When last we left our intrepid Nomad, he was writing during the tail end of an international T2K SK video conference, following a day of theatre that kicked off a holiday weekend.

The story continues.....

After said video conference ended, certain other activities -- all in line with the spirit of the season -- kept me preoccupied. No complaints per se, but said activities resulted in this Nomad getting only about an hour of sleep before needing to wake up at 4:30am to partake in the May Morning festivities here in Oxford. We left the Flat With No Name shortly after five and, despite the closure of the Magdalen Bridge[*], we made it into the city centre by half five. Walking to the Magdalen College chapel tower, we passed the usual array of drunken college students -- some in very colourful attire. We made it to Magdalen with plenty of time before the college choir sang the Hymnus Eucharisticus from the rooftops -- a tradition dating back more than five centuries.

Once the singing had ended, we wandered through the city centre, taking in the Morris dancers, and the people dressed as trees or bushes, and the other street performers. At half six, I broke away from the group to transition from spectator to part of the entertainment. I joined a band of ringers from the OUSCR and we rang the bells at the University Church of Saint Mary the Virgin. This is only the second time that I have rung at SMV -- the first being May Morning last year -- and it is good to get some practice on heavier bells. Also good to ring for such a festive crowd and, best of all, the aerial vantage point from SMV provides some of the best views of the May Morning excitement! Looking out from the tower, one can simultaneously see the Rad Cam, the campuses of Brasenose College and All Souls College, the crowds, the Morris dancers... and more!

By half seven, I was done ringing. Our group reformed and we made our way to the Queen's Lane Coffee House for breakfast. We were home again by nine, at which point I collapsed into bed instantly, grabbing another two hours of sleep before needing to wake at eleven for a T2K UK analysis meeting. When the meeting ended at noon, I promptly fell back into bed, to collect another three hours of sleep. At that point, I was up for the rest of the day and proceeded to cook for [livejournal.com profile] bunnypip and the two eldest leverets.

Once fed, we left Oxford and made our way back to [livejournal.com profile] bunnypip's home. During the journey, I introduced her to a number of my favourite David Rovics songs. I may not have done much to celebrate May Day as an Anarchist this year -- something that I plan to make up for in 2010 -- but it was good to get in a sampling of my favourite Anarchist holiday.

After arriving in Northampton and bringing the children to their fathers, [livejournal.com profile] bunnypip and I were able to have a date night to ourselves, in which we were able to celebrate Beltane properly. Again, Not Enough Sleep ensued -- I estimate five hours on Friday night.[**]

On Saturday morning, we had a failed attempt to bake bread and a successful attempt to hold a private Beltane ritual[***]. Afterward, we made our way back to Oxford to collect [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and [livejournal.com profile] dr_jen. Together, we all headed to Leicester, specifically to the home of [livejournal.com profile] thehalibutkid and [livejournal.com profile] sanjibabes. As always, it was nice to see the lovely [livejournal.com profile] sanjibabes and, for that matter, [livejournal.com profile] skibbley. However, our main purpose in making the trip was to hold our group Beltane ritual. Ever since Samhain, a group of us have been working together regularly, with organisation done by yours truly and High Priestessing done by [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat. I don't think that I have ever formally worked all the sabbats in a single turning of the Wheel of the Year before; the experience is turning out to be quite the positive one... not just for me, but for everyone in the group. These are not closed rituals -- most have had "guests" in addition to the regulars -- but the same five people have been at all five rituals thus far, which makes for a nice flow of continuity.

For Beltane, [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat had organised a fairly traditional ritual: We did a Maypole, we jumped over a bonfire, we feasted, et cetera. Nothing terribly esoteric, but the way that Chesh had assembled the usual elements was excellent -- everything flowed together powerfully. It did not hurt in the least that the weather was good and so this became our first outdoor ritual in this sequence[****]. Flowery head dresses were assembled -- mostly with nimble expertise by [livejournal.com profile] bunnypip, though the talented and charming [livejournal.com profile] dr_jen made quite a lovely one on her own. Here are a couple of photos from just before we started the ritual:

Everyone's Favourite Nomad As A Beltane Flower Child


Nomad and [livejournal.com profile] bunnypip Prepare For Ritual



After the ritual was done, we all sat around the bonfire and talked for a bit... just enjoying the energy and the warmth and the flames. Then we hugged [livejournal.com profile] thehalibutkid and [livejournal.com profile] parallelgirl goodbye and returned to Oxford. Not quite sure how much sleep I got on Saturday night, but I estimate that it was another five hours.[*****]

Sunday morning, I spent a little more time with [livejournal.com profile] bunnypip before sending her on her way and spending the day with my beloved [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat. I finished the first Sandman trade paperback -- Preludes and Nocturnes -- and then she re-read it so that we could discuss. We got in a fair bit of cuddling. And we managed to spend a bit of quality alone time together.

