Ukraine, and Pluto in Capricorn

Pluto bottom right

See also previous readings recently posted here.

Looking in my new astrology readings cards, asking when will we see a resolution in Ukraine, I drew three cards blindly and at random and then did a double take…surprised at the first 2 cards.

Pluto in The Tenth House

From The Astrology Readings Card deck, Alison Chester-Lambert

Top Card: The Tenth House card refers to all things to do with the zodiac sign of Capricorn: work, order, money, responsibility,government and self governance, legacy, tradition, provision for the family, duty to the homeland.

Middle card: The planet Pluto (which is currently transiting the sign of Capricorn.)

Bottom card: Libra. This signifies a possible answer of late September/October 2022. But it could mean diplomacy brings a truce well before then. Why? Because Putin is a Libra subject. Therefore, the cards are showing, the conflict will stop upon his initiative; his say so or agreement.

But why the double take? Well, it’s that synchronicity thing again.

These first 2 cards,straight off the bat, are mirroring the big planetary story right now, and the astrological background to this tragic confrontation in Ukraine. This has been a long time coming.

Pluto is in Capricorn The Tenth House. This is a planetary transit that occurs only every 248 years and lasts 12-30 years each time it happens.

This coincides with America’s first Pluto return 22 February, marking 248 years since it became the United States of America. It can mean the fall of an empire but not necessarily. Rome weathered 2 of these Pluto returns before it went into decline. And:-

The British Empire experienced three transformational Pluto returns — one during the Great Famine in 1315 A.D., followed by another at the start of the Elizabethan era and arrival of the golden age of British literature, and the last during the official creation of the United Kingdom in 1801

What this one means for America is a turning point, and the dawn of a new era for America, between now and 2024.

The Tenth House

The wise and ancient Mesopotamian sea-goat was a great teacher. Capricorn is the zodiac sign of cardinal Earth; work, tradition, legacy, and governance; weighty, substantial matters. focus here.

It’s been called the House of World Leaders. Capricorn takes the longest view of the zodiac, planning across time, and for things that will last.  Quality, durability, functionality, beauty, things of concrete value.

Everything comes and goes, but still, the rocks remain.

Pluto

The dwarf planet Pluto (yes, it is a planet) is in terms of astrology, the cosmic harbinger of elimination and regeneration, death, money, and all things found underground. It is the Underworld, the domain of the Greek counterpart of Pluto, the god Hades. It is the underworld in the sense of secrets of state- and the criminal underworld too. It is oil and gas and coal, and minerals mined deep underground. We ‘mine’ cryptocurrency.

Photo by Daniel Dan on Pexels.com

Pluto is plutonic. From Pluto we get plutocrat and plutocracy- and plutonium. Not forgetting the Russian poisonings on British soil, even if it was Novichok (or perhaps we could call it Putinium) and not plutonium.

Plutocracy: noun. a political system where the wealthy govern.

Pluto spends between twelve to thirty years in a sign due to its elliptical orbit and it brings profound, dramatic or downright violent territorial and cultural upheavals.

This one we are now living through, as previously mentioned, began with the banking crash of 2008. Pluto’s previous last entrance to Capricorn in the 1760’s coincided with both the American Revolution and the Industrial Revolution in Britain.

The previous transit was 1995-2008 when Pluto was in Sagittarius; a time of freewheeling optimism,expansionism, buoyancy, lack of checks and regulations and governmental and economic institutions that were deemed too big to fail. Wrong! Pluto in Capricorn brought that optimism – or hubris- crashing right back down to earth.

Libra

Libra suggests late September-late October in answer to the question of when this conflict may be ‘resolved.’ The previous cards seem to confirm that it will happen while we are still in the Pluto in Capricorn transit. We are now approaching the end of this transit, but that is still way too far off to be of comfort to Ukraine. However, other ‘cosmic’ factors may help.

Astrology suggests a crisis or peak or defining occurrence a few days either side of Sunday 20 March, 18-22 March.

After this one possible hope for ceasefire looks to me like early April, based on a number of appearances by the Queen of Clubs/Wands…because she signifies Aries, 20 March-20 April.

