Away With The Fairies: Danu, The Tuatha Dé, The Land & Me

Unsuspecting, fairy agnostic Bee landed in Ireland in 2001 and settled in the shade of Slieve Anieran, the mountain where the Tuatha dé Danaan first arrived in what was known as Erin. Over the years a relationship with the goddess they worshiped has unfolded with the land, even more than the myth associated with this band that latterly became the fairy race of Ireland, being spirit guide and mentor.

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Bee Smith

Bee Smith

Bee is a former columnist for Sagewoman, published poet, Brigit and Danu devotee (more about this later) and creatrix of guided walks and talks on the theme of Fairy Ireland and pilgrimage leader for Imbolc celebrations of Brigit in Ireland. You can learn more about tours on her website www.irishblessingstours.com.

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Cailleach as the Samhain Eclipse

On 23rd October we will celebrate both Lunar Samhain and a partial solar eclipse in Scorpio.  Scorpio is the zodiac sign that encapsulates some of the cailleach, or hag's, qualities.  Scorpio not only understands shadows, but often prefers shade. Scorpio has a fondness for the occult, deep psychology, sex. The eighth house in a horoscope is ruled by Scorpio, the eighth sign, and is often referred to as the house of sex, regeneration and death. Loss, grief, transformation, these are Scorpio themes.  Like the snake that swallows its tail, Scorpio knows how to shed its skin, reinvent itself and reach for infinity.  This is also the Cailleach's tale: wisdom/dementia, destruction/rebuilding, beauty/horror, gain/loss, giving/receiving. She is the polarity and the third way.


Samhain is the beginning of the Celtic winter season. After a prolonged warm and summery Equinox, the wind is blustery, stripping all the crimson Virgina creeper from our house's southwest wall.  The hag is speaking. She has arrived. We scurry to light the fire during the day to ward off the dampness; the rain hurls itself off the Atlantic. There was thunder at dawn this morning. The Cailleach has come.

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  • Danielle Blackwood
    Danielle Blackwood says #
    Bee, this is lovely stuff! I really appreciate what you said about not being able to do another's "reshaping". Your poem is also
  • Bee Smith
    Bee Smith says #
    Thanks for the appreciation. It is mutual incidentally. I routinely check into your blog to give myself a planetary 'heads up.'
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Bee, wonderful! This all resonates with my current experiences, as a triple Scorpio working with Cailleach. I have been very much

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Embracing the Hag

The hag, or the cailleach as she is called in Scotland and Ireland, has been much in mind this past year.  Partly this is because I am getting into stride with my own inner, physical and emotional, crone.  But in the way that these things happen,the micro is just a reflection of the macro world. I am increasingly called to address the hag goddess and to evangelize acknowledging this dark side of the divine feminine.

I am reminded that everyone loves the springtime maiden aspect of Brighid. They revel in the bounty of the maternal Brighid.  But little is written about the encounter with the fierce hag aspect of Brighid.  The gloves are off with Her; She is well capable of giving you the proverbial Zen shove and bitch slap if She is ignored.  Shortly before I turned fifty I cried out for Brighid to get me out of somewhere.  In the manner of 'be careful for what you ask for' she complied. What came was a tidal wave of painful change, a demolition of my ego, a period of depression requiring medication, and a recalibration of everything I thought about loss and power. It transformed Everything. But it also set me on the path that I reckon She wanted me to take but that I had resisted. (The ego is often the enemy of our highest good.) I actually prefer the life that Brighid forged for me out of the ashes and pig iron leftovers, but the transformation was a scorcher. But, like the goddess Brighid herself in Ireland's culture, I survived.

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  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Oops, typo: "but had not know Her name of Cailleach" should have read "but had not know Her BY THE name of Cailleach until about a
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Bee, omg, once again, you and I seem to be thinking about similar stuff. Since your blog shares your experiences with Cailleach so

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Giants are part of mythology, right?  Here I stand before a 'genuine' giant's grave, looking across a dry river valley towards another wedge tomb. The finger post would like to say that this one belongs to a giantess and the other a giant. The shaman in me says 'Humph!" to the finger post. One of the group I am tour leading says that since this point is higher than the other wedge tomb it is obvious that the higher status male would be buried here. The feminist in me who is familiar with goddess lore wants to say 'Humph!" to him, too.

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An Irish Handfasting

Regular readers of my blog here will recall that at Summer Solstice was celebrated in a handmade Celtic Roundhouse. This month the Roundhouse that Johnny and Tina built hosted an Irish handfasting as a way for an American couple could renew their wedding vows.  This self-styled Celtic Blessing was celebrated by Irish and American relatives with two Dublin shamans as celebrants/facilitators of the ceremony. 

The Blessing day dawned breezy and showery.  The roundhouse, a circular timber post structure with a 'live' moss roof lying lightly on woodland, was the perfect foil for the invariably variable Irish weather.

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Irish Merry Meet at Midsummer

Maybe it would have been more appropriate to invoke Maeve or Mebh for Midsummer. But this is a Celtic roundhouse built in a magical woodland garden by a Smyth.  Brighid, as we know, looks out for all smiths, even those with a y in their name. The man had the vision as well as the craft. Between them, Tina and Johnny have made some magic on their land that lies a country mile from the Shannon Pot, where the River Shannon rises in Ireland.

 

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Don't Frack My Holy Well

Sisters, Brothers, can you spare me a spell?

Can you help me save sacred water in our holy wells?


We have been campaigning to prevent this since 2010 but the Tory government in Westminster that governs Northern Ireland is keen on fracking and have even mentioned the expansion of it in the Queens Speech in Parliament.


While we living in the Republic of Ireland have been painstakingly campaigned blockades county by county in legislation it looks as if the pollution that will honour no international borders on this single island is coming our way.


I live in the Cavan/Fermanagh border counties of Ireland eight miles from where Tamboran intends to start fracking test drills for fracking (hydraulic fracturing) shale gas over the next quarter. This landscape, originally settled by the Tuatha dé Danaan, Ireland's fairy race, is mostly limestone and bog, a network of underground streams, rivers and loughs. The River Shannon originates underground in the caves beneath Fermanagh's Cuilcagh Mountain before rising in the Republic of Ireland in Co. Cavan. The area's natural heritage is of enough international signficence to warrant Global Geopark status.

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  • Courtney Weber
    Courtney Weber says #
    Bee, we feel you here in NYC. We've been fighting for years to keep fracking out of our state. It is an uphill endeavor, sometimes

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Timeless Bealtaine Blessings

Blessings of biodiverse Bealtaine!  This is my favourite season in Ireland and with my lane bursting with scores of wild plants, the cuckoo calling and the swifts shooting in and out of my neighbour's barn you really can sense the fertility of the earth. All is well and the wheel turns on and on.

This past weekend I was leading a Dublin radio presenter around this sacred landscape for a program on New Perspectives in Ireland: Themes, Dreams, Myths and Ecology. John is a self-proclaimed pessimist about the planet even as he keeps planting trees for Peace Forest Ireland.

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