Tadhg In Kilts (With Apologies To Sam And Graham)

If you’re interested in Druids, Celts or Scottish history or scenery (though fictionalised in part some way, by two characters in the tv series ‘Outlander’) I suggest the tv series called ‘Men in Kilts: A Roadtrip with Sam and Graham’. It is very enjoyment, Here is a view of two minutes:

https://youtu.be/bWhskGea7zU?list=PLU31BoFkLXR6HEyMsXujtUInnDz62g8eQ

And, now would you believe, that  Ancestry.Com (recently) informed me that my DNA is, apart from mainly Welsh, is my Scottish is DNA and is 22%. A larger amount as totally more so than I expected.

Having a Welsh plaid colour, kilt, already, means now a new Scottish kilt for my Gardner, (Gardener or Gordoner) clan, and it is much more colourful. Of the two tartans I think I’ll use the red plaid from the Welsh plaid incorporated to the Scottish one.

Here’s a view of the new, to-be-included Scottish plaid:

Here’s a fictionalised history/view:

On a late  Thursday afternoon in the autumn of 1747, a year after the Battle of Culloden – maybe 24 September 1748 – Raibeart Gordon, allegedly, rode past the volatile borders of Scotland, entered England under the cloak of darkness, and headed to the wilds of North Wales, arriving there some weeks later.

Marrying a young lady there a year or so later, the marriage certificate showed his occupation as a reporter for a newspaper or court, we’re not quite sure. For someone of that period, though, that was a very good job.

However, dear Raibert couldn’t sign his name, and just scribed an ‘x’ on the certificate, which probably means he was a porter, and not a reporter.  Such is the power of the town clerk to make a mistake or to be ‘inventive’. The certificate also has a little smudge here and there just to make things even more indecisive.


Fast-forward a few years, and still not being able to sign his name, several children were born to his wife and him, but this time, according to another town clerk, dear Raibert, who would have been known as a ‘Gordoner’, was now shown on various birth certificates as Gardener, and later on, as Gardner.

Maybe I’ll get the new (Scottish) kilt made, soon.

Many blessings, Tadhg.

The Rainbow Blessing [Celtic Poem, Liturgy & Blessing] Reviewed

We live in a universe full of vibrant colour, and though we can only see part of the spectrum, what we can see is wonderful in its beauty.

We can witness the yellow radiance of the daily new-born sun as it rises above the horizon, to the deep red colour of evening and sunset. Grass, trees, flowers, a superabundance of insects and animals, nature arrayed in all its beauty is set before us in a blaze of colour, to gaze upon in awe and for us to be blessed.

The following, reviewed a few years ago, then, may be used as a poem for yourself or as liturgy in a ritual, and as a blessing to you and others:

Title: The Rainbow Blessing (By Tadhg Jonathan)

May the blessing of the red sun as it sinks below the horizon be yours.
May the blessing of orange, the colour of flame and hearth be yours.
May the blessing of the wild, green earth and all life be yours.
May the blessing of the blue sea and wind which calls forth waves upon it be yours.
May the blessing of indigo, the twilight colour of change and coolness be yours.
May the blessing of violet, the colour of majesty and might be yours.
And may all the colourful blessings of the God Of The Rainbow be upon you and yours, now and always.

Blessings, Tadhg.

Ephemera: Beltane 2021: Thoughts & Ideas For You

Beltane is fast approaching, as we look forward to 1 May in the northern hemisphere. In Wales we call it Calan Mai.

This festival is usually commemorated with bonfires, maypoles, dancing, and performing other rituals.  And, as well there is a couple of English videos that you might like to watch.

“A little Madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King.”
–  Emily Dickinson 

Ancient Celts used to light two bonfires. At one bonfires they believed the would purify themselves, as well as increase fertility in the world. At another bonfire they would pass cattle between them, and they belief they would would purify the cattle, and ensure the fertility of the herd. Although many modern Celtic doesn’t do the ritual, as you will see something similar that will encourage you to do some relevant practice.

