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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Ireland

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Mabon Musings

Autumn, or fall, equinox marks the anniversary of my moving to Ireland sixteen years ago. This was my third country move and each Mabon I fall into a contemplative mood regarding my peripatetic life. The first move was at age three months. Reading an article this morning by Mary Condren in Celtic Threads I had a bit of an 'Ah ha!' moment. 

Even as a child I felt outside in my homeland. In fact, as an eleven or twelve year old, I penned (with Quink and quill made from a seagull feather), a gnomic little poem called 'The Exile.' I felt suffocated in my native country, surreally out of place, not belonging. Logically, this didn't make sense. In my mother's lineage- Dutch adventurers and English Quakers - family had made their home in North America since early colonial days. Louisa May Alcott, author of Eight Cousins, is an eighth cousin according to ancestry.com.

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Eriu, returning to the great cauldron.

 

Arthurian tales tell us of the Holy Grail, not the cup of Christ, but a sacred vessel, a symbol of the goddess at the heart of the land, the sacred womb which sits in the centre of Annwfn- ‘the deep place’ of Welsh myth.  In earlier tales it was a cauldron as mentioned in Preiddeu Annwn ‘The spoils of Annwn’, a poem by Taliesin as a great vessel at the heart of the land which was ’kindled’ by the breath of nine maidens, or priestesses. Here we find the sacred source, the well of Segais in Irish myth, the place where life and wisdom spring eternal and renewed. A sacred place at the centre of things.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Celebrating Aging at Bealtaine

The maidenly May Queen. The fecundity of the land. The sacred union of masculine and feminine.  It seemed a bit counterintuitive that in Ireland, Bealtaine, the month of May, is a month celebrating creativity in people who are well over the age of 50. Beataine is the time of year when crones rock!

All over Ireland there are arts activities aimed at those who are of pensionable age. For instance, the Hawkswell Theatre in Sligo is offering weekly acting classes in May for €30! That is completely affordable for someone on a state pension. All over Ireland there are arts activities that celebrate our creativity as we age.

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This May I was blessed to be asked to teach at a wonderful event at Dunderry Park in County Meath in Ireland. 'Animystics' was a two day event that wove together various Celtic traditions and earth based practices to really deepen our connection to the earth and our own souls. My session was all about connecting with tree spirits, and the tradition of the Bile, or sacred tree, clan totem and representative of the world tree in the Celtic Traditions. Standing there, in a field on a beautiful May morning, I was struck again by how such simple acts as breathing and being present to nature can restore our balance, and by extension our connection to our own sovereignty, our own souls, and the soul of the earth Herself. Dunderry is just a few miles from the hill of Tara, said to be the ancient seat of the semi- mythical high kings of Ireland, and I felt the ancient ancestors, with their passionate love of the land reach out to us, to remember, and honour Her again as a way to restore ourselves in these often troubled times.

Tara is such a special place, a wide green hill that overlooks a vast and verdant landscape. On a clear day it is said you can see all of Ireland from it's summit. Once an Iron Age hill fort, it is also home to a Neolithic burial mound, 'the mound of the hostages', granting access to the womb of the earth, the realm of the sidhe, and the Lia Fáil, or Stone of Destiny, said to have been brought from the otherworldly city of Falias by the Tuatha de Danann, the Irish gods. The Lia Fáil is said to cry out when the rightful king stands upon it. Once it stood beside the mound, but now it stands sentry a little further off, overlooking the wide plains below. Whether this solitary monolith was truly the ancient mythical stone will always be up for debate, but standing there touching its weathered grey sides, sensing the endless generations that have come here, and used this as the touchstone, the still and central point to anchor their spiritual and earthly selves together, to find that link to sovereignty in a world that tries to take so much soul and so much power from us, is always a healing and humbling moment.

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Pagan News Beagle: Fiery Tuesday, March 29

We remember a momentous event in Irish history. The international community turns its scrutiny on the disappearance of five booksellers in Hong Kong. And the role of Muslims in Western media is examined. It's Fiery Tuesday, our weekly segment on political and societal news from around the world! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Food it Wouldn't be Samhain Without

It's the quintessential Irish Samhain food: colcannon.

The name means “white-head cabbage”: col (as in “cole slaw”) + ceann (as in Kennedy, “black head”) + finn (“white”), but cabbage is only one of the autumnal triumverate that make up this classic of the peasant kitchen, onions and (of course) potatoes being the others. Before the coming of the spud, likely turnips—that other classic Samhain root vegetable—would have been the third.

How many foods do you know that have (and deserve) their own song? You can hear Mary Black singing its praises here. We sing this song every Samhain. Then we dig in.

Colcannon is good, hearty winter food, but the Samhain batch is special because then you put in the divinatory tokens before you serve it: the coin (for money), the ring (for love), the thimble (some say, spinsterhood; others, creativity).

One Samhain my covensib Kay got the coin. “I could certainly use the money,” she said, “but it doesn't seem very likely; I'm already at the top of my pay grade.”

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I love the way that holiday foods carry memory. An anthropologist friend of mine once quipped, "Tell me what your family eats at C
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I don't think I've ever tried Colcannon before, but it sounds interesting. For myself I take the last Saturday in October to make
  • Carrie-Anne
    Carrie-Anne says #
    A bit confused, Samhain was replaced by All Hallows around 800ad, and potatoes weren't introduced to Ireland until the mid 16th c
  • Mabnahash
    Mabnahash says #
    I didn't realize my poor Irish ancestors of a few generations ago didn't count as peasants. Why are more modern foods not legitima
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I can think of numerous examples of divination (or selection) by means of tokens served in food. Plum puddings usually have a sixp
Pagan News Beagle: Watery Wednesday, September 16

Witches gather in New York City in an annual street fair. We take a look at images of a Neolithic tomb through the ages. And Crystal Blanton considers the importance of maintaining a diverse and welcoming Pagan community. Today is Watery Wednesday, our weekly segment on news related to the Pagan community's past, present, and future. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

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