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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Gently Johnny

Gently Johnny is a Beltane classic. (You can hear Paul Giovanni's setting from The Wicker Man here.) What follows is my male-male version, singable (of course) to the same tune. If we're true to the Old Ways, we will invariably find that the Lore can expand to include the entire range of human experience.

 

Gently Johnny

 

I put my hand upon his shoulder,

and he said: Be a little bolder.

I put my hand upon his knee,

and he said: Do you want to see?

 

Gently, gently, gently Johnny,

gently Johnny, my jingolo;

gently, gently, gently Johnny,

gently Johnny, my jingolo.

 

I put my hand upon his chest,

and he said: Do you want the rest?

I put my hand upon his hip,

and he said: Do you want a sip?

 

Gently, gently, gently Johnny,

gently Johnny, my jingolo;

gently, gently, gently Johnny,

gently Johnny, my jingolo.

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Thirteen Surprising Facts About 'The Wicker Man' (with Just a Wee Bit of Snarkiness from the Blogger)

Yes folks, it's time for your annual appointment with...the Wicker Man.

(No, not the one with Nicholas Cage!)

 

The role of Sergeant Howie was originally offered to actor Michael York. He turned it down.*

American composer Paul Giovanni, who wrote the film's strikingly memorable score, was the boyfriend of director Anthony Shaffer's brother Paul at the time. That's how Shaffer knew him.

Though set at Beltane, the film was actually filmed in mid-October. Between takes of the bonfire-leaping scene, the naked schoolgirls had to be bundled up in blankets to warm them up.

Because of the cold temperatures, while shooting many of the outdoor scenes, the actors had to hold ice cubes in their mouths so that their breath wouldn't smoke.

The blooming apple trees are all artificial. Because the budget was so tight, they had to keep moving the few trees that they had for the sweep shots of the orchards.

The phallic topiary, however, was all real. It was filmed at Hush House Manor in Kent, home of actor David Kennings (who had also been offered the role of Howie and turned it down).

Rowan and Howie's escape through the caves was shot at Wookey Hole caves in Somerset, home of the famous Witch of Wookey.

Edward Woodward (Howie) actually broke a toe on a rock while being dragged to the Wicker Man. (Technically, this injury should have disqualified him as a sacrifice, but of course—as their pastiche paganism suggests—these are neo-pagans we're talking about.)

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Rebuking Lord Summerisle

Lord Summerisle, I have a bone to pick with you.

So, they're dragging Sergeant Howie off to be burned in the Wicker Man.

"Don't you see?" Howie cries to you. "When it doesn't work, next year they'll come for you!"

He says that to you, Lord Summerisle, and you say nothing in response. Instead you look nonplussed, as if such a thing had never even crossed your mind.

Shame on you, Summerisle. Shame on you.

You have no right to be king if you're not willing to die for your people. That's the price of a crown. The only worthy sacrifice is a willing sacrifice, as you should have known before you lured an innocent victim (however obnoxious) in from the Mainland to be your surrogate.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Remembering Beech Buchanan

Contains material some readers may consider inappropriate for discussion in a public forum.

 

Thank Goddess, it's that time of year again.

Planting Time.

Time to frig in the fields to make the crops grow.

Gentlemen, don't forget: onto the ground.

That's just how these things are done.

 

Of course, such love isn't just for Planting Time, harvest, or taking seisin (buying land).

It's also for funerals.

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  • Mab Nahash
    Mab Nahash says #
    Why the disclaimer at the top? Just curious.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Overheard in April

Officer, hel-lo. Welcome to Paganistan.

How was your flight?

I can't tell you how delighted we are to have you here with us for our Beltane celebrations this year.

Absolutely delighted.

Care for some cider? Paganistan's finest.

If you'll just come with me, you really must see this year's Wicker Man. He's taken our artists more than a month to construct. I really do believe he's our most impressive yet.

Yes, indeed. So massive, yet so beautiful. Just look at those antlers.

A closer look? Certainly, certainly.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Muppet Wicker Man

Well, it's that time of year again.

Bealtaine is coming, and throughout Greater Pagandom theaters far and wide are gearing up for their May Eve midnight showings of The Wicker Man.

(Not the one with Nicholas Cage, specify the marquees.)

But you've never seen The Wicker Man until you've seen:

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His-story. It's dark, and the air is chill--Summer is a'comin in--but not quite yet. You're standing in a circle around a tall, dark object. You can just make out its narrow limbs; arms and legs formed by tightly tied bundles of twigs and straw. Suddenly, flames blaze up. In the crackling firelight you can see the figure at the center of the circle--the Wicker Man.

The lighting of the Wicker Man is a very old tradition that we know little about. Of course, there's the obvious: a Wicker Man is a human figure made out of wicker, straw or twigs, but he's built hollow so that things can be put inside him. But how this tradition started is a bit of a mystery. The ancient people who first built them--the Celts--didn't write about their practices. The first person to actually record anything about Wicker Men was Julius Caesar, and the picture he painted wasn't pretty. He wrote that the Celts created huge, human-shaped wicker figures, and inside they would put small animals, grains and slaves (yes, people), to be burned inside as an offering to the gods.

...
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