If that fails to materialize, another cosmic window is when Jupiter, planet of expansion moves into Aries ruled by Mars, 10 May. This is warrior energy all right. But at least it is upfront, in symbolic terms. Perhaps it is less frightening than Jupiter in Pisces in some ways, less terrifyingly bottomless, murky, lacking boundaries.

Full Fathom five thy father lies. -The Tempest

Canst thou draw forth leviathan with a hook? (Book of Job)

Beyond this, Libra means diplomacy, and Putin is also a Libra subject. Here is a caveat (am I hedging my bets? You bet I’m not betting. I am looking for clues via cartomancy, that is what this is. Listen to any number of astrologers and readers. Do they all agree?) Cessation of hostilities could still happen long before we enter the actual zodiac sign of Libra, and before Jupiter goes back into Pisces 28 October.

In astrology, Aries is the nemesis of Mr Putin. How is that? Aries is the opposite sign of Putin’s Libra. Aries the warrior is his shadow side, and his potential nemesis. Mr Putin himself, for all he has great intelligence- and venom- Scorpio rising, is not a military man. This has not been his CVto date. Not his customary ‘modus operandi’. He is a man whose strength and subtlety lies in shadows and half light.

A peek in the playing cards

I was at my parents last week, and my mother asked, what did the cards show about Mr Z – would he survive this conflict?

Top Row: Will Mr Z make it out in one piece?

I do not make predictions of death, regardless, but may assess likelihood of risk. The absence of dire spades cards on that top line, and the dominance of red suit cards, and the benign final card suggest that yes, Mr Zelenskyy will survive, despite the real and present danger and at least three failed assassination attempts. Curiously, my mother drew 2 club cards, 2 diamond cards and 1 Hearts, and so did I, in a separate draw, although the cards were not identical. If they had been, we would know that I had simply not shuffled the cards enough.

But the balance and mix of suits was the same both times and the overall appearance translates as, yes, we are seeing a probability of 3/5 he will survive and still be here 1 January 2023.

One might say – my mother did- oh dear, that’s not great. Well, no. It isn’t. But given the context…..

Middle Row: Will Putin capture Kyiv and if so, how quickly?

It still remains possible that Putin will not take Kyiv. The 6 Diamonds shows a critical week ahead (bearing in mind I drew these cards on Friday.) The 6 Diamonds also refers to speed of movement of vehicles. The attacking convoy has been anything but speedy, but there it is. The 6 Diamonds also means diagnostics, energy and hi- tech, and Mr Zelenskyy is doing pretty well in the propaganda war, and with everything that is happening about this on Facebook/Meta and other online social media sites, there is a heck of a lot in this fast, fast card.

It is a strange card. You want a yes/no answer? Forget it. This card is asking, is it really worth Putin’s time? That depends on his objectives. If he is aiming at the ultimate re-absorption of Kaliningrad, yes it is, and that is very likely the further goal. But if he finds himself on the back foot, he may appear to settle for less- for now.

The next card shows Mr Zelenskyy himself as the King of Spades (Aquarius, fixed air) He is looking at the 4 Clubs- meaning, a place of work.

In terms of dates, the shortest time frame here is 6 days. But in terms of DATES this card correlates with Taurus. In which case the cards suggest Mr Putin expects to take Kyiv by 30 April -10 May and what an ugly business that will be, as if it isn’t hideous enough already.

But this date frame, 30 April-10 May does look critical, given the partial solar eclipse in Taurus, happening Sat 30 April. Eclipses in astrology always,but always reflect huge events which bring profound consequences, but often these play out in the longer term, and may not announce themselves at the time.

But where is Mr Zelenskyy looking? (shown as the King of Spades, Putin is a Queen of Spades-Libra) He is looking at his place of business, the 4 Clubs, the Ace Clubs, it is turned upside down or he is underground? And that last card, 6 Spades, will only slow things down. Spades generally mean delays. The attack on Kyiv starts with shock and awe but then slows down. Siege? But the 6 Spades contains hope, because while in terms of timing it means delays, its story is about progress and recovery, healing, exploration slow, solemn and sure, though it is also, sadly reflecting this new mass, involuntary diaspora.

But Mr Putin absolutely does not want a siege either.

Bottom Row: Will Ukraine survive as an independent democratic state?

