Full Moon and Seasonal Musings

harvst moon

 

Tonight the moon will shine at her fullest, a time of magic and mystery! This year the harvest moon falls in October (early october, as being the full moon closest to the autumn equinox) which is quite late. Tonight’s moon is in Pisces. The Milton Keynes, Circle of Hearts Medicine Wheel will be holding their regular moon moot.

Hi everybody its that time again the full moon was at 8.02 so this is a waning moon a time for letting go its also the vine moon and the vine of England is the bramble. so tonight bring wine and we will celebrate with the old gods and goddesses of this land. the ceremony will be at the stone circle at 9.00 o pm Willan north lake Milton Keynes and the celebration at the house please bring food and drink to share blessed be Nick

 

I unfortunately won’t be able to make this evening, but hoping to see everyone next time.

 

Bedford’s newest Moot at the Half Moon pub was a huge success, there will be another post on that as soon as I can write it! It was lovely to meet everyone, renew a few aquaintances and get to know our local pagans. There was a brilliant turnout for the firest moot!

In the meantime I thought a post about the turning seasons would be nice, it will also let me use the pictures I’ve been taking specifically for the blog.

proph plough and not ploughed

Already Lughnasadh is becoming a memory, the long sumer days are drawing in, and the  most of the wheat harvest is safely stored or sent off for millingl. One or two fields remain on larger farms, but on the whole the season has turned, and  preparations for winter are well underway, this photo, featuring the ears of the Fiery Red Horse, was taken mid august. Many fields have been ploughed already. In times not so long ago the shortening days of early autumn (a tide that begins in august) meant that the full moon’s light was welcome enabling the plough teams to stay out longer. Nowadays of course we hear the tractors working almost through the night with huge spotlights and powerful beams lighting their way. Our rides around the fields have gone from the green of ripening crops, to the gorgeous golden yellow at Lughnasadh, to the dust of harvest and now back to the brown of ploughed earth. There’s a certain dusty smell you get at harvest time, which always reminds me of long evening rides under a hot sun, travelling  along dusty bridleways, with hard packed sun baked earth sounding out the clop of shod hooves,  and cantering between fields of tall standing crops, quite often with the sight of the tractors working away. Well apart from one farm which has what they call a Field Power Unit, which I call ‘Flipping Huge Horse Scarer’ this thing is the size of about four tractors, the driver sits about twice the height above a regular tractor, and it has arms that reach the length of a football field, and apparently can be made longer. It was trialled by a local farm, but intended for the huge sweeps of land in the U.S and other countries. Must admit, around the village bridleways it can come as a bit of a shock to the system for any unsuspecting horse! Unfortunately I’ve never yet managed to get a picture of it, as most of the time I’ve been keeping both hands firmly on the reins! This thing is the ultimate in ‘economy harvesting’ meaning that one guy can do one huge field in a fraction of the time even a normal combine can. I suppose with the huge explosion in population, combined with global economy, we will see more of this, I can see the sense, but I feel something is lost and distanced in the steps away from the natural rythyms of the land. Life used to be slower, and we lose touch in the mad dash for more speed in everything, Now is a time for us to slow down and take stock.

The ripening corn meant also meant the obvious signs of autumn, poppies have always grown around the corn fields in our area, some places they come out earlier but for us, the lovely Field Poppy is associated with the ripening crops, The brilliant red reminding us of the red of the blood of sacrifice, the Corn King soon to be cut down in his prime to go into the seed and hold the magic of rebirth through the dark winter months.

 

corn and poppies

Of course the while most people think of  as ‘corn’ in the UK is wheat, or oats or barley  but whatever it is, it’s the main grain harvest celebrated at Lughnasadh,,

The harvest doesn’t stop there tho, the soft fruit and apple harvests are both well underway. We had our first blackberry and apple crumble before august was even out this year. Now onto about the fourth making, along with the long early autumn rides, collecting blackberries reminds me of a time when we would have been reliant on the harvests for getting through winter. Reliant on the abundance and generosity of mother Earth for our very existence. This year we would have struggled making  elderberry syrup which can, usually, see off most colds, the harvest was terrible for elderberries this year. There were some, but the last years bountiful harvest was certainly not repeated this year, Thankfully we have some frozen for the syrup making. Another convenience not available in older times! Apples tend to do well on the bedfordshire clay, and go very nicely with the blackberries!

blackberry and apple

 

The fruit harvest is associated with Autum Equinox (often called Mabon, but our group don’t use that term as it is only down to one author that it has become popular) and this year that is on the 22nd, I suspect by then the same will have happend as has with the wheat harvest, most of it will be done and dusted by the time the actual date rolls around. Think I’d better freeze some of that vat of blackberry and apple if I want a pie for the Equinox feast!

