Friday, 4 May 2018

MAYTIDE 2018



‘It was many ages before the earth was shaped that the Mist-World was made; and midmost within it lies the well that is called Hvergelmir, from which spring the rivers called Svöl, Gunnthrá, Fjörm, Fimbulthul, Slídr and Hríd, Sylgr and Ylgr, Víd, Leiptr; Gjöll is hard by Hel-gates.’ The beguiling of Gylfi.




The Maytide has come and with it some improvement in the weather, lifting our spirits from the doldrums of a wet spring. This time period in reality, doth extend beyond the one day. Existing as it does as a tidal flow of change, of growth and of influence.




Our calendar follows the progression of four tides of the year. Lambtide or Candlemas is as our starting point, the tide of Lustration or sowing. This is followed by Maytide or Roodmas, as the tide of Activation or growth. Lammastide is the tide of Consolidation or reaping, finally the Hallowtide is the tide of Recession or death. We say finally but mark you that the cycle begins again.



There is more to the Maytide than the fanciful stories of woodland orgies or even genuine yet private coupling. True it is a time of union and fertility, when we and our ancestors become aware of the great wonders of nature. The need to of all our creatures, wild and domestic, civilised and barbaric, to pair. 




From the agrarian perspective we recognise that the need to pollinate and indeed to mate, is linked directly to the production of our food supply. The associated procreation and raising of children, is linked historically to the need for a labour force to work the land, as it is to our observing a natural inclination.




Underlying this is a harnessing of the new fresh and vibrant energy, hinted at within the symbolism found within the festivals of this time. Before May Day falls the Feast of Saint George, it is followed by Roodmas and Witsuntide. All are to some degree celebrations of the start of summer here in England, marked by the budding of the oak and the flowering of Hawthorne.




‘Bred in a stubborn land,
This hedge of hawthorn grabs frozen soil,
With clenched clawed roots.
Its trunks - thick, twisted, gnarled hide-
Rough as an elephant’s skin.
Its twigs, stubby as shorn corn,
Thorns interlock like rutting stag’s antlers.
Nature’s barbed wire fence, uprooted
By neither wind nor storm.
Its softened face wears small whit flowers
In green hair- harbinger of spring lambs,
Summer sun.’ The Hawthorn by June Walker




That weekend of the Feast of Saint George, our patron saint of foreign birth, was a weekend of patriotism, loyalty to the monarchy and a precursor to the Maytide. That same weekend in 2018 saw obviously the anniversary of the birth and death of William Shakespeare, the birthday of her Majesty the Queen and the birth of a royal prince. An exceptionally regal conjunction without doubt.




Yet what is this dragon story? Is it a vain copy of the story of Saint Michael? Are there indeed shared elements? The traditional Christian perspective is that the story is allegorical, representing the victory of the pilgrim over the beast within. Hardly fitting when Maytide is for some, a celebration of our natural desire.




Perhaps from an esoteric perspective we can suggest an alternative interpretation? That the bountiful energy now so apparent in the land, is the dragon awakened? The pilgrim does not slay the dragon but seeks instead to master the dynamic energy of the Maytide.




My visit to Derby’s own celebrations of the Feast, which included a parade and other impressive activities, was held on Saturday the 21st of April. The Hearth of the Turning Wheel held its first ever lunchtime moot on the Sunday after. This was also in Derby at a Bookcafe on the old Cornmarket. As usual an invitation only event and not publicly advertised, we still numbered some half dozen. This included a couple from Nottingham and a cat called Yoda.




The daytime moot was an experiment that shall be repeated, it will take time to gauge interest and we in the HTW will review the need later in the year. Our main moot held on the 26th of April as usual at the Exter Arms was better attended. At both moots those present could enjoy good company and fine food.




Our Maytide observance as a Hearth took place on the 1st of May and as is our tradition, we elected a Queen of the May. This year a guest and member of the Outer Court, who serve in office for the usual twelve month. This is naturally an important element of our meeting, which unusually this year had a more heathen theme, having been written by the Defender of the Hearth.


Yet amongst this, the mead and the cake we also enjoyed music. A solo song from one member and the demonstration of the kettle drum by a guest. Maytide is indeed a time to celebrate.


‘Lady spin your circle bright,
Weave your web of dark and light,
Earth, air, fire and water,
Bind us as one.

Mother in the coming night,
Gather in your ancient might,
Sage, warrior, Horn’ed Hunter,
Guide us to you.

Blow winds, winds blow,
Rain will come and pain will go,
Flash of lightning to guide the lost ones,
Through the coming storm,

Master lead your hunt tonight,
Bathed in your Lady’s silver light,
Earth, air, fire and water,
Ride in your train.’ Anonymous.


