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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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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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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  • Bee Smith
    Bee Smith says #
    Glad that you found this helpful. Instinct is magical. But it is also a gift to have one's instincts affirmed.
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Yes, this is the sort of thing I was referring to when I emailed you last year, about my experientially learning about faerie folk

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Until I  moved to this magical place first settled by the mythic Tuatha dé Danaan I, too, was a fairy agnostic.  But when the land energy is so potent and palpable my disbelief was easily suspended. So yeah, I believe and have also come to know.  Unlike the Doubting Disciple of the Christian gospel I don't need to have seen to believe.  It's enough to feel.  But once you do get the vibe the communication in my personal experience gets more direct. 

 

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Since moving here to the depths of rural Ireland I've found that the seasonal and circadian rhythms rule me very intimately.  This winter I have been truly initiated by the Cailleach.  It's not that we have been snowed in.  We are having the first flurries as I tap this blog. No, it's that when the dark descended, the cloud cover rolled in, the skies lowered, I settled into a long womb time.

I came to a full stop.  I needed to just sit. Yes, there was activity happening but I felt at a bit of a remove.  The real happening was the silence that descended inside me.  The words wouldn't come.  If I tried to force them they were clumsy. It felt as if even Spirit was incommunicado.  Feeling directionless, without a sense of 'true north' I hunkered down into my still centre. In this space I sank into a powerful place of deep trust where I allowed myself to let go of some attachments.

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Ireland has recently conducted national DNA research that asks the question of what actually  makes the Irish...well, Irish?  As a country conditioned by emigration the Celtic tiger of the 1990's and early Noughties brought an influx of new blood into the population. Cue some national soul searching.

If you read the earliest Irish texts, such as the Book of Invasions, Ireland has always been rather 'multi-cultural' although that was probably not the fashionable interpretation in earlier times.  This  DNA survey has noted that along with the Irish being well connected with the Scots and other British populations, there is a strong marker for Spanish, specifically, Basque, lineage.

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At this thinnest time of year, Samhain, when the veil between our world and the sidhe is gossamer I want to offer a poem in praise of Danu, our most ancient of goddesses. Danu is the gift giver and it is said that her name is embedded in our English word donation. Her name is embedded in the rivers - the Don in Russia in the east and another in the west in Yorkshire, England and the Danube that runs through the heart of Central Europe.  Some say that her origins are in India. She is undoubedly pan-Celtic and very, very ancient, sort of the great-granny of so many deities. 

 

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