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A-Bird-Bath-art - 7/26/08


"A Bird Bath, or: what I did with herbs last weekend!" by HL Elaine de Montgris (known as 'Lainie). A ceremonial bath for a new Pelican.


NOTE: See also the files: peerage-cerem-msg, peerage-vigls-msg, knighthood-msg, fealty-art, Fealty-n-t-SCA-art, The-Peerage-msg, Som-Per-Ideas-art.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



Date: Wed, 10 Sep 2003 01:34:31 -0700

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

From: "Laura C. Minnick" <lcm at efn.org>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] A Bird Bath, or: what I did with herbs last  



It occurred to me that several of you might be interested in hearing what I

did last weekend- I provided a full Vigil Bath for a very dear friend of

mine who was going to be elevated to the order of the Pelican in the

morning. This involved a large (130 gal) stock tank (vinyl, not galvanized.

Eyuew!), about 50 gallons of water, my pavilion and poster frame, and

several hours of research to recreate the ceremonial that I had written last

time I did this several years ago, but some how did not have a copy of, so...


Aleyn is one of the senior members of the local Hospitallers, so they

rounded up all of their water cans, filled them the night before, and left

them in the sun all day. When we poured the bath about 9 pm, the water was





I set up the poster bed frame inside my pavilion, but didn't put the bed

inside. Instead I covered the area with rugs and set the tub up against one

of the long sides of the bed frame, which was against the back wall of the

pavilion. Had all of the curtains up on the bedframe, and curtains between

the corners of the bed and the pavilion walls, so there was space to stash

things. I have two small folding tables, they fit exactly into the back

corners at the ends of the tub. Covered those with cloths, one candelabrum

each. The left hand one also got my pretty new Madonna statue (She is

'vaihrry naihce'). There was a nice period chair in the empty corner of the

frame, on the right, and on the left was the extra water, the basins and

ewers, the rosewater, etc. I laid several layers of white sheeting in to

line the tub, and then I stripped a whole bunch of fresh herbs into the

bottom- rosemary, sage, lemon balm, beards of fennel, and oregano flowers.

When we poured in the warm water it was really intense. And then I added



When we got everyone ready to go, my student Laurence, who is also a

Hospitaller, stood at the door and read this portion of the script (which

was sewn together from bits of texts including Geoffery de Charnay _Le

Livre de Chevalerie_, the anonymous Ordene de Chevalerie, _Ouevres de

Froissart_, and _Li Romans de Durmant le Galois_):


(before entering the bath)


      "Before you is the Bath of Courtesy and

Bounty. As you enter and dwell therein, reflect

on your need to cleanse your body henceforth,

from impurities of sin, and any dishonorable

ways of life~ you shall leave any such

impurities in the water, and as recalling the

baptism of infants, you will come out of the

water with clean conscience, emerging clean

and pure as an infant from the font."


Mavis snuck in and took pictures before Aleyn got into the water- I'm

hoping they turn out.


Aleyn stripped down and got into the tub, and I read the Pater Noster in



Laurence read this portion as Aleyn bathed:


      "Think on these things as you ready

yourself for the vigil before you.


      As a Peer of the realm, you must be freed

from wickedness, so to win a place in Paradise.

      You must be willing to shed your blood in

defense of God, and of the Crown you serve.

      You must often contemplate your own

death, and thereby avoid pride.

      You must keep your body pure and avoid


      You must hasten to action with the love of

God and the honor of the Crown in your heart.

      You must preserve this inseperable pair of

virtues~ Justice and loyalty.

      And always be ready to return your soul

to God, rendering fair account for your



I read the Ave Maria, and after washing his hair, the Credo.


Then, as Aleyn was leaving the bath and dressing in clean white clothes,

Laurence read:


      "Hold close these virtues: hardinesse or

courage, loyalty, and prowess. Be always

courteous and generous; be of fair speech.

Ferocious shall you be against evil, while frank

and debonair to friends."


When Aleyn was dressed, but before leaving the pavilion:


      "And now remember this: Every new peer

should make a good beginning. Remember

these words here tonight, and Godspeed you to

your new life."


With the candles and the steam and the warm water, and everything, Aleyn

said it was a most wonderful experience- and indeed made him feel as if he

was experiencing a part of the Middle Ages for real. And me? "Yippee!!"


And then we had to bail the tub. Hey- can't re-use the water if he's left

his sins in it! I dated the man! I know some of those sins! Encouraged

him in them even! ;-D)


Was great fun and a worthwhile experience. He cried. I cried. I cried

some more the next day during the ceremony. And then I had a nap!



bathmaiden to peers...


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org