May 01, 2011

Beltaine blessings

It is Beltaine or May Day today and what an incredibly beautiful day it is. I've two posts for you but as they are very picture heavy I'll do one today and one tomorrow.
Yesterday we went to one of our favourite places Conishead Priory to walk in the woods, a tradition for us on Beltaine and indeed woods are the place on all the festivals for me.

 The woods are looking absolutely stunning, the Goddess in all her glory. You can feel the energies and the power of the Lord and Lady at this time.
 I love the priory gardens they are easy to get around but yet you feel as if you are in the first forest it is so quiet and so overwhelmingly stunning.
 Comfrey or knitbone to give it its country name was a big part of my childhood. My nan used to wrap leaves of it around my sore joints to ease the pain. She used to make salves from it for when the leaves were not usable. I had to eat the leaves and drink an infusion as well. Sadly I still have my disease so it didn't cure it but it did help alleviate the pain. Nowadays they tell you not to drink it I think. Didn't harm me though, I'm still here:)
She also made the most foul smelling liquid to use on the garden because comfrey is a marvellous fertiliser. Mr Mog and I tried it several times and the results were great. We stopped after he accidentally spilt some across himself and it took a shower to get rid of the perfume.
 We found out later that there was a better, less smelly way to make it. We had put leaves in a bucket and added water. Don't do that. The easiest way is an upturned pop bottle with the bottom cut off, put the leaves in there with a weight on them. This produces a concentrated liquid that is equally effective. Just add water to it when using.
 So Beltaine, a fire festival and a time of great fertility in the land. What does it mean to you?
 For me it is a renewal of energy, a time of meditation and insights. A time to enjoy creativity for its own sake and not for an end result. A play time. A what if ?time.
 This past two days of woodland and nature have helped to ease the dark winter that still lingers in my bones and in my spirit.It tells me to let go of the past, accept what has been and be thankful for what it has done for me. I may not yet realise all the plus points but they are there. With the longer days and warmer weather the positive elements will come forth.

 This view always reminds me of one of my favourite poems The way through the Woods by Rudyard Kipling where coincidentally? the poem of the day is Puck's song

They shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.
Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late,
When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
Where the otter whistles his mate,
(They fear not men in the woods,
Because they see so few.)
You will hear the beat of a horse's feet,
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods.
 Puck's song
SEE you the ferny ride that steals
Into the oak-woods far?
0 that was whence they hewed the keels
That rolled to Trafalgar.
And mark you where the ivy clings
To Bayharn's mouldering walls?
0 there we cast the stout railings
That stand around St. Paul's.
See you the dimpled track that runs
All hollow through the wheat?
0 that was where they hauled the guns
That smote King Philip's fleet.
(Out of the Weald, the secret Weald,
Men sent in ancient years,
The horse-shoes red at Flodden Field,
The arrows at Poitiers!)
See you our little mill that clacks,
So busy by the brook?
She has ground her corn and paid her tax
Ever since Domesday Book.
See you our stilly woods of oak,
And the dread ditch beside?
0 that was where the Saxons broke
On the day that Harold died.
See you the windy levels spread
About the gates of Rye?
0 that was where the Northmen fled,
When Alfred's ships came by.
See you our pastures wide and lone,
Where the red oxen browse?
0 there was a City thronged and known,
Ere London boasted a house.
And see you, after rain, the trace
Of mound and ditch and wall?
0 that was a Legion's camping-place,
When Caesar sailed from Gaul.
And see you marks that show and fade,
Like shadows on the Downs?
0 they are the lines the Flint Men made,
To guard their wondrous towns.
Trackway and Camp and City lost,
Salt Marsh where now is corn-

And so was England born.
She is not any common Earth,
Water or wood or air,
But Merlin's Isle of Gramarye,
Where you and I will fare.

 Primroses are always a surprise flower, they suddenly appear. Have you ever had primrose wine? Gorgeous flavour and brings with it all the magic of the Spring. Whenever I've made it I've only ever taken petals from a prolific area of the flowers and always asked before taking.
 Bluebells here are mainly the native ones, a few Spanish have crept in but not too many thankfully.
 Saxifrage is such a tiny flower you can miss it if you aren't watching closely.
These next 2 pictures are for Leanne She had been searching for hope and look what we found in the gardens there.
 And a close up
 As you can see the day was beautiful
 Carpets of flowers and new leaves in abundance.
 A gateway to a magical world.

Hope you enjoyed the journey and may your Beltaine be full of joy and hope.


Leanne said...

Hello! Firstly the blessings of beltane to you A.M! Thank you for showing us your beautiful photos, you are right about the special feelings of woods. and thank you so much for showing me the little Hope pebble in the woods, thats absolutely lovely, and very fitting to find Hope in such a place!

Love, light and blessings Leanne x

Ann said...

Thank you for your beautiful post. Today I will honor the beauty around me -- not quite as far into spring as yours, but beginning to burst forth.

Kath said...

Lovely post AM! I just came over from Leannes, as she mentioned you yesterday.
Beautiful photos, sounds like you had a very peaceful and restorative day. Beltane Blessings.

Tina said...

These are beautiful pictures! Thank you for sharing and taking us with you on your walk! As I have the fields in front of the house for endless walks I don't get into the car to drive to the woods with the dogs (where they also might catch ticks which they don't do here) but I am missing the woods and will go for a walk there soon!
Tina in Germany

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Thank you for taking us along on your walk! May Beltane renew and refresh you!

Freyalyn said...

Beautiful post. I've had a lovely day - on the beach at Runswick Bay - but not as thought-filled and thought-full as yours.

Blue Witch said...

Loved the walk, thank you.

Suzi Smith said...

Thankyou for this amber.... beltaine blessings to you too x

Shani said...

and blessings to you..thank you so much for sharing the pictures and the poem.. inspiring.


Unknown said...

Hi Amber
Here in North Devon it has been a most amazing year for primroses. We have had them flowering wild in our garden since before the new year and there are still a few. I have never thought to make primrose wine before but next year..........................

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