Today, Monday, [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I took a day trip to the Stowe Landscape Gardens, a National Trust property about twenty-five miles from Oxford. The gardens were founded in the 18th century by Sir Richard Temple, also known as Lord Cobham. The site takes up 750 acres, though much of it is parkland. The gardens themselves are quite beautiful, with several lakes and valleys and fields. It is then further enhanced by forty-two monuments scattered about the grounds. There are sculptures and temples and columns and bridges (oh my!), so that our map became a sort of checklist guiding us around the gardens today. We spend most of the day at Stowe and managed to take in the entirety of the garden, much to our pleasure! At the end of the day, [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I wound down with cream teas before heading back to Oxford and home.

Overall, it has been quite an excellent weekend! Happy Beltane! Happy Spring!

Now then, time to end the weekend by ringing up my darling [livejournal.com profile] tawneypup, who has also been away. Cannot properly claim to have celebrated Beltane without including her!


[*] To prevent drunk students from jumping off and breaking their legs in the very shallow water below.

[**] Bringing the running total for the two nights to eleven hours thus far.

[***] As distinct from the celebration of the night before.

[****] Not counting our Yule ritual, where the circle did remain open through the longest night... which included our trip to Stonehenge to welcome in the dawn.

[*****] Raising the running total for three nights to sixteen hours. Not serious Sleep Deprivation -- certainly nothing like what I pulled last Decemberween -- but definitely not running on a full tank, either!


tajasel: Katie, with a purple wig on. (Default)

From: [personal profile] tajasel


I know you don't seem to be particularly using Dreamwidth at the moment, but if you could have a look at this post and let me know which filters you're comfortable with being on, I'd appreciate it:

http://tajasel.dreamwidth.org/4725.html

From: [identity profile] bethanthepurple.livejournal.com


Come with me and then you will see everything you need within life! Never fear everything is here and you don't need your friends or family!

Not that I'm sayung you look Booshy or anything... (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ldQggHj78I)

From: [identity profile] acelightning.livejournal.com


The flower crown looks very fetching on you, and I love the lace shirt!

From: [identity profile] bunnypip.livejournal.com


*smile* the shirt was a direct if rather convoluted result of my bread making fail :-/

(it was an impulse purchase by some kind people during their trip to the shops to purchase replacement bread)

From: [identity profile] acelightning.livejournal.com


If you don't mind my asking, exactly how did the bread-making fail?

I come from a long line of good-bread-bakers, on both sides(*), and I can probably tell you what went wrong and why, and how to keep it from happening again.

(*)My father was with an Army support group in WW II, and his bread recipe starts with a 100-pound sack of flour ;-)

From: [identity profile] bunnypip.livejournal.com


unfortunately I wasn't even doing anything as skilled as making bread from scratch :-/

I was putting the ingredients into the breadmaker, which I used to do at least once if not twice a day at one point, and I had definitely successfully used the breadmaker to make bread for our Imbolc ritual.

However, maybe due to tiredness or maybe due to the teenager arriving home unexpectedly (resulting in swift action needing to be taken to avoid him finding us hanging out nekkid in the kitchen) ... I cleverly forgot to put any yeast in :-(

The result was edible (indeed, we ate it) but it was not what you'd define as bread and definitely not ritual quality food.

oops!

Of course, the other result was that everyone got to tease me about Beltane induced airheadedness, which seemed to amuse them :-)

From: [identity profile] acelightning.livejournal.com


Well, one good thing about homemade baked goods is that, no matter how badly you screw them up, the neighborhood birds and squirrels will always welcome them anyway ;-)

From: [identity profile] anarchist-nomad.livejournal.com


Why thank you!

I'm afraid that I can't promise anything about the flower crown -- which will be long gone by October -- but I can bring the lace shirt with me to a certain Super Sekrit Pagan gathering so that you (and others) can get a closer look! ;-)

From: [identity profile] acelightning.livejournal.com


Flower crowns aren't appropriate for an autumnal event anyway, but I've seen many people making and wearing adornments of bright-colored autumn leaves. But please do bring the lace shirt, and wear it to the dance party!

From: [identity profile] anarchist-nomad.livejournal.com


But please do bring the lace shirt, and wear it to the dance party!

Will do! Am also planning on bringing [livejournal.com profile] bunnypip, so I will have with me two of the three "items" that adorn me in the above photos! *grin*

As for the changing of the season -- you are quite right! Making something out of bright coloured autumn leaves would be most lovely. Luckily, A****** in October is just the place to stock up on those leaves! Will have to see what I can put together once I get on site!

