Posts Tagged ‘Enchantment’

Excerpts From The Pook Of Pok

Pok the Bard introduces himself , enchanter and poet of the fae, he portrays the beauties of this magic land and all the beings herein, explaining how he has protected this wonder for us, bids us enter in. Dancing his words past riddles clothed in myth and mystery, Pok evokes and invocates in us new senses, empowering us with love to break the bonds that beset the beauty of this realm, to mend an earth and set sacred spirit to reign….

Summon Sorcerers
From Ancient depths of myth 

An incarnate joy
Where combined troubadours Run circus rings
Where ripples run from drop
And I appear
Dealing chessboards
MET 

Where stretch the squares
The black the white
Journey of vivid logic
To teach of life’s cause
And the opposition of fates
Begin Oh Tournament
It’s A Game…

Thus it was at Goatstone Rounds
Pok first proclaimed these feiry sounds
His love of Her
His loth of war
True he hopes you will do him proud
To speak out loud
Declare beneath any tree
Your loves
For they are worthwhile
Acts live and acts inspire
And as story fires are rising higher
Make a fun that once begun
Will spread like wild about this land
Breathe a world that joyous sings
In market place where prophets
Bring their offerings
And ours for you
For is there any we can loose?

Speak We Gnomes
Sat, each our pipe in hand
On dice
Calling you to our ring of eyes
The twirl of minds wrist is our work
The slip of tricks that soar us from the mundane
In circles dream emerging
Our construction from talksome shiftstick spins
Maker, that portrays lavish dreams
And founds them here
So as we sit
We throw our glory into life
Dreams that stir from these depths alight
Bringing their fantastic visions
So hopscotch we between black and white
As dazzled we be in door’s open light

It is I Pok who speak
Who fell from Bok
To scream
At first
Then tell tales
Who calls earth She
And nestles ‘neath the old oak tree

So now we stand at place entrance
Where Pokke sometimes does he dance
Shows y through his sparrow’s eye
His intimate bower
It’s walls and towers
Murals, flowers
Balustrades, a rose and eldern crosses
Bracken, briar and moistly mosses
Courts within a garden glade
I’ll show you round, it is ok
I have kept safe an ancient land
Draw now near and understand
That I will let you in my gate
Between two hills the worlds relate
Hear the cittern’s magic drone
Feel the pull, moon’s magic moan.
Feeling tears of diamond rain
Falling on our brows again

Now

Open door you star clad guide
Let us the magic dragon ride

Those two hills
The Goatstone Rounds
Are places where we make our sounds
Are bowers, you should understand
Were worms of earth do song the land

And for Pok
True, no sword
But Elfin silver gauntlet drew
And down it threw.
Here is faith a riddle round
A pooka place a peace palace
Where worlds of words entreat
A dodman root
In glades of games of life we meet
These will echo down the wastes
To true Kingdoms
Earth-heart’s prize of timely wealth
And each a ley through stones old throat
This ancient land in stars so cloaked
Is blessed with poklamations croak
A trumpet for a new dawn’s hope

It is the Buddha’s will
And we sit with him
Within circles concentric
The five point star
And lotos fall
How star wondered
Patterns
On Taleteller’s brow
Sacred diamonds or Egyptian curls
Take us there
Remind us
Somehow
This is how we do it

And you have been led by tragedies first prankster
Come to where Pokke old crow now bows
His body pulsing with other lights
Through his eye sparrowhawk spies
Who undefined and of no fleshes but voice only
Has described a glorious ark
Which, it is agreed, it is assured
Will sail you through new senses
To see truths in strange verse
That will remain when spell is broken
Mend an earth when words are spoken

Who does work now crisis come
With gourd and voice and beaten drum?
With Deva, Sylph and Dragon King
Flaming Centaurs and wild dancers
Weave and wield
A cloth where is none
Weave and wield
Take to the field
With love magics
To break a sterner enchantment.

To play Musics in this Sacred Place

And

Put an End

To War’s Disgrace.

 Excerpts from the Pook of Pok, written, narrated and music by Pok The Bard

Explanation Of The Verse;

Pok tells us what its all about and sets off revolutions of love beneath all and every tree of his domain, setting off story fires and fun that spreads like wild, that are offered about the world we live in.

It flows out like waves and tendrils spreading out from the source. Its the circus people jugglers and clowns, minstrels and acrobats busking the streets, reaching people.

Pok dances in the Goatstones and they travel though dimensions.

The gnomes come by one by one to form a ring (of eyes) entering into that location from their realm somewhere else.

A council of gnomes whom, we must assume, are sage and up to the moment on current affairs. The dice they sit on are big, at least 6 feet on their side, six sided dice with dots for numbers.

Their talksome shift stick is based on the talking stick from rainbow circles, where the stick is passed round and the holder of it speaks their mind. Here it is sort of a spinning of creativity, born from the gnomes ‘construction’ in our real world, the place we are gathered, the Sacred space. These lavish dreams are being brought into the real world. Dreams alight, they take off, it seems into more visions. But what else can this be in a poem? And what are our visions? what do we envision?

As we follow this vision, Pok plays hopscotch down the squares directly towards the open door of light, and others follow.. The doors are but a third open and letting in a lot of light. Pok dances up first and closes the door so that only a chink of light comes through. We have arrived at an important location. This is the ‘place entrance’ the threshold to the Citadel.

((This is a missing detail here, where Pok is reticent at first to let his guests into the Pook. On the threshold he lectures his listeners on their shortcomings (he is a spacegoat of course, not human, or only a third human) Pok holds the door to his eager curious guests, making them have to wait while he tells the story of his birth.))

The creation of Pok. Bok is a vast spirit, a daemon beyond speech. He oozzes with energy and the first drop falls from him causing ripples in the nothingness, causes the first vibration which was the voice of Bok via his more streamlined off-spurt, Pok.

This terrible exposure causes the screams of Pok,

but he reconditions himself to refine these raw feelings into somethin more accessable…into tales.

