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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Seeing spirits is a common thing in the Celtic traditions. A glimpse out of the corner of your eye, a shimmer in the air, or a full film-like vision- the second sight, or more accurately, the two sights- an da shealladh- as it is known can take on all sorts of forms. It often seems to run in families, and it runs in mine to varying degrees. It is both a blessing and a curse, sometimes, and requires a very flexible yet strong sense of reality to stay grounded in the face of such experiences. Traditionally tales tell us that it is especially useful to foretell a death, but it is seldom so dramatic, or so straightforward in real life. Because the thing is, seeing spirits, just like seeing anything else in this life, isn’t necessarily all that directly useful all the time. It would be wonderful to say that everything I’ve ever seen has been clearly meaningful, and relating to my life and those around me, but like seeing anything corporeal in this world, its foolish to presume it’s all about you, and there are a great many things about the workings of the spirits that we just don’t know, and will never know when we walk the mortal path. Some things just are just getting on with what they do, and aren’t there to instruct or warn or do anything useful for you at all. In a way that can be much scarier than seeing ghosts or the trapped, caught- on- a- loop type energy recordings that are so often what people experience when they are somewhere haunted. There is no narrative for us, necessarily, any more than there is in seeing a stranger cross the road- it’s not a message for you- other than to say the Otherworlds are far vaster and more varied than we’ll ever know. 

That said, there are also friends out there, allies, and kin, regular welcome visitors…and those that walk with you sometimes. It’s traditional to make these offerings, and I reserve a special dish on my hearth and in my garden to leave them gifts of cream, honey and mead, as well as the best portion of every cake I ever bake. One such visited me a few weeks ago, busting into the room behind me in such a rush that at first I thought it was my son. A few moments later I experienced the first proper earthquake I’d ever felt, measured 4.4 on the Richter scale. A very rare thing for the UK. Was their visit a warning? Could I have stopped the earthquake? Of course not, and there was no danger for me and those I loved…no, it was not a warning. But it was lovely they came to tell me all the same. An da shealladh doesn’t always have a use, it’s not like in the movies, but it’s still a gift, in the long term, if you are strong enough…to see a wider reality, and feel a wider, greater sense of kin. I still think a greater sense of scale, in the heart and in the mind- is a good thing.

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  • Danu Forest
    Danu Forest says #
    Thanks Ted! i like to think the hill just shrugged off what it didnt want!
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    This is delightful, Danu. Thank you for the timely reminder that it's foolish to presume it's all about you! You're right: a gre

b2ap3_thumbnail_Minerva_Sulis.jpg

 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Though many Celtic pagans celebrate the new year at Samhain, early January still has a distinct feeling, as the hubbub of the winter solstice and Christmas celebrations subsides and we are left with the blank page of the year ahead. Now is a good time to encourage stillness and contemplation within our days if we are able, and to be aware of keeping our energies clear to allow the wisdom of spirit to emerge into our awareness and maintain our focus on our plans ahead. Traditionally for those who acknowledge the 12 days of Christmas there is an opportunity to seek omens each of the twelve days for guidance in the year ahead, but truly the world of spirit always shows us signs and messages if we open up to their potential. Seeking time every day to find stillness and open ourselves to the natural world around us allows us to receive this messages at any time.

Throughout January spend some time, even for just a few minutes, outside. Be in wild nature if you can, but just feeling the earth beneath your feet, or seeing the sky or having the wind on your face is all you need. Breath deeply and let your senses open gently, focusing on nothing in particular…let yourself remember that the earth is alive and sacred, wherever you are, and just connect. Be with it. Be aware of the flight of birds, the shapes of clouds, the sound the wind makes, know that spirit is speaking to us always, and let their meaning and messages come to you in each its own way. Listen. Breathe. Pay attention to your dreams.  

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

 

As we continue building the Goddess Samona's Shrine... We got the concrete poured right after Fall Equinox.  

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Samhain: Ancient and Modern

Calan Gaeaf (Welsh) or Samhain (Irish) begins at sunset of 31st October and runs to to sunset 1st November according to most Western Pagan traditions. If working by the moon, it is the first full moon when the sun is in Scorpio. If working by the natural landscape, it is when the first frosts bite. Samhain was termed the Celtic New Year, as it marked the ending of one cycle and the beginning of another. The Celts reckoned their days from sunset to sunset, and so the start of the year would begin in the dark time at the beginning of winter. Samhain marked the first day of Winter.

Calan Gaeaf, however, is a time that is not a time, and therefore some Pagans honour this tide and season from 31st October right through to the Winter Solstice. It is a time after many things have died, and there is a stillness to the air, an Otherworldly feel in the silence. It's a dark time here in the UK, with long nights on our northerly latitude, and usually a very wet time as well. It's not hard to see how these months could be seen outside of time, outside of the cycles of life, death and rebirth.

Calan Gaeaf, Samhain, Hallowe'en, All Soul's Night - for many pagans this is the ending of one year and the beginning of another.  It is often seen as the third and final harvest - with the last of the apples harvested, the cattle were prepared for winter and the grain stored properly.  It is also a time when it is said that the veil between the worlds is thin, and the realms of the living and the dead are laid bare to each other. We are approaching the darkest time of the year, and the killing frosts and snows await just around the corner.  It is a time of letting go, of releasing into the dark half of the year, and getting rid of the dross in our lives so that we do not have to carry them with us through the long winter nights.  We consciously make the effort to live better, meaningful lives and let go of all that holds us back - our fears and worries, our anger and hatred.  We nurture the beneficial and the good that we have in our lives, ensuring that they are well kept for our plans to come at the winter solstice. So the cycle continues.

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  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    A very lovely and evocative description. Thanks for sharing, blessed be, Tasha

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

In much of ancient Indo-European times, deities of waters were worshipped.  Springs, rivers and seas all have gods and goddesses that were prayed to and honored in hopes the bodies of water would remain plentiful and yet at the same time, not flood.  Water was critically important to the life and well being of the village.  So much so that the person in charge of the tribe would be granted sovereignty only with permission of the local water (and surrounding land) deity.

 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Stonehenge dreaming

 

A few weeks ago, as part of my summer solstice celebrations I was fortunate enough to be part of a private midsummer ceremony at Stonehenge. We slept a few hours on the drove-way, a small track that passes within a few hundred yards of the stones, and at a sleepy 3.00am took a slow walk across the sacred landscape to join a pilgrimage procession to the stones from the visitor’s centre, as the stars were still bright overhead, and all but us and the owls were lost to dreaming. Stonehenge is not just the stones you see, there is a whole ritual landscape around it stretching for quite a distance with barrow mounds and the mysterious cursus- a rectangular earthwork enclosure 1 and ¾ of a mile long. Predating the stones by 500 years it’s aligned to the equinox sunrises. There is also the likely procession route of the avenue between Stonehenge and the river Avon, surfacing on land again to ‘woodhenge’- Durrington walls henge and settlement just a couple of miles away. Everywhere you go all around the area you step on sacred ground.

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