Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The Calling of Crows

My memories are often triggered by the oddities of life, sometimes it is a piece of music, a sense in the air, at other times like today, it was the calling of the crows.

It was about this time of the year that reminded me of the first time that I met a lively young antique dealer and fellow poet Roderick Hopper. I was told that he had a short time to live, which was hard to believe for he had such a passion about him, so lively and full of fun.

A few weeks later I was invited to attend the scattering of his ashes on Glastonbury Tor, there was no cleric in attendance because Roddy had long given up on religion.

So here written in poetic style is my true account of those proceedings.

Mist shrouded Glastonbury Tor.

The Witness


Roddy Hopper R.I.P.

A rain sodden evening

Friends meet and gather

In a lane ‘tween sacred well

and giant pagan hill.

In each their eyes are

searching - not finding

The one for whom they care

Each remembering,

Still aware.

Before sunset they

turn and walk

Over tarmac path,

through concrete posts.

Along mud, stone tracks.

Over cold wet iron stile.

Upwards over trodden

earth and grass.

Climbing , puffing, panting.

With steadfast tread

None desire to stop,

Nor dare

Onwards on

That great, green slope

Mist shrouded mighty hill

With secret power.

The top at last,

Now friends collect

Breath and breathe.

No sight or sound

comes from below;

We are here alone.

No preacher man

to organise our prayers,

No maudlin hymns

nor false sentiment.

Just true memory

with mindful thoughts

Of a carefree and

Gentle man.

St. Michael’s tower casts

No shadow as friends

Mill around, for each

A handful of blue

grey dust.

For a moment

to cherish, love and hold.

To murmur in quiet tones

As the white mist surrounds.

Ancient time passes

as each does linger.

To cast those precious granules

upon the ground.

Now do we turn

to negotiate

Slippery grass slope.

No steadfast tread

or urgent gait.

But conscious care

to find safe foothold.


Without warning

a clear segment,

a slice is made.

And we can see

Fresh green land,

silver dykes, distant hills.

Atheist or Christian

“Is this a sign?”

That all is not lost


That his Spirit

is Free at last.

© 1978 MRL

Thursday, 23 June 2011


June 21st said to be The Longest day of the Year is actually the mean date of nine consecutive days with same length of daylight. We pagans celebrate this day as Summer Solstice.
This year it was suggested that we should return to The Hill of Tara for our ritual timed at the peak of sunlight, mid-day. Several years ago we would drive to Tara and greet the dawn; in those days it was a long journey across country in the dark. Today, with road improvements, it is a short journey of ninety minutes instead of two and a half hours.

I chose Teach Cormaic (Cormac's house) a ring barrow as being a good place on which to hold our ritual for I was there several years ago as part of a large gathering of international druids and found the energies to be very suitable for our kind of work.

We knew that our circle this time would be of at least seven people however, a fellow druid arrived with five of her friends and by the time we had settled ourselves, eight complete strangers asked if they might join us. The more the merrier I thought and at least we had sufficient cordial with us to keep the cup filled!

The Hill Tara & Teach Cormaic

(click to enlarge)

A Glass Goddess

Our ritual cup and the Glass Goddess (filled with honeysuckle cordial) stood in the centre of our circle absorbing our combined energies. Some of those who partook of the cup thought it had been fortified with something stronger - merely the effect of ritual energy!

The weather was for most of the ritual dry, unfortunately just as we were about to close a storm rolled in and for about five seconds a few flakes wet snow came down, followed by very heavy rain and a strong wind.

Some of the Lads having a chinwag after the ritual

Four special goddesses!

The Lia Fail - The Stone of Destiny (on the right)

It was to here Maguires Cafe & Gift shop that we repaired to enjoy a fine lunch with more chatter and to meet with like minded people.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Drink's from Wild Blossom

Of all the trees that grow on the boundaries of our garden the Elder is the most prolific and one that in my younger days caused me to suffer from its pollen however, that is a problem I thankfully no longer have - ageing certainly does have its benefits.

The florets of the Elder (Elderflowers)

I did some research early this year to see what herbal benefits might be obtained from the florets of the Elder and found that a essence can be made that will ease or assist in easing the effects of catarrh. So two weeks ago I picked some florets packed them in in a jar and topped it up with brandy, the jar is kept in a dark warm place and turned every day for one month, after which it will be strained put into a dark bottle. Dosage is 20 drops three times a day - low enough to still drive without going over the limit !

Essence of Elderflowers

Elderflower Cordial

The elderflower cordial I made from a recipe obtained on line, it said to use 1.8 kg of sugar having followed the instructions, I now find that it is far too sweet for my palate even when diluted
1:5 with water ; for am not a sugar lover at all, next time I will halve the amount for I can always add extra if required.

Elderflower Liqueur for cold winter evenings
made with vodka and sugar.

Heron's Honeysuckle Liqueur
(similar recipe as the elder)

Honeysuckle Cordial

By adapting the elderflower remedy and using far less sugar a bowl of honeysuckle flowers steeped in a sugar solution with slices of oranges, awaits to be pressed, strained and bottled.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Belo Monte Dam

A dam the size of Wales is to be built in Brazil. The dam will harm fish stocks vital to 14 tribes that inhabit the Xingu National Park downriver, turn up to 90 miles (150 kilometers) of the river into stagnant puddles and displace as many as 40,000 people. The dam will flood 200 square miles (516 square kilometers) of rain forest.

Then consider all birds, animals, insect life and all of the plant life that will be destroyed forever in this amazonian rain forest area ?

I implore the readers of this blog to circulate this and speak with one voice by signing below

Petition to stop Belo Monte Dam - http://amazonwatch.org/take-action/stop-the-belo-monte-monster-dam?sms_ss=facebook&at_xt=4dec37b40ee918aa%2C0


Tuesday, 7 June 2011

In Our Back Garden

I thought today to give you a short tour of the back garden that you might see the hidden places and share with you the beauty of our Woodbine/Honeysuckle whose fragrance today is filling our home with its seductive perfume.

Looking south

The woodbine has never grown to this height before!

I call this fellow Seamus Fig (I think you can see why ?)
He stands behind the raspberry bushes next to the fence.

This beauty sits under the hawthorns silent and gold
amongst the green. Sometimes at night she is
illuminated by candles.

Here the wizened wizard casts his spells
aided by his book of lore.