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In Rough Seas We Need A Little Help From Our Friends

WHEN TIMES GET TOUGH, WRITERS GET TOUGHER
Monthly Tough-it-Out Corner for Insecure Writers

I like to think that we (Insecure) writers have a little extra ball of energy we hold in reserve for exactly that moment when the rest of our world is collapsing or about to do so.

Graces three—embodied joy, beauty and mirth—as well as  social ease

Graces three—embodied joy, beauty and mirth—as well as social ease


Now seems a good time to remind ourselves that, however insecure we may feel about the work we continually produce—the writing we LOVE—if we continue to brave it out through any storm, the rough seas will eventually bring calm.

And we may live through it!

ENTER GRACE—Or in Aegaean terms, THREE GRACES, daughters of ZEUS and EURYNOME

In Hellenist mythology Three Goddesses called the Graces represented grace, charm and beauty. Other qualities associated with them—
Aglaia represented elegance, brightness and splendor.
Thalia embodied youth, beauty and good cheer.
Euphrosyne encouraged mirth and joyfulness.

The KHARITES were conceived in Greek mythology as goddesses who brought festive joy and enhanced mortals’ love of life though their refinement and gentleness. Gracefulness and beauty in social intercourse are attributed to them. They are usually seen in the service or attendance of other divinities, as real joy exists only in circles where the individual gives up his own self and makes it his main object to afford pleasure to others.

“The less beauty is ambitious to rule, the greater is its victory”

The Three Graces, from an Ionian fresco, A.D.1stC

The Three Graces, from an Ionian fresco, A.D.1stC

Qualities embodied in the Kharites. Graces, are that the less homage beauty or grace demands, the more freely is it given.

Interestingly, these same traits were imported en masse into the Christian ethic and named Hope, Faith and Charity—from Gk.KHARITES—Catholicism in particular emphasizing ‘charity’.

I mention these lovely beauties at this time as, in the midst of world events where ladies’ sovreignty is paramount, it may be our GRACE which will see us through the storm.

Moving Beyond the Masque to Face Reality
Also, coincidentally in traditional Roman Catholic calendar—still calculated by the Moon—we have only just emerged from the Fire Festival of Fat Tuesday—Mardi Gras—Festern’s E’en. We are now entering a time of human restriction—in Church timing 40 days of Lent—where our resources and resourcefulness will be called on.

We IWSG-ers know how to pull in our belts, don’t we? If our Cap’n.Alex can do it, so can we.

Therefore, Angels of Grace, Beauty, Patience, bless you—we are calling for just a little help from our friends. Thank you for being here.
©2017 Marian Youngblood

March 1, 2017 Posted by | ancient rites, art, belief, blogging, calendar customs, culture, fantasy, festivals, fiction, history, Muse, pre-Christian, ritual, seasonal, traditions, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pay It Forward: February Resolve to Crack the Ice

INSECURE WRITERS’ SUPPORT GROUP CORNER

Ultimate irony: more light= more snow

Ultimate irony: more light= more snow

PAYING IT FORWARD—Whatever the Weather

More chill—just one more plod thru the snow and I’ll make it, if…

Such a scenario, I hope, should not happen to a single one of you in Alex’s band of Insecure Writers.

Buxom Ice Maiden on New England's Arctic front, February 2015, courtesy NOAA

Buxom Ice Maiden on New England’s Arctic front, February 2015, courtesy NOAA

Februarius mensis, after all—even for the Romans—was their “month of purification”. Adopted freely by the medieval Roman Catholic church, it morphed into Candlemas—Purification and doorway to Lent.

“The Feast of the Purification, otherwise known as Candlemas marks the end of the Season of Christmastide” according to Roman Catholic Latin Mass Society

Februarius mensis “month of purification, cannot conceivably have been named for anyone frivolous, one imagines.

Blame it on Celtic Fire Festivals
Yet, long before there was a church hierarchy, pagan/country people worshipped cycles of the Earth, relating sun and moon movements to life and daily work. In pre-Celtic Europe Candlemas was Feast Day of Bride—mermaid birthed by the Ocean with dramatic increase in daily light, Brigantia in Roman Britain, Brigid/Brighid in Irish lore, some identify her with great warrior queen of the Iceni, Dark Age winged monarch Boudicca.

