Tag Archives: ritual

Beltane 2005

What I have left to strike a spark
is just a book of grayed and dusty matches;
not much good at dispelling dark
when the flint is reduced from ancient scratches
where once I sought to catch a fire
against the troubled wind of youth,
fueled with some bottomless desire
to speak for Beauty, Love and Truth.

It seems as though my kindling’s turned to rot,
soaked through with time’s stale sweat;
even the bark has curled where water has got
and turned the umber wood to jet.
Still, there is quite enough spare chaff,
cast off from years of gleaning grain,
swept up against my mind’s baseboards
to feed a bonfire, this Beltane.

As summer brings its sweltered breath
again, and warms my arid bones,
I will return from Winter’s death
and on my hilltop, stand alone
while the flames lick the turgid sky
with their caress of wild desire;
in that bright light, the world and I
are spark and tinder, fuel and fire.

29 APR 2005

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An Ostara Blessing

Today the dark begins at last to fade,
the Winter’s fulcrum balanced with the Spring.
Once great and mighty shadows turn mere shade,
and green returns to color growing things.

Rejoice! The world is born again from seed.
It cracks the brittle crust of earth to reach
out for the sun’s return, its will to breed
and manifest all nature’s divine speech.

Rejoice! No more on cold and bitter thoughts
allow the hibernating heart to dwell;
The fallow time, when actions come to naught,
has ended. Broken is the sunless spell.

Today, the light returns to take its place,
with Summer’s children growing in its womb.
Let melancholy no more taint your face;
Throw back the shutters! Let Spring in the room!

Rejoice! The season for despair is through;
Just look — snow melts, and leaves begin to show.
Once more, the world is sacred, fresh and new,
and waits for you likewise to find it so.

This equinox I wish for friend and foe
alike to find perspective they may lack;
in our own darkness, to see some light grow,
and in our sun-washed days, respect the black.

21 MAR 2005

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As the world wakes up from Winter’s slumber,
she starts to shake the sodden snow that lies
heavy on her cloak of gray and umber.
After the long months of silence, she sighs

a slow breath of warmth into the crisp air;
and time, that has hung suspended and numb,
begins again to find its soft rhythm
and heralds new Spring on its muffled drum.

Deep in her fetid womb, where life has formed
in silence through the dark and bitter days,
a season’s promises ache to be born
and feel again the nearing sun’s bright rays.

Relax and slowly breathe, she says, the wait
is nearly at an end; the world will wake.
Stretch out your tired limbs! Don’t hesitate!
The cracked and brittle Winter’s bones will break.

Rejoice, rejoice! The world is waking
Winter’s hold is slowly breaking;
See him old, infirm and shaking
as new Spring is in the making

Rejoice, rejoice, the Spring is nearing
Winter’s fleece is set for shearing
Share the sound of life you’re hearing
Green and wild, in every clearing

Rejoice, rejoice, the Spring will come
its heartbeat pounding like a drum!
Begone, the cold that stings and numbs,
and to the sun we bid welcome!

01 FEB 2005

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Oh Mother Help Me

For some reason this morning I woke up thinking of the hymn “Sweet Hour of Prayer” — in particular the wonderful bluegrass version done by the Osbourne Brothers. And I thought to myself, “Self, why is it that there are so few good pagan hymns?” At least in the neo-pagan tradition, that is. There are a myriad of songs to the Great Mother in Bengali, but so few outside of India get a chance to experience the longest unbroken tradition of Mother Goddess worship in the world.

So much of pagan music seems to be directed at a specific audience, and to deny the universal appeal of paganism outside its adherents. Perhaps that’s because of the strict policy most pagan traditions have of non-proselytizing. Perhaps it’s because so many neo-pagans are “recovering” Christians who would deny the positive effect that hymns and such have — it is a power to step beyond the practice and immerse oneself in what the spirit of a religion is supposed to be.

Ah, well. Also, a lot of pagan music tries to place itself into a separate genre, a world unto itself — as opposed to writing pagan rock songs, pagan country songs, pagan bluegrass. The problem with that approach is, of course, that music forms are the natural development of an indigenous culture. To deny these forms as vehicles for expression is to, in my opinion, go against one of the very things that defines pagans to begin with.

