Wind

Wind
I come home to wind
Autumn wind
But it’s only July

I come home to wind
Sounding the chimney
Like it was November
But it’s only July

I come home to wind
Whipping the trees
Shaking the leaves
Blowing the grass and the flowers
But it’s only July

I come home to wind
Blowing round corners
Stopping me in my tracks
Fleeting the clouds across the sky
Battering the windows with rain
But it’s only July

Oh Mother!
Oh Mother Earth
What is happening?
It’s only July …

Folklore and the Fairy Hill

John Muir Trust land manager Liz Auty explores some of the history and mystery associated with Schiehallion It towers over the heart of Scotland, its unmistakable conical peak visible across vast distances. Schiehallion, whose name derives from the Galeic Sith Chaillean, which means ‘Fairy Hill of the Caledonians’. * A mysterious mountain with many moods – Mellow Yellow  – when the colours of autumn are truly beautiful and stags can be heard roaring in Glen Mhor. For many centuries, this landscape was

Source: Folklore and the Fairy Hill

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Moorhen Chicks

Black fluff, feather fluff,
Red cap, red beak.
Plop!
Float like natural,
Perch on leaf,
Lily holds him,
Mother feeds him,
Life is good.

Nest on island,
Hidden shelter,
In the reeds.
Mother knows,
Hides them safely
From the eaters in the sky.

Growing quickly,
Soon be adult
Then I’ll go
To make my way

Land Song Series © Elen Sentier 2017 all rights reserved
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A eulogy to the NHS: What happened to the world my generation built? | Society | The Guardian

I just have to reblog this, for the sakes of all those who haven’t a clue what life was like before 1948 – yes a mere 69 years ago! – and actually believe what the Tories say. For all the gods’ sakes, please read this. Is this what you want for your future and that of your children ???

A midwife with a penchant for gin delivered me into the arms of my exhausted mother on a cold, blustery day in February 1923. I slept that night in my new crib, a dresser drawer beside her bed, unaware of the troubles that surrounded me. Because my dad was a coal miner, we lived rough and ready in the hardscrabble Yorkshire town of Barnsley. Money and happiness didn’t come easily for the likes of us.

Source: A eulogy to the NHS: What happened to the world my generation built? | Society | The Guardian  

 

Still as Ghosts

after watching the video ringing of the Dyfi osprey chicks 2017

Thump! Crash!
Up from the ground the thing comes.
Still as ghosts we sit.

Smell! Scent! Sound!
It peers over the edge of the nest.
Still as ghosts we sit.

Gone! My brother is gone!
The thing goes. Returns.
My sister is gone.
I am alone.
Still as a ghost I sit.
Afraid.

The thing returns, lifts me,
Puts me in a bag,
Carries me down.
Now we, all three, lie
Still as ghosts on the ground.

Touched. Pulled. Held up. Put down.
My leg is stretched,
A thing is fitted to it.
Itches.
But the thing is gentle,
Its voice feels kind.
Still as ghosts we lie
All three together.
What will happen now?

Where is my mother?
My father?
Will I ever return to the nest?
I am afraid.
Staring, peering, wild-eyed.

Lifted up again.
The thing takes me upwards.
Ah! The nest. Home.
My sister and my brother join me.
We lie there panting, waiting, staring.

Mother. I hear her land near.
Mother come quick.
We sat still as ghosts
All three of us, like you said.
Mother, come back to us …

 

Vidoe: Dyfi Osprey Project – ringing 2017
Land Song Series © Elen Sentier 2017 all rights reserved
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Rain from Heaven

Sipping, slurping, gulping, burping
Garden thirsty for the rain
Leaves unfurling, roots uncurling
Supping up the soft wet rain

Flowers dripping, grass-heads tipping
Holding shiny beads of rain
Lady’s Mantle holds the candle
Cupping silver drops of rain

Heaven opens, but so gently
Shining threads of silver rain
Falling softly onto soil-crust
Healing all the Mother’s pain

Image: Lady’s Mantle by Elen Sentier
Land Song Series © Elen Sentier 2017 all rights reserved
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Midsummer Turning of the Year

Today the sun moves on
Three days he has stood still
Rising at the same point on the horizon
While the two kings wrestle

Oak has been the guardian
Caring for the Lady
Since the Sun-Return of Midwinter
Now it changes
Now Holly wins the match
Becomes her lord

Now he holds her
Guards her as the sun’s arc drops
Lower and lower
Every day
Less and less light
Every day
From now until Midwinter

Now is harvest
Now the lady gives us her bounty
The hay and corn
The fruits of the forest and garden
All the goodness grown in her belly
Since Midwinter

Holly King gives us the gifts from his lady
Holds her in his arms as the sun’s arc goes down
Takes her down into the darkness

Oak King sleeps now under the sod
Rebuilding himself
Ready to wrestle
Show he is worthy
At the next turning of the year

Image:the eternal struggle by arwensgrace
Land Song Series © Elen Sentier 2017 all rights reserved
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Hunter in Darkness

Whiskers twitching
Ears listening
Eyes slit
She senses her prey in the gloaming light

Night holds no terrors
Except for Man
Him she shuns eludes
Escapes if she can

Whiskers twitching in the gloaming light
On the wild island where no man lives
Here she is
In all her glory
The very heart of wildness

Image: Scottish Wildcat by Colette Cheyne
Land Song Series © Elen Sentier 2017 all rights reserved
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Four Magpie Brothers

Four young magpies, brothers, sat upon the porch roof this morning.

