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Shub-Niggurath: Beyond the Blood and Wood Smoke

Shub-Niggurath: Beyond the Blood and Wood Smoke

Newest offering over at ‘In the Chimehours’

http://www.inthechimehours.com

New Chimehours Blog – “The Ebb and Flow of a Most Ancient Arte”

A new blog post, over at “In the Chimehours”
 
Via personal esoteric practice & analysis of archaic folklore and rustic practice, we explore the Ancient Arte of Sea Witchery throughout the British Isles…

“Sea Witchery: The Ebb and Flow of a Most Ancient Arte”

New Blog on ‘In The Chimehours’ – The Secret Commonwealth

NEW BLOG: ‘In The Chimehours’ explores the enigmatic “vanishing constant” of the genuine British Faerie Traditions, by taking a closer look at our not so distant cousins, “The Good People”, denizens of the Secret Commonwealth…

The Secret Commonwealth…

If you haven’t followed me over to In The Chimehours yet, please change your links, as this blog will be disappearing soon. Many Thanks 🙂

Ancient Yew and Humps of the Devil


New blog post over at ‘In the Chimehours‘:

Ancient Yew and Humps of the Devil


New post: The Bone White Tree over at ‘In the Chimehours’

New post over at www.inthechimehours.com:

‘Of Dreams and Memories: The Bone White Tree’

Please remember to change your links and subscriptions, as this blog will be disappearing soon. Many Thanks. Enjoy.

IN THE CHIMEHOURS LAUNCHED!

My new blog/website has been launched: http://www.inthechimehours.com

You can read my first post here: Welcome to the Chimehours

Please change your links, etc as this blog will be deleted after I’m sure you’ve all followed me over. Cheers 🙂

In the Chimehours…

Feast your eyes on the amazing photography of Matt Baldwin-Ives, a sneak peak at one of the fantastic images that will be featured as part of what will be my new project, come the end of my wee blogging hiatus.

I’ll be traveling home to England on Wednesday to spend the holidays with my family and  friends. Old friends, new friends and old friends not yet met. A very long awaited visit. My heart aches to be able to stick my bare feet into English soil. To stand on the wave-lashed shore, and be beaten by the frigid, salty Sea wind. There’s something very special about my homeland, and the longer I am away, the harder the pull to return home becomes. A desperate need to return to where I belong. To where I should be.

The New Year will see a new blog, new material and new content. ‘In the Chimehours‘ will be an exploration of English folklore, folk tradition & magic, and my journey as an English Witch returning to her roots. The past couple of months have seem some rather large changes and shifts in me, and this blog will most definitely reflect that.

The boys at Miles Cross (Matt Baldwin-Ives and Ian Thurlby) are absolute stars, and incredibly talented photographers (though they are both so very modest and wouldn’t agree with me). They have been kind enough to provide the images for the project, and I’m so excited & honoured to be able to show off their work. I’m looking forward to getting together with them for a few beers and shenanigans whilst home. You should all definitely check out their website!

I’ll keep you all posted… And I’ll be back soon…

 

Dropping-wells of fire, rich in streaming gold…


One of the earliest memories I have of the Laburnum tree is of staring out of my parent’s bedroom window,  watching the beautifully long and delicate racemes of bright yellow flowers, swaying in the breeze.

There were many Laburnum trees growing in the neighbourhood when I was young. I can remember my sadness as they were all mercilessly cut down, as they posed a threat to the local children.

It is said that the Laburnum and Lilac would mourn, if a tree of like kind was cut down in their vicinity, by not blooming the next year. But there were no more Laburnum to watch for blooms nearby, they were all gone. I can remember laying flowers on the stumps that were left behind.

Every part of this tree is poisonous you see, and the seeds that develop after flowering are particularly so. I was fascinated by them, awed by their beauty, but I would always keep a safe distance from them. My mother  warned me how poisonous they were, especially since I loved to snack on freshly shucked peas straight from the pod, and the seed pods of the Tree of Golden Rain are very similar.

The Laburnum were introduced to the UK  in Elizabethan times from the mountains of Southern Europe and has proved hardy, decorative and useful ever since. It’s heartwood is the most gorgeous shade of deep olive brown, surrounded by contrasting creamy-yellow sapwood. It is ideal for turning, and was once widely used for bagpipe parts.

If you look closely at the flowers and their fresh green, clover like foliage you can see that this stunning tree is actually part of  the pea family, which makes the Laburnum a close relative to Scotch Broom.

Like it’s cousin, Broom, it is beloved of Bees,  extremely protective and great for purification. Hares and deer can feed on parts of this tree without any issues at all, and because of this the plant is believed to have magic properties in some regions.

It is a gateway tree. It challenges you. It reminds us that beauty can also be deadly.

Recently, I have been having a lot of dreams in which it features pretty heavily.