Here is how you might like to do something close for Beltane (and there are a couple of videos that will show you Beltane being used in England), such as:

  • how about you use google for a photo of a maypole of (usually girl) children on the alter, and imagine it for five or ten minutes, and maybe use imagine yourself as part in it, or watching it close by. Here is a video of young children using a maypole in England: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncIAdeQGxoo
  • you might like to use one small flower to plant a little cup of water to think of nature, ecology and fertility.  
  • maybe you might like to spend 30-60 minutes for a walk in a forest or city park etc.
  • you might like to read a poem, such as

There is no time like Spring,

When life’s alive in everything,

Before new nestlings sing,

Before cleft swallows speed their journey back

Along the trackless track –

God guides their wing,

He spreads their table that they nothing lack, –

Before the daisy grows a common flower

Before the sun has power

To scorch the world up in his noontide hour…

(Christina Rossetti, by ‘Spring)

  • you may might celebrate a small altar (maybe with a small cloth, a candle, a small posies of yellow flowers) 
  •  maybe you might like to use a prayer for Beltane, one below here, or one of yourself:

Creator God, forgive our moments of ingratitude, 

the spiritual blindness that prevents us 

from appreciating the wonder that is this world,

the endless cycle of nature, 

of life and death and rebirth. 

Forgive us for taking without giving, 

reaping without sowing. 

Open our eyes to see, 

our lips to praise,

our hands to share, 

and may our feet tread lightly

on the road that, together, we travel.

(Copyright © John Birch, 2016 · Prayer written when copied freely for worship).

Conclusion

Do have something special for Beltane for yourself – have a liturgy or prayer, an altar, a meditation or imaginational time for a few minutes, or use the time in the forest or city park for a small time to celebrate this time of Beltane.

Many blesses, Tadhg.

Tadhg’s Ephemera: Full Moon, Monday, 26 April 2021

Here is some information about the next full moon, which is due on Monday, 26 April 2021. Here’s data about the moon names and more pics information, and there is part of a liturgy that you might like to use for the full night.

Full Moon Data: Full Names

Depending on the ancient tribes and countries here (or your moon) is some important full moon data which you might to use (once or twice):

  • Poeny moon for some Chinese people
  • Growing moon, or Hare for Celts or some Druids
  • Saille or Willow month (for the Ogham alphabetic/month)
  • Seed moon of ancient English tribes or Wiccan people
  • Awaking moon of neo) pagan people
  • Flower moon of Cherokeemoon tribes etc
  • Snow melt of the IInuit peoples
  • Pink moon for the Old Farmer’s Almanac
  • Harvest Moon, Hunter’s Moon, Blood Moon for those on the Southern Hemisphere.

    Maybe there is another name of the full moon you might use. Or you might one or two of the ones mentioned here – but do please yet me know what you call another moon.

    Other Information
  • Lunation 1216: Lunation, the number starting from new man to the next new moon, and started first by Professor Ernest W Brown from 17January, 1933 – so he first made the first Lunation number (and anyone using earlier Lunation moons use negative numbers. So, the Lu action 1 was by him, and the current one today, half way through this moon, is Lunation 1216.
  • Average distance from Moon to Earth: 238,855 miles (384,400 km)
  • Perigee (closest approach to Earth): 225,700 miles (363,300 km)
  • Apogee (farthest distance from Earth): 252,000 miles (405,500 km)
  • Orbit circumference: 1,499,618.58 miles (2,413,402 km)
  • Mean orbit velocity: 2,287 mph (3,680.5 km/h)

Liturgy: Sister Moon: Ritual: Part Of The Canticle Of The Sun By Francis (Adapted)

This liturgy/poem can be used partly here, and it can be used with a candle, and for, perhaps it can be used with meditation for a few silent minutes.

Oh Most High, All-Source, and Goodly-One, Great are your praises, your glories, and your blessings. 
All: Hail and welcome you.

