Saturday, 15 February 2014

The Four Horsemen of the Epocalypse ~

Ragnarok by Nicolas Toivola.
 As we move from ‘Global Warming’ through ‘Climate Change’ to ‘Climate Chaos’ and Instability, we see more clearly now the effects of human activity on the Earth, yet the underlying causes stay the same without any significant international effort to counter this problem.
Gaia sends the four horsemen of her Epocalypse - her Four Elements to bear upon us, behold the power of Air, Water, Fire and Earth
respected and we flourish together but neglected or abused, they return with a vengeance.


Hraesvelg, The Winter Eagle by Relotixke
Of Air. often disregarded by environmentalists, whose focus has centered on Carbon dioxide CO2, motor vehicles also emit Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, which is among the most serious forms of toxic air pollution in large urban areas. Air quality suffers and in consequence so do all people, creatures and plants - our narrow peramaters of life supporting conditions errode...


Jörmungandr the Midgard Serpent & Thor in Fishing Boat
Of Water, note the increased frequency of storms and flooding, while increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere causes warming and more water to be evaporated from the ocean, which will lead to ever more frequent and intense storms. Water and Oceans are also a perfect carrier of further poisons such as Nuclear radiation from Fukushima or more local chemical spills..... 


Muspelheim - world of lava fire and volcanos
Of Fire, the increasing frequency of wildfires as global warming intensifies areas with long hot summers in hot and dry climates causing extensive damage to huge forested areas (and thereby decreasing the tree-covered areas that act as carbon dioxide sinks), while at the same time causing untold damage to property and human life. Even within storms, fires rage as in Wales recently where the power lines ignited fields of peat...


Angrboda “herald of sorrow” a giantess, known as the Hag of Ironwood.
Of Earth, the devastating effects of pollution, a by-product of carbon-based industrialisation (both in terms of oil and oil-based products such as plastics) have struck a deadly blow to the Earth and her wildlife. To say nothing of Genetically Modified Organisms possibly and irreversably undermining the intricate bio systems cooperative and symbiotic nature. And then there was Fracking....

Apocalyptic storms and unprecedented weather events continue, much like Ragnarok (the end of the world in Norse mythology, which is preceded by Fimbulvetr, the winter of winters ).

The Wild Hunt
Yet all hope is not gone, for after the storms have passed and Gaia heals herself, comes the dawn of a new day, a new Earth will rise triumphant.
 
Take heart friends of Gaia as worlds fall and raging seas rise, as storms destroy and skies bring only darkness - similalrly Ragnarok marks the end of one age - the beginning of another. 
Gaia's balance will eventually recover. She will return, lush and green and the seasons will flow in their given times once again. 

Wether we will endure as welcome guests in the longer run however will remain to be seen ~

Freyr- Edward Burne Jones






Thursday, 13 February 2014

On Valentine's Day, Lupercalia & Love ~

The Rosemary Raven  by Nethersphere 

The origins of Valentine's Day trace back to the ancient Roman celebration of Lupercalia. Held on February 15, Lupercalia honored the gods Lupercus and Faunus, as well as the legendary founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.


 
The Roman romantics "were drunk (and)...naked," says Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Young women would actually line up for the men to hit them, Lenski says. They believed this would make them fertile.

The brutal fete included a matchmaking lottery, in which young men drew the names of women from a jar. The couple would then be, um, coupled up for the duration of the festival — or longer, if the match was right.

The ancient Romans may also be responsible for the name of our modern day of love. It wasn't called "Valentine's Day" until a priest named Valentine came along. Valentine, a romantic at heart, disobeyed Emperor Claudius II's decree that soldiers remain bachelors. Claudius handed down this decree believing that soldiers would be distracted and unable to concentrate on fighting if they were married or engaged. Valentine defied the emperor and secretly performed marriage ceremonies. As a result of his defiance, Valentine was put to death on February 14.
After Valentine's death, he was named a saint. As Christianity spread through Rome, the priests moved Lupercalia from February 15 to February 14 and renamed it St. Valentine's Day to honor Saint Valentine.

