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. 

Names


I am funny about names. I need to know them. When I was a kid I used to be really unhappy watching cartoons like Thundercats or Transformers if I didn’t know the names of those characters I was seeing and how they are connected t one another. I get like this now – as people who watch TV with me when I am new to a programme will attest. Maybe it is one of those innate quirks that led to me be becoming a scientist; I spent and still spend my time looking at names, remembering names and being curious about how those names came to be and how those names are related to one another.

This also applies to gods and ungods, I almost always need to have something to cal them, whether it be a name or title. I did go through a period where I got weird about knowing the names of the gods, the name beyond the title most of them have. I am over that now. 


This all ties back to something am working on; fetishes.  It occurred to me that naming them was important, especially the ones that will either be with me or the person I am making them for, for a long period of time. The notion that these will become familiars of sorts I important; they will b fed, looked after and serve a role in some way or another. They will become household spirits of sorts. What also occurred to me is that naming them based on their proper taxonomic name was important; Pica pica (magpie) or Prunus (blackthorn) for example. To me, the scientific name is them; it is their very essence in terms of the human relationship with the organism. They may be known by many names across many parts of the land, but at their heart and core they have only one name and that name never changes (ok, maybe sometimes with taxonomic wrangling).

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

I've been shopping


First off there is this lovely little chap - Toad - who will be turned into a charm for myself. Dyed with red ochre,  berry juice and some of my own blood. I think some sort of reliquary to keep him in as he is very delicate indeed. He will be asked to help and guide in travelling. Frog/Toad has been a guide of this nature for many years and it is about time I reacquainted myself with him.

Then there is this handsome devil, Corvus corone, the skull will be painted with dyes and along with one leg will be incorporated into a fetish. The other leg I will use for another charm for myself; those talons are huge and wicked.



Monday, 6 June 2011

Cosmos

Ever since I wrote the new myth about the Making of the World, it had occurred to me that this 'model' of thee cosmos could be quite useful in terms of trance and shamanic style techniques; we have an upper level, the heavens in a literal sense as portrayed and also the place where the gods dwell. Not in an 'up' place like heaven, more a place behind the landscape we know; an Otherworld which is where the gods dwell. A rise in consciousness perhaps.

Then there is this world, a middle level, the physical plane where we live and a plane where all three meet and merge into one whole.
Lastly there is the Underworld, the Realm of the Dead however you may view that.

Each of these three represented by the three gods who formed the cosmos from the body and soul of the first father .Dyeus; Taranis in the heavens, Rigantona as the land and Tigernonos as the ruler of the watery world which led to the place of the dead.

Whilst daydreaming and thinking about this and these representations the notion of some sort of sigil or pictographic image of this cosmic model popped into my head (see above), it should be fairly self explanatory.

The next step in my thought process cropped up when the Witch's Ladder was on my mind – no idea either, it was just in there for some reason – and so I got to thinking about making a physical representation of the cosmos. This had cropped up before in truth, way back when it ha occurred to me that an antlered staff/stang would act as a cosmic model and altar in one, as it does in Cochranesque traditional witchcraft. I dont really want to make a full size stang for this, so I thought something of a mix between that and a Witch's ladder might work quite well being as it would be smaller and more portable.

The picture I have cobbled together – the wonders of MS Paint – roughly shows the kind of thing I mean: a pair of antlers (probably 3 or 4 point roe deer ones, not too big) with two branches hung below of appropriate wood for the middle and under realms. On each section, strung into the cord are items like feathers, shells, bones and stones as appropriate for that realm





Life, death and life again

This weekend has been incredibly restful; I went to the open day at the cemetery yesterday and aside from have a wander around I joined the Friend of Nunhead Cemetery, so will be there once a month to help out with various projects.

In the reasonably short time I was there I had a stroll around the outer paths – joined by a surprising crown of other people – and began noticing it is far more 'wild' than I had thought. The entire eastern half is woodland, proper woodland. The trees are a full canopy's worth and with surprising variety of species which I guess stems from a number of introductions and gravseide memorials. There are more ornamental varieties such as non-native hawthorn which has different leaves to the normal Crataegus monogyna (common hawthorn). There was ash, horse chestnut, dog roses in abundance, elder and oak and others I should see about identifying properly. I aim to visit as often as I can, because like no other place I have been to in London, a walk through the eastern paths are like leaving the city and being out in the somewhat wilds for a moment; there are some wide walkways and the occasional narrow path winding off into the undergrowth; a glance down a few gave me the definite impression there is something far wilder down there.

