Posts Tagged ‘Glastonbury’

On Wicca and the Christian Heritage: Ritual, sex and magic.


Five Star Book Review;
Joanne Overend’s
Wicca and the Christian Heritage: Ritual, sex and magic.

Warning, this is a very academic work steeped in a breathtaking complexity of reference and cross reference that launches the reader into an unexpected examination of the conflicts between the Christian Churches..
However, quickly (in an academic sort of way) the text becomes imbued with the intrigue and mystery of the ‘episcopanes vagantes’ or wandering Bishops, as in a ripping-yarn-like-account they set about creating offshoots and unauthorized new lines of religious movements and churches.

The ensuing revealed history is fascinating as it presents the developments of their heterodox churches with increasingly less attachment to either the Protestant or the Catholic churches, the former regarding the latter as practitioners in witchery via their priest-craft of mass and transubstantiation etc, the Anglican church’s endeavors to assert an apostasy direct from ancient Jerusalem via Joseph of Arimathea’s mission to Glastonbury thus sidestepping the subsequent Papal Creed and Catholic church of Rome in favor of a more natural form of Christianity….

The author then examines in some detail the definition of Ritual and its meanings within the old Catholic tradition, the new Anglican church (with its claim to older traditions than the Catholic), the Catholic v Protestant dichotomy between Ritual as The Spiritual Experience which transforms lives v Protestant prioritization of Understanding as the primary factor of a spiritual life.
Against this background, the new Wiccan claims to be ”The” ‘Old’ Religion, their founders Christian associations, that for example Crowley was brought up among Brethren, that Gardeners involvement with Spiritualist churches, the interest in The Golden Dawn and the Rosicrucians, as well as claimed descent from the even older ones of Egyptian mystery religions, sets the pathway to consider Wicca in terms of its defining aspects of ritual and practice.
Ritual is revealingly portrayed across the diversity of traditions in addition to a thoughtful, non salacious handling of the aspect of sexual control, rebellion and practice across the diverse traditions.

Specifically the comparison of the Catholic medieval condemnation of witchcraft (comprised of unorthodox and elderly single women, herbalists, Jewish and other culturally excluded people and groups) the later comparison by Protestants of Catholics themselves with this same group based on their magical rituals, and the subsequent development of Wiccans and others who practice various forms of ritual, along with the lines of inception by which the latter have come to create their new/old traditions is fascinating.

Strongly Recommended for any who wish to ‘Understand’ the origins of the new/old traditions of Wicca and Paganism, but not essential for those who prioritize experiential spirituality over cognitive reconciliation.

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The Lammas Wickerman


The Druids Oath;
We swear by Peace and Love to stand, heart to heart and hand in hand,
Mark, Oh Spirit, and hear us now, confirming this our sacred vow!

Lammas;
The mighty wheel of the year has turned upon us once more,
And I give thanks for the bountiful harvest.

All hail the Sun, whose golden rays have bestowed magic
upon the growing fruits of our lands.
All hail the Sun, He has ripened our fields
And blessed us by grain without number.
This joyous time is the first harvest of Lammas!
So All hail the great Sun And He will come again.

And now all about us as days do shorten,
We stand ready for the dark time ahead.
With corn stored in abundance against the cold darkness of winter
We face the bleak hardship without any dread.
So mote it be!



Lammas c. The Bard Of Ely, 2011. Poems Narrated by The Bard of Ely.
Welsh Translation kindly provided by Gareth Owen
Rheolwr y Theatr(Manager) Theatr y Pafiliwn/Pavilion Theatre, Rhyl.
Grateful thanks to The Bard of Ely for use of his song I AM (feat Ed Drury).

Lammas, also called Lughnasadh (Loo-Nah-Sah) in commemoration of The Celtic Sun God Lugh, occurs at the beginning of the harvest season, in the Northern Hemisphere 1st August, in the Southern February 1st.
The word Lammas itself derives from the Old English celebration of loaf mass, harvesting the first grains which by nightfall made the first loaves of the season. As the grain is cut, some is stored to create new life in the spring. To harvest before Lammas could only be because the previous year’s harvest had run out, a serious problem in agricultural communities, hence thanks for a harvest on time.

Lugh, also known as the patron of Bards and Magicians, came to be associated with grain in Celtic mythology because Tailtiu his foster mother died from exhaustion after clearing the great forest so the people could cultivate the lands. Before she died she told them that her son Lugh, the Sun King, would pour his spirit into the grain to sustain them over the long fruitless winters. People honor Her gift and the crops with a day of thanksgiving for the harvest, a harvest festival.

Grain has been associated by many cultures with the mystery of death and rebirth for centuries, celebrated by deities such as the Sumerian grain god Tammuz.
In English folklore, the folksong representing John Barleycorn as the crop of barley, corresponds to the same cyclic nature of planting, growing, harvesting, death and rebirth.
Sir James Frazer cites this tale of John Barleycorn In The Golden Bough as proof that there was a Pagan cult in England that worshiped a god of vegetation, who was then sacrificed to bring fertility to the fields.
It is tempting to see in this tradition echoes of human sacrifice as portrayed in The Wickerman film (1973), but that is not really what this time is about.
Whilst there was a Celtic ritual of dressing the last sheaf of corn to be harvested in fine clothes, or weaving it into a wicker-like man or woman, it was believed that the Sun ‘s spirit was trapped in the grain and needed to be set free by fire and so the effigy was burned. This tradition is thought by many to have been the origin of the misconception that Druids made human sacrifices, along with Julius Caesar’s politically motivated accounts.

In Scotland, the last sheaf of harvest is called ‘the Maiden’, and must be cut by the youngest female in attendance.
In other regions a corn dolly is made of plaited straw from this sheaf, carried to a place of honor at the celebrations and kept until the following spring for good luck.



The Bard of Ely is an eco-warrior, poet, author, Arthurian Druid, master of herblore, singer-songwriter, techno-folk fusion pioneer, actor and performer originally from Cardiff, Wales.

In medieval Gaelic and Welsh society a Bard was a professional poet, employed to compose eulogies for his Lord. In the Viking courts of Scandinavia and Iceland their counterparts were called Skalds.
The Bardic poets were often accorded nearly divine rank and had a freedom of movement to cross political borders denied even Kings, because the magic of their poems and chants was believed to hold the power to topple Gods or conjure whole nations out of thin air.
Just as Druidic mythology points to knowledge as the key to self awareness, which is symbolized by certain holy-places of great importance, these mythic ‘places’ may be both inaccessible but also not inaccessible at the same time, it requires a leap of faith to find them and that leap of faith is expressed in the Bard’s poetic proclamation.

In the tradition of Welsh Bards such as Aneirin and Taliesin, The Bard of Ely shares his skills as Principal Bard of the Loyal Arthurian Warband Druidic Order (Stonehenge) and Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri (Avebury), as well as across the wide reaching area of his creative and spiritual mission.
In 2002 and 03, The Bard of Ely was both compere for the Avalon Stage at Glastonbury Festival and played there, as well as appearing at the Green Man Festival. He has also collaborated with Crum (keyboard for Hawkwind) who has remixed a number of The Bard’s songs. The Bard of Ely’s albums are available from DMMG Records and at iTunes.
As a writer He has authored Herbs of the Northern Shaman and written widely, including for Permaculture and Feed Your Brain magazines, and collaborated with CJ Stone for Prediction and the NFOP magazine. You can find about more about The Bard of Ely at his Blog.


Bright Blessings to you ~
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