Apr 30, 2008

The Fires of Beltane

Come join me in Loch Avie at 7pm tonight as we celebrate Beltane!

The Fires of Love (Beltane)

by: Ian R. Thorpe

Embrace the purifying flame,
throw off the cloak of inhibition.
Stoke the good fires of Beltane
and let the flames fuel love’s fission.

The sun climbs high to summer glory,
unfolds the leaf and swells the bud,
delivering all of nature’s dowry
and a promise, now misunderstood.

From atom’s heart to human heart
spring passes the vitalising flame
and in each nucleus a spark
sets passion’s ardent torch aflame.


A seed begins to grow in the Highland soil of the middle ages

The Veil between the worlds grows thinner. I found myself falling through the standing stones last night. I seemed to be in the lands and times of my ancestors. Even there the fertile summer season was upon the land. Perhaps this portal will remain open to us through the fires of Beltane.

Rapid, unusual growth in this time and place

Apr 24, 2008

Beltane Celebration - April 30th

Spring is here! For many of us, this means a relief from the cold, dark days and snows of winter. As the days lengthen and get warmer, we are greeted by the rebirth of the earth itself: bulbs come up and bloom, filling the air with their heady, tempting fragrance; birds chirp and sing as they return from their winter migrations to build their nests; cats yowl out their urgent readiness for motherhood. All around us are symbols of fertility, growth, warmth and light.

Please join us in Loch Avie on April 30th for the Beltane Festival beginning at 7:00pm SLT

  • Gathering 7:00-7:10pm SLT
  • Recognition of the Knights of the Order of the Red Rose (knighted at last Beltane)
  • Recognition of the Court of Loch Avie
  • Lighting of the Beltane Fires - Ceremony in the Standing Stones
  • Music
  • Maypoles
  • Gifts of light to take back to your own dark hearths
  • Dancing
  • A few surprises....perhaps traveling through time
  • Places to be alone with your God or Goddess to celebrate the fertility and the renewal of life.

Historic Beltane

Beltane is an old Celtic Fire Ritual which celebrates, at the most fundamental level, the end of winter and the beginning of the warmer, lighter half of the year. It is the counterpart to Samhain, which marks the Pagan New Year and celebrates ancestors and the death of the crops (harvest). Beltane celebrates life. For the Celts, it was a festival that insured fertility and growth.

Beltane is one of the four major Sabbats in the Celtic tradition, the other three being Lammas, Samhain and Imbolc. Beltane's traditional date, May 1st, was chosen as the midway point between the vernal equinox and summer solstice (two of the four minor Sabbats).

It is believed that Beltane is a Celtic reinvention of an even older Roman festival, Floralia, which celebrated the goddess Flora and the flowering of spring. Most major religions have a holiday that marks the coming of spring. The Christian religion celebrates rebirth (or resurrection) on Easter; Easter eggs, Easter bunnies, chicks, and lilies are all pagan symbols of fertility associated with spring, adapted to the Christian tradition. The Hindu religion celebrates Holi, a carnival-like spring festival, dedicated to Krishna or Kama, the God of Pleasure. This festival resembles Beltane, with bonfires being a main focus of the holiday.

Traditionally, Beltane festivities began days before May 1st or "May Day," when villagers traveled into the woods to gather the nine sacred woods needed to build the Beltane bonfires. The tradition of "May Boughing" or "May Birching" involved young men fastening garlands of greens and flowers on the windows and doors of their prospective ladyloves before the fires are lit Beltane night. As with many Celtic customs, the type of flowers or branches used carried symbolic meaning, and much negotiating and courting could be worked out ahead of time.

Many communities elected a virgin as their "May Queen" to lead marches or songs. To the Celts, she represented the virgin goddess on the eve of her transition from Maiden to Mother. Depending on the time and place, the consort might be named "Jack-in-the-Green" or "Green Man," "May Groom" or "May King." The union of the Queen and her consort symbolized the fertility and rebirth of the world.

Because the Celtic day started and ended at sundown, the Beltane celebration would begin at sundown on April 30th. After extinguishing all hearth fires in the village, two Beltane fires were lit on hilltops. The villagers would drive their livestock between the fires three times, to cleanse them and insure their fertility in the coming summer, and then put them to summer pasture. Then the human part of the fertility ritual would begin.

