Thursday, 19 November 2009

Saturday Afternoon LIVE READING

Hi all

Here's Roger and Saturday Afternoon, written for Imbolc and read at Samhain. Loving these live readings!



Thursday, 12 November 2009

Central Reservation LIVE READING!

Here's Liz performing her poem "Central Reservation" during a celebration in the Forest. Enjoy!


Wednesday, 11 November 2009

How the Celts established the Great Slavic Empire 632AD

here's a contribution from Natalie who says:

this is a mild satire, based on historical facts: The King Samo existedHe was of Celtic origin, a merchant from Franc empire (today's France) and united Slavic tribesHe had 12 wives, 22 sons and 15 daughters

How the Celts established the Great Slavic Empire 632AD

“So, tell me, Samo, do you think of being a travelling merchant for the rest of your life or have you ever thought of settling down?” asked an old man with long, grey plaited hair as he’d just passed a stone cup full of mead to the young man he’d addressed. The old man was an elder of one of the Wends tribes, or Slavs as they were also known. On the other hand, his guest Samo, the honorary merchant of the Franc Empire, visited them every year, trading honey, leather, salt and iron tools.“I don’t know, sir, but you are right, I am getting a bit old, I am twenty – two already!” Samo admitted truthfully and passed the cup to another bearded, long-haired elder on his right.“Quite right,” said Vladimir. The elders of the other Slavic tribes murmured in agreement. “Are you married, Samo?”“Not really,” said Samo, blushing secretly in the flickering light of the fire. In actual fact, he was already married – five times. All done for business purposes, of course, to seal the deal. The chances were that he would never see any of his wives in all these barbaric realms of Europe again.“And what is your opinion on that new God I have heard about? Personally, I don’t think much of him, because he got himself killed, crucified of all things. He can’t be that powerful. Anyway, it would not have happened to our Perun, the God of thunder,” continued Vladimir.Samo didn’t know what to say and asked instead: “Eh - So what does your name - Vladimir mean anyway?”“Oh, curious, are you? It means ‘the ruler of the universe’, ” a distinct pride was heard in his voice. The other elders murmured in agreement as Vladimir stretched his varicose legs towards the fire and had another sip of mead from the cup. “The thing is, Samo, that we are at a loss. We have met with other elders from other tribes in Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia, and we would like to unite, you know, against the cruel and merciless warriors from the East called “the Avars”, and of course, it would not hurt being stronger against you Francs, either.”“I am a Celt,” repeated Samo. “It’s all the same,” said Vladimir, “we can’t agree who would be our leader, our king. We keep arguing. You see, all the other elders in other tribes are also called Vladimir.”Samo looked at the men sitting around the fire with astonishment: “You are all Vladimirs?” The elders nodded and stroked their long beards with dirty hands. Samo ceased to breathe for a minute. What the hell does this mean? ‘I just want the deal, give me the deal, for heaven’s sake, I will pray to your Perun or Lada or any of your Gods if you like! Just give me the deal!’ he thought to himself. “And we thought of you.” Vladimir concluded. “Of me?” Samo looked completely confused. My Perun, this mead stuff the Slavs prepare must be strong. I would kill for a pint of Guinness! “Yes, you would be perfect. You are impartial, young, handsome, and clever; understand the world and you speak our language. We want you to be our king,” the elder finished triumphantly. Ten long seconds of silence followed during which all the other men around the fire stared at Samo. “But why do you need me? I mean you are renowned as fierce, cruel warriors...” said Samo hesitantly. “Samo, to tell the truth we are not. That’s the power of Eastern European