Urban Pagan in Somerset

Urban Pagan in Somerset

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Have a Merry Burns Night!

Robert Burns was born 25 January 1759 (to 21 july 1796) and is well known for his poetry, his contribution to the Romantic movement and as possibly the most famous Scotsman.

He is celebrated on 25 January each year at Burns Night events everywhere. Although this isnt a pagan celebration, I still like to celebrate it as its a celebration of poetry, song and creativity which my Bardic side enjoys immensly. It was he who wrote Auld lang syne which everyone knows world wide, and is traditionally sung on new years eve. And another well known poem Tam o' Shanter.

He is celebrated with a feast of Haggis, neeps and a dram of whisky. The Haggis was immortalised in his poem 'Address to a Haggis'. Neeps is a dish usually consisting of swede, turnip, and potatoes, boiled and mashed. Sometimes served with butter and a good dose of pepper in it.

The Haggis is a dish containing a mix of minced sheep's heart, liver and lungs, onion, oatmeal,spices, meat stock and suet with a pinch of salt which is mixed and traditionally simmered in the animal's stomach for approximately three hours. Haggis is actually a large kind of sausage. Nowadays you can even get a vegetarian Haggis option in many health food shops.

Part of my pagan life consists of celebrating the traditions built up over many years of various lands that I feel connected to. They may not be a 'pagan' celebration, but still fun to take part and great to be part of a living tradition.

He also wrote 'To a Mouse' from which we get the well known line 'Wee, sleekit, cowrin, timrous beastie'

To A Mouse

Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty
Wi bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murdering pattle.

I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth born companion
An' fellow mortal!

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave
'S a sma' request;
I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,
An' never miss't.

Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
It's silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane,
O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's win's ensuin,
Baith snell an' keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste,
An' weary winter comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro' thy cell.

That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou's turned out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld.

But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

Still thou are blest, compared wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But och! I backward cast my e'e,
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!

I wish you a Merry Burns Night - pass the whisky please!

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Time to wake up

Continuing on with the last post on new beginnings - each day brings that little bit of extra energy to start new projects, new ideas and build on a foundation that will create the building of this year.

I always find 2 major things happen to me at this time of year. Clearing out inner and outer crap is one of them and can be seen in a desire to remove clutter in my home (mirroring the desire to remove the spiritual and emotional clutter I may be carrying around with me too). The other biggie is when I begin looking around for new and interesting things to do. Some of this may have been on the back boiler and had their seeds planted last year - such as my new career possibilities, and some have arrived like an unexpected but very welcome friend coming to visit!

So far, I have finally got round to sending off for the OBOD's bardic grade coursework which is something that has been in my mind for several years.
This also has something to do with my spiritual path and a part of me I have been suppressing for several years - another blog entry will cover that I think. But its that time when some things connect with the energy to create new things in my life and become irrisistable to leave for another year.

More usual are the things I look around to do for fun and to satisfy the creative part of me. Things I can do with my youngest daughter and other family members when they're here. So I scour the internet for the websites of events I enjoy - The Green Man festival at Hastings in May. The strawberry fair at Cambridge in June. And on the way I discover other events I may not have come accross before - maybe being put on for the first time - such as last year Eden projects 'Big Lunch' which we took part in during july in canterbury. I get a lovely new diary (I just love a new virgin page ready to write my plans and projects on). It gets filled with ideas of things I might like to take part in, practical information such as money coming in and bills going out, and school diary info too.

I explore the local colleges and universities sites too (we're greedy in canterbury - we have 3 universities here!) for day schools and family learning days. Often cheap or with concessions for low wage earners they can provide really interesting and fun ways to try new things and feed that part of me crying out to learn or use my creativity. Or both! Found a fantastic day school in the summer to work with a Labyrinth built in Kent university's grounds, with the chance to walk it, write about it , create around it and .....well.....we are only limited by our imaginations arent we!

I am not in the space where I want to start new magical or mediation groups and circles nowadays, but do like to come together with friends old and new to do something for fun regularly, so have decided to hold a regular arty session for creative crafts and fun. Its not a rigid structured group which doesnt put any pressure on me which is what Im going for at the moment. Just a day or evening regularly that I plan to have open house for anyone who wants to join me doing some craft or arty activity.

What could be more simple, fun, companionable and feed my creative soul?

And to feed my spiritual soul - as I mentioned I am eagerly awaiting my bardic coursework from OBOD. And a variety of pagan fairs and processions to enjoy. The Fairy Festival in Canterbury is an event we love to go to. The fun of dressing up, meeting fun, friendly people and maybe going to the Fairy Ball.

It seems to me that this time I find Im hungry in various parts of my soul. I need to feed several parts of me - the spiritual, physical, emotional and practical. This is the energy of Spring arising from its earthy sleep as we creep slowly but surely towards Imbolg.

Depending where you live there are things you can do. Obviously in an urban setting there may be more on offer so country dwellers or more isolated community inhabitants may have to be creative and organise the things you want to do yourself rather than look for events planned. Even in towns and cities you may be unable to find a group or circle of people with your interests. Several years ago there were no Goddess groups in canterbury and I started one up because it was something I wanted to be involved with at the time.

Im a creature of nature and find myself hibernating over winter and not wanting to trudge around outside even if I know once I get out I will enjoy it. Its easy to get into the habit of lounging about even when the days start to get warmer and lighter but the pull of the seasonal tides is as sure as night following the day, and if I dont answer the call...well....I just become sullen and cranky.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

New Beginnings

Well the new calendar year has got under way and already I can feel the movement of the seasons as spring tentatively indicates she is on her way. At the end of last year I underwent big changes personally when I left a job I had grown to dislike in order to take a new direction. Actually I have to say - it wasnt the actual job I disliked - I love to cook and the children at the school i worked in were lovely.
Are lovely - my daughter still goes there....

Sadly all too familiar - it was the company I worked for. A outside contract company that I would not work for again...but thats in the past and I am looking to the present and future. I took the plunge into an idea that has been a slow growing thought for several years. In fact, since I gave birth to Rhiannon nearly 7 years ago.

I like children, I loved having her at home before she started school, doing crafts and fun things together. I had thought about becoming a registered child minder before, but it just wasnt the right time then. Now it is! I am slowly going through the process of the registration, doing the coursework, paediatric first aid etc and hopefully will be all ready to start by the beginning of the summer.

Of course this has a knock on effect on all my life. Im having to use my resources to keep my head above water while i go through the new training. Im going along on the belief that I have made the right decision - as all people do when they want to start a new business and have to believe the work will come.

But Im absolutely sure Ive done the right thing.

First of all, I dont wake up in the morning dreading going to work and what problems my immediate management will give me this week. I can physically feel the stress has gone and my shoulders have lost a weight it carried around for most of last year. I feel healthier and happier too. And all the puzzle pieces are fitting in the right places, effortlessly and easily. I havent had any problems with sorting out my finances although they are tight and everything is falling into place in the time frame I have planned for. I am so grateful and appreciative that this is happening now and continue to believe that I am walking the right path for me, for now.

New beginnings at a new cycle of time and life....watch this space....