Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Robert Burns Day : A Fiddler in the North

A Fiddler in the North 

Amang the trees, where humming bees,
At buds and flowers were hinging, O,
Auld Caledon drew out her drone,
And to her pipe was singing, O:
'Twas Pibroch, Sang, Strathspeys, and Reels,
She dirl'd them aff fu' clearly, O:
When there cam' a yell o' foreign squeels,
That dang her tapsalteerie, O.

Their capon craws an' queer "ha, ha's,"
They made our lugs grow eerie, O;
The hungry bike did scrape and fyke,
Till we were wae and weary, O:
But a royal ghaist, wha ance was cas'd,
A prisoner, aughteen year awa',
He fir'd a Fiddler in the North,
That dang them tapsalteerie, O.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Muck! : Bring Back the Plain Old Words


 I've been reading a biography of Tolkien and wanted to share an funny passage that I think is worth exploring in our everyday life.

 In chapter 2 of the book, Tolkien's schooling is being discussed. As Tolkien began to discover language, his English literature focused mostly on Shakespeare of who Tolkien was not much of a fan.

 Luckily for Tolkien his teacher, a Mr. Brewerton had something else up his sleeve.

 " But if Shakespeare failed to please him there was other meat more suited to his taste. By inclination his form-master Brewerton was a medievalist. Always a fierce teacher, he demanded that his pupils should use the plain old words of the English language. If a boy employed the term 'manure' Brewerton would roar out: "Manure? Call it muck! Say it three times! Muck, muck, muck!" He encouraged his pupils to read Chaucer, and he recited the Canterbury Tales to them in the original Middle English. To Ronald Tolkien's ears this was a revelation, and he determined to learn more about the history of the language."

 I would love to be able to add some middle and old English in my vocabulary.

 I have run across some vocabulary sites I will post below.

 Middle English Vocabulary

 Old English Vocabulary

 Old English Translator

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Lenten Retreat

 Lent is a time of year that deserves our attention. It's usually an excellent time to do some deep examination of the heart and of the soul. I've decided to try something this year.

 I've decided to take a retreat of sorts to the wilderness. I have limited days off and never two days in a row, so a day and a night will have to suffice, but my plan is to spend a day and night in the woods with minimal food and very little in the way of bedding and comforts. My plan is to pray the hours and spend time in silence while also taking walks around the area where I will camp and in general take note of God in his creation.

 I am currently hand writing a little book of hours taken from a 1500s book of hours. I had big plans to really do some fancy calligraphy, but as I am new at it, I am just doing very simple lettering.

 I've decided to wear my medieval tunic and hood for this experience as they are the most simple garments I own and also because I can stay fairly warm at night with them.

 I also plan to take a small bag that will have my sort of portable altar in it with candles and other devotional items. The area I am going to has a lot of rocks and I plan to build an altar for prayer and fashion a cross of wood to place behind it.

 All in all, I am very much looking forward to this time.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Where Theology Ends and Christianity Begins

On my journey towards the Catholic Church I have come into a bit of conflict. Several of my friends and family members are greatly concerned about me and it has caused a few rather heated discussions about theology and the faith.

 I have a rather ferocious need to study and study and study some more, to find the answers to every little point and then to be able to defend that point with a well formed argument. As I have studied and studied, I still have yet to scratch the surface of the church's teaching although for now I feel I have a good handle on the basics and even a few of the more obscure.

 That being said I have recently felt a great need to just set the theology books down and to simply focus on living out the words I have been consuming.

 As Thomas a Kempis writes in his masterpiece "The Imitation of Christ"

 If I knew all the things that
are in the world, and were not in charity, what should it help me
before God, who is to judge me according to my deeds?


...we ought to read books which are devotional and simple,
as well as those which are deep and difficult.

 I feel that my need to be right about the Catholic Faith (though I feel it is right and true) has become something that I need to pull back from and simply live in love in charity with my friends and family who have expressed concern. To live by example and to devote myself more to "books which are devotional and simple" rather than the "deep and difficult".

 I could learn every little detail of the faith, but the question would be, would I have loved as Christ loved or did I spend my time arguing with and belittling my fellow believer. I stand on the truth of the Church but it must always be in love.

 Apologetics are wonderful, but there is a time and a place. I feel I am reaching a time to simply give  myself to devotion and prayer and to cut back on the theology. I will still be going through the RCIA process, so it will be a balancing act, but one I think will be helpful in maintaining the bonds of friendship.