propaganda. We don’t fight and when we do, we always loose. Then we have got to resort to Plan B.” “What is Plan B?” “We give them our daughters,” said Vladimir. “You give your daughters to the Avars?” repeated Samo. But before anyone could reply a hooded figure of a woman danced into the circle, stretched her arms in front of her and in a husky voice, she spoke: “I can see a great nation rise that in the next fifteen hundred years will be hated by everyone in Europe. It will never win any war, yet survive. It will consist of 38% Slavic, 37% Germanic and 10% Celtic DNA.” Vladimir sighed: “That’s my daughter Libuše, she is a seer. I see she predicts that nothing will change in the future. If you can‘t beat them, marry them, that’s what I say.” He sounded rather pleased with himself. “Anyway, you are a man who has travelled the world: can you explain to me - what is this DNA she speaks of?” Samo shrugged his shoulders. “Never mind,” said Vladimir, “she speaks of things that we cannot possibly know. And she is a Slavic lady; they are all deranged, you know? Lovely, but completely crazy. So what do you say, Samo? You can be our king and I can give you my daughter for wife. She was a blessing from our Goddess Živa, who gives life and love. I thought we would never have any children, my wife and I. I kept praying and making sacfrifices and then one day, twenty-one years ago, an Avar warrior arrived in our village to collect tax. He stayed in our mudhut and our hospitality was great. We agreed to give our corn, our honey, our linen, our cattle and five of our daughters. As we truly bonded over the two weeks, the evening before his departure I confessed to my new Avar friend about my pain of not having any offspring of my own. He promised that he would perform his own magic and sacrifice to his gods. And the Gods listened and nine month later, my wife gave birth to a gorgeous girl, to my Libuše. Look, how beautiful she is! She looks like no one else, with her high cheekbones and dark brown hair.“ You do see those cheekbones in Avars, thought Samo to himself but said nothing because he did not want to disturb the father‘s pride. He looked at Libuše again: admittedly she was stunning. “I am not sure, Vladimir,” said Samo, “it’s a tricky one. I have told you before, I am a Celt and I am a bit concerned about your treatment of the Celts in this region. I fear that they are becoming a bit marginalised in your society.” “Fear not, my dear Samo, because we believe: live and let live. So they can live in their funny stone forts and we do what we do best. We don’t fight them, we marry them.” “All right, all right, but what do you offer to them if they are going to live in my new empire?” pressed Samo.“What about if we let the Celts name all the rivers and mountains,” suggested the elder. Samo considered for a second: “That sounds like a fair deal.” The hooded figure of the seer Libuše jumped into the circle at that point again, with arms stretched forward: “I can see the most beautiful city on the river with a strange Celtic name, a city of stone, with stone bridges. A daughter of my daughter of my daughter of my daughter of my daughter of my daughter will lay foundations of its glory. She will be a seer like me and she will bear my name Libuše.” “You see,” said Vladimir, ”what a shame! My daughter predicts a bloody Celtic city here, not a proper wooden hut or a lovely mud hut with a straw roof like any cilivilised Slav ought to posses.” “So, what is your decision, Samo?” “Well,” Samo pretended to hesitate, being a hardened business negotiator, however the deal was far too good to resist. “I see,” said Vladimir, “ one wife is not quite enough for a worldly man like you. What about two?” “Eh?” “OK, that’s insulting, I agree. Five?” “But –“ “Seven!” “But –“ “Ten!” “But” “Twelve – that’s maximum we can offer,” insisted Vladimir. Samo took a deep breath. “All right, Vladimir, twelve wives will do. I will take the job. But you ought to know it’s a huge compromise on my side.”

