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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in celtic goddess
An Imbolc Mystery: Brigid and the Making of Vows

In the velvet darkness between the worlds, a welcoming light shines bright and steady. Here Brigid tends Her holy well and sacred flame, offering up their life-transforming magic that grants the gifts of healing, inspiration and wisdom for those who seek Her guidance. She does not call us to Her side, for She knows that we will find Her when the time is ripe. 

As Nature shifts from the dark dormancy of Winter to the life-inducing powers of the strengthening sun that herald the approach of Spring, our desire for the spring of new possibilities and the end of the long winter of our soul drives us to Brigid’s doorstep. Our mind turns to the seeds of our beauty and wounding, sourced from our Deep Self and life story, that hold the next pieces of our pathwork, and our soul turns to Brigid’s loving, gracious presence and Her tremendous powers that can make our life anew.

Trust these powerful hungers and impulses stirring within you. Trust that life-transforming change is possible, and that Brigid can help you in this essential soul work. Trust that your shining inner light is kin to Her shining light, and in the spirit of this kinship you will find your way to Her realm between the worlds.

When you reach the threshold of Brigid’s realm, you’ll discover a thick oak door with an ancient key, greened by age and the elements – the key of conscious choice. Your soul desire has led you to Brigid, now you must consciously choose to turn the key, knowing that to stand before this mighty, generous Goddess is to commit yourself to Her healing ways. And once you have made this commitment, it is not easily unmade; when you open the door that connects you to Brigid, it can never truly be shut again.

As you step over the threshold, Brigid welcomes you with a warm, captivating smile, Her cheeks flushed slightly with the heat of Her forge. She is breathtaking to behold, with long, fiery red tresses, creamy white skin, and a tall, slender form draped in a dark green mantle. Though Her beauty is as bright as the flames She tends, it is the palpable presence of Her love and kindness that is your strongest impression of Her.

Both the flames and Brigid’s radiance seep through your flesh, swiftly thawing the frozen places in your heart. When you look into Her startling green eyes, you see the life you are longing for reflected in their soulful depth, and Her desire to help make your dreams come true. You do not need to speak these things to Brigid, She already knows you, inside and out, deep and true. 

“Let us see what hidden knowledge and healing visions await you at this time of Imbolc,” She says.

With Her long, expressive fingers, Brigid beckons you to a shallow, black stone bowl filled with the waters of Her holy well. She directs your gaze to its still, flat surface, illuminated by the flickering lights of Her sacred flame.

Images arise in a swift procession from the close-up and intimate of your life to the wide-scope of the greater world. Brigid’s scrying waters do not spare you from the ugly and the painful. You are shown the hurt places inside of you and their symbiotic expression in your outer existence, and then, broader still, to the same patterns that exist in human society. 

“These images tell the one story of the seed of your wounding,” Brigid says, “What is inside is outside, and what is outside is inside; your inner world reveals itself in your outer existence, and your personal life is both trapped within the strictures of collective reality and you help re-create this reality with your day-to-day choices and actions.”

Brigid passes Her hands over the basin’s surface and new images appear, this time offering a mélange of the beautiful and inspiring, again drawing both on your personal life and the greater world.  Some of the images you recognize from your current existence and others feel achingly familiar, like a longed-for possibility that has yet to take form.
   
“These images tell the one story of the seed of your beauty,” Brigid says, “Just as with your wounding, what is inside and outside both inform and infuse the other. By the beauty and goodness of individuals, the beauty and goodness of human society emerges.”

With a swirling motion of her fingertips, Brigid activates Her holy water’s visionary magic one last time. The previous images blend and merge, entwining the stories of your beauty and wounding, both in their personal and collective manifestations. And you see, from the depth of your being, that your beauty and wounding are mirrors of the same thing; there is really only one story, the story of your life, woven from all that you are, and all that you’ve ever experienced, defined and constrained within the matrix of collective reality. 

Together you step away from the scrying bowl. Brigid turns to face you and says, “Everything has a place and purpose, even the most painful and challenging of these images. Life, with its joys and sorrows, is the crucible of your spiritual healing and evolution. You would not be who you are now, standing here with me on the cusp of your greater becoming, within having gone through these trials and experiences. Great beauty and power are forged from great wounding and suffering, tempered by a wisdom, love and compassion that a life fully embraced, in its light and shadow, can grant you.

