My Name Is Elf

My name is Elf

To introduce myself and my machinima animations.

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Hi , my name is Celestial Elf.
Im a Digital Druid, Pagan Poet, Shamanic Soul and Machinima animation artist
celebrating nature, spirit and the ancient ways.
In respect of my being an Eco-Druid–the short version is because I find my spirituality in and through Nature.

My name is “Celestial” because this denotes the heavens, the freedom of the skies and the beyond. “Elf” because of my affinity with the Norse origins of the term (álfar) describing semi-divine beings endowed with magical powers which they may use for the benefit of mankind.

The machinima films I make are animations filmed within a three dimensional virtual reality world.
Some of my films have been noted for their lovely music and im very happy to say that man musicians including Serpentyne, Lisa Thiel, The Dolmen, World Tree Music and Trouvere have made avaliable for my use specific compositions or songs that i can use in my films.

I make ecology and mythology based machinima animations to share my  message of care for nature, the environment and all of life-kind, with the hope that some among the viewers will both enjoy an be uplifted by them–but more pressingly–be inspired by them to recognize the issues I address and take whatever actions available to them, great or small, to further the causes considered. Be it sharing my film to signing a petition, or changing their life in some way.

Regards my inspiration, perhaps the best explanation of all is
J.L. Stanley’s Catechism For A Witch’s Child:

When they ask to see your gods, your book of prayers,
Show them lines drawn delicately with veins on the underside of a bird’s wing,
Tell them you believe in giant sycamores mottled and stark against a winter sky,
And in nights so frozen stars crack open spilling streams of molten ice to earth,
And tell them how you drink a holy wine of honeysuckle on a warm spring day,
And of the softness of your mother who never taught you death was life’s reward,
But who believed in the earth and the sun and a million, million light years of being.

Blessed Be to You from Me ~

The Legend of Two Wolves

The Legend of the Two Wolves

Cherokee tale Adapted and Narrated by  C. Mikkal Smith.

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This is an old Cherokee story used for initiating youth and healers. It is not well known outside of Cherokee folklore, but its message is profound and universal. It is called the Legend of Two Wolves.

I will tell this story from the point of view of  the contemporary world — adapting it to our time and place, as any living myth should be,

* * * *    * * * *    * * * *    * * * *

The story begins with an old man, an Elder, and his Grandson who have been walking in the woods.
Nightfall is approaching and a sliver of moonlight and the evening star are already shining above.
The old man and boy come back into the village, where a fire is burning outside.The old man approaches ahead of the boy and carefully places a couple of logs on the fire.He puts a little tobacco on the fire. He calls out,
“Grandson come here, there is something I want to I want to tell you.”

He walks up and sits down, waiting in the silence.
The old man speaks.
“Grandson, …there is a terrible war going on inside myself, … the time has come to tell you about it because this is a battle that goes on not only inside me, but inside you, and every human in the world.”

“What kind of war is this?” Grandfather?

“There are two wolves fighting for control. A Blue Wolf and a Red Wolf…. One of the wolves, the Blue Wolf, is full of fear. It is needy and greedy and it is always wanting something, but it doesn’t know what. Its mind is filled with Judgment and competition. In time the Blue Wolf has grown big. He becomes angry and filled with envy, wanting what others have. It does not walk lightly on the Earth.”

“The Red Wolf is quite different. It is beautiful and walks gently on the Earth It is filled with reverence and love for life. It lives in the moment and takes delight in the simple pleasures of being alive. It is generous, kind and respectful of all life, its own, and the life of others, the green grasses, the insect peoples, and all the animals.

The grandson sat quietly gazing into the fire, contemplating the story that grandfather told him for awhile in silence. The grandfather add another log and offers some more tobacco and sweet grass.
Then the grandson looks at his grandfather and asks
“But who will win this war, Grandfather?”

The grandfather shifted his position and leaned forward saying softly and directly:
“It depends upon which one You feed!”

A long silence follows as they both gaze into the fire.
Then grandfather speaks:
“So now I have a question: If you have these two wolves within you, Who are You?”

The boy paused for a moment and said
“Perhaps I am both grandfather, sometimes I am one more than the other.”

The grandfather replies sharply,
“No! This is not the answer.” Take some more time with my question.”

The grandfather walked away from the fire for awhile, leaving the grandson alone. When he comes back he offers another log and offers more tobacco. After a period of silence he asks:
“Have you found the answer to my question?”