It remains a real possibility. On Friday I drew the Ace of Diamonds for Ukraine, sitting pride of place with and that means ‘piece of land.’ Like the Tarot’s Ace of Pentacles. It is the Ace of Earth. Land. Soil.

From The Legacy of The Divine Tarot, illustrator Ciro Marchetti

I couldn’t remember the other cards drawn on Friday to reproduce them accurately. Last night (Saturday 12 March) I asked again and drew from scratch that bottom row of cards shown above.

The Queen of Spades, that last card on the bottom row shows Mr Putin himself. He is looking across at what he wants. He wants a new President or Prime Minister as shown by that first card, the King of Clubs. He wants it all, says the 10 Diamonds. He wants the whole of Ukraine.

But, if it gets too costly, too difficult, there seems to be a little part of his thinking, that the least thing he will settle for, the least he might possibly agree upon for now, to stop the slaughter and retreat without losing face, once he gauges he has inflicted enough damage is- Donetsk, Luhansk (2 Spades) and Mariupol (Jack Diamonds= new acquisition) plus Ukraine’s recognition of the Crimea ie; the much discussed Land Bridge. Ukraine will more likely than not agree, based on this picture I am seeing. Like those stories of the fox that will chew off its own leg to get out of the trap alive.

But what comes across, is that despite everything, a successful outcome in Kyiv is still far from a done deal for Putin if he wants all of Ukraine ‘neutralizes,’ west to east. It may survive as a democratic nation state, a sovereign entity, but it seems inevitable that if it does it will considerably diminished. It would be far better for Putin if he can get the whole of Ukraine now, as fast as possible, because now he has shown his hand. He did warn everyone, and now they will believe it. Next time will be a tougher proposition. Far better for him to go for broke and ‘finish it.’

The cards are painting a slightly more optimistic picture than I logically expect. But no one wins. Not Ukraine, for all their fortitude, terrorized and dispossessed, though the Nine of Cups did turn up on the Ukraine story-line on Friday-the card means hopes fulfilled, wishes granted. It came up when I asked this same question; whether Ukraine would survive, even nominally as an independent democratic state.

For all the odds stacked against Ukraine resistance, and though territorial gains for Russia may be inevitable, there is no sign in sight of a Russian celebration. There is no Three of Cups, no Six of Clubs, no Ten of Hearts or Nine of Hearts on his future timeline, and whether right or wrong, I report the cards I draw or do not draw.

Till next time 🙂

The Fiery Sky Ram Aries, The Emperor, and the Passing of a Prince

Photo by stein egil liland on Pexels.com

9 April 2021

The Tarot’s Emperor  flags up the spirit of Aries, the Ram of spring, cardinal fire sign, and with it the eternal archetype and image of the Emperor or  Patriarch

Our queen is in mourning, and many, many mourn with her. On this day in the season of Aries the Ram, a nation witnesses the passing of Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, first prince of the realm . He has died at a very good age, peacefully in his own home, but it is suspected he had had cancer, had been ill for longer than we, the public, were told, and in this case could not have escaped considerable discomfort or even suffering.

A long and eventful life, high achievements, gifts, talents and endeavours, also great troubles and sorrows. 

Early upheavals, displacement, his family scattered, and further close family losses before he was sixteen. A royal castaway, adrift in Europe, a schoolboy who had to be sent to Britain from Germany, his sister afraid he would get into trouble for goosestepping in the street, a schoolboy, mocking the Nazi salute. An athlete,  a naval officer who saw active service against Nazi Germany, who directly saved many lives at sea through his own quick thinking, who held naval rank for 82 years.

Aged 18 Philip passed out from Dartmouth Naval college, and in January 1940 he joined his first posting onboard the veteran, not to say venerable royal Sovereign class battleship, the HMS Ramillies had served in the Great War, and was built 1916.

Prince Philip served four months as a midshipman patrolling the Indian Ocean, escorting troops from Australia to Egypt.

My maternal grandfather later served as a Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve officer on this same ship in 1944, with my mother, his first child, a baby daughter, born December 1939.

