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.


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Tolerance in Christianity

 'Tolerance is not a Christian virtue. 
Charity, justice, mercy, prudence, honesty; these are Christian virtues'

 -Archbishop Charles Caput 

 In the modern age of tolerance, one often hears that the Christian world should be tolerant. That Jesus preached a message of tolerance and love. 

 Jesus did indeed preach a message of love, but tolerance? One must do some digging. 

 First, lets observe his most famous sermon, the sermon on the mount. In this he gives a brilliant outline for how we are to conduct our life here on the earth. Jesus seems to be intolerant of several behaviors. 

 -Laying up Treasures on Earth
 -Judging others

 Now, the tolerant man today seems only to pick up on a couple of these. Social behavior seems to be overlooked and hate, anger and greed seem to be condemned very harshly. Divorce and Lust are forgotten about and judging others becomes the only thing one should be intolerant of. After all, judging someone for getting divorced would clearly by wrong, right? Or a person that has a lustful thought? Those are private and personal matters and none of our business. 

 The speck in the eye is always quoted. Get the speck out of your own eye! Don't worry about other peoples sins, worry about your own! This becomes some blanket justification for other people being allowed to sin and to never question it. 

 However, let us look at the rest of the verse that often goes unquoted. 

 Verse 5  'You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brothers eye.' 

 Clearly, Jesus never meant for us to be completely silent about the sin of others. Instead, examine ones self, confess your own sin, repent and then with a clear conscience, go to your brother with love. 

 An example of Christ being intolerant comes to us in the story of the woman at the well. In John chapter 4, we see clearly Jesus being intolerant of this woman for having 5 husbands. In the age of the sexual revolution, it's hard to imagine anyone condemning something like that. If Jesus was all loving and preached only a message of love and tolerance, why would he condemn this woman's practise? Why would he "judge" her for this? 

 Only when we except that we are created beings who are sacred in the eyes of God can we begin to understand the true love of Christ's message on ALL it's levels and that true freedom lies in his perfect will. 


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Friendship, Farming and a Recommitted Life

 In the late winter of 2014 I began working for a farmer in Owen County Kentucky. I had recently moved with my family back into parents home and had been looking for work. It came at an opportune time. It would turn out that this job would change my life and steer my spiritual life in unexpected directions.

 I began to work full time by early spring as the work of farming began to increase. My employer, Todd , I began to find out was a very well read fellow and we began a wonderful friendship based around our love of history, in particular that of the British Isles, theology and farming. We differed greatly on several social and political issues and sometimes let it come between us, but never longer than a few hours. After the smoke cleared we were back to pleasant subjects. 

 It was during this time that I was out of church. I hadn't been in a church for several years and considered myself a non-denominational Christian who didn't need anyone one or any church to teach me about what the bible said. The bible was my complete authority. I found out that Todd was an Episcopalian. This was a new perspective as I had never known an Episcopalian. All I knew was that they were something like Catholics. 

 We began to have many talks about theology and spirituality. I would always appeal to scripture, Todd always to tradition and scripture. This combination of scripture and tradition intrigued me and I began to delve deep into early church history and writings. At some point he introduced me to the Book of Common Prayer, which I see looking back as the single most important moment for me as a Christian (aside from accepting Christ) that has happened to me. I began to use it for my personal prayer time which was WAY out of practice. I found it as a great anchor in scripture reading and in prayer. As time went on I became attracted to this form of liturgical Christianity that I began to discover was very much closer to the early Church than anything I had previously been a part of. 

 I soon began to seek out a church. Todd had taken me to his church several times, but due to certain theological and social issues, I just couldn't attend with him. I was so afraid of losing him as a friend over it I was literally sick to my stomach when I went to work after having visited the Anglican church in Frankfort, many of whose core members had split from his Church. I was so relieved when he said it was alright and he was just glad that I became Anglican. During this time we began to pray the Angelus at noon as often as we could and tried to close our day with prayer from the prayer books we stashed in the barn. 

 I write this mainly to say, despite our differences, my time spent in the fields of Todd's little farm in Owen County Kentucky was a pivotal time in my life. A time when I recommitted my thoughts and intentions towards Christ in a way I hadn't in a long time. The prayer book became a hand rail towards a deeper and more regular prayer life and the liturgy of the church began to form and guide me and my family in ways I could have never hoped. His part in that was no small part. For that I thank him, and I hope our friendship will continue for many years to come. 

Thank you, Todd. 

 Your friend, 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

"Not one of Free Enterprise, Neither was it Socialism."

I think it is common for us in the post industrial world to think of anything before that as a toiling and grinding life that only brought relief at night when a person laid down on his straw ticking and went to sleep only to awake the next morning hours before daylight and repeat the whole process.

 Especially in Medieval times, the common belief is that the subjects of a local lord were nothing more than slaves.

 In their book "Life in Medieval Village", Francis and Joseph Gies do a wonderful job of offering a very balanced and in some cases a downright contrary view to the position above.