As Brother Sun you give us the day, the light, and beautiful radiance. 
All: Hail and welcome you.

As Sister Moon you give us the Moon’s face who is gleaming, beloved and peaceful. In the firmament, as the full moon ‘rides’ the celestial circle, you bedazzle a myriad of luminaries – comets, planets, stars and galaxies, all beyond number. 
All: Hail and welcome you.

As Brother Wind you give us moderation of temperature and wind, and calmness and the moodiness of the currents ways. 
All: Hail and welcome you.

As Sister Water you give us moisture that is purposeful, that you bedew us, and fill us with sprinkling that is pure. 
All: Hail and welcome you.

Oh, Sister, Mother Earth, you supply the world and our nourishment anew, and with a magnificent panoply of flora and fauna. 
All: Hail and welcome you.

Conclusion

I wish you a full moon, and do ensure you do something to celebrate the night eg a liturgy, a juice or wine as as a form libation, or walk under the moon shadow etc.

Blessings to you, from Tadhg.

Mother Earth Day: 22 April 2021: Things To Do, And Liturgy

On Thursday, 22 April 2021 will be Mother Earth Day. Mother Earth is urging us to call to action. Nature is suffering – flora and fauna hurts everyone. Seas are filling with plastic and becoming more acidic, wildfires and floods, have affected millions of people.  Now we have Covid 19 as a worldwide health pandemic.

“How strange that nature does not knock, and yet does not intrude!” (Emily Dickinson)

Here is a number of Earth Day things here you might like to consider today (or later), and after it there is details about a liturgy for the way:

Ideas To Do

  • how about bicycle to save driving a car, or use public transport
  • how about writing a new poem (or a classic one) for Mother Day Earth for your house
  • use a park or forest to use trees and flowers, insects etc and see appreciate more
  • how about buy a flower for home or for our gardens, and
  • other to buy heather and lavender etc are good for bees and other insects
  • have a no tv day
  • read a book about ecology, flora or fauna, occasionally
  • you might like to do a liturgy (yours or others) with a candle too (today or each month)
  • how about a vegetarian dinner that day (as many use too much meat in dinners)

”And forget not the Earth delights to feel your bare feet, and the winds long to play with your hair”. Khalil Gibran

  • buy a useable bag and/or use a refillable water bottle
  • write down a commitment and making a plan about two eco-actions
  • buy if possible to get some foods from a local market’s farmer
  • you might like to have some time for meditation
  • buy some seed packets
  • turning off lights and electronics when not in use, or use energy-sight bulbs
  • our how about encouraging your friends to help get trash taken off

”Earth’s crammed with heaven…But only he who see, takes off his shoes.” Elizabeth Barrett Browning

  • how collect rained water for your garden or flower pots
  • join a local/national organisation for birds, nature, trees etc

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” Lao Tzu

Liturgy For You On Mother Earth

Below is a first and third general part of liturgy and it can be used in several purposes, so then the second part of the liturgy (which can also uses Hildegard Von Bingen) can and also be used for for Mother Earth.

O most noble Greenness, rooted in the sun,
shining forth in streaming splendour upon the wheel of Earth.
No earthly sense or being can comprehend you.
You are encircled by the very arms of Divine mysteries.
You are radiant like the red of dawn!
You glow like the incandescence of the sun!

(Hildegard von Bingen)


(1) Liturgy Beginning

You might like to have a candle here at the beginning of their liturgy. Do be cautious of it, and keep it away from children, animals and fabrics etc. You might have a paper and a pen (for writing an impromptu liturgy, poem or writing you might like to use in the second liturgy.

And. So please start:

On Rising
The Source of All is Spirit, and those who worship the Source of All must worship in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24, The Book, paraphrase)

Calling The Quarters
Calling the Quarters, as we turn in sequence to face the four cardinal compass points, helps us to become fully present so we can deeply connect to the world around us, and create safe and sacred space for us all.

