Archivi categoria: Usanze e tradizioni/ Folklore

The Grey Selkie

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The best known of the ballads of the Orkney Islands, also as The Gray Silkie of Sule Skerry, tells of a selkie living on the rocky cliff of Sule. The ballad was collected by professor Child  ( # 113).

The legend says that to reproduce the selkie-male must be in human form and transmit his power to descendants: when his child is weaned on dry land, the selkie will return from the sea.

TRADITIONAL VERSION: The Gray Silkie

From Sailormen & Servingmaids 1961, a songs collection on field recordings from England, Scotland and Ireland with John Sinclair of the Fleet island, (melody collected in 1938 by Otto Anderson and transcribed in notation with text by Annie G. Gilchrist.)

John G. Halcro 
in Orkney, Land, Sea & Community, Scottish Tradition vol 21, recordings from the archives of the Scottish School of Studies of the University of Edinburgh (fragment recorded in 1973): “A brief version of it appears as no. 113 in Child without a tune, but this is no match for the variant which old John Sinclair of Flotta in the Orkney Isles turned up with in January 1934. He has since been visited by Swedish folklorists [i.e. Otto Andersson] and recorded for the BBC. Bronson remarks that his tune is a variant of the air often associated with Hind Horn, another ballad of traffic between spirits and mortals. Sinclair (who learned the song from his mother), worked all his life as a seaman, and a farmer-fisherman until his retirement. He now lives in a cottage by the sea where Silkies perhaps may still appear.”

Alison McMorland from Rowan in the Rock 2001

June Tabor from Ashore 2011

I
In Norway’s Land there lived a maid
“Hush ba-loo-lilly”. this maid began,
“I know not where my babe’s father is
Whether by land or sea does he travel in”
II
It happened on a certain day
When this fair lady fell fast asleep
That in came a good grey silkie
And set him down at her bed feet
III
Saying, “Awak’, awak’, my pretty fair maid,
For oh, how sound as thou dost sleep,
And I’ll tell thee where thy babe’s father is,
He’s sitting close at thy bed feet.”
IV
“I pray thee tell to me thy name,
Oh, tell me where does thy dwelling be?”
“My name is good Hill Marliner,
And I earn my living oot o’er the sea.
V
I am a man upon the land,
I am a silkie in the sea,
And when I’m far from every strand
My dwelling it’s in Sule Skerry”
VI
“Alas, alas, that’s woeful fate,
That’s weary fate that’s been laid on me,
That a man should come from the West o’ Hoy
To the Norway Lands to have a bairn wi’ me.”
VII (1)
“My dear, I’ll wed thee with a ring,
With a ring, my dear, will I wed with thee.”
“Thee may go to thee weddings with whom thou wilt,
For I’m sure thou never will wed wi’ me.”
VIII
She has nursed his little wee son
For seven long years upon her knee
And at the end of seven long years
He came back with gowd and white monie (2)
IX
For she has got the gunner good
And a gay good gunner it was he,
He gaed oot on a May morning
And he shot the son and the grey silkie.
X
“Alas, alas, that’s woeful fate,
That’s weary fate that’s been laid on me.”
And eenst or twice she sobbed and sighed
And her tender hairt did break in three.(3)

NOTES
1) she asks silkie to marry her, but he refuses, telling her that she will marry another.
2) silkie pays the Norse tribute for his child
3) in another version, however, the woman decides to follow selkie and son throwing herself into the sea to prevent the prophecy from coming true

But the most widespread melody that became standard it is that of the American James Waters  (see first part)

LINK
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/sule-skerry.htm

http://terreceltiche.altervista.org/the-great-selkie-of-sule-skerry/
https://mainlynorfolk.info/steeleye.span/songs/greatsilkieofsuleskerry.html
https://www.scotslanguage.com/articles/view/id/4882

The Grey Silkie of Sule Skerry

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5494853578_b8a653b169Selkie / silkie / Selchie are the dialectal terms with which in Scotland and Ireland the shapeshifting creatures of sea are called; derive from selich, the Scottish archaic word for  gray seal of the oceans and the Atlantic seas: they are guardians of the sea, seal in the sea and man on earth.

ALL ABOUT SELKIE see here

The power of shapeshifters seems to be contained in their mantle (seal skin), selkies can no longer transform themselves without it and are forced to remain human. This condition is understood in a negative way, a sign of a lack or deprivation, as if the skins of Selkie there were also their soul.
Some researchers wanted to see the origin of the legend in the Finfolk, ( probably the Sami people) Scandinavian men who arrived on the islands and on the coast of Scotland aboard their leather kayaks, while gradually they were advancing at sea their canoe had absorbed water and  sank until only part of their trunk it could be seen.

Both male and female, they are described in their human form as beautiful creatures (long hair and big dark eyes, agile limbs), docile but at the same time endowed with seductive power. The legend says that to reproduce a selkie-male must be in human form and transmit his power to descendants: when his child is weaned on dry land, the selkie will return from the sea. Once when the infant mortality rate was very high, only children over the age of seventh could be considered out of danger and it was at the end of the seventh year that the selkie returned to take his child.
Selkie males were invoked by girls in search of lovers, pouring seven tears in the tide, while sailors were attracted to the female selkie who tried to take as their brides.

Selkie by Maryanne Gobble

THE GREAT SELKIE OF SULE SKERRY

The best known of the Orkney ballads, also known as The Gray Silkie of Sule Skerry, it tells of a selkie living on the rocky cliff of Sule. Skerry derives from the Norse “sker” which means rock in the sea .
The ballad was also collected by professor Child ( # 113).

tumblr_loialeB04U1r04h5zo1_500A young girl has a child from an unknown man who turns out to be a selkie: man on earth, seal at sea whose dwelling is the rocks of Sule. After seven years the sea creature returns to claim his son, giving him a chain of gold, and the mother lets him go.
She after some time gets married with a hunter who trades with animal skins. One day he returns home with the skins of two seals he had killed to give them to his wife: one was of an old gray seal, the other of a young seal with a golden chain around his neck! She dies, overwhelmed by the pain of this vision: her heart breaks or she chooses to follow selkie and son throwing herself into the sea to prevent the prophecy from coming true.

SELKIE PROPHECY

The enchantment of the story lies in particular in the narrative choice: the story is often described as in a nocturnal dream in which a man who claims to be silkie and father of the child, appears almost magically and, next to the cradle of the newborn as in fairy godmothers of fairy tales, he traces child’s destiny.

TWO TUNES

A first melody, which was shot in the folk revival of the 70s, it was written by the American James Waters in 1954 (popularized by Joan Baez); another melody is instead traditional and it was collected in 1938 by Otto Anderson from the voice of John Sinclair of the island of Flotta and transcribed in notation.

JAMES WATERS TUNE

A funeral lament in a lullaby form.

Castelbar  (I, II, IV, V, III, VI, VII, I)

Very intense version of Steeleye Span from Cogs, Wheels and Lovers, 2009, Maddy Prior and Peter Knight

Cécile Corbel ( I, II, IV as refrain, III, V, VI)

Seriouskitchen (Nick Hennessey, Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer ) live: magic instruments, beautiful voices, intense expressiveness

I
An earthly nurse (1) sits and sings,
And aye, she sings by lily wean,
“And little ken (2) I my bairn (3)’s father,
Far less the land where he dwells in.
II
For he came one night to her bed feet (4),/And a grumbly (5) guest, I’m sure was he,/Saying, “Here am I, thy bairn’s father,/Although I be not comely.”
III
He had ta’en a purse of gold/And he had placed it upon her knee/ Saying, “Give to me my little young son,/And take thee up thy nurse’s fee.”
IV
“I am a man upon the land,
I am a silkie on the sea,
And when I’m far and far frae land,
My home it is in Sule Skerrie.”
V
“And it shall come to pass on a summer’s day,/When the sun shines bright on every stane,/I’ll come and fetch my little young son,/And teach him how to swim the faem.”
VI
“Ye shall marry a gunner good/And a right fine gunner I’m sure he’ll be,/And the very first shot that e’er he shoots/Will kill both my young son and me.”
VII
“Alas! Alas! this woeful fate!
This weary fate that’s been laid for me!”/And once or twice she sobbed and sighed/and she joint to a sun and grey silkie (6)

