The Old Station
If I properly understood
The jagged grass
Thrusting its sharp green
Among the deserted gravel
Of the old station:
If I understood just this;
Then surely all would come to life,
The stones tumbling through blue sunshine.
Granite melting beneath the arrows of soft rain,
And falling, flowing: as we fall, flow in our loving.
And it would not be quiet, this fall and flow.
No. It would tumble through tempests,
Raging raw, raw and green and jagged as grass
That desperately seeks
© The Estate of Ronald M. White
One of the questions that is often asked about the Regency is, what is the significance of the name? The surviving writings of R. M. White contain more than one answer. The following explanation is found in an article by him that was published in 1974:
‘We call it the Regency for we are all regents in our outer selves for that centre of our being where the Goddess and the Gods dwell. There is only to each one that self, and the possibility of realising that self. This is each person’s own disparate responsibility. It cannot be traded off by accepting the commands, peccadilloes and conceit of a leader.’
‘I could not opt for little joys’
I could not opt for little joys
When advertised by the discreet
Endeavour of half holy men,
Or abrogate a half humanity
To gentle Jesus – invented demi-God.
For true Gods in creation
Live expensive joys,
Great tempests, laughters, loves.
Their weathering adds more than felted moss
Green under leafy suns.
They in their branching wisdom know
That tempering that brings
True transformations home,
Great statures undiminished to gentility,
And by their pledge to flesh
Through us they live,
And in our love
© The Estate of Ronald M. White
Prayers should be heartfelt. They should not be gabbled by rote and dulled in impact by repetitive usage. Whatever form of prayer we use should always be examined word by word, phrase by phrase, concept by concept. It may never be truly what we mean, the great flights of poetry are not for all and language often comes but clumsily to our tongues refusing to speak our feelings as we would wish.
In the prayerful meditation of Candlemas, the theme is Initiation and quickening into new life and a new year. We tune ourselves to the awesome mystery of the Goddess and Her love. And this means that we must consider three responsibilities. There is the responsibility we bear towards Her; the responsibility we bear to others; and the responsibility we bear towards ourselves. It is through this mystery that we understand the place of women in true pagan worship, and the great regard that all men should pay to them. At this ceremony we recognise the powers of the Goddess in women and also the power of the Goddess resident in man, as indeed the power of the Gods is also in some measure resident in women.
Here, as promised on Wednesday, is a note on the Candlemas ritual written by by two women who took part in the Regency ceremonies for many years in London and Shropshire.
Here is the next section of Chalky White’s New Pagans’ Handbook, describing part of the Candlemas ritual. On Sunday I shall post a further account of Candlemas, written by two female members of the Regency, describing the women’s rites.
The ritual takes place indoors.
The room of the rite is initially lit by one red candle, and the altar and statuette of the Goddess is draped in red, the colour of the Mother. At this ceremony the altar originally is placed to the North of the room. Later, after the women’s ceremony, it will be found to have been moved to a central position so that the celebrants may process and dance around it.
The significance of the ceremony is explained by the senior female present, somewhat in the terms of the preamble, and for a short period the group is enjoined to a silent and still meditation centred on the image of the Mother.
My apologies for this month-long hiatus. During December, pressure of work, the demands of the holiday season, and the usual seasonal cold all contributed to making sure I had little or no spare time and energy. But here, at last, is the next instalment of the handbook: the opening section of the Candlemas chapter.
With the coming of February the strengthening sun and longer hours of daylight initiate ‘The Quickening of the Year’. To townspeople Spring does not begin until the middle of March or Easter, but to the pagan and some country folk Spring begins today. Admittedly Winter can be a long time a-going, but nevertheless there are signs of life, indomitable and assured, even in the late blizzard’s fury, for this is the time when lambs begin to be born, and when snowdrops, the first of flowers, delight the winter-weary eye. Everywhere trees ready their buds, birds start to try over their songs, and even if a bit tentatively, the dawn chorus makes a practice start; and despite fierce weather there come calm days and pale blue skies bright with the strengthening sun.
Candlemas, as its name suggests, is a festival of light and hope. Its great mystery is in the transformation of the Goddess from being the Mother of the Star Child to the Spring Maiden. She is the Lady of Light whose radiance illumines the path of the year ahead. She is the light of intuition and creative inspiration. She is the muse of artists and the female principle in man. Her colour is white and Her flowers at this festival are snowdrops.