is looking at the impact we have, moving from a life where we actively exploit the land with little or no thought to the consequences and move towards something approaching a sustainable lifestyle. That to me would be the easiest and most obvious way in which we can begin to fulfil our responsibilities. That would certainly be a step on the more practical side, in terms of the religious I think a proper inclusion of the gods in our lives. Perhaps moving beyond devotional work and into something else.
I think that might be enough for now, I do think I should really consider a bit more means by which I can work towards, well, living the lives of the gods. I also need to go on a bit about the manner in which the sovereignty ritual is carried out; when, how and do I need to look into purchasing myself a nice little pony?

Monday, 22 August 2011

The Horse, the Land and Sovereignty II


Before the gods that made the gods
Had seen their sunrise pass,
The White Horse of the White Horse Vale
Was cut out of the grass


G.K. Chesterton; The Ballad of the White Horse


* * *

I have opted to skip one of these blogasms; I was going to prepare a piece on the religo-magical appearance of the horse in Indo-European cultures. Instead I am going to jump right in to the part that really interests me more than anything at the moment.

I am also going to make a confession, for this first bit I am going to rely on the scholarship of Miranda Green and Alexei Kondratiev. Essentially I am taking from both of them the notion that to the 'Celts' horses were associated with sovereignty and the goddess of sovereignty. Proper, primary sources for this are out there I am sure but right now I don’t have the time to trawl that much. Refs. for them will be at the end, do you can look it up and blame them if it is wrong :)

So, this is perhaps the most contentious part of this mini series of blogasms on horses; the Horse Sacrifice.



The Horse Sacrifice

The idea of this fascinates me; on the surface it seems bizarre; to actually sacrifice and kill the very animal which represents sovereignty and the goddess who confers it. And yet it appears in at least 3 Indo-European cultures to differing extents and finds itself echoed in a couple of others.

The Ashvamedha
this Vedic ritual involves the sacrifice of a stallion by the king (and only the king) in order to bestow glory, sovereignty and prosperity to the kingdom. The stallion in question is chosen and set free to roam for a year during which time it is followed by soldiers who ensure it is unimpeded and comes to no harm. After a year it is brought back, various rituals and hymns are sung and the stallion sacrificed;

Steed, from thy body, of thyself, sacrifice and accept thyself.
Thy greatness can be gained by none but thee.

Queen ritually simulates sex with the corpse and spends the night with it. Interestingly this last part is also carried out during the sacrifice of a human.

The Irish Coronation
This story is rather familiar to most people and comes from Gerald Cambrensis. The would be king mates with a white mare which is then killed and cooked. The King then bathes in the broth and eats it, along with all those gathered. In this way sovereignty is conferred.

The Roman Equus October Ceremony
The horse on the right hand side of the chariot which wins a series of races is sacrificed and dismembered; the head and tail are sent to different locations within the city. During the sacrifice it is dedicated to Mars

Scandinavian
The last(ish) pagan king of Sweden during his inauguration had a mare killed, dismembered and eaten. Its blood was sprinkled upon the sacred tree at Uppsala.

* * *

All of these rituals and commonalities are supposedly derived from a Proto-Indo-European myth involving a King-Horse Goddess-Sovereignty complex and the birth of a divine pair of twins (one of the possibly being a horse), that we find such a strong echo of this PIE myth in the Mabinogi is heartening.

At some point over the next week I will do a final piece on pulling all of this together and working it into personal practice.


Miranda Green 1992 - Dictionary of Celtic Myth and Legend
Alexei Kondratiev 1997 - Basic Celtic Deity Types
Georges Dumezil 1988 - Mitra - Varuna
Ceisiwr Serith 2007 - Deep Ancestors

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Bock.. bock..


Entirely irrelevant I guess but what the hell.