Philip was the real deal, a true Renaissance man of many interests; science, space exploration, even UFO’s, wildlife and adventures for the young of the inner cities. One of my own daughters did The Duke of Edinburgh Award and went camping, much to my happiness because I was becoming too disabled to do these sorts of things with her, to walk with her up on the mountains, as I had done in my teens with my family.

He was a horseman, expert carriage driver, author and artist, painter of landscapes, a husband, father and paterfamilias to three younger generations. 

All this, we are being told, if we didn’t know about it before.

Less commonly reported, is that Prince Philip was a Gemini sun sign subject; hence his curiosity, intellectual agility, humour and restlessness (also perhaps, mischief) His Moon was in Leo (regal, family man, and there is a certain star quality and charisma with this placement.) The Moon sign is an indicator of the emotional temperament.

His Ascending or Rising sign was in Capricorn, and this represents the outer face of the person…duty, dignity and discipline with a red hot bullsh*t detector, and a firm grasp, always, of the reality of the bottom line.

It is the passing of an era.

The Emperor card and Timing

If you ask ‘when?’ and I draw The Emperor, the event in question is likely to occur during the zodiac sign of Aries, late March-late April.

Did I think it would be today, 9 April, the passing of HRH Prince Philip?

Did I look in my Tarot?

No. I did not look in my cards about this. Given the age and recent health issues of the Prince, this news is not unexpected. All the same, I woke one night while he was in the hospital, and thought of him and the thought flashed through my mind, ‘it won;t be now, while he is in the hospital, but before May.’

We had seen the sadness on the face of Prince Charles on his way to visit his father.

The Emperor, ruled by Mars, is in many ways, the opposite number of another classically masculine archetype, The Hermit, whose planetary ruler is Mercury. Both walk alone. The Hermit has learned many things, understands many things, and will shine a light for others. But the Hermit  walks the quieter paths in life, and has to be sought out, while The Emperor feels perhaps even more alone in the eye of the storm in the midst of the machinery of power.

hermit legacy
From The Legacy of The Divine Tarot

The Emperor as an Archetype

For all he was a technocrat, Prince Philip had a poet’s perception, and once said that to change hearts and minds on any great matter, one could do nothing without the arts and religion, and we needed to get all the religions of the world on board to protect endangered wildlife.

This aspect in particular, calls forth the vision of the Tarot’s Hermit card. The Emperor commands, enshrines in law, while The Hermit walks the wild places, in communion with the laws of Nature.

But in zodiac terms, The Emperor marks the rule of Aries, fiery sign of spring, and Philip has passed away under the banner of Aries, the royal warrior Ram.

Life is fierce, getting itself born. The unborn must attack or stay unborn. The fields are full of lambs, but lambing is not gentle.

And a ram may attack anyone entering his field, no less than a bull, and people are still killed by rams. If ever a ram knocks you down, you must stay down. Do not try and get up, or it will keep coming at you.

The Ram at this time of year is driven by the fiercest Life imperative, to defend his patch, his ewes, his lambs.

The Ram of Aries is charging at spring full tilt, the fields, the woods, the hills, the rivers and ponds. Spring has sprung out on the pond here, and you can believe it really is ‘Nature red in tooth and claw’. The coots have already lost their first clutch to the depredations of the gulls. The heron lurks almost invisible in the reeds, so perfect is its camouflage against their winter grey, and the reeds have not yet grown back green. That will not happen till the watch of Taurus.

Video courtesy of Major (ret’d) D P Hazeldine

The Emperor in a personal Tarot reading

The Legacy of The Divine Tarot

The appearance of The Emperor card is likely to be turning the conversation to a senior male figure in your life; a father or grandfather, a husband, and often he is older than you, maybe an employer.

This is the ultimate card of masculinity but of course a woman can also be represented by The Emperor card. Male or female, you could be the Emperor yourself,  for example, in your role as a business owner, or as a manager, soldier, officer, police officer or in many other roles.

In a more abstract sense, this is a card of ‘rendering unto Caesar.’

We all owe dues somewhere, sometime. We all must pay our dues. We can only take out what has been put in the pot.

But Emperors, though they may wield power, are not free. They themselves owe duty. They are not free and they can be brought down. The regalia of power is in token of service. There is no loyalty without reciprocity.

