A Beltane Tale (Part One)

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On Beltane eve Marion goes to bed early. She places sprigs of heather and mint  beneath her pillow. Her room in the priory is sparse, with a lone straw bed and one window where the beloved moon shines its silver light.  Marion, an orphan, has been raised here by the good Prioress. She has been well  cared for. But she longs for more, she longs to be free of the confines of the walls, the trap she never asked for.

If Marion wakes in this night surely it will be the fairies come to take her away to their underground home. Each year she prays for this; each year it does not happen.

On Beltane morning she rises at dawn. She goes with the other girls to the gardens  where they collect hawthorne and wild flowers. They weave  garlands to wear on their heads.   They return to the village where the men have built a maypole. Large and mighty, the pole towers, decorated with ribbons, every color of the rainbow. At noontide the matrons serve a great feast; mutton, spring greens, porridge and violet cakes.

maypole

There is a legend that on Beltane the Green Man comes to the forest to claim his lover, the May Queen.  She is wife of the Winter King, and he is lack to give her up. But the Green Man persists and eventually wins the lady. The Winter King is defeated until Samhain when all things of summer will die.  The mummers in the town square reenact the story and Marion watches as the lovely May Queen is taken by the Green Man.  He sweeps her in his strong arms, her long hair cascading against his bare chest. Marion is jealous. When will such a love come for her? Surely now she is of age, having reached her eighteenth name day.  The Green Man and his lady then retire to the forest, for nuptials of their own.

There is dancing. The revelers braid strands of the maypole together and step to the music. Lass, lad. Lass, lad.   Even the Sheriff and the Friar and Prioress join in.   Great fires are lit as the sun sets low. Those brave of heart and long of leg dare jump over the Beltane fires. Not Marion, for she has been raised to be cautious.

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After the maypole dancing, when the embers of the fire grow low, many a couple traverse to the wood. There, they too will bless the land in their own way, making it fertile for the summer.  Although Marion has no man to claim as her own, she follows.   Alan of Dale and his girl Eleanor hide in the bushes, as do Will Scarlet and Lucy Sprint.  Marion knows what they do and she dares not look. Instead, alone she walks deeper into the forest, her flickering rushlight guiding her way. Orion’s constellation twinkles above her.  It is then she comes upon the ring of mushrooms.

Oh, she knows the legend well.  Were she to stand in the middle of that circle for long enough — so goes the tale — the fae folk will come for her.  And never will she see the mortal world again.  She has been warned, all her life she has been warned of this.  And yet, it is what she has longed for.  But is this tale true?

Marion stands, still as rock till the sky swirls purple around her. And then, like a fall down a well, a sweep of wind and soft landing, she is there, in the underworld.   They surround her, these peculiar people, bent of ear and wide of eye.  It is then Marion sees him, a man in green robes with a hood. He is handsome. Dark eyed  with thick hair that brushes his shoulders.  “Milady,” he bows, “I am called Robin, and your escort I shall be.”

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What follows is much merry making and drinking of elder flower wine.  The fairies play fiddles, music loud and jaunty. There is Dancing. Dancing in a circle, faster, much faster than ever at the maypole in the village.  And Robin. He takes Marion’s hand, spins her in a reel and she twirls beneath his arm.  Then he leads her away to a place of seclusion, a place in the meadow where the ground around is soft.  There, he removes her kirtle and skivvies  and she lies mother-naked before him.

He plays her body like a harp, plucking its strings and secret places, a thousand butterflies released as his seed spills inside her.  One time is not enough to satisfy either of them and they repeat the act, again and again until at last they fall to each other’s arms exhausted.

Oh, how she loves him! Truly and deeply. She loves him as she has loved  the moon and her dreams, for he is the forest itself. He is animal and outlaw, dangerous and forbidden. He is all of life and all she desires.

Finally the sky splinters pink daybreak and the sun peeks its gold rays.  She sleeps in Robin’s arms.

In the morning of May 2nd  she awakens in her priory bed. The sprigs of heather and mint still reside beneath her pillow. But there is more. A lone lock of hair, and a note stitched on a green cambric swatch. “To my May Queen ,” it reads. “From Robin, with love.”

She sighs.

It will be a long wait until the next Beltane.

