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Finding the Pagan Way

December 1st, 2015

Living with Spirituality
For me, Neopaganism is about reaching out to the universe and listening to the messages that spirit gives us. This is not always an easy task,- accepting the advice of spirit does not always guarantee an easy passage through life. Listening to spirit, or the “God(s)/Goddess(‘s)” is a path which is open to everyone, regardless of belief. Even an atheist who follows their “hunches” is doing exactly the same thing. The beauty and the freedom of neopaganism lies in the acceptance of many paths to wisdom and guidance. My own journey consisted of finding the “truths” in many beliefs, until I reached a point of total acceptance of my own uncertainty,- and the value of every belief system for people at various points in their journey towards awakening. Over time I widened my views until I was able to accept that almost every belief system is a valid tool for dealing with life, for those who are in need of that particular level of guidance. For example,-as a devout Catholic, I received help and guidance in response to my prayers and questions. Then as I explored many other beliefs,- I found the same loving response from the universe, regardless of my particular view at the time of asking.

Angels in the Wind

I stand and feel the wind’s embrace,- as kisses, soft as feathers, touch my smiling face.
Gentle laughter, hushed as falling snow is calling,- and it leads me where I need to go.
Swirling leaves are blowing all around,-that somehow leave a gleaming trace.
But as the seasons meet within my heart, I feel a joy, an all-consuming grace.

It grieves me little now to say that all I think I know will, someday, pass away.
It does not matter that the world will turn and all my dreams may die and never be reborn.
This perfect moment is enough, within the pause between the night time and the day.
With tiny angels dancing all around in laughter and in play.

“Walk with us between the worlds and let imagination fly.
We will show that all who ever lived , will never die.
We will heal your aching heart and help you understand,
That only love can heal the world and soothe the heart of man.”

Patrick W Kavanagh 16/11/2015

Art by Bill Oliver boysoblue.com

paganway

 

If there was one gift that I could give to the world, it would be the gift of uncertainty.
Tempered with acceptance,- it is the royal road to calmness and peace of mind. When we accept uncertainty as a working principle in our lives , we can learn to no longer feel threatened by the beliefs of others, and can treat those who are desperately afraid with more patience. The evangelist, the fanatics and the elitists are simply terrified of uncertainty. This is why they cannot reason with others or live in peace. Once we accept uncertainty, we can become open to hearing the song of the universe much more clearly,- although our human condition makes full understanding very unlikely, until we have evolved a great deal more. Nevertheless, it is a powerful tool for increasing the likelihood of spiritual awakening.
Certainty

Like a suit of armour,
Polished gold that gleams and sparkles in the light.
That Blessed Shield that keeps our ego safe.
No nagging doubts disturb us in the night.
No second thoughts to make our conscience chafe.

The Joy of never being wrong,
Those great eternal truths that beam down from above.
Our principles that keep us different from the milling throng.
When we love Certainty,
It’s charms can keep us safe from any other love.

We feel misunderstood by those who do not truly Know.
Their dreadful ignorance and anarchy surrounds us every day.
If only we could set them on the path they need to go.
If only they could understand the things we try to say,
Then we could let them bask in our enlightened glow.

But then,
How can I teach the sparrow how to fly?
They seemed to know just what to do,
Before I ever had a chance to teach them how.

I often watch in envy as they dance and weave beneath the evening sky.
The crimson setting sun, that lights their antics, lights the furrows on my brow.
Streaking red and gold across the purple hills and dark green fields,
It’s rainbow glory blinds my eyes and lets me see,
This world was doing fine before there ever was a Me.

Patrick W Kavanagh
01/08/2013.
I believe that we are immortal, spiritual beings who are undergoing transformation and evolution trough our interactions on the earth plane. If this is true, then there are no absolute “rights” and “wrongs”. I feel that exercising, Love, Fairness and Compassion are likely to lead to less suffering for ourselves and those around us, but regardless of our actions, we will all awaken to our true self in time. This is why I consider reincarnation to be a very strong possibility. There seems to be quite a bit of evidence in favour of its reality, but, of course we cannot be certain!. Brightest Blessings.
So Many Worlds in One
So many worlds in one.
Maybe in some far off time they will return to where they’ve first begun.
Spirit flies beyond the bounds of space and time,
The past, the present and the future beat within a single endless rhyme.