Brazilian CARNAVAL, German Fasching, Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Bahamian JUNKANOO all have the same roots.

Carnaval-Rio-BueñosAires-Hamburg,- Archangel-Nassau

Carnaval crazy in Rio-BueñosAires-Hamburg-CaboRoag-Archangel-Everglades-Nassau

‘First come Candlemas
Syne the New Meen
The niest Tiseday efter that
Is aye Festern’s E’en.
That Meen oot
An’ anither at its hicht
The niest Sunday efter that
Is aye Pasche richt.’
Ancient Scots Easter calculation. Anon

Cusp Candlemas waxing gibbous moon, with a congregation of planetary companions

Cusp Candlemas waxing gibbous moon, with a congregation of planetary companions

Cosmically, last night’s full moon, parading across the heavens with Jupiter and Regulus in harness, like celestial sundogs borrowed from daytime frolics to dance a nighttime mazurka, gave a little more pizzazz to February darkness.

Magnificent. And in the U.S., they call this Groundhog Day.

It may be short, but sadly, those twenty-eight nights of February are often a crucial month to the human psyche.

It is common knowledge—however tragic—that senior spirits, weathering many winters, often find the ‘two fortnights of Februar’ hardest to bear—(statistically) choose to die.

Healthcare vs. Warfare
Americans may deplore lack of national health and welfare systems, as in Europe, but where poverty lurks, conditions remain identical. Homeless people worldwide—their numbers grow every year—suffer. For some, there is no welfare check, no food stamps, no heat. And when winter returns with a vengeance, bringing an icy blast, street people—no matter which culture dominates—are marginalized.
Many die.

Pay It Forward: the NewAge Way
*
One solution to life’s stresses is in the mindset of our Youth.
Reverse psychology had it only half right.
By projecting our loving thoughts, or acting forward-in-kind, we anticipate—and receive in advance—the reward of giving another pleasure, and feeling his/her gratitude
GRATITUDE—winging on a love vibration—certainly makes the world go round.

Octogenarian Angie Dickinson, neé Angeline Brown, shows how best to pay-it-forward  1989 Academy Awards

Octogenarian Angie Dickinson, neé Angeline Brown, shows how best to pay-it-forward
1989 Academy Awards

In Pay It Forward (2000), U.S. film drama based on Catherine Ryan Hyde’s novel, child star Haley Joel Osment launches a good-will movement—almost by accident in doing research for his social studies class. Helen Hunt, his single mother, and Kevin Spacey, sociologist-mentor are stunned when Angie Dickinson turns out to be his real-life street-wise ‘consultant’ for his school project.

Octogenarian and proud of it, Angie Dickinson—my heroine, 83 this year and counting–is one of Hollywood’s hardest working gals. No sign of slowing down, either.

Born Angeline Brown, September 30, 1931 (age 83) in Kulm, North Dakota, her family moved to Glendale-Hollywood, where she graduated in business studies, aged 15. Briefly married to football player Gene Dickinson (m. 1952–60) and longer to composer Burt Bacharach (m. 1965–81), her only child Nikki Bacharach (1966-2007) committed suicide.

Portraying a homeless cohort to young do-gooder Joel in Pay It Forward, Ms Dickinson helps him regenerate other lives which might have floundered. This simple act of anonymous giving, in frame of mind of seeking no comeback, does produce small miracles.

New Age—New Wave—nouvelle vague: we've got something here. Rolling with this one—High FIVE

New Age—New Wave—nouvelle vague: we’ve got something here. Rolling with this one—High FIVE

To give, and not to count the cost
To fight, and not to heed the wounds,
To toil, and not to seek for rest,
To labor, and not to ask for any reward,
Save that of knowing that we do Thy Will
― Ignatius of Loyola

And as we know: miracles—and love—make the world go round.
*inspired by a friend & co-believer in humankind

Post Scriptum: THE WAVE
In context of leaving anonymous gifts without seeking acknowledgement—as someone we all know around here does every month—ahem Ninja Cap’n Alex: this a trait which has carried our little group of IWSG-ers through some hard times. I have complete faith that Alex’s own brand of Paying it Forward will continue to support us. And I know I—and loads of my writerly co-travelers—will dig in with both feet as we reap greater and better life rewards!