Monday, 9 November 2009

Cabaret @ the Garden Cafe!

Hi everyone

Just a reminder that tomorrow night, Tuesday 10th November 2009, there will a cabaret celebrating the Celtic New Year. There will be readings, paintings, textile art and music from Tinkerscuss and the usual wonderful food from Paul at the Garden Cafe.

See you there


Monday, 2 November 2009

Under 13 moons

under the 13 moons
between the two rivers
i hear a voice
it isn’t the voice of reason
it isn’t the voice of radio 4
the voice says
when you’re lost the forest will answer

This is the first year i have stayed a full year in the forest...i haven't been to Bali or to Portugal for a month at a time as i often do.
this painting and poem celebrates that a year and a day
also a year and a day since the Celtic year blog started.

A year and a day...a good Celtic time...that is how long i planned to post to this blog.
Thank you to everyone who has made it such an amazing experience.
The Celtic Year blog will continue.... all be it with a new Mistress of the Blog....more about that soon....and of course i will still be contributing
In the meantime I hope you enjoy the wonderful variety of contributions we have had for Samhain....keep scrolling down...
any more contributions welcome...please send to me at

Sally x

Samhain (and Autumn Equinox!)

Happy Samhain!
I've been pruning my apple trees and making apple cake.

Last winter I helped my friend Kate prune her beautiful old apple trees. I so love the shapes of the trees, the aroma and colour of the fruit and blossom, I was inspired to make a shelf and baskets using the wood and celebrating the colour.

In September when out walking I was inspired to make a piece celebrating the abundance of blackberries. I made and embellished a 2D apron, and incorporated some of the text from Mary Oliver's poem, "Blackberries".

I'm conscious that my Apron might not really fit in with the Samhain theme, I think it's more related to Autumn Equinox, which is what I was celebrating when I began working on it.

I find gathering food from the brambles and fruit trees humbling, a reminder of the wealth in what the earth offers us.


First post on the Celtic Year, Lizzie...Samhain and the Autumn Equinox in one post it could start a trend!
Thank you , Sally

Sunset skyline

sunlight flees the fields
as softly sun turns to mellow moon
and whispers 'see you soon, silver lady, soon'

This photo was taken on a walk through beautiful woods at the end of a beautiful day full of amazing light, the transitional sort! I had to write something on it about the promise the sun makes to the moon each night and especially at Samhain!


Helos Odev

Part One Samhain

Carla recalled that tragic Saturday morning, not that many years later; the memory was still clear and very painful to her. The day had begun quite promisingly, cold sunshine in a cloudless blue sky.....

now read on here

Marie has written a story in four for each of the Celtic year festivals.

Rather than just pubish part one Samhain here in the Celtic Year blog she has put the all together on her own blog.
This is a good move...because if like me you find you have to read all the way through to the end in one sitting... you can!

This is a brilliant modern fairy to read in front of the fire on these long nights...I hope you enjoy it as much as I did


The veil is thin.

They are calling
Reaching to connect,

To mend the undone,
To say the unsaid.

Left behind as the world turns
They cling
Stung by longing

Fires light the way,
Concerts to their passing
Redrawing the veil
The cycle begins anew.


First draft 30th Oct 09
2nd draft 31st Oct 09

A Vanity of Bags

‘Hi, I’d like to exchange these bags. I don’t seem to have had them long but they’ve gone all creased and keep bulging out of shape.’
‘Let me see Madame. We guarantee our products for thirty years; may I ask how long you’ve had them?’
‘Well…, it’s a bit longer than that now I think about it, but I’ve always looked after them well.’
‘Oh really Madame? Do you take them to parties, pubs, smoky places or on holiday?’
‘Well, I do have a very busy life. Anyway, just how could I have left them behind?’
‘Of course you’re right Madame. However, it appears to me that the quality of our products has exceeded their guarantees. They actually look pretty good considering the treatment they’ve had.’
‘But can’t you help me? I simply must look my best.’
‘I’m afraid there’s not really anything I can do for you, Madame.’
‘Are you sure? I’ll consider anything, anything at all.’
‘Well maybe…’
‘What is it? I have to know.’
‘Madame I suggest you either pay for repairs, although that can be expensive and the results never look absolutely convincing, or, you can pre-order much harder wearing skin around the eyes for use in your next reincarnation. Of course, you would have to make quite a sacrifice in order to qualify for this exclusive service.’
‘Ok…what sacrifice?’
‘Our Creative Design Department’s current offer is one bespoke physiological request in exchange for an IQ drop of ten points. So, that would be twenty IQ points in your case ’
‘What a relief; that’s not really much of a sacrifice is it?’
‘Madame is absolutely correct; your decision suits you perfectly.’
‘Oh, thanks; nice of you to say that. Where do I sign?’


First notes 30th Oct 09
First typed 31st Oct 09

A Pinch of Sunlight

With Samhain comes the deep darkening gloom,
Collars turn against the cloying damp.
Cheery fires lit in cosy rooms.
Summer ends.
Break the harvest camp.
Open out the fruit preserves.
If only we could pickle a pinch of sunlight!