Squabbling, squawking, pecking the tiles.

Wicked, so they are. Lads and louts.

Waiting to see what I will do.

I go to the window.

They’re watchful

But I get there before they see,

Chuckling with delight at the four young bucks

Performing on the roof.

‘Whooooosh!’ I hiss loudly from the window.

A flurry of black and white and shining blue

Flies up

Squawking, chattering, screaming, laughing.

‘We got her!’ they call to each other.

‘We got her’.

Image: Magpie Mandala by Danielle Barlow
Land Song Series © Elen Sentier 2017 all rights reserved
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Dragon Bones

River rushing, tumbling streaming

Flowing faster than your dreaming

River runs between the stones

Washing clean the dragon’s bones

Forest crowding round the brink

Will you swim or will you sink

Trees and water, bones of earth

Cross the bridge to find rebirth

Land Song Series © Elen Sentier 2017 all rights reserved
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Rabbit Cat

We have just acquired a rabbit cat. He’s big and dark and handsome, dark brown-grey tabby I think but I’m only allowed to see him from my bedroom window. He’s feral and has come to our garden because we have zillions of rabbits!

To do some back story … I’ve lived here, in the back-of-beyond on the Welsh Borders for the whole of this century, it’s gorgeous, no neighbours for half a mile, views of Hay Bluff from my bedroom window, and a quarter of an acre of woodland-edge wildlife garden.

But we have rabbits! Bunnies are lovely creatures and this one is especially cute … but … they eat and dig up the plants needed by the other wild beasties who live in the garden. There are lots of songbirds – wrens, finches, blackbirds, thrushes and robins, to name just a few, as well as butterflies, dragonflies and lots of other wonderful insects. They all need the plants. And, actually, so do I. They’re my life, one of the delights in living here, so close to the natural world that I truly feel a part of it.

I live here with my two cats. They’re rather elderly ladies now, rising seventeen years old. Up until a couple of years ago they were still excellent hunters, keeping the rabbit population in check as all apex predators do. But not now, now they’ve told me they’re retired, they want the gentle twilight of their lives lying in the sun, watching and listening, but no more work. That’s fine with me but … the rabbits do now get out of hand, spoiling things for the rest of the wild folk who live here.

I came here because the spirit of place called me. Since childhood, I’ve always felt so connected with the genius loci of all the places I’ve lived and here is no exception. We get on, we’re friends, I planted and now care for the garden for her, she guides me in what needs doing and what needs leaving alone. So I asked her, I said, ‘we need another cat, a younger cat who is happy to live out in the garden and eat the rabbits.’ It didn’t take long. Within three weeks I saw this dark shadow creeping amongst the shrubs near the hedge, and Izzy and Olly were both bottling their tails and growling gently. They knew precisely who was out there and were making the point that this is their patch, their home, and the new cat could stay as long as he stays outside.

He’s been here about two months now. This isn’t a pic of him – not managed that as yet – but it sort of looks like him. His colouring is wonderful, like a black tabby, like this … 

 

 

 

I call him Gwyll, it means “twilight” in Welsh, and you pronounce it “Gooeth” … I know 🙂 but Welsh is like that, really hard to work out how to pronounce it! The three cats have worked out their relationship, Izzy and Olly only growl if he comes a bit too close to the door. And now, instead of seeing twenty or thirty young bunnies digging the grass and the plants in the garden when I go out for my twilight walk each morning and evening there’s only one or two. The grass is growing, the plants are growing, the bees and butterflies have flowers to feed on, the birds are content, and the robins sing me their evensong each night as the sun goes back under the Earth.

And Gwyll is happy too. He has his own place with warm dry spots to sleep and shelter in, and a good regular supply of food.

For me, it so much shows me how our Mother Earth works. She knows how the cycles of life and death work so all creatures are happy, live well and contentedly. We all share, we all give and we all take … but only what we need. It also shows me how good it is when I work-with the natural world and the spirits of place as well as with the Mother Earth. When there’s an imbalance in nature, allowing nature to deal with it, rather than calling in human help, is so much more effective. It’s kinder too. Gwyll is a good hunter, he kills his dinner quickly and only takes what he needs. His very presence in the garden, his scent and sound, all show the bunnies that this isn’t a good place for bunny-kind to stray into too much so they stay out, in the fields, where there’s plenty of bunny-food.

Life and death, the cycle of life, I learn so much from watching the natural world. I learn not to put my human preconceptions onto everything and that, sometimes, my human views are completely out of kilter with the natural world. And so I grow.

Life has so, so much to teach us all if we will only allow her too.