Let’s enter that Consciousness, New Age IWSGers—go with that Flow, er Wave.
©2015 Marian Youngblood

February 4, 2015 Posted by | astrology, belief, blogging, calendar customs, consciousness, culture, environment, festivals, history, nature, New Age, pre-Christian, publishing, seasonal, sun, traditions, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

500 Days till 12:XII:TWELVE: Crop Circle prophecies

500 Days until 12:XII:TWELVE

'Angel' crop circle Barbury Castle, July 2, 2011: dimensional wormhole or Mayan 13-moon calendar? Images courtesy CircleChasers & Nardeep Pujji

Humanity loves prophecies: our histories are full of them.

According to several ancient cultures, we are entering a new phase in human development, human consciousness, earth-consciousness, union with the Divine.

Astrology was to the ancestral mind a gift from the future, the heavenly bodies’ allowing the human race a glimpse of time’s far shore, a beacon through uncharted waters –literally steering the human vessel by the stars. And –however skeptical you may be– all ancient cultures had their oracle, allowed themselves to be guided by astrological readings based on ever-changing celestial movement and planetary alignments and collisions.

Many have become dissociated from the daily rhythms of the Earth, forget to look nightly at the stars and their feelings seem divorced from reality –whatever that is. The thought of one’s emotions actively being influenced by the electromagnetic and orbital changes of planets in the solar system — let alone the distant stars — is often ridiculed as being naïve, even ignorant.

Solstitial full moonrise, stone circle Northeast Scotland Midwinter 2004, photo Marian Youngblood

But our ancestors were not ignorant. Unlike us, they were daily in touch with the earth, aware of her ‘forcefield’ — for want of a better word– her seismic and electromagnetic fluctuations which altered weather patterns, brought bounty and drought, changed seasons. They were so aware of such regular rhythmical cycles that they devised stone circles to measure and signal points in that cosmic compass, hours/days in that solar and lunar calendar. From modern scientific data collected at some stone circles, it is thought likely that our ancestors knew where and when risings of the sun and moon affected rings of stone to produce increased ‘flow’ — a power not unlike electricity as we know it.

The calendar of the ancient Maya has become significant in recent times as a wayshower to help us navigate through the choppy waters of group consciousness. In Mayan calculation, their ancient Long Count calendar — a measure of Man’s rising to meet the gods — is beginning to wind down. We are approaching the End Times, the Moment of Cosmic All-change, the point on the ecliptic where the Sun (and the Earth in orbit around it) comes into conjunction with the center of our Galaxy at 11:11 on December solstice 2012.

There are 500 days from Lammas this year to the 10-day prelude to solstitial union with galactic center: on 12:12:12 we shall either have completed planetary ascension or we will know our work has been in vain. I prefer to think we shall complete the program — that we as a species are destined to rise to the challenge facing us.

New Age philosophy and astrology support a path to ascension required of its vision-keepers, lightworkers (through meditation and right living) as a process of uniting these two conflicting polarities, emphasizing the need to bring harmony to the male-female yin-yang, left and right brain hemispheres which must operate before the Earth may return to a balanced state of wholeness and oneness.

Life spiral: 2011 crop circle at Avebury Trusloe July 13th (left) & neolithic carved rock, Argyll c. 3000BC

Crop circles this month have featured both the yin-yang (Louth, July 20), several spirals (July 13 Avebury) and an elaborate serpent motif (Inkpen, July 29), the symbol of all life, as well as orbiting bodies reminiscent of the inner solar system. See Siderealview blog for more detail.

The serpent, symbolic of Life, seen in the snaking of equinox sunset light down the pyramid of Chichen Itza, is common to many archaic worlds: medical science’s caduceus, Hermes the messenger to the gods, and the Garden of Eden would not be the same without him.

According to the ancient Maya, he rises through the world Ages, culminating with the flowering of human consciousness — NOW. To the Maya in their Long Count calendar, the Cosmos consists of Nine Underworlds or levels of development that complete in 2012. So important to their cosmological measurements were the numbers Nine (levels), Twenty (days, katun) and Thirteen (moons) that these powerful digits were expressed in their most significant monument construction. Mayan pyramids all have nine tiers or platforms.