For pagans everywhere, no matter what ‘flavour’ the harvest can mean many things, it can be an evaluation of the year, as we have entered the waning energies of this year, and our new year begins after Samhain. Harvest can be internal or external, how have we developed over the growth months? How have We grown, how have we changed? what needs to be let go so that the period of rest over Winter renews us, and the new growth in the spring brings fresh hope. Equinox is a time of both balance and preparation, the nights will draw in faster and our thoughts will turn firmly towards Samhain. For now the long hot days continue, even if the nights are growing colder – certainly the thicker coats on the horses indicate this. Long dusty autumn days are still with us, giving us opportunity for our own harvests, and possibly the start of plans to keep us going through winter and into the coming spring.

 

Blessed Be

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Moot Reminder

It really isn’t great when you wake up the day before Bedfords’s newest Moot with both ears blocked (dammit) Hoping I get them cleared before tomorrow! Just thought I would remind everyone about this event, hope to see all of you there! I’ll be the quiet one…

BB

 

bedfordshire pagan moot sign

 

This is held on the 1st Sunday of each month from 3pm onwards, at The Half Moon Pub (Address: High Street, Kempston, Bedfordshire, MK42 7BN). We are a family friendly Moot, welcoming all paths & traditions, new comers and old hands alike. Children also welcome ~ large family garden. There will be speakers and discussions in a friendly atmosphere over a drink or two! For further details contact admins: Queenie Easton, Simon Easton or Christina Nicholson.

Simon and I have found the perfect place to hold the Bedfordshire Pagan Moot. It’s a traditional British Pub, with a separate bar lounge area, which we have been told we can have to ourselves. Plenty of seating, undercover smoking area outside, large car park and children’s play area. One feature that we wanted for this moot, was for it to be family friendly whereby children are also welcome. It is still a traditional moot, but we ourselves recognise it is hard to get child care, hence the time and day.

Once we are up and running, we will be organising talks, discussions, outside events, trips to interesting sacred sites and family camping etc.

The Land lady is called Nicki, said that all the half Moons displayed in the pub have been donated to them over the 17 years since they have been there. There are so many half moons to look at….. We hope you enjoy the venue at The Half Moon. Warmest Blessings Queenie, Simon and Christina )O(

 

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Eclipse day

Shared from Silent Earth fb page

 

Partial Eclipse of the Sun Monday 21 August 2017.

Monday’s total eclipse of the sun will not be visible from the UK, but we will be able to see a partial eclipse just before sunset, assuming the skies are clear.

The moon will cover approximately 10% of the Sun’s diameter and 2% of its area.

It will start around 7.30pm and will peak at 8.04pm in London and 7.58pm in Edinburgh, lasting for around 40 minutes.

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Local Round Up

 

I reckon this has been one of the most challenging years so far for me, and frankly given the conversations I’ve had with folks recently, both pagan and not, for pretty much everyone else too. That probably ought to be a blog post all on it’s own, so no more on that as I have some local news I need to get out there.

Firstly welcome to newer readers, I know I’ve redirected a few from the Earthlore Moot chat, and at least one I met at the  MK Moon Moot 🙂 Hail and Welcome.

Due to the aforementioned Challenging Year the hoped for expansion and update didn’t happen –  yet – obviously, but it will.

So firstly those of you who are on the relevent groups will have seen the upsetting post that Pagan Pride Anglia had to be postponed until next year, I know many folks put in a heck of a lot of work towards bringing Milton Keynes it’s first Pagan festival, but alas, this year is not the right time. The team are, instead, aiming for next summer for the festival to make it’s debut, and are in talks with Milton Keynes Parks Trust working for that to go ahead. I know that the local pagan community owes Hendrika and her team a big thanks for the work they have put in so far, the fundraising, and for laying the foundations for what will be built on next year. Find Pagan Pride Anglia on facebook (look right for the link —->  ) to hear the lastest news on what is to come, and if you feel like helping out your community, talk to Hendrika via messenger on FB to see what she needs for next year’s event. Hendrika, sorry it didn’t work out this year, but a longer planning time means a better event!

