Posts Tagged ‘Hawthorn’

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

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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 ~

Blessed Beltane 1 May 2010

>
Beltane 2010 is Saturday 1 May 2010 in the Northern Hemisphere

Beltane was an important festival in the Celtic calendar.
The name originates from the Celtic god, Bel meaning the ‘bright one’, and the Gaelic word ‘teine’ meaning fire, giving the name ‘bealtain’, meaning ‘bright fire’.
Beltane, and its counterpart Samhain, divide the year into the two seasons, Winter (Dark) & Summer(Light).
As Samhain is about honoring Death, Beltane, its counter part, is about honoring Life.
It is the time when the Sun is fully released from Winter and rules over Summer & life again.
Beltaine then Signifies The Awakening of New Life & The Start of the Bright part of the year.

This date has long been considered a ‘power point’ of the Zodiac,& is symbolized by the Bull, one of the ‘tetramorph’ figures featured on the Tarot cards, the World and the Wheel of Fortune.
(The other three symbols are the Lion, the Eagle, and the Spirit.)
Astrologers know these four figures as the symbols of the four ‘fixed’ signs of the Zodiac (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius).
Christians have adopted the same iconography to represent the four gospel-writers….

At Beltane the Pleiades star cluster rises just before sunrise on the morning horizon (Winter (Samhain) begins when the Pleiades rises at sunset).
The Pleiades is a cluster of seven closely placed stars, the ‘Seven Sisters’ in the constellation of Taurus, standing very low in the east-northeast sky for a few minutes before sunrise.


video by paganboynuneaton.

Beltane is one of the three ‘Spirit-Nights’ of the year when the ‘faeries’ may be seen…it is a time of ‘No Time’ when the two worlds intermingle and magic abounds!
The Queen of the Faeries rides out on her white horse on Beltane eve & will try to entice people away to Faeryland…
Legend has it that if you sit beneath a tree on Beltane night, you may see Her,if you hide your face She will pass you by, but if you look at Her, She may take you.

To our ancestors Beltane was the coming of summer and fertility.
Much of ancient Celtic magic was sympathetic, meaning that actions were performed to simulate the desired result.
May was the time to encourage the untamed forces of nature to expand their power and cause crops, animals, and people to grow and reproduce abundantly.
Couplings among unmarried partners, often outdoors or in wooded areas, was one way to encourage this result, but it was considered unlucky to marry at this time of disorder….

For the crops, it is however still a precarious time, as they are very young and tender, susceptible to late frost and early blight…

The lighting of bonfires on ‘Oidhche Bhealtaine’ (the eve of Bealtaine) upon mountains and hills of religious & tribal significance was one of the main activities of the festival.
The lighting of a community Bealtaine fire from which individual hearth fires are then relit was therefore observed as the Druids of each community would create a fire on top of a hill and drive the village’s cattle through the fires to purify them and bringing luck ‘Between the two fires of Beltane’.
People would also pass between the two fires to purify themselves.

When the Druids raised these Beltane fires, they were performing an act of sympathetic magic, as the fires were lit in order to bring the sun’s light down to earth.
When the wood burst into flames, it proclaimed the triumph of light over the dark half of the year.

 

May Day – Beltane Traditions
Beltane is a time of partnerships and fertility.
New couples proclaim their love for each other on this day.
It is also the perfect time to begin new projects.

The Maypole – a phallic pole planted deep in the earth represents the potency and fecundity of the God, its unwinding ribbons symbolize the unwinding of the spiral of life and the union of male and female – the Goddess and God.
It is usually topped by a ring of flowers to represent the fertile Goddess.
(The Puritans banned maypoles during the 17th Century)

Hanging May Boughs of Hawthorn and crosses of Birch and Rowan twigs over doors on the May morning were left until the next May to bless & protect the home.
Hawthorn blossom symbolises female fertility, with its creamy/ white, fragrant flowers.
Hawthorn blossom was also worn during Beltane celebrations, especially by the May Queen.
It is believed to be a potent magical plant and it is considered unlucky to bring the blossom inside the house, apart from on May eve.

Pilgrimages to holy wells are also traditional at this time, and offerings and prayers to the spirits or deities of the wells are usually part of this practice. Crafts such as the making of equal-armed rowan crosses are common, and often part of rituals performed for the blessing and protection of the household and land.

Beltane Cake, baked with eggs. – oatcakes baked with eggs, coated with a custard made of cream, eggs and butter – were cooked over open fires and anyone who chose a misshapen piece or a piece with a black spot referred to as the ‘Beltane Carline’ would be set upon by the others who would attempt to throw them on the fire.
This would be prevented by the rest of the festivalgoers.
The unlucky person would be considered a symbolic sacrifice and referred as being dead for the rest of the evening.

The ‘Obby ‘Oss, at Padstow, Cornwall – still carried on today, consists of a processional dance with the participants wearing animal skins & is believed to be a relic of a Pagan sacred marriage between earth and sky, the dance enacts the fertility god sacrificed for the good of his people.

Going ‘A-Maying’ meant staying out all night to gather flowering hawthorn, watching the sunrise and making love in the woods.

The dew on the May day morning is believed to have a magical potency –
wash your face and body in it and remain fair all year, and guarantee your youth and beauty continues.

Bright Blessings & Happy Beltaine !

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