The Emperor may be  a worker in the Civil Service or judiciary. The appearance of this card has several times alerted me to the fact I am sitting with an off-duty police officer, whether male or female.

Once it showed me a judge in the United States.

A client’s son was due in court in the United States. A non-violent offence, a woman had accused him of sexual assault, with potentially very serious consequences for him if found guilty. Not prison, but the client wanted to know the worst, to help herself prepare to support her son and his family, whatever the outcome.

The son had become very depressed waiting for the hearing, had been suspended from his job, a teacher, as was routine in such cases, and banned from seeing his children pending the hearing, and had self-harmed, so the client told me.

I drew  three cards in answer to her question. These were Judgement, The Emperor and Justice.

Based on these cards I felt she would would be greatly relieved by the outcome. I told her so and then something very odd happened.

At the very moment I drew the final card, three greetings cards displayed on the top shelf of a tall bookcase  suddenly flew out mid-air, almost horizontally into the middle of the room, and fluttered to the floor. No open doors, no open windows. Still there was a draught, presumably, but the client was extremely startled. I was a little startled myself, it is fair to say. The movement of the cards in the air flying off the shelves looked so unnatural.

I could not discount the possibility that we had witnessed a manifestation of psychokinesis given the tension attached to the question, the client’s acutely worried state.

It was many months later before I learned the outcome.  The judge had thrown out the case, saying – and these were his actual words apparently, ‘what a crock of sh*t.’

Impersonally, the card signifies government and large corporations organisations,  the Armed Forces, the Law, and global or government organisations

If you are job-hunting and this card comes up, you are likely to find work before long, no matter who the prospective employer may be, while if you have specifically applied to an organisation of this kind, your application looks likely to succeed.

English: Modern bronze statue of Julius Caesar...
English: Modern bronze statue of Julius Caesar, Rimini, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Emperor in real life gets many a bad rap. Many a drubbing. Often well deserved.

The Emperor in his negative aspect is a tyrant or a coward, a bully or a petty pedant. A human monster even.

The ongoing events in Myanmar, a military junta killing its own people, its own children, is a real life demonstration of the worst of The Emperor card drawn reversed.

The ambition of Emperors have over and over again been catastrophic for the peace and happiness of their fellow humans.

Marcus Antonius:
And Caesar’s spirit, raging for revenge,
With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice
Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war,
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.

Julius Caesar Act 3, scene 1, 270-275

The Emperor is but frail and mortal. He has feet of clay. But today, let us think of The Emperor at his very best, in his highest, greatest guise. He is a chevalier, a sheltering tree. Rule with compassion, defender of the small and weak. He is the ardent lover.

He is the one who will fight and die, if that is what it takes, to defend his home and his people. Children and animals are drawn to him, and he is ready to run with them, play like a child.

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

He represents the path of reason and justice and is ready to uphold it by word and deed. He is active in creating order, fixing, mending, making, inventing, reining in his strength at times, exercising it at others so that order prevails, and not everyone gets splattered with the filth of chaos.

Compassion in action, and not just fine words demands courage, nerve and know-how. For compassion of deed and not just words, you have to look to the strong man or woman. In all the light and shade of his complexity, The Emperor represents ‘our’ own menfolk, those we live with, those we work with. Those we love, befriend, honour, love, respect and appreciate.

Even though sometimes we might feel like giving them a ding round the head with a saucepan. The Empress, after all, has her own dominion.

Red earth of Adam, The Emperor may be self sufficient, but at times, there is a certain loneliness. Born to strive, to quest, to see and not to say all that he sees, trusting few with his thoughts or his deepest fears. Throneless Emperors, every one.

RIP, Prince Philip, the once upon a time baby with not even a bed, never mind a home to call his own. He once described himself as a minor Balkan prince of no importance, and he admired so many other lands, yet made his homeland here, joining that company of other, ancient, but never to be forgotten princes, the conquering and the conquered, of these isles, so many times embattled and invaded.

We know all about The Emperor.

harold

Harold Godwinson

Betrayed by his brother

Begged wait by his mother

Story, half told

Stitched in thread

A king still speaks

Of ships on shingle

Ghosts of Senlac

Battled hillside,

Ringed in red.