The boy replied,
“Yes, . . . I am the feeder of wolves.”

The grandfather sat in silence, satisfied the grandson now had understood.

* * * *

Cherokee tale Adapted and Narrated by C. Mikkal Smith Phd Director of Crows Nest Wilderness Retreat and Conference Center, Dowagiac, Michigan, Director of Crows Nest Centers for Shamanic Studies International in France and Belgium, currently teaching in Paris and Payzac; Captetown, South Africa, and Iquitos, Peru. ( Crows Nest Center for Shamanic Studies )

* * * *    * * * *    * * * *    * * * *

The tale of Two Wolves is a powerful psychological and spiritual medicine to initiate the listener into life-wisdom.
The form of this  ‘medicine story’ is a sacred “fire talk”, a heart-to-heart talk around a sacred fire with the aim of transmitting heart-centered and earth-honoring wisdom for living as a whole person.

For Native Americans, “Grandfathers” (or Grandmothers) is a title of respect for the spiritual powers, and for ritual elders and healers. The terms “Grandson” may have originally been a corresponding symbol for the youth or shamanic apprentice.

The focal point of the story is the awakening of the individual to personal responsibility for their life, the outcome of their choices. It presupposes a spiritual being inside, an “I Am” that is free, creative, and can feed its attention and thoughts in ways that result in life enhancement and growth towards fulfillment (Red Wolf), or in ways that thwart and cause the growth of suffering for self and others (Blue Wolf). In the Native American medicine ways to be a fully human means that you are living in a heart-centered and earth-honoring way, and that you are honoring You. To honor you is to honor your own desires, feelings, and vision of things, and to protect all that against the opinions and judgments of others, and especially, protect it against the Blue Wolf energies in your own mind. To be alive and healthy in this way means that you have reduced the size of the Blue Wolf in your life to the point where there are no major obstacles to your being you, living the life you really want and are meant to live. This is folk psychology at its best.

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Priniciples for Feeding the Red Wolf:
1. Commit to honoring yourself without question.
2. Don’t give your power away. Honor your inner teachers and protect what they give you.
3. Trust your own inner sense of heart knowing (heart-NGS, felt-sense, intuition, sprit guides), Initially you may need an outer human teacher to guide you to find and consistently follow your inner teachers (what Fire Talks do).
4. Don’t accept the opinions or wishes of others for you without running it by your heart first.
5. Avoid praise and blame. Know your on value and protect.
6. Don’t let fear stop you. Follow your heart/NGS in spite of fear.
7. Drop victim thinking.
8. Muster the courage to look within and see what you find. Be honest and see warts and all, Blue Wolf habits, so you can go to work reducing these. But also see your unique wood-grained individuality.
9. Take control of your life be removing the Blue wolf energies, and reclaiming lost parts of yourself (soul recovering). Get all of you on line.
10. Get in your flow by living faithfully from your heart and honoring your unique individuality. You will know you are in your flow by the synchronicities, feedback, and NGS.
11. Be pragmatic and use those beliefs and strategies and choices that get results you want and that feel right in your heart, in your bones! Judge the value of your beliefs and choices by the results you get, and not based on the beliefs and opinions of others, or on what external authorities told you.

Are you living from your heart? Is your heart open and generous? How much sunshine is there in your heart? There can’t be much sunshine if you are not living your true life, if you are not strong enough to hold your ground, express your voice in the community, open yourself to the point of view of other people and other creatures. Anything that gets in the way of the life giving sunshine (Blue Wolf-energies) needs some good medicine to remove it and to help you cultivate the life-energies and joy you really want and need.

* * * *

Footnote on the Sacred Nature of Wolves;
Both Celestial Elf and Mikkal would like to make clear that the Wolves in this tale are purely symbolic of human energies and that along with  the Cherokee and many other people, we have the greatest respect for Wolves.

The Wolf is a powerful motif in the foundational mythologies and cosmologies of peoples throughout Eurasia and North America (corresponding to the historical extent of the habitat of the gray wolf). The obvious attribute of the wolf is its nature of a predator, and correspondingly in western mythologies it has generally been associated with danger and destruction.
However as a more Earth centered spirituality – awareness of the lives and energies of other creatures, develops in the modern world, both conservation efforts and  positive symbolism of the wolf are gaining ground.
Positive meanings of the Wolf as a  power animal symbolic of freedom emphasize a deep connection with your intuition and instincts. On the negative side, the wolf could represent perception of a threat or a lack of trust in someone or your own feelings or actions. This spirit animal also reflects sharp intelligence in dealing with important matters.
If you have the wolf as a spirit animal, it could be an expression of your sharp intelligence and strong instincts perceiving and understanding the world around you.

