Monday, 16 November 2020

Lockdown Part 8 - Hallowtide 2020


I sit to write this piece at the end of the first week of November and I hope to have it finished by the end of the second. I sit looking at fog and rain, reflecting upon the slow change of Autumn to Winter. I reflect upon the Hallowtide, the Lockdown and the increasing darkness that is around us. 

As Halloween approached here in England the country went into a second Lockdown. This has caused some degree of confusion and it appears, some have been taken off guard. I cannot explain the panic buying. Other than to think people expect the worst but did not expect another Lockdown. I am perplexed by such behaviour, it is unnecessary. I am not surprised that there is a second Lockdown but I am surprised that so many are surprised. It had been a matter of speculation for several weeks, it should not have come as a shock to anyone. 

By going into Lockdown in those weeks immediately before the Hallowtide, we mirror the season of introspection. With the coming of November we withdraw into the Winter months. It is indeed a time of reflection, a time for nature to rest, for many animals to hibernate. A time for us to evaluate the year and to slowly prepare ourselves for the return of the warmer months, which seem so far away. 

It is my tradition that on Halloween night itself, I decorate my hallway and put out sweets for the local children. This year we faced the issue of social distancing and whether it is even appropriate for people to Trick or Treat. Locally there were 'pumpkin Trails' in the lead up to the 31st. Parents took their children on evening walks around the village, spotting pumpkins and giving chocolate to their child for each successful sighting. How to actually participate locally however, remained undetermined in that last week of October. I had ordered a carved pumpkin depicting a self-created version of my arms and this was delivered in plenty of time. I purchased chocolate bars prior to Halloween but far less than I would usually. These were to deposited in a decorated box outside my door but the house was not decorated. Not this year. 

Early in the month of October, I had found it necessary to embark upon a course of magical actions of a defensive and perhaps offensive nature. This I timed for the week leading up to the of 31st of October. It was a three step process that culminated with the Hallowtide full moon of the 31st. So on that Saturday afternoon, I was busy with that final step. This was the creation of a witchbottle or more accurately a witchjar, which was buried later that evening. Further actions can wait for the dark moon of November or December. Such actions are not of course, usually made public. The maxim 'To be Silent' is sadly ignored by many a 'wanna-be' witch today. Yet there are times when it is necessary to make public a warning. 

We the Hearth of the Turning Wheel, have not met physically since before the first Lockdown. It has been neither practical nor safe. Some are 'shielding' and others are concerned regards their children. Some of us who work in hospitals and has contact infectious diseases on a regular basis, are aware that we must both protect ourselves and others. This a loss of social devotion has been felt deeply by many of us and we have like many others, returned to our solitary observances. 

After depositing the chocolates outside my door, I watched the few Trick or Treat groups out on the street. I had less visitors than usual and this was no surprise. Sadly by the end of the evening, I still had many chocolates left. Yes, Halloween this year was a subdued affair. It was less active than usual and quite restricted. We are all so self-conscious and afraid. Once it was clear that no more visitors would be calling I packed up the remaining chocolates and withdrew for my private observance. This was a simple affair centred upon an ancestral shrine and a dumb supper. Here we take a moment to remember our ancestors, both known and unknown. I left everything in situ overnight. The next morning the remains were with the pumpkin, deposited in the garden next to my holly tree. 

That first week of November is of course Bonfire Night. This is our celebration of the delivery of His Majesty King James I/IV, the Lords and Parliament on the 5th of November 1605. This was the infamous Gunpowder Plot, when Robert Catesby and others intended to blow up the House of Lords during the state opening of Parliament. Much is made of Guy Fawkes and here in Britain, his effigy was commonly burnt on the 5th of November, in celebration of the plot's failure. In truth, Fawkes was one of several involved in the plot and certainly not the leader. His fame comes from his being caught red-handed in the under-croft, prepared and ready to light the fuses. 