 

The second bit of news is a lot happier – Bedfordshire is finally getting it’s own Moot again!! YAAAAAY! Not only that but it will be run by a lady who has organised them before, coz let me tell you I know how hard they can be to organise.

For those not sure, those who are newly walking their path a Moot is a meetup of pagans, usually held at a pub because it’s a public place (ie safe)  The word is Anglo Saxon and means ‘meeting for debate’ which in pagan speak is ‘meeting to catch up with friends, meet others and generally be a group of people of a like mind’ The idea is we all congregate, chat, get to know each other and build community. In these uncertain times I’d say that building community is a pretty crucial thing to do at the moment. I know there are seekers out there who are hesitating about taking that first step – I’ve replied to quite a few of you on various groups and direct messages – I know it’s a big first step, akin to stating to the world that ‘I believe I am pagan and identify with this group, this tribe’ Trust me I was there once..and have met people attending their first Moot many times as well. My advice? Just do it. Yes it’s daunting, especially if you’ve always been brought up to believe that Paganism is either ‘bad’ or you’re ‘stupid’ for believing as you do, but believe me there are others out there like you.  and at the very worst you can order a drink, watch us for a while and see if we look like folks you want to talk to, and if today is not your day then just walk out. No pressure. Also we don’t bite, and turning people into Toads isn’t allowed in public anyway………… and just to prove that we are perfectly reasonable people – here’s the Pagan Federation link to attending meetups and taking that first step into the wider community. Paganfed Contact Guide

So – more details!

 

bedfordshire pagan moot sign

Now I am not affiliated with the organisation of this moot, just super excited to be getting a bedfordshire moot again! Its literally years since I’ve attended one, over ten I believe..

From the facebook page;

This is held on the 1st Sunday of each month from 3pm onwards, at The Half Moon Pub (Address: High Street, Kempston, Bedfordshire, MK42 7BN). We are a family friendly Moot, welcoming all paths & traditions, new comers and old hands alike. Children also welcome ~ large family garden. There will be speakers and discussions in a friendly atmosphere over a drink or two! For further details contact admins: Queenie Easton, Simon Easton or Christina Nicholson.

The admins can be found on the link to Facebook 🙂 The venue is ten minutes by car from bedford, possibly fifteen to twenty by bike. Twenty five mins by car from Milton Keynes.

goes on to say

Simon and I have found the perfect place to hold the Bedfordshire Pagan Moot. It’s a traditional British Pub, with a separate bar lounge area, which we have been told we can have to ourselves. Plenty of seating, undercover smoking area outside, large car park and children’s play area. One feature that we wanted for this moot, was for it to be family friendly whereby children are also welcome. It is still a traditional moot, but we ourselves recognise it is hard to get child care, hence the time and day.

Once we are up and running, we will be organising talks, discussions, outside events, trips to interesting sacred sites and family camping etc.

The Land lady is called Nicki, said that all the half Moons displayed in the pub have been donated to them over the 17 years since they have been there. There are so many half moons to look at….. We hope you enjoy the venue at The Half Moon. Warmest Blessings Queenie, Simon and Christina )O(

 

Moot half moon pub

moot wall

moot astrological

Pretty exciting times! For a long while I’ve worried that while MK has the Moon Moot, the Earthore is no longer viable as it was, Bedfordshire needs something of it’s own. Hopefully this will be the first step to a long running moot that we can all meet up at and have a good old chat. See you at the first one!

 

© – 2017 – SDB and QAE – all photos by Queenie Anne Easton. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

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Fire and Rain

Wishing everyone a Blessed full moon. You can tell its summer in England, the rain is warmer…
Joking aside it kept off for the Circle, and it was good to be in Ritual. The central fire warmed us as the slow onset of autumn feels very close some nights. The clouds hung low, but were backlit by the moon lightening the sky and adding to the atmosphere.  Cake and wine and a joke were shared, and a lad welcomed to his first Circle on his 10th birthday.


The run up to this moon has been… challenging, as have they all this year. The energies are focussed on many different aspects, bringing challenge after challenge, and tumbling long held foundations so that the new can be rebuilt, perhaps on more solid ground.

The beauty of the skies in the run up  was also noticeable.

The moon yesterday, seen through the trees that protect our stables from the elements.

A shot over the residential area, comtrail and cloud backlit by a brilliant moon.

 

EDIT – possibly not THAT noticeable since what looks good on the phone does not look so good up on the main screen lol. Never mind, hopefully you get the idea.

