Celebrating the dark side..

It’s been a busy couple of days.

We had made the decision to celebrate an early Samhain as this year the 30th April (and Mr T’s birthday) falls on a Wednesday.  Mid-week is a difficult time to get people to come out and so we choose yesterday, Friday the 25th to do our thing.  Appropriately enough it was also ANZAC day here, the day of remembrance for all New Zealanders and Australians who have died serving in wars (and peace keeping forces) and a public holiday.

This meant that Mr T was home to help with the preparations thank heavens because I was feeling particularly tired and as he was suffering with a cold, the two of us made up about one person work wise.

It did turn out to be quite an effort in fact not the least because we had a few extra jobs thrown in like carving pumpkins and collecting firewood from various kind friends so that we could use the brazier.

Our last gathering at Mabon had been kind of small, with only about 6-8 people and although it was really lovely I thought I would try a bit harder this time and invite lots of people on the basis that most of them wouldn’t come.  But then of course most of them did come with the consequence that we almost didn’t have enough seats – but it was so lovely to see everyone.

The weather which we had watched anxiously over the previous days had promised rain and cold and indeed it did rain on and off yesterday to the extent that we decided if it hadn’t got better by 5pm we were going to give in and hold the party inside.

Then a small miracle, it stopped raining.. completely.  Not only that but we were treated to a absolutely stonking sunset with such lurid light it turned my t-shirt day-glow.  It became so warm that our brazier almost felt too hot.  The clouds cleared and the stars did their thing.

Many thanks to Sue for the photos

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Me doing my Samhain reading
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Pat – an unexpected but very welcome visitor all the way from Perth, W.A. Mr T – who by this stage had imbibed just enough to cheer him up, and Richard – who made our wonderful brazier out of an old gas cylinder.
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My lovely friend Yvonne.

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The boat being passed around to place a candle of remembrance in.
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The final part of our ritual, a toast – To the dying of the light, to the kindling of the light.

Thanks to everyone for coming and making it such a wonderful night.

Also, at some stage I am going to add another blog page so that you can read what is said at our rituals.  Coming soon..

 

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and the wheel turns..

Image by the wonderful Jane Brideson

 

Happy Autumn Equinox to you all!  And a happy Spring Equinox to you all on the other side of the world.

This is a time of reaping the harvest of experience from the past year, of weighing up of both gains and losses.  We can sort out the wheat from the chaff – chucking out the rubbish in other words.  I wonder if that is why I and others I know get the urge to ‘spring clean’ the house and garden at this time of year.

Balance is a strong theme , day and night are equal on this day, but after this we move on into the dark.  Light is balanced by the dark, life is balanced by death – symbolised by the double spiral.  As we wind in toward the still point of the winter solstice we are reminded that we will inevitably move out again into the light.

Which brings me to another strong theme of Mabon, the Autumn Equinox – thanksgiving.  It is time to give thanks for our harvest.

Seeing this is a harvest festival I will be heading out shortly to sup a little wine with friends (I give thanks for my friends and the good grapes) at Kilverts – an excellent excuse.  Not that I need one..

Hope you all have a good one

 

The BeeGees, Shakespeare and Cream..

First off – Happy Lammas!  The festival of first fruits – all those ffffffffffs..

The 2nd of February marks Lammas/Lughnasadh which is the first of the harvest celebrations  but like another important day on the wheel of the year (Sowein/Halloween) it also happens to be the birthday of someone close to me.  Sometimes I get swept up in one and need to mark the other another day.

Feel me now as bountiful Mother. I am fertility and creativity, I am the abundance of life. I create and nurture all being. My golden cloak is the ripening grain. Pause a moment whenever you eat. Feel my Presence…

Image by Wendy Andrew

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Instead of seeing the rug being pulled out from under us, we can learn to dance on a shifting carpet. Thomas Crum

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Bloody Hell it’s good being home again.  I don’t realise how much I love my own space until I go away – even for one night.

The journey down to Wellington on the train was trouble-free – mainly thanks to my trusty Sony mp3 player, it saves me oodles of grief.  Usually the trip is pretty quiet but this time I was trapped in the same carriage with a woman who, if I’m going to be kind about it, liked the sound of her own voice and several shriekey teenage girls in school uniform.  Not feeling obliged to listen to others noise I simply plugged myself in and grooved away to the dulcet tones of the BeeGees in full disco flow.  I then sat comfortably by myself the entire journey – occasionally wondering how the Brothers Gibb could have thought that singing falsetto would ever be considered manly – even if you do have lots of body hair, medallions and tight, tight trousers.  With my mp3 player on random I got to listen to 60’s band Cream and am now a fan.