I look forward to what it has to teach me…

Obelisks, Monuments, and Mausoleums, Oh My…

I make no secret of the fact, that I adore graveyards, burial grounds and cemeteries. I can stroll around them alone, for hours at a time. Last night I had a dream. I don’t talk about what goes on at night on my blog much, as it’s incredibly personal to me. But last night was an extremely vivid dream, and I found myself back in one of my favourite cemeteries – The Glasgow Necropolis. I was introduced to the Necropolis many years ago by someone who knew of my love for  the Cities of the Dead. In the years to follow I would visit regularly, usually after wrapping up at my part-time job in town, and walking up the hill to spend an hour or so amongst the dead.

My company were the Roe Deer, the numerous finches and tits, the occasional Kestrel, the odd Robin (which seem to follow me everywhere since my uncle died), the creeping Ivy everywhere I turned, and depending on the time of year, butterflies. Every now and then I would get a glimpse of the common Pipistrelle bats, as they set about on their patrol of the tree canopy, on warm evenings at dusk. I would pause here and there to salute a lone Magpie.

(c)Colin MearnsI can remember the diversity of what grew up around those gravestones.  The hawthorn, the elder, the mugwort, the ash, the broom, the heather, the elm, the willow, the garlic mustard. Obelisks and monuments raising out of thickets, grasses and tree canopies, surrounded by the creeping cinquefoil, numerous berry bushes, the rowan, the black nightshade, the red and white clover. Tombs carved into the face of the hill, laburnum trees with their racemes of delicate, yellow flowers swinging in the breeze. I’ve collected graveyard dirt from there. Under a glorious Sycamore was one of my favourite places to sit and read.

Many, many millions of moons ago, a Dolerite sill was formed by volcanic activity, and was later worn down by glacial action; This ‘hump’ is where the Necropolis now stands, high above the city of Glasgow…

So this is where I found myself…  It was just after dusk, a warm, still evening. The moon, a tiny silver sliver, suspended in the sky. A bat swoops past, narrowly missing my head, as I walk the last few yards of the Bridge of Sighs, and the huge, ornate gates swing open. A broken pot lay on it’s side, in which white flowers floated in a pool of dark red. Was that wine? Blood? Or was it just darkened water?

I walk on through the gates, and notice that there are torches burning.  I follow these torches, which blaze along the path leading further up the hill, deeper into the city of the dead, and closer to that glittering crescent. A quick movement catches my eye and I turn to look. Fireflies. Fireflies flitter around something that has been set on a stone near the edge of the path – As I draw closer, I see it is a bouquet of flowers.  Mostly a bouquet of Broom, with a few poppies, a branch of goat willow with female catkins, a branch oak leaves, and wild garlic (ransom) flowers. I pick it up, and carry along the path, the sweeping laburnums swaying, pendulously in the breeze. So pretty, such a sweet smell, extremely poisonous – I remember being told that only deer and hares can stomach them and remain unscathed…

The torches lead off the main path and between the graves, jutting out of the tall grasses, the obelisks raising like daggers to the sky, wrapped in their ivy cloaks. The lambent light of the corpse-candles flitter, standing their guard by the graves. So entrancing, beckoning me, lulling me, enchanting, but still I walk the path of torches, baring my newly found bouquet. Up and up the hill, past mausoleums with drumming raising from within them.

My feet fall into their slow, steady beat, and I continue winding my way through the now dark night, lit by the grave-guards, flicking here & there, and the torches burning brightly in a serpentine manner up the hill. Soon I find there is something in my way, it’s a beautifully carved alabaster hand, it almost looks real. It raises out of the ground in front of me, surrounded by foliage, and in it’s palm lays an intricate bronze key on a chain. I place the key around my neck, and do not feel right just taking it, so I prick my finger on a nearby Rose bush and leave a few drops of my blood in the middle of it’s palm. And still I carry on up the hill, winding and winding, up and up. I cannot remember the hill ever being this high… And soon I come to the top…

The mausoleum stands alone, and grand – I cannot remember this being here either – two torches stand brilliant and bright on either side of the stairs, the door is closed, but I know the key around my neck will open the door. I knock on the door three times and let myself in. At that second all the torches are extinguished by a huge gust of wind. Black. Black as pitch. But I have not come all this way to turn around and stumble down the hill in the dark, so I take a step into the blackness, and I fall…

I fall, and fall and fall and fall… Clutching the flowers to my chest, as I know it’s important tat I keep them on me. And soon I land, with what should be bone shattered impact onto a cold, stone floor. My fall broken somehow. I can smell fragrant wood burning, and the room is filled with a heady perfume, a scent I cannot quite put my finger on. I stand straightening myself. And a torch flickers on, a bronze mounting pole, wrapped with coiling serpents, holding it to the wall… I leave the flowers on a small stone stand and a door creaks open behind me, soft footfalls… I turn… I catch a glimpse of a white dress… A glint of something metalic… And I wake up!

