Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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Beltane's Flower: In Appreciation of Ian Anderson's 'Cup of Wonder'

If the modern Beltane has an anthem, it must surely be Ian (“Jethro Tull”) Anderson's Cup of Wonder.

When I first heard the song in 1977, it came as something of a revelation, managing (in what is surely the cultural and aesthetic touchstone of the New Paganisms) to sound both ancient and modern simultaneously. Of course, at the time we took it entirely for granted. Youthful arrogance has a beauty all its own.

If you haven't heard Cup of Wonder before, it's well worth a listen. If—like me—you haven't heard it recently, let me recommend a revisit. While very much of its own time, Anderson's sight remains true, his vision crisp, and his truth as deep as it ever was.

Wishing you joy of Beltane and a Merry May.

 

Cup of Wonder

 


May I make my fond excuses for the lateness of the hour,

but we accept your invitation, and would bring you Beltane's flower;

for the May Day is the great day, sung along the old straight track,

and those who ancient lines did "ley" will heed the song that calls them back:

 


Pass the cup, and pass the Lady,

pass the plate to all who hunger;

pass the wit of ancient wisdom,

pass the Cup of Crimson Wonder.

 

Ask the Green Man where he comes from, ask the Cup that fills with red,

ask the old grey standing stone that shows the Sun his way to bed.

Question all as to their ways, and learn the secrets that they hold;

walk the lines of Nature's palm, crossed with silver and with gold.

 


Chorus

 

Join in black December's sadness, lie in August's welcome corn;

stir the cup that's ever filling with the blood of all that's born.

For the May Day is the great day, sung along the old straight track,

and those who ancient lines did "ley" will heed the song that calls them back.

 


Chorus

 

 

 

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Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.
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