The Wild Hunt

This week I thought bring attention to the awesome pagan blog The Wild Hunt. Many of you may already be aware of this website as it has been around doing great work in the Pagan community for many years now.

The Wild Hunt is Pagan news and commentary journal that publishes daily articles. These articles range from events facing the Pagan community to Pagan perspectives on current events around the world.

Originally founded by Jason Pitzl, The Wild Hunt now has 3 weekly writers and 10 regular columnists. Once a week they have a post called Pagan Community Notes, where they highlight events that have recently happened or about to happen within the Pagan community worldwide.

The columns range from topics such as mythology and it’s relevance today to perspectives on death. The Wild Hunt also has been reporting on the Standing Rock situation and what outspoken Pagans views were after the recent American election.

The Wild Hunt is well worth keeping an eye on. 

Mary

Sometimes a Wild God

 

‘Sometimes a Wild God’ is a poem by Tom Hirons. Many within our Grove have fallen in love with this poem and it has been read at more than one eisteddfod in the last couple of years. You can buy the poem in a book form with illustrations by Rima Staines here.

 

Sometimes a Wild God

Sometimes a wild god comes to the table.
He is awkward and does not know the ways
Of porcelain, of fork and mustard and silver.
His voice makes vinegar from wine.When the wild god arrives at the door,
You will probably fear him.
He reminds you of something dark
That you might have dreamt,
Or the secret you do not wish to be shared.

He will not ring the doorbell;
Instead he scrapes with his fingers
Leaving blood on the paintwork,
Though primroses grow
In circles round his feet.

You do not want to let him in.
You are very busy.
It is late, or early, and besides…
You cannot look at him straight
Because he makes you want to cry.

The dog barks.
The wild god smiles,
Holds out his hand.
The dog licks his wounds
And leads him inside.

The wild god stands in your kitchen.
Ivy is taking over your sideboard;
Mistletoe has moved into the lampshades
And wrens have begun to sing
An old song in the mouth of your kettle.

‘I haven’t much,’ you say
And give him the worst of your food.
He sits at the table, bleeding.
He coughs up foxes.
There are otters in his eyes.

When your wife calls down,
You close the door and
Tell her it’s fine.
You will not let her see
The strange guest at your table.

The wild god asks for whiskey
And you pour a glass for him,
Then a glass for yourself.
Three snakes are beginning to nest
In your voicebox. You cough.

Oh, limitless space.
Oh, eternal mystery.
Oh, endless cycles of death and birth.
Oh, miracle of life.
Oh, the wondrous dance of it all.

You cough again,
Expectorate the snakes and
Water down the whiskey,
Wondering how you got so old
And where your passion went.

The wild god reaches into a bag
Made of moles and nightingale-skin.
He pulls out a two-reeded pipe,
Raises an eyebrow
And all the birds begin to sing.

The fox leaps into your eyes.
Otters rush from the darkness.
The snakes pour through your body.
Your dog howls and upstairs
Your wife both exults and weeps at once.

The wild god dances with your dog.
You dance with the sparrows.
A white stag pulls up a stool
And bellows hymns to enchantments.
A pelican leaps from chair to chair.

In the distance, warriors pour from their tombs.
Ancient gold grows like grass in the fields.
Everyone dreams the words to long-forgotten songs.
The hills echo and the grey stones ring
With laughter and madness and pain.

In the middle of the dance,
The house takes off from the ground.
Clouds climb through the windows;
Lightning pounds its fists on the table.
The moon leans in through the window.

The wild god points to your side.
You are bleeding heavily.
You have been bleeding for a long time,
Possibly since you were born.
There is a bear in the wound.

‘Why did you leave me to die?’
Asks the wild god and you say:
‘I was busy surviving.
The shops were all closed;
I didn’t know how. I’m sorry.’

Listen to them:

The fox in your neck and
The snakes in your arms and
The wren and the sparrow and the deer…
The great un-nameable beasts
In your liver and your kidneys and your heart…

There is a symphony of howling.
A cacophony of dissent.
The wild god nods his head and
You wake on the floor holding a knife,
A bottle and a handful of black fur.

Your dog is asleep on the table.
Your wife is stirring, far above.
Your cheeks are wet with tears;
Your mouth aches from laughter or shouting.
A black bear is sitting by the fire.

Sometimes a wild god comes to the table.
He is awkward and does not know the ways
Of porcelain, of fork and mustard and silver.
His voice makes vinegar from wine
And brings the dead to life.

 

Library – Almanacs

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In our Grove library sits a small, but growing section of Almanacs. Of course you may question why anyone would want to read out of date almanacs. Or why we would want almanacs set for the Northern Hemisphere. They are good questions.

 

The answer is that you totally ignore the calendar parts of the Almanacs. The 4 different Llewellyn almanacs that are on offer all have very insightful articles on pagan life.

 

The Magical Almanac contains articles on “Practical Magic for Everyday Living.” They are laid out in sections relating to the 4 elements – Earth, Air, Fire and Water. This means there are pieces about soap making in the Water section and articles talking about food and kitchen witchery in the Earth sections.

 

The Witches Companion is again divided into 4 sections.

  • Community Forum with essays comparing Eclectic Wicca with Traditional Wicca, or discussing community issues like children, elders and coming across pagans we might not personally like.
  • Witchy Living has articles about day-to-day practice of paganism.
  • Witchcraft Essentials looks at different witchy practices, rituals and spells. This isn’t as cheesy as it sounds. The 2014 edition has an article called ‘Solitude and Quiet: Important Tools for the Magical Partitioner’ which urges you to take a break form the busy world we live in.
  • The last section is Magical Transformations – Everything old is new again. I can’t really work out what these articles seem to fit into, other than they seem to look at a variation of different views in paganism including looking into specific deities. There is also a good piece in the 2015 edition about why myth matters, for all those Bards out there.