Pok makes it clear that he is aligned to the Goddess and that he is somewhat of a hedger and we are soon to be taken into the heart of the Pook.

The listeners are still waiting at the doors. At first Pok only permits a glimpse ‘Shows y through his sparrows eye’ he is lookin through an ‘eye’ made by making the shape of one between your thumb and first finger and peekin through it. ‘Draw now near and understand’ …he still hasn’t let them in!!

Now a funny thing happens, the door gets called a gate, then it becomes 2 hills. These are regular smooth roundball hills, not two high, with a cleft between them. Not exactly like a generous pair of breasts yet reminiscent of such. Strange weather is happening behind them, we hear the cittern, see the moon and yes, a storm – the diamond rain falls on us all.

The doors are flung wide, dimension travel, dragons and giant space worms offer their backs to riders. We see the landscape we have travelled lighting up along the leylines where we have made songlines.

Pok then throws down the gauntlet to minds willing to go on from here. A Pook is made here, the ‘peace palace/gay marquee’…(just like at a festival) a pledge for himself and a call out for others, a call that itself is an inner or outer temple formed from these declarations.  All it is made of here, is words and games.

A dodman is an old word for a snail. The snail’s eye stalks are like the geomancer’s two rods, hence the ley energy moving through the stones….Trumpets herald a fanfare and smash our preconceptions like the sea crashing against the rocks and cliffs, and we are transported into the next location, a fully far gone zone -maybe also temporally connected to the Goatstone Rounds. Like the barbury ring crop circle, the wisdom of Buddha speaking though tales from antiquity, Egypt and the stars. Like concentric rings floatings in space with crop circles and other geometric images, the pentacle and petals if you will.

It is the cosmic node of knowing , the seat of lion kings, the initiatory self dissolver that sends you to your zodiac mother and gives you your next real name.

Finally Pok bows to his listeners, telling them of the efficacious nature of what he has described and constructed with words that are his only flesh, and he is dematerialising.

Pok asks who will take up this cause, to work with the devic forces, to make a fabric out of nothing,  to wield this, which is what one does with a weapon. To go out in the world and take to the field with these love magics we have found here…..

You can read more of Pok The Bard’s poetry at his Blog

Blessed Be The Bard and Thee ~

How To Avoid (Or To Invite) Enchantment by Faries, Elves & Elementals

To begin with, as holds for all enchanted realms and beings in view,

you should realize these represent the spirits of nature,
diversities of natural phenomenue,
which are divided and multiplied through
energies, frequencies and vibrations known as –
Earth, Air, Fire and Water.
But these ancient associates and size-less makers of space,

are mere shadows of their actual selves and their Otherkin race,
which are beyond our more usual capabilities of cognition
with even sharp wide eyes,
bright and subtle they are,
more true than even legend or sighs.

Should you have recently been,
Or expect to imminently be
Abducted or Enchanted by

Elves, Faeries and Magickal Otherkin,
And if you are quite certain and completely decided
that you would really rather not go,
And you absolutely won’t think on it again,
Here is a small collection of useful tips to protect you.


Protection from Elven or Fae Enchantment;

A rather strange protection from abduction by Faeries and Otherkin was traditionally to wear your clothes inside out, which both confused and startled these creatures to such an extent that they would rather turn away than spend any time with you at all…Additional methods include,
to keep to find and keep on your person a four leafed clover,
to wear old cold iron, or carry salt (and a piece of bread)
in your pocket all over.

Amongst the laws of enchantment however some advice is contrary,
such as the carrying of a rowan wand or living beneath tree,
as rowan trees in some tales are shown to be sacred to the Fae,
whilst in others it is itself cited a protection to keep them away…

Ringing of Bells (particularly Church Bells) also have an ambiguous role,
whilst sometimes stated as protection against enchantment and abduction,
conversely
Fairies riding on horseback, such as the Fairy Queen,
often have bells on their harnesses
(both heard by the ear and by the eye also seen)

from The Druids Dream

This example may be a distinguishing trait between the Seelie Court from the Unseelie Court, Fairies may use to protect themselves from the more wicked members of their race, or may simply be an example of the inscrutable and undefinable nature of their hidden face.
That their ways cannot be identified with any degree of certainty,
this is an immutable fact beyond all controversy.
(source’ Anon.)

Emergency Procedure

In Case Of Elven or Faery Abduction;

x x x x x x x x

In certain circumstances you may wish for rescue
or release from such an enchantment,
and the first point of note is that they exist in a time outside of time,
which means that your call for help and ensuing response
could be delayed,by as much as a hundred years,
or more if the witting wood has strayed.

It may however still be a comfort to know that there exists
such an option.

Come under full moon on a wrathful stormy night,
Wearing only old clothes, before the Guardian bring your light,
Follow the first raven’s instructions and his path upon height,
Run faster than fox up the rainfall and jump
through the sky bright.

from The Lammas Wickerman

Once you have completed this simple symmetry,
you must yield in a rhyme,
very important at such a plaintiff time,
as the rhyme generates a rhythm undulating in space
which they can more easily apprehend in their supernal grace,
now you must tell the reason why you must leave,
(you may use the voice which your throat cannot make)
(if that helps you to breathe)
and beware shedding of tear
these will simply be accepted as an offering-the sacred waters of life,
the assumption your petition misunderstood-they will leave you
like a fishwife.

Then you should find yourself revolved to the place of your leaving,
although you may still appear to be ethereal and ghostlike without feeling,
until you have been formally released
under bright-star with moon-beaming.

Alas as all things Fae in regard of time,
the duration is at best unknown,
at worst uneven.

If this is not the case and you find yourself to be still wretched and lurking,
you must repeat the process until you hear the last raven laughing,
this is the sign that the Elves and Fae do not consider you
a significant loss,
their magick world will continue well enough,
with or without you and your gloss.

Having succeeded in your escape, if ever you do….
you may now have to contend with a very changed world
that you are returned to.
Years, maybe hundreds, have passed since you left,
and indeed your own-self may seem very changed
too.
People to whom you speak may hear only backwards sounds talking,
and when you write it will be in symbols that none understands.
The Fae and others do not practice the Arts of written language
as we know of them.