My Mum enjoyed her trip out for dinner at the Parrot and Jigger for her birthday.  My brother, sister-in-law and one of my nephews came along as well and it was good to be able to have a family celebration without the usual mass of dishes to clean up after.  My brother had to finish packing to leave at 5.30am to guard the Prime Minister at Waitangi so we had an early  night.

It looks like the weather has finally decided it will be summer for awhile.  We are going to see Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor at Gladstone Vineyard on Friday evening so will be taking a sun hat.

 

Bunting, Bees and Hobnobs

Bunting

For anyone who doesn’t know what the bunting is, referred to in my last post – here it is.  Just a long length of little flags really, nothing to get too excited about except it usually means a celebration.

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For anyone that doesn’t know what a Hobnob is.  It’s a British born biscuit, sort of like an oatey Chocolate Wheaten, made by McVities.  I can assure you that the ones I make are far superior – as they should be with all that butter in them  😉 These ones turned out to be almost twice the size of the originals as well.  If you are in the area, you are welcome to pop in for one.

Underground, Overground, Bumbling Free..

Had to include this shot that Tude took. We have two Bumble Bee nests at our house. One is in the wall outside the loo and at night you can hear this strange sort of buzz every now and again which I imagine as the bees getting irritated with each other cos one is taking up to much of the bed.

The other bee house is in the cracked concrete of the drive, just at the entrance to the garage.  Tude gets worried that driving the car in and out will upset them but they seem ok.  The only time they did get upset is when he went near them with the lawn mower – nasty vibrations I guess.

The Summer Solstice is nearly upon us again. It is on the 22nd this year and we are having a big do at my friends Sue and Mike’s place. This time we will also be celebrating three birthdays as well. I will have to get started on my speech and try to think up something new for a ritual.

The weather has finally warmed up so will hopefully be good for the night, sitting around the brazier. One of the reasons I love celebrating the solstice is because it means I get to spend time with friends before having to go off and have Christmas with relatives.  We usually go to my Mums for the Xmas holidays and on the day itself we troop across the road to my brother and his family for dinner.  This year however my brother will not be with us as the Prime Minister is going to Hawaii and my brother has to go to guard him.  Apparently Hawaii is a hot spot for insurgents/terrorists/assassins during the festive season – who would have thought it?

The Morning After..

Mmmmm,  a good night!

Loads of people turned up for last nights Beltane bash. When I say loads, I actually mean about twenty, so I guess I am getting a bit carried away – whatever. As usual it was a challenge getting around to talk to everyone but I think I managed it (well, maybe not but I think they will forgive me). And the weather turned out beautiful; cold but clear, with an almost full moon, Picture 489couldn’t really have asked for more.

My friend Evonne came around early and helped me make the wreaths for everyone’s heads, it’s a fun thing to do together. We had gathered together all sorts of greenery; roses, lily, lavender, rosemary, daisys, jasmine and tons of ivy. Neither of us are great wreath makers, so some of them looked a bit bonkers – witness my wonderful head gear in the photo!

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Green Girls for Beltane

The highlight of the night for me was the amazing bonfire my nephew had built. It was huge and when lit it just went mad, spiralling flames, masses of sparks flying up with a backdrop of towering black trees and a high flying moon.

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Zabian

 

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Beltane fire

 

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Hail on a Tin Roof

Some things I have learnt today –

CRAFT Syndrome – Can’t Remember a Fecking Thing. Usually related to menopause, aging or to much wacky backy.

Iamrightitis – The belief that one is always right.

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Last night was fun. Went out for dinner with a group of women to farewell Mary the co-ordinator of the Wairarapa Women’s Centre, where I have just started back on the organising committee and where I used to volunteer. It was good to get together, eat good food and talk.

Bracing weather again today. As I sat at my desk at the Information Centre this morning the sound of the rain and hail on the tin verandah roof made it difficult to talk on the phone. It is meant to be perking up tomorrow, which is good because we are having a Beltane get together around at a friends and as we are having a bonfire it would be a bit more pleasant if it doesn’t piss down. Especially when I will be making a speech about it being the first of the SUMMER sabbats.

Also we will have a special small fire built for making a wish and jumping over, so we really do need to be outside. I will be taking along the pot of nasturtiums and calendular, the seeds of which we all planted at the spring equinox ritual. They are little plants now and I figure it will be nice to take them to each celebration and watch them grow over the coming months. With luck the hopes that were planted with them will all come to fruition.

My friend Evonne showed me this YouTube video, and I love it. So here is my Beltane present for you..