 They write of the Lord of the Manor :

 " The Lord could have little objection to village autonomy. What he wanted was was the certainty of rents and dues from his tenants, the efficient operation of demesne, and good prices for wool and grain." 

 "The once popular picture of the lord as "an omnipotent village tyrant" was, in George Homan's words, "an unrealistic assumption". 

 Now, shifting our focus to the medieval villagers themselves, we see an autonomy of the individual, while also seeing the complete cooperation of the community.

 " The open field system was thus not one of free enterprise. It's practitioners were strictly governed in their actions and made to conform to a rigid pattern agreed on by the community, acting collectively. 

"Neither was it socialism. The stips of plowed land were held individually, and unequally. A few villagers held many strips, most held a few, some held none. Animals, tools, and other movable property were divided unequally."

 The community was separated into several class of tenants and the poorer tenants would usually work for the more well off villagers or the lord himself in order to make their living.

 What strikes me is, poor or rich, there doesn't seem to be much idleness. The community seems to have pulled it's weight no matter what end of the monetary spectrum you landed.

 In our modern world, the Amish are the only ones who come remotely close to living this kind of autonomous but equally communal life. But even they fall short of my ideal.

 I hope someday, I get to see this sort of system come back into operation complete with a Lord of the Manor.


Thursday, November 3, 2016


With Halloween behind us (I meant to make a post concerning that, but will have to get back to it), we now look forward to Martinmas on the 11th of November, marking the traditional time to finish up the harvest and to kill the Martinmas beef. At the end of the year the farm hands would usually be invited to participate in a feast given by their employer and would then begin to hunt for winter work.

 This festival was also celebrated with eating of Goose and for the poorer classes ducks or hens would be substituted.

 I've included a medieval goose recipe at the bottom of this post along with a link to the modern adaption of the recipe. However it is good to note that the eating of Goose on the holiday doesn't seem to be as popular in England as it was on the mainland.

 It was also celebrated with a procession of lights and bonfires with a man dressed as Saint Martin leading the way. This custom was particularly popular in Germany and the Netherlands.

Recipe for Goose in original Middle-English 

Sawse Madame.
Take sawge, persel, ysope and saueray, quinces and peeres, garlek and grapes, and fylle the gees therwith; and sowe the hole that no grece come out, and roost hem wel, and kepe the grece that fallith therof. Take galyntyne and grece and do in a possynet. Whan the gees buth rosted ynowh, take hem of & smyte hem on pecys, and take that that is withinne and do it in a possynet and put therinne wyne, if it be to thyk; do therto powdour of galyngale, powdour douce, and salt and boyle the sawse, and dresse the gees in disshes & lay the sewe onoward.

Felets in galentyne.
Take the ribbys of a breste of porke; fle of the skyn. Do the flesche on a broche. Roste hit tyl hit be almost ynowghe; take hit of. Chop hit in pecys. Do hit yn a potte with onyons cut grete, wyth clowys hole, macyz, quibibys; do togedyr & a quantyte of swete broth. Draw a lyour of paryngys of crustys of white bredde with good wyne and a lytyll blod, & alaye hit a lytyll, & do therto poudyr of pepyr, a lytyll, & a good quantyte of poudyr of canell, & sette it on the fyre & styrr it. & when it is boyled inowgh, loke hit be nott chargaunt. Sesyn hit up with poudyr of gynger, veneger & salt.

Modern Recipe

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Archangel Michael by Raphael

 Today is Michaelmas and like many of these great days on the church calender they go largely unobserved in the folk sense other than a brief mention in the liturgy.

 A prayer to Michael the Archangel :

Saint Michael the Archangel,

defend us in battle;

be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.

May God rebuke him, we humbly pray:

and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,

by the power of God,

thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits

who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.


 It was a feast day to celebrate the Archangels and to thank God for his wonderful bounty.  

 In our ever changing and busy modern world, we no longer seem to take the time to really celebrate these Church feast days. But in the past this was not so. Feasting and making the day a celebration was common place. 

 In medieval England this day marked the end of the husbandmans year, or the agricultural year. This would have been a time of great celebration. Games, races and other events were welcomed. 

The Michaelmas Goose
 Food was obviously a large part of the festivities, being a feast day. Goose was commonly the main course of choice as well as carrots and traditional bread called Sruthan Mhìcheil or St. Michael's Bannok. 

 Children were also discouraged from eating or picking blackberries after this day, as it was believed that Lucifer fell from heaven on this day and that he landed in a blackberry bush and cursed the brambles. Versions of this exist in different parts of the isles and one version in Ireland tell that the Pooka flies about on Michaelmas night and defiles the blackberries. 

 It is my hope that someday these observances begin to find there way back into the folk life of rural communities and I hope someday to observe all the feast days of the church with the same vigor and enthusiasm as my friends in the past. 


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Living in the Past?

Ned Ludd, Leader of the Luddites

 Today I was asked, "Why do we have such a hard time living in the present? Why is everything either the nostalgia of the past or the hope of the future?"

 I can't really answer the latter part about the future as my hope of the future is fairly limited to watching my children grow and my grandchildren grow and having a farm and spending my life with my wife etc.

