Mist is low over the area today. Grey, very grey. Cut back all my Salvias last night, in fear of frost. Now I have a huge pile of cuttings. Moved all the cold sensitive plants into the garage as well.
Watched Constantine last night. If you don’t suffer from Catholic Guilt before you see this film, you may be infected with it after. All those Demonic Possessions! So many bodies, so little time! Aiyeee! Actually I like the story alot, but I think you need to have read the Illustrated book to catch who some of the characters are….
Getting ready for Samhain….
On the Menu
Féile na Marbh/Samhain
Poetry: Taliesin – O Radiant Brow!
On The Music Box: StellaMara – Star of The Sea…
Find them at Magnatunes
an excerpt about them…
“Stellamara originated in 1994 creating evocative soundscapes that are now considered a new model in contemporary world music. At its core is vocalist/producer Sonja Drakulich and multi- instrumentalist Gari Hegedus. Their music incorporates medieval European, Persian, Arabic, Indian, Turkish and Balkan with subtle electronic textures. The result is a sublime new level of mystery, beauty and depth.
Sonja Drakulich was introduced to Eastern European singing as a teenager and began performing Balkan, Medieval Music and her own compositions at the age of 18. Being of Serbian and Hungarian decent, discovering the songs of Eastern Europe was for her a homecoming. Her continuous interest and study ranges from Medieval European and Persian voice to Turkish, Arabic and Greek and Balkan singing.
Gari Hegedus began devoting his life to music 25 years ago with the study of Early European, Celtic and Bretagne music. From there he was led east into the intense practice and performance of Turkish classical and Mevlevi ceremonial music.
Féile na Marbh/Samhain
The Samhain celebrations have survived in several guises as a festival dedicated to the harvest and the dead. In Ireland and Scotland, the Féile na Marbh, the “festival of the dead” took place on Samhain.
Samhain Eve, in Irish and Scots Gaelic, Oidhche Shamhna, is one of the principal festivals of the Celtic calendar, and is thought to fall on or around the 31st of October. It represents the final harvest. In modern Ireland and Scotland, the name by which Halloween is known in the Gaelic language is still “Oíche/Oidhche Shamhna”. It is still the custom in some areas to set a place for the dead at the Samhain feast, and to tell tales of the ancestors on that night.
Traditionally, Samhain was time to take stock of the herds and grain supplies, and decide which animals would need to be slaughtered in order for the people and livestock to survive the winter. This custom is still observed by many who farm and raise livestock.
Bonfires played a large part in the festivities celebrated down through the last several centuries, and up through the present day in some rural areas of the Celtic nations and the diaspora. Villagers were said to have cast the bones of the slaughtered cattle upon the flames, cattle having a prominent place in the pre-Christian Gaelic world. Victorian sources claimed the English word ‘bonfire’ derives from these “bone fires” but the Gaelic has no such parallel. With the bonfire ablaze, the villagers extinguished all other fires. Each family then solemnly lit its hearth from the common flame, thus bonding the families of the village together. Often two bonfires would be built side by side, and the people would walk between the fires as a ritual of purification. Sometimes the cattle and other livestock would be driven between the fires, as well.
Divination, usually involving apples and nuts, is a common folkloric practice that has also survived in rural areas. The most common uses were to determine the name of one’s future spouse, and the location of one’s future home. Children would also chase crows and divine some of these things from the direction the birds flew.
In parts of western Brittany, Samhain is still heralded by the baking of kornigou, cakes baked in the shape of antlers to commemorate the god of winter shedding his “cuckold” horns as he returns to his kingdom in the Otherworld. The Romans identified Samhain with their own feast of the dead, the Lemuria. This, however, was observed in the days leading up to May 13. With Christianization, the festival in November (not the Roman festival in May) became All Hallows’ Day on November 1st followed by All Souls’ Day, on November 2nd. Over time, the night of October 31 came to be called All Hallow’s Eve, and the remnants festival dedicated to the dead eventually morphed into the secular holiday known as Halloween.
Poetry: Taliesin – O Radiant Brow!
“Fair Elphin, cease to lament!
Let no one be dissatisfied with his own,
To despair will bring no advantage.
No man sees what supports him;
The prayer of Cynllo will not be in vain;
God will not violate his promise.
Never in Gwyddno’s weir
Was there such good luck as this night.
Fair Elphin, dry thy cheeks!
Being too sad will not avail,
Although thou thinkest thou hast no gain
Too much grief will bring thee no good;
Nor doubt the miracles of the Allmighty:
Although I am but little, I am highly gifted.
From seas, and from mountains,
And from the depths of rivers,
God brings wealth to the fortunate man.