“My scrying bowl has revealed to you the seeds and stories that are the makings of the new beginning ready to emerge from within you. They are the raw materials that will drive the healing pathwork that is before you now.

“You must tend these seeds in preparation for your springtime of new growth. Your life is their soil, your love their water, and your conscious awareness their sunshine. With proper care, they will show you the way of your healing and transformation, and your path forward to the life of soul you are longing for.

“Are you ready to take this next crucial step on your journey of soul? Will you commit yourself to the sacred task of tending your seeds of beauty and wounding, and letting them guide you in your pathwork?”

Think hard before you answer Brigid, for this is a special, powerful kind of commitment — a vow spoken before Her sacred forge, where the old is made anew. She will hold you to this commitment, and your life will be forever changed.

With a simple “yes”, you bind yourself to Brigid.

“So it is chosen, so it will be,” She says.

Three times Her hammer strikes Her anvil, hard steel against hard steel, ringing your vow outward into the listening Universe.

Then Brigid kisses your brow and presses Her palm against your solar plexus. A warm, swirling energy passes between you, and you sense the visions of Her scrying waters now alive and brewing in your belly center. She smiles one last smile, filling the space and your heart with Her radiance, and then She is gone.

Yet Her kiss remains, a token that She will never leave your side. The visioning magic of this Imbolc eve will bring you the healing, inspiration and wisdom you need to tend your seeds of beauty and wounding.  As you tend your seeds, discovering and embracing their place and purpose on your journey of soul, Brigid tends them with you, coaxing out their healing and creative impulses. And as you shift and grow, bringing positive change to your life and the greater world, Her joy shines down on you, filling you up with the bright flame of Her nourishing love.

Photo Credit: Christian Holzinger on Unsplash

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

So equinox has passed, and the leaves have begun falling from the trees. Its dark earlier, and the call of the hearth fire is stronger now than before. I always feel early autumn and the equinox, is a whole season, a whole process rather than a single point. We are balanced finely, gently tipping a little more into the dark half of the year, when the Cailleach calls us to look within.

Here in Avalon the scent of ripe apples fills the air, and the mists draw in, and there can be a feeling of both abundance and grief as death and endings seem to hang on every branch and blow on every breath of wind, with the harshness of the unknown winter the only surety ahead of us. We find ourselves now at a time when endings are afoot in our cultures as well as the seasons, with uncertainties and challenges ahead. But in these quiet moments, when the summer sun seems to be far behind, when we see the hope and life force of the land drain away into the earth once more, it is She who takes our hand, without a word, and we know that we will not walk into the darkness of winter alone.

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The fairy pools SkyeI was blessed this year to spend the summer solstice on the Isle of Skye, and the powerful eerie and eternal presence of the Black Cuillin mountains surrounded me every day. Known in Gaelic as An t-Eilean Sgitheanach, or the Isle of Mists, this is an Otherwordly place with a distinct feeling to it. Nowhere on earth feels like Skye. Its a place of memory, of spirits.

On the solstice I went on a pilgrimage to the famous Fairy Pools- a series of bright turquoise pools and rushing waterfalls, slicing through the land across a bright green marshy river valley. The source of the water is a vast and deep purple slit or crevasse splitting the massive hillside above from top to bottom with obvious vaginal imagery. This mountains Gaelic name can apparently can no longer be translated, but its powerful feminine presence is unmistakable. The fairy pools are said to have no specific Faery myths attached to them, but their name is well earned. Anyone visiting can feel the unique atmosphere of this beautiful place, and the bright waters, pouring endlessly from the vaginal mountain flanked on either side by immense rocky thighs together with numerous traces of ancestral barrows and possible neolithic rock carvings dotting its landscape strongly suggest this was once a sacred complex, probably honouring the goddess of the mountain. There was one barrow ( an ancient burial mound usually for a chieftain or healer traditionally used for ancestral ritual) which was clearly to be seen, its roof fallen away but its rocky internal structure- small internal 'rooms' off a small central passage- was in the perfect position, by the side of one of the waterfalls to have allowed a view of the Great Goddess and space to enact entrance to Her womb/ tomb, as the ancient priestesses of the site sat in vigil in the barrows sacred darkness, seeking rebirth and vision.      

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Creiddylad, Welsh Goddess of Love and Flowers

Creiddylad, (cree-THIL-ahd) Welsh Goddess of Flowers and Love, is celebrated on Beltane, better known today as May Day. Creiddylad is the eternal May Queen, always seeking peace and stability. She remains eternally constant in the face of all change.

