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Lost in Lindsey

The Thoughts and Adventures of a Lincolnshire Polytheist

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landscape

Spring Equinox

Blessings, and all that, to people who celebrate. I don’t.

I went to a ritual with the local druid and pagan group yesterday, it was short and sweet, and followed by coffee in the cafe. There was mini eggs and mead, and a little gift of sunflower seeds and felt bunnies.

We got heckled by a passing Christian who wanted us to know that his prophet had risen, presumably from a Sunday morning lie-in. I’m being facetious, of course. I know for Christians it’s Lent. It was very rude of the heckler to try to impose his beliefs on us, we were doing no harm and in a public place.

The place in question was Julian’s Bower, a turf maze in Alkborough, Lincolnshire, that overlooks the confluence of the Trent, Ouse and Humber. The weather was windy and there were bursts of heavy rain on our way there, but the wind dropped once we started and the rain held stopped in plenty of time for the ritual.

I enjoy going to these rituals, not necessarily because they resonate with me, but because it’s nice to get out and meet up with like-minded people. I find the format a little too generic; casting circles, calling elements and directions, and some of the references are clearly made for the American market. It can throw me right out of the mood when I’m in the Lincolnshire countryside listening to the rustle of birch leaves and blackbirds, and the call to the south is about turtles and volcanoes. I can’t get back into the feeling then, because my brain is picking apart the references.

My beliefs are rooted in the land, sea and weatherscape around me. Yesterday they were calling on the directions and elements for protection, and ignoring the Humber, a powerful wight, right there in front of us. I tried to apologise and add the wights of the rivers to the ritual in my head.

I also have a problem with calling the vernal equinox  ‘Ostara’. It is derived, via modern witchcraft, Wicca, etc. from Grimm, who derived it from the German word the Grimms claimed for April. Call the vernal equinox the vernal equinox!

Ostara is slightly related, linguistically, to Eostre (variations on this spelling exist) but in the wrong month! The Spring Equinox always falls in March – Hrethamonath, not April – Eostremonath. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Naming a festival after one goddess in the month of another goddess is disrespectful. The honouring of Eostre doesn’t start until the full moon in April and lasts as long as you like. I’ve been reading a bit from the Fyrnsidu website, and they suggest May Day as the end of the period honouring Eostre.

I have written about this before, here.

I will return to this subject at an appropriate time, next month.

I was asked yesterday, by a respected member of Lincolnshire’s pagan community why I chose the Norse path. I had to correct him straight away. Why do people always assume heathen = asatru? I told him my relationship to the land is paramount and that the Anglo-Saxon period attracted me from a young age as part of my obsession with history. It all just fits together. I am sure there are some Heathens who wouldn’t consider me heathen because I don’t necessarily worship the ‘major’ gods, but screw that.

I’m cold: an update

Hi peeps,

I know, I’m not keeping this blog up to date at all. However, I have a legit reason for that. It’s cold, wet and generally manky and I’ve been focusing on studying for my MA, and haven’t been out anywhere. It’s quiet here today, if I ignore the snoring dogs and the whirr of the heating system.

Last Sunday I took a trip with a friend to Alkborough, where, from Julian’s Bower, a turf cut labyrinth one can see the confluence of the rivers Trent, Ouse and Humber. It is a very special place, and I’ve written about it before.

I did take pictures but I can’t find them right now. I’m having problems sending them from my tablet to my laptop. I’ll figure it out eventually.

After visiting Alkborough we went to Water’s Edge in Barton-Upon-Humber for a coffee, picnic and duck feeding. The wild fowl are starting to pair up and get aggressive with each other. It was very interesting and I recommend a visit if you’re in the area. It’s free to go in and the food is yummy. You get a good view of the Humber too.

Last Saturday was Imbolc for those who follow the eight-fold wheel of the year. I don’t. The weather isn’t getting any better, and the bulbs I planted are reluctant to put in an appearance. Some of my flowers have been blooming all year. The only sign that spring is on the way is the lengthening days. I’m waiting until Easter before I celebrate anything.

Better go, the studies call me.

 

A little walk in the woods

I spent a good hour and a half walking in the woods and fields around the village of Kirmington earlier today, with my friend Nicky. It was only a couple of miles but I managed to find my stick, which I think is going to be my staff for ritual purposes, but mainly it’s a good solid walking stick. It even has a kink at the right place for my hand and fits perfectly.

Anyway, here’s a few of my pictures from today

The arches in the stonework of this church are interesting. I wonder if it was once larger?

Lammastidings

Morning people, 

I’m spending today at a craft and gift fair trying to make a little bit of money. I’m going to spend the time writing and reading when we’re customer free. I’m hoping we’ll get loads of customers though because I’m ridiculously short of money. I prey Ing, Frijja and Nehelenia bless our enterprises.

The local pagan groups are having their Lughnasadh rite today. It’s out in the country somewhere so I can’t go even if I was free. I hope they have a good day. 
In other news, I went to a local authors event yesterday to network and pick up tips. I also got given 4 books to review. Best be off, the fair’s open.
Edit: Lammastide, evening edition
Evening all, 
I’m back from the fair, had tea and then had a read to settle my frazzled brain; I actually managed sell enough to cover my table fee. My family came to the fair and raided our stall. We also donated a few bits for my nephew’s Lifestyle Challenge raffle next weekend. He’s trying to raise money to get a new bench for the fishing pond. Good luck to the boy. 

