Sunday, 30 April 2017

Beltane Blessings )O( ~ May Day

Beltane honours life and represents the peak of Spring and the beginning of Summer.
Beltane is a Fire Festival. The word 'Beltane' originates from the Celtic God 'Bel', meaning 'the bright one' and the Gaelic word 'teine' meaning fire. Together they make 'Bright Fire', or 'Goodly Fire' and traditionally bonfires were lit to honour the Sun and encourage the support of Bel and the Sun's light to nurture the emerging future harvest and protect the community.
Beltane Fire Dance by Loreena McKennitt
Traditionally all fires in the community were put out and a special fire was kindled for Beltane. "This was the Tein-eigen, the need fire. People jumped the fire to purify, cleanse and to bring fertility. Couples jumped the fire together to pledge themselves to each other. Cattle and other animals were driven through the smoke as a protection from disease and to bring fertility. At the end of the evening, the villagers would take some of the Teineigen to start their fires anew."
~ (From Sacred Celebrations by Glennie Kindred)
Beltane is the anglicised name for the Gaelic May Day festival. Most commonly it is held on 1 May, or about halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. May Day is a public holiday and is an ancient northern hemisphere spring festival. In many cultures, dances, singing, and cakes are usually part of the celebrations.
The earliest May Day celebrations appeared in pre-Christian times, with the Floralia, festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, held on April 27 during the Roman Republic era, and with the Walpurgis Night celebrations of the Germanic countries. It is also associated with the Gaelic Beltane, most commonly held on April 30.
Flora's altar at Rome was said to have been established by the Sabine king Titus Tatius during the semi-legendary Regal period. Flusalis (linguistically equivalent to Floralia) was a month on the Sabine calendar, and Varro counted Flora among the Sabine deities.
May Day (or the day after Walpurgis Night).
Walpurgis Night is the English translation of Walpurgisnacht, one of the Dutch and German names for the night of 30 April. In Germanic folklore, Walpurgisnacht, also called Hexennacht (Dutch: heksennacht), literally "Witches' Night", is believed to be the night of a witches' meeting on the Brocken, the highest peak in the Harz Mountains, a range of wooded hills in central Germany between the rivers Weser and Elbe.
On May Eve there is abundant fertility, on all levels, and is the central theme. The Maiden goddess has reached her fullness. She is the manifestation of growth and renewal, Flora, the Goddess of Spring, the May Queen, the May Bride.
Stonemaiden Art - Etsy
In the Arthurian legends, the Flower Bride is Guinevere, though she is usually abducted on May 1 and must be rescued. However, in Celtic lore, there are many ladies or goddesses, such as Creiddyled and Bloudewedd, who fit this role.
The Young Oak King, as Jack-In-The-Green, as the Green Man, falls in love with her and wins her hand.
The union is consummated and the May Queen becomes pregnant. 
Together the May Queen and the May King are symbols of the Sacred Marriage (or Heiros Gamos), the union of Earth and Sky, and this union has merrily been re-enacted by humans throughout the centuries. For this is the night of the Greenwood Marriage.
Sacred Union
"Sacred Marriage" between Dumuzi and Inanna on a bed. Old Babylonian Period.

I sleep so sound all night, mother, that I shall never wake,

If you do not call me loud when the day begins to break:

But I must gather knots of flower, and buds and garlands gay,

For I’m to be the Queen o’ the May, mother, I’m to be the Queen o’ the May.