NOTES
1) nourris = nurse
2) ken = know
3) bairn = child
4) bed fit = foot of the bed
5) grumly = strange, scary but also sad
6) or: And her tender heart did break in three

traditional tune

LINK
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/sule-skerry.htm
http://www.orkneyjar.com/folklore/selkiefolk/sulesk.htm
http://thawinedarksea.blogspot.it/2010/04/selkie-pallawah-skin.html
http://www.orkneyjar.com/folklore/finfolk/index.html
https://japanesemythology.wordpress.com/study-notes-investigating-sealkins-selkies-and-sea-goddess-folklore/
https://mainlynorfolk.info/steeleye.span/songs/greatsilkieofsuleskerry.html
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=31375
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/child/ch113.htm
http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/recordings–info-113-great-silkie-of-sule-skerry.aspx
http://bestoflegends.org/fairy/selchies.html
http://fiabesca.blogspot.it/2013/06/acque-settentrionali-le-storie-della.html

One May Morning Early

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The nightingale is “par eccelance” the bird of May as well as a symbol of poetry.
Saffo recited in one of his famous fragments
Lovable nightingale voice
spring messenger
“The Sweet Nightingale” (The Birds in the Spring), “By the Green Grove” and “One May Morning Early” they are three titles for the same traditional English song whose melody competes with the nightingale chant. Not to be confused with the traditional cornish song always entitled “The Sweet Nightingale“. The song is widespread especially in the south of England in the repertoire of George Maynard and the Copper family.
The text is very simple and serene more a pretext to imitate a nightingale chant than to tell a story, it is more precisely the fleeting and magical moment that marks the dawn on a spring day with the singing of nightingales that greets the rising sun.
In early spring nightingales sing mostly at night or at dusk until dawn, to delimit the territory and attract the female. Late spring nightingales can be heard clearly even during the day.

from Wiki
Chris Moore

Beth Gadbaw, Frederic Pouille, Sandra Wong live

Bellowhead from Burlesque 2006 
Andy Turner from A Song for a Week 

I
One May morning early I chanced for to roam,
and strolled through the fields by the side of the grove (road).
It was there I did hear the harmless birds sing,
and you never heard so sweet, you never heard so sweet
you never heard so sweet as the birds in the spring(1)
II
At the end of the grove (road) I sat myself down,
and the song of the nightingale echoed all around.
Their song was so charming, their notes were so clear,
no music no songster, no music no songster,
no music no songster can with them compare.
III
All you that come here the small birds to hear,
I’ll have you pay attention so pray all draw near.
And when you’re growing old (2) you will have this to say,
that you never heard so sweet, you never heard so sweet,
you never heard so sweet as the birds in the spring (3).

NOTES
1) or as the nightingale sing
2) In the past the song of the nightingale was considered a painkiller, and even today it is considered a valid sound in the music-therapy
3) or as the birds on the spray

second part

LINK
https://www.omniglot.com/songs/bcc/onemaymorning.php
https://mainlynorfolk.info/copperfamily/songs/thebirdsinthespring.html
https://afolksongaweek.wordpress.com/2014/03/15/birds-in-the-spring/

Il canto dell’usignolo al Maggio

Read the post in English

L’usignolo è “par eccelance” l’uccello del mese di Maggio nonchè simbolo della poesia.
Recitava Saffo in uno dei suoi celebri frammenti
Usignolo amabile voce
messaggero di primavera“The Sweet Nightingale” (The Birds in the Spring), “By the Green Grove” e “One May Morning Early” sono tre titoli per la stessa canzone tradizionale inglese la cui melodia gareggia con i gorgheggi dell’usignolo. Da non confondere con il canto tradizionale diffuso in Cornovaglia sempre dal titolo “The Sweet Nightingale” Il brano è diffuso in particolare nel sud dell’Inghilterra nel repertorio di George Maynard e della famiglia Copper.
Il testo è molto semplice e sereno più un pretesto per imitare il canto dell’usignolo che per raccontare una storia, è più precisamente l’attimo fuggente e magico che segna l’alba in un giorno di primavera con il canto degli usignoli che saluta il sole nascente.
All’inizio della primavera gli usignoli cantano prevalentemente di notte o al tramonto fino all’alba, per delimitare il territorio e attrarre la femmina. A primavera inoltrata gli usignoli si possono sentire nitidamente anche durante il giorno.

da Wiki
Chris Moore
Beth Gadbaw, Frederic Pouille, Sandra Wong live

Bellowhead in Burlesque 2006 
Andy Turner in A Song for a Week 


I
One May morning early I chanced for to roam,
and strolled through the fields by the side of the grove (road).
It was there I did hear the harmless birds sing,
and you never heard so sweet, you never heard so sweet
you never heard so sweet as the birds in the spring(1)
II
At the end of the grove (road) I sat myself down,
and the song of the nightingale echoed all around.
Their song was so charming, their notes were so clear,
no music no songster, no music no songster,
no music no songster can with them compare.
III
All you that come here the small birds to hear,
I’ll have you pay attention so pray all draw near.
And when you’re growing old (2) you will have this to say,
that you never heard so sweet, you never heard so sweet,
you never heard so sweet as the birds in the spring (3).
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I
All’alba di un mattino di Maggio mi sono ritrovato
a passeggiare tra i campi accanto al boschetto (strada)
fu là che ho sentito cantare i miti uccellini e non si è mai sentito un canto tanto dolce, non si è mai sentito un canto tanto dolce, non si è mai sentito un canto tanto dolce come quello degli uccelli in primavera
II
Alla fine del boschetto (strada) mi sono seduto
e il canto degli usignoli risuonava tutt’intorno.
Il loro canto era così affascinante, con i toni così chiari
che la musica di nessun cantante, la musica di nessun cantante,
la musica di nessun cantante si può paragonare alla loro.
III
Tutti voi che venite qui ad ascoltare gli uccellini
prestate attenzione, vi prego di avvicinarvi,
quando inizierete a invecchiare dovrete dire questo:
che non avete mai  sentito un canto tanto dolce, non avete mai  sentito un canto tanto dolce, non avete mai  sentito un canto tanto dolce come quello degli uccelli in primavera.

NOTE
1) as the nightingale sing
2) In passato il canto dell’usignolo veniva considerato un antidolorifico, e ancora oggi è considerasto un suono valido nella musico-terapia
3) as the birds on the spray= come gli uccelli nella foschia: credo che spray traduca quella leggera nebbiolina del mattino che si disperde al primo caldo raggio di sole

seconda parte

FONTI
https://www.omniglot.com/songs/bcc/onemaymorning.php
https://mainlynorfolk.info/copperfamily/songs/thebirdsinthespring.html
https://afolksongaweek.wordpress.com/2014/03/15/birds-in-the-spring/

Joan to the Maypole

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The song “John (Joan) to the Maypole” dates back at least to 1600, we know several text versions with the same title but also with different titles, (to “May-day Country Mirth”, “The Young Lads and Lasses”, ” Innocent Recreation “,” The Disappointment “) the first printed version dates back to 1630 when the melody is attributed to Felix White, and we find it in the collection” The Pills to Purge Melancholy “by Thomas D’Urfey c. 1720.

17th-century woodblock from the ballad sheet ‘The May Day Country Mirth’

The song describes a typical May Day on the lawn: couples dance around the May Pole to contend for the coveted award, the May garland. The winning couple will become King and Queen of May.
To organize May Day feast we need just a green, that is an open space outside the village, a well planted pole in the middle of the lawn, decorated with flower garlands, some “summer houses” where to sit in the shade and refresh with drinks.
In the painting by Charles Robert Leslie we see a scene celebrating the May with Queen Elizabeth depicted on the right in the foreground while being entertained by a jester. On the expanse of the second floor stands the May pole decorated with green garlands; around the pole the dances are taking place and the characters dressed by Robin Hood, Lady Marian, Fra Tack, but also a seahorse, a dragon and a buffoon (the classic characters of mummers and Morris) are well distinguishable.