The poet and the prophet speak with just one single voice.
We listen to their ramblings and their ravings, for we sense they have no choice.
They only say the things they hear, and try to show the things they see.
But neither they, nor we, can truly understand, until our ego’s cease to be.

Yet the world we know is sometimes kind,
And the worlds beyond this world can heal the heart and mind.
If we open up our eyes and see the vastness of eternity,
It’s there in front of us, if we could only stop the world, and simply be.
Patrick W Kavanagh
27/04/2014

paganway2

PaganWay

 

Finding the Pagan Way

This is your world!
Have you ever wondered if the possibilities in your life are much greater than you have been led to believe? Have you had moments when your mind seemed to expand and the world seemed a brighter friendlier place? What happened to bring you to that moment? Take a deep breath and exhale… then close your eyes for a minute and think back …
For some it could be a new job or a journey to a beautiful place. For others the moment of expansion may be caused by love, friendship or a spiritual experience. For a little while we are flooded with confidence, optimism and energy.
In your mind, step back and try to see yourself from the outside. Examine your posture and your expression as you imagined all the possibilities that were open to you at that moment.
Step back into your body and try to recall those feelings again. In your mind’s eye, look at your feet and hands. Remember where you were. Was it outside or indoors? Did you feel warm or cool? Imagine how your breathing would have felt at the time. Were you breathing slowly and deeply from the depth of your emotion, or were you breathing faster and shallower as you were drawn into the excitement of the moment. Perhaps, for you it was different? Focus on the middle of your torso and let any feelings come back to you.

Ignore whatever ideology you have grown used to. Think back over your life and ask yourself if you can remember anything which does not fit well into a materialistic philosophy. I would expect that those with a belief in some sort of spiritual aspect to life will remember more strange instances, but every reader will remember some. For the believers, some of those will have simple explanations that they chose to ignore. For the unbelievers, there will be times when their explanations of strange events will stretch logic to its limits, in an effort to sustain their habitual world view.
I am inviting you to to flirt with uncertainty. Yes! Spread your wings a little and accept that your view of the world is as subject to your imagination, as the wildest fantasy of any science fiction author, or poet.
This is your world! You created it based on the expectations given to you by parents, siblings and a host of other characters. You too, are a character created by your need to survive. Well done! You have made it this far, – despite the struggles and the hardship that life has thrown at you. . I want you to realise that you can heal yourself as you open up to the possibilities that are all around you.
First, though, I want to help you chip away at ‘certainty’. You can maintain whatever confidence you possess, – and increase it, as you chip away at the assumptions that have kept you on a predetermined path. To those readers who are perfectly happy with their lives, I will say “Enjoy the poetry . To everyone who, like myself, are seeking a better way to live,- there is a saying; “If you do more of the same, then you will always get more of the same”

 

Certainty

Like a suit of armour,
Polished gold that gleams and sparkles in the light.
That Blessed Shield that keeps our ego safe.
No niggling doubts disturb us in the night.
No second thoughts to make our conscience chafe.

The Joy of never being wrong,
Those great eternal truths that beam down from above.
Our principles that keep us different from the milling throng.
When we love Certainty,
Its charms can keep us safe from any other love.

We feel misunderstood by those who do not truly know.
Their dreadful ignorance and anarchy surrounds us every day.
If only we could set them on the path they need to go.
If only they could understand the things we try to say,
Then we could let them bask in our enlightened glow.

But then,
How can I teach the sparrow how to fly?
They seemed to know just what to do,
Before I ever had a chance to teach them how.

I often watch in envy as they dance and weave beneath the evening sky.
The crimson setting sun, that lights their antics, lights the furrows on my brow.
Streaking red and gold across the purple hills and dark green fields,
It’s rainbow glory blinds my eyes and lets me see,
This world was doing fine before there ever was a Me.