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Want to read more Marion?  Continued here: A Beltane Tale: Part Two

Shakespeare’s Words and Wisdom

“Lord, what fools these mortals be!”  – A Midsummer Night’s Dream

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No one knows the exact actual date of Shakespeare’s birth. We do, however, know through church records that he was baptized on April 26th, 1564.  It was customary back then to baptize babies within three days of their birth. (This was done so they wouldn’t end up in Limbo, which was NOT, btw, a dance —  but rather a state of suspension in which one’s soul was not fit for Heaven, yet not bad enough for Hell.  It all had to do with that pesky original sin, which could be expunged with baptism.)   We also know, through death records, that Shakespeare passed away on April 23rd, 1616 at the ripe old age of 52. (This reportedly following a drinking binge with Ben Johnson and some theater buddies, come down to Stratford for some merry making.  Maybe celebrating his birthday!)   Imagination and poetic license allow us to say, within reason, that Shakespeare’s birth date and death date both fall on April 23rd.

Therefore, TODAY marks the  400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, and the 452nd anniversary of his birth.  Yay Will!

Birthday-Shakespeare

In honor of my all time favorite writer, I would like to submit a compilation of some of his most profound quotes.  I mean, he covered everything —  birth, death, love, sex, men, women, music, good, evil, humanity itself.  It’s worth looking into –  maybe even worth considering as part of  our own life philosophies. Let me know what you think!

 

“Sigh no more, ladies, sigh nor more;

    Men were deceivers ever;

One foot in sea and one on shore,

    To one thing constant never.”  –  Much Ado About Nothing

Arthur Hughes - The Pained Heart (aka 'Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more')

Ah, yes, pretty maids.  Be not bothered by those jack-a-nape rogues you call boyfriends who refuse commitment and wedding rings, all the while drooling over the latest porn posts.  Listen to the immortal Bard.  ‘Constant to one thing never.’  What did you expect?  Instead best get your career in track, use birth control and invest in a good 401 k.

 

“Thou know’st the first time that we smell the air we wawl and cry. When we are born we cry, that we are come to this great state of fools.” – King Lear

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Well, after all now.  We know this planet earth is a rather silly place, don’t we?  Of course little babies coming in here are gong to be upset.  Especially considering a lot of them now are Indigos and Crystal children from the constellation Sirius and such outermost regions. The cradle-grave journey is a short stay, so heed the Bard’s advice and know this is but a state of fools.

 

 

“To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”  – Hamlet

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As Abe Lincoln once said, ‘You can’t please all of the people all of the time.’ So you may as well please yourself. They are going to criticize you anyway, so heed this great seed of wisdom  from the Shakes and be your own original self at all times.

 

Well, if Fortune be a woman, she’s a good wench for this gear.” – The Merchant of Venice

pirate wench

Need we say more?  Just don’t mess with any swashbuckling wenches 🙂

 

“By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.” – Macbeth

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And watch out for them wicked witches!  They just might make some dire predictions that may or may not come true, depending upon your own ambition.

 

“Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” – Macbeth

walking-shadow

As I mentioned before, it’s a short stay here on planet earth, begging the immortal question,’What’s the point?’

 

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” – Hamlet

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Everyone knows this.  Hasten not to make those moral judgments, ye foolish mortals,  for one man’s trash is another’s treasure.  If you don’t believe me just check out ebay 🙂    It is the thinking that makes it so.

 

If music be the food of love…

play on

Cherry Moon, Purple Rain

Prince-Purple-Rain

This guy.  I mean, seriously? Are you kidding me?

When I first saw Prince on MTV, I was so blown away I could not look away.  Never had we seen such a thing.  Somewhere between pop-rock, symphony and soul, somewhere between Hendrix, James Brown and the Beatles, blurring lines of race and gender, he was an innovator, an illusionist, an enigma. Not to mention a walking fashion statement. Glittering paisley,  eyeliner, lace and mesh — and yet there was never a doubt about this man’s masculinity.  Small in stature but towering in soul as well as platform soles, he’d come to town decked out in leg warmers, no shirt and a lone bandana around his neck.

And then he’d sing.

His concerts were a spiritual experience.  He literally brought races and populations together to dance to his revolution.  I saw it happen. Even the whitest of the white could have soul and rhythm with Prince. He  made you feel cool and hip and a part of things. He brought out the Nikki in all of us and I suspect it did not matter who or what you were.  You were for Prince and Prince was for you. That’s all you need know, Dearly Beloved.

He was a spokesman for justice, taking on the record industry, even forsaking his own name in order to stay true to his art.  He was a poet, a genius, and a force of nature.Truly, a force of nature. As a matter of fact,  I am told  that yesterday, in honor of Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday, Niagra Falls was actually turned purple!