There are new developments in the local scene which I need to write a post on, but not right now.
Blessed Be to all, and if you’re having a tough time, hang in there! This too shall pass.

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Upcoming local event

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Last call for Beltane Bash 


Tickets now £5 🙂

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Beltane Morning

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Well ‘Dawned’ is the wrong word since on waking up, late, because the main alarm didn’t go off, I discovered that it was chucking it down.  Needless to say after a family meal the night before I had done nothing to get ready for the revelry part of Beltane, planning on getting out at four and collecting greenery for a chaplet. So out into the dark and very cold morning, with a torch, offerings, and half wondering if it was actually going to be worth standing around in the cold and wet watching the dancing…….. yeah must have been early to have those kind of thoughts!

Then the normal and very mundane rush of someone late, getting ready in less than half an hour, house wrecked as I charged through collecting supplies and changing plans on what to wear (serviceable jeans and wellies, which goes really well with a flower chaplet,  I’ve found..!) Plans to meet a friend at five were never going to happen since it was five before I could leave. Fired up the car, shot out of the gate and away. By the time I left, the darkness had lessened to a dull grey preceeding actual dawn, practical issues of getting there aside, with the increasing light so came increasing excitment. Arriving at the park it was noticeably warmer and dryer than at home, we locals maintain that the village has it’s own weather system, normally two degrees colder, by comparison Ampthill was quite balmy!

It was still before sunrise, the lightening sky  giving a hazy almost purple light, it’s only a short walk from the car park to the dance area, by Katherine’s Cross (for one of Henry vii’s wives , Katherine of Aragorn who lived in the local castle for a while)  hoping I wasn’t too late to see morris side Hemlock, march in from the  woodland, led by a flaming beacon held aloft, with their Green Man capering  in front.  I just made it, as did my friend and her family, it was lovely to see them and have company as, predictably, the slightly odd apparition of a jeaned and wellied figure with a flower chaplet had illicited sarcastic comments from one group ‘oh yes I suppose it’s sort of pagan isn’t it” (no, really? what was your first clue?) and ‘well yes they’ll all be round stonehenge won’t they” (well yes but that’s more associated with the solstices…) I tell you, you need to have a thick skin to be openly Pagan sometimes! The same group, btw, were seen opening a bottle of bubbly and later I found the discarded cork..!

Hemlock’s arrival really set the scene, as always they marched out of the gloom, the distant bells, drums and whistles being the only clue that they had begun, out of the darkness, the tune so compelling, so ingrained in british culture and bones, a link to a history of folk dancing that means more than mere enjoyment, it’s Celebration, linking us back through time to those who first worked the land and cared for it. It’s tradition, we grew up hearing these tunes and learning to dance to them, and it’s symbolic of so much more than ‘just a dance’

Click for video – Hemlock Morris marching to the Dance area

(my apologies for the quality of both videos and pictures, the  mobile camera really isn’t up to pre sunrise distant shots, and you can’t get too close to a Morris side or you’re likely to get whacked with a stick!

 

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Redbornstoke got underway with the first dance.

 

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Click for Video – Redbornstoke Morris in action

 

Followed by the wonderful Hemlock. They danced an energetic first dance, to waken the Spirits, then their Green Man scattered blossoms Deosil around the Circle, and they called to the Spirits of the Land, of Summer and of the Dance. A magical moment!  I love Redbornstoke for their tradition, but Hemlock are something else, from their rag tag black, purple and green motley, to their face paint (glitter, same colours in swirling spirals and stripes) to their energy and their sheer Spirituality.and genuineness, as my friend said ‘they’re Dancing for the right reasons, the Ancient Ones’  Morris dancing in it’s essence, is truly alive and well with this side!

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Click for video – Hemlock Morris

My photos don’t do either side justice, nor the atmosphere as the still sleepy audience slowly woke up and focussed, smiled and tapped a foot. After the subdued start to the day the energies could really be felt as the light grew stronger, and although there was cloud cover we knew the sun was up. The audience were very mixed, I think probably about thirty or so to start with, it’s hard to tell as people sidle up whilst walking the dog (sometimes the lingering disdain for Morris that harks back to the eighties is still seen in a reluctance to actively say ‘I’ve come to watch’ as opposed to the british ‘oh well I was just passing, isn’t it nice’) stay to watch a dance or two then walk on.  Some were openly enjoying it, others, tucked into thick scarves were more subdued but by the end pretty much everyone was smiling. Usually Redbornstoke and Hemlock join together to do a crowd participation dance, very simple, consisting of stepping four paces in to the centre of the Circle, clapping, stepping back, then ladies, then the gents. Then a bit of ‘circling’ or ‘chaos’ as I think it was.. It certainly was a welcome warmup and I was only sorry that they only did one dance like this (think last year there were two but the weather was much better)

Some more shots from the morning.