Today he is a cultural icon and people make jokes that he was the only honest man to ever enter Parliament. The harsh truth is that whatever the provocation, he and his compatriots were traitors and in modern language, we would call them terrorists. The intention of the plotters was to kill upwards of a thousand people, including Royal children and to start a civil war. Their rationale was also somewhat deluded. The general opinion of the majority of historians today, is that the Catholic minority of England would have been wiped out and the suffering of that minority if the plot had succeeded, is perhaps beyond our imagination. Although the later Civil War and Cromwell's treatment of the Irish, may give us an idea of what could have been. 

On the morning of the 6th I looked out to see a mist. I knew there had been a light frost and I knew that today was the day for foraging. I have been planning on making more sloe liqueur after my previous success some years ago. Traditionally sloes should be picked after a frost because the skins will break. This aids in the imbuing of the alcohol with their flavour. A cheat is to put them in the freezer for a few days. 

I set off for a nearby country lane where many blackthornes grow and I was able to gather two kilograms of fruit. I also took the opportunity to stock up on actual balckthornes, as my stocks were getting low. By the time I had done gathering them both, some two or three hours later; my hands were cut and bleeding. When we pick sloes, we shall expect to bleed. The Blackthorne will take payment. This is normal. 

The countryside was truly a sight to see, a mixture of green, brown, orange and yellow as leaves turned and dropped. The fields were ploughed and the sloes themselves were a stunning dark blue. One could see and feel that the land itself, was going to sleep. This was the turn from Autumn to Winter, a preparation for the colder months ahead. 

All this was timely because under an alternative calendar, the 7th of November 2020 is Hallowtide and not the 31st of October. Measured astronomically this Old Hallowtide is a movable feast and will fall at 15 degrees Scorpio. The matter is further complicated by the calendar changes of the eighteenth century, which moved all dates by eleven days. Under this system Armistice Day, the 11th of November and the Feast of Saint Martin of Tours (Martinmas) is Old Halloween. Different Craft traditions will observe different dates. 

The calendar used by our Hearth follows the progression of the four tides of the year, with Lambtide or Candlemas as our starting point, the tide of lustration or sowing. Maytide or Roodmas is the tide of activation or growth. Lammastide is the tide of consolidation or reaping. Hallowtide is the tide of recession or death, thus leading to new growth and the start of the cycle once more. Like Hallowtide these other tidal dates can also be measured astronomically; Lambtide, Candlemas or Imbolc at 15 degrees Aquarius, Maytide, Roodmas or Beltaine at 15 degrees Taurus, Lammastide or Lughnassadh at 15 degrees Leo.

Calendars are fascinating concepts but they are abstract concepts. The true and more accurate calendar is that which is observed. My craft is seasonal, much of modern Paganism is but we sometimes forget that our calendar should be regional. Autumn comes with a harvest, Winter comes with a frost but the change is gradual. Look out at the land and the stars, watch the seasons turn and the planets journey across the sky. Appreciate the beauty that is around us, even the harsh beauty of the frost and then prepare for the winter. 

©Daniel Bran Griffith 6th October - 15th October 2020

Lockdown 24th March 2020

https://chatteringmagpie.wordpress.com/2020/03/24/Lockdown-24th-march-2020/

Lockdown Part Two & Clap for our Carers 2020

https://chatteringmagpie.wordpress.com/2020/04/09/Lockdown-part-two-clap-for-our-carers-2020/

Lockdown Part Three – Clap for Boris & Easter Weekend 2020

https://chatteringmagpie.wordpress.com/2020/04/18/lockdown-part-three-clap-for-boris-easter-weekend-2020/

Lockdown Part 4 – Maytide & VE Day 2020

https://chatteringmagpie.wordpress.com/2020/05/18/lockdown-part-4-maytide-ve-day-2020/

LOCKDOWN PART FIVE – MEDIA LIES

https://chatteringmagpie.wordpress.com/2020/06/02/lockdown-part-five-media-lies/

Lockdown Part 6 – When this is over

https://chatteringmagpie.wordpress.com/2020/09/07/lockdown-part-6-when-this-is-over/

Lockdown Part 7 – Autumn 2020

https://chatteringmagpie.wordpress.com/2020/10/21/lockdown-part-7-autumn-2020/

An Introduction to the Hearth of the Turning Wheel

https://chatteringmagpie.wordpress.com/2019/05/21/an-introduction-to-the-hearth-of-the-turning-wheel/


Wednesday, 21 October 2020

The Night Of Trafalgar by Thomas Hardy


In the wild October night-time, when the wind raved round the land,

And the Back-sea met the front-sea, and our doors were blocked with sand,

And we heard the drub of dead-man's bay, where the bones of thousands are,

We knew not what the day had done for us at Trafalgar.

