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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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.

Since this Roundhouse was dedicated to Brigit it was altogether for Regina ni Dinn and David Maddy to invoke Brigit as well as St. Patrick as the masculine/feminine polarity for the blessing. Holy water from wells sacred to both Brigit and Patrick were placed in a heart shaped blessing plate. A bit of whiskey toasted the couple's Irish ancestors was added as well.  After the ceremony I mentioned the dedication of the roundhouse space to Brigit to the celebrant, Regina.  It was sheer synchronicity, or Goddess at work, that led Regina and David to select Brigit as the foundation to the blessing.  In conversation with the bride, it also transpired that she has a devotion to Brigit!

A Leitrim craftswoman, Niamh Dempsey of Tobar Trua, makers of shamanic drums and rattles, hand-crocheted the handfasting 'lace.' This is sure to be both a keepsake and a family heirloom.  There was also an indoor fire ceremony.

 

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Celtic spirituality, whether pagan or Christian as four essential elements. First, there is reverence for the god spark in all nature. There is the tradition of spiritual mentoring, soul friendship, also known as anam cara. There is the practice of an art or craft- music, poetry, smith work, storytelling. Lastly, there is the abundant hospitality.

This Celtic Blessing honored that spiritual tradition in all ways.  The Bride and Groom were offered song and music and poetry during the ceremony. There was storytelling aplenty all day while Irish and American cousins got acquainted and swapped tales. The Roundhouse itself was a triumph of upcycled/recycledfound craft work from the timber found on the land to the recycled glass used for the window panes and lovingly painted by Tina.

 

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Last, but by far the least, was the groaning board of a feast! The first course was seafood chowder with slices of wholemeal soda bread, known as 'wheaten' here in Ireland. Then came platters of ham, salad leaves garnished with edible nasturtium flowers, bottomless vats of colcannon. There were two desserts, both very traditional in Ireland- Pavlova and Apple Tart. Tina has a very light hand with the pastry and Breezy's cream and raspberry confection on a base of meringue looked like a coronet.

There were lashings of tea, meadowsweet lemonade and coffee for the Americans.

Certainly the spirits of the land and the ancestors were pleased with this celebration between soul mates. Not everyone marries a soul friend. This is always cause for celebration and is truly a Blessing, Celtic, Irish or otherwise.

 

 

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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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