Monday, 13 October 2014

The Claife Crier:

The Claife Crier:
A Ghostly Tale of the Lake District, rewritten.



Photograph; Windemere co Andy Naler.
A monk from Furness Abbey thought, to save fallen women, but fell -
He followed back to her Claife Heights home, because he loved her, so well.

On western shore near Windemere, she abjured his advances, ailing -
Unrequited and blighted night and day he fell about, keening and railing.

Soon he died of broken heart - and of his own endlessness of wailing.
But his ghost remained, as if detained, his tragedy proclaiming!


As time rolls by, with it many years fly -
The monks story quite grew into legend.
As the ferrymen tell, after nightime has fell,
His howling from Far Sawey sends a supernatural spell.

Hailed the monk
'' Ferryman, Ferryman, Ferry me hither,
For Loves sake Ferryman, can you come no quicker?!!''

At the Ferry Nab the ferrymen gab and frowning as one, would not take the fare - ever!
For they knew full well, it was the ghostly monk burdened with care - so they did beware.

But along came a boatman, new young and keen,
To him the old legend his common sense demean!

Cried out the cold crier
''Ferryman, Ferryman, Ferryman, Fly!
Ferryman save me, lest heart broken I die!''

Uptook himself the boatman and hied himself hither,
With a glint in his eye to collect the gold giver.

And the night was dark, and the winds were strong, as the new recruit ferryman rowed fiercely along -
But he did not return till the following day, if you listen carefully you will hear what he had to say...

''Over lake, over wave, over fell, marsh and brier,
Quick as horse, faster than fire,
Mayhap a rook or babbling brook,
I chased before morning along pathways forsook!''

Stark raving-mad, or so it would seem,
The young returned ferryman with staring eyes appears lost in a dream.

''Audacious, outrageous, unspeakably spoken,
before a thought, word or deed, but with laughter as token,
through hither, through thither, through widdershins and beyonder,
It cannot be so, yet cannot assunder!'

Ranting-delerious, as if witless, and yet....
Something he says, I cannot forget!

''By sunshine, by moonbeam, by starlight and shinning!!
Possibly near and possibly farling...
could it be real, or implausibly vague?
Undoubted a riddle, a vision arcane!''


Methinks the young boatman some secrtes did see,
Of the love lorn monk from the twelfth century -
His account although rambling, incoherant and wild,
Reveals thatalong Lakeside strange magic was styled.


The ghost, I reveal, was meerely a shade,
A sad memory left behind - in love's grief it was made.
For the young boatman has described in no uncertain detail,
That Robin Goodfellow himself has taken the old monk through the veil!

Ponder then, if as you live you do wonder -
Where do they go - those whom love takes assunder.
And though shadows may fall and shades reach very tall,
Beyond every kind of knowing, to the green of the growing we are all in thrall.

c.Celestial Elf 2014.

This is a ghost story originating near Windemere in the Lake District.
The ghost was formerly a monk from Furness Abbey in Medieval times, his mission had been the rescue of a fallen women. He however fell completely in love with one such woman, whose rejection  sent him madly crying his anguish on the heights of Claife, until he died of a broken heart and his ghost haunted the region ever since.
Whilst the local ferrymen knew not to collect his fare across the lake after dark, many years later a new ferryman with little belief in the old legends mistook his cry for a call, and he went out for his fare. When he returned, his hair had turned white and he never spoke again, and died soon after.
In the old legend itself
soon after this a priest came and contained the ghostly presence to a cavern where he still may be.

In my rewritten acount I have allowed the young ferryman to rant and rave about what he saw.
The ghost remains as was, but he is meerely a shade cast by the grief that killed the monk.
This reveals, if you can read the meanings behind my poetic licence, that the monk's spirit had infact been taken away to realms beyond the real, by the master of mysteries and merry go between in affairs of the heart, Robin Goodfellow (himself) - for this is a strange love story after all..



Friday, 3 October 2014

Preparing for the Samhain BoneFire



Crops and the bones of animals which had been culled were burnt in the Samhain fires at this festival as offerings once lighted on every hilltop in Britain and Ireland as soon as the sun set on October 30th - Samhain Eve, and were the center piece of community festivities and celebrations that could carry on throughout the night.. Our modern word, 'bonfire', comes from the words bone and fire meaning "fire of bones" and refers to this practice. Personal and symbolic items were also burned as offerings for relief from sickness or bad fortune. 

