Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Ticknall March 2011

The spring marches on as the weather warms and the greenery of the local countryside continues to deepen. This I observed today as I enjoyed a short walk with a friend through the woods near Ticknall. Our walk ran along the edge of the Calke Abbey estate, formally owned by the Harpur-Crewe family. The woodland where we explored bears the scars of 18th century lime workings, complete with trails, tunnels, bridges and deep pits. Yet nature has reclaimed what is in effect an old industrial site. Rare plants, clematis, orchid and others now grow here, the bird life is abundant and the deer roam free. Nature can perhaps be tamed but not indefinitely, nature will eventually take back the land from the hand of man, to leave little or no sign of our passing.

This part of our county was once replete with families of note, baronets and earls. There are houses and churches of fine architectural appearance, many bearing heraldic devices of fascination. In Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire as in other counties, the stag is one of the most noticeable heraldic beasts. The fairies' own White Hart and the Horned God of the underworld roams in splendour to this day. The families that bore him as a crest have like the lime workings, mostly gone but he remains, present and tangible.

"What shall he have that kill'd the deer?
His leather skin and horns to wear.
Then sing him home:
[The rest shall bear this burden.]
Take thou no scorn to wear the horn;
It was a crest ere thou wast born.
Thy father's father wore it;
And thy father bore it;
The horn, the horn, the lusty horn,
Is not a thing to laugh to scorn."


From "As You Like It " Act IV, Scene 2 by William Shakespeare.

Monday, 28 March 2011

The Derby Ram or "Ye Olde Tup" Mummers Play as performed by the HTW 2010

Picture © the Chattering Magpie 2015

The 'ram' is a member of the group dressed in a sheep skin complete with a ram skull, who with a bag of apples over their shoulder but hidden under the skin, parades around the circle while the rest of the group sing or chant the following:

        "As I was going to Derby
        All on a market day,
        I met the finest tup, sir,
        That ever was fed on hay.
        Fay-lay, fay-lay,
        Fay-lay, lad-digo-lay.
        This tup was fat behind, sir,
        This tup was fat before,
        This tup, was nine feet high, sir,
        If not a little more.
        Fay-lay, fay-lay,
        Fay-lay, lad-digo-lay.

        The horns that grew on this tup's head
        They were so mighty high,
        That every time it shook its head
        They rattled against the sky.
        Fay-lay, fay-lay,
        Fay-lay, lad-digo-lay."

    1st Speaker

        Is there a butcher in this town?

    2nd Speaker.

        Our Bob's a blacksmith.

    1st Speaker.

        I don't want a blacksmith. I want a butcher.

    3rd Speaker.

        Well! here I am! I'm a butcher!
        Where do you want him sticking? In't 'eard. or in't arse?

    1st Speaker.

        In't 'eard of course.

    3rd Speaker

        Well ! Let's stick 'im in't arse then.

The group proceeds to chase after the tup, hitting him (gently) with the sticks until he falls down dead. Then the butcher (played by the Defender of the Hearth) symbolically cuts off the head (removes the skull). Out falls a bag of apples, which the butcher then seizes and will be distributed amongst the group at the end of the play. All sing again:

        "The butcher that killed this tup, sir,
        Was in danger of his life ;
        He was up to his knees in blood, sir,
        And prayed for a longer life.
        Fay-lay, fay-lay,
        Fay-lay, lad-digo-lay.

        And all the men of Derby
        Came begging for his eyes,
        To makes themselves some footballs of,
        For they were football size.
        Fay-lay, fay-lay,
        Fay-lay, lad-digo-lay.

        And all the women of Derby
        Came begging for its ears,
        To make their leather aprons of
        To last them forty years.
        Fay-lay, fay-lay,
        Fay-lay, lad-digo-lay.

        And all the ringers of Derby
        Came begging for its tail,
        To ring St. George's passing bell
        From the top of Derby jail.
        Fay-lay, fay-lay,
        Fay-lay, lad-digo-lay.

        And now my song is ended,
        I have no more to say ;
        Please give us all an apple now
        And we will go away. "

The Derby Ram is a traditional Derbyshire mummers play and folksong, edited by members  of the HTW for use in our Autumn Equinox ritual (Merry 2010).