MayDay_Leslie
Charles Robert Leslie – May Day in the reign of Queen Elizabeth

In the Victorian painting by William Powell Frith we find again the same situation described in the late medieval period: in the distance on the left stands out the profile of a church, not by chance: it was in fact the church that financed the May celebrations; with the beer sold, the parish church was maintained or the alms were distributed to the poor.

William Powell Frith (1819-1909) A May Day Celebration Oil on canvas 40 x 56 inches (101.6 x 142.3 cm) Private collection
William Powell Frith (1819-1909) A May Day Celebration

It is not even so strange that Beltane feast has merged under the control of the Catholic Church, but the Puritans were horrified by all May customs, thus May Pole and related celebrations see moments of obscurantism alternated with moments of tolerance (see more)

The tune is from “Margaret Board Lute Book” (here) the manuscript in the private collection of Robert Spencer, has been dated c1620 up to 1636 (it seems that lady Margaret took lessons from John Dowland).

Toronto Consort  from O Lusty May 1996 
in “The new standard song book”- (J.E.Carpenter) – 1866 with the title: “very popular at the time of Charles I”. A version of nine verses is featured in the broadside titled “The May-Day Country Mirth Or, The Young Lads and Lasses’ Innocent Recreation, Which is to be priz’d before Courtly Pomp and Pastime.” Bodleian collection, Douce Ballads 2 (152a ) and The Roxburghe Ballads: Illustrating the Last Years of the Stuarts Vol. 7, Part 1, edited by J. Woodfall Ebsworth (Hertford: Ballad Society, 1890) (see)

JOAN TO THE MAYPOLE
Chorus
Joan to the Maypole away, let us on,
The time is swift and will be gone;
There go the lasses away to the green,
Where their beauties may be seen
I
Bess, Moll, Kate, Doll,
All the gay lasses
have lads to attend them,
Hodge, Nick, Tom, Dick,
Jolly brave dancers,
and who can mend them?
[Chorus]
II
Did you not see the Lord of the May
Walk along in his rich array?
There goes the lass that is only his,
See how they meet and how they kiss.
Come Will, run Gill,
Or dost thou list to lose thy labour(1);
Kit Crowd scrape loud,
Tickle her, Tom, with a pipe and tabor!(2).
[Chorus]
III
There is not any that shall out-vie
My little pretty Joan and I,
For I’m sure I can dance as well
As Robin, Jenny, Tom, or Nell.
Last year, we were here,
When Ruff Ralph he played us a bourée,
And we, merrily
Thumped it about and gained the glory.
IV
Now, if we hold out
as we do begin,
Joan and I the prize shall win(3);
Nay, if we live till another day (4),
I’ll make thee lady of the May.
Dance round, skip, bound,
Turn and kiss, and then for a greeting.
Now, Joan, we’ve done,
Fare thee well
till the next merry meeting.
[Chorus]

NOTES
1) the exhortation refers to the musicians who are not yet ready with their instruments to kick off the dance.
2) Pipe and tabor or tabor-pipe is the three-hole flute associated with the tambourine, the flute is played with one hand and with the other one it is accompanied by a tambourine  (see more)
3) the May garland at stake
4) it is not clear whether the election dethroned the previous couple immediately or is the title valid for the following year.

second part

LINK
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/intorno-al-palo-del-maggio.html
http://www.maymorning.co.uk/426023492
http://tunearch.org/wiki/Annotation:Joan_to_the_Maypole
http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/~wbc/julia/ap1/Board.htm

http://cbladey.com/mayjack/maysong.html#JOAN%20TO%20THE%20MAYPOLE

Jack In The Green: Chimney Sweeps’ Day

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Green Jack ” (the Green Man) was a popular mask of the English May, from the Middle Ages and until the Victorian era, fallen into disuse at the end of the nineteenth century, it returned to show itself and spread to starting from the 1970s in May Day parades.

In the nineteenth century the first of May was the feast of the chimney sweeps and so the nursery rhyme “The first of May” says
Chimney Sweeps’ Day, Blackbird is gay,
Here he is singing, you see, in the “May”.
He has feathers as black as a chimney sweep’s coat.
So on Chimney Sweeps’ Day he must pipe a glad note.
Jack-in-the-Green from door to door
capers along with the followers four.
As May Day mummers are seldom seen,
let us all give a copper to Jack-in-the-Green.
(from here)

A chimney sweep maskered himself as “Jack in the Green”  slipping inside a pyramid-shaped wicker structure, covered with ivy and foliage, surmounted by a wreath of flowers. He went out into the streets with his other friends to dance and collect offers in money: they are a King and Queen (or a Lord and Lady), jesters, clowns, chimney sweeps and musicians.

G901506

First recorded in London in the 700, Jack-in-the-Greens were soon appearing across the country. The documentation collected by Keith Chandler is instead related to the publication in newspapers in the years 1820 and up to 1890 (see more)
A series of anecdotes on how the disguise was born (see more)

1835-may

THE GREEN MAN

Some scholars connect this disguise to the Green Man carved in the stones of medieval churches in Europe that is usually depicted only in the face, a human face metamorphosed in foliage.
“In the tenth century they begin to appear as illustrations on the manuscripts, especially in France, such as Bibles, books of Psalms and Ordals, books of hours, even works by famous theologians such as the” Moralia “of St. Gregory the Great, a exegesis of the book of Job, where they often merge with the intertwined motifs typical of Saxon and Celtic art: they are reminiscent of snakes that bite their tails, decorative motifs of evident stylistic practicality, and can be interpreted as pitfalls and obstacles of the earthly life.Afterwards they appear as architectural elements in the churches of Germanic style.They soon spread everywhere in churches, cathedrals and abbeys, but also in other buildings, ecclesiastical and not, both as architectural friezes, both in wooden furniture (like the benches), and also in the funeral art (on the tombs, in short) Their popularity grows between the eleventh and twelfth centuries.
In the simplest form, the faces are generally masculine, from whose orifices, eyes, nose, mouth and ears, foliage appears, often branches or leaves of vines, or which have leaves and bushes instead of beard and hair; these last ones seem almost versions of the Medusa to the masculine, which they resemble in a disturbing way. But there are also more abstract, where vegetation is predominant and the human features are only hinted at, barely distinguishable: heads made of leaves that would have pleased Arcimboldo. In spite of the name, it is not always human faces: often they are demons, masks (or stereotypes), even animals, in preference felines. Sometimes they are provided with teeth and seem to bite the branches. If in some cases their association with the evil one is evident, in others they seem decorative motives without particular meaning, more than anything else a demonstration of the taste for the absurd and the bizarre typical of the Middle Ages. “(translateb from here)

Dunblane Cathedral, Scotland XV secolo

The green men are not a product of Christianity (or they have been clothed with a new theological role) because we have a lot of sculptural decorations, and paintings dating back to the age of Imperial Rome ( Domus Aurea of Nero). Masquerones with plant decorations also recall sylvan gods like Pan, Bacchus, Dionysus, and so on, thus some scholars see in the symbol of the green man of early Christianity the intent to incorporate myths and practices of the most widespread mystery religions in the countryside. (see more)

Other characters connected to the Green Man are also the Wild Man, Puck and Robin Hood, the Green Knight opponent of Sir Galvano, but also the Christian Saint George. In psychology it is said to be an archetypal figure connected to the arboreal myths, or an example of the divinization of nature. (see first part)

Brian Froud: Green Man

JACK IN THE GREEN

Magpie Lane from “Jack in the Green”  1998: Jack in the green (composeb by Martin Graebe in 1972 ) and Jack’s Alive a traditional and popular dancing tune in England and Scotland.