But you are a clever soul and will know what is best.

x x x x x x x x


Because many contest that mortals are not made for Fairy bliss,
Caution I Have Advised and Caution Have Given.
I cannot say fairer than this.

* * *


Alternately, should you welcome the super – natural ways of beyond
and actively seek enchantment with the same to make bond,
we move on now to present the other side of the case,
as in Elven tradition – both sides of the story we fairly embrace.

so dear reader, please settle yourself well,
and when you are ready,
read on for a spell….


Invocation of Elven or Fae Enchantment;

To walk the paths of enchantment will mean a significant shift in your life,
you may have to leave friends and family far behind,
to give up your home and this life,
to follow the mysterious byways beyond knowing
and live with the people beyond strife,
be ready for change, an eternity resplendent and rife.

Of-course everyone has heard of the enchanted life mystery,
in olden days magickal bells would ring
for the man or woman of particular virtue or beauty,
as taken they were to the Otherlands home of the Fae.
However, listen a moment and take heed afore you go on your way,
for in these worlds of beyond,
the people may seem strange and unknown manners be donned
so some say….

Firstly, you need to get there,
a journey which starts wherever you are now,
although in some circumstances such as that of Brigadoon,
a walk in the gloaming before you find the path how,
or perhaps take a dragonfly if you have one to hand,
or any other conveyance that will bring you to the land.

Such traveling is best undertaken at full moon and alone,
and because we travel O best beloved to the outsides past birthstone,
the ‘times’ of most power on the earth,
when the veils between worlds no-longer postpone,
such as Beltane and Samhain, the most inward foreknown.
Certain places are also preferred for the same reasons as above,
such as the boundaries between realms as scent of foxglove,
or a high mountain range
or a lake or seashore
(bogs and marshes lead to darker realms which we therefore abhor),
these areas harbor many portals beyond..
choose the directionless inflection and let the journey respond.

Birds are an ideal mode of transport to the other realms,
as Susanna Clarke has portrayed;
There is nothing else in magic but the wild thought of the bird as it casts itself into the void. There is no creature upon the earth with such potential for magic. Even the least of them may fly straight out of this world and come by chance to the Other Lands...’
(Susanna Clarke; Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell)
Wrens, Ravens and Owls are therefore most readily purveyed.
Song (and music) is another wonderful vessel
by which to cross the spaces between,
as in the tale of the Brigadoon Piper and The Highland Boobrie
we’ve seen.
Indeed and again many thanks to Susanna,
we have a perfect description of the power of music’s
magickal manner
when the fairy sang the whole world listened…(the) clouds pause(d) in their passing…(the) hills shift(ed) and murmur(ed)(and the) cold mists dance(d)…the world is not dumb at all, but merely waiting for someone to speak to it in a language it understands...’
Music can thereby open the gates to the inner worlds
and the immanence of beyond,
for those so called, this path may be
the most accessible of choices
with which to abscond.

Once embarked on this mission
you shall naturally wish to invite an otherworldly guide,
to assist you on your way lest unwary denied,
and here the usual caution against being led astray
by the Elves and Fae need not apply,
although
if any who appear are of particularly grim countenance
or are already known as mischievous –
you may graciously decline their ghastly talking touchstone.

from The Beltane Blessing

The simplest agreement as follows will serve,
yet make no pact of quantity or duration, be wakeful, observe;

Aid me and I will Aid You.

For some people, especially those born with the gift of Second Sight,
such as Artists, Poets, Musicians and Healers of Light,
contacting the Fae is as easy as walking into wild forest,
or tumbling upon heath and calling out for the solace.

For others, an incantation of your own devising may be employed,
(be aware that the Fae have infinitely long memories and will easily spot a copy, and whilst you may invoke the Mephistophelean decree, nevertheless a counterfeit incantation is no guarantee) even so,
here is an old folklore spell I found long ago
and whilst unsure if work it still will,
you may model your own upon it and that the purpose surely shall fill.

To be incanted at midnight, on a full moon,
under an adjacent hawthorn tree,
if it is a rowan then you must adjust the chant thus accordingly.
Repeat thrice whilst walking widershins around the very same tree,
in right hand a lit candle, in left blossom or green branch of the tree,
but you must be very sure ’twas one given and not taken by thee;

Here I be, neath bless’d Hawthorn tree,
I call upon You , the unformed, unseen,
In peace
and goodwill convene from your dream,
Open to my words and Let My Sight See

from Taliesin’s Battle Of The Trees

Be careful and courteous and kindly though thou,
as they may object to being rudely invoked anyhow,
although if they do not come at your fist attempt don’t you see,
the beings beyond time have a different sense of urgency.

* * *
For any who may have strayed over time from these natural proclivities,
you may regain your Second Sight or Psychic Vision ethereally,
become restored – a Walker Between Worlds,
by apprenticeship to a Druid, Shaman or Witch,
One in whom the Cosmos unfurls.

from The Beltane Blessing

Whether they be of this world or another or other,
now living, or not yet, or no longer,
no matter.
As long a you follow the guidance with open heart sincerely.

Under tuition you will perceive
the diverse dimensions between physical and spirit,
you will open The Veil Between Worlds
and draw back The Mists with merit,
as this world falls away and away, further now, and far gone…
it is here that beings from either side are aplomb.
Here to communicate and to crossover with each-other,
the Gateway to the Land(s) of the Fae
the very fundamental fulcrum.


A few pointers about the manners
you shall be expected to show;

Once
you meet the Fae and the Eleven and such,
whilst they will rejoice you and shew delight much,
it is advised you never to look straight in their eye
or their hand seek to touch,
this is considered the height of ill breeding,
and of their patience, nonesuch.

