Posts Tagged ‘Caitlin Matthews’

“Samhain- A Celtic Winter Song”

November 1, 2014

Kohut-Bartels-LS-3

“Dawn Mallards”, watercolor, Jane Kohut-Bartels

I love the Celtic Seasons and the mystical qualities that go with them.  After decades of struggling with the major religions, feeling beaten down by Christianity and Judaism in oppressive measures in the hands of oppressive people,  coming to Celtic Spirituality was coming home.  There was something about this devotional that fit with so much of my own questing nature. It was part of the spiritual practice that reflected an earlier, primal animistic spirituality and in a real sense, also reflected that which I had been finding in my own study of Shinto.  I felt no dogmatic pressure and found a particular peace.

There is a small book I find most helpful in a daily way:  Caitlin Matthews’ “Celtic Devotional”. A few words from this book on Samhain (Sow-when)

“The winter quarter of Samhain brings the gifts of restoration and renewal as the cold weather closes in. The soul is lead to more reflective depths.  It is traditionally associated with the remembrance of the ancestors, with the coming of death and the conception of new life. Samhain corresponds with the period of old age, when wisdom, freedom of spirit and clarity are experienced, a good time to celebrate the lives of wise elders, and those who have brought resolution and peace.”

The season of Samhain is from November 1st to January 31st.

My father, though he has been dead twenty five years this November 5th, is one of those who impacted me with his own freedom of spirit and unflagging courage.  He didn’t live to read this poem, but every line has something of him in it.

Lady Nyo

Dark mysterious season,

when the light doesn’t

quite reach the ground,

the trees shadow puppets

moving against the gray of day.

I think over the past year

praying there has been a

kindling in my soul,

the heart opened, warmed

and the juiciness of life is

more than in the loins–

a stream of forgiveness

slow flowing through the tough fibers

not stopper’d with an underlying

bitterness

but softened with compassion.

This season of constrictions,

unusual emptiness,

brittle like dried twigs

desiccated by hoar frost

just to be endured.

I wrap myself in wool and

watch the migrations–

first tender song birds which harken

back to summer,

then Sandhill cranes,

legs thin banners

streaming behind white bodies,

lost against a snowy sky.

They lift off to a middling cosmos,

while I, earth-bound,

can only flap the wings of my shawl,

poor plumage for such a flight,

and wonder about my own destination.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2010-2014, first published in “White Cranes of Heaven”, published by Lulu.com, 2011

Witches, Warlocks and other Narcissistic beings….Plus a poem.

August 23, 2013
"Viriditas", wc, janekohut-bartels, 2000

“Viriditas”, wc, janekohut-bartels, 2000

 

ODE TO A COOPERS HAWK

 

Come to me.

Come to me,

Winged celestial beauty.

Come to me with your notched

Mermaid tail,

Your silken roll of feathers.

Fly down into my hollowed-out soul,

Fill me with your sun-warmed glory

Nestle in my arms

And bring the curve of the horizon

Embraced in your outstretched wings.

 

I need no white bearded prophet,

No mumbled prayer, no gospel song

No witchy woman, no charms or spells,

No hard church bench, no fast or

Festival to feel close to the Divine.

 

 

The glory of the universe,

Is embodied in your flight

As you tumble through heavens,

Ride the invisible thermals

Screech with joy at freedom

Fill your lungs with thin air

And play bumper car with an Eagle.

 

I, earthbound,

No hollowed bones to launch me,

Just tired soul to weigh down,

No soft plumage to feel the course

Of wind through glossy feathers

No hunting call to herald my presence.

 

Still my soul takes flight

The breeze lifts my spirit,

My eyes follow you,

And we will find that glory

Transcend a sullen earth,

Transcend a mean humanity

And soar together into the blue eye of God.

‘Ode To A Cooper’s Hawk’ is from “Pitcher of Moon” Poems of Gratitude and Blessings, to be published soon. 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2012-13 

 

Witches, Warlocks and Other Narcissistic Beings…

Recently  we were sitting around talking, a few women of an advanced  age and with lots of life experience.  We were talking about some experiences that didn’t sit well with us, generally of the religious or spiritual kind. 

Some felt battered by experiences earlier on in Christianity. One woman was a Jew and had left that faith.  One woman had considered herself a witch when she was younger and  was part of a well-known coven here.  She also left that after a decade, and we settled upon this discussion. 

Readers of this blog know that I have fled the religious fundamentalism of part of my family.  It has shown itself to be a punitive religion in the hands of people I now consider to be part of this narcissistic ball of wax.   Nothing good here, except a continuation of the power and control and contempt of the chief narcissist.  The apples don’t fall far from the tree, and there is comfort for them in this.  Ignorance and cruelty of minds, too.   I was looking for something a bit kinder, something that didn’t batter over the head.

