Leeds Goes Purple

Litter Free Leeds is hoping to turn the city purple this weekend – with purple bags filled with litter, all picked up by volunteers wanting to make a difference in their community.

I wanted to join in so I got in touch with my local group, and a kind person dropped some bags off with me today and I hope to get out tomorrow to make a dent in the litter surrounding our local area.

Litter is detrimental, not just because it looks disgusting, but it spreads bacteria and other microorganisms, and is extremely harmful to wildlife and wildlife habitats.

If you want to join in, visit www.litterfreeleeds.co.uk or join the Facebook Group. I joined and was quickly put in touch with the group in my local area to find out how to get started.

Together communities can look after each other and help make the place look great and be safer again!

Platinum Crumbs

I shower then dry off

My armpits carefully

Soaking up each drop of moisture

With a scratchy towel

Ready for more moisture

Drying and soothing

Only to be rolled over

With wet, smelly goo,

Designed to keep my

Sweat at bay

Roll over my skin and

Keep my offensive nature

At bay.

While in the Houses and Palaces

They dry our tears with flags

And jewels

And fires

And prizes

And patriotism

Ready to roll over us

With crushing

Austerity

Prejudice

Rights for one

But not for that one

Division

Cutting us like a trifle

Like a platinum pudding

Where the Houses get a bowlful

And we get the crumbs.

I clutch my towel

Dab at the tears in my eyes

Grit my teeth

And carry on.

Birds at Bealtaine

A dandelion’s last three seeds. Copyright Mabh Savage 2022

Bealtaine 2022

As is traditional, we started our Bealtaine celebrations last night. Bealtaine, never Beltane, to honour the very living Irish traditions (and language!) the word comes from. Yes, I’ve called it Beltane in the past. No, I shouldn’t have done. When you know better, you do better, right?

One of the kids has a birthday shortly so we were busy sorting out a sleepover and celebrations. The house was full, and everyone was already in a celebratory mood. Us grownups made a safe spot for ourselves in the kitchen and toasted many wonderful things, celebrating our life with drink and music. We played guitar, sang, and ate.

Today, it’s been grey and damp, but the air is so fresh and the weather mild enough that I’m sat writing this in the garden in just joggers and a t-shirt. I can hear blackbirds, goldfinches, starlings, and have seen magpies and wood pigeons, and many sparrows. The dandelions have bloomed ferocious and yellow and now closed again. There is a sense that “sumer is icumen in”, perhaps not quite here but certainly just around the corner. I have more to do: sacred space to clean, candles to light, commitments to follow through on. But after a hectic night and day, it’s nice to pause and listen to the birds this Bealtaine. They know what they’re doing; oh to have that same confidence of purpose, and lightness of being.

Merry Bealtaine to all who celebrate.

Earth Day 2022

Did you know Earth Day has been celebrated since 1970? Earth Day reminds people once a year that our planet needs us to be stewards, to be custodians, to protect and care for the planet as well as we can.

My new book, Practically Pagan: An Alternative Guide to Planet Friendly Living, addresses this in terms of spirituality – making small changes to the way Pagans and other spiritual folks practice their daily faith rituals, from the ethical sourcing of tools to not trampling the countryside in search of peace. Of course, people of all faith paths (or none) can and should take action to look after our planet, and to halt the progress of climate change before it’s too late. Small daily changes you can make include:

  • If you’re able, walk short distances instead of driving
  • Contact your local MP on community environmental issues, such as the closure or destruction of parks and other green spaces
  • Vote Green or vote for the representative that supports the most ethical and planet friendly policies – always check that whoever you vote for isn’t just greenwashing i.e. ineffective green policies or using environmental policies to distract from other, not great policies!
  • Recycle whatever you can
  • Reuse whatever you can – I’m not advocating filling your house with rubbish, but so many jars, bottles, pieces of fabric from clothes that can’t be donated, and even cardboard boxes can get practically “upcycled” rather than ending up in landfill
  • Compost
  • Feed the birds
  • Grow flowers or let native plants flourish to help bees and other insects
  • Follow the countryside code e.g. stay on paths in wooded areas to protect wildlife
  • Switch lights off
  • Turn devices off where possible
  • Lobby corporations with poor environmental policies – sign petitions, send letters, or simply act with your wallet by refusing to buy from companies that act in bad faith when it comes to protecting our world

What will you do this Earth Day and beyond to help make a difference to our planet? She really needs our help!

P.S. the link to my book above is for the Amazon Kindle e-book but if you boycott Amazon you can also buy it at UK Bookshop.org, an organization that ensures independent bookstores in the UK get a fair cut.

Organizations doing great work for the environment and nature:

Please feel free to leave ideas and links to other organisations in the comments. Happy Earth Day!

