Tag: Folklife

Review: Fiddler’s Green Peculiar Parish Magazine

Although I’ve often thought about it, I have yet to write any reviews for my fellow Cunning Rustics, but I am compelled by this recent addition to my collection of periodicals. I convince myself that ‘keeper of knowledge’ sounds better than ‘hoarder of books’, but a rose by another name, still has no more space on his shelves. I am particularly proud of my collection of Heathen and Pagan periodicals dating back to the 1970’s.  These include ‘The Odinist’, ‘Vor-Tru’ and ‘The Runestone’ magazines, as well as a host of other esoteric ‘zines, pamphlets and mimeographs. Without reservation, I declare that ’Fiddlers Green’ is one of the finest esoteric magazines for anyone who may consider themselves a Cunning Rustic.

Beautifully printed on weighty paper (70 lb. off-white vellum), with a cover of heavy sage green linen paper, the copper gilt title gleams from the page, like a sudden treasure happened across on a solitary ramble through some country field. That is precisely how to approach this unique publication. It should be read, at leisure, outdoors with a drink and sunshine at hand. Fiddlers Green denotes a place out of time, a haven rather than a heaven, where sailors, farmers and countrymen reside when slipping this mortal coil. No clouds, harps and piety, but a place of companionship, abundance and comfort. Writer and editor Clint Marsh has created a magazine that might well entertain the denizens of that mystical Elysium.

The Pelican Pub at Muir Beach , California.

Some years back,I made a trip to California, and had the fortune to sink a pint at the Pelican Inn (named after Sir Francis Drake’s ship) at Muir Beach. There are many ‘British Pubs’ in the US, that fall very far off the mark indeed, but I can attest that The Pelican Inn is as proper a pub as I have found in this country. It was to my surprise on reading the first issue, that ‘Fiddler’s Green Peculiar Parish Magazine’ was conceived in that very beer garden by Mr Marsh.

Fiddler’s Green is a mix of esoteric journal and the old magazines my grandmother kept when I was a child, like The Post Office Magazine, and the original Country Life. It manages to avoid seeming anachronistic, however. This isn’t some steampunk re-imagining of a glorious Victorian past, but rather pays homage to a less vulgar time, maintaining the elements of art and writing that would appeal to any traditionalist. Articles such as ‘Where the Art Meets the Occult’ by Ken Henson are genuinely thought-provoking. Rima Staines’s ‘Rise and Root’ reads as a short manifesto for the Radical Traditionalist. At moments, reading Clint Marsh’s ‘The Kids Are All Rite: Traditionalism, Magic, Punk and “As-If”’ was an eerie reflection of my own teenage years.

From Rima Staines’ article ‘Rise and Root’

Some articles are firmly tongue in cheek, and you can sense the mirth throughout. Between articles, you will find art (contemporary and ancient), book reviews, photography, poetry and even postal rates, and thankfully, few advertisements. Those advertisements that are there, are perfectly in keeping with the feel and flow of the publication.

The three issues I was sent were printed as special editions for the Occult Humanities conference. Admittedly, I have only read the first of the three volumes I have received, as i am relishing them slowly, like morsels of Turkish Delight. A quick glance through the other two volumes promises more of the same, and so, the fiddler’s merry tune plays on.

 

Frederick Marryat – Writer and British Naval Officer. He served as a midshipman under the great hero, Lord Thomas Cochrane.

“At Fiddler’s Green, where seamen true

When here they’ve done their duty

The bowl of grog shall still renew

And pledge to love and beauty.”

Frederick Marryat
The Dog Fiend; Or, Snarleyyow,
1856,

 

 

I am indebted to fellow writer Josh Buckley (TYR Journal) for bringing Fiddler’s Green to my attention and you may find copies for purchase here:

http://www.wonderella.org/publications/pamphlets/fiddlersgreen.htm

Or you can correspond with Clint Marsh at:

Fiddler’s Green Peculiar Parish Magazine
Clint Marsh, Editor
Post Office Box 10146
Berkeley, Calif. 94709

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Remember, remember…Guy Fawkes Foiled!

