Sisterhood of the Antlers

Stories of the Ancestral Mothers of Scotland from folk magic and the wise women who honored them. Rooted in the Bean Feasa (Wise Woman) tradition.

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Daughter of the Rock. The Story of a Doll

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 I call myself a radical doll maker seeing myself as part of a tradition whose roots lie in the hands of my foremothers. The ancient stone figurines (such as the woman of Willendorf) are some of the earliest dolls which have survived and remind us of our sacred connection to this world, the otherworld, and our ancestors. 

I personally have very few dolls. Most creations I make head out into the world and find their person. I have the first doll I ever made - Breejah, a Wise Woman of Bear lineage and a doll of the pre-Celtic crone the Cailleach. I once had a third doll, a small Cailleach doll but she mysteriously vanished on a pilgrimage to visit the shrine of the Cailleach. Perhaps the Cailleach kept her for herself.  I was gifted a wonderful antler I found in a peat bog on that trip so perhaps the old crone offered an exchange of sorts.

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Dumbarton Rock - the plug of an ancient volcano with the snowy peaks of Ben Lomond in the background

 Daughter of the Rock

The land along the banks of the River Clyde and around Scotland have rocks which are carved with Cup and Ring Marks. One of the greatest examples of these in the world is the Cochno Stone which were carved 5,000 years ago - in what seems to be a global language or perhaps a shared symbology as these carvings re found around the world. 

 

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The Cochno Stone

For thousands of years this great slab rock with its fantastic collection of carvings was exposed to the world. Around the Victorian era due to concerns from the landlord (who owned the land that half the site was on) decided it was covered over with soil to protect it from vandalism and people carving their names into the stone. The Cochno Stone measures 25 x 42 feet and takes its name from the Gaelic 'Cauchanach', which means Place of the Little Cups. 

The Meanings of the Symbols

No one knows the actual meaning of the symbols, perhaps different people around the world created their symbols with different meaning. Maybe they had a similar shared belief around the planet? 

Science today tells us that many of these sites were used over long periods of time and so perhaps like the stories of myth the meaning and symbolism of the stones changed for people over the years. 

Estonian folklore has described the use of cup and ring marks as passages through which the souls of the dead enter into the otherworld. Another use as described by Gary Varner in his book 'Portals To Other Realms' as their use as 'singing stones' - this use has been found in Sweden as well as this particular use by Luiseno Native Americans in San Diego, California. 

 

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Needle felted doll - Daughter of the Rock

This doll has been in my head for many, many years yet in order for a doll to be made the conditions need to be right. Synchronicity has to weave strands together, stories inspiring ideas, coincidences and sometimes remembering things in the past which were almost an invitation to the present moment. 

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I grew up in the shadow of an ancient volcano. This now ancient volcano plug called Dumbarton Rock, sits at the point where the River Leven (carrying water from Loch Lomond) meets the mighty River Clyde. Those from the town of Dumbarton area called either daughter or sons of the Rock. 

This doll isn't finished, I only know half of her story. I will needle felt some of the symbols of the Cocoon stone onto her cloak. What I do know about the symbols is that I am drawn tot he theories that tell of an interaction with the otherworld. That somehow the cup marking with it's long line represents a human and the rings the reverbance as a person interacts with the Otherworld, the ancestors, our guides. 

This really is only the beginning of her story, only time shall tell. 

 

 

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I am descended from a long line of wise women – for I too am a shapeshifter, a mythmaker, a woman who has always had one ear to the ground and a foot in the other world. I am a listener to old bones and a collector of stories that I gather from the shorelines, deep in forests or atop mountains. Sometimes my shadow shows my other selves sometimes crow sometimes bear, I am She Who Wears Antlers.

I am a radical doll maker, taking this tradition back to its roots and the hands of my foremothers. They remind us of our sacred connection to this world, the otherworld and our ancestors. I am a collector of stories, carrying old ones and those who need retelling.

I am inspired by the Bean Feasa tradition, a wise woman tradition that stretches back past pre-Celtic generations. People sought the wisdom of the wise woman in times of personal crisis and today this tradition can help us face this deepening global crisis.

I am a cultural activist working from the Bean Feasa tradition rooted in pre-patriarchy which honors imagination and creativity and provides us with tools that can help us overcome the psychological effects of patriarchy.

Visit my website for details of online courses, in-person workshops and our annual pilgrimage to the lands of the Ancestral Mothers of Scotland.

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