So with the improving weather and the awakening of the Dragon however perceived. May you never thirst, may you never hunger and may the Queen of the May herself, govern with wisdom, justice and love.



Thursday, 26 April 2018

Corinna's Going a Maying by Robert Herrick



Get up, get up for shame, the Blooming Morne
Upon her wings presents the god unshorne.
                     See how Aurora throwes her faire
                     Fresh-quilted colours through the aire:
                     Get up, sweet-Slug-a-bed, and see
                     The Dew-bespangling Herbe and Tree.
Each Flower has wept, and bow'd toward the East,
Above an houre since; yet you not drest,
                     Nay! not so much as out of bed?
                     When all the Birds have Mattens seyd,
                     And sung their thankful Hymnes: 'tis sin,
                     Nay, profanation to keep in,
When as a thousand Virgins on this day,
Spring, sooner than the Lark, to fetch in May.


Rise; and put on your Foliage, and be seene
To come forth, like the Spring-time, fresh and greene;
                     And sweet as Flora. Take no care
                     For Jewels for your Gowne, or Haire:
                     Feare not; the leaves will strew
                     Gemms in abundance upon you:
Besides, the childhood of the Day has kept,
Against you come, some Orient Pearls unwept:
                     Come, and receive them while the light
                     Hangs on the Dew-locks of the night:
                     And Titan on the Eastern hill
                     Retires himselfe, or else stands still
Till you come forth. Wash, dresse, be briefe in praying:
Few Beads are best, when once we goe a Maying.


Come, my Corinna, come; and comming, marke
How each field turns a street; each street a Parke
                     Made green, and trimm'd with trees: see how
                     Devotion gives each House a Bough,
                     Or Branch: Each Porch, each doore, ere this,
                     An Arke a Tabernacle is
Made up of white-thorn neatly enterwove;
As if here were those cooler shades of love.
                     Can such delights be in the street,
                     And open fields, and we not see't?
                     Come, we'll abroad; and let's obay
                     The Proclamation made for May:
And sin no more, as we have done, by staying;
But my Corinna, come, let's goe a Maying.


There's not a budding Boy, or Girle, this day,
But is got up, and gone to bring in May.
                     A deale of Youth, ere this, is come
                     Back, and with White-thorn laden home.
                     Some have dispatcht their Cakes and Creame,
                     Before that we have left to dreame:
And some have wept, and woo'd, and plighted Troth,
And chose their Priest, ere we can cast off sloth:
                     Many a green-gown has been given;
                     Many a kisse, both odde and even:
                     Many a glance too has been sent
                     From out the eye, Loves Firmament:
Many a jest told of the Keyes betraying
This night, and Locks pickt, yet w'are not a Maying.


Come, let us goe, while we are in our prime;
And take the harmlesse follie of the time.
                     We shall grow old apace, and die
                     Before we know our liberty.
                     Our life is short; and our dayes run
                     As fast away as do's the Sunne:
And as a vapour, or a drop of raine
Once lost, can ne'r be found againe:
                     So when or you or I are made
                     A fable, song, or fleeting shade;
                     All love, all liking, all delight
                     Lies drown'd with us in endlesse night.
Then while time serves, and we are but decaying;
Come, my Corinna, come, let's goe a Maying.


Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell



They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
‘Til it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot


They took all the trees
And put them in a tree museum
Then they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see 'em

Don't it always seem to go,
That you don't know what you've got
‘Til it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot


Hey farmer, farmer
Put away that DDT now
Give me spots on my apples
But leave me the birds and the bees
Please!

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
‘Til its gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot


Late last night
I heard the screen door slam
And a big yellow taxi
Took away my old man

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
‘Til it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot


Monday, 9 April 2018

CANTICLE OF THE SUN BY FRANCIS OF ASSISI



Most High, all powerful, good Lord, yours are the praises, the glory, the honour and all blessing. To You alone, Most High, do they belong, and no man is worthy to mention Your name.


Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures, especially through my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day; and you give light through him. And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor! Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.


Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars, in heaven you formed them clear and precious and beautiful.


Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind, and through the air, cloudy and serene; and every kind of weather through which You give sustenance to Your creatures.


Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water, which is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.


Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom you light the night and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.


Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Mother Earth, who sustains us and governs us and who produces varied fruits with coloured flowers and herbs.


Praised be You, my Lord, through those who give pardon for Your love, and bear infirmity and tribulation. Blessed are those who endure in peace for by You, Most High, they shall be crowned.


Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death, from whom no living man can escape. Woe to those who die in mortal sin. Blessed are those whom death will find in Your most holy will, for the second death shall do them no harm. Praise and bless my Lord, and give Him thanks and serve Him with great humility.