Veleda by the River
Sibylline reflections on culture, the politics of culture, and spiritual philosophies, with women at the center. Veleda is an ancient Celtic title for a seeress, most famously applied to a revolutionary tribal prophetess of the Bructerii in upper Germania.
Weirding woman drawing out Fate,
Knotter of ties, name-giver.
Wisewoman, counselor, teacher.
Crone who knows meanings,
Healer, herbalist, surgeon, midwife.
Priestess of Mysteries.
She of the Cauldron, she waving Wands.
She of the Flame, of the Standing Stones.
The woman whose words are powerful.
The woman whose glance has force.
The woman who petitions Fates.
Fata, fada, hada, feé.
The woman of Faérie
Who refused to accept
Three causeless blows.
The “Good Women Who Go By Night,”
Who give growth and fruits and babies,
Give life of all kinds.
Go on your Wild Ride,
The Tregenda of the Witches.
A witch who cures
A witch who gives birth charms
Who teaches herbs of contraception.
A witch whose garden grows well.
A witch who advises battered wives.
An enchantress who sings
With uncanny beauty.
A witch who prefers
The company of women,
Who is ancient but makes men tremble.
Whose purpose is dreaded by lords
The woman burned, the woman drowned,
The woman branded and banished.
The woman tortured, the woman
Forced to perform the ordeal
The woman violated in public,
The woman cursed and cast out,
The woman whose existence is
Forbidden to be.
The witch alone
Witch aloof from marriage.
Witch of independent, productive work.
Girl who does not look down before men.
Mother who does not bow her head
To the priest. Proud blind woman.
Elder homeless, weather-maker.
Marketplace spinster selling charms.
Rural woman who visits sacred springs.
Dreamer in the forest, the faery country.
Do you truly fly.
© 1983 Max Dashu
Painting: Calling at the Pictish Stones, © 1983 Max Dashu
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