Picture © the Chattering Magpie 2015

Silver Wheel Volume 3 available from May 2011

Contents Volume 3
The Provocation of Religion by Emma Restall-Orr
The Bogeyman by Nigel Pennick
Biddy Early - A Political Witch? by Dr Bob Curran
The Soul Captivation of Clerk Colville by Dr Michael Berman
Dancing With Death - the Evolution of an Archetype by Kristoffer Hughes
Yule - Dissolution and Renewal by Anna Franklin
My Healing Path by Soraya
The Five Directions by Simon Danser
Achieving Awen by Andrea Brown
Consecration of a Sacred Dagger by D.B.Griffith
Call me Shiva- the Place of Chaos in Creativity by Andrea Brown
Candle Magic by Paul Walton
Crosswords by Yvette Davies
The Dance of the Maiden by Michelle Axe
The Enchantment of the Shape-shifter Gearhoidh Iarla by Dr Michael Berman
Hallowing of the Compass by Chattering Magpie
In Search of the Gypsy Laddie by Dr Michael Berman
New Year and the Compitalia -  to honour the household gods by Pat Regan
Magick in the 21st Century and its Importance by Merrymoon
Mankind and Movement – The Importance of Physical Expression by Andrea Brown
Midwifing the Dying by Andrea Brown
Children of Cain - Modern Traditional Witches by Michael Howard

Natsiliani (Magical Birthmarks) by Dr Michael Berman

Organism v Organisation by Andrea Brown
Pagan symbolism within the Sherwood Legends by Chattering Magpie
The Ethical Bind Rune by Graham Butcher 
Muspel the First Realm by Tim Jones 
The Mothering Year by Jess Ablewhite 
The Sign of the Horned One by Pat Regan

Silver Wheel Volume 2 available from May 2010

Contents of volume 2
The Wild Hunt Rides by Michael Howard
Hekate, Bright Goddess of the Mysteries  by Sorita D’este
Hecate’s Trip to the Liver Clinic  by Bella Basura
Belief, Desire and Magical Intent  by Simon Danser
The Mysteries of Mabon   by Wade MacMorrighan
The Eightfold Path by Peter Nash
Hallowtide Ritual   by Eachwen Colldwr
Round and Round the Circle by Jean Dark
The Symbol with Many Meanings  by  Ron Ford
Handfasting Ceremony   by D.B.Griffith & June Todd
Magic in the Smoke  by Paul Walton
Makemake    by Alison Chester-Lambert
Lammas Ritual of Sacrifice by D.B.Griffith
Pines on the Horizon   by Nigel Pennick
Plantlore and Herbcraft     by Philip Carr-Gomm
Polarity in Magical Partnerships by J. and P McCarthy
Simple Numerology  by Soraya
The Great Earl and the Black Abbess   by Dr Bob Curran
The Ritual of the Norwegian Blue   by D.B.Griffith
Ritual in Wicca  by Peter Nash
Wines through the Year    by Paul Walton
Working with Mott and Megin by Graham Butcher
The Return of the Rightful King  by Anna Franklin
Pagan Postcards from Lancashire by Wisty Jeffcott
The Goddess in Norfolk   by  Jean Dark
The Island of Skeletons    by  Dr Michael Berman
The Back Garden Moon Starer   by  Tim Goodwin

Silver Wheel Volume 1 available from May 2009

Contents of Volume 1:
Traditional Rites and Ceremonies of May Day Britain by Nigel Pennick
Wise Women and Fairy Doctors in Hidden Ireland by Dr Bob Curran
The Herfest Hearth Witch by Paul Walton
Betrothal Ceremony by Kat Clegg and Daniel Bran Griffith
The Imbolc Hearth Witch by Paul Walton
A Meeting with Paskunji and an Audience with Ghemerti by Dr Michael Berman
The Lughnasa Hearth Witch by Paul Walton
Picking Blackberries by Jean Dark
The Peace Labyrinth by Jean Dark and Tim Goodwin
Science and Paganism - a Personal Journey by Sally Singer-Fraser
Wicca and Exorcism by Peter Nash
The Ostara Hearth Witch by Paul Walton
Sad-eyed Lady of the Badlands by Bella Basura
Summer Solstice Ritual by Chattering Magpie
The Beltane Hearth Witch by Paul Walton
Through the Veil at Summer's End by Daniel Bran Griffith
Yule Ritual by Loretta Merry
The Coamhain Hearth Witch by Paul Walton
Reflections on Soul, Spirit and Energy by Ron Ford
The Esbat Hearth Witch by Paul Walton
Cleaning the Witch Way by Soraya
Moon Gardening by Lucie Belikova
The Feast of the Flame by Wade Mac Morrighan
Pluto, Lord of the Invisible Realms by Alison Chester-Lambert
Breads by Paul Walton
Making a Notebook Cover by Jean Dark
Gerald Gardner and the New Forest Coven by Michael Howard
The Healthy Diet Conundrum by Anna Franklin
Crosswords by Yvette Davies

The Eight Festivals as observed by the HTW

  1. Lambtide: the visible New or Waxing Moon.
  2. The Spring Equinox: the Sunrise.
  3. Maytide: the Full Moon.
  4. The Summer Solstice: the Sun at Zenith.
  5. Lammastide: the Old or Waning Moon.
  6. The Autumn Equinox: the Sunset.
  7. Hallowtide: the Dark Moon.
  8. The Winter Solstice: the Sun at Nadir.

