Tag Archives: celtic traditions

Friday Poem – Beltane

A poem about the Beltane festival by “Lady Slipper”Beltane

Love making May crowns, willow wands with SC and casting spells to banish to shades of Winter 😉

Beltane

 

Give way the cold, let the thaw begin
As Winter transforms to Spring again.
Let all creatures of cold slumber rise
And feathers on wings fill the skies.

 

Brooks and streams are babbling
All harken to the song they sing.
The Crocus and the Daffodil
Casting off their Winter chill.

 

Bare boned trees show signs of life
For they’ve withstood cold Winter’s strife.
Sodden fields soon to color green
As life returns where death once seen.

 

A tiny babe born one Yule
Nurtured through many Winter’s cruel,
Has now grown to a maiden fair
Let the joy of Beltane fill the air.

 

From a child the maid she grew
With an innocence known only to a few,
Sheltered by her purity
As to fulfill her destiny.

 

In linen gown with golden thread
A crown of flowers round her head,
Was taken to a secret place
Where her lover could behold her face.

 

Now the maiden sweet with raven hair
Her soulful eyes and skin so fair,
Chance for to meet her lover’s gaze
As he peers at her through his forest maze.

 

The Green Man Cern in gallent stride
Has claimed her for his maiden bride,
And from their love the two shall bear
A babe at Yule with raven hair.

 

Now the maiden has become the Crone
And she spends her time mostly all alone,
With sweet dreams of the Summer Land
Where she’ll soon return to once again.

 

Old and withered when the Crone she died
No tears for her left to be cried.
Though the cycles of life sometimes seem cruel,
Still a babe is always born at Yule.

 

We will celebrate into the night
Our passage into this Pagan Rite,
Let all hear the drumming sound
For the seeds of Beltane have gone to ground.
Our heritage passed hand to hand
And shoulder to shoulder we will stand
By the water’s edge for all to see
Sending love to the Universe, Blessed Be.

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Friday Poem

Wands, Broomsticks and Dragons

I don’t like Halloween!Samhain

(There I said it)

Possibly because, scary masks completely freak me out (I went to see one of the Nightmare on Elm Street films years ago (and yes, I know it’s tame compared to the vileness that we see these days) but it still scared the heebie-jeebies out of me to the extent I had to sleep with the light on, and have my giant teddy bear in the bed with me – and yes, I was over 18!!)

But also because where I live we have had some trouble in the past with ‘charming young people’ (note, the hint of sarcasm) terrorising the neighbourhood, vandalising property and so on. (I know, and in the ‘burbs as well!)

These days it’s lights off and pretend not to be home.

And finally, because gruesomeness seems to have taken over a seemingly innocent ancient festival.

On Halloween, I took SC to a Samhain festival, from which Halloween has its origins.

Samhain is the Celtic festival held on the 31st October, which marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter – which some people say also marked the start of the Celtic New Year.

Like Beltane (held on May Day) it is a time when spirits and souls of the dead can move from the otherworld to this one – and where Halloween has taken off is from the ‘guising’ part of the festival where people went from door-to-door in costume reciting verse in return for food.

But I digress.

Since this is the one day in the year when creatures can move between worlds we had to help protect a village from a fierce dragon who had come from the other world, and send him packing.

This involved making wands from willow. As someone who would like to be more ‘crafty’ than she is I surprised myself with my wand-making abilities, although I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be suitable for any student at Hogwarts!

We (SC & I) were shown how to shape the willow and fix it so we had a wand with a ‘sort-of’ star-shaped top. Then we got to decorate it with wool (they didn’t have sequins in those days!) – although there was some very ‘Celtic’ sparkly, luminescent curly wire. I must admit I went for the sparkle darlings! Ashamed? Nope – sparkle is essential! 😉

Then we had to make a broomstick to  shake at the naughty pixies and goblins to send them packing.

We had a good stab at it – but I don’t think it’s very good for flying. I made the handle too short and quite frankly it would not be sturdy enough to take a fairy, let alone me! Shame, because I quite fancied pretending to be a witch with a cat “and a very tall hat, and long ginger hair which she wore in a plait….as they sat on their broomstick and flew through the wind” – so there is definitely not room on the broom for me!!

Think I’ll just buy myself a proper broomstick – if nothing else it will help clear all the leaves that have dropped in the garden – which is amazing since we don’t have any trees!

We left worries and wishes in the Celtic chief’s cauldron, followed dragon footprints round the woods to his den, and then went through the haunted forest, where the high wizard gave a magical protection spell to give us safe passage.

At the end of the day we followed the torches through the forest, banging the drums as we went and watched the “Chief” send a flaming arrow into the Wicker Man, over which were scattered our worries and wishes, to welcome in the Winter.

Definitely nothing pagan about it (as some people are led to believe – that, from what I understand, is just the ‘spin’ the early church gave it – so ‘spinning’ is not a new thing!) There was no devil worshipping or sacrificing anything at any altar.

We had the most amazing time – and, more importantly heaps of fun 😉

Leave a comment

Filed under Children

Happy Beltane

It’s May-Eve (seriously, the year is going too quickly, I blame to long, cold winter).

However, I digress.

It’s May-Eve and Beltane heralds the arrival of summer, sensuality revitalised and the earth awakes..

People dance round the may-pole and go a-Maying (which is just another way of saying one major league night of ‘how’s your father’ outside in the woods).

Fires are lit to celebrate the return to life and fruitfulness of the earth.

People jump over the fires for luck – singletons for finding a spouse, travellers for a safe journey and pregnant ladies for an easy birth.

Handfastings which last a year and a day also take place on May-Eve (handfasting involves tying the hands of a couple with a ribbon as a contract of betrothal)

As for me, well one day, if I’m a really good girl maybe someone will want to tie their hands to mine and we can jump over the fire together.

In the meantime, I will be collecting tonight’s dew, for it is said that if you bathe in the dew of the Beltane morn your beauty would flourish throughout the year (and I think I need all the help I can get 😉 )

So whatever you do, may you find peace and happiness this May-Eve.

Blessed be.

Leave a comment

Filed under General