Patrick W Kavanagh

Copyright 2013.1


Art by Bill Oliver Boy so Blue Graphic Arts and photography

For many years of my life, I was reluctant to believe in the survival of the personality after physical death. I suspected that any such belief was just wishful thinking combined with my Roman Catholic upbringing. After the death of my father at the age of twelve, I walked away from mainstream spirituality and looked to more materialistic answers to the questions that life poses to us all.
I was fascinated by the writings of R.D. Laing. In his book, Sanity Madness and the Family, he described the ability of a young man, being treated for schizophrenia in a mental hospital, to give details of his family’s actions. The young man was able to describe situations in his wider family circle which he had no physical way of knowing about. I came to assume that this was merely evidence for the existence of some type of telepathy. I believed that we all received these signals, but a healthy personality filtered them out to enable people to cope with modern civilisation.
There was some fascinating research done in the USSR in the 1950’s which theorised that the human nervous system acted as both an aerial, and a transmitter, for electrical signals and which even calculated the frequency which telepathy worked at. I was quite confident that most unexplained phenomenon would eventually turn out to be undiscovered science.

Other books, such as ‘Supernature’ and ‘Lifetide’, by Lyall Watson convinced me that all life was somehow connected. However, I saw no reason to assume that this connection was not part of the normal material structure of the universe. I came to believe that it was simply a matter of convenience and comfort as to which gods or goddesses we chose to believe in and that atheism was just another viewpoint which was equally as valid. It seemed to me that somehow, mankind had inexplicable skills which were simply aspects of undiscovered natural laws. I learned how to live with doubt and found it was a great liberator. I accepted that my beliefs were simply that, -my beliefs, nothing more. I was happy to believe in the possibility of an underlying intelligence to the universe. It was also obvious to me that this intelligence had many aliases and was happy to answer to all of them. Even Yahweh (Jehovah) means “I AM WHO I AM”.

So why am I a Pagan?
I was fascinated by “The White Goddess”; – She reminded me of a vision I had as a child.
I asked her to show herself to me many years ago. I was much like a prayer to the Unknown Goddess. My life was to totally change before she appeared. She came to me with the gift of poetry and slowly revealed herself over the last six years.


The Goddess Calls

Who are you?
Strange longing that has crept into my restful soul,
I hear your quiet whisper, but, in words not of my race…
There is nothing in this world is seek, – My cup is full
and yet you call me softly from some distant place.

Are you the whisper in the wind that calls my name?
Or the Breaking of the waves against some rocky shore?
Or Moonlit shadows rustling in some country lane.
I feel as …if somehow you’ve called my name before.

Stay! Don’t fade away!
Your gentle torture seems to stir my bones.
I wait and listen in this dying light of day,
Perhaps My Goddess speaks in these soft tones.

Oh that I were not deaf and blind
to all those things on which my spirit soars,
If all the thoughts which cloud my mind were gone,
And only You and I remained as once before.

Patrick Kavanagh
16/04/12

As the riddle of the Goddess unravelled itself in my life, I became aware of the reality of many things which I had previously suspected were only tricks of the mind. For example, had anyone told me ten years ago that I would not only believe in the faeries, – but also interact with them, I would have never have believed them.
It was at Cabourne Parva, in Caistor, Lincolnshire, that I met the Faeries again for the first time since childhood. They completely changed my life and filled it with magic and meaning. My Goddess is the Goddess of the Fae. She is my muse and my inspiration. She is my protector and my guide. I have other guides, but meeting the Goddess was probably the scariest experience I have ever had. I no longer have any real doubts. I now live the life which I never truly believed was possible, although I have a long way to go before I canny fully act from my heart rather than my head. I still try to keep an open mind on all things. However, I am now on the inside looking out, – so real objectivity is pretty much impossible!

Walk With Me

Leave your nagging doubts behind and walk with me to find some quiet place.
When the glamour of the life you thought you’d love has gone.
When the worries, and the stresses, get too much.
When you’ve gone along the road as far as you can go,
When you learned to doubts the things that used to mean so much.
Then walk with me.

Leave the noise behind,
Leave your watch behind and leave your mobile phone.
Find a place where you can truly be alone,
And find me waiting there.

In a forest, field or quiet garden.
In a beach or park, or just a candle in a quiet room
You will find me in the silence,
Stop and listen, Find the light behind the gloom,
And you will find me there.

You wonder who I am.
I am the gentle touch upon your hair.
I am the comfort and companionship when there is no one there.
I am the eagle flying high, I am the wolf, – I am the bear.
I am the Dawning and the End of Time.
Look within yourself, and I am always there.