Facing East
Guardian of the East, Oh Ancient One of the air,
we call upon the Spirit to be with us today.
Come charge this circle with the power of the wind.
All: We welcome you.

Facing South
Guardian of the South, Oh Ancient One of the fire,
we call upon the Spirit to be with us today.
Come charge this circle with the power of the flame
All: We welcome you.

Facing West
Guardian of the West, Oh Ancient One of the waters,
we call upon the Spirit to be with us today.
Come charge this circle with the power of the tides.
All: We welcome you.

Facing North
Guardian of the North, Oh Ancient One of the earth,
we call upon the Spirit to be with us today.
Come charge this circle with the power of the land.
All: We welcome you

From the centre, perhaps adopting the orans posture 
Guardian of all, Oh Ancient of Days,
we call upon the Spirit to be with us today.
Come charge this circle with your power.
All: We welcome you.

Call For Peace
The call for peace is an affirmation that there is peace amongst us, now; and that peace is offered to the world though not all embrace this, today, but one day will do so.

Is there peace in the East?
All: There is peace in the East.

Is there peace in the South?
All: There is peace in the South.

Is there peace in the West?
All: There is peace in the West.

Is there peace in the North?
All: There is peace in the North.

Throughout the entire land there is peace.

(2) Liturgy For Mother Earth

You might like to use the paper and pen to make a Mother Earth or similar poem from yourself, or wrote a bit of prose, or use a few minutes of meditation and use paper or pen to write about thoughts that might have heard during meditation. Do be worried about liturgy or poems, and what you do half way through – it doesn’t have to be perfect, but aim to be intention, and I’m sure you will, and the Source of All is always pleased with our intention.

“It is spring again. The Earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.” Rainer Maria Rilke

So, you might use or try something to do something like this:

We come to you dear Mother Earth,
giving thankfulness to you, for all that there is on your wonderful planet.
All: We thank you.

We give you our forgetfulness and forgiveness dear Mother Earth,
and ask you that we are helpful, to be more aware, alive and thoughtfulness.
All: We ask you.

May we best become closer to the flora and fauna, ecology and humankind,
and we ask that we can do more each day in our environment at so close and so far away.
All: We ask you.

We come to you dear Mother Earth,
giving thankfulness to you, for all that there is on your wonderful planet.
All: We thank you.

You might like:

Wild Geese, by Mary (and a great eco-poet and more):

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

(3) Liturgy For Ending

Closing The Quarters
Facing East
Guardian of the East, Oh Ancient One of the air,
we thank you for your presence with us today.
All: We thank you.

Facing South
Guardian of the South, Oh Ancient One of the fire,
we thank you for your presence with us today.
All: We thank you.

Facing West
Guardian of the West, Oh Ancient One of the waters,
we thank you for your presence with us today.
All: We thank you.

Facing North
Guardian of the North, Oh Ancient One of the earth,
we thank you for your presence with us today..
All: We thank you.

From the centre, perhaps adopting the orans posture 
Guardian of all, Oh Ancient of Days,
we thank you for your presence with us today..
All: We thank you.

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the Earth find reserve of strength that will endure as long as little fe lasts.” Rachel Carson

Final Blessings 
We bless our ancestors, in Bliss, embraced by the Friend.
We bless each other, our global family of humankind, secured by the Friend.
We bless those yet to come who are known only to the Friend.
And, We bless the Friend, the Universe, Mother God who is always with us.
Bless you each.

Do ensure you extinguish the candle/s.

Ogham Alphabets And More: Saille Or Willow

Here is some information for the Saille or Willow, the Ogham details for the alphabet, it’s full moon name, and the willows spirituality and mythology – as there was about the Fearn/Alder in last week. So, here’s more about the Saille or Willow.

Ogham Details:

  • Name as the Saille or Willow.
  • Alphabet for our S
  • Ogham as four ‘staves’ to the right (see below)

I sat beneath a willow tree,

Where water falls and calls;

While fancies upon fancies solaced me,

Some true, and some were false.