Memory Lane … Thoughts about DTWAGE

Long ago and faraway … well, actually back in the 1970s and early 80s I used to spend many a lunchtime in science fiction bookshops in central London, near where I worked. My favourite was Dark They Were And Golden Eyed, and during the 1970s it was the largest of its kind in Europe. The place was in St Anne’s Court, Soho, and to get there, you went up this alley between Dean Street and Wardour Street, between strip-joints, film studios and music places – all the stuff on which Soho thrived in those days – climbed some rickety stairs and found yourself in two floors of sci-fi fantasy heaven.

The bookshop took its name, Dark They Were And Golden Eyed, from Ray Bradbury’s famous Martian novel, the bookshop took the name, it was my most favourite bookshop ever. the place itself lived up to the promise. It’s gone now, went bust in 1981, I miss it still.

Now, if you want sci-fi and fantasy you go to Forbidden Planet but, like Martin of Den of Geek says, “… the industrial numbers of available books at Forbidden Planet seemed to diminish the value of all of them …” That’s sad. I don’t find FP to be a browsers shop. I couldn’t nip in there in my lunch break and end up being late back because I’d got into conversation with the bloke who ran it! Not like in DTWAGE. It was a source of Roger Zelazny and Ursula le Guin and many, many others for me. The folks in there were very knowledgeable and seriously intelligent, great fun to chat with as well as excellent sources of info on what was new and good to read. And you made friends with fellow customers too. Not like that now.

Again, as Martin quotes Douglas Addams, “… the universe is too large a place, and most people move somewhere smaller.”

Here’s Martin’s musings on DTWAGE …

But the most poignant part of any lost idlings around Soho is my inevitable pass-through of St. Anne’s Court, which defies its grandiloquent name by actually being a fairly dingy little alley connecting Wardour Street to Dean Street. Here you will pass some anonymous glass business façade that once held a place that – to me – was an Aladdin’s cave of geekdom…

Dark They Were And Golden Eyed was a delightfully shambolic two-level science-fiction and horror bookshop that resided in that spot from 1970 until its decline in 1980, and whose polysyllabic name derived from a short story by Ray Bradbury. Myself, I visited the shop only a couple of times, with my sword-and-sorcery obsessed father. Since our interests diverged, I would end up perusing its vast shelves by myself and pouring pretty much any pocket-money I had into the old tills at the end of the ramshackle queues of geeks.

Back then, you were aware that science-fiction was counter-culture, despite the popularity of Star Wars; at DTWAGE the space-operas nestled in crudely-opened cardboard boxes sat cheek to cheek with the cross-hatching of Robert Crumb, punk and new wave fanzines, as well as surprisingly glossy magazines devoted to (strictly theoretical) instructions on illegal horticulture of all kinds. Put simply, the market for sci-fi was a very retrospective one, and no shop of that size was able to carry on regular trading solely off the back of geek wares.

It was here that I found the Alien movie novel for a fiver, which was sort of an extended ‘Bunty’ photo-strip, but with a bit more blood and death, featuring over 1000 full colour photos. On my second trip I followed up this purchase with the excellent Alien: The Illustrated Story, a graphic novel of the movie apparently based on an earlier version of the O’Bannon/Shusett script, as it featured the ‘Lambert-slap’ which was not to be seen in the original until the special edition DVDs twenty years later.

And I wonder if I will ever be made as happy as that again for a fiver. Even accounting for inflation.

DTWAGE was finally bought by its suppliers and morphed into Forbidden Planet, who by the early eighties had split its trade between the flagship ‘purist’ sci-fi shop near Charing Cross road and the more movie-oriented Forbidden Planet 2 in Tin Pan Alley.

Then, as now, I found FP’s endless acres of sci-fi novels so overwhelming that I frequently left with nothing. I don’t know if it was chronic indecision, information overload or just the fact that the industrial numbers of available books at Forbidden Planet seemed to diminish the value of all of them, and in truth I usually only exited the shop with a novel that I had expressly gone in to buy. As Douglas Addams said, the universe is too large a place, and most people move somewhere smaller.

 

Laura Perry: Minoan Tradition

If you want to know about and work with the Minoan tradition go here. Laura Perry knows her stuff and also knows how to help you grasp it too. Laura’s been immersed in these old ways for a long time, they’re in her bones, she lives them and so is well able to transmit them to those who want to know.

I fell in love with Crete, bull-dancing and the snake-goddess when I was about eleven years old through reading Mary Renault’s “The King Must Die”, and I still re-read that book every couple of years now. For a long time (and maybe still) Oxford University used to recomened beginning Greats students to read her before they came up for their first term, she’s that good historically as well as being a wonderful storyteller. So that’s where “Greece” began for me, but Laura helps me take it further.

If you like Tarot, her Minoan tarot is a very good one to work with. The images jump off the cards to greet you, i find it very easy to engage with them and hear what they have to tell me. Her online classes are an excellent way to begin your journey into the old Minoan ways, especially if you get her books Ariadne’s Thread and Labrys & Horns to go with it. And, actually, I find using the Minoan Colouring Book is a great way to go daydreaming (a European form of journeying) to discover how that thread of Ariadne’s works inside yourself.

So … for another of our old European shamanic ways have a look at Laura’s site … it might just be for you 🙂