Midsummer Revels

The Pipes of Mabon, singing, singing,
Filling the air with the Summer’s song
The son of Modron, dancing, dancing
Through woven ways all the Summer long.

The Birds of Rhiannon, flying, flying,
Entwining their song with the pipes in the air,
The Cup of Rosmerta, brimming, brimming,
Through long days of sunlight and twilight fair.

Festivall, festivall, they pronounce for these days
For the sweetness of Summer enchantment decree;
On Midsummer mornings when the Piper is calling
It’s there with the wild gods that we wish to be.

Blackbird at an Altar

Placed with love
the one dusky rose
(the only one from a stem
that gives just one,
and that one given
to Rhiannon)

I stood a little way back
and the blackbird came
(who shares the garden
with us, as if tame)
perched on Mererid’s fountain
and drank from the cup of Rosmerta
which stands in the water there.

This cup overflowing
with the water of life
partaken of here
by a bird that has graced this garden
from Spring to Summer
and shares this offering cup of Rosmerta.

Rhiannon’s voice on the quavering Air
Rosmerta’s rush of rising Water
Holds this spot of Earth in care
Where a rose’s Fire lights an altar.

Metamorphoses

EPONA : Horse Mother to the Gaulish tribes
And when their riders became Roman cavalry
It was she they worshipped in paddocks and stables.

RIGANTONA : the Brythons’ sovereign goddess
Leather-clad on horseback she came to bestow
Wealth to the tribe and strength to their leader.

RHIANNON rode in silks on a pale-white steed
From Annwfn to seek her chosen mate,
No-one but he could halt her pace.

A horse-woman came riding for True Thomas
From fair Elfland; he took her for the Queen of Heaven
But she denied it and rode away with him.

A ‘Belle Dame’ came to a poet who had invoked her
Wild-eyed she took him, enthralled he remained
Long after the enchanted summer had faded.

Remember her now in each of these guises
In enchanted May as the gates of Faery open
And she rides once again across our land.

————————————————————


Each of these can be found elsewhere on this site

EPONA – ar drywydd y meirw/on the path of the dead



from a funeral stone , Gaul.


EPONA : ar drywydd y meirw


Metamorphoses, transformations, transpositions
Identities lost and found as shapes shift
On the paths of the dead, finding
New ways to be alive as forms fuse
One to another : human to badger,
Bee to wolf, bear to otter; from one to many.

On these paths anything goes (or goes).
What might we become along these trails?
All is fluid, molecules of liquidity like
Hydrogen and oxygen in water sliding
From one identity to another in the dark,
Tripping over each other to find again
The way to the light which beckons
Far off yet, but welcoming whenever
And wherever she will guide you.


Daily Devotions

‘Quietly going about the business of keeping the Shrine area in order in such a way that it becomes an intense devotional activity in itself’ so I wrote in my notebook after beginning the re-arrangement of the garden Shrine at Imbolc or Gwyl Ffraid.

It is the simple performance of such tasks and spoken words that seem most to make the Shrine a substantial presence, rather than any ritual acts. Having described the simple regular devotions at the Shrine in past posts there seems little point to re-iterating them, hence this occasional ‘Diary’ rather than a more formal account.

It has always been my view that others cannot be directly taught how to engage in devotional activity; though they can be shown how others do it, only by a process of discovery can one become aware of what an individual needs to do alone or together with other like-minded individuals.

Institutional religion is often more of an institution than it is a religion.

EPONALIA

epona beasts Epona on a funeral stele from Gaul

The Sun sits low in the sky and dips even lower as his year draws to an end. The pale light of day soon passes to night. The tide ebbs. Each flower, each tree, each head of grass and grain, has shrunk back to kernel: to hard seed, to nut, to reserved essence, biding the time until the light grows again and roots find a way through nurturing soil.
For now,  Epona traverses the paths of the dead, riding through the dark, through earth and sea, each life that has passed moving with her, finding the way that she opens for them, losing the memories she closes behind them. The Sun will return and a new year begin, but now is the time of repose.

Epona, we are with you in the time of waiting, we pause with you now in the dark of the year.
We mark the time until the longest night when you stir the deepest well of the darkness
like a river rising from the caverns of gloom.

A candle is placed on the altar unlit, marking this time of darkness. It is a dark candle and when lit it will be scented and burn low and slowly. Another candle is placed there beside it, a large red candle for the rebirth of the Sun. This will be lit at the Solstice and burn through the longest night. Some holly and some ivy are also there.

Darkness falls
on the ivy leaf
Yulelight glistens
on the holly bough
As red fire stirs
in the kindling.
We count three days
to the longest night
Three more till the glimmer
of a longer day
Then seven to the eve
of New Year Calends
These days we count
from the Feast of Epona
First festival
of the Year’s turning.

The candle for Epona is lit.

The candle for the Sun awaits the Solstice.
IMG_0424

Prayer

‘ O fy nghalon i’

Words spoken at an altar
Loudly … evenly … softly, fading
To a whisper

Horse paths on which she rides
In the echoes of these words

Following, as I follow,
Tracks that wind
And bind …..

… \/\/\ …

‘O fy nghalon i’

Whispered. … spoken … declaimed
Tracking back to stand
Before this altar.

Returning Home

Returning home after a few days away, the Shrine looks lonely.

Fallen leaves lie across the stones in front of Rhiannon’s horse and on the pool of Mererid’s well.

It’s good to re-connect by clearing these and resuming regular visits, the loneliness banished by my presence.