Monday, December 28, 2009

Fire and Britannia

Once upon a time over 29 years ago, I was born on an island of myths and legends between the North and Irish seas. When the Romans came to settle Britain, they hated it. It was wet and cold and according to some of their legends, it was where their dead went. It was a haunted island full of tribespeople that painted their faces and bodies and lived among the mists and the shadows. Those tribespeople had their myths and Gods, as did the Romans

The groups of peoples that have come to be known as the Anglo Saxons saw a fertile land that was conveniently undefended and inviting them in. They brought their myths and Gods too.

Then came the desert god, the crucified one that so many look to today and left his imprint on the land. But somehow that imprint is less indellible than the others.

And then the Vikings came and settled the Northern part of England and brought their Gods and their myths.

Over the years, different spiritual heritages have come to the land and added another layer to the 'spiritual onion' as I call it.

At some point in all of this, fire, dance and ecstasy became a part of it. So much so that it's the bit that everyone has gone for again in the revival of Paganism.

Before I moved to Korea and Germany, I would go to the fires at Beltane, I would go to the fires at Lammas and enjoy the fires of Bonfire night (not ancient but I think the method of celebration is). No gathering is complete without a fire, or music or beer or dance or people enjoying themselves together and getting increasingly more and more ecstatic as the night goes on. I miss the feeling in the air and the passion of it all. I miss hearing the drumbeat that beats in my blood regardless of where I am.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, that is beautiful. Our hearts carry with us all that we need but sometimes that isn't enough. I hope to someday take a walk to your island...or maybe a boat.

Birka said...

In my opinion,the *best* way to come to mainland Britain is via France, taking the boat from Calais to Dover.

It's very tricky to get this just right though because it's not as simple as that. The weather needs to be clear and you need to be just coming up to the white cliffs of Dover in the morning, just before full light. When you stand on top of the boat, or even down in the car bays, near to the sea, that is simply the most awe-inspiring sight for me. After being away from home for a while, it's also the msot patriotic sight for me. One that makes me want to do what Robin Hood did in the Kevin Costner film and kiss the ground and roll in the sand of the beach laughing, shedding tears.

Birka said...

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-047940-thewhitecliffs-cliffs-gallery_picture

Anonymous said...

Alright, thanks, I will add it to my list. I was hoping my brother would get stationed in Germany again but that doesn't look like it is going to happen so on to plan B.

Gaz said...

What a beautiful bit of writing. It's really brigthened up my day.