Friday, 24 March 2017

Spring Forward and Looking Back (March 2017)

On Saturday the 11th of March 2017 whilst in the enjoyable company of a friend, I attended a Mind, Body and Spirit (MBS) Fair at Derby County Cricket Club (DCCC). I was on annual leave, it was full moon that weekend, I had both the time and desire to explore. Not that I had any specific plans for the moon, merely an acknowledgement of the time, the approach of the Ides and Vernal Equinox.

The attendance of a MBS event is for me, a rather unusual activity. It has to be admitted whether for good or ill, that like others of my ilk, I do have a tendency to look down on such events with a polite air of condescension. I can claim two notable achievements across the internet, I coined two phrases, MBS (meaning Mindless Bull Shit) and NAG (meaning New Age Garbage). So it should be clear, I am something of a cynic and not necessarily innocent of being judgemental.

Saying that, is important to recognise that for many of us and I do include myself in this. Mind Body Spirit, Psychic Fairs and the New Age are where many of us started on our spiritual journey. Many of us will eventually move away and move on, searching for and hopefully finding something deeper and meaningful. Some unfortunately do not. They remain the dilettante, dipping their toes in the water but unable, perhaps unwilling, to take the plunge and explore the depths of the mysteries.

So although I may display this unfortunate element of superior condescension at times, it is merely a trait built upon the recognition, even if a begrudged one, that like many others I started my journey by attending a psychic fair and having a tarot reading. Therefore one cannot really dispute that such fairs have a place, a use and a benefit in the long term. Serving as a catalyst to catapult people into the unknown, on a search that eventually may lead to a new awareness. A self-awareness.

So it was that on paying our £4.75, we began our exploration of the large indoor arena, used by the DCCC for indoor practice and other sports. I am quite familiar with the building having been involved in organising events here for the Pagan Federation in 2007 and 2008 (see ‘Thoughts on my retirement’ below).

Picking up the obligatory and useful programme, listing the stalls and the itinerary of talks, we began a leisurely but systematic stroll through what was in effect, a large indoor craft market. None of the talks on offer particularly appealed to us and we decided to skip them altogether, to focus on the market itself.

I was naturally interested in the book stall, my friend Emma wanted to stock up on essentials, such as joss sticks and candles. We both wanted to look at the art, the jewellery and many hand crafted items. The amusement of finding a few books on sale by people I have either met or know via Facebook was not entirely appreciated; Emma merely commenting, “You know a lot people.”

Prior to our attendance, I had already bought a few books via the web, including a three volume set of the complete works of Shakespeare. However, one book that did catch my eye, examined the influence of historical Paganism on the Renaissance and via that movement, far beyond unto the present day.

This period of history in the early modern period, represents a second rediscovery (there was an earlier Renaissance perhaps more than one) of the art and knowledge of the past. This influence was to be felt for over a century as the aristocracy and genteel class embarked upon the European Grand Tour. Visit any art gallery, museum or country seat today, the souvenirs, commissioned copies and paintings all serve to illustrate this rediscovery of a long past age.

Both of us were quite enchanted by the stalls displaying original artworks, cards and prints. I purchased one by Jacqui de Rose from a stall overflowing with delights for the eye. This particular print depicted spiritually significant animals and plants, whose names all began with the letter D. I did not buy the print because my name is Daniel, nor because of the duck, the dragon fly or the daffodils illustrated.

Besides the obvious fact that I was drawn to the beauty of the work, I noted in particular the dog rose and the deer featured in the work. The stag is depicted as the White Hart of Fairy lore and the rose is shown in both pink and white. Both the stag and the rose, wild or cultivated although I personally do favour the wild, hold a special place within the symbolism of the Hearth of the Turning Wheel.

The stag and the white hart is the Stag Lord and therefore, one of our four primary totems. He is the Lord of the Underworld and the Lord of the Mound. He is found within the heraldry of many families across the Midlands, including the Cavendish of Chatsworth. The stag derived from the arms of that family, has found its way into the heraldry of the Derby City Council and the County Council. Indeed the historical association with Derby and Derbyshire is ancient, the name Derby is derived from the Viking root word for deer.

Over in Nottinghamshire, the famous association of Sherwood with deer has brought the animal into the heraldry of the County and various districts. Because of this important local association and the linked mythological elements, the stag is the primary symbol of the Hearth of the Turning Wheel itself, often shown flanked by two crescent moons upon our own heraldry.

The symbolism of the rose is as complex and as meaningful as the White Hart and my review of both here is hardly in-depth. The rose within the Hearth of the Turning Wheel has three separate phases or depictions, Red, White and Tudor. The Red is the symbol of the Outer Court, the White is the symbol of the Inner Court and the Tudor is another primary badge.

The five petals of the rose represent the pentagram and the five stages of existence, the red in particular is a symbol of the divine feminine. Red is flesh and blood, white is bone. White can be seen as a symbol of the divine masculine. The Tudor Rose depicts the male within the female and bone within flesh.

Our visit to the Mind, Body and Spirit Fair had been worthwhile for us both, as we had both bought items of use and of value. The book is a well written scholarly work but the print in particular, has a significance of great worth.

How appealing such an event is or remains, very much depends on the individual and their particular search. On leaving, I was reminded of how much I had changed since my early days, although this was a return to my roots, those roots no longer delve the same soil.


Jacqui de Rose

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