Had done,

Had done,

For us at Trafalgar!

'Pull hard, and make the nothe, or down we go!' One says,

says he.

We pulled; and bedtime brought the storm; but snug at home slept we.

Yet all the while our gallants after fighting through the day,

Were beating up and down the dark, sou'west of Cadiz Bay.

The dark,

The dark,

Sou'west of Cadiz Bay!

The victors and the vanquished then the storm it tossed and tore,

As hard they strove, those worn-out men, upon that surly shore;

Dead Nelson and his half dead crew, his foes from near and far,

Were rolled together on the deep that night at Trafalgar!

The deep,

The deep,

That night at Trafalgar!

Sunday, 18 October 2020

The Poppy - I am not a badge of honour by Paul Hunter (2014)


I am not a badge of honour,

I am not a racist smear,

I am not a fashion statement,

To be worn but once a year,

I am not glorification

Of conflict or of war.

I am not a paper ornament

A token,

I am more.

I am a loving memory,

Of a father or a son,

A permanent reminder

Of each and every one.

I’m paper or enamel

I’m old or shining new,

I’m a way of saying thank you,

To every one of you.

I am a simple poppy

A Reminder to you all,

That courage faith and honour,

Will stand where heroes fall.


PILLARS Vol.2, Issue.2 – ‘Seeds of Ares'

  I am at present feeling very positive and very proud. A few days ago in early October my contributor's copy of the latest Anathema publication arrived in the post. PILLARS Vol.2, Issue.2 – ‘Seeds of Ares' is a magnificent work. Crafted and bound as a work of beauty, it presents nearly twenty chapters on the more chaotic aspects of the occult, in an outstandingly professional manner. It is a standard we have come to expect from what is one of the more prestigious, esoteric publishers of the English speaking world.

  The original call for papers was over eighteen months ago and this in some way, serves to illustrate the effort involved in creating such a publication. Nearly two years of work has created a volume that will be highly sought and I believe, highly influential.

  This is the second time I have written for Anathema Publishing and my seventh esoteric anthology inclusion. My previous papers have been published by Lear Publishing and Temple of the Dark Moon. My preceding contribution to Anathema was published in PILLARS IV – (Vol.2, Issue.1) – ‘Circling the Compass’ in 2019.

  When writing then, I was acutely aware that I was the amateur surrounded by a garden of professionals. I was however, pleased to see on publication that many of the contributors were known to me. In the latest incarnation of Pillars, only one contributor is a dear friend and that is Andrew Mercer. Several of the other contributors are however, known to me by reputation or as friends of friends. As with the earlier Pillars, I am once again seated with the elect.

  PILLARS Vol.2, Issue.2 – ‘Seeds of Ares' as a project and work, addresses those aspects of the occult arts than many choose to ignore or avoid. We are presented with a mirror as bright as the shield of Ares himself, in which the darker and more chaotic aspects of our society are reflected. We explore the shadows cast by a society, in which the norms are turned on their head. My own chapter is a work of maledictus magicia and I explore amongst other things, the controversial use of the Psalms in cursing. Yet cursing is not the sole or even the primary focus of the work. Rather we are examining the controversy of the occult or magical artes. Areas of serious study that the dilettante is best to avoid.

  PILLARS Vol.2, Issue.2 – ‘Seeds of Ares' is published with a complementary CD of primarily instrumental music. It is music that has an ambience that is difficult to describe. Falling somewhere between the art of the Medieval Church and Post Modern Expressionism. It is conceptual, haunting and ethereal. I am listening to that CD again as I write now, it is an ideal accompaniment and captures the nature of the written word.

  The internal artwork of PILLARS Vol.2, Issue.2 – ‘Seeds of Ares' is of an equally high standard. Like the musical accompaniment, it serves to support the ethos of the written work in a manner that is both expressive and challenging.

