Youngblood Blog

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Maypole Dancing for Beginners—Tripping the Light Fantastic

MAYPOLE DANCING FOR BEGINNERS—TRIPPING THE LIGHT FANTASTIC

INSECURE WRITERS’ FIRST WEDNESDAY LEAP FROM DARK WO/MAN-CAVE INTO THE LIGHT

Leaping out of Dark Writers’ Cave into Dazzling Light Takes Guts

Bealtainn, Celtic quarter day of the ancient pre-Christian calendar, brings out all the suppressed joy held inside all winter, screaming it into the daylight, sunshine’s warm glow, encouraging us to leave all negativity and pessimistic thoughts behind (down there in our man/woman writers‘ cave and brave the reality of a world struggling to love itself, despite restricted activity and anti-diluvian healthcare system.

Maypole dancing—like Morris dancing—is Saxon English in origin rather than sprung from a native Celtic/Scots/Pictish Irish celebration of summer—quarter day Bealtainn/Beltane exactly divides the ancient year into four, with cross-quarter days every six weeks—

Weaving, like maypole dancing, entwines threads seamlessly from different origins

Ancient archetypes, top, not altogether helpful during astral fireworks in May skies; focus solar & lunar conjunction clusters of Jupiter/Uranus Venus/Mars in Taurus with Pisces bringing up every watery emotion

Images, top, bring archaic belief to life—except for last, recent find in Turkey: wine-god Dionysus, decapitated, drowning floundering in his own filth, blood-stained or worse—anti-booze ad par excellence. Others, from Vatican lookalike flower-of-life orb to amygdala, pineal gland/brain cortex held by our primeval/ancestral dragon self, l. to simple ride on hippocampus, rt, forerunner to seahorse and/or unicorn; top mid rt. classic show of devotion by (Phrygian-capped) Ganymede, synchronously cup-bearer to the gods—offering to Zeus who appears as the Great Eagle—and as one of Jupiter’s main satellites in a Galileo universe, 1560s.

Northern Fishing Villages Last to Keep Fire-Festival Tradition

Rural Banffshire and the Pictish North Coast have vastly different traditions of their own—ranging from the precursor to Nevada’s Burning Man—Bealltainn ‘Burn the Witches #Bonefire’ (May 2nd) Lammas Fire (Aug.1) & famously, Burghead’s Clavie Burning still has a hold in fishing communities all along the Moray coast—Burghead one of few remaining to uphold fire festival tradition. Superstition holds firm in Buckie in particular, with its 32 churches. Until WWII all the northern ports held bonfire rituals four times a year. Stonehaven’s Swinging Fireballs is a relic of Hallowe’en, but held now on Hogmanay.

According to the Rev. Gregor, In some districts fires were kindled on May 2nd, O.S., called bonefires. It was believed that on that evening and night, witches were abroad in all their force, casting ill on cattle and stealing cow’s milk. To counteract their evil power branches of rowan tree and woodbine were hung over byre doors, with fires kindled by every farmer and cottar. Old thatch, straw, furze (gorse), broom clippings gathered into a central ‘bonefire’ were set alight moments after sunset. Some continually fed the fire, while others pick up flaming mass with pitchforks and poles and run hither and thither through the smoke or dancing round the fire shouting ‘Fire! Blaze an’ burn the Witches’.

In some villages (1881)a large round cake made of oat or barley-meal was rolled through the ashes. “When all was burned up, the ashes were celebrated and scattered far and wide, and all continued until quite dark to run through the ashes crying ‘Fire! fire! burn the witches’.” Gregor

Vestiges of such a strong tradition remain—every port on Aberdeen’s North Coast used to celebrate.

Distributing fire altar gifts from the Doorie, Clavie King Dan Ralph is one of few remaining Burghead residents who remembers when all northern fishing ports celebrated, with ‘pieces’ of burning Clavie barrel given to important local residents (publican, harbor master) on Clavie Crew’s ritual circling of the town.

By the Fireside—Peat Smoke & Storytelling—Centre of the Hoos

“At one corner of the hearth sat the father, and at the other the mother. Between the two, family group might extend to a servant or two, for all were on a footing of equality; the servant being a neighbour’s son or daughter of exactly the same rank and means.

