Away for Samhain…

October 30, 2016

cat

Peedeel is away for the next week or so, hence the early Halloween posts on his blog.

If he can get out of bed, he’ll be visiting friends, both living and dead, to celebrate Samhain and to listen to the earth breathe.

But don’t despair. He will return.

Watch this space…

The White Witch

October 30, 2016

little-witch-by-norman-lindsay-1937

O brothers mine, take care! Take care!
The great white witch rides out to-night.
Trust not your prowess nor your strength,
Your only safety lies in flight;
For in her glance there is a snare,
And in her smile there is a blight.

The great white witch you have not seen?
Then, younger brothers mine, forsooth,
Like nursery children you have looked
For ancient hag and snaggle-tooth;
But no, not so; the witch appears
In all the glowing charms of youth.

Her lips are like carnations, red,
Her face like new-born lilies, fair,
Her eyes like ocean waters, blue,
She moves with subtle grace and air,
And all about her head there floats
The golden glory of her hair.

But though she always thus appears
In form of youth and mood of mirth,
Unnumbered centuries are hers,
The infant planets saw her birth;
The child of throbbing Life is she,
Twin sister to the greedy earth.

And back behind those smiling lips,
And down within those laughing eyes,
And underneath the soft caress
Of hand and voice and purring sighs,
The shadow of the panther lurks,
The spirit of the vampire lies.

For I have seen the great white witch,
And she has led me to her lair,
And I have kissed her red, red lips
And cruel face so white and fair;
Around me she has twined her arms,
And bound me with her yellow hair.

I felt those red lips burn and sear
My body like a living coal;
Obeyed the power of those eyes
As the needle trembles to the pole;
And did not care although I felt
The strength go ebbing from my soul.

Oh! she has seen your strong young limbs,
And heard your laughter loud and gay,
And in your voices she has caught
The echo of a far-off day,
When man was closer to the earth;
And she has marked you for her prey.

She feels the old Antaean strength
In you, the great dynamic beat
Of primal passions, and she sees
In you the last besieged retreat
Of love relentless, lusty, fierce,
Love pain-ecstatic, cruel-sweet.

O, brothers mine, take care! Take care!
The great white witch rides out to-night.
O, younger brothers mine, beware!
Look not upon her beauty bright;
For in her glance there is a snare,
And in her smile there is a blight.

James Weldon Johnson

Poetry predates history…

October 30, 2016

snow-field

Let me begin with three crucial observations about the art of poetry. First, it is the oldest form of literature. Indeed, it is the primal form of all literature. Poetry even predates history because it not only existed, but flourished before the invention of writing. As an oral art, it did not require the alphabet or any other form of visual inscription to develop and perfect a vast variety of meters, forms, and genres. Before writing, poetry stood at the center of culture as the most powerful way of remembering, preserving, and transmitting the identity of a tribe, a culture, a nation. Verse was humanity’s first memory and broadcast technology – a technology originally transmitted only by the human body. In Robert Frost’s astute formulation, poetry was ‘a way of remembering what it would impoverish us to forget.’

Frost’s pithy definition is usefully ponderable. He calls poetry ‘a way of remembering,’ which is to say a mnemonic technology to preserve human experience. He claims the loss of what it preserves ‘would impoverish us,’ which is to say that poetry enriches human consciousness or, at the very least, protects things of common value from depredation. Finally, he asserts that poetry maintains these virtues against the human danger ‘to forget.’ Here Frost acknowledges that the art opposes the natural forces of time, mortality, and oblivion, which humanity must face to discover and preserve its meaning. As Frost said elsewhere, one of the essential tasks of poetry is to give us ‘a clarification of life…a momentary stay against confusion.’

The second observation is that poetry is a universal human art. Despite post-modern theories of cultural relativism that assert there are no human universals, there exists a massive and compelling body of empirical data, collected and documented by anthropologists, linguists, and archaeologists that demonstrates there is no human society, however isolated, that has not developed and employed poetry as a cultural practice. Most of this poetry, of course, has been oral poetry. Many of these cultures never developed writing. But the fact remains – and it is a demonstrable fact, not mere opinion – that every society has developed a special class of speech, shaped by apprehensible patterns of sound, namely, poetry. Cognitive science now suggests that humans are actually hard-wired to respond to the sort of patterned speech that verse represents. Like the songs of birds or dances of bees – but on a higher level of complexity – poetry reflects the unique cognitive capacity of the human mind and body. Why humanity universally needs this special class of speech is another question entirely, which will be considered in a few pages.

Third and finally, poetry originated as a form of vocal music. It began as a performative and auditory medium, linked to music and dance and associated with civic ceremony, religious ritual, and magic. (The earliest poetry almost certainly served a shamanistic function.) Most aboriginal cultures did not distinguish poetry from song because the arts were so interrelated as to be porous. Nor did the classical Greek or Chinese cultures two or three millennia ago differentiate poetry from song. Verse was not spoken in a conversational manner, which was an early twentieth century development. Poetic speech was always stylized – usually either chanted rhythmically or sung, sometimes even sung and danced in chorus.