Who set their heart upon a hope

That never comes to pass,

Droop in the end like fading heliotrope

The sun’s wan looking-glass.

(Poem part: In The Willow Shade by Christina Rossetti)

The Saille or Willow month or moon is: 15 April – 12 May:

As well as the month or moon for ancient tribes eg it’s the Poeny moon by many Chinese people, the growing moon by many Celtics, or the next Saille moon or Willow moon (on 26 April in 2021).

Medicine

In Willow Flower Essence, part of Bach Remedies is used as a remedy for floor people with bitterness and resentment; for people who are stuck in a position of blaming others etc.

Spirituality & Mythologies

Druids associated the tree with courage, strength and the evolving spirit, and it is also linked with death and resurrection.

A circlet can be woven of Willow to wear during any of the spring celebrations and Lunar rituals. Fresh flowers, or silk if you prefer, can be inserted in this crown, ribbons be woven throughout the circlet.

In some Druid stories, it is said, the universe and all mankind was hatched from two scarlet eggs hidden within the willow tree. One egg formed the sun and the other the Earth.

In Hebrew culture the willow tree is associated with the Feast of the Tabernacles. There shelters were built using the branches of the willow, a tradition which still followed in Jerusalem today, mainly.

The tree details:

The Willow is a aromatic tree and is often found most near lakes, pond and other waterways throughout temperate areas.

The bark is of the willow is grey, rough, and with furrowed into narrow ridges. Twigs are yellow to brown, and are flexible and droopy. It’s flowers are in the forms of catkins, and are about 1 to 2 inches in length, and with yellow, hairy scales at the end of short. Catkins appear in early spring. The fruit matures in late spring to early summer.

Conclusion

Here is for the previous Fearn or Aldrer, and it’s Ogham details for you: https://tadhgtalks.me/2021/04/14/ogham-alphabets-and-more-fearn-alder/

Many blessings, Tadhg.

Ogham Alphabets And More: Fearn/Alder

Ogham alphabets were found in ancient Ireland and Western Wales, and here is one alphabet. each letter is associated with a tree or plant.

Its twenty letters, called feda (ie ‘trees’), and it has a group into four aicme (ie ‘family, tribe’) of five letters each. Each letter is a cluster of one to five straight lines to each ‘staff’.

Ogham Details:

  • Name as the Fearn or Alder
  • Alphabet for our V or L
  • Ogham as three ‘staves’ to the right (see below)

The Fearn or Alder month or moon is: March 18 – April 14.

The detail about the month’s name and moon name is seen by some as ‘newish’, and less classically authentic. However, I love the use Celtic/Ogham trees eg with the Fearn or Alder – especially as we have months called with many Roman emperor’s names and use their names with no real reasons.

Spirituality & Mythologies

Druids associated the tree with courage, strength and the evolving spirit, and it is also linked with death and resurrection.

In Irish mythology it is said that the first human man was made from the alder tree, and the tree is considered of the fairies, and it is protected by the water fairy-folk. It said it represents both fire and earth.

The tree details:

The Fearn or Alder tree is rather special because of it has the ability to develop well and prevent rot when in water. When dipped in water it has a very long time, and so become extremely strong. With a only a few exceptions, alders are deciduous and the leaves are alternated, simple, and serrated. The flowers are catkins (see the top photo) with elongate male catkins and there are on the same plant as shorter female catkins. The tree is visited by bees, too.

Conclusion

At the next ogham, we’ll look at the Willow and the Willow Moon: April 15 – May 12, in the next few days.

Meanwhile, blessings to you, Tadhg.

Six Miles Away: Herne The Hunter And Elen Of The Ways

For a new weeks (more) I’m living near the Great Windsor Park,  and it is just some 6 miles away. It is full of deers and a multitude of wild life, amd it’s a wonderful area. In ancient times this was part of the larger Berkshire  Forest, and it was replete of old myths, even today.

You know I can’t stop looking for myths and stories around, and I have two myths for you, today. One of:

  • Herne the Hunter, and another of 
  • Elen of the Ways.

Herne The Hunter

Of, Herne the Hunter he is said to have antlers growing from his head, rides a horse, torments cattle, and rattle chains. The latter may be mythological ‘right’, but the latter sounds theatrical. And it is, as it becomes from the words of William Shakespeare. 

Herne the Hunter, either used a horse or was seen alone in the forest. He was said to be seen as a free and nobly forested-spirit, and was (because of his antlers) he was associated with deers. 

As a male character he was related to the fecundity and ecological balance of the forest. To Druids, Celts and many others Herne the Hunter symbolised alertness and potently, his reverence and his spreading tree-like antlers to epitomise the forest. Stags are also associated with shape-changing, and appear throughout celtic mythologies several people became stags for a while. Even at least one occasion it was said  St Patrick became a shape-shifting deer using the féth fíada. Féth denotes ‘mist’, and fíada originally means the ‘knower’.

There is an old tale goes that Herne the Hunter,
Some time a keeper here in Windsor Forest,
Doth all the winter-time, at still midnight,
Walk round about an oak, with great ragg’d horns…

(In The Merry Wives of Windsor, the Shakespeare  pays tribute to the ghost of Herne the Hunter, wandering Windsor Forest).

It was said that he was especially close to a huge oak tree, known as Herne’s Oak. As these things happen, that tree was felled in 1796, though others said it was a different tree that was Herne’s Oak, though that was, itself, was blown down by winds August 1863. 

However, Queen Victoria planted an oak tree and it stays for all to see – along with a number of many other oaks and other trees. Perhaps, the balance of the forest is that life and death moves on, but the myth of Herne the Hunter continues as long as we remember him.

Whatever, the view of Herne the Hunter is, it is (I believe) a welcome thought. With Herne the Hunter we remind ourselves, in story, myths poetry, ritual, of the flora and fauna, the need of forests, of life and death (and life), and of the great balance of nature.

Elen Of The Way

Elen of the Ways is our second Celtic (Druid etc), ‘antlered’-person, changeable and who is, also, elusive in the forest. 

Here’s a mythology: In The Dream Of Macsen Wledig (part of the Mabinogion), Mackenzie is out hunting but gets sleepy, and has a dream.

Elen of the Ways is depicted as a mysterious woman of power who knows how to gets what she wants. Macsen Wledig slept, and he experienced a dream.

In that dream, he travelled way across mountains and along rivers, and undertook a sea voyage. He crossed an island and found a magnificent castle, and there was a beautiful woman and he fell in love with her. 

Macsen had found the woman of his dreams within his dream! Ofcourse, he never gets his kiss. When he moves to kiss her he awakens, and in the waking world he can see no Elen of the Ways.

And so, Elen of the Ways, is said to be to all look for her. She may assist those who travel the world’s ways and roads geography, and also perhaps she may assist us in our spiritual journeys or our slumbers, as we listen for her dreamful advices.

Twenty-first Century Cosmic Navigators (2): Awareness Of Clouds

It’s always good to look at clouds, as a later Celt or Druid etc, but it’s good to see ourselves as a twenty-first century cosmic‘ navigator’, and aware of nature.So, here’s a few ways that we can consider and look about clouds. The ancients, as well as scientific ways can lead after a few clouds.

“A Dream is where a boy can swim in the deepest oceans and fly over the highest clouds.” ( J. K. Rowling
)

Since the dawn of time, when our first ancestors were capable of craning their necks and looking at nature in awe, the sky has mesmerised humankind. The blue sky, insects buzzing and birds flying, the stars in the night sky forming a myriad of patterns in which to form their mythology and track the course of time, enthralled the ancients. And clouds. Clouds, too, caught the imagination of those giants of old.

He answered them, ‘When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky…’ (Matthew 16:2-3a, The Book)

As I lay on a picnic blanket in Richmond Park, west London, as a child with my mother beside me, we played that game of looking up at the clouds and imagining what the various cloud shapes looked like. ‘It looks like a television’, my mother said. As the high winds slowly changed the cloud’s shape, I waited, laughed and then exclaimed loudly, ‘It now looks more like a whale.’ And, so it went on.

The ground we walk on, the plants and creatures, the clouds above constantly dissolving into new formations – each gift of nature possessing its own radiant energy, bound together by cosmic harmony. (Ruth Bernhard)

Ofcourse, years later, I learned more about clouds, was even more fascinated by it, and now I’d like to suggest how you can also love what each cloud means. Such as:

Low clouds

Stratus clouds are small, light, diffuse clouds. They are the kind of widespread cloud that uniformly blanket the whole sky, and which can be seen especially, but not only around mountains and coastal areas. Look out for light drizzle.

Stratocumulus clouds, about 7000 feet above us, are thick, but usually patchy clouds, with ‘gaps’ that allow you to see the blue sky occasionally, or if its near dawn or dusk allow the suns rays to shine through in several shafts of light. This effect is called crepuscular rays, God’s rays, Buddha rays or Jacob’s ladder.

The thickest and lowest clouds are cumulus clouds (see photo above). They’re usually fast, floating around, with puffy clouds with flat bases. Generally their upper parts often resemble cauliflowers, and they are not the harbingers of rain. But, it may be these that are the ‘shape-shifting’ clouds that, in my boyhood, resembled animals and inanimate objects.

Middle clouds

Nimbostratus are usually middle (perhaps middle to low) clouds and can look grey, diffuse clouds and they can be seen as the harbinger of rain, (and depending on the seasons) they can hair or snow). See photo below.

Above these clouds are altocumulus clouds. They can be a multitude of rounded ‘clumps’ of cloud, almond shape, and resemble fish scales – hence it may be called a ‘mackerel’ sky.

Altostratus clouds are usually thin, featureless grey clouds. Usually thin enough to reveal the position of the sun, and sometimes the moon at night, and because these diffuse clouds may contain ice crystals you might also see a halo, a coloured ‘corona’ around the sun or moon in the clouds.

High clouds

‘High-Flyer’s’ are cirrostratus clouds, ‘floating’ above 20000 feet, and could often be referred to as ‘the clouds that aren’t really there’, as they can cover hundreds of square miles, but can be so ‘thin’, so high and so subtle that they’re often overlooked by earth-bound observers.

“The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and delicious. And why shouldn’t it be?–it is the same the angels breathe.” ( Mark Twain)

Cirrus clouds, also known as ‘mares’ tails’ are fast-moving clouds, and are usually buffeted by high winds – think of aircraft turbulence; but because they can be so high, as anything far away, the ‘illusion’ is that they are slow moving. But, this isn’t the case. See photo below.

If there are to be any clouds about on a summer’s day, then the lofty cirrocumulus clouds are the ones that will delight. These clouds are high and are really tiny ‘cloudlets’, regularly spaced, and maybe with a ‘rippled’ effect. Cirrocumulus clouds tend to reflect the red and yellow colours during a sunset and sunrise, and so they have often been referred to as “one of the most beautiful clouds”. This occurs because they reflect the unscattered rays of light from the early morning or evening sun.

Conclusion: Next time you see a cloud (and it’s safe to do so), why not pause, and when you can, let me know what you ‘saw’, and if it had a deeper meaning to you. Perhaps the cloud shows your what science tells you about the weather etc, or perhaps the cloud has some kind of imaginative sky ‘drawn’ is for you,, or perhaps it is a ‘message’ from the Great Cloud-Giver? Happy cloud-spotting!