Whether the wolf appears in physical form or in a dream or meditation, it may reveal that you’re using your instincts and intuition to grasp a situation well. The fact that your wolf animal spirit guide shows up could also be a call to use this capacity to deal with a recent challenge you’ve experienced in your life.

When a wolf manifests its presence as a guide in your life, it could be a call to live your life more freely, to bring the intensity of passion in your everyday endeavors, it could be an invitation to look at what supports your authentic self and the true expression of yourself. ( http://bit.ly/1jQFJas )

Wolves became extinct in Scotland and Ireland in the 1700s and sometime before that in England, persecuted by Man. Today, their European strongholds include Russia, eastern Europe and Scandinavia.
Reintroducing the Wolf to Scotland was first proposed in the late 1960s, but the idea only started to gain wider publicity and support following the reintroductions of the red wolf to the south-eastern United States in 1989, and the grey wolf to Yellowstone National Park in 1995. More information here( http://bit.ly/1jQGmAN ).

Tu Kuy ~

Capitalism – Born in Flames / Women – Burned in Chains ~

Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation by Silvia Federici;

 

Caliban and the Witch challenges the widely-held belief that capitalism was at one time a progressive or necessary development. Reinstalling the excluded history of the Witch Hunt that consumed Europe with terror for more than 200 years, Federici demonstrates that capitalism has always relied on spectacular violence, particularly against women, people of color, workers, and those cultivating a more egalitarian future, to create its landless working class and to destroy communities and loyalties that existed outside of itself.

”A return of the most violent aspects of primitive accumulation has accompanied every phase of capitalist globalisation including the present one, demonstrating that the continuous expulsion of farmers from land, war and plunder on a world scale, and the degradation of women are necessary condition for the existence of capitalism in all times.”.

”Capitalism was the response of the feudal lords, the patrician merchants, the bishops and popes, to a centuries long social conflict…Capitalism was the counter-revolution that destroyed the possibilities that had emerged from the anti-feudal struggle -”

”The “shock therapy” of the Witch Hunt was used to terrorize rebels and visionaries, impose new discipline on the body, on female sexuality in particular, and usher in a new social system based on a landless working class and the devaluation of women’s labor.”

* * * * * * * *

The main focus of Caliban is the Witch Hunt of the 15th–17th centuries in Europe, through which “hundreds of thousands of women were tried, tortured, burned alive or hanged, accused of having sold body and soul to the devil.”

Federici argues that this repression was primarily “a war against women,” which constructed a new sexual hierarchy based on the division between male wage labor and female unpaid reproductive labor such as raising children, caring for the elderly and sick, nurturing their husbands or partners, and maintaining the home. Those accused of witchcraft were often women who lived outside this binary – as rebels, healers, midwives, sexual/gender non-conformists, or those providing forbidden knowledge of contraception or abortion.

Federici posits this systematic violence against women as one mode in the formation of capitalism when she instructs that “the witch-hunt occurred simultaneously with the colonization and extermination of the populations of the New World, the English enclosures, and the beginning of the slave trade.” Contrary to “laissez-faire” orthodoxy which holds that capitalism functions best without state intervention, Federici expands upon Marx’s proposition that it was precisely the state violence of this “primitive accumulation” that laid the foundation for capitalist economics.

Principally, capitalism could not have been formed without the creation of a landless working class. People do not readily submit themselves to wage labor unless they no longer have an autonomous ability to provide for themselves or their communities. In Marx’s oft-quoted section from Capital, “these new freedmen became sellers of themselves only after they had been robbed of all their own means of production… And the history of this, their expropriation, is written in the annals of mankind in letters of blood and fire…The witch burning was medieval “Shock and Awe.” ”

But unlike Marx, who saw the separation of humans from their traditional land-bases as a necessary evil for the expansion of “the productive forces,” Federici emphasizes the loss of the freedom we once enjoyed through connection to the land. She points out that before the Enclosures, even the lowliest of serfs had their own plot of Earth with which they could use for just about any purpose. Federici writes, “With the use of land also came the use of the ‘commons’ – meadows, forests, lakes, wild pastures – that provided crucial resources for the peasant economy (wood for fuel, timber for building, fishponds, grazing grounds for animals) and fostered community cohesion and cooperation.” [alex knight] ( ( more details look here ) )

* * * * * * * *

”This is also what is happening today, as a new global expansion of the labour market is attempting to set back the clock with respect to the anti-colonial struggle, and the struggles of other rebl subjects – students, feminists, blue collar workers (I add farmers, unemployed, disabled, elderly, single parents, children ) …

It is not surpising then, if large scale violence and enslavement have been on the agenda, as they were in the period of ‘transition’ , with the difference that today the conquistadors are the officers of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, who are still preaching the worth of a penny to the same populations which the dominant world powers have for centuries robbed and pauperized.”

