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.
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.
We gathered on Summer Solstice evening to inaugurate this Celtic Roundhouse handbuilt by Johnny Smyth in the forest garden he and Tina Rock have created. They used many found and reclaimed materials and made it on a shockingly small shoe string budget over a year. The garden sculpture was knocked together by Johnny with a chainsaw during the wet weather when he couldn't work outdoors.
When Tina asked me to write a dedication ritual I considered calling in the directions with Brighid, Áine, Maeve and Danu. But the story of the craft, art, faith, prayer, struggle and reinvention had Brighid's name writ large. An oak stands close to the Roundhouse threshold. Brigit's crosses are woven into so many of the Roundhouse's decoration. The fact that the creation and manifestation of this structure has been environmentally sensitive, lying light on the land and using many recycled components also honours the goddess.
With the assistance of a fellow witch Joanne, Tina and her daughter Nicola, we created an altar that used feathers found on the property by Tina, a silver bee hive honey dish for the south, holy well water from Slieve Anieran in the west and a large fossil rock from a Sligo beach for the north. When we called in the directions we called Lady Brighid in all of her multiple aspects. The centrepiece was an orange, to represent the sun in it's full power with a candle glowing within. Rose petals scattered on the altar represented the sweet abundance of this time of year.
Tina offered tags for people to write down well wishes to hang on any of the trees in the garden. And the round house resounded with the spiralling out of wishes for abundance, peace, and merry meet.
Then the music and the feasting began. When dusk fell around 11:30pm we sang and played and chatted away the evening with old friends and new acquaintances. So we whiled away the hours until light began to streak through the sky around about 3am.
Midsummer is a time for festivals all over Ireland, but this is how we spend it in private, including people who are may not pagan identified but all who do treasure the land, the music, the craic that is the merry making.
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