As dancing around the bonfires continued through the night, customary standards of social behavior were relaxed. It was expected that young couples would sneak off into a ditch, the woods or, better yet, a recently plowed field for a little testing of the fertility waters. Even after hand-fasting was replaced by the Christian tradition of monogamous marriage, the Beltane ritual continued with a new tradition: all marriage vows were temporarily suspended for the festival of Beltane. Many a priest would lament the number of virgins despoiled on this one night, but the tradition persevered. Babies born from a Beltane union were thought to be blessed by the Goddess herself.

Beltane, like Samhain, is a time when the veil between the worlds is thought to be thin, a time when magic is possible. Whereas Samhain revelers must look out for wandering souls of the dead, Beltane merrymakers must watch for Fairies. Beltane is the night when the queen of the fairies will ride out on her white steed to entice humans away to Faeryland.

The maypole, which was either a permanent feature or cut in a ceremony during the gathering of the nine sacred woods, was a symbolic union of the God and Goddess. The maypole itself represented the male, a phallus thrust into mother earth, while the ribbons that were wound around it represent the enveloping nature of the woman and her womb. The maypole was usually danced after sunrise, when disheveled men and women would stagger back into town carrying flowers they picked in the forests or fields. The area around the maypole was decorated with the flowers, and then the winding of the ribbons would begin.

from: Welcome in the May by Annwn

We were there last night when the dark drew down:
we set the bonfires leaping.
Then we vanished in the heather
and we couldn't be found until the dawn came creeping.

Did it get a little warm around the fire last night?
Were the flames a little higher than they had the right?
Was your breath a little heavy and your dress a little tight
and the moon too bright for sleeping?

Apr 23, 2008

Spring Is A Lovely Time For Flight

As you may have noticed, I am finding Beltane and Springtime inspiration in many places. Some are quite obvious and others, like this particular one, are a bit more obscure. But the occurrence, which I will outline below, sent me on a new quest. A quest for poems on ballooning. I found several worthy candidates, but the e.e. cummings piece that was ultimately selected hit the sweet spot, as it were.

Several nights ago now (and I do apologize for my lack of content at this site of late) I was working on Taigh Róis connecting it to my keep when I heard the familiar whooshing sound of a hot air balloon. Looking over at my mini map I saw at least two green dots headed my way. Stepping out onto my newly created walkway and peering past my new colony of bats (thanks to Lady Kate Nicholas for helping me create the walkway and also for pointing me in the direction of the bat dealership) I saw a large green balloon heading my way.

Imagine the pleasant surprise when I noticed that it was Subedar Singh flying along with Colonel O'Toole. I had not seen Mr. Singh in several months around Caledon (or anywhere on my friends list at all). They both waved a hearty hello to me and I climbed up to the battlements of the keep where I could converse with them more easily. After chatting for a little while and catching up with Mr. Singh - learning of his real life adventures as a father of four energetic children and his ongoing work at his university - the gentlemen wondered if I would care to join them for trip across Caledon. Having lost my appetite for construction, I decided that I would tag along for at least part of the trip.

We set out from the Loch and traveled briefly over into Lovelace, where we found Her Grace Primverness hard at work on her skyplat. We chatted briefly with her, but decided not to disturb her overmuch. Waving a cheerful farewell, we headed north once again.

We crossed uneventfully into and through Victoria City, through Carntaigh, and generally northward until we reached Penzance.

We got caught on the sim border for a little while, and after we escaped her clutches, I needed to turn in for the night.

I bid my tour-guides adieu and headed back to Loch Avie tossing over my shoulder as I went, "Hotspur! Make sure your friend does not stay away from us so long next time!"

Who Knows if the Moon's A Balloon

who knows if the moon’s
a balloon, coming out of a keen city
in the sky–filled with pretty people?
and if you and I should

get into it, if they
should take me and take you into their balloon,
why then
we’d go up higher with all the pretty people

than houses and steeples and clouds:
go sailing
away and away sailing into a keen
city which nobody’s ever visited, where

it’s Spring and everyone’s
in love
and flowers pick themselves

Apr 21, 2008

And Can It Be? Yea. Lord Shakespeare Takes On Pulp Fiction.

Prithee, do collect thyself and read on in Lady Kate's exquisite ætheric journal.

Apr 20, 2008

A Blessed Pesach

For those of my readers of the Jewish Faith, I wish you a blessed Passover this day.

Apr 18, 2008

Beltane Celebration is Drawing Nigh

More to come.....

Apr 17, 2008

Springtime and Longing


The moon had cast its heavenly glow outside my window pane.
Its luminary essence pulled me closer and closer.
I looked up into the night sky and saw the stars smiling.
Realizing they were trying to tell me something, I pressed my back upon
the cool green grass and listened.