“All were busy. One of the women might be knitting, another making/mending an article of dress.

“Of the men, one might be making candles from bog-fir—cleavin can’les—another manufacturing wood harrow-tynes, a third sewing brogues, and a fourth weaving a pair of mittens. [cleek]

“Family evenings usually included one or more neighbours spending time at the fireside, sharing supper together from the communal cooking pot—this was called geein them a forenicht. On these occasions, young women brought their spinning wheels on their shoulders and their wool or flax under arm. It was not unusual for three or four spinning wheels to be going at once, skilful fingers busy at the stent, with each spinner vying with the other who would be first to complete.” Rev. W. Gregor, 1881

Tales of Supernatural Draw Children in Around the Hearth

He continues. “When the children’s school-books were laid aside, and they’d finished their homework, it was time for song and story and ballad to begin. For most part stories were of fairies and their doings, water-kelpies, ghosts, of witches and their deeds, of compacts with the Devil, and what befell those who made such compacts; of men skilled in black airt, and strange things they were able to do.

“As tale succeeded tale, and the big peat fire began to fade, younger members crept nearer and nearer to the older ones and after a little, seated themselves on their knees or between them and the fire, with eyes now fearfully turned to the doors, now to the chimney, now to a corner whence issued the smallest noise, and now to the next, in dread of seeing some of the uncanny brood. Often stories were mixed in with history, oftentimes the wars between England and Scotland, but the Supernatural beings always won.”

The Folk-Lore of the NORTH-EAST OF SCOTLAND by the Reverend Walter Gregor, M.A. published for the FOLK-LORE SOCIETY, London Paternoster Row, E.C. 1881

Highland Hospitality—Roaring Nineties’ Déjà Vu of PotLuck

120 year gap: fires and fire festivals then & now—hearth centre of the home, above, photos 1860 courtesy Theodora Fitzgibbon’s ‘A Taste of Scotland Traditional Scots Recipes’, 1971

Aberdeen and Northeast Scotland isn’t known just for its whisky and shortbread. The North Coast has a long tradition of smoking/drying fish: Speldings—Sandend, Portsoy, Buckie haddock, herring, trout, ling cod, even potted salmon in the Blootoon, Peterheid.

600ft Tor of Troup-Gamrie Mohr Immune to Norse, Foodie Heaven

Eentie teentie tippenny bun The Cat geed oot tae get some fun To get some fun played on a drum Eentie teentie tippenny bun—festival rhyme, Banff

Eetum peetum penny pump A’a the ladies in a lump Sax or saiven in a clew, A’ made wi’ candy glue

Fraserburgh Rhyming slang, Party Games mnemonics

Think Bannocks, Forfar Bridies, Mutton pies, Aiberdeenshire is famous for Butteries—the buttery rowie: breakfast-lunch #bap (bun) snack of roll oozing butter. Cullen, Banffshire where Scots king Culen died 967, has Cullen skink, ice cream! intact railway viaduct, pink beaches from extruded Old Red Sandstone while Portsoy and MacDuff boast their secret ocean treasure of fresh ling cod, lobster, shrimp and crab available at dockside. Other locations like 600ft, Gamrie Mohr to Tor of Troup teeter high over waves on an open coastline which dissuaded Viking intrusion. St.John’s kirk, and neighbouring Findlater castle are perfect examples of the Buchan coastline’s built-in immunity to attack. St.John’s North sea-facing stone wall, built c.1100, featured Norse skulls from the ‘Bloody Pits’ (‘Bleedy Pots’) battlefield above Gamrie-Crovie beach where a foolish longship anchored without a familiar Fjord (c.f. Argyll, Western Isles coast) to ‘cloak’ its approach. Similarly at Sandend, 16thC Findlater castle perches eye-to-eye with gannets and puffin over sheer drop cliff below, its ‘local’ kirk at Fordyce another 8thC Fite kirk (fite=white aka built of stone not sod, see King Nechtan) is dedicated to St.Talorcan. Like all 8thC Fite kirks—it has the mark of early monastic peripatetic teaching, following a line of stone-built kirks from Tyrie to Strichen and from Old Deer to Old Rayne.