Elphin of lively qualities,
Thy resolution is unmanly;
Thou must not be over sorrowful:
Better to trust in God than to forbode ill.
Weak and small as I am,
On the foaming beach of the ocean,
In the day of trouble I shall be
Of more service to thee than three hundred salmon.
EIphin of notable qualities,
Be not displeased at thy misfortune:
Although reclined thus weak in my bag,
There lies a virtue in my tongue.
While I continue thy protector
Thou hast not much to fear;
Remembering the names of the Trinity,
None shall be able to harm thee.”
A Poem for the Wind
Guess who it is.
Created before the Flood.
A creature strong,
without flesh, without bone,
without veins, without blood,
without head and without feet.
It will not be older, it will not be younger,
than it was in the beginning.
There will not come from his design
fear or death.
He has no wants
Great God! the sea whitens
when it comes from the beginning.
Great his beauties,
the one that made him.
He in the field, he in the wood,
without hand and without foot.
Without old age, without age.
Without the most jealous destiny
and he is coeval
with the five periods of the five ages.
And also is older,
though there be five hundred thousand years.
And he is as wide
as the face of the earth,
and he was not born,
and he has not been seen.
He on sea, he on land,
he sees not, he is not seen.
He is not sincere,
he will not come when it is wished.
He on land, he on sea,
he is indispensable,
he is unconfined,
he is unequal.
He from four regions,
he will not be according to counsel.
He commences his journey
from above the stone of marble.
He is loud-voiced, he is mute.
He is uncourteous.
He is vehement, he is bold,
when he glances over the land.
He is mute, he is loud-voiced.
He is blustering.
Greatest his banner
on the face of the earth.
He is good, he is bad,
he is not bright,
he is not manifest,
for the sight does not see him.
He is bad, he is good.
He is yonder, he is here,
he will disorder.
He will not repair what he does
and be sinless.
He is wet, he is dry,
he comes frequently
from the heat of the sun and the coldness of the moon.
The Spoils Of Annwfn
I praise the Lord, the Sovereign of the royal realm,
Who has extended his sway over the tract of the world.
Gwair’s prison in Caer Siddi was in order
Throughout the course of the story concerning Pwyll and Pryderi.
No-one before him went into it –
Into the heavy grey chain which was restraining the loyal youth.
And on account of the spoils of Annwfn he was singing bitterly
And our (own) poetic invocation shall continue until Judgement(-Day).
We went, three full loads of Prydwen, into it;
Apart from seven, none came back up from Caer Siddi.
I am one who is splendid in (making) fame: the song was heard
In the four-turreted fort, fully revolving.
It was concerning the cauldron that my first utterance was spoken:
It [ie the cauldron] was kindled by the breath of nine maidens.
The cauldron of the Chieftain of Annwfn: what is its faculty?
– Dark (ornament) and pearls around its rim –
“Primary chief bard am I to Elphin,
And my original country is the region of the summer stars;
Idno and Heinin called me Merddin,
At length every king will call me Taliesin.
I was with my Lord in the highest sphere,
On the fall of Lucifer into the depth of hell
I have borne a banner before Alexander;
I know the names of the stars from north to the south;
I have been on the Galaxy at the throne of the Distributor;
I was in Canaan when Absalom was slain;
I conveyed Awen [the Divine Spirit] to the level of the vale of Hebron
I was in the court of Dôn before the birth of Gwydion.
I was instructor to Eli and Enoch;
I have been winged by the genius of the splendid crozier;
I have been loquacious prior to being gifted with speech;
I was at the place of the crucifixion of the merciful son of God;
I have been three periods in the prison of Arianrhod;
I have been the chief director of the work of the tower of Nimrod;
I am a wonder whose origin is not known.
I have been in Asia with Noah in the Ark,
I have witnessed the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah;
I have been in India when Rome was built;
I am now come here to the remnant of Troia.
I have been with my Lord in the manger of the ass;
I strenghtened Moses through the waters of Jordan;
I have been in the firmament with Mary Magdalene;
I have obtained the muse from the Cauldron of Caridwen;
I have been bard of the harp to Lleon of Lochlin.
I have been on the White Hill, in the court of Cynvelyn,
For a year and a day in stocks and fetters,
I have suffered hunger for the Son of the Virgin,
I have been fostered in the land of the Deity,
I have been teacher to all intelligences,
I am able to instruct the whole universe.
I shall be until the day of doom on the face of the earth;
And it is not known if my body is flesh or fish.
Then I was for nine months
In the womb of the hag Caridwen;
I was originally little Gwion,
And at length I am Taliesin.”