The earth was sleeping, but I was awake.
I couldn't sleep - all I could do was think of you.
I knew you existed somewhere within my soul
because my heart ached for your touch.
How I longed for the caress of your sweet lips upon mine
or the gentle way you held me in your arms.
The wind whispered your name in my ear and a smile came to my face.
I pictured us dancing - my hand in yours.

An angel's voice echoed from the heavens as we danced just you and I.
Your eyes, an ocean of blue and gold, gazing into mine.
It was as if you were truly there, in my arms,
no longer a figment of my untamed desires.
I could feel you.

How I hated letting go of this blissful longing, but I had to.
For the candle- lit night slowly began to flicker into the morn.
It was only for a moment, however, that you escaped my mind,
for the warmth of the rising sun embraced my being
as you so tenderly did the night before.

Apr 15, 2008

Celebrating Spring and the Approach of Beltane

A Prayer in Spring

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
To which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends he will,
But which it only needs that we fulfill.

Robert Frost

The first in a series of artwork, poetry, and stories preparing us for the celebration of Beltane on April 30th.

Apr 12, 2008

Arabian Nights - Presented by Steelhead and Loch Avie

A grand time at the Grande Hotel and Ballroom in Steelhead last evening as Loch Avie co-hosted another event with the citizens of that fair city. Silks, strong coffee, delicacies from exotic locations, plush pillows, a hookah, and lots of fun and dancing.

As I searched for the best music for this particular themed piece, I stumbled upon the lyrics for an Arabic song made popular well in the future (1996), Habibi ya nour el-ain. In general the romance of the piece suits me although it can be quite repetitive. In this instance I was captivated by the line, "You live in my imagination." The stories we tell here in world must begin in the imaginations of all of us.

I hope you will enjoy.

Habibi ya nour el-ain
Ya sakin khayali
A’ashek bakali sneen wala ghayrak bibali

Habibi, Habibi, Habibi ya nour el-ain, aah
Habibi, Habibi, Habibi ya nour el-ain
Ya sakin khayali

Agmal a’ouyoun filkone ana shiftaha ...
Allah a’alake allah a’la sihraha
A’oyonak maa’aya ...
A’oyonak kifaya ...
Tinawar layali

Habibi, Habibi, Habibi ya nour el-ain, aah
Habibi, Habibi, Habibi ya nour el-ain
Ya sakin khayali

Kalbak nadani wkal bithibini
Allah a’alake allah
Maa’ak elbidaya ...
Wkoul elhikaya ...
Maa’ak lilnihaya

English Translation:
My darling, you are the glow in my eyes
You live in my imagination
I adored you for years, no one else in my mind
My darling , my darling, my darling
glow in my eyes, aah
My darling, my darling, my darling glow in my eyes
You live in my imagination
The most beautiful eyes I ever saw in this universe.
God be with you ... what magic eyes.
Your eyes are with me ...
That is enough ...
They light the nights.
My darling, my darling, my darling glow in my eyes
You live in my imagination
Your heart called me and told me you love me
God be with you
You reassured me.
You have the beginning ...
And all the story ...
I will be with you to the end.

Apr 8, 2008

Found on Miss Wozniak's blog

I enjoyed this find so much, that I wanted to pass it along. And I have linked her blog should you care to go exploring it.

Steelhead and Loch Avie to Host Dance

Arabian Nights

Please join Steelhead and Caledon Loch Avie on April 11th at 7pm-9pm SLT for the Arabian Themed Dance in Steelhead's Grande Hotel and Ballroom.

Apr 6, 2008

Chan Eil Sgiorta! (Only slightly OOC for Caledonian Men)

It's NOT a skirt! It is most certainly a KILT (fèileadh).

(originally posted during a mock-u-mercial contest.)
I found this again today and enjoyed it so much that I had to post it. Really - it's not all that out of character for some of our Caledonian men. Defenders of our fair State, our freedom, our lovely ladies, and our right to wear kilts (tartan or not).

And don't forget they also defend the rights of the ladies to wonder, "Dè th'ort fo d'fhèileadh?"