Sandend, still famous for its smokies (dried haddock), smoked salmon, kippers—and surfing—is part of mediaeval landholdings of Fordyce castle, itself a stone’s throw away from Roman-occupied Deskford, where the famed (near-unique) Pictish carnyx battle horn lay buried after battle, c. 420 A.D.

Foodwise, Banff & Buchan were originally geared for oats: oatcakes, Skirlie and Atholl Brose (all use oatmeal). Neeps n’ tatties, too: basic soup broth. Stovies are potatoes fried open fire. And barley (bear) from ancient strain makes the best whisky. Try Caledonian Creme.* *Be prepared: there’s a lot of whisky about: Atholl brose and Caledonian cream specials are loaded with it.

Frighten Away Ghosts by Playing Party Games, Rhymes

I saw a doo flee ower the dam, Wi’ silver wings an’ golden ban; She leukit east, she leukit west, She leukit fahr tae light on best. She lightit on a bank o’ san’ Tae see the cocks o’ Cumberlan’ Fite puddin’ black trout—Ye’re Oot’

Rev. Walter Gregor Folklore 1881 collection of party rhymes and garden hide-and-seek games, counting conundrums, nonsense rhymes, many lost to current generation, see below

As I gaed up the Brindy Hill* I met my faither—he geed wull He hid jewels, he hid rings; He’d a cat wi’ ten tails He’d a ship wi’ sivven sails He’d a haimmer dreeve nails. Up Jack, doon Tam; Blaw the bellows, aul’ man. *Brindy, Cothiemuir wood, Alford

Mr Smith’s a very good man; He teaches his scholars noo an’ than. An’ fin he’s deen he taks a dance Up t’London doon t’France He wears a green beaver wi’ a snoot Tarry Diddle— ye’re oot!

Cottar hand-weaving kashie, left, to carry peat from bog’s drying dykes after casting

similar traditional Pacific hand weave hats, baskets neck gear in ‘maypole’ weave, top

Eerinnges, oranges, twa fer a penny Ah’m a guid scholar fer coontin’ sae many—Portsoy

Eerie, aaree, Biscuit Mary, Pim, Pam, Pot—Portsoy

Eetum fer peetum, the King cam tae meet ‘m, An’ dang John Hamilton doon—Tyrie

As I gaed up the aipple tree, A’ the aipples stack tae me; Fite puddin’ black trout, I choose you oot fer a dirty dish clout—party game counter, choosing a partner, Portsoy

Een, twa, three, fower, five, sax, sieven A’a them fisher dodds widna win t’ haven

Anti-fishing joke rhyme told by fishermen of the Broch (Fraserburgh) against themselves, 1880s

Writerly Advice or Just Common Sense

No critique: but current iGens, Tween-tiger/tigresses, GenZ, even Millennials are far more interested in possible NorthCoast sources for fresh lobster, wild salmon, Sandend speldings or Deveron troot than how those precious fishing villages survived, nay now thrive, despite decades of neglect. Same goes for the Doric language. Unless our genetic curiosity prevails, what hope is there for us country quines?

Nevertheless our joint hereditary conditioning—see previous post on Scythian-Scots Irish connection, echoed by Walter Gregor—digs deeply into a [Caucasian] genetic ability to adapt to whatever Mother Nature throws at us. Plus a deeply-embedded love of fire and celebration by flame in all its guises. Burning the old allows us entry into the new. As writerly occupants of subterranean Wo/Man Cave dwellings—who’ve really had a long winter—we can surely agree now’s a great time for renewal.

Happy month of May, a rare celestial all-planets direct, conjunction and… May the 4th be with You. ©2022 Marian Cameron Youngblood

May 4, 2022 - Posted by | ancient rites, art, Ascension, astrology, authors, belief, blogging, calendar customs, crystalline, culture, energy, festivals, fiction, history, Muse, music, nature, New Age, ocean, pre-Christian, Prehistory, publishing, ritual, sacred sites, seasonal, spiritual, traditions, weather, winter, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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