Also
avoid thanking them as this they will take,
to form a contract of debt you might rather not make,
– they shall expect to call for your service
until such a time as they choose,
the debt discharged or the mystery bemused –
(which in a land outside time may be very long time indeed)

Finally –
avoid talking about them to others of earth or beyond,
which is rude by anyone’s standards and they will of-course despond.
This last point may explain
the lack of evidence in the earthly historians accounts,
such as we have relying largely on conjecture they pronounce.

from A Christmas Carol

As you have arrived here by design and intent,
you may forgo the usual prescriptions
to avoid eating their food- drinking wine, even being wed.
Indeed you should join in their celebrations and feasts
of which there are many,
With great delight then and joy do make merry.
Any refusal may offend and other than this,
the worst that can occur – it will merely bind you to bliss,
from inadvertently slipping away in a dream of mind wakefulness,
or being ‘rescued’ by any meddler from the earth
who does not know of us.
Similarly the more usual caution over accepting gifts or payment
from fairies no-longer apply,
As you make your home among them,
To their ways you may fly.

In general the people of the beyond are very genteel in their ways,
and they will expect as much courtesy and grace from you
for the infinite stay of your days.
To win their goodwill,
be generous and fair in all your dealings above and below,
keep all your promises bright so that everyone will know.
Perform any act of kindness, any sacrifice for love,
share of your best and your charmed life will sing like a dove.

Despite the often mysterious confusing ways which they speak,
they prefer you to be straightforward, be forthright, polite and neat.
They expect appreciation
(not thanks, see the caution above)
for the magickal gifts they bestow
upon you, the open hearted whom they cherish just so.
They welcome human companions that are thoughtful and true,
fond of solitude and contemplation and gentle reader,
this does mean you.

from A Christmas Carol

Free spirit of merriment and good fellowship above all,
they await your intention and invocations call.

* * *

To the enchanted folk both high and low,
Blessed Be and Come and Go.
I make a reverence of deepness grow,
I yield the heart that your spirit may flow.
You who are Awake
beyond all kinds of Knowing,
Sacred Seeds
of Light are sowing.


To the enchanted folk both high and low,
Blessed Be and Come and Go.

heigh ho!

c.Celestial.Elf 2012

The Song Of Amergin, A Samhain Story


King Arthur having recovered Bran The Blessed’s  talking Head, will bring this head to a Samhain gathering where Bran will recite The Song of Amergin to the assembled gathering.

On The Song of Amergin, 
The Song of Amergin is an ancient Celtic poem
which speaks of the origin of the Universe, the nature of the Gods and the path to Wisdom.
Taken from The Irish Book of Invasions first written down in the early medieval period, this poem is attributed to Amergin (Irish;Amhairghin) chief Bard and Druid of the Milesians.


Long after the magical Tuatha Dé Danann, the Faerie Clan who were considered as Gods, had established their kingdom in ancient Ireland or Éire, a new
invasion took place and the first
Gaelic people arrived.
The Tuatha Dé Danann’s High King, The Dagda, invoked his powers to repel the strangers, he sank their ships and prayed to the winds to keep them out.
They landed however and Amergin sang a poem of thanks, aligning himself with the powers of the Land. Through his Awen (poetic inspiration) he became the elements and the Cosmos, charging them with his flowing spirit and limitless understanding, he overcame all obstacles and his people took guardianship of the Land.

& How Graves Reveals A Dolmen Stone Alphabet;
Robert Graves has said that ‘English poetic education should really begin not with Canterbury Tales, not with the Odyssey, not even with Genesis, but with the Song of Amergin
By answering a series of  riddles in an ancient Welsh ‘Book of Taliesin‘, Robert Graves first uncovered ‘The Battle of the Trees’. This was a poetic ‘battle’ apparently charged with the purpose of preserving the hidden Druidic knowledge of a secret tree alphabet or Ogham, from the uninitiated during a time of cultural upheaval as the newly arrived Christianity sought to replace the earlier pagan and Druid traditions.
Then considering its Irish poetic counterpart ‘The Song of Amergin’, Graves discovered the use of a similar alphabet that also operated as an ancient Celtic calendar.  

By strictly adhering to the poem’s structure, Graves worked out the proper sequence of the Irish alphabet, which was then comprised of 13 consonants and five vowels. (It is only later that it grew to 15 consonants).
The clue to the arrangement of this alphabet is found in Amergin’s reference to the dolmen,’ says Graves. “It is an alphabet that bests explains itself when built up as a dolmen of consonants with a threshold of vowels.

Dec 24-Jan. 20 B
I am a stag of the seven tines, (Birch/Beth) 

Jan. 21—Feb. 17 L
I am a wide flood on a plain, (Rowan/Luis)

Feb. 18—Mar. 17 N
I am a wind on the deep waters, (Ash/Nion)

Mar. 18-Apr. 14 F
I am a shining tear of the sun, (Alder/Fearn)


Apr. 15-May 12 S sun,
I am a hawk on a cliff, (Willow/Saille)

May 13-Jun. 9 H
I am fair among flowers, (Hawthorn/Uath)

Jun. 10-July 7 D
I am a god who sets the head afire with smoke, (Oak/Duir)

July 8-Aug. 4 T
I am a battle-waging spear, (Holly/Tinne)

Aug. 5-Sept 1 C
I am a salmon in the pool, (Hazel/Coll)

Sept. 2-Sept. 29 M
I am a hill of poetry, (Vine/Muin)

Sept. 30-Oct. 27 G
I am a ruthless boar, (Ivy/Gort)

Oct. 28-Nov. 24 NG
I am a threatening noise of the sea, (Reed/Ngetal)

Nov. 25-Dec. 22 R
I am a wave of the sea, (Elder/Ruis)

Dec. 23
Who but I knows the secrets of the unhewn dolmen?

Poem by Amergin, Translation From The White Goddess, by Robert Graves.

http://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F24924435  The Song Of Amergin by celestialelff

Graves maintains that the architectural structure of the Dolmen with its horizontal capstone resting above two upright stone pillars, served as teaching tool for Druid priests on which the Irish alphabet was superimposed in sequential form on three separate slabs.
So for example starting upwards from the bottom left of the first stone are the letters B, L, N, and F. On the capstone from left to rights are the letters S, H, D, T and C. Descending downwards on the right pillar are the remaining consonants, M, G, NG, and R. Hidden below this stone formation thus reflecting the Celtic belief, ‘As above, so below,’ are placed the threshold of vowels, A, O, U, E and I.

