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.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Evocation of John Barleycorn

Evocation of John Barleycorn

By the firm earth beneath my roots.
By the sap rising in my long shank,
By the breeze in my supple sheaves,
By the fullness of my cornels,
By the might of my burly beard,
I here stand proud before thee.

Standing tall and straight, thee do me adore,
Sudden end with sharp blade, as if to war.
My neck wilt be cut, with greatest of care,
My spirit set free, by they who doth dare.

With a flying scythe, falling to the ground,
Into a great sheaf, to be twisted and bound.
To be poured from a jug, into a long horn,
To be reborn as ale, thee shalt not mourn.

Copyright Andrew Rea July 2012

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Whatever happened to Kissing Friday

This lessor known and mostly forgotten festival gave much fun for children and died it's last death in the 1950's having survived in one or two last schools.

Whatever happened to Kissing Friday

Kissing Friday, it was only for play,
Shall we ban all, shall we bring on dismay.
First Friday after, Shrove Tuesday it were,
A little bit of fun, for him and for her.

A boy could kiss, any girl he doth please,
T’was a lesson, in the birds and the bees.
A blessing be on, any girl that was kissed,
The fortunate girl, she did not resist.

Kissing Friday, why did thee go away,
Its was’nt as if, it was everyday.
It was all in good fun, it was only Play,

Oh tell me kind sir, must we all be so grey.

Copyright Andrew Rea 2008

Saturday, 11 January 2014

In the witching hour

Set in January in Anglo-Saxon England, this poem explores the period of wakefulness between first and second sleep known as the watch. We know from Bede that the goddess of spring honoured in March (Hrethmonath) was Hretha as this is mentioned in his 'on the computation of time' and that she defeated the winter goddess. We do not know for sure who Hretha (later known as Erce) fort to defeat 'winter', but from the study of similar Germanic folklore I propose that it may have been the winter goddess Hella.

In the witching hour

Short days of dark, midwinter gone,
Light waxes just, crisp cold wanes strong.
Lighting long ruses, dipped in lard,
Yule behind us, soil still hard.

Bed of dry straw, on rush mat floor,
No windows just, a wooden door.
Storytelling, centered on fire,
Ladies Bed Straw, snug in the shire.

After first sleep, what was that dream!
Laying awake, things arent what they seem.
With Valkyrie, soaring in sky,
Flying above, frozen fields high.

Shape of darkness, shine spirit fire,
Fading fairies, begin to tire.
Defying cold, clime out of bed,
Drawn to warm hearth, breaking some bread

In flint stone hearth, ashes still glow,
Smoke in long hair, embers to blow.
Rake spent ash through, smoke sleepy eyes,
Logs go on fire, flames to arise.

Kindling embers, to bring forth flame,
Dancing shadows, to life they came.
Crisp crunching chill, cold clear moon bright,
Brave it outside, in dead of night.

End of first watch, twixt sleep and wake,
Flickering light , bones no longer ache.
Lay low in bed, fire burning bright,
Raunchy bed straw, in quiet of night.

Four legged beast, farmer's delight,
Dark riding rite, in quiet of night.
Say special prayer, save souls to keep,
Silently slowly, comes second sleep.

Star of first light, cold as Helheim,
Morning mead mist, raw winter time.
Hretha still sleeps, Hellas hand holds fast
Winter's weary wind, spell not yet cast.

Copyright Andrew Rea September 2012

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Index of poems on my blog

Poems about English places named after Anglo-Saxon gods:
Here be Frig
Here be Thunor
Here be Tiw
Here be Woden
Poems about English places named after Anglo-Saxon Pagan elements:
Here be Altars
Here be Dragons
Here be Elves
Here be Ghosts
Here be Giants
Here be Goblins
Here be Grimstones
Grimston – a message from the past?
Here be Groves
Here be Puckers
This is the Thyng
Here be Witches
Here be Wizards
Anglo-Saxon Charms
An exorcism of fever
charm for a difficult journey
The Wyrm Chant
Against flying venom
A charm against Heartburn

   Poems around the Anglo-Saxon year:
Third Litha
  These deal with the use of magic in various ways:
Angel of Death
On the spindle side
Spell of invincibility
Spell of the mead
Sutton Hoo
The Corn Dolly
With Faerstice
To Charm a Cow
English folk festivals
First day of Yule Dec 2012
Twelfth Night
Wassail the apple tree
Eostre Chant
Mid Summer’s Eve
Evocation of John Barleycorn
Return ye Haegtesse
Thou art Aelfscyne
Watch in the Woods
Dweorgh Dwosle 
The Great Famine
Silly Dragons
First Dragon
Second Dragon
Third Dragon
Fourth Dragon
Fifth Dragon
Sixth Dragon
Seventh Dragon
Eighth Dragon
Ninth Dragon
Tenth Dragon
Eleventh Dragon
Twelfth Dragon