I have chickens! Three youngish ladies now living in my back garden. I could have gone down the route of naming after the gods in some sort of weird honorary thing, but went instead for something far more sensible; names I liked. Sometimes when naming after the gods they take on certain... characteristics; a friend’s iguana was called Innana and turned out to be rather violent. Loki and Thor the bearded dragons tuned out after several years to be Loki and Thora. You get my drift.

So I went with Geri (the one with a ginger head), Mama Cass and for black humour sake; Myra Hendley who is a bleached blonde colour. Yeah I know, very inappropriate. As it happens Geri is very eprky, friendly and totally at ease, Mama Cass is very vocal; always burbling and clucking away and Myra is well, bonkers; very flighty, prone to spazzing out.

the ever lovely Geri

three girls after the SuperCorn

Mama Cass(erole)


the evil eye from Myra Hendley

Anyway, if you are going down the deity route, what on earth do you name chickens?

Saturday, 13 August 2011

The Horse, the Land and Soverignty I

I think perhaps it is time to focus on something and work through it thoroughly; explore options, explore ideas and avenues and create a working modern synthesis. Lately things have been a bit up and down; busy with work and life in general and also with gathering wild food and planning for the immanent arrival of the girls (I am at long last getting some hens, be prepared for lots of blogasms on the subject of chickens!).

I keep on saying it is time to work on theurgical matters and this Horse-Land-Sovereignty things is a conscious effort to do that in a sensible and focused way, especially when sovereignty is so important. I have idea as to the role of sovereignty and it's place, but really the questions in my head are; how do I incorporate the notions and rituals of sovereignty into my practice and most of all, if sovereignty is something granted by the Goddess of the Land, who gets it and how do we measure worthiness to hold it?


Anyway, here is the beginning of a longer term project which I am going to enthral/bore you with;




The Domestication of the Horse



The first human interactions with horses that we can find and talk of with some certainty stem from palaeolithic cave art, some 30,000 years ago. These cave drawings such as can be seen at sites such as in the south of France most likely represent animals from the environment which were hunted for meat. It isn't until much later than this, around 4000BCE that we can be sure that horses were domesticated and used in a manner that suggests more than simple food rearing. In about 4000BCE in the Khazakstan region horse teeth can be found which display dental pathologies suggestive of bitting; pretty much essential if you are to ride a horse. Around the same time there are changes in finds, butchery style etc. which corroborate the changing attitude to horses. We also start finding horse shaped artefacts that cold be considered objects of status or power such as horse head maces, and the first finds of horse remains within human burials. Around 2500BCE in the Hungary region in what is known as the Bell Beaker culture there are noticeable changes in horse morphology demonstrating some degree of selective breeding and shifting of physiology towards human purpose.



At around 4200 to 4000 BCE, massive swathes of settlements in the Balkans and Danube valley stop being occupied, mines are abandoned and what was known as 'Old Europe' comes to an end. It has been suggested this was due to an influx of horse riding Indo-European people bringing in new weapons, new styles of travel and new culture in which the horse feature strongly.


David W. Anthony. 2007. The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World. 

Sunday, 31 July 2011

To the Lugoves...


I'm currently at the arse end of my annual-ish chest infection, just left with a cold. I think it has only been about 9 months since the last one but this will probably be gone in less than a week as opposed to the last one which hung about in my respiratory system for 3 weeks.

Oh well :)

Thanks to A.N. For a nifty new term: locavore. Certainly succinct. The blackberries keep on coming – wine, jelly and lots of crumble on the horizon – the damsons are about ready and I did at least get some plums (someone beat me to them), enough to make a huge apple, plum and blackberry crumble for 6 of us. More to come with that obviously so I will just blogasm something when it happens.

The other nice step towards self sufficiency arrives over the next 3 weeks; Chickens!! at long last I will be getting me three pretty girls to turn veg scraps into eggs (with proper layers ration of course alongside the fresher food). I have a decent sized coop and run coming an they will get the run of the garden whilst we are home. The only risk is that foxes from the graveyard behind us – seen them, heard them – find a way in though I do doubt it as the fences around the garden are damn high. We shall see, maybe something to warn them off; bones most likely and something wtiha rather large 'fuck off Mr Fox' imprinted in it.