And all of this green, this growth and this buzzing, throbbing life growing and thriving upon the resting place of the dead. This one site, this one space neatly encapsulates something about our world that can easily be forgotten; this burgeoning season of life and living is rooted and feeds on the flesh of the dead. Soon enough it will be our turn to feed the roots of little saplings and things which crawl and burrow. For now though I think it is worth enjoying the sunlight.

This afternoon I went over to the 'allotment', took some photos and went for a stroll down the nearby lane to pick some elderflowers; this year my relationship with Sambuccus will start with elderflower cordial and end with Elder Rob.

More magic

There are a few types of magic, I figured I could go through them and explain how they fit into my world-view and scheme of things.

Let's start with Divination; to forsee or be inspired by a God. This one doesnt really play much of a part for me. I have tried tarot – own two sets, feature in one and helped with the research for it. I am the page of discs, well I was back then. Tried runes, (the dodgy) ogham and a couple of other systems and to be honest they just don’t fit for me. So t be honest this is one thing I am happy not to concern myself with, I just don’t really see any need for it in my praxis.

Invocation, well this is one that people use interchangeably with evocation, however it is different. Invocation features in a number of religious practices and is the practice of summoning or inviting a spirit or god into a person. Ritual possession. There is a place for this I feel, though not something to be done on ones own as someone should be there not only to do the invocation but also to guide things along, speak to the god and bid them goodbye. This is something that isn't really to be jumped into, it needs preparation and experienced people around you. Perhaps something for the future.

Evocation is when you command or invite spirits et al to be present at a ritual for instance. The command/invite can involve different tools – athame or wand respectively – though to my mind invite is always the better option. If you are looking to foster a stronger and closer relationship with the Landscape around you (capitalised deliberately there) then it is surely better to do so in co-operation with those ungods and gods living within it rather than bumbling in and starting to bark orders.

Enchantment is pretty obvious, this is your spellcraft, the fetish, the oils, the incenses etc., the obvious side of magic. This is something I have mentioned just the other day so don’t really think I need to go not it more.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Spellcraft

I have been meaning to write something on the subject of magic and spellcraft for a while, and recently it keep cropping up on blogs and in discussions I am having. Sometimes the prodding becomes insistent enough to force action.

I come from a background in what you would call witchcraft; that is, I came into paganism and soon after found spellcraft et al early on. It seemed entirely natural and worked well when employed. With a bit of newbie zeal I never really questioned it's use or even mechanics – I simply did it when needed and found that certain things worked well and with good results e.g. weather magic to stop rain for a shirt time was always a winner. Roll along a decade and whilst I was still involved in the craft I found I wasn’t really doing much spellcraft, I did the odd ting now and then for those who needed it but not a lot really. I certainly never really did much for myself.

These past two years I think it is I have been focussing on the devotional side of my practice – I think I have said this before, at least twice – so have been giving thought to revisiting the notions of and practice of spellcraft again.

I guess my main problem has been the notion that a bit of plant has some innate power to cause something to happen on a magical level (pharmacological effects aside here), likewise a rock or bit of animal. I haven’t had problems with the notion of seeking intercession of the gods.

The conclusion of this little ramble is that I am coming around to the idea that the spellcraft works by employing the service of the spirit (animistic sense) or ungod of the animal, plant or whatever into working on your behalf, a kind of low level intercession. As such the idea of utilising talismans or fetishes as spirit houses to convey and act as a resource for various ungods seems to be valid to me.

This has all come to a head with a recent request to do 'something' for a friend who wants help with a certain situation – naming no names and no details here – where I found that this is a fairly simple process; identify the appropriate kind of ungod for the job, craft a suitable fetish to convey it and ensure appropriate care, attention and feeding of it. This also appeals to the side of me which really bloody enjoys getting down and dirty and crafting something with one hell of a kick.

This all ties in nicely with my exploration into the witchcraft and mystic side of my devotional practice, again kick-started by others; I recently rediscovered a blog I used to read and have been re-inspired by the work and style of others which kind of fits my own personal style too in many ways. So, thanks to the Witch of Forest Grove and the one walking the Ivy Path.

Over the coming weeks I will be crafting a few fetishes; one for the person mentioned above and the others for me, as practice and also as aides to this next step on my path, Heron and Toad will hopefully be at my side. I am sure there will be pictures forthcoming :)

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Advertising

I have been a little busy these past few nights making the new Brython website.

Go take a peek and let me know what you think, suggestions, ideas etc