The twenty-year (katun)cycle is intrinsic in all their calculation.

The longest tun-based time cycle was called the hablatun, each totalling 460,800.000,000 days = 1.26 billion years. Thirteen hablatuns made up the first Underworld (the initial creation cycle, beginning 3114BC) giving a total duration of 13 x 1.26 MM days or 16.4 billion years. This time period of 16.4 billion years is very close to current scientific estimates for the formation of matter from light at the birth of creation, or the ‘Big Bang’.

Each of the nine levels represented a different Underworld — expressed horizontally in the pyramids’ construction. Just as the levels of the pyramids are seen to become progressively smaller as they tier towards the top, so too the amount of time in each Underworld becomes shorter in duration as they progress hierarchically through the calculation.

It is interesting in a lunar calendrical context that this weekend –July 31-August 1– marks the Leo New Moon: a powerful coming-together of celestial forces following on from the Mayan Day-out-of-time, Monday 25 July 2011. And on August 1st we, the human race, walk through the dimensional wormhole and enter the Fifth Day of the Ninth and final Underworld of the Mayan Longcount.

This coincides with Lammas, Celtic quarter day, fire festival of the ancient Britons which was celebrated at the height of Nature’s season of bounty, the middle of the fruiting year when Earth empties her cornucopia into the laps of an unsuspecting world. As the midpoint (in all calendars ancient and modern) between summer solstice, June 21st, and autumn equinox, Septmember 23rd, LammasLughnasad, the festival of light god, Lugh, revered in indigenous harvesting communities in the Old World– marks the point in the celestial sphere where the Sun culminates, arriving at 15 Leo on August 7th, a week from now.

Ancient Brittonic communities marked Lammas as the most joyous of all fire festivals, often feasting and dancing, sharing and giving for three weeks before LAMMAS and three weeks after. During the Neolithic, stone circles were used for such fire festivals, the central floor marked by successive generations of fire-burning, heavily pounding feet which revellers flattened like a remarkably sophisticated dance arena.

Video of West Woodhay Down, Inkpen crop circle July 29th 2011,
thanks to Shumnyabai (Joan Wheaton): Divine Serpent with Neptunian forked tongue and rattler tail reflecting Maya god Kukulkan (Quetzalcoatl), the divine feathered serpent who gives life.

Miniature tufted crop circle appeared in pristine East Field, Alton Barnes on the morning of July 26, 2011, after a night of torrential rain, photo courtesy Bert Janssen

Now, in the 21stC, we are greeted with the mystical equivalent for our time — crop circles, created electromagnetically — and capable, through the miracle of late age images and electronic media, of stimulating our primeval alert system, piqueing our human pineal gland into producing natural mellowing melatonin and driving our dormant DNA into revving up to a higher gear. We are entering the brief Mayan Fifth Day — a portal of opportunity which completes on August 17th.

We should use it.

HUMANITY HEALING alert
Humanity Healing Community acts as one of the new world’s wayshowers in suggesting that the arrival of the Lammas/New Moon/Fifth Day is even more potent because as a point in consciousness — it encourages us to choose actively how we want our new world to be.

Roundway(2) pine cone crop circle, July 25, 2011. The human pineal gland is massively affected by sunlight, goes into catatonia if deprived of light

‘What do you Want?
The Universe is asking and waiting for your answer.
The cosmic force of Creation needs you to focus the lens, to get clear on your vision, your dreams, your intent. You can take a giant step forward with whatever you want this weekend when three energetic gateways converge.
There is both an opportunity and a responsibility in this.’
Humanity Healing: A call to focus

Thoughts, intent, actions, emotions are intensified — go quantum — at a time like this. The energetic portal is more than an opportunity given us by our overlighting Presence — Humanity’s Oversoul — it is an instruction. We can each make a difference, add a contribution to the fate of the human race.

This may sound rather dramatic. Actually, it is. This is a time, unprecedented in human history. On the esoteric level, we are told we asked to come and to be here –incarnate– at this time. On the psychic level, we are sensing a coming-together of many traditions, a meeting of minds from many populations and backgrounds. Many spiritual leaders of the world’s diverse faiths are encouraging us –willing us to take the plunge.

