Friday, 29 January 2021

Yule seed thought - Wuldor's Wonderland

 The days of Wuldor are eleven days before the Winter Solstice and eleven days after.  Twenty two or two two days, zwei elf in German.  These are magical days, here in the Gewessi lands, when the light has that special glorious glowing quality.  Many modern pagans associate Wuldor with Ullr as a god of skiing and the hunt.  

So the 22 days of Wuldor, to my mind start to interface with the 12 days of Christmas.  10 days leading upto the Solstice, then the 11 days following the solstice.   

Here in the land of the South Anglo-Saxons, where skiing is not really a thing his association is with the hunt. Mostly, for me however, it is the light and aura of splendour that appears during this short period of the year when the sun barely rises above the South Downs.   That he is associated with the Yew is also significant for this time.

Little is known about Wuldor, meaning glory, but some think that the early Anglo-Saxon would have translated known pagan concepts to the new Christian religion.  So that Christ is referred to as the Wuldor-cyning or King of Glory.  Here is one of the King trees in the Wuldor light, a king in glory :)

Sunday, 20 December 2020

Samhuin seed thought - so take the moments of happiness

Covid19 is shit, let's just clear that out of the way. This has been a crappy, stressful and hard year. Even for those of us who are introverted and found working from home a great way of getting things done, without all the social anxiety of being around lots of people. Pete's passing and my Father in Law's apparently rapid in decline in health pushed our stress levels to breaking point. As with other elderly couples one takes the strain when the other becomes frail. It's just that there's a physical cost to taking the strain. My Father in Law had been covering for my Mother in Law's physical issues, we almost lost him to heart surgery. He's still not right.

However, you can't doom-scroll life and I've learnt to try and limit my doom-scrolling to over breakfast only.

I've re-focused on enjoying the moment, at this time of turning I am lucky to have moved next to a magnificent Oak and Yew where I can see the cycle of the seasons. It's like the myths where the Oak is the guardian of the light half of the year and the Yew the guardian of the dark half of the year. This year has been about introducing myself to them, next year I shall start offering to them at appropriate times I think.

The other joy has always been mountain biking, a new house means finding new rides. I am lucky to live near the Greensand Way, a Roman road that follows the line of the South Downs between the rivers Ouse and Arun. The area of the South Downs Way I consider 'my patch', this road had been lost to me. Except here I can now ride East/West along remnants of it, it has been a joy to create a circuit of the Greensand Way and the South Downs Way where I can find stillness within the storm, moments without stress whilst physically working hard. I can find flow and with that feeling happy.

Here's the Yew from my back door...

Guldize seed thought - sometimes you are not prepared

My friend died suddenly of a heart attack, he had Covid19 earlier in the year and had heart problems in the past. He, as an embalmer, had been on the front line of key worker services. As a friend he was the older brother I wish I'd had, the man you'd want to sit with at dinner. I'd always felt I was an unlucky person, until Pete made me realise I was lucky to have him as a friend. In my grief I tried to enjoy the Gold days of the year. I was not prepared for his death, he still looked cooler in death than I could ever be. I meditated on his name to try and express my grief.
Perthro is enigmatic and full of fun;
Ehwaz is a work horse and source of company to the restless
Tiwaz is a guiding star, an even handed one but willing to sacrifice the self for the well-being of the whole.
Ehwaz a team of work horses.

The last 'proper' conversation I had with him was in late 2019. Sat in the garden at a party, he was listing the music he wanted played at his funeral. I questioned 'Why Take That?'...'Because I love it, it was a special time in my daughters lives'. The rest of the music was to make everyone 'really upset and sad' he laughed 'I want them to miss me'. It worked, it was the best, most honest, most upsetting funeral I've been at. There was no celebrant he was not religious but was spiritual. The funeral directors. who he had supported their fledgling business with free work, led the funeral. He worked with them closely and they were as much a part of the mourners as everyone else. Limited to 30 people it meant everyone really cared for him and his family. We laughed and cried and all missed him so terribly.