Not kidding, check it out.

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Coincidence/ no coincidence.  Theoretically and symbolically this was in honor of the Queen, purple being the color of royalty. But we really know who it was for, don’t we?    Ah, but Life is just a party and parties aren’t meant to last…

So long Purple Reign.  U will never b4gotten.

Poem of the Day: Howl by Allen Ginsberg

 

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness

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starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,

angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,

who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz,

who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tenement roofs illuminated,

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who passed through universities with radiant eyes hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy among the scholars of war,

who were expelled from the academies for crazy & publishing obscene odes on the windows of the skull,

who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burning their money in wastebaskets and listening to the Terror through the wall,

who got busted in their pubic beards returning through Laredo with a belt of marijuana for New York,

who ate fire in paint hotels or drank turpentine in Paradise Alley, death, or purgatoried their torsos night after night

 

with dreams, with drugs, with waking nightmares, alcohol and cock and endless balls,

 incomparable blind streets of shuddering cloud and lightning in the mind leaping towards poles of Canada & Paterson, illuminating all the motionless world of Time between,

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 Peyote solidities of halls, backyard green tree cemetery dawns, wine drunkenness over the rooftops, storefront boroughs of teahead joyride neon blinking traffic light, sun and moon and tree vibrations in the roaring winter dusks of Brooklyn, ashcan rantings and kind king light of mind. 

 

ABOUT GINSBERG and HOWL:   Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997)  was a Beat Generation icon who hung out with his pals Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady and William Burroughs – jazz grooving, social misfits who often went On The Road as they tried to  piece life together in the shattered aftermath of  WWII.  They felt, in fact, ‘beat’.

Ginsberg’s poem Howl drew a lot of attention when, in 1957, US officials decided it was obscene, illegal, and could not be printed nor distributed in this country. (You saw that line about cock and endless balls, right?)

Keep in mind, the US was a very uptight place back then.  They basically tolerated nothing. Homosexuality was considered a mental illness. Drug abuse was unheard of, or at least unmentionable in the polite circles of 1950’s Americana.  ‘Leave it To Beaver’ was  considered the ideal of family life.  (Funny, eh?  Leave it to Beaver?  Could have been a very empowering statement of female sexuality 🙂 But I digress.)

Ironically, Ginsberg himself was out of the country at the time his poem went under scrutiny.  He never suffered backlash for the obscenity charges, but Lawrence Ferlinghetti, owner of City Lights book store in San Francisco, was arrested and stood trial.  Amazingly, Ferlinghetti won!   Viva la free press!    California Judge Clayton Horn decided that the poem was not obscene, and it was, in fact of  “redeeming social importance”.  Well now 🙂

I am not including the entire poem because it goes on for like 30 pages.  Read the whole thing here: http://www.wussu.com/poems/agh.htm

I love the ending lines!   Allegedly they are addressed to one Carl Solomon, a friend of Ginsberg’s whom he met while receiving electric shock treatment in a mental institution.

 

I’m with you in Rockland 
         where we wake up electrified out of the coma by our own souls’ airplanes roaring over the roof they’ve come to drop angelic bombs the hospital illuminates itself   imaginary walls collapse   O skinny legions run outside   O starry-spangled shock of mercy the eternal war is here   O victory forget your underwear we’re free

I’m with you in Rockland 

         in my dreams you walk dripping from a sea-journey on the highway across America in tears to the door of my cottage in the Western night

 

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An Invitation at Beltane

 

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Will you follow me                                                                                                                                                         Into these diamond skies?                                                                                                                          Breathing air of lilac as the                                                                                                                              Beltane fires rise

 

Will you follow me                                                                                                                                                  Into this thunder clap?                                                                                                                                           April rain ensuing and the                                                                                                                                   Aries sun entrapped

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Will you take a look                                                                                                                                                Into this  glint of spring?                                                                                                                          Mushrooms sprouting rampant in a                                                                                                                    Faery circle ring

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But if you follow me                                                                                                                                          Things will never be the same.                                                                                                                        Whole soul  transformations and                                                                                                                      You’ll scarce know whence you came.

If take this route                                                                                                                                                   You’ll be vapid and confused.                                                                                                                        Journey down a rabbit’s hole                                                                                                                                   Be challenged and abused.

Opening your mind                                                                                                                                              You’ll be senseless and distraught                                                                                                                   Garrulous and punchy and                                                                                                                               Forget all you’ve been taught.

