Dave was honored and privileged to read the poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae at the Breedsville Memorial Day parade. This custom had fallen by the wayside, and was always touching. The poem moves anyone who hears it. McCrae, a surgeon, did not survive WWII. Poppies grow where blood has soaked the ground in battlefields. It’s the meaning behind the “Buddy Poppy” sold by veterans at Memorial Day.
The poem: In Flanders Fields
BY JOHN MCCRAE
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
We spent a lovely, spiritual Bealtaine / Beltane / Calan Mai / Mayday at Our Haven Nature Sanctuary in southern Indiana. It was a lovely drive down there, seeing the blossoming trees atop the rock formations around Bloomington / Seymour. We got lost numerous times on tiny rustic backroads, some of them gravel, but that gave us an opportunity to view more of nature, and be helped by a kindly gentleman in a lifted pickup. Our Haven has a deservedly wonderful reputation with their neighbors. Little trickling streams, old-growth forest, tiny picturesque farms – and panic because it was getting dark, and the GPS route had a bridge out over a gorge!
When we finally arrived, we were put up in a cozy cabin created from a shed, that was quite luxurious. Furniture, a comfy bed, privacy, and quiet, all by a shrine to fire. It was nestled against a bluff and quite woodsy. The people at our Haven including Mary Thomas are all very welcoming and friendly.
I gave workshops on British folk deities and on the May Branch.
Posey the Pixie aka Virginia Ackley (Ginger) was our May Queen, bearer of the branch, and resident songstress. Her musical knowledge and performance talents are incredible. There were concerts, feasts, other workshops, and an opportunity to walk the property and commune with the gurgling streams and the many trees, which blossom much earlier in southern IN than they do here in MI. We drummed and danced the bonfire each night. Our Haven is clothing-optional in places, and around the main fire after 10PM when the kids have a curfew. It was freeing to dance naked around the fire for the festival!
We became members of Our Haven, for just $10, and you can too, by going here: https://www.ourhaven.info/
Pan Pagan festival is now being hosted at this gorgeous site in late July to early August. I would 100% recommend spending time at this beautiful, cordial, mystical place just a short drive from French Lick, IN, especially at Beltane.
The drive back was spectacular as well. Not far from the festival grounds is a lovely, secluded waterfall called “Serenity Falls”. We also found an antique metal bridge across a steamlet, and saw more flowering bushes growing atop stone cliffs. It really spoke of springtime to me.
Common Magick from Llewellyn Worldwide
Witches & Pagans # 38 & # 39 from BBI
Llewellyn's Witches' Companion 2022 & 2023 from Llewellyn Worldwide