Anyway, onto something a bit more substantial – not sure I will get all this done as I am leaking snot like you wouldn't believe right now.

There are two things about Lugus that stand out:

Ravens; I think the imagery associated with him from contemporary statuary suggest he is associated with them which is kinda cool as it ties him in nicely with Woden/Odin. They are both local variations on the same Indo-European god-form, something that offers some interesting insight in itself. Corvids in general has significance for me, nothing I can put my finger on, they just do. When I hear them making a racket in the trees above me or when I see them on the foot a few feet away from my window feeding one of their rather tubby fledglings; these things are beyond the normal. Raven though stand out among them, they aren’t common in London – Tower of London aside – and it is usually the throaty croaking that gives them away. The last time I saw one was in the Gwaun Valley back home when myself and my sister were pootling about in graveyards trying to track down ancestors, I say saw, in fact I head the croak drifting across the damp leafy valley and saw nothing at all. That was enough.

Then there is the tricephaly; this bit screams out at me as being important, especially when taken with the occurrence of inscriptions to him being addressed not as to Lugus, but the 'Lugoves' the 'Luguses'. This to me indicates a couple of possibilities;

'Lugus' wasn't a single god but three, three brothers or gods who brought all the skills and arts to man, who taught man all it is that we call culture. A niggling little voice says they are Ambaxtonos, Gobannos and a third... maybe the magician Wetionos. (Compare with the three mabinogion brothers Amaethon, Gofannon and Gwydion). Which of course also raises the possibility of introducing Dumezilian trifunctionalism; a God, or triumvirate of them fulfilling all three functions in one.

If not this then it is possible he was simply a very powerful god, with a huge range of influence.

The statue of Lugus with his three faces stands out, I have seen this image before, something hat came into my head when thinking about Lugus and in his three functions; all sharing a single pair of eyes. This to me says it was very much an emphasis on them being three in one. If I get my ass in gear and make a start on some statuary Lugus is the first I will attempt, something incorporating this three faces but 2 eyes and the three functions of farmer/craftsman, blacksmith/warrior and magician.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Grave Goods


I had been meaning to go for a walk in the graveyard behind the house for a while; the weather has either been piss poor, I have either been busy or it has been closed by the time I get home from work. So, today was ideal; it has been raining all day so as soon as it broke it went out hoping to be one of the only people about as I was bound to attract attention – prying people would receive a very plausible story.


The main intention was to look for blackberries and other possible fruits and harvestables and to get a better idea of the lie of the land and what grows there. I have found my 'gateway'; two beech saplings that form a natural pair of pillars soon after walking through the gates down one of the wooded paths. They stand out from the rest of the wooded areas to the point that it seems they were planted intentionally. From now on they will form the starting point and the place offings and libations are placed – they also happen to be in a place which is likely to be frequented by other people. Oh well.

I managed about 800g of blackberries this time even though it is a little early. The net few weeks should see a huge glut of them – what I collected was dwarfed by what was still green. The whole place is a blackberry paradise which is going to necessitate a visit each week. I also found what are either 2 large damson or small plum trees near to some of the best elder trees. Either way, that’s a lot more fruit I will be gathering. There is also plenty of Dog Rose for hips in a month of two.

The other less gastronomic purpose was two fetch 2 bramble canes; about a foot long and fairly thin and flexible. Whether a gut feeling of some sort of communication between me and Rubus, I have a purpose in mind and I am not sure I like it. Rubus is going to be helping me to cross. It will be doing this when I am wearing two ankle bands made from the canes. They will need some trimming down and fitting of sorts but the thorns will stay on – that is the price. I am interested to give this a go – it seems far too barking an idea to come up with on my own and what I have going on with brambles lately – they want to be involved and this is step 1.

so tonight, the first handful of berries will be offered to Rigantona along with apple resin incense and a similar offering to the canes of last years Elder Rob.

