Danu's Cauldron: Wisewoman's Ways, and Wild Fey Magic

Living in a sacred landscape, walking between the worlds in the veil of Avalon Glastonbury. Where the old gods roam the hills, and the sidhe dance beneath the moon...wander into the mists with me and let us see what we may find...

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The Gods are not for sale! The importance of honouring tradition in a changing world.

The Morrigan by Dan Goodfellow 2014 www.dangoodfellow,co.ukThere's no doubt about it- we live in modern, changing times, when the old religious power structures and dogmas of the past are being rapidly over turned and quite rightfully, often treated with disdain. That's good. Free thinking, and free expression are wonderful things and we should be grateful that we can on the whole, in the West at least, practice our spirituality freely, according to our own ideas and inner promptings. There shouldn't be a problem with that- should there?

Well, sadly, there is sometimes. With the power to be our own clergy, comes responsibility, or the consequences for the lack of it.

What about the gods? Do they change when we do? Have we created them for our needs, or do they exist independently of us? And what about the good things that tradition holds, the accumulated knowledge and experiences of our ancestors, or our cultural heritage? Is everything up for grabs or to be casually thrown away as we reclaim our spirituality in the 'new age'?  Too often I hear these things treated with disrespect and ignorance. I'm not an expert on world religions, or other spiritual or magical paths- but when it comes to my own Celtic tradition, hearing things like the Morrighan is 'now' a mother and peace goddess, Danu is a crone goddess of winds and snow, and Rhiannon is essentially now the Celtic Aphrodite I don't see the Great Goddess/s  reclaimed, I see cultural erosion and destruction.

The old tales and divinities of my land are not set on Westeros- they are not fictions to be cut and pasted at will to suit human personal needs. They are my Celtic cultural heritage. I see it elsewhere too- Kali called up to deal with ex boyfriends, for example- and not only do I cringe, I feel a deep sadness. In the Hindu tradition they have a long history of passing on and preserving their lore, but that's not always the case elsewhere. The gods are not here for us to recycle. Something is lost when we take that approach to them. We lose our humility, our sense of service to something greater than ourselves, but we also lose knowledge and cultural memory.

When it comes to the Celtic lore and languages- Irish and Scots Gaelic, Manx, Welsh, Cornish, Breton- we are in a time when linguistic and cultural extinction was close, and they are surviving still by the will and passion of the people and culture of which they are a part. The names of the gods mean something- Danu comes from the proto- indo- European for river or flowing water for example. Take her away from the water- cut and paste her name and stories onto the Cailleach, or another deity or idea that we think serves us better now, fits into our 'system' and something is lost- respect, and more than that, a deeper spiritual connection. With that loss, the old stories are a little harder to find and learn for the next generation, wading through pages of internet dross; training becomes unhitched from the cultural context, modern pagan gurus replace knowledge and history with their own conscious or unconscious agendas, and those threads of spirit from one generation to the next, the energetic threads of tradition which are of so much support and soul nourishment when honoured are weakened. We have a responsibility for those who come after, to light the way if we can, undo the damage that was done if possible, and in this service we grow and deepen, our spiritual lives grow richer. Lose the old stories, by taking the names of the gods and 're-envisioning' them, and we only see ourselves reflected- our egos, our fears, our resentments lurk beneath the surface.

No the Morriigan is not an easy goddess- disrespect her land and she will want blood. Literally. She is sexual, primal, gutsy, scary- she will do the hard, horrible work, embrace her fury so a clean start is possible- but no she she's not interested in comforting you because you don't want to be as tough as your life requires right now, don't want to wade into difficult moral or emotional terrain. She won't hold your hand if you are scared of the dark, but she might smile if you pick yourself up, get fed up with your cowardice and do what needs to done. Read the old tales, research the folklore- visit the places on the land that honour her, in the real world. It's all there. Get out of your own head, your own story- she's waiting outside.   

Are the old gods here to serve us? To change as we do according to our fashions and desires, our politics? No I don't think so. You don't have to heed them, but they are not our playthings. No one persons vision is greater than centuries, millennia of tradition, stretching from the past in golden spirit threads, woven by our ancestors connections to the land, the sky, the stars, and to the gods themselves. Sure our stories evolve, but they should not be re- written from scratch, or have all the tricky bits cut off like a bad photo-shop job.  Too much damage has been done to indigenous cultures around the world from that sort of attitude, and too much damage has been done to us all as a result. This is about spirit, not consumerism. The gods are not for sale.  Don't try to recycle or reclaim them. Drop your ego and let them claim you. 

©DanuForest 2014

With thanks to Dan Goodfellow for his excellent painting 'The Morrigan'  copyright Dan Goodfellow 2014 www.dangoodfellow.co.uk

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Danu Forest wisewoman, witch, seer, walker between the worlds, healer, druid, priestess, teacher, writer, gardener, herbwife, stargazer, faery friend, tree planter, poet, and wild woman lives in a cottage near Glastonbury Tor in the midst of the Avalon lakes, in the southwest of England. Exploring the Celtic mysteries for over 25 years, and noted for her quality research, practical experience, as well as her deep love of the land, Danu writes for numerous national and international magazines and is the author of several books including Nature Spirits, The Druid Shaman, Celtic Tree Magic, and an on going seasonal series 'the Magical Year'.


  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor Monday, 01 September 2014

    Thank you, Danu, for the reminder and for the warning. These things need to be said more often.

    "she's not interested in comforting you because you don't want to be as tough as your life requires right now, don't want to wade into difficult moral or emotional terrain. She won't hold your hand if you are scared of the dark, but she might smile if you pick yourself up, get fed up with your cowardice and do what needs to done." Thank you, Lady; message received.

  • Danielle Blackwood
    Danielle Blackwood Monday, 01 September 2014

    Thanks for posting this Danu. Very timely in the age of internet memes spouting misinformation about everything, including the gods. Just the other day I ran across one that proclaimed, "Isis is the goddess of peace and love" - in response to the terrorist group ISIS (or ISIL). I found that an infantile and ridiculous way to "sum up" a deity who is so much more complex and magnificent than that. Another one that drives me crazy, is hearing Inanna/Ishtar was a mother goddess. People need to actually read the texts when they exist, and not make up stories to make themselves feel better. Read the Mabignogian texts. Explore the Ulster cycles. Don't be lazy! The actual essence of the gods is so much much more interesting that the watered down and misconstrued pap that is bandied about online. Did someone really say Danu was a crone goddess? Wow. Just wow. Thanks again!

  • Cynthia Grothe
    Cynthia Grothe Thursday, 04 September 2014

    One of the hardest things that followers of the old ways runs into is the complete misinformation on many subjects, not just on Deities. I appreciate that there is someone who is able to pass on the true accounts rather than the watered down versions or the misinformation available on several site. Thank you.

  • Hennie van Geel
    Hennie van Geel Friday, 05 September 2014

    People seem to think there really were "good" old day days, in which people and Gods were only living a peaceful, joyous life. When you love something, you tend to idolise it. Still, it is necessary to take history like it was, including the hard cruel bits. Or create your own modern version, but don't refer to these as the "true" this or that of long ago. Yes, the Gods were demanding, and if you want to really seriously serve them, you will have to take this into account. Of course times have changed, we don't slaughter humans or animals any more before our Gods, and that is a good change; one must never forget that there were times that these things happened. Want to cherish the Old Gods, be my guest, but take the whole package, please.

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