Patrick W Kavanagh
21/09/2013

Finding the Pagan Way

For many of our readers, I will be speaking to the converted, when I say that Paganism is a very wide term. It covers very many groups and belief systems, but for me personally, it was like stepping into the light. All I had read and analysed over the previous 45 years came to life when I moved to Lincolnshire, in the United Kingdom, and met my present wife, Tina. It was around then that I became much more involved in the pagan movement.
This poem I wrote, describes the impact that discovering paganism as a lifestyle,- rather than a case for study, had on me.

 

Don’t search,- Look.

So many many hours I spent in dusty rooms with dusty books,
I never touched the Earth,
My mind could reach the furthest edges of the universe,
yet never saw the sky.
Oh! What a fool was I, that I should never feel the earth ,
or gaze in awe upon the evening sky.
I search the ancient wisdom of the dead,
And never stopped to listen to the beating of my heart,
Or what it said.

My spirit withered like the crumbling parchments over which I peered and pondered ,
Like some dried up husk ,- My childhood lost , my youthful joy was choked by gloomy shadows of the past.
What kind of wisdom chills the bones and turns your feet to clay,
What kind of truth can suck the laughter and innocence of youth away,
and leave just tired old bones and sagging flesh that stink of misery and
pity and decay,
A fool was I , my weary eyes despised the cheerful light of day,
and wallowed in that dusty darkened world of candlelight,
And never saw how far away from life that my poor soul had strayed.

And then one day I stared into a pair of eyes of violet blue,
and little did I realise that Life would never be the same again,
How could I tell the strange, amazing things that they would do,
They burned into my very soul and tore my dust-filled world in two.
In a single moment I had died and was reborn,
My childlike eyes looked up in wonder at the morning sky,
The long, long night had fled, and brought a new and wondrous dawn.
The vibrant colours of the world revived my my soul that blessed morn.
I listened to the joyful songs of birds at early morn.
The wisdom I had sought, was there before me all along.
It whispered in the trees, I felt it, written on the veins of Autumn leaves,
I saw it in the flight of birds and heard it in their joyful songs.
I smelt in on the leaf-strewn forest floor,
I knew my search was over and that I need seek no more,
I felt within my very blood and bones,- the secret I had sought for ‘oh’ so long.
At last, my dreary world of darkness faded, and was dead and gone.

I wandered barefoot on the glistening dew-capped morning grass, my mind was dazed ,my heart was full of joy.
The Earth flowed through my naked feet, She rose and touched the sky,
She brought me to the wisdom I had sought since I was young,
I knelt upon that sacred place and thanked the gods for what my love had done,
For Fortune smiled upon me when I listened to the words my love had said..
She said, ”Don’t search,- just Look , my love”,
and on the day I looked , my search was done.

Patrick Kavanagh
13/08/12

 

 

I grew up in Dublin, Ireland,- with many things happening around me that people would call “occult”. I lived in a house that was reputed to be haunted by a previous tenant, and my mum read the future in tea-leaves and playing cards. I saw faeries in the fire and flitted around silently and almost invisibly, hearing conversations that were much too adult for my early years. I would sit quietly for hours, lost in my own little world and totally unnoticed.
I grew up in a strange world of superstition, violence and ignorance. I was never at home in the world in which I found myself. It was as if those around me were a different species,- crude, cruel and dangerous. The neighbourhood in which I lived seemed like a battle ground. My one true love, and my only comfort were books. I was an avid reader and I took the perilous trip to the next borough every few days with my dad’s library tickets. I was about seven and had out-read the children;s section, so I told them I was collecting the books for my dad.
A devout Catholic,- I was drawn to the priesthood, and had my first interview at the age of twelve.
My dad died that year and I began to question everything I had thought I believed in. It began a spiritual journey that was to last me my whole life……

 
Remember Lord

Remember Lord ,When I was young, and felt your hand hold mine,
Remember when I woke in fear at night,
And you were there to take away my fright,
Remember Lord.

Remember when I knelt to say my nightly prayers, you’re angels gathered round my bed,
I used to feel the beating of their wings,
And heard them sing of many joyous things,
Remember lord.

Remember how I never feared to leave this Vale of Tears, though little time had passed since I’d been born,
This world, at that young age, held little joy for me
As if I knew, right from the start, that I had been reborn,
Remember Lord.