Martin Graebe notes: “”This song was written when Cherri and I were living to the east of Exeter in the area that is marked on the Ordnance Survey map as “Jack in the Green.” We were also drinking fairly often in the pub of the same name and the connection led to the above bit of fantasy based on traditional themes. A number of people have told me at different times that they have heard “Jack in the Green” described as a traditional song. It was the first of my songs to turn up on the Internet, where it was described on the Digital Tradition database as a traditional song. Most recently, someone told me about an American CD of pagan music that includes Jack as an example of a traditional pagan song from the British Isles.”
in the video  “Hastings Jack in the Green Festival”

JACK IN THE GREEN
by Martin Graebe 1972
I
Now winter is over,
I’m happy to say,
And we’re all met again
in our ribbons so gay.
And we’re all met again
on the first day of Spring
To go about dancing
with Jack in the Green(1).
CHORUS
Jack in the Green, Jack in the Green
And we’ll all dance each springtime
with Jack in the Green

II
Now Jack in the Green
is a very strange man,
Tho’ he dies every Autumn,
he is born every Spring.
And each year on our birthday,
we will dance through the street,
And in return Jack
he will ripen our wheat.
 
III(2)
Now all you young maidens
I’d have you beware
Of touching young Jack,
for there’s strange powers there.
For if you but touch him,
there is many will tell
Like the wheat in our fields
so your belly will swell.
IV
With his mantle
he’ll cover the trees that are bare.
Our gardens he’ll trim
with his jacket so fair.
And our fields he will sow
with the hair of his head.
And our grain it will ripen
‘til Old Jack is dead(3)!
V
Now the sun is half up
and betokens the hour
That the children arrive
with their garlands of flowers.
So now let the music
and the dancing begin,
And touch the good heart
of young Jack in the Green!

NOTES
1) Jack is the diminutive of two different names James and John, but more than a name right here is to indicate the Green Man
2) Magpie Lane have skipped this stanza
3) it is the myth of the Spirit of the Wheat: the spirit of the Wheat-Barley never dies because it is reborn the following year with the new harvest, its strength and its ardor are contained in the whiskey that is obtained from the distillation of barley malt!

JACK’S ALIVE

Two dance tunes which I’d been playing for years, before I realised that they are in fact the same tune played in different time signatures. The first, in 6/8, is from Wilson’s Ballroom Companion, via one of Bert Simon’s Kentish Hops pamphlets. I first heard it played by the Oyster Ceilidh Band. Curiously their first LP was called Jack’s Alive, but this tune was not on it; they finally recorded it on their 20 Golden Tie-Slackeners album. I originally knew the 4/4 tune as an unnamed morris tune from Badby in Northamptonshire. Oyster Morris from Canterbury used it for a dance called ‘The Panic’ – originally ‘Pogle’s Panic’ – which had been written in the early 1980s by Pete Collinson. It was some years later that I found the tune in The Yetties’ The Musical Heritage of Thomas Hardy as ‘Jack’s Alive’.” (from here)

Aly Bain & Tom Anderson 
English country dance

Morris Dance

Bibliography
“The Green Man”  Richard Hayman
“Images of Lust: Sexual carvings on medieval churches”  Anthony Weir and James Jerman.

LINK
http://terreceltiche.altervista.org/jack-in-the-green/
http://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/jack_gre.htm
https://georgianera.wordpress.com/2017/04/27/may-day-the-tradition-of-the-jack-in-the-green-and-chimney-sweeps/
http://www.greenmanenigma.com/history.html http://www.egreenway.com/meditation/greenman.htm http://www.mariateresalupo.it/simbolimitialchimiafiabe/maggio.html http://freespace.virgin.net/polter.geist/greenman_page0019.htm https://www.adf.org/articles/gods-and-spirits/general/jackingr.html http://www.acam.it/la-tradizione-del-maggio-e-il-culto-arboreo/ http://martingraebe.me.uk/onewebmedia/Jack_in_the_green.htm http://www.magpielane.co.uk/sleevenotes/jack_in_the_green/jack_in_the_green.htm http://www.magpielane.co.uk/sleevenotes/jack_in_the_green/jacks_alive.htm http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=3730 http://tunearch.org/wiki/Annotation:Jack’s_Alive_(3) https://thesession.org/tunes/3299

Jack in the Green festival

Leggi in italiano
man-natureThe Green Man is an archetypal figure connected with the cycle of nature, it is the immanent green force of Nature. The myth tells of a Goddess, the Mother, who generates her child, but this child is not immortal, and because the cycle of life is renewed, he must die.
His death and rebirth are the regeneration of the Spring and with it the regeneration of the community that celebrates the rite for propitiate fertility.

The Green Man  is the guardian spirit of the woods, perhaps an ancient god of vegetation and fertility transversal to many cultures that takes the name of Pan, Cernunnos, Dionysus ..

Heart of Faerie Oracle tarot, Brian & Wendy Froud

It is depicted as a human face among the green foliage or rather its skin is of foliage: in the illustration (Heart of Faerie Oracle tarot, Brian & Wendy Froud) they are artistically reproduced oak leaves, holly, ivy and the palmate leaf of the Maple. Two branches look like horns, the eyes are reddish like those of the fairies of Avalon, among the branches a sprig of mistletoe grows with its berry, the sacred plant of the Druids.
From the mouth of the Green Man sprouts the rowan twigs with the characteristic red berries. The rowan of the birds, as it is commonly called, represents in the Druidic tradition the rebirth of light after the winter and was therefore considered the tree par excellence of the awakening of Nature.

And yet all this veneration of the past was lost in the Middle Ages when the old gods died and the Green Man became a sort of decorative mask to be understood sometimes as benign but more often as a depiction of the evil one.

green-man
British Library, Add MS 18850, the ‘Bedford Hours’ , Paris XV century

 

TRIPLE NATURE OF GREEN MAN

Notre Dame la Grande, Politiers : X century

The deep bond between man and nature is all in the archetype of the green man, the man metamorphosed into a tree, the indissoluble bond between man and nature and its laws. A bond that instills fear but also peace and tranquility hence the ambivalence of the benign or malicious symbol depending on the context: the images smile benevolently or are mocking and fierce. But there is a third type of Green Man: one in which the faces seem scared and suffering.

If some Green Man, instead of joyous, look scary, we find others that, on the contrary, seem scared. These are certainly not demons, but we can not even associate them with images that celebrate the relationship between man and nature. We are faced with another value that this image can take on, that of suffering. In the late Middle Ages, especially after the terrifying experience of the pestilence known as the Black Death, there are rarely joyful and peaceful Green Men. Often branches and leaves stick out of the eyes, in an image that can be terrifying; sometimes the teeth are protruding or very pronounced, as if trying to bite the plant that protrudes from the mouth, to cut it and thus free itself from its suffocating grip. Finally, sometimes we find deformed faces and this too is a very strong signal for the medieval mentality: at that time, in fact, the deformities were a phenomenon much more frequent and known than in the present day, due to insecurity on the places of work, malnutrition and poor care for poor people, and not too advanced medicine. Such incidents in a man’s life were always associated with some divine punishment for his sins. A suffering face that turns into a plant, therefore, puts the accent on the boundary between natural and supernatural, and can sound like a warning against sin and temptations. Another typical representation that can be found is that of Green Man that show the language, probably inspired by the classic Gorgon masks, where it was supposed that this gesture had the sense to drive away evil. It is certain, however, that the people of the Middle Ages did not look at this image in the same way: beyond, in fact, the passages of the Bible that speak of the language as an “unseemly organ”, something that if shown could give rise to scandal, a face with the tongue outside also remembered the image of the hanged man, so certainly not pleasant. (translate from here)

JACK IN THE GREEN

Trisha Fountain Design

In the English folk tradition The Green Man is reborn in a popular May mask of medieval origins (and presumably even more ancient). “Green Jack” was a popular mask of the English May, from the Middle Ages and until the Victorian era, fallen into disuse at the end of the nineteenth century, it returned to show itself and spread to starting from the 1970s in May Day parades.

