Sisterhood of the Antlers

Stories of the Ancestral Mothers of Scotland from folk magic and the wise women who honored them. Rooted in the Bean Feasa (Wise Woman) tradition.

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Jude Lally

Jude Lally

I am descended from a long line of wise women – for I too am a shapeshifter, a mythmaker, a woman who has always had one ear to the ground and a foot in the other world. I am a listener to old bones and a collector of stories that I gather from the shorelines, deep in forests or atop mountains. Sometimes my shadow shows my other selves sometimes crow sometimes bear, I am She Who Wears Antlers.

I am a radical doll maker, taking this tradition back to its roots and the hands of my foremothers. They remind us of our sacred connection to this world, the otherworld and our ancestors. I am a collector of stories, carrying old ones and those who need retelling.

I am inspired by the Bean Feasa tradition, a wise woman tradition that stretches back past pre-Celtic generations. People sought the wisdom of the wise woman in times of personal crisis and today this tradition can help us face this deepening global crisis.

I am a cultural activist working from the Bean Feasa tradition rooted in pre-patriarchy which honors imagination and creativity and provides us with tools that can help us overcome the psychological effects of patriarchy.

Visit my website for details of online courses, in-person workshops and our annual pilgrimage to the lands of the Ancestral Mothers of Scotland.

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Click on the image to view beads in shop

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I’ve always felt the steady rhythm of beads moving through your fingers comforting.  They introduce a regularity, a heartbeat which calms my racing mind. From Catholic Rosary beads as a child or in later years rounds of mala beads provided this route yet neither fitted as they weren’t of my tradition. While I am only vaguely familiar with traditional Celtic prayer beads – the Paidirinean, I was drawn to create Celtic Soul Craft Prayer Beads.

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Dumb Supper

I value the snippets of Samhain my grandmother fed me - a crumpled aged piece of paper that described a rite for carrying out a Dumb Supper. It outlined laying out place settings for those ancestors recently departed with place names inviting them to the Samhain meal. One of the main roles of the Dumb Supper was to say goodbye to any relatives who had died but were still around, those relatives that were finding it hard to leave the living and fully cross over to the other side. 

 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Hill-of-the-Cailleach-Collage.jpgThe Hill of the Cailleach, Isle of Eigg, Scotland

When you look over the folklore of Scotland and Ireland you'll find that the cailleach is known by many names, this is because she was a localized deity. She was the cailleach of your loch, your mountain or moorland - this then gave her different qualities and animals and stories associated with her. I don't know all the different Cailleach's only the one I grew up and  I know her by the animals, birds and plants of the Loch Lomond area and by the weather that sweeps in and different aspects of her can be seen throughout the seaons. 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Keening-Women.jpgWe’re in an in between place right now, Imbolc has passed but it’s not quite Spring Equinox yet. One day it seems like full blown spring and then the next we’re plunged back into winter. Maybe you still haven’t thrown off some of the Imbolc layers which can see us feeling fragile and full of unease. Maybe part of that unease comes from a past down worry of our ancestors which is knitted into our bones, worries about food supplies running out and hungry mouths to feed. Maybe part of that unease is that many who are ill can’t say yes to another year of living and choose instead to make their journey to the next world.

 

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final-imageThe hardest thing I did yesterday was to get out of bed. I could feel my shock in the election result in my body. It weighed me down, I couldn’t move fast. When I got out to the garden  was surprised that the world seemed the same – the tree’s were in the same places and the sky hadn’t cracked open.  I moved very slowly yesterday, glad for the little things – washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen, doing laundry and sweeping the porch, little things brought me back to life.

While on awaking I had the fragment of a dream ‘we are born for these times’ rang in my head to which I loudly replied no, I’m small, I’m tired and I’m overwhelmed. By lunchtime I really was tired and ready to back to bed.

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