Summer solstice 2015

Stonehenge BW postcard

Another turn of the wheel and I write this somewhat distractedly. There’s more uncertainty in my life than ever and at the time of writing I can’t say categorically that I won’t be homeless by September. What I do know is that the UK – politically, socially, economically – is on the brink of complete meltdown and I, like many millions of others, are merely drowning in the oncoming tsunami driven by the undersea earthquake that is an economic policy (neoliberal “austerity”), being pursued with a single-minded intensity by people – bankers, politicians, corporate institutions – who are so wrapped up in their own fixation on the financialisation and commodification of everything that they cannot (will not) see the damage they are doing.

solsticesunIn a nutshell, if you have nothing to sell, if you can’t hang a price tag on your life, then you’re nothing, part of the problem, and must expect persecution, demonisation and erasure. So I, like those countless others, are beyond living a precarious life, everything really is hanging by a thread. So today, it’s hard for me to find any form of positivity, to find anything to celebrate.

Anyway. Enough of my pessimism.

Bright blessings to all who mark the solstice today, may awen flow into and through you, may you flow into and through awen, may everything find its equilibrium… Blessed be…

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I don’t recall where I found the images for this post; online somewhere… They’re used here entirely without permission, not for any kind of financial gain, but simply because I like them and felt they were appropriate to illustrate this post. If by chance the owners of the rights to the images should see this and wish me to remove them, please leave a note in the comments.

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Sunday’s Child

Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go,
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for a living,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.

This rhyme was first recorded in A.E. Bray’s Traditions of Devonshire in 1838 and was collected by James Orchard Halliwell in the mid-19th century. The implication that the “Sabbath Day” is a Sunday suggests this version of the rhyme draws on Christianity – there are many religions which don’t mark Sunday as the Sabbath – but the tradition of fortune telling by days of birth is much older. However, the rhyme also functions as a teaching aid, used to associate children with the pattern of, and different names for, the days of week.

But I digress. Today is my birthday: I am a Sunday’s Child so that’s as good a reason as any to share John Martyn’s 1975 song of the same name:

Calan Mai (May Day)

Beltane and the wheel of the year turns again… Bright blessings to all who mark the day

May in London

“On Nos Galan Mai or May Eve, villagers gather hawthorn (Welsh: draenen wen, ‘white-thorn’) branches and flowers which they would then use to decorate the outside of their houses, celebrating new growth and fertility.” (source)

Photo by Arawen

Winter solstice 2014

Moel Ty Uchaf by Richard John Linnett

As I grow older so my perception of the passing of time, and the seasons, changes.

For a number of reasons, winters have become particularly difficult for me to endure. The cold seeps deep into the fabric of my being and the decreasing hours of daylight serve only to feed the insatiable ci du, the black dog, of my depression and isolation.

And so the midwinter solstice becomes increasingly significant to me. For although the winter has barely even begun to sink its fangs into this part of the world, at least I can draw some (cold) comfort in knowing that, however minutely, however slowly, from here on out, the days will begin to lengthen. The wheel of the year has turned its farthest and, after this moment of precarious equilibrium, will begin to turn back towards the light. For this small, precious blessing – this first tiny germination of the seeds of the new year and with it, the sun and the light – today I am grateful.

(Image: Moel Ty Uchaf by Richard John Linnett)

The Acorn Way

In the days of my misspent youth, I lived in rural north Wales and, for a while, hung out with a bunch of pothead pixies. We often used to go for long rambling walks along part of the Offa’s Dyke path, which ran nearby.

AcornWaystone

For obvious reasons, we used to call it The Acorn Way and our wanderings were often accompanied by a rendition of Gong’s ‘The Oily Way’, with appropriate modification to the original lyrics.

ACORN WAY
ACORN WAY – it’s not the Milky Way
ACORN WAY – it’s not the only way
ACORN WAY – it’s not the English way

Happy daze…

insomnia

crashing back into consciousness like falling through a glass roof, landing awake, on my back, tensed up. the rain lashes against the window.

strange dreams of cylinders on a conveyor belt, of amorphous shapes like microbes under a microscope. no comfort, no rest, no peace.

wrap me in midnight velvet, studded with diamond stars. hold me in uncaring arms & let me sink into a dream of futures past.

Calan Gaeaf (Samhain)

242px-Celtic_rond_chien

“Close the door, put out the light
You know they won’t be home tonight…”

Calan Gaeaf (via Wikipedia):

Calan Gaeaf is the name of the first day of winter in Wales, observed on 1 November. The night before is Nos Galan Gaeaf, an Ysbrydnos when spirits are abroad. People avoid churchyards, stiles, and crossroads, since spirits are thought to gather there.

Samhain (via OBOD):

On or around the 31st October in the northern hemisphere, 1st May in the southern, Samhain is the festival of the dead, a festival of remembrance and honouring of our dear departed friends and relations. It is said that at Samhain the veil that separates the worlds is at its thinnest. So our world, the world of Faerie, and that of the dead, blend as one. It is no wonder then that this night has become so wrapped in superstition. It is a night of wonder and magic. On this night the Cailleach (the Crone) comes to strip the leaves from the trees, to quicken the decay of the flesh of the year, so that it may feed the new life to come. We can also ask Her to take the unwanted aspects of our personal year away, so that these too might be transformed. Yet even on the darkest night of Samhain, whilst our minds ponder our mortality, if we listen carefully, we can hear the sound of a new-born child crying for its Mother’s breast, for soon it will be Alban Arthan, the Winter solstice, and the Wheel will turn once more.

“The dogs of doom are howling ‘More’…”

Storia – Watch The Stone

Yesterday I went to my doctor’s surgery for routine blood tests. The nurse told me to phone in a week’s time to get the results. Today, barely 24 hours later, the doctor’s receptionist rang me to make an appointment to see the GP “to discuss the results of the tests”. As a friend said, “if it was deadly serious, they would’ve called you in immediately; it could be something as simple as they’ve lost your sample or need more”. I’m trying to keep that thought in my mind and not fret about what it might or might not be. This song is helping quite a lot – thank you, V.

 

Every which way before, above and over again
and away from here
I’m tired of yesteryear…
Now, tomorrow is not far away,
it’s nearly midnight
and I paint my world further from the clock
that cracks and ties and binds… it binds…

Calm down, calm down…
Watch the stone as you bite,
then you just might
swallow it all whole…
Calm down, calm down,
watch the stone as you bite,
then you just might
swallow it all whole…

Just as if I must play with words or…
paint with sound…
We go inside…
“A storm is coming”, she said.
And in a teacup we saw those days
flying by.
So let’s get off this moving train
and catch a wave along…
somehow…
sometime…

Calm down, calm down…
Watch the stone as you bite,
then you just might
swallow it all whole…
Calm down, calm down…
Watch the stone as you bite,
then you just might
swallow it all whole…