Crone in Corrogue: Wild Wisdom of the Elder Years

Glorying in the elder years, a time of spirituality, service and some serious sacred activism

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Bee Smith

Bee Smith

Bee Smith has enjoyed a long relationship with SageWoman as a contributor, columnist and blogger. She lives in the Republic of Ireland, teaches creative writing and is a member of the Irish Art Council's Writers in Prisons panel. She is the author of "Brigid's Way: Celtic Reflections on the Divine Feminine."    

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We and Our Shadow

The generalism about eclipses is that in the darkness the sun and the moon meet the archetypal shadow element. What do we want to remain hidden? What do we want to keep secret from our deepest selves? While a Mercury retrograde period pushes us to stop pushing and hit the pause button, eclipse seasons are a call to hit the reset button.

In times of darkness and shadow one needs a wholesome dose of truth. I turn to Rebecca Solnit's essays in Hope in the Dark. Here is a quote to consider during eclipse seasons.

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Exit the Cailleach, Welcome Brigid!

The Cailleach did not depart without a bit of drama in Ireland. I woke Imbolc eve to snowflakes. We had hail thjat fell like shrapnel. We had sleet. She lashed us and threw down steely stair rods of rain. The wind bayed. Your fingers froze. Friends speculated that our cloth Brat Bríd's would be ripped from the bushes and clothes lines and we would be bereft of the goddess blessing this spring. As nightfall descended the cloud cover was so thick the supermoon was as veiled as if she had still been eclipsed. But enter the Divine Feminine reborn...and repurposed.

The cloud parted and the Cailleach departed before sunrise. Over towards the coast, to the southwest the full moon hung bright and low to the horizon. My little black cat, Sparkle, was intent on going out to moon bathe. I opened the door and welcomed Bríd. And the brat was still intact, the clip still secure. I brought it in, sodden with rain, to dry.

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New Year New Moon

What do we need? What shall we seed?

Hindsight, foresight,  20/20 vision.

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Lighting Winter Solstice Sympathetic Magic

I live well out in the rural hinterlands of Ireland. Folk memory is long lived and some traditional farming practices tend to border on folk magic. One such custom that can still be found is to put an predator's carcass on display to warn off other of its species not to prey on herd animals - sheep and chickens. I have known pine martin to be nailed up on chicken coops as a warning. Walking our dogs down our lane I saw a road kill fox draped over the pasture's fence post.  It's a form of sympathetic magic. And it is deep, deep in our cellular memory. Sympathetic magic is imitative magic or correspondences according to anthropologists. You don't have to be identified as pagan to practice it.

 

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  • Solitarieone
    Solitarieone says #
    Thank you, Bee! For more than 40 years, I’ve wondered about that magic that I saw at my landlord’s farm. I was a military dependen

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Hello, Darkness!

Darkness and Awakening. These are, in my personal estimation and temperature taking of the zeitgeist,  the two great themes of 2017. Whether you look at the year from a macro or micro view, take it personally or put a more universal perspective to your lens, these are the recurring motifs.  Even the 2017 Word of the Year that has been identified is complicit. It speaks both of a knowing darkness and a guilty glimmer of self-insight. We ask ourselves these days if we are 'Woke.' That implies awakening from, perhaps a dream or very deep slumber. Some people awake with a jolt. Others emerge slowly in a fug of confusion. But awakening eventually happens, even in the darkness of a December morning.

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Some mark Samhain over the 31st October to 2nd November period. Others like to wait for the cross-quarter day, like my Druid friend John; this is a variable date but is astrologically Sun at 15 degrees Scorpio. Personally, I like to celebrate the dark moon in Scorpio. Partly, it is because I was Dark Moon in Scorpio moon born. So I revel in my natal vibe. Now, in my crone years, I especially value the special magic of the dark of the moon at the darkest time of year. On November 18th, we have a dark moon in Scorpio, which I call the Cailleach moon.

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While participating in Joanna Colbert Powell's 30Days e-courses around the Wheel of the Year in 2016, I revived my practice of creating seasonal altars. But recently I have started being a bit counter intuitive to the seasonal symbols. I have had to have a bit of a ponder, squaring up what my unconscious was nudging me to create with what my more logical, conscious self was prescribing as 'appropriate' for the current station on the Wheel of the Year.

First off, I have to say that I have twin devotions to Brigid and Danu. Since Danu's feast is in June she precides from June to the January New Year. Then Brigid is the deity who has pride of place. So you see Danu in this photo of an altar I created this week just before the Aries Full Moon. 

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