The Hearth of the Turning Wheel

As stated elsewhere, the Hearth of the Turning Wheel is an independent and progressive Pagan group based in the English Midlands. Our praxis and ethos are inspired by but not necessarily limited to, the traditional custom and belief found within British and European Folklore. We meet to celebrate the Eight High Holy Days leaving Moon observances to members’ solitary practice. We do not operate a degree system although membership does require admission. We are a closed group and membership is by invitation only. However, guests are occasionally permitted to attend and participate in ritual; again this is strictly by invitation only.

The Hearth takes its name from the declared aim of observing the Eight Sabbats. On foundation, being aware that members came from differing Traditions and not every member was a Witch or a Druid, we chose to avoid the weighted terms of coven or grove. Admittedly as we have developed we have taken on attributes often associated with the word Coven and may at times be described as such. This BLOG exists as an extension of my own personal  ethos and as a method of sharing my philosophy outside of the Hearth.

Thursday, 24 March 2011


“See you the dimpled track that runs,
All hollow through the wheat?
O that was where they hauled the guns,
That smote King Philip’s fleet!

See you our little mill that clacks,
So busy by the brook?
She has ground her corn and paid her tax,
Ever since Domesday Book.

See you our stilly woods of oak,
And the dread ditch beside?
O that was where the Saxons broke,
On the day that Harold died!

See you the windy levels spread,
About the gates of Rye?
O that was where the Northmen fled,
When Alfred’s ships came by!

See you our pastures wide and lone,
Where the red oxen brouse?
O that was a City thronged and known,
Ere London boasted a house!

And see you, after rain, the trace,
Off mound and ditch and wall?
O that was a legions camping place,
When Caesar sailed from Gaul!

And see you marks that show and fade,
Like shadows on the Downs?
O they are the lines the Flint Men made,
To guard their wonderous towns!

Trackway and camp and city lost,
Salt Marsh where now is corn.
Old wars, old places, old arts that cease,
And so was England born!

She is not any common earth,
Water or wood or air.
But Merlin’s Isle of Gramarye,
Where you and I will fare.”

Baa, baa black sheep (HTW varient 2010)

Baa baa black sheep, have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full!
One for the Master, one for the Maid,
And one for the Covenors who live down the lane.

Croak! said the toad

"Croak!" said the toad,
"I'm hungry, I think;
Today I've had nothing
To eat or to drink.

I'll crawl to a garden
And jump through the pales,
And there I'll dine nicely
On slugs and on snails."

"Ho, ho!" quoth the frog,
"Is that what you mean?
Then I'll hop away to
The next meadow stream;

There I will drink, and
Eat worms and slugs too,
And then I shall have a
Good dinner like you."

Mother Goose

Cackle, cackle, Mother Goose, 
Have you any feathers loose? 
Truly have I, pretty fellow, 
Half enough to fill a pillow. 
Here are quills, take one or two, 
And down to make a bed for you.

Who Killed Cock Robin?

"Who killed Cock Robin?" "I," said the Sparrow,
"With my bow and arrow, I killed Cock Robin."
"Who saw him die?" "I," said the Fly,
"With my little eye, I saw him die."
"Who caught his blood?" "I," said the Fish,
"With my little dish, I caught his blood."
"Who'll make the shroud?" "I," said the Beetle,
"With my thread and needle, I'll make the shroud."
"Who'll dig his grave?" "I," said the Owl,
"With my pick and shovel, I'll dig his grave."
"Who'll be the parson?" "I," said the Rook,
"With my little book, I'll be the parson."
"Who'll be the clerk?" "I," said the Lark,
"If it's not in the dark, I'll be the clerk."
"Who'll carry the link?" "I," said the Linnet,
"I'll fetch it in a minute, I'll carry the link."
"Who'll be chief mourner?" "I," said the Dove,
"I mourn for my love, I'll be chief mourner."
"Who'll carry the coffin?" "I," said the Kite,
"If it's not through the night, I'll carry the coffin."
"Who'll bear the pall? "We," said the Wren,
"Both the cock and the hen, we'll bear the pall."
"Who'll sing a psalm?" "I," said the Thrush,
"As she sat on a bush, I'll sing a psalm."
"Who'll toll the bell?" "I," said the bull,
"Because I can pull, I'll toll the bell."
All the birds of the air fell a-sighing and a-sobbing,
When they heard the bell toll for poor Cock Robin.

Ride a Cock Horse

Lady Godiva by Edmund Leighton

Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross,
To see a fine lady upon a white horse.
With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes.
She shall have music wherever she goes.

Lady Godiva by John Collier

The Crooked Man

There was a crooked man and he walked a crooked mile.
He found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse.
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.