Remember Lord, my single wish,- to stand before Your Throne and sing your praise,
To be amongst the your vast Angelic Choir,
Along with them, my voice ,in joyful song, to raise,
Remember lord.

Remember how I knelt before your priests,- If indeed your priests they were , in shame,
I’d tell them all my petty crimes,- my sins washed clean,
And wish to be with you before I sinned again,
Remember lord.

Remember how I walked away, my anger stronger than my fear of your impending Wrath,
I could no longer see your Love in this cruel world,
I couldn’t bear the loss of those I loved,
Remember Lord.
Remember Lord , how lost and hurt I felt, How hard I tried to make it on my own,
I tried my best to do things right, without Your Light,
But things just kind of seemed to work out wrong,
Remember lord.

Remember Lord,Though many years have passed since my first childish Prayers,
And I have lost and found my way through many paths throughout the lonely years,
I cannot turn the years round and live in child-like faith,
But I remember You,
Remember Me.

Patrick Kavanagh
June 2012

Spiders, and the path to a wider understanding of the world.

Thanks to a growing interest in shamanism in New Age and Pagan circles, many people now speak about their animal guides and totems. An increasing number of people have had personal experiences of meeting some of their animal guides in meditations or simply bumping into their totem animals.

Even those among us who are more attracted to mainstream culture, and perhaps are less interested in the wider aspects of spirituality, have been enchanted by “Aesop’s Fable” and the tales of Beatrix Potter.

Stories like “Jungle Book” and “Call of the wild” have charmed readers since the last century. Many films such as “Frozen” and “Ice Age” have been hugely popular, showing the readiness we have to accept wisdom which has it’s words placed in the mouths of creatures who can easily be interpreted as animal guides.

My own earliest remembered vision was of a huge Emperor Dragonfly. I watched in fascination as it spread it’s multi-coloured wings in front of my “eyes”. It seemed much larger than life and hung in the air in front of me for ,what seemed like, ages. There were no words, but it opened a wider connection to the earth that was to benefit me for my whole life.

PaganWay

image: Boysoblue.com Bill Oliver

 

Dragonfly

The gentle beating of you silken wings,
Calms my mind and lets my spirit soar,
It takes me to a place of never-ending spring,
Where Beauty Shines like Golden Light.
Where peace abounds and trouble is a distant shore.

You were my guide to mystery, to many thing unseen,
The long, warm, happy days of childhood summer,
spent in many wistful, secret Dreams.
I watched you fly and in my eyes I shared your flight
and on the water watched the sunlight gleam.

And now I’m old, or so they say,
that childhood seems so far away,
The summer passes Quickly now,
But I will find you in that far off place
where Summer’s just a single day away.
Patrick W. Kavanagh

It is quite likely that early man studied his animal neighbours carefully. That he felt they had spirits is indicated by cave paintings and the work of many anthropologists. Much of what is depicted by the cave paintings is survival orientated, but I believe that early man found more than mere tools for survival in his awareness of his connection to the world around him, he. When we go inside ourselves to open up to the ‘inner’ worlds,- there is a huge source of wisdom to be touched. This wisdom is wordless, and it is invariably distorted in the attempt to remember and organise it. We squeeze the small amount of our visions that we can retain, into whatever cultural misconceptions we have inherited.

I was fascinated to see the re-emergence of ancient ideas in many of the cartoon characters that my own children were entertained by. All were given new names and costumes suitable for the age we live in. I once heard that there are no new stories. Much of my study of religion and the human mind has convinced me this is true,- as the same symbols and stories reappear time and time again over history with different names and locations.

I watched the serialisation of the Mahabharat in subtitles recently. It is probably one of the oldest recorded stories in the world. In it I saw many characters and stories which are widespread in Faery folklore.

Many of the ideas on which mainstream religions are founded were shared by early civilisations in their attempt to formalise beliefs and govern society. To question these precepts is to invite anger and irrational responses. However, by going back beyond these prescriptions for social harmony and the protection of wealth, we can touch Spirit in a way that allows us to develop our own unique spiritual awareness. We can do this without conflict with any, but the most reactionary, of our cultural preconceptions.