KE Hazeldine 2017

Bringing in Beltane…Magical May Eve

Photo by Polina Kovaleva on Pexels.com

30 April is also known as May Eve, marking May Day and the beginning of the ancient Celt festival of Beltane.

Beltane begins at dusk on 30 April and is matched by its European counterpart, Walpurgis Nacht, or St Walpurga’s Night in Germanic tradition.

Origins

The two greatest Celtic festivals were Samhain (Halloween) marking the start of winter, and Beltane (April 30/May 1) marking the start of summer.

Beltane ‘the fires of Bel’ began as an ancient fire festival celebrated since at least the Dark Ages if not long before. The celebrations began at dusk on April 30th when great bonfires were lit to welcome the height of spring now associated with the zodiac sign of Taurus the Bull, representing the fertility of spring in full bloom.”

Traditionally,” writes Glennie Kindred (in Sacred Celebrations), “all fires in the community were put out and a special fire was kindled for Beltane. This was the ‘balefire’ or the Teineigen, the ‘need fire.’

Bel or Belenus (Celtic: possibly, Bright One) was a deity associated with pastures, meadows and animal husbandry and other agriculture. He was a fire god rather than a sun god as such, though the sun was used as a common motif in religious imagery.

The cattle were walked between two bonfires in a symbolical purification ritual, to be protected by the smoke from Bel’s fire before being put out to the open pastures for the summer.  Bonfires were lit on sacred hills too, and the smoke was considered a magical blessing on the fields, animals, and community, and was also supposed to maintain a fragile balance, keeping up a smokescreen, literally, between the human and faery realms.

The month of May got its modern name from Maia, also called Flora, the Greek goddess of spring and new abundance. Maia was the oldest of the seven sisters known as the Pleiades, and she was the mother of Hermes (Mercury.) The last zodiac sign of Spring, Gemini, is ruled by airy Mercury, as the air fills with butterflies and pollen.

Flora, or Maia by Botticelli

The name ‘May’ has been used in English since about 1430. Before this time the name of this month was spelled Maius or Mai. The Anglo- Saxons called it Tri-Milchus because all that lush new grass meant cows could now be milked three times a day.

The celebration of May Day has its roots in astronomy, celebrating the halfway point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. It has been celebrated in the British Isles and through much of Europe as a fertility festival since the Dark Ages, and probably before that, with many stories and superstitions attached.

Superstitions

Like Halloween, May Eve and May Day is a magical time of year, liminal, when the veil between different worlds and realities is thinner than at other times of year.

Beltane or Walpurgisnacht is the mirror image, the spring season’s equivalent of Halloween when witches are said to dance at the Devil’s Sabbath.

This is a time for ghosts, but this is also the time of year when folklore suggests you are most likely to meet a supernatural being from the realm of ‘faery.’

Photo by Ellie Burgin on Pexels.com

The Fae are an ancient race and they do not like humans whom they view as destructive, and who is to say they do not have a fair point there. They are not the cute creatures of fairy tale. Such encounters are dangerous and are best avoided – or you may never be seen again. Do not, whatever you do, go to sleep on a fairy hill at any time, but especially not on May Eve or May Day and especially beware of going to sleep under flowering hawthorn bushes ….

Sex and Scandal

The Christian church made attempts to ban May Day festivities outright because of their overtly pagan nature and “lewd” context as an open celebration of male and female sexuality and fertility – ‘a heathenish vanity generally abused to superstition and wickedness.’ 

May Day meant drinking and fighting, another reason for the church’s disapproval, but this in itself harks back to the ancient traditions of the sacrifice of ‘The Green Man’ – a mythical figure representing the eternal battle waged between summer and winter, feast and famine. Many pubs in England are still named The Green Man.

In Padstow, Minehead and some other places in the UK, mischievous hobby-horses (‘osses) roamed the streets in search of unsuspecting young ladies to ‘carry away’ for- ahem, nefarious undisclosed purposes.

Morris dancers up to no good riding with hobbyhorses, Richmond embankment,1620

Men who had been disappointed in love would make straw men representing their rivals and stick them on bushes. These depictions were needless to say, often deeply unflattering, and fighting might well follow once they were discovered and identified and the maker was known.