I must be out of my bloody mind.




* * * * *
update...


Well, the 'apple' tree resin doesn't work. It smells of burning caramel and puffs up like popcorn - almost to the point of popping and showering hot resin everywhere. Nice experiment - interesting perfume but I dont think it is something I will make much more use of.


Another idea - the dog-rose bridle on Mary has gotten a big thumbs up. I sat at one point, visualising the skull as it will be when finished, nestled between my hands and felt as if i were being dragged across right there and then - the most incredible surge went up my arms, it was almost overwhelming, definitely the ecstasy I want. It was a proper nipple-tightening experience.


This is something I need to move on with as soon as possible.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Solanaceae

It is about time I got around to writing this one.

I am not a botanist by training, interest yes in the sense I am a nerd for natural history as a whole, though palaeontology has been what has turned me on most. So ending up working on taxonomy projects in the herbarium at Kew has certainly been... different. The first family I have been working on is the Rosaceae (a bloody huge family) and fortuitously the first two big genera (some small ones in between) have been Prunus (plums, cherries, peaches and all their wild relatives) and Rubus (brambles, raspberries and the other cane fruits). I have spent probably 6-8 weeks on each of these genera and spent my time looking at specimens from all over the world and dozens of species of each – in both cases developing a much greater understanding of each and a kind of 'closeness' I didn’t expect. I simply can't walk past wild brambles and blackberries these days without acknowledging what they are. Normally I am interested in them in the sense of knowing they will be providing me food at some point in the future, now though it is as if I have come to know them in some way more than I have before and am on the edge of something else in a relationship with them. I think I know what comes next so will have to keep you updated.

The next family I will be working on will be the Passifloraceae; passion flowers and the like. Something I know has ethnogenic use. I know where there is a good source of Passiflora and so will be making some forays into the magical and ethnobotanical use of this plant.

Which leads me to the main bulk of this blogasm; the Solanaceae. This is another family I have an acquaintance with and have been quick to put my name down for when this family comes up to work on. It is such an odd family; on one have we have some of our most well know agricultural crops; potatoes, tomatoes, peppers etc and on the other we have Henbane, the Nightshades and Mandrake; all with very different potential to their family.

I have had some luck growing Mandrake in the past and have seeds to have another go this autumn, likewise Henbane. I also have datura seeds and a nice supply of woody nightshade which will be gracing the back garden next spring. Now that I have a garden again and am unlikely to be moving house in the near future I want to have something of a collection of interesting plants; interesting not only because they can be smoked/rubbed on, but also because of their associations and looks. Woody nightshade (Solanum dulcamara ) has some seriously pretty flowers and the greatest 'eat me' berries out there (don’t, obviously). Birds eat and spread the seed with impunity but to humans the effects of eating the berries can be disastrous though not as bad as eating the leaves which contain far more of the active toxin Solanine.

Beyond the botanical interest and the aesthetic interest in this family I am also interested in the magical aspect of working with them. Henbane especially as it seems that the associations with Belenus are not as iffy as I originally thought. Considering that Lugus-Belenus is a deity with whom I am actively working on developing a devotional relationship with this plant is going to be interesting. Obviously now that I want to find the reference I cant... if I recall correctly Henbane was known in Gaulish as the 'herb of Belenus' (Belinimica I think it was), in much the same way as it was known as Apollo's oracular herb. The logic in my mind is to experiment with burning Henbane on charcoal and see what it effects may be.

Does this seems a bit mental? A bit too drug happy?

Maybe it does. I have a rather relaxed attitude to most drugs; I have tried everything I was offered (bar the filthy stuff like heroin or meth obviously) and can see the value in them for various purposes. I haven’t taken anything other than alcohol in a number of years and have safety in mind for when these experiments get going; start small and make sure someone is about who knows what I am doing should it all go tits up.

So anyway, I have dug out some of my old books from the boxes and been poring over them again familiarising myself with that information I will need and how best to approach these plants.