So here it is. A pagan bluegrass song. A pagan hymn, if you will. Imagine Ralph and Carter Stanley singing it, instead of “Man of Constant Sorrow”. Someday, when I get my home studio back in working order, I’ll put it to disc and hope to do it justice.

There is a shadow that lingers on
after the cover of night is gone
it seeks to darken enlightened souls
and separate each part from the whole

Seeking a power beyond their ken
the world is destroyed by shadowed men
and despite knowing their way is flawed
they seek to prove theirs the only god

Oh Mother help me
to understand
see past illusion wrought by your hand
Oh Mother help me
to see your face
and walk beside you all of my days

We walk in darkness, and do not know
it is but shadow that makes it so
Blinded to reason and lost to care,
we fumble searching for what’s not there

Some think they’ve found it, the one true path
for all to follow or be downcast;
Their eyes set on some far distant goal,
they seek all others to control

Oh Mother help me
to find my way
see past illusions that cloud the day
Oh Mother help me
to see your form
and find a shelter from this great storm

There is a shadow across our hearts
It hides the one place where all truth starts
and separates us, who should be one,
into these fragments left each undone

Each clinging to one small grain of sand,
in darkness, claiming our light is grand;
Lost in illusion, and dark design,
We trade the sacred for “me and mine”.

Oh Mother help me
to see the light
find truth worth sharing past wrong and right
Oh Mother help me
your name to sing
and see the wonder of everything.

16 JAN 2005

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Yule Log 2004

The times when goodwill, peace and love
are praised are rare indeed;
and rarer still those instances
when thought translates to deed.

So in such seasons where these things
are found, take heart, rejoice,
and with compassion, grace and honor
add your hands and voice.

It matters not whose holiday
was borrowed, changed or nicked;
but just that at this time of year,
the bubble has been pricked

that splits us up in separate lives
and robs us of the sense
that we are all part of the whole
lifeforce experience.

So wassail, carol, hymn and jig;
let yuletide spirit reign —
for sadly, it may be a year
before it comes again.

25 DEC 2004

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A Litha Blessing

The stripling lad born weak at Beltane’s fire
now stands, and draws his measure proud and tall;
he takes the throne with passion and desire,
and bids the fading shadows to withdraw.

Upon this longest day, he reigns supreme,
the heat of manhood coursing through his veins,
and watches o’er the fields now lush and green,
the forests in full leaf, and grassy plains.

May love be warm, and all your dreams be bright
that find you on this new Midsummer’s night

And yet, in this, his hour, when darkness wanes,
as earth draws close in embrace with the sun,
the balance shifts in cycle yet again
and starts once more toward aphelion.

How fleeting, this brave moment of control,
when day’s bright visions chase the dreams of dark;
it fuels the flames that feed the growing whole
and then is gone, just ash where once was spark.

May all the wrongs of winter be put right
good tidings to you this Midsummer’s night

Stay now, and watch through the few darkened hours;
for in these sunlight times, the veils are weak,
and grant to bards deserving of such powers
a touch of sacred madness, so to speak.

And keep your eyes alert for those who waltz
between the shadows from the faery lands;
they seek to lure the fool, and play him false
who thinks the world can be held in his hands.

Remember that the king, too, now in court,
has but a moment’s glory, then must die.
So join with him in summer’s happy sport —
a dream of joyous play for you and I.

May we remain forever in the light
that grows its strongest at Midsummer’s night

18 JUN 2004

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A Beltane Blessing

There is a fire inside you that must not
be extinguished. From the heart comes the spark
that lights your life. Once gone, it can’t be bought –
and you will have left only the cold dark.

It is this flame we nurture at Beltane,
echoed in each pyre on lonely hilltops,
rejoicing as the pale winter months wane
and the earth begins to sprout our new crops.

It lights a heat in the belly and heart,
a great force of both life and destruction,
giving us both freedom and self-control,

a glimpse beyond our sense of beauty’s part
in the wide world’s method of construction,
and with its touch, centers us in the whole.

01 MAY 2003

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