After the presiding Druid, Wise Women or elders lit the fires, the people wore costumes, and danced around their bonfire. Many of the dances told stories or played out the cycles of life and death or commemorated the cycle of Wheel of Life. The costumes worn were adorned for three primary reasons;

''The first was to honor the dead who were allowed to rise from the Otherworld. The Celts believed that souls were set free from the land of the dead during the eve of Samhain. Those that had been trapped in the bodies of animals were released by the Lord of the Dead and sent to their new incarnations. The wearing of these costumes signified the release of these souls into the physical world.

Not all of these souls were honored and respected. Some were also feared as they would return to the physical world and destroy crops, hide livestock or 'haunt' the living who may have done them wrong. The second reason for these traditional costumes was to hide from these malevolent spirits to escape their trickery.

The final representation was a method to honor the Celtic Gods and Goddesses of the harvest, fields and flocks. Giving thanks and homage to those deities who assisted the village or clan through the trials and tribulations of the previous year. And to ask for their favor during the coming year and the harsh winter months that were approaching.'' More details here -

When the community celebration was over, each family would take a torch or burning ember from the sacred bonfire and return to their own home. The home fires that has been extinguished during the day were re-lit by the flame of the sacred bonfire to help protect the dwelling and it's inhabitants during the coming winter. These fires were kept burning night and day during the next several months. It was believed that if a home lost it's fire, tragedy and troubles would soon follow.


















Protect then your sacred Samhain fires 
& may only blessings follow ~

Soul Cakes for Samhain

 
In medieval Catholic and Orthodox Europe, the attempt to divorce respect for the dead from the traditions of the Old Ways failed completely. The departed souls so people believed, were allowed home, albeit from a christian purgatory rather than eternal Summerlands, for two days. Candles were lit on their graves and in the windows of houses to light them home. Fires were kept burning to warm their cold bones. Food and drink were left ready and they were invited to attend the feasts held in their honour.

In Britain, the christianised version of this tradition entailed almsgiving to others as an act of virtue on behalf of the deceased - to alleviate their suffering in purgatory. These alms took the form not of cash for candles as in many Church sanctioned transferals of custom from the earlier pagan to later christian, but of cake. Bands of 'soulers' went from house to house singing ancient 'souling' rhymes; and small loaves, quickbreads or cakes were handed out to them to be eaten hot while saying a prayer for the departed. Even after the Reformation, when prayers were officially no longer thought necessary to ease the passage of souls to Heaven, the idea that the giving and receiving of food by the living somehow benefited or pleased the dead persisted, for 'souling' continued, although the souling rhymes became straight begging-songs.


The tradition of giving Soul Cakes at Halloween then, which is one of the origins of today's Halloween trick-or-treating, has been celebrated in Britain since at least as early as the Middle Ages when it took over from earlier pagan Samhain feasts. The cakes were usually filled with allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger or other sweet spices, raisins or currants, and before baking were topped with the mark of a cross to signify that these were alms. They were traditionally set out with glasses of wine on All Hallows' Eve. On All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day children would go "souling", or ritually begging with song, for cakes, from door to door.

A soul! a soul! a soul-cake!
Please good Missis, a soul-cake!
An apple, a pear, a plum, or a cherry,
Any good thing to make us all merry.
One for Peter, two for Paul
Three for Him who made us all.

How To Make a Soul Cake for Samhain;

Quickie Shortbread Soul Cakes -

1 stick of butter, softened
4 Tbs sugar
1 1/2 C flour

Cream together the butter and sugar. Use a flour sifter to add the flour to the bowl, and mix until it's smooth. Divide the dough into two parts, and shape each half into a flat circle about half an inch thick. Put them on an ungreased baking sheet (baking stones are really nice for this) and poke lines with the tines of a fork, making eight separate wedges in each cake. Bake for 25 minutes or until light brown at 350 degrees.