Heh. I would be all excited about P**T*** now... except that (a) we haven't finished writing the main ritual yet, and (b) I am too busy being all excited about Starwood first!

From: [identity profile] acelightning.livejournal.com


I'm looking forward to meeting [livejournal.com profile] bunnypip!

And you and [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat must be running the whole shebang next year, if you're planning this year's ritual, right? I'm looking forward to that, too!

From: [identity profile] anarchist-nomad.livejournal.com


Excellent! Because I am looking forward to introducing her to loads of wonderful people -- yourself included -- come October!

The P**T*** community is, without a doubt, the group of people that I have been a member of the longest in my life. I have been coming to the gathering itself every year since 1997, when I was twenty-two years old. Indeed, I feel that I have been a part of the community for even longer, as I knew quite a few P**T*** folk since 1994 -- when I was a mere lad of nineteen -- due to my involvement at the time with the Church of the Sacred Earth. As such, P**T*** is -- more than any other cohesive group -- my people... and I am very eager to introduce my wonderful new partner to my people.

Also, on an unrelated note, you surmise correctly: [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I are running the main ritual in 2009, followed by the whole shebang in 2010. Very, very excited about this! You read what I just wrote about having been a part of the community since I was just barely into adulthood. It feels great to now be acknowledged as having "come of age" by being entrusted to run the gathering. Especially since we are even being entrusted to running it from a different continent! *grin*


From: [identity profile] bunnypip.livejournal.com


I'm very much looking forward to being introduced to your people too *grin*.

and I know that you and Chesh will make an excellent job of both the ritual and next year's gathering.

From: [identity profile] acelightning.livejournal.com


I think I remember your first experience with our autumnal Brigadoon... "who's the good-looking young man with the funny hair and all the girlfriends?" ;-D

And, speaking of good-looking young men with funny hair and lots of girlfriends, I'm pretty sure my own charming offspring and his equally charming wife will be running the event in the not-too-distant future. Guess who will be doing at least one-fifth of the ritual design ;-)

P.S. - I have a completely unrelated question that I'd like to ask you, without wrenching your LJ any further off-topic than I already have. Please email me [acelightning (at) monmouth (dot) com] from your preferred email address, so I know where to send my question. Thanks!

From: [identity profile] anarchist-nomad.livejournal.com


No worries for bringing my journal off topic -- one of the main reasons I keep this thing is to have contact with my wide geographical range of friends.

Still, please feel free to send a private message to my username (at) livejournal (dot) com. LJ will forward it to me... and then you will have my address! (Alternatively, you can get it from something I've sent to the P**T*** mailing list or from your equally charming daughter-in-law!)

From: [identity profile] acelightning.livejournal.com


Okay, I've sent it to the LJ address - I was too lazy to go look it up on the mailing list, and I didn't want to bother [livejournal.com profile] squeektoy42 about it. I could have asked my question here, I know, but it's very unrelated to anything else. So, watch your inbox, and thanks!

From: [identity profile] darkfloweruk.livejournal.com


Sorry, can't read of any of this. Too busy drooling... er I mean, looking at wonderful pics.

Wow.

Just yum!


From: [identity profile] bunnypip.livejournal.com


er ... I am prepared to admit that you two may well believe that statement. However, as I'm hardly visible in these pics, I maintain that you are the gorgeous one!

From: [identity profile] darkfloweruk.livejournal.com


Pah! I can see plenty of you in that picture. You look amazing.

In fact the two of you look like a recruitment poster for Paganism! Sign up and get to play with these guys!

I'm happy to be a Christian, but I have to admit that they really dropped the ball when they gave Pagans a hard time. I mean, look at you! Who wouldn't want to integrate all this into their culture?

*big hugs and lots of love*

From: [identity profile] bunnypip.livejournal.com


Aw, thanks Love :-)

Do you like this icon? (from the same "photoshoot" obviously). I think I might make it my default for the summer. The stonehenge one is looking a bit unseasonal and wintery now.

From: [identity profile] bunnypip.livejournal.com


They also sing "Now is the Month of Maying", which is a madrigal rather than a christian hymn and is very much more Beltanesque (Beltaneroonie???). It was also the one that I mentioned I recognised, as I used to sing it with my school madrigal group.

From: [identity profile] anarchist-nomad.livejournal.com


That was the one at the end, that sounded like the most fun to sing, yes? *grin*

Not sure I'll be back at the Magdalen College tower in 2010 -- after three years running I'm thinking of doing something else (preferably more Anarchist-oriented) next year. But I'm sure I will be back there again sometime and should probably learn it by then so that I can sing along! :-)
.

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