Elegy to Pete

Over a thousand years ago
The wisdom of the old wise one was remembered.
Amongst them was this advice...
Cattle die and kinsmen die
You yourself must die,
but one thing, I think, will never die.
The good name of one has earned it

Pete earned his good name. His manner cooler than a cucumber,
With fierce passion underneath.
His style, sharper than a razor,
With a nonchalant attitude.
Pete was a sharp dressed man,
Always casually deliberate.
His posture, enigmatic with a wry smile
A straight down the line punk.
His humour, rebellious and irreverent,
Tellingthe tallest, funniest tales.
He'd have us in stitches.
A good man, a quiet star,
You wanted to be in his constellation.
We could all benefit from being a bit Pete.

Lughnasadh seed thought - sometimes there are bigger things

It was Lughnasadh when my wife called to apologise about forgetting our wedding anniversary. She was travelling, with her friend, to Somerset. Her friend's mother had died suddenly in January. A massive heart attack, a swift passing that exposed how much work she'd been doing to cover her husband's dementia. Within 6 months of her death, her husband and step-father to my wife's friend was in a home. With these events my wife has been supporting her friend who as a spinster in lockdown has been struggling. So we'd forgotten our anniversary and it meant Lughnasadh had crept up and almost passed without recognition. Sometimes there are bigger things than worrying about the wheel of the year and our rituals to mark them. Sometimes you have to take joy in the little things, the minor successes like this Sunflower (eaten by snails a couple of weeks later)...

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Litha Seed thought - Magical transformation

It was a day spent painting the fence, I started the day feeling like a bad pagan for not being up to welcome the Midsummer dawn. However, it was a rainy midsummer with the sun invisible behind a grey curtain. I slept through rather than having the exhaustion of an early, for me, start. I had jobs to do, particularly painting the new fence boundary to the house.
During the repetetive effort of painting the fence I realised I had to stop railing against what I thought I should be doing (i.e. get up to see a rainy sunrise) but doing what you actually should be doing. Honouring the Ylfe of this land by painting the fence and working with them to create beauty.
My negativity of mind was reset, by the end of Litha the fence was painted and the satisfaction of completing the job was well earnt. The fence was part of an ongoing and surprising process.

I thought at first I wanted to create a garden for my wife and I to enjoy. Our front garden is on a public path in a lane that provides entry to the park and a tree lined walk to the shops. I saw a quote from an Architect on-line (that I didn't save) which said "Your front garden is your gift to the outside world". Our house renovations, efforts in the garden and the newly painted fence have brought interest and joy to many of the passers by. During this time of lockdown bringing joy to people is a happy lesson. I'm still surprised by people congratulating us on the work that we've done. The exterior of the house and the garden have been neglected, we've learnt, for at least 40 years. I hope the Ylfe of this land are honoured by this work. Within my Gewessi gnosis applying real effort to bring positivity to the world feels better than a rote ritual for a rainy dawn.

Beltaine Seed Thought - the ritual of planting

Finally (in October) getting to write up my seed thoughts throughout the year. 2020 has been a sh-one-t year but the blessing we've had is a house to renovate and garden to create. The first job I could do was to create a vegetable patch from an overgrown corner in the north but facing east and receiving sunlight from the west between Eostre and Ghol Dheys.
At Eostre plant the following:

  1. Broccoli Purple Sprouting
  2. Beans in a green house
  3. Leeks in a green house
  4. Tomatoes in a green house or propagator
First new moon to full moon after Eostre (depending on local weather) plant
  1. Potatoes
  2. Chard and Spinach
  3. Climbing Beans outside, as long as the weather feels warm enough
  4. First Beetroot sowing
  5. Leeks outside
At Beltaine plant the following:
  1. Pumpkins
  2. Butternut squash
  3. Courgettes
  4. First lettuce sowing outside

Beltane blessings

May the Lady's touch again,
Rest upon the barren plain,
With the sunshine and the rain,
Let the sleeper awake!
Beltane magick here we sing,
Chant the rune and dance the ring,
Joy and blessing shall it bring,
Let the sleeper awake!
Doreen Valiente

My personal Druidry is about living Life As Ritual as William Morris said "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful" however I prefer to join it together in the useful function and the beautiful form. Ideally the object has both form and function. As can be seen from the photo' there's a way to go in beautifying the form.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Eostre Affirmation to the Gewessi Path