  Once again the publishing house, the editors and their team, have created a work worthy of the most fastidious private library.

Anathema Publishing

https://www.anathemapublishing.com/webshops?fbclid=IwAR3r1S9SWIQUtjHNtWlkm0_Qe5_O5CpnqYA3Z_nZre1bGf2yP3MNWnaea-I

SEEDS OF ARES PRE-PUBLICATION ANNOUNCEMENT

https://chatteringmagpie.wordpress.com/2020/08/18/seeds-of-ares-pre-publication-announcement/

PILLARS IV – (Vol.2, Issue.1) – ‘Circling the Compass’

https://chatteringmagpie.wordpress.com/2019/09/29/pillars-iv-vol-2-issue-1-circling-the-compass/


Greenmantle Samhain 2020

I am pleased to confirm my inclusion in the Pagan magazine Greenmantle, recently published for Samhain 2020. This is not the first time I have written for Greenmantle, a publication that has itself been in existence for close to thirty years.

  This time however, rather than produce an article for publication. I have done something a little different. I have written a book review.

  I am as always honoured to write for a magazine with such a reliable reputation, steered as it is by a quality editorial team. I am of course pleased that my piece is worthy of further dissemination and having read the book I review, hope that others will find my words of benefit.

  Links to the book in question and Greenmantle magazine can be found below.

Encountering the Dark Goddess - A Journey into the Shadow Realms by Frances Billinghurst

https://www.johnhuntpublishing.com/moon-books/our-books/encountering-dark-goddess-journey-shadow-realms?fbclid=IwAR3ME149ydR1gQuF2d4DWLdmbNuwWU5wIEV93G-BHcHEGHquw_UaUl2Qxdw

Encountering the Dark Goddess - A Journey into the Shadow Realms by Frances Billinghurst

https://chatteringmagpie-summonerofthehearth.blogspot.com/2020/06/book-review-encountering-dark-goddess.html

Greenmantle

https://www.facebook.com/Greenmantle-116987831781286

Greenmantle

http://greenmantle.org.uk/index.html


Monday, 7 September 2020

Abbots Bromley Horn Dance 2020










Today Monday the 7th of September 2020 I should be attending the wonderful Abbots Bromley Horn Dance in the English county of Staffordshire. Despite our hopes that with the easing of the Lockdown and noting that other events have now taken place, this year's dance is not going ahead for the very obvious safety reasons.

Although disappointing the decision not to dance publicly is the sensible one and means that the dance next year, will be something of a celebration. To mark the occasion and maintain some contrived continuity, I share below a series of blogs from previous visits and other related posts.

The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance of Staffordshire

https://chatteringmagpie-summonerofthehearth.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-abbots-bromley-horn-dance-of.html

William Shakespeare "As You Like It" Act IV Scene 2

https://chatteringmagpie-summonerofthehearth.blogspot.com/2012/10/william-shakespeare-as-you-like-it-act.html

MYTHIC SYMBOLISM

https://chatteringmagpie-summonerofthehearth.blogspot.com/2014/05/mythic-symbolism.html

The Khaki Dance: Abbots Bromley Staffordshire England (Monday the 7th of September 2015)

https://chatteringmagpie-summonerofthehearth.blogspot.com/2016/09/the-khaki-dance-abbots-bromley.html

The Horn Dance of Abbots Bromley 2016: a Personal Reflection by Suzanne Read - Breaca Aranwen the Maid of the Hearth of Albion

https://chatteringmagpie-summonerofthehearth.blogspot.com/2016/09/the-horn-dance-of-abbots-bromley-2016.html

Abbots Bromley 2017

https://chatteringmagpie-summonerofthehearth.blogspot.com/2018/08/there-is-small-and-picturesquevillage.html

THE WILD HUNT BY SHANI OATES (EMPYREAN 2019)

https://chatteringmagpie-summonerofthehearth.blogspot.com/2019/11/the-wild-hunt-by-shani-oates-empyrean.html


Tuesday, 18 August 2020

SEEDS OF ARES PRE-PUBLICATION ANNOUNCEMENT


It is with great pride that I am able to confirm my inclusion in the next edition of PILLARS, to be published by ANATHEMA PUBLISHING LTD. The planned publication of this work is for the Autumn of 2020. Although with the current difficulties that we all face, I would not be surprised if there was to be a delay. The pandemic has already caused a delay for many other publishers.

