Sunday, 27 November 2011

Another Year Bites The Dust

It was my birthday on Friday.

I don't particularly like birthdays. I don't really understand what all the fuss is about, I'm another year older. So what? I celebrate my mother on my birthday, she was the one who brought me into the world, it is her day not mine. Maybe I feel that way because I lost her all too soon or maybe I feel that way because she truly was a remarkable woman.

My wife however loves birthdays and will always make a fuss of me no matter how much I protest. This year was no exception and she surprised me with a book I've been hankering after for ages. I don't know how she knew, I hadn't told her, but she always has had an uncanny knack of knowing exactly what to do, or say, or buy.

We spent the day out and about, running the usual errands but also having a great time together. We took a trip over to Exeter and spent some time on the moor. It was bitter cold and dark by the time we got there but that didn't matter. We stood in the still, calm magic of that place and gazed with awe at the stars. Away from the lights of the towns and cities, they shine so bright. I know I am truely alive wrapped in a Dartmoor night.

And so I am another year older and as birthday's go, I actually rather enjoyed this one.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Beauty in Extremes

It's not often we have a day out just for the sheer pleasure of doing so, usually there is some kind of plan, some mission, some chore that drags us out of our comfy home and we make a day out of it. We turn the mundane into the magical by way of our attitude. The most basic of shopping trips can be turned into a day out by the addition of a little detour, a flask of coffee and a few sandwiches. But last week we made an exception. We planned a day out just for ourselves, no little jobs, no errands, no shopping, no chores. And it was long overdue.

For a long time now we have been planning to visit  Wistman's Wood on Dartmoor. We'd seen pictures of it, we'd even seen it on T.V but for some reason we had never managed to visit. Last Thursday we changed that.

On the way we stopped off in Tavistock, a lovely market town, and there I lost my heart to a woman of such devastating beauty I didn't know if I should laugh or cry. She took my breath away. Her skin glowed with a milky luminescence and her soft hair tumbled over her shoulders to her rounded breasts. She was demure and sweet and yet the flowers in her hair spoke of a wildness and a passion that stired up my soul and stole my heart.

By the way, did I mention she was a painting? I don't want anyone thinking I'm having adulterous thoughts about any woman but the one I'm married to! My lovely wife was just as smitten with her as I was. To me she was the most perfect representation of the Goddess that I have ever had the honour to behold. She was painted by an artist named Lee Woods and, so I'm told, was painted to suit the stunning gilt frame he found in a flea market. They are indeed a perfect match and having looked at some of his other work on the internet, she was something of a departure from his usual style.

Never before have I been so moved by a piece of art and I felt a physical pain when I had to drag myself away.

But drag myself away I did and we eventually made it up to the moors. We took it slowly, to ease my aching back, knees, hip... and also to allow ourselves the time to simply drink in the wonder of the wild landscape. It was a grey day, but mild and the rain held off much to my relief and my wife's disapointment. I love my insane little Witch but I draw the line at trudging across the moors in a downpour.

I often struggle with walking, especially in the damp, but My Goddess it was worth the walk! A more magical, sacred place I have never seen. The calm I felt beneath the stunted oaks was beyond compare. I truely felt a part of the wood, a connection with my brother Druids from ages past. The raw energy of that place seeped into my weary bones and gave me a spring in my step I haven't felt in many a year.

We ate our meal beneath the trees, sheltered from the wind by the mighty strength of a great overhanging boulder and we walked amongst the oaks, marveling at the tenacity of these trees to survive in such a landscape. With great boulders littering the ground like remnants from some long forgotten game of giant marbles, the shapes now blurred by moss and litchens; the trees too wearing great cloaks of green across their trunks and branches. It is a truely etherial place and one that has taught me much, about clinging to life in the face of adversity, about the dependancy of the small on the mighty, about the true beauty of wilderness and hope in the dark.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Am I the ONLY ONE who hates Halloween?

I really don't like Halloween. It grates at me, it gets my back up, it infuriates me. But I'm surrounded by people who think its fun so I swallow what I'm thinking and keep quiet. But this is my blog and what's the point of having it if I can't let rip occaisionally!

I love Samhain. I love everything about it. I like that feeling of the veil thinning, it is comforting to feel my loved ones near. I enjoy giving thanks for the final harvest and thanks too that the weather has allowed us to have a final harvest at all. I like to sit back with a glass of mulled cider and reflect on what has happened over this last year. I put things to bed that I cannot change, and move on having learned from the experience. I protect the things that were good, keeping them close through the dark of winter. I plan what I shall do through the dark time, what I hope to accomplish, what I hope to learn.

Yes, I love Samhain but I bloody hate Halloween.

I know that this will be controversial but I'm not one to shy away from controversy. I see Halloween as something of a p***take of my beliefs. It makes a mockery of the things I hold dear. Plastic skeletons? Glow-in-the-dark skulls? Fancy dress and the my-pumpkin's-bigger-than-next-door's-pumpkin syndrome. Pur-lease! When all is said and done it is yet another PAGAN festival that has been hijacked by Christianity and watered down, fluffed up, stuffed up, and cheapened.

I know most pagan's just join in the party. I know its meant to be fun. But how can it be fun when so much of what we believe is being walked all over, bits pinched here and there, in the name of entertainment. It's just wrong.

I said this to my wife last night but she just said 'I don't have a problem with Halloween'. She makes the distinction between Halloween and Samhain quite easily. Thankfully she doesn't go in for all that pumpkin carving, cobweb hanging nonsense (well, not often anyway) but she's full on O.K with those that do. To me that is just so wrong. We didn't get into a debate about it. We are both firmly entrenched in our views about it and nothing was going to sway either one of us and neither one of us wanted to spoil our Samhain by getting heated but.....

.....I can't be the only one who hates Halloween, can I?