– From “The May Queen” by Alfred Lord Tennyson

The May Queen or Queen of May is a personification of the May Day holiday, and of Springtime and also Summer.Today the May Queen is a girl who must ride or walk at the front of a parade for May Day celebrations. She wears a white gown to symbolise purity and usually a tiara or crown. Her duty is to begin the May Day celebrations. She is generally crowned by flowers and makes a speech before the dancing begins. Certain age-groups dance round a Maypole celebrating youth and the spring time.
Sir James George Frazer found in the figure of the May Queen a relic of tree worship:
According to folklore, the tradition once had a sinister twist, in that the May Queen was put to death once the festivities were over. The veracity of this belief is difficult to establish; it may just be a folk memory of ancient pagan customs. Still, frequent associations between May Day rituals.
In the High Middle Ages in England, the May Queen was also known as the "Summer Queen". George C. Homans points out: "The time from Hocktide, after Easter Week, to Lammas (August 1) was summer (estas)." - On the 30th day of May was a jolly May-game in Fenchurch Street (London) with drums and guns and pikes, The Nine Worthies did ride; and they all had speeches, and the morris dance and sultan and an elephant with a castle and the sultan and young moors with shields and arrows, and the lord and lady of the May".
 A May Day festival is held on the village green at Aldborough, North Yorkshire on a site that dates back to Roman times and the settlement of Isurium Brigantum. A May queen is selected from a group of 13 upward girls by the young dancers. She returns the next year to crown the new May Queen and stays in the procession. The largest event in this tradition in modern Britain is the Beltane Fire Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Michael A. Michail - Flora.
The Faery Queen also represents the May Queen, although in practice the honour is usually carried out by young women who are soon to be married.
Mists of Avalon
Morgan le Fay is a powerful enchantress in the Arthurian legend. Early works featuring Morgan do not elaborate her character beyond her role as a fay or sorceress. She became both more prominent and morally ambivalent in later texts.
A "May Crowning" is a traditional Roman Catholic ritual that occurs in the month of May, honoring the Virgin Mary as "the Queen of May". 
Our Lady of the Sea, Isle of Barra, Outer Hebrides, Scotland ~ The May Crown
The feminine connection in many forms ~
Queen of Heaven is a title given to the Virgin Mary by Christians mainly of the Roman Catholic Church, and also, to some extent, in Eastern Orthodoxy and Anglicanism. The title is a consequence of the First Council of Ephesus in the fifth century, in which the Virgin Mary was proclaimed "theotokos", a title rendered in Latin as Mater Dei, in English "Mother of God". The Eastern Orthodox Churches do not share the Catholic dogma, but themselves have a rich liturgical history in honor of Mary. In the Hebrew Bible, under some Davidic kings, the gebirah, the "Great Lady", usually the Mother of the King, held great power as advocate with the king.In the fourth century St. Ephrem called Mary “Lady” and “Queen.” Later Church fathers and doctors continued to use the title. A text probably coming from Origen (died c. 254) gives her the title domina, the feminine form of Latin dominus, Lord. That same title also appears in many other early writers, e.g., Jerome, and Peter Chrysologus. The first Mariological definition and basis for the title of Mary Queen of Heaven developed at the Council of Ephesus, where Mary was defined to be the Mother of God.
Our Lady, star of the Sea statue, overlooking Castlebay, Isle of Barra. - Karen Matheson.
Our Lady, Star of the Sea is an ancient title for the Virgin Mary. The words Star of the Sea are a translation of the Latin title Stella Maris.The title has been in use since the at least the early medieval period. Originally arising from a scribal error in a supposed etymology of the name Mary, it came to be seen as allegorical of Mary's role as "guiding star",  as a guide and protector of seafarers, in particular, the Apostleship of the Sea, and many coastal churches are named Stella Maris or Star of the Sea.
Mists of Avalon
 Hawthorn tree is the true symbol of Beltane, the original May tree, and the tree of the fairy folk. Also known as the May-tree, due to its flowering period, it is the only British plant named after the month in which it blooms.
In Britain, it was believed that bringing hawthorn blossom into the house would be followed by illness and death, and in Medieval times it was said that hawthorn blossom smelled like the Great Plague. Botanists later learned that the chemical trimethylamine in hawthorn blossom is also one of the first chemicals formed in decaying animal tissue, so it is not surprising that hawthorn flowers are associated with death. 
A hundred years I slept beneath a thorn
Until the tree was root and branches of my thought,
Until white petals blossomed in my crown.

~ From The Traveller by Kathleen Raine
When we read of medieval knights and ladies riding out ‘a-maying’ on the first morning of May, this refers to the flowering hawthorn boughs they gathered to decorate the halls rather than the month itself. For on this day, according to the Old Style calendar that was in use until the 18th century, the woods and hedges were alight with its glistening white blossoms.
In some villages, mayers would leave a hawthorn branch at every house, singing traditional songs as they went. 
The young girls rose at dawn to bathe in dew gathered from hawthorn flowers to ensure their beauty in the coming year. For May was the month of courtship and love-making after the winter's cold; and so the hawthorn is often found linked with love-making. In ancient Greece, the wood was used for the marriage torch, and girls wore hawthorn crowns at weddings. 
But while hawthorn was a propitious tree at Maytime, in other circumstances it was considered unlucky. Witches were supposed to make their brooms from it, and in some parts, it was equated with the abhorred elder, as in the rhyme:

Hawthorn bloom and elder-flowers
Will fill a house with evil powers.