PILLARS - VOL.2, ISSUE.2 - SEEDS OF ARES is an anthology in which twenty seven contributors explore the darker aspects of the socerous artes. My own modest contribution presents practical applications, a brief theoretical discussion and an analysis of the ethical dilemma that practitioners may face.

This is my second time of writing for ANATHEMA PUBLISHING LTD. I am honoured to be one of seven returning contributors to the stable and I look forward with anticipation to the release of this anthology. Having previously been a contributor to PILLARS IV – VOL.2, ISSUE.1 – CIRCLING THE COMPASS, I fully appreciate the importance of this publication and the prestige of inclusion.


PILLARS - VOL.2, ISSUE.2 

- SEEDS OF ARES

At Anathema, we consciously try to avoid an aesthetic that has been wrongfully associated with the kind of books we publish; ├╝ber-dark, pseudo-satanic, and of all things Lovecraftian are not our prerogative. Rather, we strive for intellectually rigorous material, genuine practical analysis, and serious, detailed articles from people dealing with these topics and spirits in a way that elevates their approach and the matter at hand. We aim to curate while giving the utmost respect to topics that many have invested effort and time untold into.

And so, with that in mind…

Here is the call to dwell on the so-called ‘negative,’ or martial, aspects of occult practice, and to explore how these may help to create a fuller and richer experience for practitioners of the Arte.

For some, the tenuous relationship between positive and negative forces, and this perceived duality, is a complex and evolving one. To find balance is one thing, but to embrace and work extensively within adversarial currents is to move boldly into stranger (and more extreme) territory.

This issue of PILLARS  explores the ‘martian’ side of magickal practice, and analyze phenomena of psychic violence, what it means to engage in transgressive and subversive art, to dive deep into shadow-work, to embrace the unconventional and the radical, the vicious and immoral, perhaps even the damning, and the taboo. To understand one’s wrath and conditioning, and the fearlessness that inspires work with such currents.

What attracts some of us to these systems, and what benefits do they provide, if any?

The conversation is centred around how this work may lead to self-realization and actualization, and what kind of fulfilment one seeks. Or, if one plays the contrarian (which we also encouraged), are negative currents really all that 'negative,' or are we merely the product of modern life where so many people view the world in starkly black and white terms?

If anything, this particular issue of PILLARS is meant to be a thorough investigation of the human condition, what uneasiness or reassurance this thought may bring to the forefront of consciousness, and how one proceeds to harmonize these aspects of the Self through the usage of such polarizing angles.

Heed the Call!

O Filli et Filliae Sanguis!

We, the Seeds of Ares!

This edition of PILLARS represents the first time that our editor, Evan Davies, is tasked with overseeing the curation and completion of all texts – and we are very happy to open this door and welcome Evan to partake and share his thoughts and craftsmanship more directly here.

PS: Anathema, categorically, does not publish, condone, engage in, or encourage any form of political extremism, or violence against a specific group (self-harm, in a ritualistic setting, for example: bloodletting, is the practitioner's prerogative). We aim to explore purely on a spiritual plane.

-- EXPECTED TO BE RELEASED: MID-SEPTEMBER 2020--


ANATHEMA PUBLISHING LTD. (WEDSITE)

https://www.anathemapublishing.com/

ANATHEMA PUBLISHING LTD. (FACEBOOK)

https://www.facebook.com/ANATHEMAPUBLISHING

PILLARS IV – (VOL.2, ISSUE.1) – ‘CIRCLING THE COMPASS’

https://chatteringmagpie.wordpress.com/2019/09/29/pillars-iv-vol-2-issue-1-circling-the-compass/

PILLARS IV – (VOL.2, ISSUE.1) – ‘CIRCLING THE COMPASS’

https://chatteringmagpie-summonerofthehearth.blogspot.com/2019/09/pillars-iv-vol2-issue1-circling-compass.html