Later, Pope Gelasius I muddled things in the 5th century by combining St. Valentine's Day with Lupercalia to expel the pagan rituals. But the festival was more of a theatrical interpretation of what it had once been. Lenski adds, "It was a little more of a drunken revel, but the Christians put clothes back on it. That didn't stop it from being a day of fertility and love."

As the years went on, the holiday grew sweeter. Chaucer and Shakespeare romanticized it in their work, and it gained popularity throughout Britain and the rest of Europe. Medieval scholar Henry Ansgar Kelly (author of "Chaucer and the Cult of Saint Valentine") credits Chaucer as the one who first linked St. Valentine's Day with romance.
In medieval France and England it was believed that birds mated on February 14. Hence, Chaucer used the image of birds as the symbol of lovers in poems dedicated to the day. In Chaucer's "The Parliament of Fowls," the royal engagement, the mating season of birds, and St. Valentine's Day are related:


"For this was on St. Valentine's Day, When every fowl cometh there to choose his mate."

By the Middle Ages, Valentine became one of the most popular saints in England and France. Despite attempts by the Christian church to sanctify the holiday, the association of Valentine’s Day with romance and courtship continues through the Middle Ages to this day.


To celebrate this day enjoy my machinima animation The Elf Knight & The Faerie Queene. Inspired by Spencer's poem ''The Faerie Queene'' c 1590+1596 which celebrates ''Queen Elizabeth I'', and the Scottish folk song ''The Elfin Knight''.  Set to ''Scarborough Fair'' sung by Gretchen Cornwall of World Tree Music, the song and this tale present the story of a man who tells the listener to ask his former love to perform a series of impossible tasks to win his love back. In this version the task setter is the Faerie Queene, ''Gloriana''.


   

At Valentines Day I do declare,
True Love illumines everywhere.
To those whose hearts are unrequite,
I offer hope for tender plight.
To those whose hearts are happy found,
I celebrate with joy profound.

At Valentines Day I do declare,
True love will ever guide you there.


c.Celestial Elf 2014.


Happy Valentines / Lupercalia Day !!

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Open Letter to Physical-Materialist Psycho-Spiritual Reductionist Rationalists Everywhere;

Who Art Thou White Face by Leonara Carrington


I cannot dance with your machine,
Without a heart it has no dream.
I cannot welcome exploitation,
Of Earth and people - spirits desecration.

Open your heart and we will greet you,
Step within to find life anew.
More magic than your plastic kind,
The infinite heart - compassion renew.

We will be patient while you wonder,
On this small world, outpost of the way.
But heed the divine entwined about all you,
And come join our dance - whilst you still may.

Turn away strange fears and desire to control,
Let children of Earth - sacred nature evolve.
Remember your place, as guest and guardian,
In the many layered multiverse - the cosmological garden.


c.Celestial Elf 2014.


Thursday, 6 February 2014

Merry England before the Modern Age.

The Rise and Fall of Merry England: The Ritual Year 1400-1700
by
Charting the progress from the communal year and it's festivals both sacred and secular towards a more centralised control and ensuing decline of festival times, holy days, rituals and revels.
The Protestant Reformation and its austere Puritanism is clearly the largest single cause which drew to a close earlier 'Papist' traditions of the Catholic imbued culture that had supported spiritual ritual and secular pagentry for hundreds of years.


Lammas Festival - John Barleycorn

To set the context, the English Reformation under Henry VIII had broken the Church of England from the authority of the Pope and Roman Catholic Church. From 1553, under the reign of Henry's Roman Catholic daughter, Mary I, Henry's Reformation legislation was repealed and Mary sought to achieve the reunion with Rome. Following Mary's childless death, her half-sister Elizabeth inherited the throne. As Elizabeth could not be Catholic, that church considered her illegitimate, communion with the Catholic Church was again severed by Elizabeth.
Elizabeth's reign saw the emergence of Puritanism, which encompassed those Protestants who felt that the church had been but insuficciently reformed. Puritanism ranged from hostility to the content of the Prayer Book and "popish" ceremony, to a desire for church governance and inded for society at large to be radically reformed.