Serious reading for a fuller perspective of our life and times.

Recommended.

Glad Tidings of The Eighth Magpie ~

 

 

Just saw a glad tiding of Eight Magpies in our back garden tree;
A group of magpies is called a tiding.

Related to the crow the magpie is a remarkably intelligent bird and associated with Shamanic qualities. Ancient folklore associated with the magpie suggests that when two or more fly into one’s life good fortune is coming soon. Since magpies are opportunists and seldom miss a chance to get something for nothing, those with this medicine should pay attention to subtle omens that appear in their life then act accordingly so opportunities are not missed. The magpie asks us to wake up and be conscious in every area of our life.

The Magpie is associated with prophecy in the following rhyme (which has many variants)…

 


One for sorrow

Two for joy

Three for a girl

Four for a boy

Five for silver

Six for gold

Seven for a secret never to be told

Eight for heaven,

Nine for a kiss,

Ten a surprise you should be careful not to miss,

Eleven for health,

Twelve for wealth,

Thirteen beware it’s the devil himself.
Magpie pairs are monogamous and stay together for the entire duration of their lives. An old English tradition notes that if one magpie flies by, you should take your hat off and bow repeating this line : Morning/Afternoon Mr Magpie. How’s Mrs Magpie and all the little Magpies? This will help assure your good luck throughout the day.

One seen flying or croaking around a house or sitting alone symbolises that misfortune is present. Should a flock of magpies suddenly abandon a nesting area then, like the crow and rook, death is present and hard times are ahead. To avoid bad luck it is said that taking your hat off to the passing birds will act as protection against darker forces. Perhaps these associations stem from the fact that it was the only bird that would not enter the Ark preferring to stay outside. It is one of the very birds that also has black and white plumage, a combination of the sacred or holy colour (white) and of evil (black).

To have one perch on your roof though is supposed to indicate that the house will never fall down. According to tradition it would be best to rearrange a journey if you see just one. If one is seen on the way to church it signifies that death is present, hence some believe that it is best to cross yourself to ward off evil or negative energies whilst saying ‘Devil, Devil, I defy thee’.

In Somerset, England it was once thought that to carry an onion at all times would provide protection against magpies.

Legend also has it that when a magpie’s mate dies it summons an assembly of other magpies at which the dead bird is honoured before a new mate is selected. In Celtic lore the bird was sacred to ‘Magog.’

Related to the crow the magpie is a remarkably intelligent bird and associated with Shamanic qualities. Ancient folklore associated with the magpie suggests that when two or more fly into one’s life good fortune is coming soon. Since magpies are opportunists and seldom miss a chance to get something for nothing, those with this medicine should pay attention to subtle omens that appear in their life then act accordingly so opportunities are not missed. The Magpie asks us to wake up and be conscious in every area of our life. More Magpie info here.

Wishing you all the luck of the Eighth Magpie –

 

 

Caw!

 

 

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          

 

 

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 !!

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 sublime.

 

We will be patient while you wonder,

On this small world, outpost of the way.

But heed the divine entwined all about you,

And come join our dance – whilst you still may.

 

Turn away from strange fears and the desire to control,

Let the children of Earth and sacred nature evolve.

Remember your place, as a guest and a guardian,

In the many layered multiverse – the cosmological garden.

 

c.Celestial Elf 2014.

Merry England before the Modern Age.

The Rise and Fall of Merry England: The Ritual Year 1400-1700

by Ronald Hutton, My Review;

 

 

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.

 

 

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 Civil War broke out less than fifty years after the death of Elizabeth I of England in 1603.

The English 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 – The Eve of the Battle of Edge Hill, 1642

 

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 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.

 

Village fair by Flemish artist Gillis Mostaert 1590

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.

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.

 

 

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, 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.

 

 

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.