I often describe myself as an armchair pagan, mostly because I dislike getting cold or wet. This obviously, puts a restriction on my willingness to get out into nature on any but the most pleasant of days. Added to this, I used to struggle with the idea of handling various bugs,- especially spiders.

However, this was to change in a way that I would never have expected.

I was a passenger in a car one day and on a long journey. I was sitting in the back seat quietly and mulling over a problem in the family, for which I could see no obvious solution. Then a new animal guide came to me, unbidden. I became a spider in some sense, whilst another part of me tried not to have a bad case of the “screaming abdabs”. It was one of the strangest experiences of my life.

As with all experiences of this nature, there were no words other than my later interpretation.

However, it gave me new insights and abilities that allowed me to deal with the situation from a fresh perspective.

The time has come for us to be our own “gurus” and decide on our own path through life. There is much help to be had from the universe. That help will fit itself into whatever form we choose to place around it. By returning to a simple ‘earthbound’ approach and accepting responsibility for our own interpretations of the messages we get,- we can begin to evolve as unique individuals.

Naming the Goddess

My Goddess comes without a spoken name,

For it is written in our flesh and blood and bones.

In the glow of time’s first dawn, we slept within your womb,

Born into your loving grace, beneath the guiding light of your sweet moon.

Since our early stumbling steps upon the earth, we felt your love within our hearts.

Until the blazing sun became too hot and burned your sacred forests to the ground.

We were also victims to the unrelenting flames,- who kept your mystic arts,

It seemed the world itself might burn, as temples rose where woodlands once were found.

Et In Arcadia Ego” was the cry of those who sought to tear your veil.

Some would see the Virgin Goddess pinned beneath grasp of empires overpowering lust.

Our Eternal Mother cried to see her children die, as deserts bloomed and forests failed.

The Crone gave comfort as she could, as many of her brood were laid beneath the dust.

The Lord and Lady danced in love, before the very dawn of time.

Each will share their gifts with those who seek their loving care.

Those who dance among the Fae are blessed with music and with rhyme,

Those who touch the earth with love, will find their wisdom there.

Timbers rot and steel will rust, while towering walls will soon be turned to dust.

All except the spirit, grounded deep within the earth, will pass away.

Man may dream, and plan, and scheme, and struggle as he must.

Until the Goddess comes again, to sweep his futile, heartless toys away.

Patrick W Kavanagh 25/01/2015

Art by Boy So Blue Graphic Arts and photography

paganway2

We can not talk about paganism with mentioning Halloween at some stage. It is probably the most celebrated festival in the pagan calendar. It is certainly the most fun. Because of early attempts by Christian missionaries to absorb the festivals of the people they converted, this ancient Celtic feast is celebrated by many cultures around the world. Behind the masquerade and the carnival atmosphere, it is a time to work on our acceptance of the important role which death plays in the cycle of life. We prepare for winter’s barrenness and light the ritual bonfires to warm and protect us throughout the winter.

Even as a child, I can remember Halloween as being my favourite time of the year.

We would wander the neighbourhood in masks and costumes, knocking on doors with the call of “ Trick or Treat”, then sit around and tell ghost stories whist gorging ourselves on the fruit, nuts and sweets we collected. Somehow, in Dublin, it became confused with Guy Falkes night, which is traditionally celebrated on the 5th of November in the United Kingdom. So, often our “trick-or-treaters” would bring a pram around with them,- in which a dummy was arranged. Later that night it would be put on the bonfire. Sometimes a child would dress up in baggy clothes and a bonnet and be carried around instead. The childish fascination with all things ghoulish, was probably the inspiration for the poem that follows.

All Hallow’s Eve

Who is it hides behind the mask, each year at Halloween?

That special night when the ghouls and fiends can walk the night unseen.

Safe behind our festive costumes, tusks and tails and horns are safely hid.

While our imps are scouring every bin, and rattling all the lids.

Oh what fun to catch a drunken reveller,

Then tied and gagged, we stuff him in our carts and prams.

We shout, “A penny for the guy!”, and laugh and laugh until we cry

Then wandering door to door, we carefully conceal our furred or scaly arms.

Ah!, the warm and living smells as doors are opened and we peer inside.

Oh what fun to step inside invited, with no need to sneak or hide.