William Hone in his “The every day book” of 1878 describes the mask of Jack-o’-the-Green “Formerly a pleasant character dressed out with ribands and flowers, figured in village May-games under the name of The Jack-o’-the-Green would sometimes come into the suburbs of London and amuse the residents by rustic dancing.. A Jack-o’-the-Green always carried a long walking stick with floral wreaths; he whisked it about the dance, and afterwards walked with it in high estate like a lord mayor’s footman”

Jack’s mask is further spectacularized by the guild of chimney sweeps, with a boy inside a pyramid-shaped wicker structure, covered with ivy and foliage, surmounted by a kind of wreath of flowers. He went out into the streets with his other friends to dance and collect offers in money. see more

HASTINGS JACK IN THE GREEN FESTIVAL

As well as the other parts of England, the custom was lost in the early twentieth century, but in Hastings  (East Sussex, England) the local group of Morris dance, “Mad Jacks” has had the brilliant idea to resume the tradition, mainly organizing a noisy and green festival that lasts a long weekend from Friday to Monday! Songs and dances, drum races, folk music sessions, concerts, follow each other to culminate the last day in the costume parade with the Morris dancers, musicians, chimney sweeps, queens of May, wild men, and green men, to greet the return of Jack, so a long procession is formed behind him, from 10 in the morning until noon where they converges in the stage on the West Hill where among foods, drinks, performances of participants, crafts fair we spend the afternoon for arrive at 4 when Jack is symbolically killed and stripped of his leaves which are thrown to the crowd as a good luck charm.
Ewan Golder & Daniel Penfold movie (The Child Wren’s music),  they write in the video notes “Since 1983 folk-lore revivalists have organised the annual Jack In The Green Festival held over the May Day weekend in Hastings. The ‘Jack’, covered head to foot in garlands of flowers and leaves, is paraded through the streets before being ‘ sacrificed’. His death marks the end of winter and the birth of summer. Beltane is the Gaelic name of this festival. The film follows Jack’s journey through the streets of Hastings, to his inevitable demise upon the hilltop.

Jethro Tull,  from “Songs from the wood“, 1977

JACK IN THE GREEN
I
Have you seen Jack(1)-In-The-Green?
With his long tail hanging down.
He sits quietly under every tree –
in the folds of his velvet gown.
He drinks from the empty acorn cup
the dew that dawn sweetly bestows.
And taps his cane upon the ground –
signals the snowdrops it’s time to grow.
II
It’s no fun being Jack-In-The-Green –
no place to dance, no time for song.(2)
He wears the colours of the summer soldier –
carries the green flag all the winter long.
<
III
Jack, do you never sleep –
does the green still run deep in your heart?
Or will these changing times,
motorways, powerlines,
keep us apart?
Well, I don’t think so –
I saw some grass growing through the pavements today.
IV
The rowan(3), the oak and the holly tree(4)
are the charges left for you to groom.
Each blade of grass whispers Jack-In-The-Green.
Oh Jack, please help me through my winter’s night.
And we are the berries on the holly tree.
Oh, the mistlethrush is coming(5).
Jack, put out the light.

NOTES
1) Jack is the diminutive of two different names James and John, but more than a name right here is to indicate the Green Man
2) the first of May was the feast of Green Jack, with the masks that went around singing and dancing for begging
3)  The druids considered the rowan the tree of the Down of the year and it was the symbol of the return of light for its spring rebirth. But they consider most sacred the fruits that they thought were the food of the gods, able to rejuvenate, to prolong life, to satiate and to treat serious wounds. The tree was often planted near houses and stalls to protect them, because it was believed to turn away lightning; if it grew spontaneously close to the houses, it was a bearer of good luck. (translated from here)
4) Holly is a tree with masculine symbology, linked to fraternal love and paternity, the winter counterpart of the Quercia. Sir James George Frazer, in his book “The Golden Bough” and Robert Graves, in “The White Goddess” and “The Greek Myths”, they describe a ritual ceremony that was, according to them, practiced in Ancient Rome and in other more ancient European cultures: the ritual fight between King Holly and King Quercia, a struggle that guaranteed the alternation of winter and summer seasons.  (see more)
5) The thrushes and the blackbirds are insensitive to the toxicity of the holly berries and consume large quantities of them becoming the disseminators. The male holly starts to flower when it is about 20 years old and produces small, fragrant white-rosy flowers from May to June. The berries (on the female holly) are green and in autumn they become a shiny red similar to coral: they remain on the tree for the whole winter constituting an important source of food for the birds (be careful because the berries are instead toxic for the man)

second part

LINK
http://www.hastingsjitg.co.uk/
http://terreceltiche.altervista.org/jack-in-the-green-chimney-sweeps-day/
http://www.angolohermes.com/Simboli/Green_Man/Green_Man.html
http://insidetheobsidianmirror.blogspot.it/2013/09/la-vera-natura-delluomo-verde.html

Rattlin’ Bog: The Everlasting Circle

Leggi in italiano

Like the  hopscotch known by children of all continents, even the “song of the eternal cycle” is a drop of ancient wisdom that survived our day: as well as a mnemonic game it is also a tongue twister that becomes increasingly difficult with increasing speed .

Some say it’s Irish, some it’s an Irish melody about a Scottish text, (or vice versa), others say it’s from the South of England or Wales, or from Breton origins, doesn’ t matter, more likely it is a collective nursery rhyme and archetypal of those that are found in the various European countries, coming from an ancient prayer-song, perhaps from the spring ritual celebrations , or how much it has survived of the ancient teaching, for metaphors, of the cycle life-death-life.

albero celtaTREE OF LIFE

One can not but think of the cosmic tree as an universal symbol, that is, the absolute starting point of life. In symbolic language, this point is the navel of the world, the beginning and end of all things, but it is often imagined as a vertical axis that, located at the center of the universe, crosses the sky, the earth and the underworld.

Greta Fogliani in her “Alla radice dell’albero cosmico” writes “In itself, the tree is not really a cosmological theme, because it is first and foremost a natural element that, by its attributes, has assumed a symbolic function. The tree always regenerates with the passing of the seasons: it loses its leaves, it is dry, it seems to die, but then each time it is reborn and recovers its splendor.
Because of these characteristics, it becomes not only a sacred element, but also a microcosm, because in its process of evolution it represents and repeats the creation of the universe. Moreover, because of its extension both downwards and upwards, this element inevitably ended up assuming a cosmological value, becoming the pivot of the universe that crosses the sky, the earth and the afterlife and acts as a link between the cosmic areas.

Gustav Klimt: Tree of life, 1905

From the many variations while maintaining the same structure, the melodies vary depending on the origin, a polka in Ireland, a strathspey in Scotland and a morris dance in England .. The Irish could not transform it into a drinking song as a game-pretext for abundant drink (whoever mistakes drinks).
In short, everyone has added us of his.

RATTLIN’ BOG

“STANDARD” MELODY: it is the Irish one that is a more or less fast polka.

The Corries (very communicative with the public).

Irish Descendants

The Fenians

Rula Bula

THE RATTLIN BOG
Oh ho the rattlin'(1) bog,
the bog down in the valley-o;
Rare bog, the rattlin’ bog,
the bog down in the valley-o.
I
Well, in the bog there was a hole,
a rare hole, a rattlin’ hole,
Hole in the bog,
and the bog down in the valley-o.
II
Well, in the hole there was a tree,
a rare tree, a rattlin’ tree,
Tree in the hole, and the hole in the bog/and the bog down in the valley-o.
III
On the tree … a branch,
On that branch… a twig (2)
On that twig… a nest
In that nest… an egg
In that egg… a bird
On that bird… a feather
On that feather… a worm!(3)
On the worm … a hair
On the hair … a louse
On the louse … a tick
On the tick … a rash

NOTES
1) rattling = “fine”
2)  Irish Descendants  say “limb”
3) in the version circulating in Dublin (although not unique, for example it is also found in Cornwall) it becomes a flea

PREN AR Y BRYN

The Welsh version has two associative paths with the tree, one is the cosmic tree, the tree of life: the tree that stands on the hill that is in the valley next to the sea. So says the refrain, while the second chain starts from the tree and goes to the branch, the nest, the egg, the bird with feathers, and the bed. And here it stops sometimes adding a flea and then going back to the tree.

The less childish versions of the song once arrived at the bed continue with much more carnal conclusion (the woman and the man and then the child who grows and becomes an adult and from the arm to his hand plants the seed, from which grows the tree) . A funny way to teach the words of things to children, but also a message that everything is interconnected and we are part of the whole.