Thus this alphabet Dolmen may serve as a calendar, with one post for Spring, another for Autumn, the lintel for Summer, the threshold for New Year’s Day.    
                                           

                                                                                   

                                     

                                                                             

                                                                                 

Of Graves Dolmen Ogham, Merlin and Stonehenge;
Graves’ revelation of the dolmen being used as teaching model for the Irish alphabet makes the myth of Merlin transporting the stones of Stonehenge from Ireland to Salisbury enormously intriguing.
Perhaps the stones he ferried were more of a stone alphabet like runes. If so, there is a strong possibility of a similar alphabet in use at Stonehenge and this might also explain the legend of Merlin’s alleged role in its construction..

William Blake. Jersualem.

                                                                                                        
Taking Grave’s analysis of the Song of Amergin a step further, the final riddle, ‘Who but I knows the secrets of the unhewn dolmen?’ raises questions about whether Stonehenge could be ‘read’ like a book.
Graves suggests that much like Braille, the dolmen’s dimples, indented grooves and angles are an essential part of reading the alphabet and hence the stone.

example 1. Ogham stone.

example 2. Ogham text.

                                                                    
”If one Dolmen can be used as a teaching tool on which the Irish alphabet was placed, could not an entire circle of stones tell a tale?
If it were possible, we can surmise that it could be a revelatory, almighty epic”. ( Munya Andrews )

                                                                     

                                                                         
Of Bran The Blessed;
Brân the Blessed (Bendigeidfran, the ‘Blessed Raven’) was a central figure in The Mabinogion, counted as Britain’s greatest champion before King Arthur and one of the ‘Three Blessed Kings of Britain’ according to the ancient Triads.
He was also Guardian of a magical Cauldron of Knowledge and Rebirth from the Goddess Cerridwen.
There is an ancient Celtic tradition about Cauldrons of rebirth, into which wounded, dead or dying soldiers were plunged, and came out healed and reborn.

Several scholars have also noted similarities between Brân and the Arthurian character of the Fisher King, keeper of the Holy Grail which also bestowed health, healing of wounds and disease upon its bearers. Further conjecture suggests that Cerridwen’s cauldron is in in fact the Holy Grail for which King Arthur spent his life searching as noted in Taliesin’ poem, the ‘Spoils of the Annwfn
                                                                               
                              
Following a conflict over Bran’s sister Branwen,(the White Raven) after her wedding to the Irish King Matholwch (the Bear), Bran offers him reconciliation in the form of his Cauldron. However Matholwch mistreats Branwen in Ireland and she sends word for Bran to rescue her. On their arrival the Irish offer peace but actually plot treachery and a vicious battle breaks out.

The result of the battle was very catastrophic, every Irish citizen but five pregnant women lay dead, and of the mighty armies of Bran, only seven men survived.

                                                                            
These men were instructed by the mortally wounded Bran to decapitate him and bear his head to Caer-Lundein (London) to bury it at Gwynfryn, the ‘White Mount’ (where the Tower of London now stands) to protect the Isle.
On their return voyage the men chanced to enter the Otherworld and for seven years the seven survivors (symbolic of the seven planets that regularly descend into the Underworld and then rise from it) stayed in Harlech, entertained by Bran’s head which taught them everything he had learned from the Goddess’ Cauldron, passing on his wisdom for all future generations.
That Bran, the Raven’s severed head was also capable of prophecy connects him with the ancient Celtic practice of augury, divination through bird flight.

The group set off again and land to spend a further 80 years outside of time, in a castle on Ynys Gwales, Grassholm Island off Dyfed, where they feasted in blissful forgetfulness and joy.
Eventually they take the head to the Gwynfryn, the ‘White Mount’ thought to be the location where the Tower of London now stands, and buried it facing France to ward off invasion.

According to the Welsh Triads, as long as Bran’s head remained in The White Tower facing France to ward off Saxon invasion, Britain would be safe from invasion, which it was for many generations before it was dug up by the pious King Arthur. ‘Arthur disclosed the head of Bran the Blessed from the White Hill since he did not desire that this island should be guarded by anyone’s strength but his own’ – Welsh Triads.

King Arthur had declared that he needed no talisman to protect his own country and dug up Bran’s head as proof that he could perform the requirements himself.
Sadly, he did not succeed and internal political conflict led to his death and to the increase of Saxon settlements in Britain.

King Arthur Pendragon. 2011.

More recently and following the ancient prophecies and the Celtic belief in reincarnation, the returned King Arthur has reburied a symbolic Ravens skull at The White Mount, Tower Of London, in an effort to resurrect the protective power of Bran in these troubled times.

                                                                               

                                                                          

A footnote upon Samhain;
The night of Samhain (pr; SOW-in, SAH-vin, or SAM-hayne) marks one of the two great gates of the year; Beltane and
Samhain being the doorways that divide the year into Light and Dark.
Samhain  itself is a Gaelic word signifying the end of summer and begins at sunset October 31.
This is believed by many to be a magical time when the boundaries between the worlds of the living and dead become thinner, allowing spirits and other supernatural entities to pass between them.

Traditionally, Samhain was a time to take stock of the herds and grain
supplies, to decide which animals would be slaughtered
for the people and livestock to survive the winter. Bonfires played a large part in the festivities celebrated down
through the last several centuries, and villagers were said to have cast the bones of the slaughtered cattle on the flames hence the name ‘bone fires’, some say these bones should then be ‘read’ for their prophetic powers.
With the community bonfire ablaze, the villagers extinguished all other fires.
Each family then solemnly lit its hearth from the common flame, thus
bonding the families of the village together.
The pagan Romans also identified Samhain with their own feast of the
dead, the Lemuria,(observed in the days leading up to May 13).With Christianization, the festival in November (not the Roman
festival in May) became All Hallows’ Day on November 1 followed by All
Souls’ Day, on November 2.
Over time, the night of October 31
came to be called All Hallow’s Eve, and the remnants festival dedicated
to the dead eventually morphed into the secular holiday known as
Halloween.