Planetary transformation. It’s what Carl Sagan would have called our stepping up to take on the mantle of a Level I civilization. He and Kardashev would have been proud.

Prophecies of indigenous people everywhere point to the times we are going through now as a period of intense purification, a transition from our current cycle to whatever comes next.

Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan of the Onondaga Nation; Chief of the Onondaga Nation Council of Chiefs, Iroquois Confederacy

“So then, what is the message I bring to you today? Is it our common future? It seems to me that we are living in a time of prophecy, a time of definitions and decisions. We are the generation with the responsibilities and the option to choose the the path of life for the future of our children, or the life and path which defies the Laws of Regeneration. Even though you and I are in different boats –you in your boat and we in our canoe — we share the same River of Life: what befalls me, befalls you. And downstream, downstream in this River of Life, our children will pay for our selfishness, for our greed, and for our lack of vision.

“500 years ago, you came to our pristine lands of great forests, rolling plains, crystal clear lakes and streams and rivers. And we have suffered in your quest for God, for Glory, for Gold. But, we have survived. Can we survive another 500 years of ‘sustainable development?’ I don’t think so. Not in the definitions they put ‘sustainable’ in today. I don’t think so. So, reality and the natural law will prevail: The Law of the Seed and Regeneration.

“We can still alter our course. It is NOT too late. We still have options. We need the courage to change our values to the regeneration of our families, the life that surrounds us. Given this opportunity, we can raise ourselves. We must join hands with the rest of Creation and speak of Common Sense, Responsibility, Brotherhood, and PEACE. We must understand that The Law *is* the Seed and only as True Partners can we survive.”
Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan of the Onondaga Nation, and a Chief of the Onondaga Nation Council of Chiefs

All the Prophets said this moment would come. The Hopi say we are the ones we have been waiting for. We are the Bird Tribes, circling and massing, congregating for our shared flight through cyberspace, to reach consciousness, nay, communion with that all-pervasive force of the Universe, call it what you will. We have five hundred days to go. So, are we ready?

Coincidental with the 500-day look ahead, Father Time is presenting us with a seven-day energy window in present time for us to focus our intent. From Ramadan/new moon through Mayan 5 I’x (Gregorian August 3rd,2011 –this week) until August 5th–still to come– we would do well to use this cosmic energetic helper: 5 I’X was to the Maya symbolic of the Force of the Universe and the day of commemoration of the World.

As a springboard from which we step off and project ourselves into the new, Culture has not prepared us for what comes next. No avid scanning of ancient texts, no guru, no world leader, no reincarnation of the Spirit of Delphi or channeled message from Arcturus can prepare us any better than we can ourselves for what may greet us on the other side of this Portal in contemporary Time.

The Human Race has reached the Finish Line. We have to step forward and claim our prize, some call it our birthright, gird our loins and step into the blue yonder.

The energy window is OPEN. Let’s fly together.

What a trip.

©2011 Marian Youngblood

July 31, 2011 Posted by | ancient rites, Ascension, astrology, calendar customs, consciousness, crop circles, culture, energy, environment, festivals, history, nature, New Age, New Earth, numerology, popular, pre-Christian, Prehistory, ritual, sacred geometry, sacred sites, seasonal, spiritual, stone circles | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fire Festivals & Persistence of Pasche

Carnival in Rio before Lent

‘First come Candlemas
Syne the New Meen
The niest Tiseday efter that
Is Festern’s E’en.
That Meen oot
An’ anither at its hicht
The niest Sunday efter that
Is aye Pasche richt.’
Ancient Scots Easter calculation. Anon.

The Calendar according to the Moon was regular as clockwork. It was reliable, you could see it in the sky and you could set your life rhythms by it. The old Scots rhyme above spoken slowly will make sense even to the least son of the soil of Ultima Thule. But non-Scots may need a little help in translation.

Festern’s E’en – as Hallowe’en – was an ancient calendar fire festival celebrated, like all pre-Christian revelry, at night. And, like Hallowe’en, it still is. Only we call it by another name: Carnival.