Heather Jones ♪

PREN AR Y BRYN
I
Ar y bryn roedd pren,
o bren braf
Y pren ar y bryn a’r bryn
A’r bryn ar y ddaear
A’r ddaear ar ddim
Ffeind a braf oedd y bryn
Lle tyfodd y pren.
II
Ar y pren daeth cainc,
o gainc braf
III
Ar y gainc daeth nyth
o nyth braf
IV
Yn y nyth daeth wy
o  wy  braf
V
Yn yr wy daeth cyw
o cyw braf
VI
Ar y cyw daeth plu
o plu braf
VII
O’r plu daeth gwely
o gwely braf
VIII
I’r gwely daeth chwannen…
English translation
I
What a grand old tree,
Oh fine tree.
The tree on the hill,
the hill in the valley,
The valley by the sea.
Fine and fair was the hill
where the old tree grew.
II
From the tree came a bough,
Oh fine bough !
III
On the bough came a nest,
Oh fine nest !
IV
From the nest came an egg,
Oh fine egg !
V
From the egg came a bird,
Oh fine bird !
VI
On the bird came feathers,
Oh fine feathers !
VII
From the feathers came a bed,
Oh fine bed !
VIII
From the bed came a flea ..

MAYPOLE SONG

Paul Giovanni in Wicker Man

MAYPOLE SONG
In the woods there grew a tree
And a fine fine tree was he
And on that tree there was a limb
And on that limb there was a branch
And on that branch there was a nest
And in that nest there was an egg
And in that egg there was a bird
And from that bird a feather came
And of that feather was
A bed
And on that bed there was a girl
And on that girl there was a man
And from that man there was a seed
And from that seed there was a boy
And from that boy there was a man
And for that man there was a grave
From that grave there grew
A tree
In the Summerisle(1),
Summerisle, Summerisle, Summerisle wood
Summerisle wood.

NOTES
1) Summerisle is the imaginary island where the film takes place

IN MES’ AL PRÀ

It is the Italian regional version also collected by Alan Lomax in his tour of Italy in 1954. Of Italian origin Lomax are the Lomazzi emigrated to America in the nineteenth century.
In July 1954 Alan arrives in Italy with the intent of fixing on magnetic tape the extraordinary variety of music of the Italian popular tradition. A journey of discovery, from the north to the south of the peninsula, alongside the great Italian colleague Diego Carpitella who produced over two thousand records in about six months of field work.

240px-Amselnest_lokilechIn this version from the tree we pass from the branches to the nest and the egg and then to the little bird. The context is fresh, very springly.. to explain the origin of life and respond to the first curiosity of children about sex ..
The song ended up in the repertoire of the scouts and in the songs of the oratory and young Catholic gatherings, but also among the songs of the summer-centers and kindergartens.

IN MES AL PRÀ
In mes al prà induina cusa ghʼera
ghʼera lʼalbero, lʼalbero in  mes al prà,
il prà intorno a lʼalbero
e lʼalbero piantato in mes al prà
A tac a lʼalbero induina cusa ghʼera,
ghʼera i broc(1),  i broc a tac a lʼalbero
e lʼalbero  piantato in mes al prà
A tac ai broc induina cusa ghʼera,
ghʼera i ram, i ram a tac ai broc,
i broc a tac a lʼalbero e lʼalbero piantato in mes al prà.
A tac ai ram induina cusa ghʼera,
ghʼera le   foie, le foie a tac ai ram,
i ram a tac ai broc, i broc a tac a lʼalbero e lʼalbero   piantato in mes al prà.
In mes a le foie induina cusa ghʼera,
ghʼeraʼl gnal, il   gnal in mes a le foie,
le foie a tac ai ram, i ram a tac ai broc,
i broc a tac a lʼalbero e lʼalbero   piantato in mes al prà.
Dentrʼindal gnal induina cusa ghʼera,
ghʼera gli   uvin, gli uvin dentrʼindal gnal,
il gnal in mes a le foie, le foie a tac ai ram,
i ram a tac ai broc, i broc a tac a lʼalbero e lʼalbero   piantato in mes al prà.
Dentrʼagli uvin induina cusa ghʼera,
ghʼera gli   uslin, gli uslin dentrʼagli uvin,
gli uvin dentrʼindal gnal,
il gnal in mes a le foie,
e foie a tac ai ram,
i ram a tac ai broc,
i broc a tac a lʼalbero
e lʼalbero piantato  in mes al prà.
English translation Cattia Salto
In the middle of the lawn, guess what was there, there was the tree, the tree in the middle of the lawn, the lawn around the tree and the tree planted in the middle of the lawn.
Attached to the tree guess what was there,  there were the branches, the branches attached to the tree, and the tree planted in the middle of the lawn
Attached to the branches guess what was there, there were the twigs, the twigs attached to the branches, the branches attached to the tree
and the tree planted in the middle of the lawn.
Attached to the twigs, guess what was there, there were the leaves, the leaves attached to the twigs, the twigs attached to the branches,
the branches attached to the tree
and the tree planted in the middle of the lawn.
In the middle of the leaves, guess what was there, there was the nest, the nest in the middle of the leaves,
the leaves attached to the twigs, the twigs attached to the branches, the branches attached to the tree, and the tree planted in the middle of the lawn.
Inside the nest, guess what it was,
there were the eggs, the eggs inside the nest,
the nest in the middle of the leaves, the leaves attached to the twigs, the twigs attached to the branches, the branches attached to the tree
and the tree planted in the middle of the lawn.
In the eggs, guess what was there
there were the little birds, the little birds inside the little eggs, the little eggs inside the nest,
the nest in the middle of the leaves,
the leaves attached to the twigs,
the twigs attached to the branches,
the branches attached to the tree
and the tree planted in the middle of the lawn

NOTES
1) “brocco” is an archaic term for the large branches dividing from the central trunk of the tree!

THE GREEN GRASS GROWS ALL AROUND

“The tree in the wood”, there is a womb, a resting place in that “and the green grass grows all around” ..

Luis Jordan

a children version

THE GREEN GRASS GROWS ALL AROUND
There was a tree
All in the woods
The prettiest tree
That you ever did see
And the tree in the ground
And the green grass grows all around, all around
The green grass grows all around.
And on that tree
There was a branch
The prettiest branch
That you ever did see
And the branch on the tree
And the tree in the ground
And the green grass grows all around, all around
The green grass grows all around.
And on that branch
There was a nest
The prettiest nest
That you ever did see
And the nest on the branch
And the branch on the tree
And the tree in the ground
And the green grass grows all around, all around
The green grass grows all around.
And in that nest
There was an egg
The prettiest egg
That you ever did see
And the egg in the nest
And the nest on the branch
And the branch on the tree
And the tree in the ground
And the green grass grows all around, all around
The green grass grows all around.
And in that egg
There was a bird
The prettiest bird
That you ever did see
And the bird in the egg
And the egg in the nest
And the nest on the branch
And the branch on the tree
And the tree in the ground
And the green grass grows all around, all around
The green grass grows all around.
And on that bird
There was a wing
The prettiest wing
That you ever did see
And the wing on the bird
And the bird in the egg
And the egg in the nest
And the nest on the branch
And the branch on the tree
And the tree in the ground
And the green grass grows all around, all around
The green grass grows all around.

LINK
http://www.instoria.it/home/albero_cosmico.htm
http://www.wtv-zone.com/phyrst/audio/nfld/27/bog.htm
http://thesession.org/tunes/583
http://www.joe-offer.com/folkinfo/songs/610.html
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=57991
http://www.anpi.it/media/uploads/patria/2009/2/39-40_LEO_SETTIMELLI.pdf

Beltane Chase: Fith Fath song

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THE  BELTANE CHASE SONG

The text was written by Paul Huson in his “Mastering Witchcraft” – 1970 inspired by the Scottish ballad “The Twa  Magicians“: Fith Fath is a enchantment of concealment or transmutation, in this lyrics it is the seasonal cycle of transmutations. Caitlin Matthews added a melody in 1978. Today the song is considered a traditional one.