Even today many people will not allow the branches inside the house, for, as one might expect from its association with Beltane, a time when the two worlds meet, it is considered a tree sacred to the faeries, and thus to be regarded with fear at the least, respect at most. As such, it often stands at the threshold of the Otherworld.
In the ballad of Thomas the Rhymer, the Scots poet is taken away by the Queen of Elfland as he sits beneath an ancient thorn known as the Eildon tree. In another old rhyme, the Ballad of Sir Cawline, a lady dares the hero to go to Eldridge Hill where a hawthorn grows, to await there the faery king.
There are noteworthy parallels between this tale and the romance, The History of Sir Eger, Sir Graham, and Sir Gray-steel.
The full moon of May, also known as the Flower Moon, Milk Moon, or Hare Moon, will occur  Wednesday (May 10) at 5:42 p.m. EDT (2142 GMT). It will appear full to the casual observer for about a day before and after. 
According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, the Native American name for the May full moon was the Full Flower Moon, though some Algonquin-speaking nations named it the Corn Planting Moon or Milk Moon (milk, referring to nurture - milkweed or cows, though not native to the Americas).
Flower Moon ~ May ~ by Ithilyen on Deviantart
Haiku ~ Flower Moon
light of the moon
moves west, flowers' shadows
creep eastward

Just a thought:
Perhaps, keeping in mind the feminine moon cycle (and matrilineal aspects), Beltane would be best celebrated by the moon cycle and not the modern dating of the Gregorian calender
Did you know:
1. The original Roman calendar is believed to have been an observational lunar calendar whose months began from the first signs of a new crescent moon. Because a lunar cycle is about 29½ days long, such months would have varied between 29 and 30 days.
2. A lunar calendar is a calendar based upon cycles of the Moon's phases (synodic months), in contrast to solar calendars based solely upon the solar year. The details of when months begin varies from calendar to calendar, with some using new, full, or crescent moons and others employing detailed calculations. Traditional lunar and lunisolar calendars continue to be used throughout the Old World to determine religious festivals and national holidays. Such holidays include Ramadan (Islamic calendar); the Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Mongolian New Year (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Mongolian calendars); the Nepali New Year (Nepali calendar); the Mid-Autumn Festival and Chuseok (Chinese and Korean calendars); Loi Krathong (Thai calendar); and Diwali (Hindu calendars).
Maypole History HERE
My apologies, for the rather long post. I get excited about this theme in folklore. 😉
Love and light,

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Awake in Purple Dreams - ***Cover Reveal*** - Book Two

A different kind of fairy tale for adults. 

Awake in Purple Dreams is a story about love overcoming all obstacles. Elements of fantasy weave with reality in this epic romance derived from ancient folklore. An enchanted but a brutal tale of a soul trying to find its way back home.

Blurb ~
Having thought that she had finally escaped the past, Bea finds herself hunted down by an unknown enemy who violently rips her life apart. The harsh changes that follow catapult her on a journey which not only brings personal transformation but one that marks a new era for two worlds.

Secrets long hidden are finally revealed and a war like no other is on the horizon.
Karma never forgets and until the cycle of a soul is complete, the past will never fade away.

The final book cover was a collaboration with Rebecca covers HERE

Below, my early design using free commons images. 
I couldn't get the title to stand out but loved the different colour tone in the font. In the end, I thought it best to stick as closely to book one as possible and so decided to keep the text white. I also needed help with placing stars in the background and with book formatting for print. Rebeca was wonderful and so here we are ~ a completed cover design. 
Early Designs 
Front and Back
Placing the early design next to Book One for comparison ~ 
Did they compliment each other enough to be visually recognised as the same in a series? 
Yup! I think so. 😁
The silhouette of the couple sets the theme of romance and their souls. The purple flowers reminiscent of 'A Carpet of Purple Flowers', a place which echoes in both books. The stars and cosmos giving a subtle message of the story being Otherworldly. 
Want to find out more about book two? 
Click HERE
Will be available to Pre-order on Amazon in late summer 2017.
Love and light,

Youtube Book Review by Laura 'A Carpet of Purple Flowers'

Book Review
I was sent this book from the lovely Author to read and do an honest review on.. can I just say how LOVELY Tracey-Anne is! I have been talking with her on Twitter and she's been sweet and friendly!
This book was sooooo GOOD! Mystical..magical..spiritual.. romantic ... liked the way magic and the real world mixed together. the characters were great esp. Bea the main girl. Lots of Twists and turns and emotional. This is book 1 in the series and I am soooo excited to read book 2! The ending was a real twist which I loved! This book is really great :) (Source)
Where Laura can be found ~ 
MinxLaura123's Wacky World - Youtube Channel ~ HERE
Twitter ~ HERE

I was blown away by Laura's kind review posting. Such kind words. Thank you so much, it really lifted my writing spirit. I've never received a youtube review, absolutely wonderful. 😍 
Love and light,

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Happy St. George's Day - UK

April 23 marks the saint’s day of England’s patron saint St George. 
Saint George and the Dragon by Gustave Moreau.
Who was Saint George? 
Why is he England's patron saint?