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Our Home Chapel

 It has been a vision of mine for quite some time to have a home chapel on our future farm. This will not only be a place for our personal use, but for anyone to come and pray and meditate. We plan to offer our farm as a place of retreat while people can come and learn old farming practices, get dirty and most of all have a quiet time with the Lord.

 Currently our home chapel or oratory is in the corner of our living room, which we will always have even when we build a specific building for prayer in the future.

 Our current oratory looks something like this although updates have been made (I'll add additional photos later).

Today, I was also given a beautiful gift! This antique holy water font. (Thank you Father Charles!)


We are excited to see our house have a specific place to go for prayers and devotions to God. We set aside spaces for all sorts of things. Kitchens for preparing food, bedrooms for sleeping, living rooms for gathering. It is wonderful to see a space devoted to the daily offering of prayers and for meditating on the things of God and it's even more gratifying to see our children come to us and ask to use the space for their prayers. 

 Someday, we hope to offer a place of rest and reflection of prayer and meditation to those who are in need. 


Monday, November 21, 2016

Tam Lin - Child Ballad 39

  1. O I forbid you, maidens a',
    That wear gowd on your hair,
    To come or gae by Carterhaugh,
    For young Tam Lin is there.
  2. There's nane that gaes by Carterhaugh
    But they leave him a wad,
    Either their rings, or green mantles,
    Or else their maidenhead.
  3. Janet has kilted her green kirtle
    A little aboon her knee,
    And she has broded her yellow hair
    A little aboon her bree,
    And she's awa to Carterhaugh
    As fast as she can hie.
  4. When she came to carterhaugh
    Tam Lin was at the well,
    And there she fand his steed standing,
    But away was himsel.
  5. She had na pu'd a double rose,
    A rose but only twa,
    Till upon then started young Tam Lin,
    Says, Lady, thou's pu nae mae.
  6. Why pu's thou the rose, Janet,
    And why breaks thou the wand?
    Or why comes thou to Carterhaugh
    Withoutten my command?
  7. "Carterhaugh, it is my own,
    My daddy gave it me,
    I'll come and gang by Carterhaugh,
    And ask nae leave at thee."
  8. Janet has kilted her green kirtle
    A little aboon her knee,
    And she has broded her yellow hair
    A little aboon her bree,
    And she is to her father's ha,
    As fast as she can hie.
  9. Four and twenty ladies fair
    Were playing at the ba,
    And out then came the fair Janet,
    The flower among them a'.
  10. Four and twenty ladies fair
    Were playing at the chess,
    And out then came the fair Janet,
    As green as onie glass.
  11. Out then spake an auld grey knight,
    Lay oer the castle wa,
    And says, Alas, fair Janet, for thee,
    But we'll be blamed a'.
  12. "Haud your tongue, ye auld fac'd knight,
    Some ill death may ye die!
    Father my bairn on whom I will,
    I'll father none on thee."
  13. Out then spak her father dear,
    And he spak meek and mild,
    "And ever alas, sweet Janet," he says,
    "I think thou gaest wi child."
  14. "If that I gae wi child, father,
    Mysel maun bear the blame,
    There's neer a laird about your ha,
    Shall get the bairn's name.
  15. "If my love were an earthly knight,
    As he's an elfin grey,
    I wad na gie my ain true-love
    For nae lord that ye hae.
  16. "The steed that my true love rides on
    Is lighter than the wind,
    Wi siller he is shod before,
    Wi burning gowd behind."
  17. Janet has kilted her green kirtle
    A little aboon her knee,
    And she has broded her yellow hair
    A little aboon her bree,
    And she's awa to Carterhaugh
    As fast as she can hie.
  18. When she came to Carterhaugh,
    Tam Lin was at the well,
    And there she fand his steed standing,
    But away was himsel.
  19. She had na pu'd a double rose,
    A rose but only twa,
    Till up then started young Tam Lin,
    Says, Lady, thou pu's nae mae.
  20. "Why pu's thou the rose, Janet,
    Amang the groves sae green,
    And a' to kill the bonny babe
    That we gat us between?"
  21. "O tell me, tell me, Tam Lin," she says,
    "For's sake that died on tree,
    If eer ye was in holy chapel,
    Or christendom did see?"
  22. "Roxbrugh he was my grandfather,
    Took me with him to bide
    And ance it fell upon a day
    That wae did me betide.
  23. "And ance it fell upon a day
    A cauld day and a snell,
    When we were frae the hunting come,
    That frae my horse I fell,
    The Queen o' Fairies she caught me,
    In yon green hill do dwell.
  24. "And pleasant is the fairy land,
    But, an eerie tale to tell,
    Ay at the end of seven years,
    We pay a tiend to hell,
    I am sae fair and fu o flesh,
    I'm feard it be mysel.
  25. "But the night is Halloween, lady,
    The morn is Hallowday,
    Then win me, win me, an ye will,
    For weel I wat ye may.
  26. "Just at the mirk and midnight hour
    The fairy folk will ride,
    And they that wad their true-love win,
    At Miles Cross they maun bide."
  27. "But how shall I thee ken, Tam Lin,
    Or how my true-love know,
    Amang sa mony unco knights,
    The like I never saw?"
  28. "O first let pass the black, lady,
    And syne let pass the brown,
    But quickly run to the milk-white steed,
    Pu ye his rider down.
  29. "For I'll ride on the milk-white steed,
    And ay nearest the town,
    Because I was an earthly knight
    They gie me that renown.
  30. "My right hand will be gloved, lady,
    My left hand will be bare,
    Cockt up shall my bonnet be,
    And kaimed down shall my hair,
    And thae's the takens I gie thee,
    Nae doubt I will be there.
  31. "They'll turn me in your arms, lady,
    Into an esk and adder,
    But hold me fast, and fear me not,
    I am your bairn's father.
  32. "They'll turn me to a bear sae grim,
    And then a lion bold,
    But hold me fast, and fear me not,
    And ye shall love your child.
  33. "Again they'll turn me in your arms
    To a red het gand of airn,
    But hold me fast, and fear me not,
    I'll do you nae harm.
  34. "And last they'll turn me in your arms
    Into the burning gleed,
    Then throw me into well water,
    O throw me in with speed.
  35. "And then I'll be your ain true-love,
    I'll turn a naked knight,
    Then cover me wi your green mantle,
    And hide me out o sight."
  36. Gloomy, gloomy was the night,
    And eerie was the way,
    As fair Jenny in her green mantle
    To Miles Cross she did gae.
  37. At the mirk and midnight hour
    She heard the bridles sing,
    She was as glad at that
    As any earthly thing.
  38. First she let the black pass by,
    And syne she let the brown,
    But quickly she ran to the milk-white steed,
    And pu'd the rider down.
  39. Sae weel she minded what he did say,
    And young Tam Lin did win,
    Syne covered him wi her green mantle,
    As blythe's a bird in spring
  40. Out then spak the Queen o Fairies,
    Out of a bush o broom,
    "Them that has gotten young Tam Lin
    Has gotten a stately-groom."
  41. Out then spak the Queen o Fairies,
    And an angry woman was she,
    "Shame betide her ill-far'd face,
    And an ill death may she die,
    For she's taen awa the bonniest knight
    In a' my companie.
  42. "But had I kend, Tam Lin," said she,
    "What now this night I see,
    I wad hae taen out thy twa grey een,
    And put in twa een o tree."

