How the blog works
The poems on this blog are mostly written on the basis of my historical reading and are intended to be both educational and entertaining.
Recently I have also begun posting some of my work with Anglo-Saxon charms. This work is somewhat speculative and is conducted as an amateur researcher and keen Pagan historian.
Please feel free to use anything on this site as a resource if you think that it may be relevant to your needs.
Sunday, 30 December 2012
Saturday, 29 December 2012
Friday, 28 December 2012
Thursday, 27 December 2012
Wednesday, 26 December 2012
Tuesday, 25 December 2012
Monday, 24 December 2012
Friday, 21 December 2012
Introduction to Yule (Geola)
This period, like the roman Saturnalia was between the months of December and January. All the Anglo-Saxon months followed the Luna cycle. This was a twelve day period of feasting. The fields were mostly left until February when ploughing would begin again. Compare with, for example, the Polish tradition of keeping your Christmas tree up until Candlemas. In England until recent times ploughing did not recommence until Plough Monday, the first Monday after Twelfth Night.
Wuldorfadur ‘glory father’ representing the Solar Logos, was mentioned by Bede in his ‘On the Computation of Time’
Little is known about the winter goddess, but I infer from parallel Germanic traditions that it may have been Hella.
Modra Niht ’Holy Mothers' Night’ (24th Dec) was again taken from, Bede’s ‘On the computation of time. Unfortunately we don’t know what happened on this night, but by the time of Bede it had become the start of the new year.
Growing colder, by the degree.
Betwixt two months, Geola be,
Best stay inside, we doth agree,
Feast and wassail, blessing on thee.
For three short days, the sun hangs still,
In three more days, the new year’s chill.
And so let us, await until,
Wuldorfadur’s, feat to fulfil.
Rejoice us this, most sacred time,
The sun wilt soon, start his slow clime.
For twelve days feast, thy time art thine!
Raise thine goblet, sun wilt soon shine.
Winter goddess, we doth Invoke,
And leave the meads, until Imbolc.
Gather within, yon groves of oak,
And sing galdors, in hood and cloak.
Modra Niht was, Holy Mothers' Night,
Hail the Goddess, returning light.
By means of light, shalt thee invite.
Night of mothers', still secret rite,
Wheel of the year, she starts to turn,
Of summers warmth, we doth yet yearn.
The sun climes high, and starts to burn,
Wuldorfadur, thee shalt return!
Copyright Andrew Rea November 2012
Saturday, 15 December 2012
First Day of Yule (remember Yule is all about having fun at the darkest time of the year)
Winter Solstice, the First Day of Yule,
Twelve days, ending in festive misrule.
Deck the home, with ivy and mistletoe,
Erect the Yule tree, with candles aglow.
A remnant of, the previous years log,
Light, the Yule bower as the prologue.
Thunder god Thunor’s holy, tree is oak,
Blessings be on, his name by all folk.
Oak is the best, will last and burn true,
If you haven’t a log, a candle will do.
Saturnalia as, the Romans would say,
Slaves and masters, tomfoolery day.
Copyright Andrew Rea 2007
Sunday, 9 December 2012
Introduction to "Wōdnesdæg"
This poem is based on the everyday worship of Wodan by a peasant in a sacred forest clearing by an old oak tree.
While a full blot would have been attended by the whole village and led by a priest of Wodan with an animal sacrifice, here however, we see everyday worship of Wodan by a peasant asking for a favour.
The ownership of even a single cow or ox was confined to only about half the population and other livestock was too important to sacrifice except on important festivals e.g. during Blotmonath (November). So I conjecture that on this Wednesday only bread is sacrificed and mead is used for the pledge.
While some temples did exist to Wodan with enclosed spaces and statues, it was also common to Worship him in sacred groves, glades, hilltops, rivers, pools and other natural features. A priest of Wodan was not permitted to carry a sword or blade.
Liminal moments such as full moon, twilight or rising of moon were endowed with magic. Sacred oaks were used to bare witness to oaths. Wodan's two wolves and ravens manifest in name. The reference to 'Squirrel climes the tree' is a candid reference to the legend of the tree of Yggdrasil.
Galdor-cræft - conjuring spirits by chanting, singing or spell crafting
Middangeard - the realm of man
Wæs hæl - OE for wassail (your health)
Drychten - lord
Æsir - the principal gods
Asgard – the realm of the gods
Translation of the OE stanza:
Wodan make sacred!
Our Wodan that is in heaven,
Your name is holy.
What we need give us today,
Be done your will!
And yes I borrowed most of it from the Lord’s Prayer because it seemed to fit!
Knee length brown tunic, in warp and weft weaves,
Embroidered red hems, to neck and long sleeves.
Patterned belt buckle, and pointed strap-end,
Pouches and short knife, ready to attend.
No temple doth stand, within sacred glade,
No priest of Wodan, without sword and blade.
Deep in dark forest, rising of full moon,
Holy hearth clearing, rite of ritual rune.
Blot without a beast, in woodland twilight,
Loaf of best baked bread, awaiting moon light.
Half horn of mild mead, torn old ochre cloak,
An oath to exchange, at thousand year oak.
Liminal moment, charged with special power,
Offering laid down, at base of the bower.
Consecrated grove, spirit witness tree,
Healer of nine herbs, I doth invoke thee.
Wodan ure þu þe eart on heofonum,
Si þin nama gehalgod.
Hwæt we nied syle us todæg,
Gewurþe ðin willa!
Listening for Freki, in torn cloak with hood,
Middangeard doth fade, in winter's wild wood.
Leader of 'Wild Hunt’, Wodan magic lord,
Thine will be'est done, unto thine accord.
Howling wolves hard by, about on the tor,
Cracking of branches, beneath Geri's paw.
Ravens rustle trees, cold cry of Hugin,
Forest falls silent, awaiting Munin.
Raising horn wæs hæl, “Drychten I beseech",
Making Wodan pledge, as the witches teach.
Aesir in Asgard, I give thee my word,
Squirrel climes the tree, my favour is heard!
Copyright Andrew Rea October 2012
Sunday, 2 December 2012
Introduction to 'December' (Ærra Geola)
This poem describes some of the preparations for Yule (Geola) during Saxon times. Much of the material comes from 'The Good Reeve', a kind of farming handbook of late Saxon era.
December (Ærra Geola)
The Anglo-Saxon, month before Yule,
Twilight darkness, long night to rule.
The sacred time, darkest of year
Shadows shiver, have thee no fear.
In muddy mire, up with thine hood,
Fallen timber, working wild wood.
Form ash faggots, for Yuletide fire,
Half height pit hut, heave them higher.
Long winter nights, still working hard,
Corn drying kilns, warm in the yard.
Bitter coldness, becometh cruel,
Time to gather, winter's last fuel.
Yule corn to thresh, and husk winnow,
Protect thine foul, from wolves and snow.
Keep animals safe, be on thine guard,
Long winter nights, time for the bard.
Twelve days of Yule, she draweth near,
In old pit hut, we brew best beer.
Yuletide feasting, to celebrate,
Even the sun, he gets up late.
Copyright Andrew Rea November 2012