How the blog works

The poems on this blog are mostly written on the basis of my historical reading and are intended to be both educational and entertaining.
Recently I have also begun posting some of my work with Anglo-Saxon charms. This work is somewhat speculative and is conducted as an amateur researcher and keen Pagan historian.

Please feel free to use anything on this site as a resource if you think that it may be relevant to your needs.

Saturday, 26 April 2014



This poem explores the practice of gathering a basket of flowers on the morning of May Day  in the villages. A practice that was common up until Victorian times.


Young ladies to, celebrate The May,
Out early morn, finding a bouquet.
Their families' homes. to soon adorn,
Gathering May baskets, in the corn.

Young wenches with, young lads doth play,
And laugh and court, in meadows stray.
On a warm and sunny, spring day such deeds,
May simply be guessed, among the meads.

In every bush, a song be’est made,
The landscapes beauty, is now laid.
In some secrete place, within the field,
Young men and maidens, willingly yield.

Oft ten maiden, who went to the May,
Nine returned home, with infant that day.
Its best be said: ‘courtship bed and wed’,
Else ‘grass widows’ women, be thee instead.

In every marriage, it be’est said,
In Avalon’s fields, bed precedes wed.
Love poems, to mistresses be writ,
Before to wenches, they doth commit.

Copyright Andrew Rea 2008

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

May (Thrimilci)

This poem is one that was inspired by the writings of Saint Bede.

Thrimilci means three milkings and is a reference to the extra milking that could be obtained from this month into the summer. The eve May Day also called Wulpurgis was one of the two most powerful nights of the year for magic, the other being the eve of All Hallows. The poem looks at the way the May might have been celebrated in the local chieftains hall, in Saxon times these celebrations would have continued until dawn, lasting anything up to 16 hours, oh and by the way the drinking cups had a pointed bottom so you could only put them down when empty.

May (Thrimilci)

Bone fires of, Wulpurgis night,
Around fires, burning so bright.
Frigg the goddess, of love and mirth,
Lets Celebrate, summer's rebirth.

Magic power at, it's greatest height,
Goddess of lust, for summers rite.
Wife of Woden, down in yon field,
Before goddess, thee be'est kneeled.

Cows be milked now, three times a day,
Bountiful times, we thank thee Frey.
Flowers from fields, gathered for home,
Fellers and maidens, faithfully roam.

High halls heave with, men and wenches,
Mead-cups floweth, round long benches.
Laughter music, breaking baked bread,
Wassail me boys, a whole hogshead.

Trencher of food, in with the fold,
Heroic stories, to be'est told.
Drink hail to thee, join in the feast,
Now is the time,to release the beast.

The sun wilt soon, rise in the east,
A full mead cup, until dawn at least.
Stack the benches, lay on reed floor,
Those traditions, of days of yore.

Copyright Andrew Rea 2009 revised Dec 2012

Monday, 7 April 2014

Lacnunga CV - A puzzle Solved?

A puzzle Solved?
Here is an untranslated incantation from a healing charm in an Anglo-Saxon medical manuscript:

Lacnunga CV
Ecce dolgula medit dudum beðegunda breðegunda
elecunda eleuacha mottem mee renum orþa fueþa
letaues noeues terre dolge drore uhic alleluia
Singe man þis gebed on þæt se man drincan wille, nygan siþan, 
& pater noster nigan siþan.

Translation of lines 4 and 5 From Old English
Let one sing this prayer over that which a man is about to drink, nine times, and the Paternoster nine times.

The first 3 lines
The considered opinion over this charm (lines 1-3) is that it was written in a Latin like way, to give authority, starting and ending with actual Latin words but with pseudo Latin within. To this was added some Old Irish, as was sometimes used as a way to add extra energy to a charm. Some words are used for their tonal qualities and associations with known language of the time. The intent was to evoke a sense of magic. This Anglo-Saxon charm contains both rhythm and alliteration. The charm was therefore written in a pseudo language without obvious meaning but played on relevant words of power and healing and was not intended to be translated, however we can find some hidden meaning:

The first 3 lines yield up the following:
See (here)! Banish (this) little injury, eats? salve abounding, abounding,
healing-abounding, mote of my kidneys, formulate a charm,
letaues noeues (no meaning found) let sorrowful suffering fail, alleluia.

So a free flowing possible meaning:
Attention! consume (this) decoction (to) banish (this) little injury, abounding abounding!
Healing-abounding charm formulated to reduce (the toxin to expel from) my kidneys,
Abracadabra, let (this) sorrowful suffering fail, alleluia.

So the charm appears to be used to expel toxins.

I now intend to produce a poetic version of this with the intent of reproducing the feel of the original charm with hidden meaning, rhythm and alliteration.

I wish to thank Dr Clive Tolley for his kind help in supplying me with some useful information with regards to the understanding of this charm.