Monday, 28 January 2013

Eilian of Garth Darwen

The story of Eilian of Garth Darwen illustrates the power of faerie glamour very well. 
Eilian was a poor servant girl who worked long hard hours for a local midwife, 
when Eilian disappeared one day it was agreed by her mistress and the neighbours 
that the girl had gone off with the faeries. The girl was not seen for some time until 
one dark stormy night the midwife was called out by a stranger to attend his wife, 
who was about to give birth. She was taken to a richly furnished room inside a 
grand house where a young woman  lay on the bed. After a while the baby was 
delivered and the father handed a pot to the midwife and asked her to rub the 
ointment onto the baby's eyes; she did this but accidentally smeared some on to 
one of her own eyes. Instantly the wonderful room vanished and instead there 
was just a damp dark cave and lying on a bed of bracken was the servant girl Eilian. 
The midwife was paid for her services with a handful of gold coins but by the time 
she had reached home the coins had disappeared and dried leaves lay in her purse.
Several months passed before she saw the father again strolling through the 
local market. He was very surprised when the midwife greeted him and inquired 
after the mother and baby. He asked with which eye the midwife could see him and 
when she pointed to it, the eye instantly went blind.

Friday, 25 January 2013

25th Jan- The feast of the conversion of St Paul & Burns Night

If the day of St Paul prove clear
Then shall betide a happy year
If it chance to snow or rain
Then shall be dear all kinds of grain
But if high winds shall be aloft
Wars shall vex this realm full oft
And if thick mists make dark the sky
Both beast and fowls this year shall die

Erra Pater 1694

oh dear!!

It is also Burns Night. Born in 1759, the pride of Scotland has his birthday commemorated by holding Burns Suppers, whose centrepiece is the Haggis. This is his famous address to the aforementioned pud!

Fair fa' your honest sonsie face
Great chieftain o' the pudding race
Abune them a' ye tak your place
Painch, tripe, or thairm
Weel are ye worthy o' a grace
As lang's my arm

Faerie Glamour

The faeries art of concealing their true appearance is called glamour and is often
 used to conceal mortals, they can alter their own shape as well as the appearance 
of food, money and surroundings. So a splendid feast spread out on a beautiful table 
could be nothing more than nuts and berries laid out on a log.
The term glamour comes from the Scottish word glaumerie which means magic,
 traditionally this power was used to capture mortal partners for breeding. 
As mentioned before faeries are always trying to improve their own race by mingling 
it with human blood.
The use of faerie ointment on your eyes will reveal them in their true state but 
be careful, their wrath can be terrible!

'Faeries and Folklore of the British Isles'

Sunday, 20 January 2013

The eve of St Agnes' Day

St Agnes was a thirteen year old christian maiden who preferred to be 
martyred rather to marry a pagan roman officer and so has become 
the patron of young girls and of bodily chastity. 
She is also popular with young lovers.
So this eve to dream of  your future partner fast all day and stay
 silent and on no account allow anybody to kiss you. 
At bedtime wear your best and cleanest nightwear, boil an egg, take out the yolk
 and fill the shell with salt then eat it, shell and all. The walk backwards to bed saying

'Fair St Agnes, play thy part
And send to me my own sweetheart
Not in his best or worst array
But in the clothes he wears every day'

During this night you see your intended in your dreams but you must 
tell no one or it will not come to pass.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Twelfth night- old style

17th of January is the original twelfth night according to the Julian calender.
This is the night to wassail your apple trees, to encourage them to bear a good 
crop in the coming year.
This ceremony is observed in many parts of the country, one such gathering is 
being held tonight at Stewley Orchard near Ilminster Somerset, the home of cider. 
This award winning orchard holds a wassail every year. The evening will include a 
display by Morris Dancers and the crowning of the Wassail Queen with a 
wreath of berries. She will start the ceremony in the orchard by dipping a piece 
of toasted bread into the cider and placing it in the fork of a tree as an 
offering to the tree spirits.
Wassail comes from the old English greeting 'waes hael' which means
'be healthy or your good health' this apparently predates the 
Norman conquest in 1066.
The main idea is to wake the slumbering apple trees and scare away evil 
spirits from the trees by making as much noise as possible.
 Blessings and prayers are said and quantities of hot spiced cider is drunk, 
anything left over in the wassailing bowl is poured over the roots of the 
oldest tree in the orchard.

'Old apple tree we wassail thee, and happily thou wilt
bear, for the Lord knows where we shall be, till apples another year'

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Hail the new moon

Greet the first new moon of the new year at its appearance 
by going out in the evening and stand astride the bars of a 
gate or stile and look at the moon saying
'All hail to the moon, all hail to thee
I prithee good moon reveal to me
This night who my husband or wife must be'
After which go to bed and you will dream of your future partner.

And talking of marriage,
according to Henry Swinburne Treatise of spousals 1686
'The form of the wedding ring being circular, that is round and without end,
 imparteth thus much, that their love and affection should roundly flow 
from one to the other as in a circle and that continually and forever.'

The wedding ring is worn on the third finger of the left hand because it 
was believed that from thence ran a particular vein straight to the 
seat of love, the heart.
It must never be worn before the ceremony but thereafter should never 
be removed for long and never lent to anybody.

So your wedding ring wears
So your cares wear away

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Faerie Markets

A faerie market takes place on the Blackdown Hills every week, many mortals have 
stumbled across the faerie gathering and have fared differently according to the 
respect that they show the faerie folk.
They gather dressed in bright colours on the side of the hill and mill around the 
many tents that are set up  around the field, inside they are piled high with various
 faerie goods and peddlers walk amongst the crowd with trays piled high with 
trinkets and ribbons. Musicians dance and pipe around the crowds as the faerie 
folk make their purchases.
There is one account where a man travelling home came across the fair, as he 
drew nearer the crowds faded from view and as he passed through the invisible 
throng he felt himself being pushed and pinched. 
The man began to feel extremely ill and hurried home as quickly as he could. 
By the time he had reached his home in Combe St Nicholas he was paralysed 
down one side , this affliction stayed with him for the rest of his life.
The market has been seen many times but most avoid it, one man however was 
more fortunate. He had always put out a plate of fresh water outside his home for 
the faeries and a dish of scalded cream. This served him well for one night he stumbled 
into the faerie market, seeing the wares on display he decided to buy a 
wooden  cider mug. This he bought and received  a handful of leaves for 
change, he politely said nothing and took the mug home. 
The next morning the mug was solid silver and the leaves had turned into lumps of gold.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Happy new year to you all

May you start the new year with
 a song in your heart and a spring to your step!
My steps will not be that springy as I have eaten too many mince pies!