If you dare the risk                                                                                                                                     Life has never been so true                                                                                                                                       A mesh of  flesh and color like                                                                                                                               An artist palette  hue.

 

If you share this path                                                                                                                                             Love will show you all its parts                                                                                                                             Connected and perfected in                                                                                                                                     The opening of hearts.

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Superstition and Mary Worth

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This blog is in response to the daily post  prompt on Superstition, one I could not resist!

I haven’t thought about Mary in years.  She lie dormant in my childhood memories of ouija boards and seances and other such stuff.  But tonight I found the Superstition prompt which suddenly brought her to mind.

When I was a little girl we had a game called ‘Mary Worth’.  From what I remember it went like this:  Look in a mirror in a dark room at night and say the words ‘I believe in Mary Worth’ three times.  If you do, Mary Worth herself will come to you and scratch your eyes out!

This game was all the rage at pajama parties.  We made ourselves giddy with the idea of it. We never actually DID it, of course.  The premise scared the bejeebies  out of me, and I was not an easily scared child.

I never knew its origin.  Mary Worth was, to the best of my knowledge, a comic strip character.  She was an elderly, advice giving lady – kind of like your spinster aunt or a librarian.

MaryWorthAdviceCoaster

I do not think she was supposed to be scary at all.  In reading other people’s superstitious tales, I did not come across Mary Worth, so I did some research.

It seems Mary Worth is a variation on ‘Bloody Mary’ a.k.a. Mary Tudor, Queen of England 1552-1558.  During her reign as a Catholic monarch, Bloody Mary Tudor reportedly put so many Protestants to death that she actually earned the name.

mary tudor

There also is an idea that Mary Worth/ Bloody Mary was an evil witch  (Of course.) who lived 100 years ago and did all kinds of diabolical things.  Involving blood obviously.   I found a great website about it:  http://www.castleofspirits.com/bloodymary.html

The full game seems to be that you must use the bathroom mirror, light a candle, say “I believe in Mary Worth” three times, spin yourself around three times,  and then – well, maybe she will scratch your eyes out or maybe she will  just come to haunt you or do some other nasty stuff.

I became more curious about this and decided to do a break down of the various objects used in the Mary Worth game.

Mirrors:

There is weirdness, magick and mystery to a mirror.   Breaking a mirror will cause seven years of back luck.   Jews cover all the mirrors in the house when they sit Shiva for their dead. Vampires cannot see their own reflections in the mirror.

But a mirror is also a sacred object.  Every mermaid had a mirror. Snow White’s evil stepmother got her most reliable information from the mirror.  Alice went though the magic looking glass and look what happened!  She discovered a  wonderful world of talking flowers and human chess boards.

alice mirror

Candles:

Candles bring light and warmth. No household should be without them. They come in pretty handy in a power outage. Almost all spell work requires candles.  Many churches even have a special section to light candles for the dead.  Besides that, they smell nice  🙂

The Bathroom:

The place of bubble baths, showers, water, and purification.

Spinning around three times:

A way to alter your own consciousness without drugs?

And of course, the number 3:

Three is the number of power. Three moves us from duality to unification.  Three is the first number of majority rule. Three changes us from a couple to a family.  We make three wishes and complete three tasks.  Three is the first patterned number of the Fibonacci sequence. There is always magick and transformation in the number three.

This research has taught me a lot!   The Mary Worth game is not sounding so bad now.  Maybe I am ready to try it, alone in my dark  bathroom…

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Don’t forget to blog your own superstitions!  🙂   Visit the link at: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/superstition/

 

“Bringing the world closer through peace, harmony and understanding of the wise-craft.”

PD witch 2

The Witches

 

a macbeth 2

They cast spells                                                                                                                                                                        But not the kind you think

No newt eye broomstick devil whore                                                                                                                                                 No infanticide and black cat lore

No Sabbath dancing midnight hags                                                                                                                                                     Decrepit women clad in rags

But they                                                                                                                                                                                Celebrate henbane

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Tread through roads of moss and nettle                                                                                                                                                  Passing sunsets of magenta

Bell and bless and full fledged wombs                                                                                                                                                        Dusty flutter of the broom

They banish Harm                                                                                                                                                                          In steadfast craft, candle light of white

Flesh enmeshed in weft and weave                                                                                                                                                                     Silent spells of night.

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“Bringing the world closer through peace, harmony, and understanding of the wise craft.”

PD witch 2