Translated simply, it is the evening before the ‘Feast/Festival’. With a capital F, this celebration was one of the greatest fire festivals in the Celtic Year. When it became absorbed into the Christian calendar, its importance and significance to the populace was so great, that it was deemed necessary to give it a place of prominence second only to Christmas. As such it has remained. The festival that precedes Easter is throughout the world celebrated with fire and puppetry,processional and masqued balls, dance and music and food and drink.

If you ask a South American about Carnival, ‘Carnaval’ in Portuguese, he will tell you they prepare for it all year round. In some cultures it has become almost more important than Christmas – a reversion to type, backtracking to pre-Christian times.


In Brazil, it makes complete sense to hold Carnaval precisely on its February moon date in the ancient calendar because in Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires it is full-blown summer. By contrast, German Fasching, held similarly in February, is pretty chilly dancing in the noctural streets of northern Hamburg!

Terence Young's 'Thunderball' James Bond in 1965


Carnival used to be held in the Bahamas in February too, when spring is at its height and the casuarinas blow carefree along Nassau Beach. But in the summer of 1965, Chubby Broccoli and Sean Connery made a James Bond film set on Paradise Island and commissioned the Carnival Committee to stage an ‘extra’ Carnival, so they could weave festive fiery scenes into ‘Thunderball’; since then Bahamian Carnival has been a summertime festival.

London's Notting Hill Carnival

Similarly, the London Carnival of Notting Hill, begun in 1964, is held on the last weekend in August. No connection to Lent or Easter any more.

But originally, before the Gregorian calendar took over calculation and reckoning by the moon in 1582, Carnival was high festive season in that ancient stream of festivities used by Man to celebrate the return of the Light to a dark winter world.

Candlemas, as I’ve mentioned before, is the first glimpse of light waxing and adding grace to the darkest days of winter. On February 2nd – or Bride’s Day, before solar months took over as calendrical norm – the measure of light from the heavens increases to such a degree that birds begin to mate, petals on spring flowers open and the Earth softens its frozen grip.

In lunar terms, the first New Moon of the second month (Gregorian) was celebrated in every northern hemisphere culture planet-wide from prehistoric times. From Buddhist to Inuit culture the return of light to nurture the earth’s crucial growing plants was a calendar custom worth celebrating.

When Christian calendar calculators were devising Roman Church high and holy days, they took care to incorporate these ancient fire rites as an integral part of Christian culture and ‘lore’. it did not do to lose a single ‘soul’ in the transition from a pre-Christian to a Christian world.

And, as it was a long-standing tradition for local people to mark ancient quarter days – the solstices and the equinoxes – with festivals of fire, it seemed right that they should transit unaltered into the Christian calendar: marked instead with candlelight inside church buildings.

Christmas was chosen at the time of (northern) winter solstice when the ‘ignorant’ (pagan) desperately needed to celebrate the return of ‘light to the world’. Christ was called the ‘Light of the World’. The Son of the Sun.

Midsummer was fully taken up with a light celebration of its own – in northern latitudes the longest days of the year brought bountiful harvest and genuine thanksgiving by a rural population for the gifts of the earth continuously provided from midsummer through to Lammas, an August ‘cross-quarter’ day. No Church overlay was necessary; nevertheless Roman Catholicism superimposed the feast of John the Baptist on midsummer’s day and frowned heavily on pagan corn dollies and such Celtic fripperies perpetuated by an agricultural society.

The Equinoxes, however, required more serious contemplation.

Most rural (so-called ignorant) converts were aware of the movement of both sun and moon. While that may appear to us today to be rather sophisticated intellectual knowledge, it was commonplace then to note changing seasons, hours of light and dark and the phases of the moon. When equinox arrived it was – in the human mind at least – a miracle that every place on earth had exactly the same number of hours of light and dark for one earth period of 24 hours. The sun rose at 6 and set at 6 on every man, woman, child and beast on earth. The phenomenon was in itself worth celebrating. In astronomical terms, the event occurs precisely at the moment the Sun (traveling along the ecliptic) appears to cross the celestial equator, and while ancient Man may not have known that added sophistication, his life was changed by its occurrence twice in every year. In addition, he celebrated the spring (cross-quarter) festivals of Wesak, Beltane, May Day, along with any events providing an excuse for Morris and maypole dancing, The Church allowed these to continue, so long as the requisite saints were also remembered and offerings given.

