Happy Equinox! My first swallow returned today, so I just had to reblog this Language of the Bird Tribes post from an earlier spring… hooray for hirondelles~~
‘One swallow doth not a summer make’
Swallows returned to their nesting sites in the chill temperatures of a shed in Northern Scotland on Monday last week. My heart rose to meet them. There were two of them. A third arrived yesterday. It seems like a very long time since I heard swallow song – that swooping, diving ‘weet-weet’ of recognition – in these cold north latitude skies. They left as a massing cloud on autumn equinox last September, fully three weeks early. And, as if on cue, winter started soon after and went on relentlessly until spring equinox. If you look at it from a swallow’s-eye-view, they’ve been gone fully six months.
I’m not alone in my excitement at their return: in the…
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21 months ago I wrote this; seems as apt now as it did then… and as I have now inherited a SUPERB mini-aquarium, I am so-o-o reliving Chas.Kingsley’s Waterbabies + Coelacanth illustrations (1916) by #JessieWillcoxSmith
Monthy IWSG Corner
However talented and charismatic your writing is, entering the publishing world at ground level can be daunting. We all need a little extra help to keep our heads down and our fingers on the keyboard. In that respect, this little monthly injection from the Insecure Writers Support Group (IWSG) is a boon. Those who have been following know that our revered leader, Alex J Cavanaugh, celebrated the launch of his second book last week, see blog below.
That’s taking the I-95 to stardom. Many of us toil and trouble over our works for years before reaching that superhighway. Some of us get stuck on Route-66 indefinitely and then launch ourselves into self-pub, if only to see what it actually looks like on the bookshelf!
Within what is almost the last industry to become ‘wired’, Big Five Publishers are notorious for not replying to query letters for months…
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Hinge of the Season looming… the essence behind Celtic New Year, our Hallowe’en
Ghouls and ghosties are the order of the night for Hallowe’en. Trick or treating, visiting neighbours – to leave a dare or receive a treasure – has become not just an American ritual, but one which has caught on in the Western World.
How many of our children know the origins of the celebration which fills their imaginations with scary images until they shake with glee or cry for consolation?
2000 years ago the Celtic year began at Samhain. And as the Celts calculated in moons, their ‘new year’ night was celebrated during the moon of 31 October – 1 November: what is now known worldwide as Hallowe’en. For all Celtic peoples – contemporary with the height of Roman civilization – Samhain was a time of deliberate misrule and contrariness, rather like the Roman Saturnalia which was celebrated at winter solstice, or if calculated in the Julian calendar, beginning…
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Happy Lughnasad-Lammas: high point of the farming year; written three years ago, but the timing is similar—except for 2012’s wet-wet-wet—
Crop circles are not new. The phenomenon is centuries-old, embedded in folklore in South Africa and China, achieving sparse comment from English academics in the 1600s; noted in police records and farming journals in 1890; by military and ‘classified’ sources through the 1950s and ’60s.
It was not until 1980, however, that the general populace began to notice them. Since 1990 size and intricacy have developed, mimicking computer fractals, fourth dimensional reality, esoterica known only to quantum physicists. Nearly 30 years after that Thatcherite time, discussion favours excitement over fear, anticipation rather than suppression, belief more than ridicule. The appearance of upwards of 10,000 reported ‘genuine’ crop circles in twenty-nine countries worldwide has brought the subject into the mainstream. It has become ‘cool’ to talk about what they might mean.
In the English countryside since 2005, designs have become so complex, it is natural to speak of codes and mathematical…
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2012 update: re anomalous weather, it is remarkable how M.Earth succeeds in balancing out the seasons: 2012 March in North Britain was blazing hot [70ºF] for four weeks; then April rained eveyone out. But, as the first swallow returns to her nesting grounds, Beltane/Bealtaine/Bealltainn –the festival of new hope– begins:
Mayday, to rural Scots, was not to be trusted; as a weather entity, she could unleash a flash winter storm overnight, to coat the tenderest new blossom with snow. The hinge on the seasonal doorway that gives entry into this time of chaos, is May 1st; it is a leftover from the Scots Reformation that it was colloquially known by its Roman name, the Kalends. But to the country woman who had to get up at daybreak to feed the chickens in surprise snow, her entry into the month of May was via her Gab, her Maw. The name was not an endearment; it was a time to be feared; resonant of a leftover from ancestral tradition of burning the Beltane bonfire to drive away fear, danger, winter, the past, and rekindle the new. ©2012MCY
Ne’er cast a cloot till May be oot
Old Scots rhyme
The old Scots of our little rhyme applies not just to the month of May, but also to the hawthorn bush, the Maytree. Thereby hangs a tale.
Gemini offers a kindly doorway to summer: and we are now thankfully a few days into this communicative astrological sign. Gone the stress and hardship of winter, cold spring, slow growth. Enter the Cosmic Twins: dualism, communication, seeing both sides of the same situation. In other words, enter the mercurial element. And warm.
Gemini is usually a forgiving zodiac month. It fills one third of the calendar month of May. Its communication is tangible. Emblazoning shocking pink blooms dance on pale green leafy branches next to russet peeling-bark maples. Purple blossoms shout color from bending lilac boughs. Who wouldn’t want to communicate, yea, rejoice, in May? at least in the…
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Brief reminder of what prophecy means to people… 2012 is one in a long line of dynastic years. 2056 years ago today, Romans thought the world had ended.
Julius Caesar, self-styled vanquisher of Britannia, those restless natives in the extremities of his empire, would be surprised to learn that, 2054 years after his death on 15 March 44BC, we still remember him, if only for the prophecy that warned of his demise. It is extraordinary that most of the English-speaking world – if they think about it at all – associates the middle of March with that ancient Roman calendar which named the beginning of a lunar month the Kalends, the day of New Moon the Nones and middle (or full moon) the Ides. And, as the Julian calendar had only been established and corrected to include months of 30 and 31 days two years before he died, it seems his prophesied murder had potency because it happened on a Roman full moon.
What is it about phases of the Moon and our need to believe in…
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