In hagiography, as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers and one of the most prominent military saints, he is immortalised in the myth of Saint George and the Dragon. 

English schoolchildren are always taught that he was a knight who slew dragons but is there more to the historical figure?

According to legend, St George was a Roman soldier born in what is now modern-day Turkey in around 280AD and died around 303.

George's parents were Christians of Greek background, his father Gerontius (Greek: Γερόντιος, Gerontios meaning "old man" in Greek) was a Roman army official from Cappadocia, and his mother Polychronia (Greek name, meaning she who lives many years) was a Christian and a Greek native from Lydda in the Roman province of Syria Palaestina. Accounts differ regarding whether George was born in Cappadocia or Syria Palaestina but agree that he was raised at least partly in Lydda.

Very little is known about his early life but it is believed he was born to a wealthy Christian noble family. When he grew up he became a soldier and joined the retinue of Emperor Diocletian.

In 303 Diocletian, as part of a crackdown on the growing influence of the Christian community ordered that all Christian soldiers in the army should be expelled and all Roman soldiers were forced to make the traditional pagan sacrifice.

St George refused and denounced the edict in front of his fellow soldiers, declaring he was a Christian.

Diocletian initially tried to convert him with offers of wealth and land but when he refused he was beheaded on 23 April 303.

So what does he have to do with dragons? 

The myth of St George slaying a dragon originally appeared in stories told by the medieval Eastern Orthodox Church which was brought back to Europe by the Crusaders in the 10th and 11th centuries.

If he was from Turkey how did he become the patron saint of England?

King Edward III made St George the country’s official saint just after he came to the throne in 1327.

According to historian Ian Mortimer, a patron saint did not have to be from the country they were born in - they just needed to embody the characteristics the kingdom wanted to project to the outside world.

After all, as well as England, St George is also the patron saint of Portugal, Venice, Beirut, Malta, Ethiopia, Georgia, the Palestinian territories, Serbia and Lithuania.

Edward III wanted to rebuild the strength of the English monarchy after the disastrous reign of his father - St George was part of his strategy to make England one of the most powerful and warlike nations in Europe.
Source: HERE

Love and light,

Thursday, 20 April 2017

A Carpet of Purple Flowers - Laura's Early Thoughts (prior to review)


Laura creates ASMR videos but what is it?
Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is an experience characterised by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine. It has been compared with auditory-tactile synesthesia. Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) signifies the subjective experience of 'low-grade euphoria' characterised by 'a combination of positive feelings, and a distinct static-like tingling sensation on the skin'. It is most commonly triggered by specific acoustic, visual and digital media stimuli, and less commonly by intentional attentional control.
Read more HERE

You can find Laura here:

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Playing around with Gif Creation

More info HERE
Create your own Gif - HERE

Dorcha Crùn Theatre ~ 'The Alptraum of Alithia'

Dorcha Crùn Theatre 
(Fictional title - Scottish Gaelic meaning ~ Dark Crown)
Sarolta Bán
 'The Alptraum of Alithia'~ (The elf dream/nightmare of Alithia).
A play mentioned in the book 'A Carpet of Purple Flowers'.
Dylan Cole
The Dorcha Crun Theatre is not your traditional theatre. 
Inspired by the old theatres left in decay dotted about SW London. Such as - STREATHAM -  REGAL CINEMA (aka ABC & Cannon). Unfortunately in 2004, the auditorium was demolished & apartments were built on the site with the original cinema facade and foyer retained as an entrance.
Stage ~ Ruins
The play is a bizarre mix of ballet and less traditional expression. 
It serves a purpose for the character, Karian, and isn't meant to represent an actual theatre or specific method of delivery. It is fantasy. 
 Realm of Fantasy by Anacorreal.
Het National Ballet - Romeo and Juliet.
Haunting Denied Love
 Jacques Dequeker
Alithia and the Well
Connecting Worlds
Below, the superb dance of 'Sergei Polunin' reminds me of a certain scene played by a male role in 'The Alptraum of Alithia'.
Full Dance
Wanted for murder ~ On the run
Portal Escape 
Finding Love in a New World
Love and light,