 

The Sabbats Almanac is sectioned into the 8 seasonal Sabbats. Within each Sabbat there is an initial article about the season and then articles related to the following: Cosmic Sway, The Old Ways, Feasts and Treats, Crafty Crafts, All One Family, and a Ritual suggestion.

 

The Herbal Almanac contains 5 sections – Growing and Gathering Herbs, Culinary Herbs, Herbs for Health and Beauty, Herb Crafts and Herb History, Myth, and Lore. These are great little articles to help get you started on using and understanding herb use. However, word of warning, these have not been checked over by our resident herbalist and you should always check your sources, especially before digesting herbs.

 

The articles in these books range from a couple of pages to 7 or 8 pages long. So next time you arrive early to a ritual, and you have spare moment, please check out this section and read some articles. Let us know if they spark off any thought provoking ideas worth discussing in a blog post!

– Mary

 

Beltane

Last Sunday the Grove of the Summer Stars celebrated Beltane, or what the Maori call Whiringanuku. To the Maori it is the 5th month, when ka whakaniho nga mea katoa o te whenua i konei (‘all things now put forth fresh growth’) and a good flowering of ti kouka (cabbage tree) is said to be a sign that a long, fine summer will follow.

We started our Beltane celebration by starting a fire. Beltane is a celebration of Bel the god of light and fire, and we used this fire to cleanse us of things we no longer want in our lives and to bring a spark of beginning to our future endeavours.

For our ritual we built twin fires. During our ritual we spoke this poemeach saying a line each.

Light of the sun warms the earth,
Quickening the pulse of the land.
The sleeping giant rises,
To answer the call of the king
And I saw the Kowhai with its myriad yellow lights
And many plants
I saw leaves of kaka beak tree as they want to sprout
I saw branches equally laden with flowers;
I saw the attributes of a most generous king
And I saw the lady Papatuanuku smile as she passed by

Mine are the riches of the land of Aotearoa
Mine are the bounty,
Mine are the kindliness,
Mine the cloth,
And mine the victuals.

Lost in creation they are undisturbed by my presence,
for I am from them.

Skyfather Earthmother
the old people were right.
For I see the union
of sun and earth
and hear their songs of fertility
pregnant with life.

Adapted from two Taliesen poems and from Apirana Taylor – Thoughts on the Road, Eyes of the Ruru

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At the end of our ritual we danced around the Beltane fires on our way out of the circle. A couple of years our beautiful Storyteller, Moria, wrote this song for us to sing as we dance:

Dance to the Beltane Fire,
Dance to the Beltane Fire,
In, out, turn about,
Dance to the Beltane Fire,
Earth and Air, Fire and Water,
We are Papatuanuku’s
Sons and Daughters,
Dance to the Beltane Fire.

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After we had a feast we shared stories and poems. Les read the following poem by someone called Brook, that he found on Hello Poetry.

Beltane

Day breaks over a sleepy village
Morning absolutions completed
An excited buzz is in the air
Everyone is a buzz with cleaning
Hundreds gather wild flowers in the fertile fields
Many were in charge of raising the fires
Soon the whole town had bright blooms weaved from one end to the next
The horizon alight with smoke and power
Goddess and God rights invoked within circles round
Pulsating, rhythmic energy racing through each dancing body
Gyrating to the cosmic beat of life
Couples jump merrily together over cauldrons ablaze
High hopes rise and give way for dreams of children
Lovers round and round they twine
Maypole ribbons rainbow hued passing through hand to hand
As dusk falls the Queen is crowned
Mead flows freely through the jubilant worshippers
The moon hangs round with fullness above their heads
Lighting the way for love into the night

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Pamela shared this addition to the song from The Wicker Man that she wrote.

The rendition sung in the climax of the 1973 British film The Wicker Man is a mixed translation by Peter Shaffer:

Sumer is Icumen in,
Loudly sing, cuckoo!
Grows the seed and blows the mead,
And springs the wood anew;
Sing, cuckoo!
Ewe bleats harshly after lamb,
Cows after calves make moo;
Bullock stamps and deer champs,
Now shrilly sing, cuckoo!
Cuckoo, cuckoo
Wild bird are you;
Be never still, cuckoo!

 Summer is a’coming in
Find the tonic, grab the gin
Sing, o keruru!
Plant the seed and sip the mead
Less in haste and more in speed.
Sing, o keruru!

Lambswool beats the pallid cider
Milky vodka’s in the larder
Light the lamps and pour the champs
Now crilly king sheroo

Shekoo, kreshroo
Bild wird are ewe
Me too!

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Our Angela shared this poem she had written that morning.

Beltane Fire…..

My great passion
leapt
as a sudden spring eddy
swept up the dry old leaves
of unrealised dreams
and flung them to the fire.
The sound of the wind
briefly but beautifully amplified
as the flames consummated
the sacrifice.
Tears of release
sizzled and spat
as they danced wildly
with the rings and spirals
of the Tree of Life
now split asunder
in a final glorious blaze
of colour and heat.
I surrender to this moment
full of love and empty of fear
delighting in the eternal process
of one season
transforming
into another.

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Beltane this year was very inspiring and I am looking forward to seeing what develops from the sparks of inspiration that we all got.

– Mary