Robert Burns (1759-1796) 25th January. Scotland’s best-loved bard.
Although not part of the traditional esoteric calendar, Burns night is a ritual celebrated around the world. Robert Burns’ association with freemasonry has been well documented in other places; some of his work reflects this, containing layers of symbolic reference. http://www.burnssupper.com/burns/jbarley.htm It could be said the ritualistic stabbing of the haggis has its roots in the same.
We should remember he was an ordinary man; born into an impoverished farming family, living on the land and delighting in earthy pleasures alongside his obvious love of the esoteric.
Anyone who has suffered the pain of toothache will resonate with the words in his ‘Address to the Toothache’. http://www.litscape.com/author/Robert_Burns/Address_To_The_Tooth_Ache.html
Over the years ‘Burns’ writing has comforted, inspired, provided me with the words I lacked at times of loss, as well as entertained me, provided the background to significant events, and of course accompanied me at annual festivities. At New Year, ‘Aud lang syne’ is unrivaled in reflecting my emotions as I stand on the threshold of ‘Old Year’s night’ and ‘New Years day’.
The elements of a ‘Burns supper’ are overtly ritualistic, with the Haggis being piped in, the ‘Selkirk Grace’ said, and the Haggis addressed with ‘Ode to a Haggis’.
The Haggis having been eaten and a glass or two shared; it is time to toast the lassies, after which comes the reply to the laddies. Burn’s night can be a formal event but the best are fun and often a little bawdy, rather like the man himself.
Performing /attending this ritual year after year, links me with those departed as well as those I share it with in the flesh.
‘Meaningful Ritual’ is an important element here at SRTB. Working meaningful rituals will inform your magickal practice in a pertinent way, rather than mindlessly following a ‘wheel of the year’ that maybe bears little or no resemblance to your local environment, and climatic conditions.
So if like us you will be raising a glass and stabbing the haggis tonight, we can leave you with no better than the words of the man himself.
THE SELKIRK GRACE
Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.
Included for your interest are some links.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kzYaIphbzU Address to the Haggis
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IohE–g38FI Toast to the lassies Warning! contains bawdy material
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFU9xFo2ezk toast to lassies
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IEcG7KvbM8 reply to the laddies