The good news is I have found a spiritual ‘place’, not a religious place, in the writings of Caitlin Matthews, and especially her book “Celtic Devotional”, which is an approach to the spiritual through a combination of animistic spirituality of earlier times and from the Celtic  Christianity that developed out of this foundation. I have grown to understand this more, and it has become a great inspiration (or conduit) into my own nature and spiritual poetry.  A more recent beginning study of Shintoism has added to this. One must feel open and relaxed and welcomed in any spiritual study. I certainly didn’t find that in a Calvinist fundamental religion.  I felt what was intended: diminished and a particular battering.  But perhaps that is all one can expect from certain Bible wielders.

However, years ago, I did attend some Wicca meetings, travelling far out and returning in the black of night. It was weird.  Most of the witches and warlocks were garbed in strange costumes, like at some festival.  They frowned a lot.   And, they were not taking questions.

A few short years ago, my husband and I attended a Beltane festival.  We sent in our $120.00 and got our admittance vouchers by mail.  When we got there they had no record that we had applied.  This was not a great beginning, but was mostly just something to work out. It would get worse.

As we drove down the road, on our right we saw what appeared to be pale boulders.  It was a woman, probably over 500 pounds sitting naked in a field.  In a way, it was intriguing, not for her nakedness, but because just of the sheer mass of human flesh.  I hoped she was sitting on a blanket because later we found that red ants were prominent in these fields.  But this was also disturbing because it was clear she was on display.  It wasn’t her nakedness on display, it was the sheer mass of her.  But why?

The issues with this Beltane festival were to come.  I was a belly dancer and one who, along with a tribe of Urban/Rom dancers, was to dance that night. Although we have different forms of dance and very different costumes, I was excited to work with other bellydancers.  This was the positive part.

What wasn’t positive was the attitude of the Witches officiating.  There was a big area for the firepit  that night, and we were directed to walk this large circle and clean out any stones or pebbles so people would not injure their feet.  I was game, and talked with people by my side.  Immediately a witch (let me call her a bitch here) yelled at me to ‘be quiet’.  This was to be done in silence.  I thought about this and decided:  No.  It was a boring task, one I did not have to do, so I would get to know some of the other people there.  And people also felt that this witch was oppressive.  It got worse.

Obviously the witches decided that they would not mingle with us mortals…and had their own roped off showers and bathrooms.  The other bathrooms were outhouses that hadn’t been cleaned in years.  They were unusable. Disgusting.  The smell would kill you.  These witches also saw fit that they would not eat with us attendees.  They segregated themselves off somewhere else.

It became rather laughable.  They might have organized this festival, but they were clearly lifting themselves above and beyond the rest of us…and there were about 200 people there.  There were programs, for lack of anything else to call them…where the witches would choose who would attend.  They stood outside  the large tents and IF you approached, and found not on their lists, you would be rejected.  It got to be a game and we had to make a decision whether to leave or not.  It just didn’t make any damn sense.  It was all an issue of power and control of these women, and it smacked of narcissism.  We guessed this was their time to feel powerful. Ugh.  And where did they get their authority???  It was damned oppressive and just ….well, silly.

However, we didn’t leave. It was a long 2 hour trip back to our home, and we decided that the evening would have to be better.  It was, but not because of any witchy presence.  The drummers, about 15, sat up on a hill over the fire pit and were marvelous.  Pipers, tambourines,  some Spanish sounding guitarists with a lot of amplification just made the music great.  The fire in the pit was huge…we dancers danced around the fire for quite a while, but it is hard to walk constantly and dance the belly dance moves we are taught. Plus, the fire was HOT!  But we stayed, enchanted by the musicians and the nicer Warlocks.  These men were not so pompous as the witches.  They were rather sweet, interested in our dance forms, our costumes (and with some of the dancers…their LACK of costumes….).  I danced for around 8 hours, falling easily into Hyper arousal Trance.  My husband finally had to lead me out of the trance and back to where we had pitched our tent.  He saw the signs. 

We slept in our opened up sleeping bags, under a night time sky with so many stars above that I couldn’t sleep.  No moon, but I hadn’t seen so many stars before.  City lights take their numbers away, dull their brilliance, but here they were filling the bowl of night above us.  It was something I will never forget.

During that night, we heard some screams and a lot of shouting from down in the valley.  In the morning we found out  one of the main witches had a meltdown and attacked another witch.  We decided it was time to leave.  The police had been called. Rather a sorry ending for this hallowed festival of Beltane.

Even though we were now over any interest in Wicca, and we knew this  Beltane celebration was a farce,We were still uplifted by the music and stars from the night before.  We had to pull something positive out of the hat.

Lady Nyo

 

 


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