Saturday, 6 November 2010

Bonfire Night?

 Remember, remember
The Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.

Welcome once again Seeker to my rambling writings! Yesterday was Bonfire Night in the Uk, aka Guy Fawkes Night, an alleged celebration of the failed Gunpowder Treason Plot, which now we celebrate with fireworks and by burning an effigy of one of the conspirators, Guy Fawkes. Hmm, lets see, lots of folks at the end of the Old Celtic Year gathering around bonefires, eating together, having a drink or two and burning effigies? Sounds a bit Pagan to me! Lol!

Now Samhain has come and gone,
And the New Year has begun,
Time to light the Sacred Fire,
Burn the Old upon the Pyre!

As Im sure most Pagans will agree, the Lore that we possess points to Samhain being a time of year that was often celebrated with fires, feasts and drinking aswell as the more sombre aspects of honouring our Beloved Dead, yet with the advent of christianity and the subsumation of Samhain into the christian calendar as All Hallows Eve (Halloween), the older celebrations seem to have stayed with us in slightly altered forms! Trick or Treating, dressing up in costumes, bonfire night, burning an effigy, all these have possible roots in the older Pagan traditions, whether accademia acknowledge it or not!

Hence the fact that although Bonfire Night itself is not Pagan in nature, the forms that are followed do smack of Pagan Rites to me, so I will always take the chance to mark an occassion such as this with a bonfire, good food to eat and time spent with friends out of doors, hence the reason that most of yesterday was spent at the allotment, building the bonfire and the wood pile ready for tonight's festivities! Others there may think they are only there to have a good time, but to me they are inadvertantly honouring the Old Ones with their burning effigies, fireworks and food and drink! Many thanks to all you unsuspecting folks who do not follow the Old Ones, you're actions are seen and heard by those to whom it matters, and of course gratefully appreciated!

For ourselves yesterday we spent time fetching and carrying the trimmings and debris of a years work at the allotments to the communal bonfire spot, building the bonfire and enjoying the companionship of the other plotholders who turned up to help (its always the same few who will put themselves out to do so, have you ever noticed that?) For myself as I was fetching and carrying I was doing a walking meditation, communing with the spirits of the place and talking to the Old Ones, with several Damh the Bard songs running through my mind as I went. My words seemed to fit the melodies and come in rhyme, something I frequently find possible when in the right frame of mind, for Lee he was 'symbolically sweeping the plot clear' cleansing it with a large besom (dragging large branches from the trees along the ground), so it seems each of us in our own private way found something within the mundane to link us to our Crooked Paths!

Once the fire was built it was time to come home and prepare for the evenings 'fun', or is that the Nights Rite? Its become something of a tradtion for me to prepare a Pumpkin Chilli at either Samhain or Bonfire Night, and take it along to either a Rite (at Samhain) or to the Bonfire / BBQ party, and this year was no exception! As we were away in Glastonbury for Samhain it was obviously to be made for Bonfire Night this year, so a large bacth of Pumpkin and Apple Chilli was made, all from ingredients we'd grown, onions, pumpkins, apples, cabbage, chillies, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, beans, garlic, celery seeds and bay leaves all organically grown by ourselves and turned through some culinary magic into a large pan of Sweet Pumpkin and Apple Chilli, transported carefully in a Slow Cooker to the allotment cabin along with a large rice cooker full of plain rice!

To drink we took a few bottles of our first couple of batches of homebrew, Elderflower Wine and Bored Bean wine, another plotholder inspired us to resume our brewing (we both did it a long time ago, but got out of the habit many years ago) after bringing some fabulous rhubarb rose wine to the August BBQ at the plot, we've already tried the Elderflower (its brilliant), but yesterday was our first taste of the Bored Bean Wine, a batch that was made and cleared in almost unbelievable time!

So, tunring up at the plot for 530pm, with the fire due to be lit at 6pm, we set up the BBQ, and waited to see who would turn up, not only other plotholders and their families, but also a few friends we'd invited along, as always! The weather forecast was for torrential rain from early afternoon until 10pm, which fortunately was wrong, the rain started at 2pm, but stopped (possibly with a little help ;) ) at 4pm, and the evening was dry, the wind abated and the temperature was mild. We lit the fire about 6pm, as lots of the plotholders arrived, bringing food and drink with them! The fire took fairly quickly, which was quite strange considering how wet the wood was after 3 days of heavy rain, and we soon had flames shooting over 25' into the air, with sparks flying much higher, above the trees on the plot!

Now, as you've probably guessed, although Bonfire Night is a non religious tradition, Lee and I had planned to weave in a little of the Older reasons for the celebrations at this time of year, so weaving in a little magic into an inpromptu Rite was just what we felt needed! Lee and I surreptitiously and individually walked around the fire a few times, I had a phrase from a Damh the Bard song going round my mind,

Lady spin your Circle bright,
Weave Your web of Dark and Light,
Earth, Air, Fire, Water,
Bind us now as One!

Our intent was to welcome in the New Year whilst saying goodbye to the old, making the Bonfire Party a bit more meaningful for us both. The energy present was relaxed, focussed on having a good time, so rather than attempt to interfere with it, we played our part, shielding our working from others intent and quietly spent a short time communing with the Old Ones for a few moments before bidding them stay and partake of the celebration, or go if they must. Nothing formal, nothing that anyone else could sense or see, but something with enough meaning to us both and to honour the Old Ones, the feeling we got was that it was welcomed, even amongst all the inadvertant attention that they were receiving.

After that it was time to eat, drink (cakes and ale perhaps?) and make merry! My Pumpkin and Apple Chilli went down a storm, everyone who tasted it loved it! The Elderflower wine was also praised by all who tried it, and the Bored Bean Wine tasted, its not bad, definitely drinkable, but highly alcoholic and needs some time to mature before it will reach its full potential!

Last years Bonfire BBQ was a fantastic success, loads of folks turned up and a great night was had, this years was also a great success, not quite as many folks, but plenty of good food, plenty to drink and a lovely chilled out atmosphere, a good time was had by all!

So, what better a way to usher in the New Celtic Year than with a celebratory Bonfire, a feast, a few drinks, good company and an impromptu Rite?

Today is a day we've been looking forwards to all week, having H, Andrew and Bear over for a meal and a chat about where our Paths are taking us and whether we will be forming / reforming a Working Group together. I've got food to cook (all homemade, Tomato soup followed by Turkey Rissotto - with leftover Pumpkin Chilli for those who want some - followed by Pumpkin Pie and Cheese n Biscuits, again with homebrew wine and cider to drink!) and we need to have a trip to a local homebrew shop for some more bottles, as we've about 11 gallons of wine and mead on the go that need sorting, some are ready for bottling, others merely need racking off, so a busy day awaits, with an interesting evening to look forwards to! I shall update the Blog tomorrow with my thoughts and what happened, on the last day of my hols before returning to work on Monday!

Thanks for reading Seeker, hope you're Bonfire Night was everything it was meant to be for you!

Dark Dreams


The Hermit said...

it sounds like a lovely day and evening celebration :) My bonfire night was spent watching the fireworks from my flat, though I did go for a walk as the first of them were being lit. I have a view across the city so can see hundreds of fireworks going of all over the city from my flat :) I'm heading out today for a walk not totally sure where I am going as yet though. Have a good day all the best to you and yours :)

Mrs Dobby said...

Hello Hermit, so, you partook in celebrating the Fire festivals all those unsuspecting folks were having, nicely done! I hope you enjoy the walk today, let your feet carry you to where you are needed to be, to experience whatever comes! Enjoy!
Dark Dreams