                                                                                  
However, historian and author Ronald Hutton points out that while medieval Irish authors do attribute a historical pagan significance to the Beltane
festival, they are silent in this respect in regard to Samhain,
apparently because no evidence of pagan ritual as a Northern European festival of the dead had survived into the
Christian period. According to Hutton, most of the popular myths about the origins of Halloween can be traced
back to two nineteenth century British authors: Sir John Rhys and Sir James Frazer (The Golden Bough) who speculated about connections between Halloween and
pagan Celtic rituals, but provided no valid evidence to back up their
claims. At the time they were writing, modern folk customs were
typically seen as remnants of prehistoric religious rituals which
survived among the common, uneducated country folk long after their
original purpose had died out.

Whilst historian Nicholas Rogers notes
that ‘some folklorists have detected its origins in the Roman
feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia, by contrast Mr. Hutton claims it is more typically linked to and derived from the Catholic holidays of All Saints and All Souls Day. This festival began on All Hallows Eve (hallow is an archaic English word for
‘saint’) the last night of October, included a Church mass for the dead, torchlight processions and bonfires.
Objectively, Mr. Hutton does include the evidence for both of these latter in the earlier festivals.
Ronald Hutton, The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britian, Oxford University Press, 1996 (See the following
chapters: 35. Samhain, 36. Saints and Souls, 37. The Modern
Hallowe’en)


The ‘Surviving’ Samhain and Halloween Tradition;
Conjecture over other aspects of this festival and following extrapolations from Beltane, the other great turning point in the Celtic world, supports many peoples views that a commemoration of the deceased could indeed have been an ancient tradition as the people saw nature fall to decay so thoughts naturally turned to loved ones also passed away. Many customs were also established, such as the approaching time of darkness being regarded with suspicion and a need for protection by bonefires and charms. Gatherings were held and still are, feasts and gifts were shared, blessings were given and invoked and the presence of spirits traveling between worlds is felt, these traditions inform our belief and practice today.

In such a view, offerings may be made to welcome specific ancestors and a community’s beloved dead home, songs, poetry and dances can performed to entertain them.

The opening of door or window to the west lit with a candle or lamp is thought to aid their passage home and conversely candle lanterns carved with fearsome faces are placed in windows to ward off any unwelcome evil spirits abroad on this otherworldly night.

The custom of wearing costumes and masks, fancy dress or disguise has developed at this time and been considered an attempt to copy the spirits or to placate them. Such ‘Guising’ has been a part of Christmas and New Years Eve customs in Britain and
other parts of Europe since medieval times. By the nineteenth century
the practice had also become a feature of Halloween in Scotland and Ireland.
The practice of Trick-or-treating apparently originates in the late medieval practice of ‘Souling‘, when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas (November 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls’ Day.

Sacred Samhain and Happy Hallowmas,
By Stone and Star
Celestial Elf ~

Taliesin’s Battle Of The Trees

I have set Taliesin’s Battle Of The Trees within two other pieces, firstly Tacitus’ report of the Roman invasion of the Druid island of Angelsey, followed by another poem from those by Taliesin which had been mixed in with The Battle of The Trees in a method of concealment to hide the poems meaning from those without understanding.

The Battle Of The Trees / Cad Goddeu ;

The tops of the beech tree have sprouted of late,
are changed and renewed from their withered state.

When the beech prospers, through spells and litanies,
the oak tops entangle, there is hope for the trees.

I have plundered the fern, through all secrets I spy.
Old Math ap Mathonwy knew no more than I.

For with nine sorts of faculty God has gifted me,
I am fruit of fruits gathered from nine sorts of tree–

Plum, quince, whortle, mulberry, raspberry, pear,
Black cherry and white, with the sorb in me share.

From my seat at Caer Fefynedd (Kire Fev-Un-eThh), a city that is strong,
I watched the trees and green things hastening along.

Retreating from happiness they would fein be set
In forms of the chief letters of the alphabet.

Wayfarers wander, warriors are dismayed,
at the renewal of conflicts such as Gwydion made.

Under the root of the tongue, a fight most dread,
and another raging, behind, in the head.

The alders in the front line began the affray.
Will and rowan tree were tardy in array.

The holly, dark green, made a resolute stand;
He is armed with many spear points wounding the hand.

With foot beat of the swift oak heaven and earth rung;
“Stout Guardian of the Door”, his name in every tongue.

Great was the gorse in battle, and the ivy at his prime;
The hazel was arbiter at this charmed time.

Uncouth and savage was the fir, cruel the ash tree–
Turns not aside a foot breadth, straight at the heart runs he.

The birch, though very noble, armed himself but late;
A sign not of cowardice but of high estate.

The heath gave consolation to the tail spent folk
The long enduring poplars in battle much broke.

Some of them were cast away on the field of fright
Because of holes torn in them by the enemy’s might.

Very wrathful was the vine whose henchmen are the elms;
I exalt him mightily to rulers of realms.

Strong chieftains were the blackthorn with his ill fruit,
The unbeloved whitethorn who wears the same suit.

The swift pursuing reed, the broom with his broad,
And the furse but ill-behaved until he is subdued.

The dower scattering yew stood glum at the fight’s fringe,
With the elder slow to burn amid fires that singe.

And the blessed wild apple laughing in pride
And the Borchan of Maeldrew, by the rock slide.

In shelter linger privet and woodbine,
Inexperienced in warfare, and the courtly pine.

But I, although slighted because I was not big,
Fought, trees, in your array on the field of Goddeu Brig.

translation from Robert Graves book The White Goddess;

The Book of Taliesin dates from the 14th C. and collected 56 of the oldest poems in Welsh, those attributed to the 6th C. poet Taliesin would have been composed in the Cumbric dialect of the north. The manuscript preserves a few hymns, a small collection of elegies and also enigmatic poems such as The Battle of Trees and The Spoils of Annwfn, in which the poet claims to have sailed to another world with King Arthur and his warriors.