I am beginning to ramble a bit now.. it is getting late. Suffice to say that a working relationship with various plants is on the cards either as a result of direct intention or a side effect of my work.

Those brambles keep calling... asking to be brought home... telling me 'they will get what they want and fuck anyone who gets in their way'.

The dog rose in the garden wants to be a bridle; wrapped about the skull of Mary, it wants to work there, to be there to help to draw blood depending on who has a mind to seize hold of the reigns of Rigantona.


Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Resins


I took the tube home today, for a change. The outer stations of the London Underground are above ground and tend to be quite nice places. The one at Kew Gardens is pretty good as tube stations go. I was stood on the platform by one of the trees they have and noticed the resin on it. So, a furtive pick at it and I have 4 small chunks of amber and clear resin in my bag. I'm not sure what species it was – it has been pruned and was cut right back – though it was probably an apple of some sort or similar. It is definitely one of the Rosaceae and not one of the stone fruits (Prunus spp.), that much I have picked up working on those very genera at work. So, all of a sudden I find I want to go looking for more resins to burn and experiment with. I will be back at the Kew tube trees again, possibly even the fruit trees in the gardens themselves.


To the Matres of this home..


I have been horribly remiss of late with my monthly devotions, so much so I am a good 3 days late with my household cult observances. I have excuses but none really hold up when it comes down to it. I hope that one of today's offerings was sufficient contrition.

I have blogasmed a bit before about the initial ideas for household cult observances and stick to this format pretty much. This time though words were said in thanks to Taranis and a few words offered to Lugus.

This devotional is strange, I can only describe it as making me feel incredibly 'comfortable' with what I do and say. No streaming lights from the heavens, no chills up my spine... just incredibly at ease and 'home' with what I do. I guess that is a good thing all things considered.


The key part of this was burning some resin i acquired from a Wollemia pine. They are pretty cool trees; thought extinct since the Jurassic until rediscovered. Seriously in trouble in the wild but pretty successfully cultivated in 'captivity'. N has one on her land and it has been getting on fine - hence the seeping a little resin which I will see about taking a small amount of when I can. It smells much like frankincense though a little less citrus. You can smell the 'specialness' to it :)


The first harvest of pretty red spring onions, home-made cherry jam and some milk; for Briganti and the Matres of the home.

I promise, tomorrow perhaps I will get on to the blood and Solanaceae blogasms.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Progress Report


I don’t really have much in terms of long coherent blogasming to do at the moment, so I think I will regale you with some snippets.

Last week we had some of the hottest days in years in the UK, it was hot as hell, humid and sticky. Bloody fucking horrible to put it bluntly. On several occasion I think crossed my mind to offer something to Taranis to set his sons out rampaging and bring us one almighty storm to clear the air, and on the walk home through the gardens at work I spotted a superb Bean Goose feather (we have them living and breeding in the gardens on the various ponds and lakes. A lovely goose feather to asperge to Taranis. It now sits on my altar and will be incorporated into my cosmos.

Things on the allotment have been going well, even more broccoli and the onions are doing well, I even have real and actual beans! They just need a little bit more time to fatten up. Radish and salad leaves in the garden are coming on well and soon I should start having all I need of those for the coming months with proper successional planting in action.

Mary the horse has come back home at last from her year outdoors seasoning and cleaning. Soon I will give her a good clean, whiten and redden the lower jaw before making a veil for her.

I think it deserves a longer post really, but I have been in a situation to make use of blood again in my work. In this case, it stems from wearing sandals again on those aforementioned bloody hot days. I ended with a sodding huge patch of my upper foot worn raw. The next day with socks on (and boots, I would never wear socks with sandals I promise) it seems the scab has welded itself into the cotton. Roll on bedtime when I whip off my sock to have it wrench off the scab, some skin and hair. Serious bloody pain. Serious bloody foot. In fact there was a remarkable amount of deep red blood slowly running out over my foot. Slightly unusually my first instinct was to reach for a holed chunk of flint and chalk I have on my altar and blood it well. I have done this before on one occasion and probably a couple other times over the years. It feels like the right thing to do on occasion, the stone has meaning and purpose. Perhaps it is something best dealt with on it's own and properly. Maybe later when the seeds have been planted and the cherry and balsamic jam is bottled.