I wake bloody up! Right at that moment! What the…? Frustrating… I would love to share more with you all, to maybe make a little sense of it, but I cannot… I’ll be keeping an even closer record of my dreams… I’m officially intrigued…

The Other Men in My Life – Cernunnos and Dionysos

There have been a lot of changes going on recently. We’ll I say recently, but do we ever stop growing? And as we grow, and continue to learn as we travel along our path, our outlook, and the way we do things, is bound to change. It should change! If you are doing the same thing you were doing ten years ago, unless you really do have it all completely figured out, then you are doing something wrong.

When I took my first steps on this path, I did not really know what I was getting myself into. I didn’t realize that I would periodically get my ass-whooped by the Gods, or taken down a notch or two when I ‘thought’ I had something figured out. I didn’t realize how much work was actually involved. There is no guidebook. I’ve taken a lot of wrong turns, but I’m grateful for them. I’ve come so far, and I wouldn’t change a thing. The self doubt, the heartbreak, the loneliness at times. Nothing would have delivered me to where I am today without a lot of blood, sweat and tears (literally and metaphorically)…

I’ve had a relationship with Cernunnos for many years now, but it’s only recently that it seems to have taken off in another direction…

Deeper somehow, but also something that I’m not entirely sure of; He keeps me on my feet, that’s for damn sure. I didn’t originally have a name for the Horned God when we first started out, Cernunnos seemed to fit, and it stuck for a while, but He’s proven me wrong. I don’t know what it is with me and needing to name everything, the same with The Antlered Woman, why Elen? He seems to laugh in my face every time I try to pin Him down. It’s part and parcel with the relationship I guess, the harder I look and try to figure him out, the faster He moves. He shapeshifts more frequently these days. The is the PĂșca. He is the Lord of Life and Death, of darkness and light, but at that point between the two is truly where He belongs. His place. He is my Wild Horned God of the Crossroads. Ruler of the Forest, Fen, Bog, Marsh, Moor and Hill. The Rampant One. My Beloved Gatekeeper, and the King of Elphame (in the true Scottish sense of the word – I hesitate before using that title, as there are so many these days that throw it around willy-nilly). All I really know is, He is my Horned Lord and Guardian of my heart, soul and body. I belong to Him. Does he really need a name? I think not. I have asked Him before “Who are you?” and I get the same answer  “Does it really matter?”…

He comes with antlers of the Stag or Buck, He comes with curling horns of the Highland Ram, He comes on the hooves of the He-Goat…

But when He comes with the horns of a Bull, that’s when my head really explodes! My life gets turned inside out, upside down, and I have no clue whether I’m coming or going. I drift through days in a half trance – A Dionysian Haze…

The quote “Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad” comes to mind when He is around. His presence fills me so completely that I swear I can almost feel the threads of my sanity unraveling. I sometimes wonder what would happen if I felt that all the time. Could I handle it? Could I be a good mother and wife, with my head filled with Dionysian madness? Wandering around in an ecstatic reverie all day, every day. Maybe I’m just given these brief encounters because in fact I most probably wouldn’t be able to. Would it be different if I were single and childless now? Would I let myself run and dance with him freely then? No fighting? No resistance? Yes, I would, and I have. I was single and childless the first time He came to me, I ran and danced with him like a crazy woman, possessed, but still He left me. Maybe because even then I couldn’t handle it. I couldn’t cope with the sheer intoxicating joy and pain of his presence. I was a broken, shattered girl back then, I like to think I can handle a bit more these days – But maybe I have to prove myself…

After him being around almost constantly during the weeks leading up to   Anthesteria, it came a bit of a shock when I felt him leave on the third day of the festival.He left completely and a few night later I had the first dream in which  Cernunnos and Dionysos were both present. A dream in which I was dismembered and torn… And then nothing for what seemed like an eternity, but I’ve had a few fleeting, but very intense,  visits since then…

No other God or Spirit has ever commanded my attention as Dionysos has…

Usually I am at my altar, during my travels or out and about alone – In some spiritual or quiet state… But not Dionysos, he shows up in the middle of a hectic afternoon like a slap in the face, which almost screams “Hi, I’m here! Lets go grab a beer!”

He comes and He goes – I love Him dearly. I’ve tried to ignore Him. I can’t. I’ve tried to ask Him to leave me be, as it’s so painful when He goes away. He won’t.

I’m not sure where this is going to go… A new direction… A new path…

All I know is, He’s gonna disappear at some point…

He always does…

I just hope He stays around for a while this time… My heart aches when He is away…

I don’t usually do the whole posting YouTube videos thing, but his song screams Dionysos to me right now…