Memories

Memories are little touches across the worlds. Being in them I am truly there, all my senses, scents, sound of wood, of door closing … just that slight grinding, jam-stuck, then the sudden snap of closure … taste of beer, tea, currants, rocket, strawberries.

It’s a completely sensual reality.

This one was brought on by Bach’s Partita #3 for solo violin – a recent recording at the Wigmore Hall, London. It brought back my first husband, Bob, our flat, garden, our black Alsatian dog, the spring light. Paul being there – Paul and Bob were good friends, it’s how I met Paul.

Paul is passionate about classical music. When we got together he instilled that passion in me. He loved to dance to Bach and the Partitas are much about dance. I was a professional dancer, so we met there, coming together from each side of the music.

Oh, memories are wonderful things. To relive a moment just from a note on a violin. And not just one moment. This memory was days and weeks, surrounding me leaving Bob and going to live with Paul, 36 years ago.

We all managed to retain friendship despite the changes in relationship. Bittersweet, that memory now, so often memories hold both sides of the coin, enabling us to know light and dark, that they are one whole. The Celtic shamanic tradition weaves through and round this duality, this pairing of opposites, to show us they are and/and not either/or. Memories so often transport me to worlds and places to remind me what joy is … this twining with the threads of pain and pleasure. “The elements so mixed that a spoon might stand up in them”.

This walking between worlds gives me another gift. I know the memory so intimately when I remember it that I know it still lives. Everything, everywhere, always lives.

Simplicity might call this reincarnation and that will do as a starting point. For me, reincarnation is not a linear concept, I don’t see the Buddhist “necklace of pearls” as a strand of lives following one after the other.

I find the concept of the dandelion seed-head to be the way I see it. Imagine a sphere of filaments, at the base of each is the single seed and at the outer end of each is a single seed.-parachute The filaments radiate out from the central ball.

Now imagine yourself sat on a seed.-parachute To get to another seed you can slide down the filament to the centre – centre yourself – and then go up another filament to another seed-parachute … to another life. You walk from Life to Life, from one seed-world to another. You are able to transport yourself from one life to another, from one time to another, from one memory to another. And you can return to your “now”.

But all the seed-worlds, lives, are all still there, myriads of them, all at the same time, all in existence together. Everything, everywhere, always lives.

Memory enables this, a form of journeying, triggered by the smallest thing.

Saille: Willow

The Moon-month for Saille runs from 15 Apr – 12 May.

Willow is the tree of death and enchantment. Culpepper said of willow, “the Moon owns it”. It is also the tree of Frayde, the triple goddess of the Celts, also known as Brighid. And it is a witch-tree …

The word witch is derived from the ancient word for willow and also gives wicker, as in wicker basket or chair … and in wicker man.

There is lore that uses wicker, willow, in basket form to capture things, including spirits. Sheri Tepper used this idea in a story of Mavin Manyshaped. Here a shapeshifter could be caught and tamed by being squeezed into a tiny wicker basket so that she or he no longer had “room to shift”. The idea was also used by witchfinders in Cromwellian times. This is quite a homeopathic-like idea … using like to catch like, in that the word for witch comes from an old word for willow.

Magic workers, witches, were once loved and revered, they were the mediums between ordinary folk and otherworld. In those days otherworld was not somewhere strange but part of the everyday world, even if not everyone could see it clearly. Witches were known for wise women, they knew cures and protections; could help folk find food and game; they could speak with the Ancestors and the Powers; they helped folk transit between life and death, and between otherworld and birth; they helped with rites of passage throughout life. These were just some of the witch’s abilities.

Then came the rites of the “dying god”. The concept of the dead god is far more ancient that Christianity, the god who dies for his people is worldwide and many thousands of years old … for instance the British song “John Barleycorn” or the Eleusinian rites just to mention two. While humankind understood the ways of Sovereignty, the goddess, these rites were practiced with love and honour. When people in male bodies began to find people in female bodies strange, as if from another species, indeed when humankind lost the knowing that all Life is one and so found anything that doesn’t look like itself foreign, then the trouble began. And when humankind lost the knowing of reincarnation …

Losing the knowing that Life is all one and that we incarnate over and over made men afraid. Still makes people afraid … fear of death.

Then, men decided that it was really the masculine that controlled everything and saved the universe … through their version of the dying god.

Things began to go downhill badly for women then, and especially for witches! No longer was Sovereignty the Queen, guarded by her Morris men, her Mary’s Men, the men who guarded the lady of the Sea, the maré, mare, the horse-queen … Oh! The word associations go on and on. So much has been lost.

