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The Catherine Wheel

Large wagon wheel,

great wheel of flame

aflame with tar,

as tar is rained
tar set afire,


as it rolls downhill,

down a hill’s slope  

as summer slows  

and sun declines 

declining summer,


sun's autumn years,

augur arrival  

of rival's bloomer


in adolescence

becomes pubescent

sky in comes the sun

clad in sky the King  

has again become


A ceremonial highlight of such festivals was the 'Catherine wheel'. Although the Roman Church moved St. Catherine's feast day all around the calendar with bewildering frequency, it's most popular date was Lammas. (They also kept trying to expel this much-loved saint from the ranks of the blessed because she was mythical rather than historical, and because her worship gave rise to the heretical sect known as the Cathari.)

At any rate, a large wagon wheel was taken to the top of a near-by hill, covered with tar, set aflame, and ceremoniously rolled down the hill. Some mythologists see in this ritual the remnants of a Pagan rite symbolizing the end of summer, the flaming disk representing the sun-god in his decline. And just as the sun king has now reached the autumn of his years, his rival or dark self has just reached puberty.


--hope I did this form correctly.

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