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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Descending Into the Dark

Posted by on in Paths Blogs


Go carefully over the next few days. Listen to the wind, watch how the crows fly. Watch the patterns in the clouds, listen to the whispers swirling around you. The worlds merge and the otherworld isn't some far off place, it is wrapped around you, tighter than a winter cloak.

We have past Samhain's eve and have now descended into the dark of the year. Samhain isn't over, it is a season, not a day. Our ancestors walk with us and soon we'll reach that threshold of where Samhain leads us over to the Winter Solstice. 

The path I walk takes me in search of the stories that lie behind the stories, for that is where the magic resides. behind the dooking and the guising at Samhain, it's the great pre-Celtic crone the Cailleach who brings us into the dark of the year. She makes her way to the great whirlpool of Corryvrecken and washes her plaid in it's churning waters. As she swirls the ancient cloth in the waters she utters a primordial incantation, in a language as old as the mountains whose inflections mirror the web and flow of the tides and the cycle of the seasons. As she shakes the plair=d dry a few water droplets instantly freeze and turn the tops of the surrounding hills white in the first dusting of snow. 




With each frost, we move deeper into the dark, trees and plants returning their energies back down to their roots ready for their deep rest over the winter months. What is your focus this deep?

The root of the word focus is hearth, a place we gather around in the winter, to keep warm, to cook, to daydream into the flames and read the shapes and symbols that appear. It's a place we gather with friends, to share stories and celebrations. 



 So what are you gathering for your 'hearth' time, what is your focus this deep? The Cailleach teaches us an ancient lesson that death needs to happen in order for rebirth to take place- there can be no new growth of spring without the great dying back of winter. 

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Tagged in: cailleach Deep hearth
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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