The ritual of the Love chase was to be typical in Beltane when the Queen of May or the Goddess Maiden and the King of May, the Green Man was united to renew the life and fertility of the Earth: still in the Middle Age the boys dressed in green like forest elves ventured into the greenwood (the sacred wood), playing a horn so the girls could find them. Or they turned into hunters and followed magical transmutations with their prey.

Beltane Fire Festival: Green Man and the May Queen

Caitlin Matthews 
Damh The Bard from Herne’s Apprentice – 2003

Pixi Morgan

FITH FATH SONG
I
I shall go as a wren(1) in Spring
With sorrow and sighing on silent wing(2)
CHORUS I
I shall go in our Lady’s name
Aye till I come home again
II
Then we shall follow as falcons grey
And hunt thee cruelly for our prey
CHORUS II
And we shall go in our Horned God’s name(3)
Aye to fetch thee home again
III
Then I shall go as a mouse in May
Through fields by night and in cellars by day.
CHORUS I
IV
Then we shall follow as black tom cats
And hunt thee through the fields and the vats.
CHORUS II
V
Then I shall go as an Autumn hare
With sorrow and sighing and mickle care. (4)
CHORUS I
VI
Then we shall follow as swift greyhounds/ And dog thy steps with leaps and bounds
CHORUS II
VII
Then I shall go as a Winter trout
With sorrow and sighing and mickle doubt.
CHORUS I
VIII
Then we shall follow as otters swift
And bind thee fast so thou cans’t shift
CHORUS II

NOTES
1) The Gaelic name “Druidh dhubh” translates as “bird druid” also called “Bran’s sparrow” (the god of prophecy). Sacred animal whose killing was considered taboo and a bearer of misfortune, but not during the time of Yule. In his book “The White Goddess”, Robert Graves explains that in the Celtic tradition, the struggle between the two parts of the year is represented by the struggle between the king holly (or mistletoe), -the nascent year- and the king oak -the dying year. At the winter solstice the king holly wins over the king oak, and vice-versa for the summer solstice. In oral tradition, a variant of this fight is represented by the robin and the wren, hidden between the leaves of the two respective trees. The wren represents the waning year, the robin the new year and the death of the wren is a passage of death-rebirth. see more 
2) the mystery can not be revealed in words: the initiatory path is accomplished and once understood it is not possible to express.
3) the Horned God is a syncretic sum of ancient deities represented with horns and symbols of fertility and abundance (Celtic Cernunnos and Greek-Roman divinities Pan and Dionysus). According to some scholars, this deity was the pagan alternative of the Christian God, to whom those who remained anchored to the old traditions continued to pay veneration, in short, the ideal candidate for the figure of the Devil! But in my opinion it was been the Christian fanaticism to flatten and standardize all the other cults in a single devilish cult.
The idea of ​​the Horned God developed in the occult circles of France and England in the nineteenth century and his first modern depiction is that of Eliphas Levi of 1855, but it was Margaret Murray in “The Witch-cult in Western Europe”, 1921 to build the thesis of a unique pagan cult that survived the advent of Christianity. This theory, however, is not supported by rigorous documentation and certainly we can find the persistence up to the modern age of cults or beliefs present in various parts of Europe attributable to religion towards the Ancient Gods. Many of these beliefs were absorbed into Christianity and finally fought as diabolical when it was not possible to incorporate them into the new cult.
According to the Wicca tradition, the God is born at the Winter solstice, marries the Goddess to Beltane and dies at the Summer Solstice being the masculine principle equivalent to the triple lunar Goddess that governs life and death.

65440797_zernunn4

4) Similarly Isobel Gowdie, tried for witchcraft in 1662 in Scotland reveals to his torturers the formula of a Fith Fath
I sall gae intil a haire,
Wi’ sorrow and sych and meikle care;
And I sall gae in the Devillis name,
Ay quhill I com hom againe.
Much has been written about witches, especially on the great witch-hunt that took place on the two sides of the Christian religion one step away from the “Century of Enlightenment” and not in the dark Middle Ages. Symptom of a cultural change that will shake the “certainties” of the Western religion. Witches or sorcerers have always existed, they are those who use magic, who can see beyond the material accidents and undertake a journey of research and ancient knowledge. Obscene it was been what Catholics and Protestants did in their “struggle” for power, to annihilate those who were seen as a threat to the True Faith: a bloody struggle of religion that has exacerbated the boundaries of tolerance.

DEER ASPECT

Fith Fath is a spell of concealment or transmutation. It is reported and described in the book “Carmina Gadelica” by Alexander Carmicheal (vol II, 1900)
“They are applied to the occult power which rendered a person invisible to mortal eyes and which transformed one object into another. Men and women were made invisible, or men were transformed into horses, bulls, or stags, while women were transformed into cats, hares, or hinds. These transmutations were sometimes voluntary, sometimes involuntary. The ‘fīth-fāth’ was especially serviceable to hunters, warriors, and travellers, rendering them invisible or unrecognisable to enemies and to animals.” (from here)

English translation*
FATH fith(1)
Will I make on thee,
By Mary(2) of the augury,
By Bride(3) of the corslet,
From sheep, from ram,
From goat, from buck,
From fox, from wolf,
From sow, from boar,
From dog, from cat,
From hipped-bear,
From wilderness-dog,
From watchful ‘scan,'(4)
From cow, from horse,
From bull, from heifer,
From daughter, from son,
From the birds of the air, (5)
From the creeping things of the earth,
From the fishes of the sea,
From the imps of the storm.

FATH fith

Ni mi ort,
Le Muire na frithe,
Le Bride na brot,
Bho chire, bho ruta,
Bho mhise, bho bhoc,
Bho shionn, ‘s bho mhac-tire,
Bho chrain, ‘s bho thorc,
Bho chu, ‘s bho chat,
Bho mhaghan masaich,
Bho chu fasaich,
Bho scan (4) foirir,
Bho bho, bho mharc,
Bho tharbh, bho earc,
Bho mhurn, bho mhac,
Bho iantaidh an adhar,
Bho shnagaidh na talmha,
Bho iasgaidh na mara,
‘S bho shiantaidh na gailbhe

NOTES
* translated by Alexander Carmicheal
1) “deer aspect”; in reality with the spell it is possible to change into any animal form.
The red deer is the animal par excellence of the woods, the coveted prey of hunting, but also mythological animal lord of the Wood and of the Rebirth. For the Celts of the Gauls Cernunnos was the god of fertility with antlers on his head, the animal equivalent of the spirit of wheat. Magic guide, messenger of the fairies, the deer (especially if white) is associated with the Great Mother (and the lunar goddesses) but also with Lug (the Celtic equivalent of a solar deity). As Lugh’s animal it represents the rising sun (with the horns equivalent to the rays) and so in Christianity it is the representation of Christ (or of the soul that yearns to God): it is the king Deer cyclically sacrificed to the Mother Goddess to ensure fertility of the earth. “I am the seven-stage stag” sings the bard Amergin and so the druid-shaman should be dressed during the rituals with horns and deer skins see more
2) Danu (or Anu) mother goddess of the waters. It was the time of primordial chaos: dry deserts and boiling volcanoes, it was the time of the great emptiness. Then from the dark sky a trickle of water fell on the earth and life began to blossom: from the ground grew the sacred tree and Danu (the goddess Mother), the water that descended from the sky, nourished it. From their union the Gods were born ..
Hypogeic waters, labyrinthine caves, spring waters but also river running waters were the sites of prehistoric and protohistoric worship throughout Europe. In particular for the Keltoi Danu was the Danube near whose springs their civilization was born. see more
3) The name derives from the root “breo” (fire): the fire of the blacksmith’s forge combined with that of artistic inspiration and the healing energy. Also known as Brighid, Brigit or Brigantia, she is the goddess of the triple fire, patron saint of blacksmiths, poets and healers. He bore the nickname Belisama, the “Shining” and was a Solar Goddess (near the Celts and the Germans the Sun was female). It was dedicated to her the End of Winter Festival which was celebrated in Celtic Europe at the Calends of February. It was the party of IMBOLC, the festival of the purification of the fields and of the house to mark the slow awakening of Nature.
4) nobody knows that animal is a vigilant explorer, surely a mistake of transcription of Carmicheal
5) follows an invocation of the three kingdoms, Nem (sky), Talam (Earth) Muir (sea) and or if we want world above, middle and below

THE MIST OF AVALON

With the invocation a magical fog it is materialized, that is the mist of Avalon (or Manannan), which acts as a means of transport to the Otherworld. The fog has a dual nature, of concealment and of passage. Another word for “fog”, in Irish origins, is féth fiadha which means “the art of resembling”. Both gods and druids can evoke magical fog as a means of communication between the two worlds. The divination was therefore the féth fiadha.
The prayer “Fath Fith” seems to be the invocation of the hunter to hide from his prey, but it was also used as a form of divination in a “threshold place” for the magical experience of space such as the river bank or the coast of the sea, the compartment of an access door to the building or a bridge. But also time like dawn and sunset which are neither day nor night nor the holy days that are on the border between the seasons.
In doing so you find yourself in a place that is a non-place that some call the opaque world.