The English Civil War broke out less than fifty years after the death of Elizabeth I of England in 1603. The civil war was far from just a conflict between two religious faiths, it had much more to do with divisions within the one Protestant religion. The austere, fundamentalist Puritanism on the one side was opposed to what it saw as the crypto-Catholic decadence of the Anglican church on the other. Divisions also formed along the lines of the common people and the gentry, and between the country and city dwellers.

In this politically charged and religiously swaying environment, alternately pushing an oppresive new religious austerity or inclusively reinstalling the traditional milieu of sacred and secular traditions of British life, the festive, communal culture and its traditions waned and dwindled. Each fresh onslaught of punitive policy and legal measures gradually depleted the social enthusiasm which had bound the culture together in earlier times.

Charles Landseer - Cromwell Battle of Naseby


Among the church rituals and communal activities considered innapropriate by the changing authorities, was the ornamentation of churches with garlands at festival times such as holy and ivy at christmas, the lighting of candles below icons, boy bishops and their processions, church ales which collected money for the church rituals, rogation or blessing of fields at spring, appointment of lords of misrule to preside over festivities, morris dancers, musicians and dancing at may poles. 

The pulpit, with pew-end candle stands wound with holly and ivy.


The Ancient Custom of Blessing the Fields on Rogation Sunday at Hever, Kent

CHIPPING CAMDEN MORRIS MEN - 1896

 
A chimney sweeps' Jack in the Green dances with the "Lord and Lady of the May
The earlier potent mixture of rituals and revels, pagentry, music and costumes, wholesome earthy fun and good humour which had been accepted as such by the long interwoven traditions of populace with Catholic church, was uprooted and destroyed by the ardent and extreemly keen Protestants to such an extent that various of the ensuing Crowns sought to ammeliorate on behalf of the people and their traditions but with little success.

Village fair by Flemish artist Gillis Mostaert 1590

The time afforded such holy days and communal activities had also afforded an ocassion to gather in dissorder and this sometimes developed into protests against government restrictions and taxations.

 
The jester-like fellow leading the celebrants is the Lord of Misrule.
 
The decline continued under the fervant Protestant condemnation of such frivolities and lewdness as dancing, singing and even laughing - quelle horror! Protestant authors and clergy persued their 'souless' and mirtless New World Order replacing a sacral Catholic yearly cycle with secular and anti Catholic new Protestant celebrations such as of Nov 5th (Guy Fawkes night), and Royal birthdays/Accessions etc. The dissolution continued under the rising agrarian capitalism and nascent industrialism.

The first commercially viable steam engines were designed by the Scottish inventor James Watt and manufactured at the Soho Foundry near Birmingham in the late 18th century

Highly recommended reading for any who are interested in the cultural connections between the 'old religion' (which actually meant the all embracing 'magical Catholicism' of early medieval England - and amongst these traditions were many pre Christian survivors ) and the Protestant modified puritanical exegesis and transformation of a formerly Merry England into a more dour, serious, self effacing, God fearing nation, under the varying vagaries of the Parlaiment and it's often relentless officers.  

It may be hard for us now to imagine the full extent of a medieval and earlier pagentry imbued Britain, alternately revelling and worshiping its way through the sacred year, with churches drawing on hundreds of years of iconography decoration to embellish and add impact to the many sacred days and rituals which were widely observed. Town and merchant guilds hosting processions of costumed and robed actors, with giants, dragons and unicorns represented in huge models animated by their wearers.

Chester Midsummer Watch Parade co Mark Carline

 The Burry Man, Queensferry co Simon Costin

 Oak Apple Day!
 
Individuals taking part in group as well as singular traditions from the milk maids dances and green men in spring (the chimney sweeps as it happens) to finding (or capturing) a maypole for dancing, to say nothing of seasonal feasts provided by local landowners and gentry for their tenants and neighbours. I offer for comparison the more widely known religious traditions of Tibet as they until recently held communal religious and social activities which comprised thousands at a gathering, with elaborate ritualised dramas and with embroderies as large as hills, with weeks long events of one sort or another. Similar in commitment if not form were many among the earlier traditions of Merry England.

A modern, neo-pagan celebration in Hampshire.

nb book priced at ₤50 pprbk is doubtless worth it for the extensive research alone, but I got my copy well thumbed from a second hand book dealer.