 

The Ent

 

 

 

Ents, also known as talking trees, are rarely encountered and its a great privilege to actually see or talk with one.

Oracular Trees are attributed with the ability to speak to individuals, especially those gifted in divination. In particular, Druids were said to be able to consult Oak trees for divinatory purposes, as were the Streghe with Rowan trees.

 

The word “Ent” was taken from the Anglo-Saxon (Old English) word ent, meaning “giant”. Ents are probably the most ubiquitous of all creatures in fantasy and folklore, perhaps second only to dragons, most famously known now as the Ents in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth stories.

 

Perhaps not quite Ents, but the Cad Goddeu (The Battle of the Trees) medieval Welsh poem preserved in the 14th-century manuscript known as the Book of Taliesin refers to a traditional story in which the legendary enchanter Gwydion animates the trees of the forest to fight as his army. The poem is especially notable for its striking and enigmatic symbolism and the wide variety of interpretations this has occasioned particulalry by Robert Graves in his book The White Goddess.

 

I made a short animation based on the Cad Goddeu –

Taliesins Battle Of The Trees;

 

In Ireland a tree may help a person look for a leprechaun’s gold, although it normally does not know where the gold is.

According to Greek mythology, all the trees in the Dodona (northwestern Greece, Epirus) grove (the forest beside the sanctuary of Zeus) became endowed with the gift of prophecy, and the oaks not only spoke and delivered oracles while in a living state, when built into the ship Argo the wood spoke and warned of approaching calamities.

The rustling of the leaves on an Oak tree was regarded as the voice of Zeus.

 

The Greek Talking Elm: Philostratus spoke about two philosophers arguing beneath an elm tree in Ethiopia which spoke up to add to the conversation.

 

The Indian Tree of the Sun and the Moon: Told the future. Two parts of the tree trunk spoke depending on the time of day; in the daytime the tree spoke as a male and at night it spoke as a female. Alexander the Great and Marco Polo are said to have visited this tree.

 

In Hugh Lofting’s 1928 novel Doctor Dolittle in the Moon, the lunar flowers and trees are intelligent and capable of communication by using scents, the sounds of wind through branches, etc.

 

Imbued with Earth wisdom gathered over their very long life spans, the Ent is a friend to consult on all serious matters, but dont expect a hasty answer for as J.R.R.Tolkien explains of the Ent “My name is growing all the time, and I’ve lived a very long, long time; so my name is like a story. Real names tell you the story of the things they belong to in my language, in the Old Entish as you might say. It is a lovely language, but it takes a very long time to say anything in it, because we do not say anything in it, unless it is worth taking a long time to say, and to listen to.”

 

 

 

Blessed Be the Ent and Ent Friends xx ~

Environmental Serenity Prayer

Gaia grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;

the brevity of a beautiful day and my time upon the earth,
the harshness of the seasons and futility of a world without mirth.
Of people who are foolish, the heartless and the cruel,
the death of all our loved ones – natures immutable rule.

Gaia grant me the courage to change the things that I can;
such as impatience with ignorance in all its forms –
consciousness raising to basic humanitarian norms,
respect for our ancestors bones and sacred circles of stones –
spiritual diversity imbues this life with mysterious meanings unknown,
saving ancient forests and trees who make the air that we breathe –
our narrow parameters of existence enabled by evironments we need,
getting rid of greenhouse gassess and anthropogenic emissions –
by curbing industrial air pollution and such short sighted commissions,
offsetting offsetting because lifes microhabitats are rare –
and cannot be replaced at goblin markets of biochemical fare,
forgoing fracking – both public and secret –
that earth be safe without carcinogenic chemical seepage,
dropping dioxin toxins and plant pesticide armagedon –
by fostering farming that is safe to the seventh generation,
barring gene splicings and science fiction mutations –
by supporting a sustainable world built on ecological foundations,
rescinding radiation, nuclear-atomic aberration –
for sunlight and windpower and possibly clean fusion salvation,
ommitting oil spills from oceans by choosing –
other forms of energy and greater care using,
abandoning xenoestrogens in birth control pills –
and countless strange medecines that do not cure our ills,
ending genocide and ecocide in all of its forms –
by supporting green business that all survive lifes storms,
not a call for new luddites and progress avoiders,
but rather for compassion, so please come and join us.

Gaia grant me the wisdom to know the difference today,
to take personal action in every small way –
choices I make to give and to take,
to understand the consequences and blessings awake.

c. Celestial Elf 2014.

 

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