Dana Gioia
Poetry as Enchantment

the earth literally dies…

October 30, 2016

halloween4

Samhain is a time like no other, in that we can watch as the earth literally dies for the season. Leaves fall from the trees, the crops have gone brown, and the land once more becomes a desolate place. However, at Samhain, when we take the time to remember the dead, we can take time to contemplate this endless cycle of life, death, and eventual rebirth.

For this ritual, you’ll want to decorate your altar with symbols of life and death. You’ll want to have on hand a white candle and a black one, as well as black, red, and white ribbon in equal lengths (one set for each participant). Finally, you’ll need a few sprigs of rosemary.

Perform this rite outside if at all possible. If you normally cast a circle, do so now. Say:

Samhain is here, and it is a time of transitions.
The winter approaches, and the summer dies.
This is the time of the Dark Mother,
a time of death and of dying.
This is the night of our ancestors
and of the Ancient Ones.
Place the rosemary on the altar.

If you are doing this as a group ceremony, pass it around the circle before placing on the altar. Say:

Rosemary is for remembrance,
and tonight we remember those who have
lived and died before us,
those who have crossed through the veil,
those who are no longer with us.
We will remember.

Turn to the north, and say:

The north is a place of cold,
and the earth is silent and dark.
Spirits of the earth, we welcome you,
knowing you will envelope us in death.

Turn to face the east, and say:

The east is a land of new beginnings,
the place where breath begins.
Spirits of air, we call upon you,
knowing you will be with us as we depart life.

Face south, saying:

The south is a land of sunlight and fire,
and your flames guide us through the cycles of life.
Spirits of fire, we welcome you,
knowing you will transform us in death.

Finally, turn to face the west, and say:

The west is a place of underground rivers,
and the sea is a never-ending, rolling tide.
Spirits of water, we welcome you,
knowing you will carry us
through the ebbs and flows of our life.

Light the black candle, saying:

The Wheel of the Year turns once more,
and we cycle into darkness.

Next, light the white candle, and say:

At the end of that darkness comes light.
And when it arrives, we will celebrate once more.

Each person takes a set of ribbons – one white, one black, and one red. Say:

White for life, black for death,
red for rebirth.
We bind these strands together
remembering those we have lost.

Each person should then braid or knot their three ribbons together. As you do so, focus on the memories of those you have lost in your life.

While everyone is braiding or knotting, say:

Please join me in chanting as you work your energy and love into your cords:
As the corn will come from grain,
All that dies will rise again.
As the seeds grow from the earth,
We celebrate life, death and rebirth.

Finally, ask everyone to take their knotted ribbons home with them and place them on their personal altar if they have one. That way, they can be reminded of their loved ones each time they pass by.

Note: Rosemary is used in this rite because although it seems to go dormant over the winter, if you keep it in a pot you’ll get new growth in the spring. If there’s another plant you’d rather use, feel free.

Patti Wigington
Ritual to celebrate the cycle of life and death

listen to the wind…

October 30, 2016

gentle-november-frederick-ardley

It is believed that if you listen to the wind at a crossroads on Samhain just before midnight, you’ll hear all you need to know for the year ahead.

Spend time outdoors on Halloween Eve, listening to the wind in the trees, the sound of the sea, water running over stones or bird song. Heed the words you may hear in the leaves or wind or your mind.

grave

Samhain is considered a liminal time, when the veil between life and death grows thin, thinner, thinnest. Food is set aside for ancestors and protective spirits, and rituals honouring the dead take place.

Halloween Cat…

October 30, 2016

HALLOWEEN

guide the dead home…

October 30, 2016

halloween3

It is customary to celebrate Samhain with a ritual to guide the dead home by opening a western facing door or window and placing a candle by the opening…

For tomorrow…

October 30, 2016

happy-halloween

lena-sotskova-secrets-1

My wife has been having a friend over every Saturday for a few months. Sometimes I’m home and sometimes I’m not. Just depends on work. So last week I happened to be scheduled a long shift. She had already mentioned her friend coming over. Most of the time they just sit in the living room and watch TV and talk and drink beer.

Well I happened to get off work a few hours early. I rarely text before coming home. I just pulled into the driveway. Her friends car was on the drive. I open the front door and the lights are off in the living room. Nobody in there. Nobody in the kitchen. I walk back to the bedroom. Door was partially open. Lights were out and candles lit. Lesbian porn showing on the TV. I walk in and my wife is naked on the bed laying on her back. Her friend is also naked eating my wife’s pussy.

When I walk in they both turn and see me. My wife looks at me, her face flushed scarlet and she almost shrieks, ‘You’re early – this isn’t what it looks like! I can explain…’

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