I sit beside the fire and think
of all that I have seen
of meadow-flowers and butterflies
in summers that have been;
Of yellow leaves and gossamer
in autumns that there were,
with morning mist and silver sun
and wind upon my hair.
I sit beside the fire and think
of how the world will be
when winter comes without a spring
that I shall ever see.
For still there are so many things
that I have never seen:
in every wood in every spring
there is a different green.
I sit beside the fire and think
of people long ago
and people who will see a world
that I shall never know.
But all the while I sit and think
of times there were before,
I listen for returning feet
and voices at the door
I Sit Beside the Fire and Think is a song by Bilbo Baggins, which he sang softly in Rivendell on 24 December T.A. 3018, the evening before the Fellowship of the Ring set out upon their quest. Bilbo sang the song in the presence of Frodo, after giving Frodo the mithril-coat and Sting. The song is a contemplative piece, sung by a now-aging hobbit recalling past events that ends in anticipation of hearing returning friends.
But could it also have another meaning? A longing for the return of ancient ways? For the return of the spring after a long and cold winter?
Source for poem: Tolkien Gateway
“DEPARTED to the judgment,
A mighty afternoon;
Great clouds like ushers leaning,
Creation looking on.
The flesh surrendered, cancelled,
The bodiless begun;
Two worlds, like audiences, disperse
And leave the soul alone.”
“Departed to The Judgement”- Emily Dickinson
I sing this prayer to the Old One
To the Lord of the Hunt
To the wild, dancing, mischievous masculine.
To the soul guide and path finder.
Lead my arrow true
Fill me with virility
That I may stand strong and proud
Travel far and sleep well
Ride hard, sing loud
And drink deep of all that is set before me.
(Editorial Note: I did not write this prayer. I found it on the internet. I don’t know who the original author is, or else I would give them credit. I also took out one line, because it created a conflict between Wiccans and Celtic Pagans.)
Enter that doorway to the nether-realm, my face with a mask concealed
The crisp leaves crunch churning under my steps upon a path not yet revealed
The air hangs heavy with looming spirits, roaming gusts of electric static
The dead and gone are not forever forlorn on this night of fear and magic
The fabric to that other world becomes a silken shimmer
Velvet walls in Death’s dark hall are far more than tale and glimmer.
By dawning this mask I may seem to hide my Earthly mortal vissage
Yet my inner beast now shines more true, my primeval power manifested
Between the peaks of the sun’s golden height
To the browning leaves and fading light
Lies the thresh hold between the summer and autumn
A day to harvest the fruits from Nature’s bosom
A day to reap what you’ve sewn
A day to eat what you’ve grown
The taste of our labors sweet on our lips
And heavy baskets on our hips
Lugh the shining one stands bright and tall
His long arm extended, his hand grasps all
But now he sits in the shade of his mother
Ending one season, bringing in another
I give thanks for the fruits of light and reason
And hope for yet another successful season
Burying my dreams within the fertile earth
And awaiting our mother’s next healthy birth
Happy Lammas, Lughnasadh, Frefaxi all!
“Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere”
A great note to end the week with, some spiritual brilliance from this internationally known New Orleans poet.
According to her bio, Sunni’s mission is to aid in the awakening, the revival, and the remembrance of our gifts and voices, enabling us to move to a greater space of self empowerment, creativity and actualization.
I noticed the African words in the middle of the poem are names of the West African, Yoruba Gods. I think it’s interesting that she chose to put them in the middle of the poem deliberately. On my blog you can also read more about Yoruba or the Gods of Yoruba.
TEXT OF POEM:
We have not always found comfort in killers.
We have not always found solace being rocked
in the bosoms of those who silently pray
and openly destroy.
No, not always have we mistaken mimicry for mastery
or pretending for knowing
or enslavement for freedom.
But across my memory —-
across my memory marches millions -—
bold, regal, resilient, confident —-
unshackled feet stumping up spirits
to guide us through this fickle material world.
We like sun and moon folk,
universal souls praying our prayers,
singing our songs.
Eshu, Ogoun, Shango, Yemaja, Oshun, Obatala, Oya,
Damballah, Ayida Wedo, Loa, Nkongo, Olodumare and Yami.
We know all of you by name.