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A pretty Maiden enjoying the dancing 🙂

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Then it was back to the very pretty and historic Queen’s Head (Katherine again) for a full english breakfast. The chat was about the dancing, the turnout, who was going on to other May Day events, a good old chat with tea and coffee or something stronger thrown in, despite the fact it was only about half past seven in the morning!

Hemlock danced again outside the pub – ostensibly to ‘wake the neighbours up’ but a sharp landlord gets all the help he can get in this day and age and neighbours doesn’t mean human ones!  Luckily I was outside and able to watch and get yet more pictures – with a bit more definition than the sunrise ones.

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One single dance to stir the Spirits . a Toast, a jangling of bells, all tried and true ways of petitioning the spirits of Place and Land. Hemlock, you’re fooling no one lol.

Not with any particular plans for the rest of the day I decided to take a walk through the woodland in the park on the way back to the car, a truly magical choice as the lighting and the early summer green really added to the feel of the morning. My connections to the land, my path were renewed. The walk was a perfect way to leave the frenetic beltane energy of the Dance, the Other of the whirling steps and clashing sticks, calling up the Sun and echoing back over the ages, to the here and now, the energy of the wood, of the slower pace of the trees, of plants growing and seasons renewed. By now the clouds had cleared and the sun was shining full on the day. Warming skin and emotions. Mind you I was still wearing that chaplet (coz it’s a pain to carry) and by now the locals were up and about, as apparently were lots of not so locals who were headed to a dog show being held in the same park…. nonetheless I headed right through the middle of them and greeted everyone with an enthusiastic Happy Beltane or May Day depending…(bearing in mind, jeans, wellies…flowers. ribbons….) actually got chatting to a few people, funny how they’ll either talk to someone different and really engage, or they’ll refuse to make eye contact and find something fascinating on the path in front of them! I did of course take the opportunity to get some more photos hopefully showing a bit of the atmosphere and magic of the place.

The Wooded path

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beech leaves

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Oak and Holly interjoined, The everlasting dance between the two.

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I went back to the dance area, deserted now, bar dog walkers and the occasional jogger, stood for a few minutes in the centre of the blossom Circle, made my own connections and personal devotionals, retrieved the cork! Thought a few uncharitable and decidedly un beltane things about those who had left it whilst being SO judgemental….then sat for a while to contemplate life looking out over the stunning view from the ridge that the park is on.

 

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A view that sums up the area, mixing natural, manmade, eco, industrial.

I hope everyone had or is having a wonderful Beltane and that you are feeling renewed and energised by that powerful Beltane energy!!

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BLESSED BE!

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Beltane Eve

So the sun has set, the final blaze of fire as the last rays gild the leafed branches of the ash tree reflect the bale fire. The sinking sun signals the start of the revelry. 

This Beltane is bittersweet, but no less powerful for the life changing events that occur in everyones lives.. Got to adnit that I havent been particularly looking forward to this one, and circumstances dictate that this one is to be more introspective than most, but the dance of life that took me as I caught the last setting rays of sunset, the heady scent of the Hawthorn, the May, in full bloom and the screech of foxes doing what they  do at Beltane reminds me that life goes on, the wheel turns, and joy can still be found. There is beauty in the Green Earth, and the White waxing Crescent moon among the Stars. The Old Gods await their marriage of Spirit and nature. Rain and dry earth, leaf and bud bursting out in the great joyful release of Beltane Eve. 

But for now  I wait, the hearth decorated, the meal served to family blissfully unaware of the deeper meaniing 

 Tomorrow morning, if I can get up, because as usual blog posts  demand to be written at midnight and sunrise is a mere few hours away,  tomorrow I will be up before dawn, out in the chill that reminds us that winter wasnot that long ago, out in damp dewy woodland, standing on the brow of a hill awaiting the march of the Mortis Dancers who repeat the complicated dance steps year after year, bells jangling and sticks crashing. Calling up the Sun, calling up the joy in our hearts and reminding us that the Dance is within us all, we who remember and honour te Old Ways and understand the rituals, and meanings, hidden in an old British tradition, and just maybe one dancer will be moving withjust a little more intent. Blessed Be!

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