Summer Solstice Arrives

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Greenman and Oak Apple Day

Today, May 29th used to be celebrated in England as Oak-Apple Day, to mark the restoration of Charles II to the throne. As the excellent website nicely notes:
Oak Apple Day

This is the day that traditionally people wear oak apples or oak leaves pinned to them to remember that on May 29th King Charles ll returned triumphantly to London after the restoration of the monarchy in 1660.

The reason for the wearing of oak apples or oak leaves was to celebrate the King's narrow escape from capture by Cromwell's soldiers by hiding in an oak tree.

However, as the Wikipedia entry for Oak Apple Day notes:

These ceremonies, which have now largely died out, are perhaps continuations of pre-Christian nature worship. The Garland King who rides through the streets of Castleton,Derbyshire, at the head of a procession, completely disguised in greenery, which is affixed to a pinnacle on the parish church tower, can have little connection with the Restoration.

So, the Greenman, the Oak Apple Tree and return of the King (echoing the myths of Arthur's return to save the land), might, on this day all join in honoring Spring and the Merry Month of May.

The day shines, bright, go and enjoy!


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Brigid and Well Dressing

May 19,  Festival of the Sacred Spring — During this Celtic feast, people adorn sacred healing wells and springs with flowers and greenery to honor Brigid, goddess of fire, poetry, healing, childbirth, and water.

Not only is Brigid honored around the first of February, but this day marks the Spring time of well dressing to thank her for her bounty of life giving water. And as a key Goddess of the arts, including Music and Poetry, Brigid is for me, a true Harper's Goddess.

So go out, find a well, and dress it!



Monday, May 18, 2009

"Take Down Thy Harp"

Yesterday I mentioned the Celtic Psalter I have been reading and thought it both interesting and coincindental that I found the following poem in the excellent Harp Spectrum website (


In the midst of the "darkest hour" of Psalms 42-43: 
"Then will I go unto the altar of God...
yea, upon the harp will I praise thee."

"Take down thy harp,"
Nay, let it hang!
'Twill give but clang
In these dire days when
broods, as once

O'er the abyss,
Dread darkness covering all the earth.
When atom-bomb,
And rays-of-death.
And scourge of plague
May drop from skies, and man
become a fox, a mole --

"Take down thy harp,"
Nay, let it hang!

And yet, and yet --
Take down thy harp!
For darkest hour
It still holds power,
As harp of David once of old
--Harp surely heard
At temple altar's sacred shrine.
Let hope revive
And faith press on!
Go forth, look round;
Behold, the world is fair and skies
are azure blue!

--Take down thy harp!

by Einar Atair Paulanton
St. Paul, Minn.

This poem appeared in the 
Lutheran Companion, Sept. 8, 1948



Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ah Gardening!

A wonderfully warm day and I was out at 6:30am to water the plants which went into the superb raised garden bed containers yesterday. Our friend Kerry who runs the Green Man gardening service (of course) constructed them out of treated Cedar and should last for many years.


Of course, Bianca came out to enjoy the warm sun and explore as cats love to do.

In the North east corner of our yard, I transplanted a couple of red raspberries suckers and put in pumpkins and squash. This area gets a fair amount of sun over the spring/summer months and I hope the pumpkins/squash will do well. I know the raspberries will as they are certainly thriving. 

In spite of the very long and cold winter we had, the raspberries in the wooden tub have shown no sign of harm and some are already starting to show flowers. Plan to plant some more strawberry starts in the garden planters tomorrow. 


I have begun using a Celtic Psalter written by J. Philip Newell (Sounds of the Eternal A Celtic Psalter)which, while following the traditional pattern of Morning and Evening Prayers, illustrates the Celtic Psalter with illuminations from Jewish illuminated manuscripts--a nice blending of two ancient spiritualities which honored the creation and the earth which sustains us. 

On the page for each day of the week for Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession is the wonderful phrase: "Pray for the coming day and for the life of the world."

The world certainly needs our prayers....and our actions to help heal and preserve the life of the world. And a garden is a great place to start.



Friday, May 15, 2009

Honor those who say No to War

With thanks to the website, I want to add my voice to those who honor the men and women who say No to War, on this 15th of May--International Conscientious Objectors Day. 
Although C.O's and war resisters may be dismissed as cowards or unpatriotic, all the many ones I have been lucky enough to know over the years, have been men and women who have struggled to do the right thing by their moral compass, and been willing to face the consequences--often long and painful experiences. 
For some, being opposed to war comes naturally if they have been raised in one of the peace churches, but for many the decision may not come until combat or having served time in the military. 
Some choose to remain in the military and serve as non-combatants, others around the world are punished, sometimes with harsh physical techniques, serve long years in prison and are shunned by their communities. 
All, however have felt that: "unless we put an end to war, war will put an end to mankind."

Let Peace be "Blowing in the Wind" and may our children have a more wise and peaceful world.



Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A quote for May....

May, with alle thy floures and thy grene,
Welcome be thou, faire, fresshe May.

Geoffrey Chaucer

Monday, May 4, 2009

Belated Beltane Post

Between a bit of computer problems and this and that, missed getting this posted in a timely fashion. 

Beltaine is one of my favorite Celtic/Pagan holidays--filled with the hope of renewal, color, scents of the awakening earth and gardens to savor and enjoy. One of the best descriptions I have read recently of Beltaine comes from Kit Berry and her wondeful online pagan community which can be found at: 

The symbol of Beltane is the ancient Green Man, to be found all over the country in the most unlikely of places. Many churches have a green man hidden in ceiling bosses or peering down from a dark corner. When Christianity superceded paganism in Europe, the image of the Green Man was impossible to eradicate as it represented such a powerful force - that of virility and growth. Despite edicts from the authorities, local stonemasons, builders and craftsmen felt it necessary to include the Green Man somewhere in the building, although often tucked away in secret.

And speaking of the Green Man, the lovely image at the beginning of the post was done by Helixtree--Kit Berry's sister.