This began about the willow, the Saille tree … Willow leaves and branches are the source of salicylic acid (aspirin) which relieve much pain. Aspirin was a wonder drug, is still used extensively for pain relief and now produced synthetically. The tree of the witch is still the heal-all, the magic wise woman is still the symbol of pain relief.

This is a picture of my besom, I hang it in my old gun-rack :-). The witch’s besom is made from an Ash stake with Birch twigs bound with Willow. The birch protects the witch from evil spirits and also helps carry them away as they get entangled in the birch; a witch needs to clean their besom after every working to deal with this. The ash protects the witch from drowning and holds her power which the witchfinders said is lost on immersion in water. So … the witch, through her besom, works with the Power of shapeshifting through Gwydion and his Ash tree; with Beith, the Powers of beginnings and initiations. Shapeshifting and initiation bound together with the tree of death and enchantment.

Hecaté is the lady of death from the Greek tradition, the lady of the crossroads. She is the death-aspect of the Triple Goddess, Frayde to the Brythons (or Brighid to use her better-known Gaelic name). Hecaté is also a layer-out of the dead, this role is like a twining of Frayde’s roles as Fosterer and Healer, for the dead need to be fostered and cared for as much as children do. Healing, en-wholing, is also necessary for the dead. One can come apart as one transits from death to life and life to death, so needing to be made whole again.

Hecaté also guards the crossroads with her dogs. Crossroads … place of choices … turning point, defining moment, crisis, moment of truth, watershed … all concepts of new beginnings, initiation. Concepts of death and birth. The transits of life are forms of crossroads, the big ones – birth and death – are ones that concern us most, perhaps, but all the transits that occur through life like puberty, first love, wedding, children’s birth, relatives deaths, divorces, etc.

And enchantment? What is enchantment? Charm, magical, lure, woo, enthral, put under a spell and, as Caitlin Matthews puts it, singing the soul back home.

To sing the soul is to en-chant and this is where the concept comes from. Like witches, the word enchant has suffered for hundreds of years from being associated with evil. Where is home? It can be otherworld, where we spend time between incarnations. And home can be here, the place we live while we’re incarnate. Our soul is enchanted to be here, with our consent, and it knows it also has a home in otherworld, the singing, the enchantment is the song-line that links us between the worlds … the world of our origins and the world of our incarnation. Hecaté, and Willow, helps us understand the ancient ways.

These are some thoughts to ponder on, ideas on the essence of willow, Saille. Sit The picture is of one of my favourite faerie places in the wilds of Exmoor and is called “Silly Bridge”. Both stream and bridge are surrounded by willows, the name “Silly” is a corruption of Saille.

This last is a beautiful picture from NASA of the Witch’s Broom …

Pagan Holidays for April 15, 2010

Ok, let’s toss things up and try something a little different, shall we? I am gonna add some numerology to the mix. Tell you what today might be good for! Let me know if you find it helpful…today’s number is 5 (by adding up the month 0 +4 +1 + 5 + 2 + 0 + 1 + 0 = 14. And since there are no dual numbers in Numerology aside from 11 & 22, we add 1+ 4, which then equals 5)

5 is connected with Freedom, movement, energy, creativity and travel. It is symbolized by the pentacle, the five pointed star. 5 is linked with mercury and therefore with Gemini & Virgo. It rules all pale colors.

Now, for the holidays!!!!! And if we thought yesterday was a busy day on the ancient calendar, here we are again.

The Romans are throwing down two celebrations again today. Again, its their 4th day of the Cerealia festival (How cool is that since today is 5 in Numerology?) but they are also having a festival called Fordicidia– a festival honoring Tellus Mater, who happened to be the Mother of Earth. Rome raised her temple around 268 BCE after an earthquake. So not only was she called to witness oaths but she was called upon to prevent earthquakes or to aid during and so forth. However, this festival has nothing to do with earthquakes or oaths. The reason the Romans are honoring her right now was a joint effort in aiding Ceres, their Goddess of Grain and Agriculture, for how would she pull that off if the Mother of Earth did not aid her in someway? Very clever Romans *winks*…when attempting to gain a wanted outcome, one must cover all bases!

Now, in Egypt, a great festival for their Goddess Bastet will begin. Bastet is famous for having the head of a cat (or at least that’s how the Egyptians painted her) and for being the very untamed, unable to control daughter of Ra. Now House of Gods is complete without their very own rebel lol. Not only was Bastet fond of cats but she was known for blessing the deserving greatly and those who were cruel—well beware the wrath of Bastet.

Don’t forget those who walk a Celtic path, today the Tree Month of Saille Begins!!!!!

C.H. Scarlett