A Spirited Wassail

A Temporary Veil

I wasn't going to start with the weather this week, really I wasn't, but during the night Goddess cloaked  the land in a thin veil of the white sparkly snow and it was a rather beautiful sight to wake up this morning - especially as we knew it wouldn't last too long! 
So that's the weather out of the way, what else have I been up to this week? 
I seem to have spent the week marvelling at amazing sunrises and sunsets on my way to and from work, as well as doing a bit of work in between! 
Linton Hill
I really love my job and all the fabulous characters - both clients and staff that I work and wouldn't change it for the world, these are the people that happily embraced Gabriel Roth's Endless Wave in 'movement to music' - (we can't call it a dance session, as we're not trained dance teachers, just in case you were wondering) and not only humour my rapt descriptions of sunrises on the way in, but share them with me, such as this point on the journey in that I share with one of my team Emma, we often mention it's beauty and admire the sun through the trees. So it was with delight this week I managed to find a quiet enough moment to snap the sun through the trees. 

As much as I love it there are days when I'd rather be at home or roaming around the fields and woods, and sometimes struggle to weigh
up my work/spiritual balance during the week, rushing around with work, children, life and remembering to find enough of the right time for Goddess - Imagine my delight when I found this little gem hiding under some boots I was looking for last week, I'd bought it in a charity shop and forgotten about it. I was even more delighted when I started reading it and found that it's authoress Zsuzsanna Budapest (whose book The Holy Book of Women's Mysteries sparked my interest and set me on my path over 30 years ago) is wickedly funny and has the whole work/spiritual balance firmly in perspective - a suitable midway between ball busting workaholic, uber-focussed career woman and lentil proffering commune dwelling free spirit. I'll discuss it in more detail when I've finished reading it, but so far I'm acknowledging my wild woman and finding her a place to sit with me while I'm working...

The highlight of my week has undoubtedly been the Wassail I went to with my friends  David and Kie last night at Pevensey. We had to stop the
car on the way down to take time out to admire the amazing fiery sunset, all of taking photos and bathing in the orange light, much to the confusion of passing motorists! Traditionally a Wassail is a ceremony involving singing and drinking, intended to awaken the apple trees, scare of evil spirits and ensure a bumper harvest for the orchard particularly prevalent in cider producing regions, such as Kent and Somerset. 
This particular Wassail was held at the Oak and Castle Pub (always a good start) - adjacent to the ruins of Pevensey castle and was hosted by a locally based drumming group - Pentacle Drummers . Before the event started although the castle was closed by then, we took advantage of the remaining
Pevensey Castle
twilight to explore the grounds surrounding the ruins. Taking a few minutes to ground myself again, we explored the dark grounds independently of each other, there were certainly a few odd spots in there and on more than one occasion I had to tell my hammering heart, that it and the rising hairs on the back of my neck would not get the better of me and that I was going to take some photos! At one point on the bridge by the main entrance, as a noise snapped right beside me I had to close my eyes and envisage Goddess walking right beside as I walked back to join the others, determined not to look back! There was another spot by the old Roman wall where there was a 8 or 10 drop, a woman's voice in my head was insistently telling me to move away before I fell in.... regrouped and not unmoved by the experience we headed for the pub and a sustaining mulled cider, as you do! After discussing our exploration it was comforting to know that the others had identical feelings in the same places!

The brilliant Pentacle Drummers started the Wassail off with 
Tribal Unity
some wicked powerful and energetic drumming that tangibly raised the energy in the old market place in front of the pub and echoed against the walls of the castle, resonating through us. It felt both primitive and natural at the same time, I could imagine my ancestors listening to this round many a fire! This was followed by dancing from a Tribal Unity that infused many different dances, cultures and traditions, influences from India, Middle East, Romania and Asia just for a start - it even had old two left feet me swaying my hips to the music! After this we had the Hunter's Moon Morris
Hunter's Moon Morris
Dancers complete with weird mist in the photo and then Smoke and Mirrors - Fire Dancers before the actual Wassail. Usually this would be in an Orchard or grove but this year a young apple tree was the centre of attention in the ceremony in the Market Place before it's eventual planting in the pub garden which all felt quite fitting. In a circle the 4 quarters were called in as well as Goddess and the Gods and we sang a Wassail Song with some gusto by torchlight and lantern light (the proper old fashioned sort, no batteries) before the apple tree was blessed and toasted by everyone 
in the circle with some lovely local cider, the cry of 'Wassail!!!!!!' replied with by a lusty 'Drink Ale!!!' 
It really was a thoroughly brilliant evening, the performers were all going to do another slot each, but having observed the moon with it's beautiful rainbow halo, a reflection of forming ice crystals, we decided to start our journey back as it would take over an hour and it was absolutely freezing! My feet had just about thawed out when I got home, full of plans for my very own wassail next year on the allotment with my 4 mini trees, maybe less fire dancing though....

Well those keen readers amongst you will no doubt be marvelling at my early post! Tonight we have our first online moot at my local group - Maidstone Pagans that I admin for so I need to get myself organised, not sure how this is going to pan out, but I'm sure you'll hear about it next week! I took so many photos that there was no way they could all go into my blog, so I'm going to add them to my facebook page if you are interested!
      Find me here :  https://www.facebook.com/walkingwithmygoddess/ 

Have a Blessed Week x x 


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