 But the first I have given a lot of thought to. Here are just a few thoughts I have had on the issue.

1. Rapid Change in the 20th century

 Think of how rapidly our society and technology has changed in the last 100+ years. Nothing of the past really exists the mainstream culture of materialism and the fast food, give it to me now mentality. We exist in a world where time is money and individual craft gives way to mass produced garbage.

 Older people long for the nostalgia of their past because they've seen things change entirely to fast.

 2. Virtual Reality 

 We are increasingly becoming a culture of virtual reality. Computers, Smart Phones, TV etc. have become the portal through which we view the world. The natural world is a world that is viewed through the computer screen. Pokemon Go is one of the first steps of integrating the virtual world with the real world. Kids no longer go to the park to smell the fresh air, the woods. To see the birds and other wild life. They would rather spend their time hunting a fictional creature through their iPhone screen than to enjoy the real beauty of God's creation. Games are fine and dandy, but I have a hard time when the game becomes the lens through which we view the world. Instead of grabbing a stick and pretending to be King Arthur rescuing Guinevere from a dragon in an act of heroic chivalry, they'd rather put on a back back and baseball cap and try to "catch them all".

 We are increasingly out of touch with reality in all the wrong ways.

 The reason we are in the throws of a roots and folk revival is because the world of technology and virtual reality leaves us empty and void of purpose. Our communities have been utterly devastated by Television. Community events, sports and gatherings suffer from this.

 3. We no longer have a moral compass.

 The motto of the age is "Don't Offend" and "Be Tolerant". The only absolute truth is that there is NO absolute truth. Do what feels good as long as it doesn't hurt anyone. This is our biggest problem.

 Nothing is sacred. Religion? That's the way of the intolerant past.

 We no longer live in a world where right and wrong are clearly defined.

 So again, why this affinity for the past? Why can't we live in the present?

 Because at present we have lost the ability to think outside the virtual reality. Sure, some avoid this, but as a society we are driven by social media.

 I for one love and mostly identify with the thought and principles of a pre-industrialized world which is the whole reason this blog exists. The fact that I am writing a blog on my computer about living and identifying with a pre-industrial world is the irony of this whole thing. But, no matter how principled I am about it, I am a child of this age. My reliance on this technology is something I hope to scale back in the years to come. But I digress....

 From this Christians perspective, we need to live in this world but we need not be of it. Some may misconstrue this to mean complete separation from this world and all it's trappings. Others think we need to be completely up to date and trendy if we are to influence the culture.

 I suggest a middle road.

 Live your life in the present by being a witness of Christ's love and mercy, no matter your vocation. From the farmer in the field, to the business man in New York City. Wether you have an affinity for the old or an affinity for the new.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, 
and glorify your Father which is in heaven." 
Matthew 5:16


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Dangers of Education

 A story was collected in the 19th century called "The Pooka" by E.W. The story of the Pooka is interesting to be sure, but it is the beginning of this tale that interests me where the story teller decries the "school master" or rather education as having ruined the folk beliefs of old.

 He writes :

"Now that "the schoolmaster is abroad," there can be no question that the warm sun of education will, in the course of a very few years, dissipate those vapours of superstition, whose wild and shadowy forms have from time immemorial thrown a mysterious mantle around our mountain summits, shed a darker horror through our deepest glens, traced some legendary tale on each unchiselled column of stone that rises on our bleakest hills, and peopled the green border of the wizard stream and sainted well with beings of a spiritual world."

 Should we indulge such nonsense? Isn't it good that in this day and age, the age of science and progress that we should leave behind notions of a spiritual world? A world infused with a hidden world? 

 Of course the person of science sees no limitations to his ability to achieve a breakthrough discovery. Nothing to stop him from meddling in things he ought not. After all, the world is just made up of cells and bits of matter. Nothing to worry about. 

 But of course, in contrast, the spiritual world does not offer us this freedom. We see warnings all around us. Don't do this, or this will happen. In a spiritual world, one proceeds with caution not wishing to bring anything bad upon themselves or anyone else. 

 I think of course a major reasons why I enjoy the old tales and the old belief is that it gives me a sense of wonder and curiosity. Not a curiosity that says "I need to know" like the scientist, but a sense that says "I'm content to continue wondering about this". 

 An interesting thing to ponder. A friend of mine recently said: 

 "I think superstition is a beautiful thing for the ignorant, but not necessarily true, and perhaps problematic for the sober-minded." 

 I answered : 

 "Who decides which is ignorant and which is sober-minded."


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Hello and Welcome

Hello and welcome to my blog.

 To give you some background on myself, I am a lover of the Christian faith, an anglophile, celtic history and folklore enthusiast, lover of monarchy, literature and the medieval world.

 I hope this blog can serve as a sort of research composite and maybe connect me to some people who share my interests.

 One thing I would like to be able to show through some of my research is why christianity was able to flourish in a unique and very effective way in Ireland and Scotland, especially in connection to their folk beliefs and mythology.

 I hope this will interest someone.