Bitter sweet

Cold wind , warm sun
Great ride, last ride.
These realities of my Eostre mountain bike pilgrimage to Wolstonbury Hill germinated my thoughts that brought forth the Imbolc Seed Thought post that had been lurking incomplete over the past 6 weeks. The imminent Covid-19 lockdown lay heavy on my mind, as I'm sure it has been with most people across the world, and the warm sun and cold wind mimicked the tensions in the world.
Up on Wolstonbury I looked to the East to where I have moved, the future

I looked to the West, where I used to live, the past
The thought came to me, "Go East old man" as a balance to the well known "Go West young man". I smiled, a wry internal grin at my place in the oder of things.

Wondering and Wandering as I returned from Wolstonbury I discovered a hitherto unnoticed Bridleway stone. Down a path I was seeking to visit, the old village of Clayton that I'd never been to. I live in the Parish now. A beautiful little Bridleway I'd never ridden, the thrill of the new excited me and I found, I think the spiritual heart of Adurni, the water goddess of the river Adur. The river that has dominated my life. My new village/small town is riddled with streams. Though I've known the place all my life I've never known the place until I moved here a few months ago as a Gewessi Druid. All of these streams come from springs on the South Downs and feed into the Adur. These springs aren't the home of the river goddess or spirit. My gnosis, from the river Ouse, is that the river spirit resides or begins in a special place either a beautiful spring, a lake or pond. I'd seen from the weather maps where the start of the Adur is, in or near Clayton.

Near the end of the Bridleway a beautiful pond appeared. I'd found the start, the heart of Adurni where she springs forth from the Earth.

Friday, 27 March 2020

Eostre seed thought - dance of life

With current events around Covid-19 I almost forgot this festival, even though I had booked the day off. Having moved house into a 'project to get it right and do a proper job', a witchy, snow white romantic house. There are a lot of jobs to do, projects within the project. The basement is one of those. I had dirty, dusty, wear a mask work to do so I brought music down and worked to the music. Dance music.
It was Eostre and my thoughts, amongst the drudgery, turned to it as a ritual space and then a favourite in the mix reverberated through the space. And I danced, at first hesitant remembering moves.
Hitting the beat, then after a couple of minutes the flow began.
The moves, throwing shapes.
The Techno-shaman in me, made it a sacred space.
I danced like no one watched me,
I didn't care, as the joy of dance flowed through the air waves.
The past of ecstatic nights when I was a mid-core raver.
Shamanic dance of healing hurts.
The dance took me, it revealed the Ingvi-Lord.

I was talking to a friend about music and dancing, she told how music brought out tears but that she felt the approbation of her peers. This meant she couldn't hear the music and dance because of the release of emotion. We discussed Techno-Shamanism about finding that safe, sacred space where you can be able to release that emotion in music and dance. How, for many too old (i.e. over 30) to find a dark and dirty night-club, a good old kitchen rave whilst cooking the dinner hits the spot where you can dance, cry, laugh and have joy without approbation.
Calming down from the ecstatic vision I returned to the scrubbing work.

Upon reflection about the experience it seemed about right, I have a horseshoe to rune-work with as a lucky totem, the horse is sacred to Ingvi-Freyr as told in the story of Coifi. I have a space above the stairs down to put it. The Awen feels good. This can be a sacred space.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Navajo Flatbread Recipe

Chef and baker Brandon Johnson has shared a flatbread recipe that looks super simple and easy to make.

Brandon, from South Dakota, posted the Navajo (Native American) flatbread recipe on Facebook...

Navajo Flatbread, for six:

2 cups flour

1 – 1 1/4cup of lukewarm water

1 table spoon baking powder

1 tsp kosher salt

1 table spoon oil/butter/shortening

Mix dry ingredients together and add most water, mix and add water until it has the consistency of tacky pizza dough

Knead for a few minutes

Let rest in greased bowl for 30- 60 minutes

Divide into 6 pieces and roll out on floured surface thin. (Tortilla thickness)

Heat pan to 180°C

Cook until golden brown spots and flip, cooking until done

They can be made ahead and kept under a flour towel or frozen for later use.