‘I shall start simply’
I shall start simply, being at the station, where sided by
a scape of elms the rails run milky ribbons to the early
light, and the sun spears gold from an onset of windows.
And me, there in an unrest of dawning look up at lovers
lying sleepy still in cloudy arms.
It is morning and I expect the resurrection of the dead.
© The Estate of Ronald M. White
Voyeurs behind windows only can guess
The gale by motions of the trees,
Rocking their branches in swung spring:
Effects so matched that sentiment
Paints up a prettiness
From blue-white china skies.
Voyeurs do not know
That wreak of love
That rams the muscle of the tree
Hard armed to hold the raw strung soil
Gripped in a thrive of fierceness;
Or boldly to a tempest breaks
New leaves in blazon
Of direct experience.
© The Estate of Ronald M. White
Here is the final section of the chapter on May Eve and May Day:
The theme of May Day is Consummation. Mythologically it is the uniting of the God with the Goddess that ensures the fruits of harvest, the birth of animals and the continuing life of the Gods Themselves. Mystically it is the uniting of the female with the male spirit to produce wholeness of soul, mystic understanding and the beginning of wisdom. In some ceremonies this has been symbolised by members of the party dressing in the clothes of the opposite sex, though I have not seen this myself, and therefore have not included it in the Ritual section. Nevertheless it is an expression of the unity of the opposites and describes the dichotomy that the sexual differentiation sometimes imposes upon us, and by momentarily abolishing this achieves a unity of outlook and feeling that underlies the concept of Consummation. The androgynous figure, a Hermes, is common to all mystic thought and important to the pagan understanding of sex.
Here is the next part of the section in The New Pagans’ Handbook on May Eve and May Day.
May Day: the Ritual
Because we have no set place for our rites, unless we are fortunate enough to find sufficient private ground for a temple, we must of necessity tailor our observances to the available environment. Ideally, with the exception of Candlemas they should be held in the open, preferably in the presence of trees.
The essential is that a circle be formed around a central point, and all the better if, at that point, there is a tree or symbol of it such as a staff. For May Day the tree should be an oak.
As it is going to be a party we should dress for one. Presents of food and drink should be brought by the group. Make-up helps the atmosphere to develop. The Lady can have Her face whitened in honour of the Moon. The man chosen to personate Robin can have His face reddened. The meal is the wedding breakfast, so called because it is the first meal of a marriage.
Throughout the ceremonies music, humming, clapping and stamping can occur. At some meetings that I have attended the most musically inclined person has acted as Ringleader initiating musical endeavours and introducing various stages of the rite. Such an individual is invaluable at any meeting, particularly if they have a sense of theatre. An old friend of ours, ‘The Fool’ can also be personated, with the task of playing tricks etc, although there always seems to be one such at any wedding.
My apologies for missing a post. I am finding it a problem, some weeks, to find time to post twice a week, and I may have to change to posting once a week only. If I decide to do this, I promise I’ll make a proper announcement of the change.
It’s still snowdrop time outside, but we have arrived at the section of The New Pagans’ Handbook that deals with May Eve and May Day:
I begin with May Eve because it was one of the two major festivals of Witchcraft, the other being the Hallows, and its ceremonies, some of which are preserved in folk custom, can give us the flavour of May Day, which was more a feast for the generality.
As the Hallows is a festival of death, May Day is the celebration of sex. In the traditional witchcraft festival the sex act is both practised and glorified. The central act is the copulation of the Deities, by which act, and it is intended to be mystical, Summer is made possible. The rituals involved the initial drinking of special potions by the men to enhance their virility; the procession of the nearly naked Goddess; the obeisance of the God and His reluctance, feigned, to be Her lover; the love chase of the ladies after the men, and then the final coupling of the happy pair, He being in full animal skin regalia.