May Day harks back to the ancient traditions of the sacrifice of ‘The Green Man’ – a mythical figure representing the eternal battle waged between summer and winter, feast and famine. Many pubs in England are still named The Green Man.

This splendid depiction is on a boss in Rochester Cathedral, thanks to Wikimedia Commons.

The Puritans banned May Day under Oliver Cromwell but Charles 11 brought it back into custom after the Restoration.

Maypole Dancing goes back at least to the 14th century, but it seems the custom was very old even then, though the dance as we know it today, so pretty and decorative(and tame) -children dancing in village squares, is probably a Victorian invention . The maypole is generally assumed to be a phallic symbol, but the Norse peoples connected it with tree worship, and this connects British and Germanic tradition going back to a shared proto-germanic culture which is part of the common root culture in British life even today.

The Maypole dancing which so upset the Church and the Puritans comes down to us from the rites of spring dedicated to Freya.

The maypole originally represented a living tree, in particular the giant ash tree Yggdrasil, the great “world tree” of Norse myth, linking the nine worlds of the Norse cosmology including Asgard, land of the gods, Midgard, or Earth and Hel, the underworld.

“Ygg” means terrible. It was on this tree that Odin chose to hang nine days and nights, thirsty and fasting in exchange for the knowledge of the runes. The Norns sit beneath it and when every new person is born, carves their names into its bark…and with it, their destiny, although this can change. The Norns will allow us to rewrite it, unlike the destinies woven by the three Fates of Greek mythology.

Walpurgis Night

Also In the Germanic tradition, Walpurgis Night, on April 30th is a moon festival sacred to the goddess Freya.

“Walpurga” is another one of Freya’s names. The re-dedication of the holiday to “St. Walpurga” was a later Christian addition.

Freya (Old Norse, Freyja meaning “Lady”) is one of the pre-eminent goddesses in Norse mythology. She was the goddess of love and beauty in Norse mythology, the goddess of marriage and family and a great prophetess – a seeress. She taught her husband Odin how to read the runes, and like Odin, she had a fiercer aspect as a patron deity of war and death in battle.

Freya wears a cloak of falcon feathers and has a magical gold necklace called Brísingamen. She rides in a chariot pulled by two cats and a sacred boar called Hildisvíni runs alongside, though he is not shown in this picture.

The cats, it has been speculated, were two male kittens found by Thor. They had been abandoned by their mother and he took them to Freya. What kind of cats? I’d have thought Freya would surely have a pair of Norwegian Forest cats but legends suggests the kittens were grey-blue in colour, and on that basis it has been speculated they may have been Russian Blues.

Bringing in the May

What sort of things did this involve?

I washed my face in water

That had neither rained nor run

And then I dried it on a towel

That was never woven or spun

  • The rhyme suggests go out barefoot very early on May morning, wash your face in that magical dew (or late snow) Your complexion will instantly improve.  Let the wind and sunshine dry your face and you’ll have good luck all year. Well, you can if you want to….depending on the weather, very early morning this time of year can be utterly wonderful
  • Bringing in ‘the may’ means gathering cuttings of flowering trees for magical protection of the home. Bring in branches of forsythia, magnolia, lilac, or other flowering branches. Decorate the doorway to keep unfriendly fae and other spirits away.
  • Make garlands or decorate a basket or a ‘May bush’ with flowers and coloured ribbons. This would often be a hawthorn bush but it doesn’t have to be.
  • If you need to move a bee hive, May 1 is a traditional day for doing it, hopefully clement for the bees.
  • Turnips are traditionally planted on May 1. Plant now for lovely mashed turnip later. What are you waiting for?
  • Fishermen expect to get lucky with catch on May Day.
  • It’s a powerful day for spell-casting…any spells to do with bringing in health, wealth, and abundance. Light a red or pink candle for love or passion…but be careful what you wish for, and it is unlucky to try and take what is not rightfully available to you.
  • Traditionally it is unlucky to get married in May. ‘Marry in May, regret it for aye.’ But not to panic if you’ve got the date already booked. The writer of this article was born on May Eve and got married in May – 30 years ago this year- and like all of us, has had mixed luck in life but so far is still married.

Until next time 🙂

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