Divinatory Meaning

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  • Judith Shaw
    Judith Shaw says #
    Hi Carol, Thanks! Glad to be here - another great community.
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Love to see your art and words here, welcome, Judith!

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Arduinna, Gaulish Goddess of Forests

Arduinna, Gaulish Goddess of Forests and Hunting is one of the many Celtic Goddesses who is associated with a particular region or body of water. She was worshipped in the heavily forested regions of the Ardennes, located in what is current day Belgium and Luxembourg with small portions found in France and Germany. She was also associated with the Forest of Arden in England. Her name has its roots in the Gaulish  word “arduo” meaning “height”.  

Arduinna’s stories have not survived into modern day. We only know for sure that she both hunted the forests of Ardennes and protected its flora and fauna.   

She is associated with the forest, the boar, and the spear. Some scholars assert that she is also associated with the moon. Many ancient cultures connect the boar with strength and courage. Arduinna’s favorite beast was the boar, which she road whenever she hunted, making her own strength and courage clear to all. Plus it is important to note that throughout Gaul the wild boar was abundant and a vital food source for the population. Arduinna’s association with the boar thus shows her importance as a protective and nurturing goddess. 

The only surviving image of her is a small sculpture of a woman riding a boar. This statue has lost its head and some scholars dispute the belief that it is a representation of Arduinna.  

We are left with only assumptions about Arduinna’s original function and stories. It is assumed that she is the Gaulish equivalent of the Irish Flidais, a complex Celtic Goddess called Lady of the Forest by modern Celtic pagans. Once Roman influence began on the continent Arduinna became associated with Diana, Roman Goddess of the Hunt and Forest. 

Arduinna as a Woodland Goddess represents our wild nature. With no tame, domesticated castle or demesne to call her own, she ran free in the forests of the Ardennes. She is the untamed spirit in us all, never tied down by the commitments of love or motherhood. But being Celtic, she was not chaste like Artemis, the Greek Goddess of the Forest. As a free spirit, she would have enjoyed amorous liaisons when and where she chose.

The natural world is her domain which she protects with the ferociousness of a mother bear protecting her cubs. Woe to the human who causes harm to the forest or over hunts the animals. Then she steps in with her justice and extracts a hefty fine. Here we see her in her fierce aspect, standing strong and tall as she protects her domain. 

Many sacred woods throughout Northern Europe were named after goddesses. This association protected sacred trees all over the continent. Punishment was expected by divine intervention. Anyone who cut them down could be struck with palsy or other ailments.  

Such a sanctuary existed at Margut, dedicated to Arduinna. Her following was so large that in the 6th century Saint Walfroy attempted to eradicate her cult by installing himself atop a pillar he had installed close by. He vowed that he would live on only bread and water and would not descend until Arduinna was abandoned by her followers. 

Her nature also manifests in a gentle way. It’s more than likely that like Flidais and Artemis, Arduinna functioned as a healing goddess, protecting and healing the fauna, human and otherwise, living in her region. In this aspect one can image her tending a wounded man, a sick child, a dying elder as dappled light filters through the trees of her forest, bathing her in a soft glow. 

Arduinna calls you to a full expression of your untamed spirit. Through her you can claim your right to your “wildness.” She is by your side when the need to protect yourself and your own arises. She helps you access your own strength and courage. Call on Arduinna when you need a healing touch or you are giving a healing to others.  May Arduinna’s power to protect, heal and run free be with you.

My deck of Celtic Goddess Oracle Cards is ready for publication. You can pre-order a deck on my Indiegogo campaign. Click here

 

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  • Judith Shaw
    Judith Shaw says #
    I also find it interesting how there is so much crossover of associations between the goddesses. The boar must have been importan
  • Thesseli
    Thesseli says #
    The boar iconography makes me think of Freya.

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Dahut, the Once and Future Goddess

With all of the flooding in the world right now I thought now would be a good time to re-visit the story of Dahut, Breton Goddess of Love and Sexuality, whose city of Ys was destroyed by a flood.

Dahut Ahes, Breton goddess of Love and Sexuality is a Celtic Goddess whose origins are obscured by patriarchal tales which cast Her as wanton and depraved. By weaving together the tales as they are today with an understanding of the life-affirming nature of the old pagan ways Dahut emerges as more than a glittering goddess of beauty. She is revealed as an ancient goddess in a long line of goddesses holding the rebirth of the old ways in Her loving arms. 