While Archangel Michael was given dominion over autumnal equinox, Easter was chosen as a fitting ‘high’ celebration to take over the vernal equinoctial light-and-dark balance.

What put a spanner in the works was that – late in the seventh century – when two contemporary Christian systems were running alongside in mutual cooperation, the internal systems within the Celtic and Roman Churches came to a clash; an impasse.

Venerable Bede's 'Ecclesiastical History of the English People'

Hugely influential, powerful and wealthy King Oswiu of Northumbria had been happy to run his Christian nation along the lines of Columba’s Celtic (thirteen-month lunar) calendar issued and maintained from Iona. This Celtic doctrine conveniently recognized the King as head of religious affairs. His Anglian Queen Eanfled, a devout Roman Christian recognized not the King but the Pope as head of the Church. They might have reconciled their differences, had it not been for a calendrical anomaly which in some years had the King ordering huge feasts for Easter at exactly the moment when his Queen was still fasting in Lent. Because another such year was due to happen in AD665, with the assistance of Wilfrid, new abbot at Rippon, and recently returned from Gaul and Rome, the King called the Synod of Whitby in AD664 and led a thorough investigation into the rites and rituals of both systems. The event is described in detail by Jarrow churchman Bede (673-735) who completed his Ecclesiastical History of the English People in 731.

While the Synod changed lives, split families and royal houses, even intra-kingdom alliances, thereafter church festivities centred on Easter were standardized throughout the land and celebrated in accordance with Roman custom.

Easter remained the highest festival of the Christian church until the Scots Reformation when (after 1660) presbyterian austerity superimposed simplicity, reduced dogma and a return to ‘speaking to God’ directly.

For the rest of the British Isles, however, and for descendants and dependents the world over, Easter remains one of the great festivals of the Christian calendar.

Curiously, for a celebration washed, ironed and folded so neatly by successive synthesized systems – prehistoric, early-historic, pre-Christian, Celtic and Roman Christian – Easter emerges as a supreme highlight in the Church year.

Its one concession to its pagan past is that is remains to this day a date fixed according to the Moon.

And, in order not to offend other faiths which, like Anglian Eanfled, might take offence at the bulldozing approach (e.g. Spanish Inquisition, Salem witch trials), there is a built-in mechanism of calculation which ensures that Easter and Passover never collide and that the Christian High Festival should never occur BEFORE equinox.

Mardi Gras in New Orleans, bead capital of the world

So the little rhyme above, translated, simple enough and sympathetic to Scots ears, sums up global lead-time to Pasque, Pasche, Oster/Easter, the pagan event of maiden-goddess Eostre/Ostara, the Highest Festival in the Christian Calendar: when in the High Days before the Fast of Lent, the Roman Catholic world celebrates. From Italian Carnivale to German Fasching (Fastnacht, the eve before the Fast), prelude to French Pasque, in Portuguese Carnaval and on ‘Fat Tuesday’ of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras, bead-festooned feasters and revellers make merry because tomorrow their stomachs will die.

The modern gesture to Pancake or Shrove or Fat Tuesday (Festern’s E’en) is not lost on marketers for supermarket chains who do a roaring trade in maple syrup and readymix batter. It’s the ‘stock up while the going’s good’ mentality, because the body must endure the subsequent fast of Lent for a regulation 40 days. Once more the Roman Church succeeded in condensing multiple events in Christ’s life into one festival: this fast represents the period of time He spent without food while meditating in the desert.

Nowadays, nobody questions that its immediate successor in the calendar is representational of His death and resurrection, when historically the two events happened years apart. Once again, ancient symbolism is used to gloss over detail.

‘First arrives Candlemas (Feast of Bride); Then the New Moon
The following Tuesday will be ‘Fastnacht’/Fasching or Shrove Tuesday
Allow that ‘moon’ to wax and wane
And watch till the next moon is full
The Sunday thereafter will be Easter Day.’
translation by Scots descendant, non-Anon

It worked for King Oswiu in 664. I can assure you, the calculation works still!

©2010 Marian Youngblood

March 8, 2010 Posted by | ancient rites, astrology, astronomy, calendar customs, consciousness, culture, festivals, history, pre-Christian, Prehistory, ritual, seasonal | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments