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from the album 'Qntal 11'  1995   


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    June 21st 2013    My Summer Solstice - keeping it simple ...

                   Litha Candle in a Whitstable oyster shell ©vcsinden2013

      Rising early on this, the longest day of the year, I sat on a breakwater and looked eastwards towards the horizon. It was just before 5.00am and not one glimmer of sun pierced the endless, misty, dull-grey of the sky.  Finding a perfect little Whitstable oyster shell, I set it down on my scrying mirror with a sprig of heather for Ogham magic and lit my white candle.

      The tide was far, far out over the shingle and sand, but I heared the shallow waves pulling and lapping over the pebbles, and no other soul, magic or human could be seen.

Seasalter beach - waiting for solstice sunrise ©vcsinden2013 Whitastable beach huts at dawn ©vcsinden2013
                              Looking to the east on Seasalter beach, where sunrise was invisible - and a row of forlorn beach huts wait for summer

. Soon after the appointed time, 5.25am but with never a glimmer, I climbed up to the headland, where the ruined towers of the saxon church at Reculver face east as if they too were waiting. Sitting on the grass, looking down over the sea I read a poem to the sun. I give you an extract here -

from 'Summer Solstice' by Hilary Llewellyn-Williams.

Sun, stand still
as the chestnuts burn
over the dark stream
in pure honey white flames;
as the hedges swell
out over the roads
rough loaded with life -
fizzing wild carrot, cow parsley
pink shocks of campion
and roses
buttercups polished up and bold
among sorrel, and deep grasses,
insect and beasts and birds


Reculver towers and Muddypond Green - gacing East for solstice sunrise ©vcsinden2013

    The poem was originally published in 'The Tree Calendar' by Hilary Llewellyn-Williams 1997. Pub: Poetry Wales Press. It was later included in other collections by the author notably 'Hummadruz' Pub: Seren 2001 - poems of the trees, seasons, stones and solstices. Thank you so much to my friend Imogen for bringing them to my attention.



   June 19th 2013    Back to English skies - 10 beguiling things from a few faery awaydays in West Sussex ........
       (Making magic?  The  Ogham wood will now be Oak - Duir until July 7th and her full moon will be June 23rd)

Bosham, West Sussex ©vcsinden2013

     This is a picture of Bosham, near Chichester, taken at low tide in late evening light - in fact it was almost nine o'clock and still bright as we approach the Summer Solstice. Below, in no particular order are a further 9 magical things that bewitched Muddypond (wood guardian fae) on a little 'explore' of ancient England.

Yew tree-Kingley Vale, West Sussex ©vcsinden2013
Amberley Village Tea Rooms , outside in June ©vcsinden2013

    Here is one of the great Watchers - a yew tree from the yew forest of Kingley Vale where the yews have stood for centuries unknown. It is silent, a coolly shadowed and enchanted place and I'll tell more of it soon on my Ogham Yew page.

   In contrast, sitting outside Amberley Village Tea Room in bright sunshine. You are surrounded by the pleasant clatter of local pottery cups, bowls and tea pots while indulging in home-made scones and strawberry jam with a big bowl of clotted cream. Of course, it's lucky that the fae population only indulge in the SCENT of the scones, cream etc. but the scent was good !

Coot family ©vcsinden2013
hedgehog embroidered church kneeler ©vcsinden2013
Thatch roof faery, Bosham, West Sussex ©vcsinden2013
Sea going swan and cygnets, Emsworth, West Susses ©vcsinden2013

   Top row above, proud coot parents show off their red-headed chicks on a wild pool beside Amberley castle. Muddypond fell in love with this embroidered kneeler in one of the famous medieval churches of this part of the world, this one at Stoughton. She was glad to see her beloved hedgehogs taking such pride of place.

  Bottom row - taken at Bosham - a FAERY no less - never seen a straw or reed faery before - she sits, wand in hand, atop a beautiful cottage overlooking the pub and the creek. And another amazement - sea-going swans! Cygnets braving the choppy salt-water by the Emsworth harbour wall.

Bosham Telephone Box community library ©vcsinden2013
St Michael's Church Up Marden, West Sussex  ©vcsinden2013

  There was a really varied and up-to-date selection of books to be borrowed or swapped in the busy Bosham community telephone box - nice change-of-use idea now mortals seem plugged into mobiles! 

   Contrast the utter unchanged simplicity of the tiny, remote St. Michael's church at Up Marden, hidden amongst trees on an ancient track. Simon Jenkins, writing about the church in his book 'England's 1000 Best Churches' said he "could not be immune from the spirits of this place". I know exactly what he means.

Amberly - walking towards the castle ©vcsinden2013

  Last but by no means least, a walk through the lyrical village of Amberley, the England of old, with its matchless mixture of architecture, tumbling roses and cottage gardens.

If you are interested in  ancient trees and their magic,
Muddypond has just revised and updated her Ogham page on the Oak,
whose guardianship is June 10th to July 7th.

( Oak was her first Ogham page, back in 2010 and is now in much more detail )




    June 6th
2013     Stella-Fae study leave!  Rain and cloud forest - Costa Rica .... (Part 2) see below for Pt 1

Muddypond Green at dawn on Playa Negra  a Costa Rican Caribbean beach ©vcsinden2013
Walking on the sands - a Caribbean dawn at Playa Negra

  So many hummingbirds, iridescent and lustrous. Tiny feathered fireballs darting through the day out in the wilds or hovering and skimming around sugary garden feeders. Different species for coast and mountain - each one engrossed and engrossing- shimmering in the sunshine and defying you to look away!

Costa Rican Hummingbirds ©vcsinden2013

Three toed sloth near San Jose, Costa Rica ©vcsinden2013
Above - Three toed sloth       Right - Agouti


   As one of the most forward 'eco'  thinking countries in the world, the Costa Rican Government is pledged to keep its remarkable wildlife heritage. They are turning the clock back, encouraging farmers to return some land to the wild - and rain forest quickly asserts itself. A protected and entire 'Green Corridor'  will run across the country, allowing animals freedom to roam and is now over 90% complete.

Agouti - Costa Rica ©vcsinden2013As home to rare mammals like jaguar and tapir, breeding sea turtles, amazing bird species - not to mention diverse insect and plant life - it has a gift which it is learning to treasure. Many of these wonderful creatures are easy to see - toucans fly overhead, blue morpho butterflies dream through sunlit patches and evening sloths siesta high up after leaves and flowers.


Capuchin monkey - Monteverde, Costa Rica ©vcsinden2013 Coati - Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica ©vcsinden2013 Hairy Porcupine, Monteverde Clod Forest, Costa Rica ©vcsinden2013
White-throated Capuchin Monkey
A very curious White-nosed Coati
Baby Mexican Hairy Porcupine


Monteverde Cloud Forest - Sky Walk bridges ©vcsinden2013
Workmen in misty weather on one of the six suspension bridges - Monteverde Cloud Forest -




     June 4th
2013     Stella-Fae study leave!  Rain and cloud forest - Costa Rica .... (Part 1)
          (Making magic?  The  Ogham wood will now be Hawthorn - Huath until June 9th)

Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica in May ©vcsinden2013.

    This Earth, One Earth, Our Earth - us Magics must care for the creatures, the enchanted healing plants and trees world over - and no-one takes their eco-enchantment responsibilities more seriously than the government and people of Costa Rica.

Muddypond Green, wood guardian herself, has been so very lucky to spend time being over-awed by the sheer diversity, colour and abundance of the small country divided between the Pacific and Caribbean oceans by a backbone of volcanic mountains.

Costa Ric's forest  birds - a Motmot ©vcsinden2013 Costa Ric's forest  birds - an Emerald Toucanet ©vcsinden2013 Costa Ric's forest  birds - a Quetzal ©vcsinden2013
Torquoise-browed Motmot
Emerald Toucanet
Resplendent Quetzal


Arenal Volcana, Costa Rica, from room balcony at Arenal Volcano Lodge in May Costa Ric's forest  birds - a Motmot ©vcsinden2013
Arenal Volcano, last active 2006 from Monteverde Cloud Forest

     From dawn to dusk, birds and bird-song surround you - in gardens, on mountain sides, pineapple fields, banana and coffee plantations to the great forests themselves - all ablaze with rare and dazzling colour.

  A wonderfully named 'Respendent Quetzal' posed and flounced on a suspension bridge cable, keeping his eye on his lady and nest-hole in a nearby tree despite having moulted the second of his long, long twin tail feathers.

 So many others I could show you - sloths, humming birds, butterflies - another day perhaps!


    Stay if you can at the Arenal Volcano Lodge, only a mile from the volcano, way away from everywhere in the midst of cloud forest. It's the site of an old scientific observatory. The picture above is a view from a room balcony - mortals can be up with the dawn to watch the coatis play in the garden below, hear howler monkeys racketing up the day and see the astounding birds.

Costa Rica - Iguana with salad Costa Ric's forest  birds - a Motmot ©vcsinden2013 Costa Rica - Emerald Basilisk Lizard at the river Costa Ric's forest  birds - a Motmot ©vcsinden2013
Green Iguana - a huge presence in the sun
                   Emerald Basilisk - prefering shady places by the water

    Massive iguanas, bask in the sun like ancient dragons and scrump left over vegetables - and if you are blessed you may catch a glimpse of the secretive, vivid basilisk lizard sitting atop a fallen river branch, immobile, watching for insects.

   Later on, it's the turn of the frogs .... unbelievable ... but true...

Costa Rica, frogs - Gaudy leaf frog ©vcsinden2013 Costa Rica, frogs -  Blue jeans frog ©vcsinden2013 Costa Rica, frogs -Black & green Dart frog ©vcsinden2013
Gaudy Leaf Frog
Blue Jeans frog
Black & Green Dart Frog

     Dusk comes early at this latitude, time to pause, gaze out over the countryside. Now's the time to indulge in a long glass of fresh pineapple juice (or something!) and reflect for a while on the day's wanderings and wonders.

Costa Rica - Arenal lake at sunset Costa Rica, frogs - Gaudy leaf frog Costa Ric's forest  birds - a Motmot ©vcsinden2013
Arenal lake, seen from the terrace at Arenal Volcano Lodge.





       May 1st 2013     May Day - long before the day-ay-oh .... 

Hartley Morris Men bring in the summer, May Day at Coldrum ©vcsinden2013

'Hal-an-Tow, jolly rumbelow
For we were up - long before the day-ay-o
To welcome in the Summer
To welcome in the May-ay-oh.

Coldrum Longbarrow, Kent in the May Day dawn light ©vcsinden2013 Coldrum Longbarrow, Kent - Hartley Morris Men greet the sunrise on May Day morning ©vcsinden
Greetings to the Dawn,  to the East,  to the Rising Sun  and return of Summer

'The Summer is a-coming in
And Winter's gone away-oh.

Listen here to Roger Allam's great rendition of 'Hal-n-tow' sung at the Globe Theatre production of Heny 1V pt 1.
Hartley Morris Men dancing the sun-up on May Morning at Coldrum, Kent ©vcsinden2013

      The official sunrise was 5.32am, and by four-ish, those who love the old ways were up and about, brewing a first cup of tea, bringing out bells and drums and making their way to meaningful haunts all over the British Isles.

      This year Muddypond was delighted to spend early May morning with The Hartley Morris Men at one of the few significant megalithic sites in Kent - Coldrum Longbarrow. The dancers and muscians were spry and ready for the long day ahead of them. Unearthly music piped in first light from behind the cloutie-tree  - the dancers danced - fine cake was shared - then a gathering was called at the foot of the barrow mound, a rememberance made and the traditional May Song rivalled the dawn chorus.

Hartley Morris men, joined by faery Muddypond Green, sing the sun up on May morning at Coldrum Longbarrow ©vcsinden
The Hartley Morris Men, joined by Muddypond, to sing in the May soon after sunrise.

There's more about the Coldrum Long Barrow here in my diaryblog - scroll to entry for March 25th 2012