Divine Essence Ablazes… (Reviewed)

I’m in London, and still liking to walk, sauntering as much as I can, and I had time to go for a gentle walk along Parson’s Green (common), Fulham in London. It’s spring equinox today, and daffodils today at Parson’s Green (see the photo) are as ‘bountiful’ as they were a few years.

Here was an article made three years about life-living, and some profound words from Hildegard of Bingen.

From its winter’s sleep, Spring has finally arrived and new life is here. In everything.

‘I, the highest and fiery power, have kindled every spark of life…I, the fiery life of divine essence, blaze in the beauty of the fields…’

Yes, spring is in the air. The local council, here in Fulham have ‘secretly’ and wonderfully planted fifty-two thousand daffodil bulbs around the borough – in local parks, commons, green areas along some streets – and they are blooming.

Many parts of this inner city borough are now awash with the green and yellow of daffodils standing to attention, and swaying gently in the wind. And, it’s marvellous to behold. In my mind I skipped through the ones on Parson’s Green as I saw them – but you’ll be pleased to know that, physically, I restrained myself just to gaze and be ‘mesmerised’ by them (but it’s intentionality that is most important!), but it was a lovely thought. It was an awesome sight.

The sun shone unhindered by clouds today, well at least for a couple of hours, but this is Britain. Nevertheless, when the sun shone, its brilliance hit the surface of water of the River Thames and a million stars twinkled back, winking on the water’s surface.

We take it for granted. Water. Perhaps there is a river near where you live that you can visit and just gaze at? Where there is water, there is life. It is suspected that there is water on Mars, and maybe there is life there – microbial, perhaps, they think?

Water means life. And, Hildegard of Bingen (one of my favourite mystics, a German Benedictine abbess, writer, composer, philosopher, and visionary, AD1098 – 1179), reminds us that it is not just earthly life that is found in the water, but Life itself.

Yes,  the Source of All is ‘reflected’ in the waters. Not just the water of a river, but water itself, the very same water that flows through your home’s faucet/tap, that you drink or bathe in.

…'[I] am aflame beyond the beauty of the meadows, I gleam in the waters, and I burn in the sun, moon, and stars. With every breeze, as with invisible life that contains everything, I awaken everything to life. The air lives by turning green and being in bloom. The waters flow as if they were alive….’

That Which Is Bigger Than Us is ubiquitous. My walk took me across Wandsworth Bridge. I like baseball caps and in the summer they keep the sun off my ‘thinning’ pate, but today discovered a drawback. The centre of the bridge, ‘open’ to the breeze that blows along the River Thames, means that it can get quite windy and catch the ‘bill’ of the cap and had the potential to lift it off. And so, with cap in hand I had to laugh. The wind gusted at times and quite took my breath away. Invigorating wasn’t the word. Ah, the Source of All is in fire, water, rock beneath me and, I detected, in the air, in the wind, today, also.

‘I am also Reason, having the wind of the sounding Word by which all things were created, and I breathe in them all…’

The Life-Giver’s breath flows through everything. If you want to know if a person is alive, check for breath. Isn’t that what we’re told? But, that relates to earthly life.

On my walk today, Hldegards words whispered in my mind. None die (that is none are annihilated) her words reverberated deep within me, as she echoed words given to her. Imbued with life, we, as is everything else, cannot die. Many think that the opposite to life is death. There is no death. Change yes, but we do not die. Eckhart Tolle said, ‘Life has no opposite. The opposite of death is birth. Life is eternal.’

‘…so that none may die…’

I’m now in my London place, its now raining and the temperature is dropping a little, again, and I’m thankful for central heating. Yes, I’m still in London, have had my batteries ‘re-charged’, have encountered nature (even) in the city, listened deeply and learned a thing or two on my walk, and would encourage you to be open to Life itself, wherever you are.

‘…because I am Life…’ [This, and all indented quotes above are the words of Hildegard of Bingen, speaking about the Life-Giver].

Many blesses of the vernal equinox to you and yours, and for those of the autumn equinox to those of the southern hemisphere. Tadhg.