Entranced by beating hearts, and rich red blood that flows in soft white veins.

Oh! Sweet Halloween, another year must pass before you come again.

Patrick W Kavanagh 30/10/2014

Picture by: Boy So Blue Graphic Arts and photography.

I believe the most ancient association with Halloween or Samhain, is the thinning of the veil between the living and the dead. It is a night of divination and necromancy. It seems quite likely that mankind’s early cultures placed huge value on contacting those who had passed on, for wisdom and guidance. Those who had recently lost loved ones would be likely to try to contact them on this night, above all others. It was also widely believed that the dead could come back unbidden on this night and many people used spells and talismans to protect themselves from this eventuality. There are many folk tales based around the reappearance of the deceased on this night.

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All Hallows Eve

The scratching on the kitchen door, the tapping on the window pane,
The sound of scuffling in the yard, The footsteps running down the lane,
It must be children at their pranks, you close your book and smile and shake your head,
It’s almost midnight , time to snuff the candle out and rest your weary head.

The creaking of the wooden stairs is almost deafening as you slowly climb,
You make a promise to repair them for the thousandth time,
But yet another of your many idle, ill-used days has passed,
This job could stay undone, for all you know, this night may be your very last.

The crumpled sheets feel cold and damp, the ancient mattress squeals and groans,
Its rusty springs can barely take the weight of your old creaky bones,
The grimy fireplace long unlit, A dusty mirror that reflects the gloom,
The little cobwebbed window scarcely lets, the light in from the moon.

No bed-time prayers, for prayers have long ceased to mumble from your lips,
Too many losses, to which, a broken heart could never get to grips,
Just one long sigh, perhaps a silent wish to die, you close your weary eyes,
And through the cracked and dusty window, the moon looks down in pity from the skies.

And did you sleep, and dream what happened next, the mortal world will never know,
You saw the spectre of your long lost love in shining robes as white as snow,
She takes your hand and leads you to a place with sunlit trees and flowers in bloom,
Your cast-off shell is left behind , a smiling face amongst the gloom.

Patrick W Kavanagh
04/10/12

The faeries are also associated with the spirits of the dead, so Samhain was also an excellent time to try to contact them, or perhaps even catch one and ransom them for wishes or faery gold. Usually these attempts ended badly, as the faeries are cunning and powerful beings with little patience for any mischief that is not of their own making. So if you wish to contact the Gentry on Halloween,- I would advise caution and politeness.

The King of the Faeries.

Sprite of foot and keen of eye,
With sombre beauty, I can scarce describe,
He never told the truth , but never really lied,
The music of his voice brought tears of longing to my eyes.

The labyrinth of his mind touched,mine and made me weep,
for all the wishes that my long lost childhood could not keep.
I stood amazed, entranced, but careful to maintain a steady glance,
My wishes were within my grasp, and yet, single blink might spoil my chance.

He bowed so low, he swept the ground,
his sparkling laughter echoed all around,
With promise of servitude, his smiling eyes belied,
he granted me my wishes with a gleaming, imp like look within his eyes.

A moments pause, I must remember karmic laws and wish with all my wiles.
“I wish for Health”.. and once again he gave that dreadful smile.
“Granted!, You shall die as healthy as you are today,-
Now two more wishes, and I shall be on my way!”

I shuddered as the icy chill ran down my spine, and silently I wished we had not met.
But still I had a chance to prosper here, for had I not still got two wishes left.
“I wish myself a long and happy life!”, again that awful smile that turned my heart to stone,
“ One hundred years I add unto your span, and you shall live it happily, though you may live it hungry and alone”.

I sighed, I cast my eyes down to the ground,- I knew I had but once last wish to turn my fate around.
“I wish, my Lord, that I had not been so bold, to try to draw upon your power,
I wish, my Lord, that I had not belaboured you at this late hour”.
“ I wish ,My lord, to leave you and this sacred place as it was found”.

He smiled again with warmth, My heart began to fill with joy.
“You had three wishes, but you added more and set me free,
Your kindly act has filled my ancient heart,once more, with childish glee.
I wish you well my friend, I wish you wealth and health and joy”,
And, as he faded back into the mist, he waved a last goodbye.

Patrick W Kavanagh
22/06/2013.

Art by Bill Oliver boysoblue.com

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