Here is the next section of the chapter on the Midsummer rites in The New Pagans’ Handbook.
As with most of our rituals, an outdoor setting is preferred. However, that is as matters make it; so two areas or rooms should be prepared; one for the core of the rite, the other as a retiring area.
As usual in the making of a rite there will be room for improvisation and ritual thought to embellish the simple story. The election of a ‘Ringleader’ to oversee and give continuity to the ceremonies will be found helpful.
The ceremony should begin at the still beribboned oak, or around Robin’s decorated staff, the attenders having gathered previously at the retiring area to prepare themselves. Make up and dress should be as before with obvious seasonal changes, flowers etc, except that the Lady now carries a bouquet of red flowers tied with a blue ribbon. These are the flowers of maturity and high summer, but the blue is now on open display and declares the deadly nature of the game.
This stone in a country garden was used for many years as an altar where the rituals described in The New Pagans’ Handbook were performed.
And now, as promised, the first section of the ritual for Midsummer:
The Midsummer festival marks the change from the waxing to the waning year. The God shows His other face and becomes Arthur, who at the Hallows acts as Lord of the Dead. The core of the ceremony deals with this change. Robin is replaced in a ritual killing. This sham killing can be managed in a number of ways, some of which can still be seen in many of the long sword dances performed by folk dancers. The robin, as we know, is Robin’s bird, and the old rhyme, ‘Who killed Cock Robin?’ almost certainly has something to do with the matter. We will recall that at Yule Arthur’s spirit was incorporated in the wren and that there were, and still are wren hunting rituals at that time.
Although we are not yet at May’s end, this seemed like a good point to post this poem, since over the next week or so I shall be under a lot of pressure and it is unlikely I shall find a chance to add more material to the site. When I have the time, probably in about ten days or so, I shall start posting up the sections of the Handbook that describe the Midsummer rituals.
Come May end and day end,
Find in this twinfall of love
All sunsets undershone
That leaftops sing
Gold to my evening eye:
For I am run alive along my branch,
Flung helter-skelter where the spiralled
Season bursts joy buds to flowered glory,
Rush of your love to my head
In mortal moment never sprung
Upon my body in before.
© The Estate of Ronald M. White
The following article, published in The Waxing Moon in 1971, is unsigned, but the contents page lists the author as Ronald White. Once again I am grateful to the Museum of Witchcraft for access to their copy of this very scarce publication.
We have now posted on this site all of the published articles by Ronald White that we have managed to trace. If anyone knows of an item we have missed, please leave us a comment, with details, and I will track down a copy and post it up. Chalky did not in general keep documents unless he had a use for them. The only one of the articles of his on this site that he retained a personal copy of was Who are the Gods?, apparently because he used it while preparing The New Pagans’ Handbook. So there may well still be material out there that we haven’t tracked down.
A May Write-up?
To write a religious ceremony? A statement of events. Chronologically? Or a piece of prose purple in the print with mystic metaphors?
How can we really write the unspoken words of the devout as they communicate with the Goddess? How put down some message from the meeting when nothing was said? How, without making a mockery of the moment?
Yet I promised to write something.
During a recent stay in Cornwall I was able to visit the Museum of Witchcraft at Boscastle. I am very grateful to the Museum for allowing me to use their fine library and for help in tracking down material relating to Ronald White and the Regency.
In 1970 it seems that overtures were made to Ron and the Regency to join the newly formed Pagan Movement. A letter from Ron in response was published in the magazine The Waxing Moon, which was relaunched at that time as the movement’s house publication. The letter, which is quite long, gives an insight into how the Regency had developed over the four years since it was founded:
Thank you very much for keeping me so well informed as to the doings of the Pagan Movement.
Rather than taking up any of the interesting points of your correspondents, I would prefer to outline one or two things about The Regency, so that all will know what we are up to. But first, may I re-emphasise my attitude to The Pagan Movement. Love the Goddess, Revere the Gods, and in that reverence and love Build something. As you are doing this you command the help and respect of all fellow pagans.