We are people of beginnings, of culture, of strength.
Not always have we given into the empty threats
and scare tactics of the powerless ones.
Not always have we allowed the blood of our sons and daughters
to color the streets while we’re walking asleep,
marching to the beat of that siren song.
They’re still wearing their sheets,
with nooses in reach,
showing their teeth and smiling, it seems.
But I hear in the breeze
in the rustle of the trees
and the dangling of the feet,
they say, please, don’t let them ever forget.
You see, not always have we suffered from amnesia.
Not always have we forgotten how to conjure up spirits,
fix up a mixture,
We, like magicians,
god-like vision, we -—
we are people of sight.
So, no, not always have we fallen
for this okie doke
or inhaled the hazardous smoke of the manipulators
or been satisfied with crumbs for meals
our hands have prepared.
Hughes said life for us ain’t been no crystal stair,
but at least the steps are there
to push us up higher,
teach us how to go beyond the destroyer’s disguises,
look them in the eyes and be able to see.
Because what’s surprising when you know the nature of a beast
and especially when they’ve shown the same face for centuries?
So you tell me,
what’s the difference between two sisters in New Orleans
shot point-blank in the back of the head,
and two women bound in their car in Baghdad?
Or government-sanctioned killings in Kenya,
and a sister held hostage in a house in Virginia?
Or poverty in Haiti, poverty in Jamaica,
rape in Rwanda or rape in Somalia?
A sweatshop in China or one in Guatemala?
Or small pox and blankets, syphilis and Tuskegee,
formaldehyde and FEMA, ethnic cleansing and Katrina?
I recall within a speech Dr. King made us aware,
he said injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.
So they can spare us their drama, huh?
We got the heart of them field working mamas.
We carry the torch of that ancestor fire.
So with every fiber that flutters in our being,
with every find that comes from our seeking,
with every hearing that comes from our listening,
and every sight that comes from our seeing,
we must be faithful, strategic, victorious and free.
Between the twilight of spring and summer
The hunter has come for the may queen
In fields of gold and beds of flower
He plows her land, so fertile and green
Erect the may pole
So we may dance
The hunter has come, God is here!
His crown the golden disk of sun
Reigning in summer yet another year.
ABOUT BELTANE (MAY DAY)
Happy Beltane, May Day and Walburg to all! Today is a festival of fertility. It is the liminal transition from spring to summer. There is some debate about the meaning of the word “Beltane” itself, some scholars believe it is a reference to the Celtic God “Bel” and “taine” which means fire. So literally the word means “Bel’s Fire.” In Pagan times, Beltane Fires were lit to encourage the sun’s warmth. It is likely that Bel himself was a fire deity, a patron of the flame and the sun’s restorative powers. On Beltane Eve all fires were extinguished and then lit again on Beltane day. The fire celebrated the return of life and the fruitfulness of the Earth. It was believed that these fires could heal, protect and purify anyone who jumped over their flames.
This is a day when the light half of the year is waxing and everything is growing and blooming. It is the last of the Spring Fertility festivals and a time to prepare for the warmer months ahead. The May Queen as well as the Roman Goddess Flora were ways to represent the Divine Feminine aspect of this day. The Divine Masculine emerges as The May King or “Jack in the Green.” This tradition was celebrated throughout Europe (even through Christian times until the Puritans tried to stop it.) Many towns and villages would erect a May Pole and dance around it with ribbons. The pole has an obvious phallic imagery (the potent sexual God) and the ribbons are said to represent the Goddess, who is wrapping herself around this phallus. Many people say that Beltane or May Day represents the Divine Marriage between “The God and Goddess.” While ancient Pagan people had more than just one God and Goddess, perhaps this modern reinterpretation means that it is a marriage between the masculine and feminine aspects of life.
This day is traditionally celebrated with dancing around the May Pole, jumping over bonfires, mating, sword dances, archery, feasting, drinking, music and other types of fun debauchery.
If you would like to know more about May Day/Beltane, check out the links below:
Happy Beltane, Let’s Talk About Sex! (Metal Gaia)
All About Beltane (Pagan Wiccan)
Blessed Beltane (Two Pagans)
Belenos (Celtic Net)
Walburg (The Asatru Community)