Her story begins with Her parents.Her father, Gradlon King of Brittany was originally Pagan but later converted to Christianity with the pressure of the times. Her mother, Malgven was believed by some to be a goddess of the Tuatha Dé Danann, the ancient deities of the Celtic world. Others believe Malgven to have been a Druid or a Sorcerer from the land of the Picts, the original inhabitants of Scotland. 

On one of Gradlon’s campaigns in the North, they met and fell in love. But Malgven was married to the old King of Siaelland (Denmark). In the tradition of the ancient ways in which the old king dies, making way for the new, Malgven and Gradlon conspired to kill the old king. Then they fled together as King and Queen of Brittany on Morvac’h, Malgven’s magical horse, who blew fire from its nostrils and could ride across the sea.

The couple remained at sea for a year and a day, during which time Malgven gave birth to Dahut. Some versions of the story recount that Malgven died in childbirth. Others say that the time had come for her to return to the faery world. Legend records that before she disappeared she asked King Gradlon what he saw in their daughter.

“I see you,” he says.

 “Then she will be ever thus,” she answers.

Malgven, Herself descending from a long line of Goddesses who upon hearing the call to return home passed the baton of the earthly mantle on to their daughters, now passed that lineage on to Dahut.

King Gradlon mourned the absence of Malgven and poured all of his love into his daughter. In their honor King Gradlon built a magnificent coastal city named Ys (Kêr-Is in Breton). It became an important trade center and the most beautiful city in the world. 

As Ys was built below sea level it was  protected by a massive wall with a tall floodgate. The floodgates were opened at low tide, allowing boats to enter and to leave. Gradlon wore the golden key, the only key, that controlled the floodgates around his neck at all times.  

All versions of the story blame Dahut for the destruction of Ys. This is an old tale retold in many lands - the tale of how woman and her sexuality destroyed a city, a garden, a  paradise, the world. But following the Way of the Goddess we can construct a different tale for Dahut.

Dahut grew to be a great beauty, just like her mother. She was sough after by many men. She loved life and all the gifts the goddess has bestowed on us. She loved her city, Ys, with its beautiful rooms, towers, gardens, temples, and courtyards. 

Dahut is of the Sea, She rules that deep consciousness of our desire for life; for all the pleasures that life offers. 

She loved Her people and wished only the best for them. Dahut, during her incarnation as daughter of Gradlon and Molgven, felt pain at seeing the joys of life denied and demonized by the priests of Christianity. The seasons had turned many, many times and the Ancient Ways of the Goddess were being overpowered by the New Religion, which increasingly adapted more and more flesh-hating, life denying ideas and practices.  

As her foremothers had done, She sought her King, she sought the balance of the female and male principles. But every man who came before Her was mired in the new ways, full of violence and hatred, greedy and power hungry, deniers of life, haters of women. So every morning She sent each suitor away and her heart sunk further into sadness at the state of the world.   

More and more madly with each passing day, Dahut and her people danced and sang, drank and made love, hoping to bring back balance, to bring joy back. Until finally one day Dahut could no longer bear the depravation, the loss of beauty, the loss of pleasure, the loss of happiness.  Knowing, like only a destroyer goddess can know, that death always precedes rebirth, she knew the time had come to wipe the slate clean. She stole the golden key to the floodwater gate from her father. She opened the floodgate, calling on the Goddess and the waters of the sea to drown the city of Ys. 

Her father rushed to save Her with his magical horse, the gift from Her mother. But in the end he yielded to the demands of the Christian priest, Guénolé who cried out for Gradlon to let Dahut drown. And so he let her go to the sea.

Yet the sea is from where she came and to where she was destined to return. She has passed the centuries in Her sunken city of Ys with Her people. There they practice the Old Ways, honoring life, honoring the natural world and loving each other. And there they wait until the world is ready for the rebirth of the Goddess Way.

Dahut, The Once and Future Goddess, holds the sacred ways of love, of sexuality, of spirit manifest in this physical world in Her heart, Her mind and Her soul. Call on Dahut when you  need to reconnect with the beauty and joy of our physical lives. 

My deck of Celtic Goddess Oracle Cards is ready for publication. You can pre-order on my Indiegogo campaign page. Check it out - Please share!

 

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