Oh, one last thing... it looks like I will be working on the Solanaceae at work in a few months time. I am quite looking forward to this for a couple of reasons, intellectual, agricultural and … well, unorthodox. Maybe it is something else I should hold off and do a proper post on.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Harvest


This is a new one for me; I am looking forward to Lugus’ feast for the first time in as long as I can remember.  Perhaps this is because I will be making an actual harvest, a harvest in terms of taking those which I have grown and fretted over – never before has my first thought upon seeing rain fall been;  ‘cool, the veggies will be getting a drink’.  I have already harvested my carrots and the rest of the broccoli will be coming out in the next few days and the onion harvest will be a week or two away. I have been incredibly lucky with my allotment in general (although the beans went a bit squiffy), with virtually no pest damage (the Cabbage White Butterflies literally only turned up the day I was harvesting the bulk of the broccoli) and superb weather for it (lots of sun, occasional rain) so am incredibly grateful for that.

Back in the day when I was digging over the allotment prior to planting I made libations to Ambactonos and offered him hymns at the four corners of the allotment. Some of my first harvests were offered to him. As the onions start coming up and he beans hopefully start producing I will be making another offering of thanks and libations as the ground is dug over and made ready for next year.

A few weeks after that I will be looking to take advantage of the wild harvest; elderberries, blackberries, a wild pear tree some friends have in their garden which they don’t want to eat from plus whatever I can find that is edible or inedible but of use in the coming year.



With all this harvest I will be freezing, drying, pickling and jamming – those skills about the homes that fall under the crafts of Lugus and Briganti. And that I think is where he comes into it; the many skilled, the deft handed, the one who guides the hand when turned to something.

I am beginning to see him as a god of culture, of civilisation, of those things which have allowed us to gather, prepare and preserve and set aside in order to survive the coming winter.  All those things which will come to the fore over the coming weeks and months and for that, for tapping into that stream and paddling into it for a while I will be offering my thanks and making my libations.

Yes, for the first time in a long time this coming feast holds meaning and promise and a little hint of excitement.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

This midsummer...


Midsummer is always a strange time of year and a strange festival for me. There is the obvious – not really at the moment, the weather is positively bipolar at least 3 times a day at the moment – connection with the sun; the longest day and all that, but it isn’t obviously the ‘strongest’ day for the sun. The weather has more warming o do and to me the sun will be stronger in a month ro two when (and if) summer really kicks in, the temperature rises and the landscape around me really gets its sex on. The trees and hedges are leafy and green but it is over the coming months that it really hits full lushness and fruitfulness; it is probably six weeks time till the sun is reflected back on itself in the wheat and barley fields.


The summer solstice feels more like a beginning; the sun and the earth really were making leaps forward back at Calan Mai and are now really getting into their stride, it is from now that summer is really here – generally speaking and weather notwithstanding. 


My other problem is Maponos. The solstice is the time when Brython honours him. I just don’t see the connection between him and the sun. To be honest I struggle when it comes to the sun full stop. The sun is millions of miles away and is a huge ball of burning gas. It isn’t alive, my own theology is that the gods and ungods come from life and the living, so to connect a ‘dead’ ball of gas with a living force just doesn’t really fit into my cosmology or theology at all.


Maponos though... now he is an enigma. The recent interpretation of an inscription has get me thinking. I am seeing Maponos in a whole new light. Last night I lit the Briganti flame, offered incense and recited the ‘inscription’ to Maponos and he felt like the one opening the gates, he was the one who lay down his two spears and made the bridge between this world and the Other. Maponos is turning into the White One at the edge of the worlds, our own Eleggua. This role works; it sings in my gut and asks to be acknowledged. And it isn’t just me thinking this.