That Little Laugh

Image copyright Mabh Savage 2022

No doubt you’ve seen us

The mischief makers

Followers of a chaotic

Maelstrom of love

A little smirk on our faces

A little laugh, perhaps

As we listen to words only

We can hear

Rocks and sweets and toys

In our pockets

No we don’t all have kids

But we all care for something

Maybe there’s a hint of cinnamon

A scratch of flint

A side eye across

An empty room

A hastily scribbled rune

On the back of a bus ticket

A snake tattoo

Or simply a nod

To the brightest star

You definitely know us

You’ve seen us around

We’ve seen you too

And so have They.

I Am, I Will Be Drunk

Content warning: mentions of intoxication and drinking alcohol

Charles Baudelaire,

He said be drunk

I know what he means

I do.

To be drunk on

“Wine or poetry or virtue”

Oh how I would love

To make you drunk on poetry

To feed you my words

Shot by shot

Fiery and sweet like absinthe

Green like envy

Slipping acidly down

Your gullet.

Hot like love

Like love like sweet, dark love

Wrapping around your tongue

In every language

A polyglot of emotion.

Speak to me, speak to me

Tell me are you drunk yet?

Drunk on phrasing,

Innuendo, entendres double

And beyond

A polycule of hidden meanings

Or not so hidden

A flash of cleavage

In a dusky speakeasy.

I’m going to tell you

A secret though

I’m already drunk

Drunk on your presence

Your easy love

Not easy as in

Obtainable

Available

Or even

For-saleable

But easy to be in,

To lose myself in

Freely given in return for

Worship and offerings

And words, words, words

Takk fyrir

Loki

My mead, my wine, my drunken heart

Spinning like a head after a

Significant birthday party

My salt-rimmed sweet and sour treat

Cynical and adoring

In equal measures (50 ml)

I know what he meant,

Be drunk, always be drunk

On divinity, on cosmic wonder

On you.

Lokean Beads

Contains UPG.

My husband took a liking to kombolois while we were in Rhodes last year. I bought him one from a Greek merchant, crafted from pieces of volcanic rock. I later felt that special niggling feeling you get when something close to you wants something – maybe it’s time to refill the glasses on the altar, or draw a card… but in this instance, there was the very strong feeling that Loki would also like some similar beads.

I’d never considered making prayer beads, although I had seen some beautiful ones crafted by other members of the community. The komboloi is, as far as I know, not particularly religious but more of a set of worry beads, for fidgeting with to alleviate anxiety, or simply for fun. I agreed to make some for Loki, and had a couple of great moments during the process.

I bought the beads and thread from an Etsy seller. She included, for free, two tiny “S” shaped decorative pieces that looked very snake-like! I’d ordered blue thread, but she threw in some gorgeous rainbow thread that, of course, was what I ended up using.

I’m really pleased with the finished result which now resides on Loki’s altar, and I do use them as part of my practice – so they have, after all, become prayer beads. What do you think?

Moon Day Mondays

Waxing Crescent – First Quarter

Last night it seemed so bright and strong

A bow of light

A bower capable of

Lifting the world

As I glided home along motorways

Lokabrenna searing my eyes

By my side the whole way

Orion’s companion

A torch of hope and clarity.

Today I feel like the curvy deliciousness

Though fatter and seemingly firmer

Is a fragile beast

Barely keeping together

Fighting through clouds

Of miscommunication

Battling light pollution

Too many egos

Too many cooks

Spoiling the broth

Putting salt instead of sugar

In my already weak tea

What a baffling phase this is

Tentative and changeable

Sat upon its curve and swinging, swinging

A hopelessly beautiful hammock

Oh just let me sleep.

Shouting Fire

I want to shout it out

From the top of a

Mountain

Skyscraper

Geyser

Aeroplane in flight

Hang suspended in the clouds

Shouting fire

Upon the unsuspecting.

Fire of inspiration

Hope

Passion

Creativity

Just make something

Make something make something

Make me something then

Share it

Share it with the world

I want to shout it out

From a falcon’s wings

Slowly and inexorable

Fanning flames

That both destroy and protect

From caught in a spider’s web

Eight legs sacred

And well remembered

Shouting fire that

Not so much burns

As cures

Like a pot in the kiln

Possibly a little cracked

From time to time

Glazed

Inappropriately

Yet hard and unyielding

Ready to be filled

Ready to pour

Ready to be exactly as useful

As I want to be.

Imbolg

Image by Simon Berger via Unsplash

Brigid came on the wind

Blessing the brat bhríde

Soaking it with cool rain

Not quite winter waters

Not quite springtime showers

Tears from that in-between

Liminal state of season

A grief, a keening for the darkness

Slowly washing away

In the inevitable turn

Of the Earth.

She stroked gentle fingers

Down the cloths hanging

From trees, posts, baskets

Sprawled on Hawthorn

Or tucked into cracks

Waiting for her blessing

Draped in hope and faith

Those gentle fingers

Bely great power

Surging fire and weight

Filling smiths and poets

With inspiration that burns

Like the forge fire

The wind her bellows

Pumping, coaxing

Drawing out something new

Something new for Imbolg.

Great Brigid

Do you coax forward

The snowdrops too?

The first lambs, staggering,

Uncertain and fragile

Yet joyous in life

As we are before

Your mighty presence?