Apr 4, 2008

In Taberna: Bibit Eva Atque Amici

In taberna quando sumus,
non curamus quid sit humus, 
sed ad ludum properamus, 
cui semper insudamus. 
quid agatur in taberna 
ubi nummus est pincerna, 
hoc est opus ut quaeratur; 
si quid loquar, audiatur. 
Quidam ludunt, 
quidam bibunt, 
quidam indiscrete vivunt. 
sed in ludo qui morantur, 
ex his quidam denudantur, 
quidam ibi vestiuntur, 
quidam saccis induuntur; 
ibi nullus timet mortem, 
sed pro Baccho mittunt sortem.
Primo pro nummata vini; 
ex hac bibunt libertini; 
semel bibunt pro captivis, 
post haec bibunt ter pro vivis, 
quater pro Christianis cunctis, 
quinquies pro fidelibus defunctis, 
sexies pro sororibus vanis, 
septies pro militibus silvanis. 
octies pro fratribus perversis, 
nonies pro monachis dispersis, 
decies pro navigantibus, 
undecies pro discordantibus, 
duodecies pro paenitentibus, 
tredecies pro iter agentibus.
Tam pro papa quam pro rege 
bibunt omnes sine lege. 
Bibit hera, bibit herus, 
bibit miles, bibit clerus, 
bibit ille, bibit illa, 
bibit servus cum ancilla, 
bibit velox, bibit piger, 
bibit albus, bibit niger, 
bibit constans, bibit vagus, 
bibit rudis, bibit magus, 
Bibit pauper et aegrotus, 
bibit exul et ignotus, 
bibit puer, bibit canus, 
bibit praesul et decanus, 
bibit soror, bibit frater, 
bibit anus, bibit mater, 
bibit ista, bibit ille, 
bibunt centum, bibunt mille.   
Parum sescentae nummatae 
durant cum immoderate 
bibunt omnes sine meta, 
quamvis bibant mente laeta; 
sic nos rodunt omnes gentes, 
et sic erimus egentes. 
qui nos rodunt confundantur 
et cum iustis non scribantur.  
English Translation:  
When we are in the tavern,
we do not think how we will go to dust,
but we hurry to gamble,
which always makes us sweat.
What happens in the tavern,
where money is host,
you may well ask,
and hear what I say.   
Some gamble, some drink,
some behave loosely.
But of those who gamble,
some are stripped bare,
some win their clothes here,
some are dressed in sacks.
Here no-one fears death,
but they throw the dice 
in the name of Bacchus. 
First of all it is to the wine-merchant
the the libertines drink,
one for the prisoners,
three for the living,
four for all Christians,
five for the faithful dead,
six for the loose sisters,
seven for the footpads in the wood, 
Eight for the errant brethren,
nine for the dispersed monks,
ten for the seamen,
eleven for the squabblers,
twelve for the penitent,
thirteen for the wayfarers.
To the Pope as to the king
they all drink without restraint. 
The mistress drinks, the master drinks,
the soldier drinks, the priest drinks,
the man drinks, the woman drinks,
the servant drinks with the maid,
the swift man drinks, the lazy man drinks,
the white man drinks, the black man drinks,
the settled man drinks, the wanderer drinks,
the stupid man drinks, the wise man drinks. 
The poor man drinks, the sick man drinks,
the exile drinks, and the stranger,
the boy drinks, the old man drinks,
the bishop drinks, and the deacon,
the sister drinks, the brother drinks,
the old lady drinks, the mother drinks,
this man drinks, that man drinks,
a hundred drink, a thousand drink. 
Six hundred pennies would hardly suffice, 
if everyone drinks immoderately and immeasurably.
However much they cheerfully drink 
we are the ones whom everyone scolds,
and thus we are destitute.
May those who slander us be cursed
and may their names not be written 
in the book of the righteous.
Carl Orff once again provided inspiration to me. This time, I sent out an invitation to my friends in the Court of Loch Avie and the Academy of Arms as well as a few others, and we went on a pub crawl, which I happily captured and set to the music.

My Thanks go to:

Hotspur O'Toole
Exrex Somme
Gabrielle Riel
Roberto Viking
ZenMondo Wormser
Miss Aeon (so nice to have met you)
Iason Hassanov
Subghoul Epsilon
June Wozniak
Diamanda Gustafson
Edwina Heron
Jameson Despres
Rudolfo Woodget
Eugenia Burton

Filmed on location at the Loch Avie Public House, The Blarney Stone, The Raven, The Bashful Peacock, and The Loft.


Apr 3, 2008

The Water Horse for Life

"Nellie, love....while you look so proper and attractive in your traveling cloak from Miss Tomobola's collection, and really dear...thank you for wearing the family tartan...I think we need to work on your delivery. Captain Margulis is not going to be happy if you bully the Lindens out of the residents of Caledon as you do your part for the Relay For Life."
coached the Duchess of Loch Avie.