The Battle of the Trees poem itself, whilst currently “pied” with approximately four other poems, is set during a war between Arawn King of Annwfn or the Underworld, and Amaethon a ploughman. This war is prompted by the latter’s theft of three magical creatures from the underworld, a dog who was the guardian of the secret, a white roebuck who hides the secret, and a lapwing who disguises the secret.
Regarding the secret powers possessed by these otherwordly creatures, it is said in the Triads:
there are three primary essentials of genius;
an eye that can see nature, a heart that can feel nature, and a boldness that dares follow it.

Druids taught in Triads or groups of three, which embodied the traditional Laws, Customs, and Wisdoms, of the ancient Celtic people, such as “Truth in heart, strength in arm, honesty in speech.” or “Three things not easily restrained, the flow of a torrent, the flight of an arrow, and the tongue of a fool.”

The poem famously details the legendary Gwydion‘s account of the trees of the forest which he enchanted to fight as his army against Arawan.
Within the ranks of Arawn’s forces were a number of mighty warriors, and one of these was invincible as long as his name remained a secret.
Gwydion the enchanter rightly guessed the secret name and won the battle saying these words:

Sure-hoofed my spurred horse,
On your shield Alder sprigs,
Bran is your name, Bran of the branches.

Sure-hoofed my horse of war,
On your hand are sprigs of Alder,
Bran you are, by the branch you bear.

However as Robert Graves explores in his book ‘The White Goddess’ the poem is particularly notable for its striking and enigmatic symbolism and the wide variety of interpretations this has occasioned.
Graves suggests that the trees in this poem correspond to the ancient Ogham alphabet, in which each alphabetic character represents a specific musical note, seasonal cycle, mythological tale and deity.
This method of association was a teaching aid in the letters and the trees associated with each, and its use in this poem was a poetic plea for the continuance of the use and teaching of this alphabet;
”This alphabet utilized thirteen consantants and five vowels. The consantants form the thirteen months of the annual cycle, while the vowels set forth the five year cycle of this Celtic calender. The letters/trees within the poem are not set in their proper order, I believe, in a further attempt to “encode” the information given in the poem so that only a person versed in this alphabet could utilize it.” Robert Graves.
Each tree had a meaning and significance of its own, and Gwydion guessed Bran’s name by the Alder branch Bran carried, the Alder being one of Bran’s prime symbols.

Graves thus argued that the original poet had concealed Druidic secrets about an older matriarchal Celtic religion for fear of censure from Christian authorities, that Arawn and Bran were names for the same underworld god and that the battle was probably not physical but rather a struggle of wits and scholarship: Gwydion’s forces could only be defeated if the name of his companion, Lady Achren (“Trees”), was guessed, and Arawn’s host only if Bran’s name was guessed.


Blessed Be /|\ ~

Beltane Blessing (Beannachadh Bealtain) 30 April-1 May

It is established and steadfast and bright and true,
That from Beltaine eve, Summerland magic leaps through,
And as a cup full of the fullness of natures invocation,
Generous as three times thrice the incantations wisdom to view.

Before the Sky and the Earth and the Sea, they have all called together,
Before the Sun and the Moon and the Stars, they have spoken as one,
By the breath of the Taliesin and of the Ganna Bandruich,
Upon the height of the hill of the many feathered winds,
Of the Eight Lesser Winds and Four Major Winds and a Wind Above all the winds as yet still not hewn,
From the Druids tongue of flames, a roaring fire will be declared here, twice in the runes,
It is a Blaze that will go all around them to the left and to the right,
To purify the night, turning aside adversity and transformed in its shape,
To burst forth the day of flowers, which is certain.

Star light shining bright empowers the Queen of the Faeries this night,
Be also empowered O people of the world lest you melt in her powerful sight,
Be not a ghost all spindled in Wonder exceeding Wonder,
But see the Fairy Host dancing within forest field and river, chanting and singing petitions of hope in the heart,
Each of a hundred-fold Sidhe will go around you and around you,
And they will come upon Him as it is always arranged,
And they will Vanish in the morning light, interwoven with the cool dew and the soft light,
And they will yield away completely, melt into forever the home of the fey.

I do bestow a fishfull sea and fertile lands soon prolific with prosperous harvests,
And green and fruited trees drooping down with the heavy growth of the fruits upon them,
And waxing fleshfull fleeced and round of sheep, goats and cattle amongst the fresh filled pastures roaming,
And delight as the Maidens sweet as wild honey each, and as fair as the lily after spring has spoken.

Joy/As May Queen manifest and with her the Green Man to the Great Rite eternal today,
A Sacred Marriage shall arise among them as in precious Chalice they set Earth’s Athame..
Opening here the secret gates behind the departed darkness of night,
And outside of the brilliance of the brightness of day,
And our flowering ones will lead us in to the Summerlands, the excellent lands, in the most beautiful way.

Be celebrated each and all then in this dance of the May,
As maids skip a ring, A’ conjuring the new Summer in,
Weaving lives, love and laughter, beside and before you, weaving bright welcome gladness all around.

And By the essence of the Oak, of Rowan and of Hawthorn in hedgerow,
By the magical energy within which I turn,
Peace Joy and Abundance to the Sky and to the Earth beneath Sky,
And to all of the peoples upon the Earth on this day
And of the binding of this blessing, I do myself bind it,
To the heart be it binded, a deep blessing from today.

It is established.

c. Celestial Elf 2011.

…………………………………………………………………..

