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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Govan and the Fairy Horse

In the court of the royal dún was found one morning a strange stallion, known to none. He was a well-made beast, and beautiful, but strangely-marked, white with red ears, like the cattle of the sidhe. But he laid back his ears and bared his teeth, if any dared approach him.

Only for young Govan, of all the king's warriors, would he stand still.

So Govan mounted the horse, saying, Take me where you will.

The gates were opened, and they left the dún. To a green hill the strange horse bore him, and as they approached it, the hill opened, and they entered.

Govan found himself in a high and mighty hall, filled with fair people in many-colored clothing, and in the high seat a lordly woman, fairest of them all.

Welcome, son of Gawan, she said, so he dismounted and stood before her.

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It’s been a busy time for me lately. As a magical mother I’m always doing two things or more at once, every day an endless list of practicalities, and my spiritual life is by necessity deeply enmeshed in the mortal physical world. I see no separation between magic and the mundane, I walk through the worlds seamlessly.  But there are times when I feel particularly blessed, when the realms of spirit come to me and I am given space, connection, without purpose, without focus, other than to touch and feed the soul, just a time to revel  in the love of the Otherworld.

Yesterday I walked the dog and child through endless meadows filled with knee high golden buttercups, purple clover and wild white cow-parsley, like sea-foam, as the glorious heat of the day began to subside, and the mists rolled and billowed from the many rhynes, or watery ditches that lace the fields around my home, in the marshes that surround Glastonbury Tor. I waded through clouds of gold and green and white flowers all wrapped in the white mists of Avalon. Soon the Tor ahead of me vanished into clouds, and the meadows became wreathed in their own eerie shimmering light. A buzzard, my ally and kin from the realms Above swooped overhead and vanished into the white encircling walls of mist, and it seemed we had wandered into Faerie. Dog and child leaped and played, and I gathered armfuls of fresh herbs, and the sound of crickets grew still. I breathed and felt the earth beneath me so full of life. We walked for a time in some blessed realm. And my heart was full to the brim.

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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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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • 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

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
American Faerie Story

A man and a woman once moved into a house near a bridge.

A few days later, there was an automobile accident on the bridge.

The next week, there was another.

The week after that, yet another.

Finally, the man climbed down under the bridge.

“Look,” he yelled. “I don't know who you are or why you're doing this, but my wife is a witch, and if you don't stop, she's going to come down here and give you what for.”

Then he climbed back up and went home.

After that, there were no more accidents.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
A Paganism Uniquely Yours

Join me as I interview Francesca De Grandis.

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  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Arwen, thanks again for interviewing me. It's always a pleasure to work with you. Take good care of you, Francesca

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
That Blood

It's a credo of the Fairy Faith.

If ever you should happen into That Land, Don't eat the food.

To eat it would be to bind yourself irrevocably to that world, from which you can “never return to your ain countree.”

Witches excepted.

All the stories agree that the Tribe of Witches are exempt from this taboo.

We have, shall we say, a special relationship with the Secret Commonwealth. As people of the betwixt-and-between, it is given to us to pass from world to world with something (dare I say it) akin to impunity.

Scottish witch Isobel Gowdie said of her visit to Elfhame: There I got meat, more than I could eat, nor did this hinder her comings and goings in the least.

Old Craft would have it that this right of free passage derives from being ourselves of That Blood, half-elven, from whence we draw our Otherness.

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