What Pegman Saw: High on Her Mid-Summer Feast-Day

See the Pole, how it’s rooted in soil… See how it stretches high
See the Wheel rotating upon it… See how it turns the sky
See the Eagle with wings outspread… See the Earth sheltering beneath it
See the Court of divinities… See the star-gods dancing around it
See! Saule… how high she is on her midsummer feast-day.


58 words, written for What Pegman Saw: Riga, Latvia

For Ligo, Saule’s midsummer festival, a bonfire was lit atop a pole, on a hilltop. The pole represents the World Tree, the axis around which the Earth and the Heavens rotate.  Wreaths of flowers decorated the site, the day celebrated with dances, hymns and a meal of cheese and mead. I’d like to think it continues through to this day.

Latvia and Lithuania were the last European countries to relinquish their traditional beliefs and accept Christianity.

About crispina kemp

Spinner of Asaric and Mythic tales
This entry was posted in Poems (Some Silly) and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to What Pegman Saw: High on Her Mid-Summer Feast-Day

  1. Dear Crispina,

    A rather poetic take on the beautiful photo you chose. Makes me feel like dancing.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    • crimsonprose says:

      I thank you, Rochelle.
      I guessed most of the entries on this one would be of a solemn serious nature. And while it’s important to remember those days, those days weren’t the only ones. And that pole still touches the sky, and the sky and the stars still revolve, and the sun still rides high. So let’s dance, and clap and celebrate

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Violet Lentz says:

    So interesting. I work with two girls that live in Lithuania, one is Lithuanian and one Moldvian. if that would be what people from Moldova are called. I’ll have to ask them about Ligo and find out if its tradition carried over into modern times.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lynn Love says:

    I’m the least spiritual person you’re ever likely to meet (though I still knock on wood, just for a historical love of continuing ancient tree worship!) but it makes more sense to me worshipping the seasons, the sun, the moon, stars and nature in general than a god from a monotheistic tradition. You found a gorgeous image there, Crispina

    Liked by 2 people

    • crimsonprose says:

      I thank you, Lynn. Though I can’t say I *worship* the sun etc, I do most certainly respect and revere what the world and the universe has given us.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Lynn Love says:

        I understand why people worshipped nature. It’s damn hot here today, but the honey bees are abundant, the crickets chirping in the long grass. I can see why people would value these things so highly

        Liked by 1 person

      • crimsonprose says:

        Also, if you consider that until the last century all but the fewest paupers grew almost all their own food, even if they were otherwise employed. And so many food were taken from the waysides: sorrel, dock, fat hen, to mention just 3 green high in vitamins, and the berries in season, and the nuts to see you through the lean months, not to mention what was gathered to be used for medicines.
        We’ve lost contact, we’ve lost knowledge, and as consequence, we’ve lost respect.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Lynn Love says:

        Very good point. there must have been so much ‘gathering’ going on and now we’ve not only lost the knowledge, we’ve lost those plants and environments too

        Liked by 1 person

      • We Brits might have, but Norwich has a high population of Eastern Europeans, and while out walking I have seen them alongside the rivers gathering watercress, and the berries on bushes are stripped in a way I’ve not seen since I was a wee kid. We had a scare in the 1960s-70s about the safety of eating a wild harvest that could be sprayed with lethal chemicals. Those sprays have been banned, but our knowledge lost and not passed on. Perhaps we might learn from these newcomers.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lynn Love says:

        Very sensible, those Eastern Europeans. In Bristol, people look at you a bit odd if you collect blackberries in the park, and we had a neighbour with an apple tree who never picked the apples – unbelievable! Just shows what an over abundance of cheap food does to a nation. We may have to relearn these skills quickly if we get a no deal Brexit!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Indeed we might. Then aren’t we lucky to have our teachers already amongst us.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lynn Love says:

        I confess, though, I’ve been stocking my store cupboards and will continue to do so gradually until this hideous farce is over.

        Like

      • For whatever the reason, it’s no bad thing to restore some of the old ways. To harvest Nature’s free store makes good economic sense.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lynn Love says:

        Very true. We’re lucky in that we have rhubarb, an apple and a cherry tree as well as raspberry canes and I grew tomatoes this year (all this makes our garden sound huge – it’s just a normal sized garden in an ex council, 1930s terraced house). I always count myself lucky 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Those 1930s council houses had enormous gardens, intended so the working man might grow his own veg, they only now beginning to relinguish the country in preference of the towns

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lynn Love says:

        They are great for that. Ours is smaller than it might be as the previous owner built a conservatory on the back of the house (where I write if the weather isn’t too hot or cold!) but we still have space for two fruit trees, a rhubarb patch, a reasonable size raised bed, a washing line and a patio with large picnic table. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sounds sufficiently spacious. My garden days are done. I have a shared courtyard. And after the first five years of battling French snails and weeds, I’ve given up. I have loads of houseplants.
        BTW, I discovered snails like to eat chilli peppers. But they end up dead.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lynn Love says:

        I like that chilli pepper tip – quite a way to go! I get round the snails by growing things they don’t touch much – penstemons, verbena, certain salvias, even cosmos survives once it’s mature (mainly).

        Liked by 1 person

      • I did find petunias survive quite well.

        Like

  4. Dale says:

    What a beautiful take on yes, what has been a rather dismal week…
    I am still pondering if I shall partake.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Prior... says:

    such a fresh entry
    and the use of “see the” made this seem like it would be a nice oral piece
    the kind that would be told and handed down to generations – which fits the historical content of the piece too

    Liked by 1 person

  6. k rawson says:

    Lovely & lyrical, pagan & mythic. Feel like I should find a may pole to dance around!

    Liked by 1 person

    • crimsonprose says:

      I do believe it is the origin of the maypole. I have been researching, over the past year, evidence of ancient knowledge of the Pole Star … which has only Polaris these past two millennia. About 12,000 ya it was a star in the Eagle constellation. And before that, one in the Swan. The swan figures as a psychopomp amongst Northern People (e.g. the valkyries) and through Indo-European mythologies an eagle sits atop the pole. It is a very old image.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Brian Bixby says:

    That’s definitely Riga — I recognize those five dirigible hangers.
    The midsummer holiday is celebrated with a two-day public holiday in the three Baltic states (toss in Estonia) under various names. We were in Tartu, Estonia for one such celebration, a celebration of singing, dancing, eating, and drinking in an open-air amphitheater on the city edge. Think of it: several thousand people passing through during the course of a long evening, sometimes getting up on the stage to join the dancing, standing around a bonfire, almost everyone (save EJ) drinking beer, and yet not one fight!

    Liked by 1 person

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