On the tradition of Druid Rhetoric and Poetry;
Whilst Druid’s occasionally carried magic wands and stones, in the majority of cases the Druids’ only magic ‘tool’ was their voice and their words…
They were sage advisers and most often called upon to counsel Kings and other social leaders.
Above all else, they were exemplary poets and in Ancient Ireland this position was honored with status and rights surpassing even that of the Kings whom they advised.
The Rosc that such Druid’s wrote(pl Roscanna)is a rhetorical, usually magical, chant, more than just a poem, these are poems that can invoke or topple the Gods and conjure whole nations from thin air.
Intended to be obscure, full of puns, and often set in deliberately ‘pseudo-archaic’ forms intermixed with more modern idioms, these poems were not public proclamations but ‘magic’ spells and prophecy, conceived to draw mystic power from having multiple meanings and ancient obscure diction.
This multi-faceted aspect of the language of Roscanna has the same insistence on ambiguity which one finds in ancient Celtic and Irish art wherein a given figure is not merely a spiral or a face or an animal or a leaf, but is all of them at once in an exquisite gestalt.

So it has been said ~

Of Taliesin;
Taliesin is probably the most famous of the Cynfeirdd, the early Bards.
As such he has assumed an almost mythic status to the extent that two distinct Taliesin’s have emerged: the historic figure of the late sixth century and an entirely mythological figure whose legends were chronicled into the Ystoria Taliesin (Tale of Taliesin) by Elis Gruffydd in the mid sixteenth century.
His name is derived from the proto-Celtic elements talo(forehead) and jes-t-īn-o(bright) and has been interpreted as ‘radiant brow’ possibly referring to his blonde hair, but equally possibly representing the radiance of his gift of poetry, his awen.

Of Ganna Bandruich, the Female Druid;
Whilst most Roman records referred mainly to male Druids, the existence of female Druids is confirmed by the written sources from the Greek and Roman who were fascinated by the role of women in Celtic society.
The Celtic culture as a whole was known to accord equal status and high regard to their women folk in contrast to Roman world where women had no political rights and very limited civil rights, Roman women could not for example own property or inherit land, were kept in seclusion and considered ‘chattel’.

Because the rights of Celtic women were many times better than the rest of Europe, we can make an educated guess that a persons gender mattered little when one wished to study the Druid ways.
All that would be needed is a strong memory and intellect and the desire to learn.
In addition there are references to bandrui in the medieval Irish tales, ban signifiying female and drui for Druid.
Conchobor Mac Nessa’s mother Nessa was a druid, Finn was raised by a female druid and Scathach is explicitly called both a flaith or ‘prophetess’ and a druid and she prophesies about Cú Chulainn.

Of the name Ganna, Dio Cassius mentions that a Druidess named Ganna went on an embassy to Rome and was received by Domitian, younger son of the Roman Emperor Vespasian, this serves as precedent for the name here used..

………………………………………………………..

On the Beltane Festivals;
Beltane or Beltane is the Gaelic name for the festival that rightly begins on April the 30th or Beltane’s eve and continues on 1st May and is a celebration of purification and fertility.
The name originates from the Celtic god, Bel – the ‘bright one’, and the Gaelic word ‘teine’ meaning fire, giving the name ‘bealttainn’, meaning ‘bright fire’.
Marking the beginning of the Summer season with the lighting of two great bon-fires on Beltane’s eve signifies a time of purification and transition, these fires may be made of the nine sacred woods, Alder, Ash, Birch, Hawthorn, Hazel, Holly, Oak, Rowan and Willow.
Heralding in the season in the hope of a good harvest later in the year, Beltane festivals were accompanied with ritual acts to protect the people from any harm by Otherworldly spirits.

Significantly, as the Goddess (Brigid) moves through her various phases, Beltane sees the womanly aspect of the Summer Goddess banish the Old Crone aspect of the Winter Goddess in readiness for the maternal time and the fruits of nature to follow.

As this is one of the magic turning points of the Sacred Seasons, the veil between worlds is thought to be especially thin, and as a result many of the Fairy Host, the Sidhe and the Tuatha De Danann may be seen crossing between the worlds.
Particularly, the Faery Queen is thought to travel about on this night and if you gaze too long on her enchanted beauty she may whisk you away to live in her Other realms outside of time for an eternity.
The Faery Queen also represents the May Queen, although in practice the honor is usually carried out by young women who are soon to be married.

The May Queen’s role in the Beltane proceedings, along with her May King, mythically a Jack in The Green, the Green Man or Horned God, is to take part in the Great Rite.
This is the Sacred Marriage of the God and Goddess, often reenacted by a symbolic union during which the Athame (magical knife symbolizing male energy) is placed by the King of May into the Chalice (Sacred Cup symbolizing female energy) held by the Queen of the May.
For a more detailed account of how this ritual was enacted in earlier time,
I refer the reader to Marrion Zimmer Bradley’s moving account in her fiction The Mists of Avalon.

Following this union which serves to Open the way to the Summer Lands,
festivities ensue, particularly that of dancing around the May Pole.
The May Pole itself is a symbol of the union of the God and the Goddess, as the red ribbons represent the fertility of the Goddess, the white represent the fertility of the God.
Men begin the weaving by dancing under the upheld ribbon of the first women facing them, accompanied by music, drums beating or chanting. The dancers move forward, stepping alternately over and under each person who’s dancing toward them.
The dance continues until the Maypole is completely wrapped, then the ribbons are tied off and the wreath from the top is tossed to the earth to bring its gathered power into the ground.

Whilst such public festivals are not as widespread as they once were, famously at Padstow in Cornwall there still is held an annual ‘Obby-Oss‘ day, which is believed to be one of the oldest survivng fertility rites in the United Kingdom.
St. Ives and Penzance in Cornwall are now also seeing a revival of similar public festivities.

Other Beltane Lore;
During Medieval times, a man might also propose marriage by leaving a hawthorn branch at the door of his beloved on the first day of May.
If the branch was allowed to remain at her door, it was a signal that the proposal was accepted. If it was replaced with a cauliflower, the proposal was turned down.
Crosses of birch and rowan twigs were hung over doors on the May morning as a blessing and protection, and left until next May day.
Going ‘A-Maying’ meant staying out all night to gather flowering hawthorn, watching the sunrise and making love in the woods, also known as a ‘greenwood marriage’
The dew on the May day morning is believed to have a magical potency – wash your face and body in it and you will remain fair all year.

Blessed Beltane to You ~

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