Divine Maponos; who stands at the edge of this world and the Other.
I seek your hand, I seek your aid.
Guide my crossing,
Show me over the threshold,
to the Otherworld and the spirits within.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Maponos

This is unabashedly lifted from Heron's blog as it is something I have never come across before. It sets off all kinds of lines of thought in my mind as to the connection of Maponos to other gods and his roles within a Brythonic pantheon. He is not a god I have much pull towards so this snippet sets of links that I can relate to and work with.



Andedion uediiu –mi diiiuion risu naritu Maponon



Aruernatin: lotites sni eθθic sos briχtia Anderon


(Gaulish tablet found in a sacred spring at Chamalières)



Which, freely interpreted, is rendered as;



Maponos of the deep, great god

I come to thee with this plea:

Bring the spirits of the Otherworld.”



It is silly o'clock here so I will come back to this tomorrow and the run up to midsummer to post some thoughts - once I run it by some people in order to make sure I don't run amok with this and spout a load of shit.

Friday, 17 June 2011

My Gods


It is funny how some things crop up at the same time; I am in the process of writing a piece for the Brython website on my personal pantheon of sorts and I find the same theme cropping up in blogs and websites too. I figured I would post here what I will post on the website and also the kind of thing I would answer on some of the blogs. 

I am a polytheist; I believe the gods are many and am comfortable with the idea that they all exist in some form or other. Some have a place in my life, others do not as yet. I am quite happy knowing most of the gods known to man will never be known to me or be part of my practice. My view of gods is that, primarily, they arise out of the landscape and environment and are shaped by it and by our interactions with them. As such, the gods with whom I am fostering a relationship are rooted largely in the lands that form the British Isles. Names and titles may be from other lands but are addressed to that deity here and now in the absence of a surviving name with which to address them.

There are a handful of gods I have hymns for, make offerings to and make libations to:

Rigantona: she is the land, an embodiment of the landscape we live on and our relationship with it. Our place in the land is assured by her and our sovereignty comes from her.  She is the great Queen, the Grey Mare on the hill. 

Mokkonos: not a deity attested to in myth or inscription. He is the Wild Boar, the spirit of winter that crushes all before him, whose breath is the winter fog and whose sweat lies on the land as frost. He is the killing blow of the cold and the shadow that consumes in the depths of winter. For all of this, he turns over the land, clears back the dead and dying and paves the way for the spring and all the promise it brings. 

Ambactonos: the divine ploughman, not just a god of agriculture, but one who knows the movements of the heavens. It is to him I offer hymns and libations when I am working the land. I am still in the early stages or my relationship with him.

Briganti: the Flame in my hearth, the one who tends the fires of the gods and whose flames give our words and offerings to the gods. She is the first to be addressed, the first to receive offerings and it through her contact is made with the other gods. She is the warmth in my home and the light on my altar. There are many associations with her and healing and crafts, these are sides of her I am only just beginning to explore. 

Rosmerta: another god who I am beginning to get on with. She has associations with sovereignty and its relationship with people. Here are connections there between Her and Rigantona and the conferring of sovereignty. She is often portrayed with a cornucopia andi am beginning to think this has something to do with the fruits of the land that come in a proper relationship with the land itself; a triad of people – Rigantona – Rosmerta. Part of me wants to think in - crude - terms of her as interecessionary with Rigantona.

The Horned God – this is a weird one, he doesn’t have any name or title beyond this. Perhaps he is something akin to Silvanus in that to me he represents the wild energy and space of those parts of the land outside of man and his influences.  If you took the spirit of the wild landscape, it’s beasts and plants; the nursing deer, the snagging thorns, the bloodlust of predators and the brutally protective mother caring for her young and rolled it into a single ungod – this would be him. That mythical Wildwood we know of from our first forays with paganisms, he is that Wildwood. He is that energy that claws back the landscape if left alone and untended.  He is all this and far, far more.