Anyway, this evening I’ve been reading other people’s Lammas/Lughnasadh posts and I’ve been thinking. Most people write that it’s the festival of the first harvest (Lammas that is; Lughnasadh has a different origin which I’m sure a Brythonic polytheist could explain better than I). Lammas comes from ‘loaf mass’ and there’s much to-do about the grain harvest. 

Some of those writers clearly do not live in agricultural regions. Lincolnshire is very agricultural with urban islands on the north and south coasts and in the centre at Lincoln. Harvest started a month ago, they’re bailing straw already. It’s late this year too. The variety of wheat has changed in the last century or so and the growing season has been extended by new varieties and the changing climate.
Gardeners, either at home or on allotments, have also been harvesting since late May, depending on the crop. I got mine in late and I’ve still been harvesting regularly for at least two weeks. Which reminds me, the garlic is out and drying on the windowledge, I’ve had two or three strawberries a day for the last week, my peas are still cropping but they’re slowing down. Luckily the green beans and runner beans are taking up the slack, starting yesterday. Against my expectations I actually have cucumbers growing. Still waiting for the tomatoes though. The salad leaves just keep on giving. Since poverty and all that, I’ve been thankful to my deities from the first moment I started harvesting because food grown means less to buy (and I recommend sugar snap peas straight off the plant for breakfast). 

Times, they be a’changing; most people are oblivious to plants and farming, so the focus of Lammas has become more flexible, in my observed experience. Which is why many now celebrate the ‘harvest’ of achievements etc. for the year. It’s great to see people’s achievements; I’m proud to say my three youngest cousins have received their Bachelor’s degrees this summer, and I’ve been accepted on an MA course. I’m considering declining it though, because I’ve found one more suited to me that I’ve applied for and I’m waiting to hear from. I’m not getting ten grand into debt for something that’s not right for me. My sister is also looking at Masters courses, and my first two novels are being read by critical friends to help me improve them. Never know, this time next year I might have got them published 😀

Back to my point? Did I have a point? I’m not sure; too tired to think straight. I think I’m rambling at this point and you should draw your own conclusions.
Good night, have a lovely summer.

Midsummer in Lincolnshire

Last Sunday was fun, I went to my first open ritual with Abus Coritani at Saxonhouse. 

The format was generic druidry, I suppose and I didn’t really relate to much of it, except the calls to the ancestors which made me cry. However, the community feeling was lovely and sharing food and fire was a massive part of that.

Part of it was filmed and is available here, about two minutes in: 

Some Lincolnshire archeaology news

REMAINS OF ANGLO-SAXON ISLAND DISCOVERED IN LINCOLNSHIRE VILLAGE

The remains of an Anglo-Saxon island have been uncovered in Lincolnshire in a significant find that has yielded an unusually wide array of artefacts.

Source: REMAINS OF ANGLO-SAXON ISLAND DISCOVERED IN LINCOLNSHIRE VILLAGE

More terrible poetry

This time it’s about the Humber Continue reading “More terrible poetry”

Reclaimed – a terrible, but short, poem

The land here was taken from marsh and sea for farming and industry

When the rain comes down in buckets for days, we see,

The marsh returns and the sea reclaims it’s property.

 

"Lindsey" by Hel-hama - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lindsey.svg#/media/File:Lindsey.svg
“Lindsey” by Hel-hama – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lindsey.svg#/media/File:Lindsey.svg

This is a map of Lindsey in the early Mediaeval period, approximately 700 C.E.; as you can see there’s an awful lot of marshland making, with the rivers and sea, Lindsey effectively an island. Much of it was, and remains, low lying farmland. From the 16th century onwards, with the help of Dutch experts on draining and reclaiming land, the marshes and fens were reclaimed as farmland. Several coastal towns and villages expanded on to these drained marshes. Industry has made use of these ‘reclaimed’ areas, especially along the Humber bank, where direct access to the deep water channels make it easier for cargo ships to bring in raw materials for the those factories – many chemical factories, and, until they were forced to clean up their act, also provided a convenient dump for industrial waste.

Reclaiming is a misnomer; we never had any claim to the marsh, fen and tidal land, and it was never taken from us to be reclaimed. The draining of the marshes was a claiming of property for the enrichment of land owners, ignoring the people – human and otherwise – who had lived their for generations, whose place it was.

When it rains heavily for days on end as it has done for the last few weeks, the land floods and for a while it’s reclaimed by the marsh, reminding the local human population that we’re not the only ones here.

Inspiration for this post:

I went to collect a parcel from the sorting office yesterday morning, opposite the entrance to the industrial estate on which the sorting office is located – and very close to the Humber North Wall – is a triangle of land. It is used as a parking area for lorries. All of this built on drained marshland; some of the parking area is grass. It was all underwater and waterfowl were happily floating around on the surface. The fields and newly planted woods (10 – 16 years old) that I walk my dogs in are soaked, making them difficult to walk through without churning up the grass and leaving thick, soaking wet clay. It’s a reminder that the landscape we see isn’t unchanging.

 

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