The Tale of Ossian and the Fawn

Still Alexander Carmicheal always in the chapter of Fith Fath tells the meeting of the boy Oisin (Ossian) with his mother: Ossian is a legendary bard of ancient Scotland or Ireland, compared to Homer and Shakespeare, thanks to the alleged discovery of his poems in Scotland . His legends chase in Ireland, Isle of Man and Scotland, but his popularity only grew in the mid-1700s when James MacPherson wrote “The Songs of Ossian” claiming to have found his manuscripts and fragments in the Scottish Highlands, among them a epic poem about Fingal, the father, who said he had “simply” translated, actually inventing: the ossianic fashion flared up throughout Europe giving life to Romanticism. continua

According to this Scottish version, Oisin borned by Finn Mac Coll (Fionn Mac Cumhaill) and a mortal woman, but previously Finn had been the lover of a fairy that he had abandoned to marry the daughter of men; so the fairy for revenge made the spell of the “Fath Fith” on the human bride turning her into a hind that went away and shortly thereafter gave birth to Oisin (the little fawn) on the island of Sandray (Outer Hebrides) in the Loch-nan-ceall in Arasaig.
Now we must make a leap of time and resume the story at the time of Ossian’s childhood when he returned to live with his father and the rest of the Fianna. One fine day, as usual, the are a-chasing a majestic deer on the mountain, when a magical mist descended over them, causing them to separate and disperse.
So Ossian wandered without knowing where he was and found himself in a deep green valley surrounded by high blue mountains, when he saw a fawn so beautiful and graceful that he remained admired to look at her. But when the spirit of the hunt took over in him and he was about to hurl the spear, she turned to look him straight in his eye and said “Do not hurt me, Ossian,I am thy mother under the “fīth-fāth,” in the form of a hind abroad and in the form of a woman at home. Thou art hungry and thirsty and weary. Come thou home with me, thou fawn of my heart “And Ossian followed her and passed a door in the rock and as soon as they crossed the threshold, the door disappeared and while the hind changed into a beautiful woman dressed in green and with golden hair.
After feasting on his fill, refreshed by drinks and music and having rested for three days, Ossian wanted to return to his Fianna, so he discovered that the three days in the mound under the hill, was equivalent to three years on earth. Ossian then wrote his first song to warn the mother-hind to stay away from the hunting grounds of the Fianna: ‘Sanas Oisein D’a Mhathair (Ossian’s To-To-His-Mother) of which Carmicheal reports a dozen stanzas

Stanilaus Soutten Longley (1894-1966)-Autumn

third part 

LINK
“I misteri del druidismo” di Brenda Cathbad Myers
http://terreceltiche.altervista.org/beltane-love-chase/
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/cg2/cg2014.htm
http://www.annwnfoundation.com/ians-blog/pwyll-pen-annwn-shapeshifting-and-the-fith-fath
http://www.devanavision.it/filodiretto/default.asp?id_pannello=2&id_news=6950&t=IL_DRUIDISMO
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=59312
http://www.ynis-afallach-tuath.com/public/print.php?sid=252

Hares on the Mountain with Sally the dear

Leggi in italiano

Cecil Sharp has collected nine different versions of the ballad “Hares on the Mountain”, a love hunt perhaps derived from “The Two Magicians
amorinoSome believe that the text was written by Samuel Lover (1797-1865) because he appears in his novel “Rory o ‘More”. But the theme of this love-hunting is antecedent and recalls an ancient initiation ritual if not a true enchantment of transformation (or concealment) fith fath.

Still popular in England, we find it more sporadically in Ireland, the United States and Canada, but in the 60s and 70s it was very popular in folk clubs, less widespread, however, the version from the male point of view.

Steeleye Span from Parcel of Rogues 1973: a sweet lullaby

HARES ON THE MOUNTAIN
I
Young women they’ll run
Like hares(1) on the mountains,
Young women they’ll run
Like hares on the mountains
If I were but a young man
I’d soon go a hunting,
To my right fol diddle de ro,
To my right fol diddle dee.
II
Young women they’ll sing
Like birds in the bushes,
If I were but a young man,
I’d go and bang those bushes.
III
Young women they’ll swim
Like ducks in the water,
If I were but a young man,
I’d go and swim after

NOTES
1) hare, birds and duck are animals associated with the three kingdoms, the middle world (Earth), above (Heaven) and below (Sea)

OH SALLY, MY DEAR

The same pattern is taken up in a ballad called with the same title or “Oh Sally my dear” of which we know mainly two melodies. Here the textual part is rendered as a blow and a response between the two lovers.

Shirley Collins & Davey Graham .  Fine arrangement of Davey on guitar

Jonny Kearney & Lucy Farrell slower melody, very magical

Alt-J in Bright: The Album 2017,  indie-rock version (I, III, IV, VI)

OH SALLY MY DEAR
I
“Oh Sally, my dear,
it’s you I’d be kissing,
Oh Sally, my dear,
it’s you I’d be kissing,”
She smiled and replied,
“you don’t know what you’re missing”.
II
“Oh Sally, my dear,
I wish I could wed you,
Oh Sally my dear,
I wish I could bed you”
She smiled and replied,
“then you’d say I’d misled you”.
III
“If all you young men
were hares on the mountain,
How many young girls
would take guns and go hunting?
IV
If the young men could sing like blackbirds and thrushes,
How many young girls
would go beating the bushes?
V
If all you young men
were fish in the water,
How many young girls
would undress and dive after?”
VI
“But the young men
are given to frisking and fooling (1),
Oh, the young men are given to frisking and fooling,
So I’ll leave them alone
and attend to my schooling”

NOTES
1) to take relationships with the girls lightly, without serious intentions. In this version the ballad has become a warning song on the old adage that man is a hunter

THE BLACKBIRDS AND THE THRUSHES

Same ballad handed down with another title
Niamh Parsons from “Blackbirds & Thrushes” 1999

Catherine Merrigan & Marion Camastral from “Wings O’er The Wind

Seamus Ennis

BLACKBIRDS AND THRUSHES
I
If all the young ladies
were blackbirds (1) & thrushes
If all the young ladies
were blackbirds & thrushes
Then all the young men
would go beating the bushes
Rye fol de dol diddle lol iddle lye ay
II
If all the young ladies
were ducks on the water..
Then all the young men
would go swimming in after
III
If all the young ladies
were rushes a-growing..
Then all the young men would get scythes and go mowing
IV
If the ladies were all
trout and salmon so lively
Then divil the men
would go fishing on Friday(2)
V
If all the young ladies
were hares on the mountain
Then men with their hounds
would be out without counting

NOTES
1) In the Celtic tradition: The blackbird (druid dhubh) is associated with the goddess Rhiannon. Legend has it that the birds of Rhiannon are three blackbirds, which are perched and sing on the tree of life on the edge of the otherworldly worlds. Their song, puts the listener in a state of trance, which allows him to go to the parallel worlds. (from here) see more
2) the expression perhaps refers to the fact that in the weekend you go fishing or that on Friday you eat fish

LINK
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=58904
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=73890 http://mainlynorfolk.info/shirley.collins/songs/haresonthemountain.html
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=31052