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A Kingdom of Culture

As a person who holds the political position of monarchy, it's very hard to imagine that monarchy will ever take a legitimate hold again. As much as I long for it and see it's potential to correct some of the insanity in today's political realm, I don't see much hope for it.

 On the same front as a traditionalist who would love to see us return to our pre-industrial traditions and folk culture, it is also hard to imagine that my Anglo and Northern European heritage and culture will ever stay completely preserved in the age of globalism and forced multiculturalism. There is nothing wrong with multiculturalism, and I think that it always happens, but organically, not forced. I love other cultures, my favorite being that of Japan and China. That doesn't mean however that I wouldn't feel very out of place in Japan say around Christmas time. It wouldn't feel right without the traditions I am accustomed to.

 I recently came across an article in National Geographic. The title instantly grabbed me. "A Fairytale Kingdom Faces-Real Life Troubles" with the sub text "On the border of Estonia and Russia, the Setos struggle to create a modern identity from ancient beliefs."

 As the 20th century loomed and the political atmosphere changed, the Seto people created a cultural Kingdom to stave off modern threats to their cultural identity.

 Their religion, traditional dress and their unique singing is protected under this Kingdom. It is not politically independent, but rather culturally independent. A real firm stance against modernity

 They are represented by a council of elders and every year they select a steward of the King. My understanding is the King, is not a physical personage but a figure from their folklore and the person selected becomes the steward of this invisible King, looking after the interests of the people in a ceremonial way.

 This article fascinated me and I am very glad to see a group of people banding together to fight the modern world and maintain their cultural identity and I hope to take some inspiration from it.

 I think this sort of cultural Kingdom could be a model for those of us who wish to separate ourselves from the modern consumerist and industrial culture.

 I look forward to thinking more about this.