‘The Discovery of the Gunpowder Plot and the Taking of Guy Fawkes’ by Henry Perronet Briggs 1832

Remember, remember…

Guido ‘Guy’ Fawkes was not a hero from a comic, not a face to be worn by the anonymous.  He was a Papist.  In 1605 along with 13 conspirators he attempted to blow up King James I at his state opening at the Houses of Parliament.  Fawkes aimed to return England to the governance of Rome and the King of Spain.  Just 50 years earlier, 300 protestants had been burned to the death for heresy against the pope, during Queen Mary’s purge. No doubt the scourge of  ‘Bloody’ Mary was still strong in the minds of the English.

Bloody Mary lit a few bonfires of her own.

Bloody Mary lit a few bonfires of her own.

England had been thrown into conflict between Papists and Protestants since Henry VIII, but the fact remains, the Purges of Bloody Mary, against layman and commoners, deserved a heavy handed response.  The protestant reformation, as harsh as it was,  placed  the British Isles under British control and away from Europe.  The judgement against those who would have seen Britain bow to foreign masters sent a strong message.

Foiled in his plot, Fawkes was tortured, hanged and quartered, his parts being sent to the four corners of the land.

penny for the guy

Penny for the Guy

Now every fifth of November,  the British mark the occasion with ‘Bonfire night’.  Although the tradition of ‘A Penny For The Guy’ is waning, children still create a grotesque likeness of Fawkes and wheel him about the town, collecting money from those who would give it, before burning him atop the bonfire that evening.

As per tradition, folk will be lighting fireworks, eating and drinking, playing music and enjoying what would seem to all outside viewers to be a perfectly nice Pagan celebration.  Deep in our primordial souls, I believe we are happiest when celebrating around a fire with friends, and need little reason for it.  If one has to have a reason though, this is a good one.

Tonight,  across Albion, bonfires will be lit and effigies of Guy Fawkes burned. Let the story of Britain’s traitor be told, not in whispers, but with pride.  While children warm themselves in the glow,  let there be a chill in the spines of those who plot still.

Remember, remember…

Photograph © Andrew Dunn, 5 November 2005.

Photograph © Andrew Dunn, 5 November 2005.

Remember, remember!
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes and his companions
Did the scheme contrive,
To blow the King and Parliament
All up alive.
Threescore barrels, laid below,
To prove old England’s overthrow.
But, by God’s providence, him they catch,
With a dark lantern, lighting a match!
A stick and a stake
For King James’s sake!
If you won’t give me one,
I’ll take two,
The better for me,
And the worse for you.
A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope,
A penn’orth of cheese to choke him,
A pint of beer to wash it down,
And a jolly good fire to burn him.
Holloa, boys! holloa, boys! make the bells ring!
Holloa, boys! holloa boys! God save the King!
Hip, hip, hooor-r-r-ray!

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Dancing Around the Border

Dancing Around the Border

The origins and rise of Morris and Traditional Folk Dancing. How Morris Dancing relates to Paganism and Tradition in the British Isles.

While chugging a cider at our local medieval fair, some ten years ago, I found my heart warmed by the sounds of jingle bells and of staves being cracked together in time to a merry tune wrought from a fiddle accompanied by penny whistle and drums.  A local team of Morris dancers was keeping the tradition alive right here in Florida!
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Of Rats and Men

Of Rats and Men –

A familiar fable by Æsop, rewritten for The Cunning Rustic.

There is that old Æsop fable about Country Mouse and City Mouse, whereupon City mouse goes to the country and is offered a meager meal, and so returns to his metropolitan home with his rural cousin and offers him the promise of a king’s feast. The feast is interrupted by two dogs, forcing both rodents to scurry away hungry and
unfulfilled. Country Mouse returns to his home, secure in the knowledge that his poor plate fills the belly better than a fantastic meal devoured by a dog.

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