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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Gather What Your Need for the Dark

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

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A Prayer Whispered into the Threshold

 

We're at the threshold of Samhain and Winter Solstice. Can you feel the pull, the heavy thump - the heartbeat of the old antlered one whose bones lie deep in the belly of the earth?

At Autumn Equinox the old crone drew us into her ancient ritual of bringing us into the dark of the year. The morning light streamed into Carin T at Loughcrew as women sang and played drums announcing the beginning of our descent into the dark of the year. 

 

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As the old crone, the Cailleach walks the land, striking down life so it returns to its roots - for there can be no birth or rebirth without death.  Small hibernating creatures spend the winter tucked up under her skirts, and I've seen a curled up hedgehog or two in her eyebrows. The Cailleach holds the greening of the year safe within her plaid.

As the days shorten and the days lengthen women have gathered in the dark around hearths, around kitchen tables, and around smoldering fires. One tradition for these women is to gather some clay-rich earth, add some saliva and create the figurine of a curled up sleeping woman. The women keep these figurines close - some keep them in pockets while others keep them in special pouches or bundles. The figurines remind them that no matter what they are going through a part of them is curled up in the deep rich earth hibernating. That hibernating self is curled up with the great she-bear in the Cave of the Grandmothers and the small dolls are invitations to step between the worlds to visit the cave and ask the wisdom of the bear Grandmothers. 

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One ritual for these women is in gathering kindling for their winter fires. Kindling for sacred fires that burn throughout the dark. These are fires for the things they hold most sacred. A stick or two for something special and a gnarly branch for that thing you need some willpower and courage to deal with.  

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Whatever these women do when they gather - there's always a rattle or a drum, rituals and some ceremony and they sink down. Down into the belly of the earth, down into the cave and the womb to a place where you're surrounded by bones. Some sit and listen to the bones - their stories and their wisdom. 

These women usually bring many baskets - overspilling with thoughts and dreams, hopes and fears some worries and some grand plans. As they gather together in gestures of ritual they make magic - meaning and intention - and most importantly conscious shifts, cosmic shifts that bring about change in their own lives, change that they want to be in the world. 

So gather your kindling, gather your sisters and shift between the worlds to ask the wisdom of the Bear Grandmothers.

 

 

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check out our Wheel of the Year course...(click on the image above) 

 

 

 

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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 one who need retelling.

I am of 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 Fesa 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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