Buttery Soul Cakes -

Two sticks butter, softened
3 1/2 C flour, sifted
1 C sugar
1/2 tsp. nutmeg & saffron
1 tsp each cinnamon & allspice
2 eggs
2 tsp malt vinegar
Powdered sugar

Cut the butter into the flour with a large fork. Mix in the sugar, nutmeg, saffron, cinammon and allspice. Lightly beat eggs, and add to flour mixture. Add malt vinegar. Mix until you have a stiff dough. Knead for a while, then roll out until 1/4" thick. Use a floured glass to cut out 3" circles. Place on greased baking sheet and bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Sprinkle with powdered sugar while the cakes are still warm.
Thanks to 'recepies for a pagan soul' for the recepies, more here .
 

















Wishing you a Sacred Samhain ~


Saturday, 5 July 2014

On the Seven Gifts of Druidry


Australian Standing Stones Glenn Innes - New South Wales
 
It is often said - usually by those who have not studied the subject - that the world-view and philosophy of the old Druids is lost beyond recall... [but] it is by no means impossible to regain in the present age the spirit of original Druid philosophy. It is essential indeed to do so; for a revival of the old Druidic way of thought, acknowledging the sanctity of the living earth and all its creatures, seems the only alternative to planetary dissolution.
John Michell Stonehenge


Today our biggest problem is that we have separated ourselves from Nature - so much that there is a risk we may not survive as a species. We need philosophies, spiritualities, ideas, that can help us get back in touch with Nature again - our spirituality must become ecological. Prince Philip, in a speech to a Washington conference on religion and ecology controversially pointed to the direction in which we should look, when he said: "It is now apparent that the ecological pragmatism of the so-called pagan religions...was a great deal more realistic in terms of conservation ethics than the more intellectual monotheistic philosophies of the revealed religions."

It now seems that the Old Ways, reinterpreted for our times, can offer us the kind of spirituality that we need to heal the separation that has occurred between ourselves and our environment. Druidry is one such Way, and although at first sight it might appear to be just an old curiosity, a quaint memory from the distant past, if we take the time to look at it more closely, we will discover a treasure-chest just waiting to be opened. And in this chest we can find at least seven gifts that Druidry brings to our modern world:




The first gift is a Philosophy: which emphasizes the sacredness of all life, and our part in the great web of creation. It cares passionately about the preservation and protection of the environment, and offers a worldview, which is ecological, geocentric, pragmatic, idealistic, spiritual and romantic. It does not separate Spirit and Matter - it offers a sensuous spirituality that celebrates physical life.

The second gift puts us back in touch with Nature: with a set of practices that help us feel at one again with Nature, our ancestors, our own bodies, and our sense of Spirit, by working with plants, trees, animals, stones, and ancestral stories. Eight seasonal celebrations help us attune to the natural cycle, and help us to structure our lives through the year, and to develop a sense of community with all living beings.

The third gift brings Healing: with practices that promote healing and rejuvenation, using spiritual and physical methods in a holistic way to promote health and longevity.

The fourth gift affirms our life as a Journey: with rites of passage: for the blessing and naming of children, for marriage, for death, and for other times of initiation, when it is helpful to ritually and symbolically mark our passage from one state to another.

The fifth gift opens us to other Realities: with techniques for exploring other states of consciousness, other realities, the Otherworld. Some of these are also used by other spiritual traditions, and include meditation, visualization, shamanic journeying, and the use of ceremony, music, chanting and sweathouses, but they are all grounded in specifically Celtic and Druidic imagery and tradition.

The sixth gift develops our Potential: Druidry as it is practiced today offers a path of self-development that encourages our creative potential, our psychic and intuitive abilities, and fosters our intellectual and spiritual growth.



The seventh gift of Druidry is the gift of Magic: it teaches the art of how we can open to the magic of being alive, the art of how we can bring ideas into manifestation, and the art of journeying in quest of wisdom, healing and inspiration. 





Grateful thanks to The Order of Bards Ovates and Druids for the account from their website.



The Druid’s Prayer

Grant, O Gods and Goddesses, thy protection,
and in protection, strength,
and in strength, understanding,
and in understanding, knowledge,
and in knowledge, the knowledge of justice,
and in the knowledge of justice, the love of it,
and in the love of it, the love of all existences,
and in the love of all existences,
the love of the Gods and Goddesses and all goodness.


Awen ~