The Song of Robin Redbreast (Erithacus rubecula)

Written by Simon Mitchell

When Nature provides you with just what you are looking for - this is 'synchronicity' in action. I was completing an illustrated version of one of my ebooks 'The Adventure of Arthur' and was short of some good pictures of a Robin - who is a sort of 'guide' in this story - called 'Followrepparttar Robin'. I had used a scanned Christmas card 'at a pinch' for this image and - well it just sort of spoiledrepparttar 147749 ebook. With this inrepparttar 147750 back of my mind I set off on a walk with my camera.

I went to a place downriver where there are no buildings, no sound of cars, no people. It's a place 'out of time' where you can shift between centuries and just 'be there' at any time as it has remained essentially unchanged for hundreds of years. Ever since I went to viewrepparttar 147751 Cornish solar eclipse of 2000 there it had become one of my 'special places'. The river Fowey forks together just here and then starts to open out into St. Winnow Pool andrepparttar 147752 valley bottom is secluded by mature mixed woodland on every side.

After taking a couple of photos of 'light sparkling onrepparttar 147753 River', I shut my eyes to take inrepparttar 147754 sounds - wind in trees, distant sounds of farm animals,repparttar 147755 subtle and playful noises of water. After a few moments I heard a fluttering behind me - and opened my eyes to see a Robin perched on top of my camera bag, not even 18 inches away. It stared at me, head cocked, and flew off to a nearby tree to pour out its fantastic song just above my head. I saw another one, slightly smaller, hopping about nearby, shyer than her mate.

I tookrepparttar 147756 camera fromrepparttar 147757 bag and hung it round my neck. The tiny bird was just within zoom reach and I got a couple of shots of it singing. 'How lucky am I'? I thought. Justrepparttar 147758 pics I need. After a few minutesrepparttar 147759 bird stopped its beautiful song, and flew off to another tree nearby where it started 'clucking'. A sort of 'tick tick' noise like a fisherman's reel. Robins make this kind of noise sometimes too. I wished I had some seeds or breadcrumbs to tempt it closer, but I had taken no food with me. I clucked back to my best ability, matching its noises as best I could without a Robin beak or larynx (do they have larynxes ? )

When it clucked once, I did. Then twice. Then three times, alteringrepparttar 147760 intervals between clucks likerepparttar 147761 bird. It hopped nearer and nearer. Looking at me from various positions. And then it flew over and actually stood on my knee. Very carefully I liftedrepparttar 147762 camera and turned it on, hopingrepparttar 147763 little electronic noises wouldn't scare it. It stayed and I got a wonderful close-up.

But then it started 'posing'. You're not going to believe this but it moved its head around like a top model - giving me angles fromrepparttar 147764 left and right and front, staying right there on my knee for what seemed like a few minutes. I know it sounds like an 'anthromorphic projection' (where humans invest animals and nature with their own 'motivations', which really annoys me sometimes) - but that is really what it seemed like. It's like this Robin really wanted to be published - and now it is !

Even days later I feel so rewarded with this intimate connection with a wild animal - and I just had to share it with you.

So I have to go back there with a gift for this friendly Robin and his mate. I wondered what do Robins eat and stuff. What would make a good gift for this friendly creature, perhapsrepparttar 147765 best-loved of all birds with its sweet but slightly melancholy song ?

I dug out 'British Nesting Birds', my 1910 edition by W. Percival Westell (author of 'Nature Stalking for Boys'). This bird has loads of common names: Bobbie, Bob, Bobrobin, Brow-Rhuddyn (Welsh), Robinet, Ruddock and Tommi-Liden amongst them. WP Westell tells me they eat worms, earwigs, butterflies, larvae, spiders, daddy-long-legs and will take scraps in Winter. They make their nests from moss, dead leaves, stalks of plants with a neat lining of roots, hair, or wool.

Signs of the Old Gods: The Winter Solstice

Written by Simon Mitchell

Once againrepparttar Earth turns aroundrepparttar 147748 sun and we come torepparttar 147749 shortest day, conspiratorially hidden right next to Christmas - on Dec 21st. The Longest Night is an opportunity to make 'Deamon Fire' - find out how. In pre-Christian timesrepparttar 147750 solstice was an important time whenrepparttar 147751 sun miraculously alters its course andrepparttar 147752 days shift to becoming longer,repparttar 147753 nights shorter. In a World without electric light this was a profound reason for thanksgiving.

People got nervous asrepparttar 147754 days got shorter, because they could see perpetual night coming. They didn't understandrepparttar 147755 rotation ofrepparttar 147756 earth and how it makesrepparttar 147757 days shorter and longer. The Celtic priests and other leaders of early faiths in Northern Europe would promise to use their 'power' to re-igniterepparttar 147758 sun. Inrepparttar 147759 old Celtic traditionrepparttar 147760 evening ofrepparttar 147761 longest night involvedrepparttar 147762 local 'priest' orderingrepparttar 147763 burning of a pine tree onrepparttar 147764 nearest 'high hill' - a precursor to 'beacon fires'.

Local people would be told to drag a pine tree torepparttar 147765 top ofrepparttar 147766 highest hill around December 25th. With great ceremonyrepparttar 147767 priest would assert his power and control overrepparttar 147768 sun by commanding it to return to full brilliance inrepparttar 147769 following days, and firingrepparttar 147770 tree. In this way he was assured that his power was also recognised byrepparttar 147771 people he controlled. In a cunning reversal of burning a pine tree outside, we now bring them inside and sacrifice them through lack of water.

Christianity was spread most effectively by subsuming 'ancient' beliefs to its own ends. The practice of blood sacrifice common in ancient times, is replaced by wine and wafers, a metaphor for flesh and blood. The ancient celebration ofrepparttar 147772 longest night is subsumed inrepparttar 147773 ever more materialistic dash to Christmas, now a Saturnalia of materialism where evenrepparttar 147774 Christian message is lost.

Traditionally, at least in Dennis Wheatley novels,repparttar 147775 longest night 'Walpurgisnacht' is associated with dark magic and lots of naked romping about and making homunculii and other horrid things. Here is confusion between Christian images ofrepparttar 147776 devil and those of earlier Celtic 'Pan' like entities,repparttar 147777 'genus locii' of special places. Hernerepparttar 147778 Hunter of popular myth andrepparttar 147779 like. Also this time of yearrepparttar 147780 sun is in Capricorn, a horned goat, contributing to another cultural mish-mash with many strands.

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