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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Recently I’ve been weaving water magic, and taking brief pilgrimages in search of depth. In the Celtic traditions, bodies of water, lakes, rivers and wells hold special positions as liminal places, where the realms of spirit may be easier to access, and where healing and wisdom can be sought. In the Irish tradition the otherworld and the gods are often found by journeying over bodies of water or on mysterious islands off to sea, as well as at the many holy wells and springs that are found across the country. In Wales it is similar, with lakes also holding this sacred significance, and the Welsh word for the otherworld, Annwn, or its older spelling, Annwfn, literally means ‘the deep place.’ Seeking depth, physically, in the dark ever renewing stillness of wells and wild waters, and the bright flowing of waterfalls on mountainsides I find my mind and my whole being refreshed and cleared of strain. I’ve found the stillness within which may allow new thoughts, new ideas, new insights to arise. The deep isn’t only to be found in the earth, or under water, it needs to be found in our hearts and minds as well, for transformation to come, for a new way of being to be born. So I’ve made a commitment to sit in silent communion near water and to place my feet in rivers and streams at least once a week, to seek healing, renewal, and new vision in these difficult times. To access the source of my soul and the soul of the land, and physically hold that connection in my body.

Meditating near bodies of water is always a special and useful practice. There is something in the sounds of water that helps us to change our consciousness even for a while, and gain access to those deeper parts within…making friends with the water in our bodies too, by drinking more water, and undertaking cleansing rituals that use water magically for change are also powerful. Try adding seasalt to your baths, and using vibrational essences, as well as making space for your emotions to be felt and honoured, with regular time set aside to keep in contact with yourself and your feelings. This is essential especially when life gets tough. Honouring the waters of the world with offerings is also good practice; sing to your rivers and streams, read them poetry, take time to pick up rubbish and get involved defending them from pollution. Buy green products that don’t pollute, walk your talk. But most of all, love them, spend time with them, build relationship with them, and healing will flow naturally. Honouring the waters, and seeking our own deep places, has its own simple magic, and sometimes that is the strongest kind of all.

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My spiritual and magical life has always been very much tied to the land. I’m very fortunate to have been able to explore some wonderful truly wild places, and to have made pilgrimages a great many times to a large proportion of Britain and Irelands sacred megalithic sites. These sacred monuments and enclosures were constructed thousands of years ago by our Neolithic, bronze age and later Iron age ancestors. Visiting and taking extended vigils at some of our most revered as well as some of our lesser known sacred ancestral sites has been central to my magical and spiritual training since I was a teenager.  To me, working and communing with the powers of place, the spiritual guardians of these places, has provided the most potent aspects of my instruction and I feel I have built up a close relationship with many ancient sites that are as personal and dear to my heart as my relationships with my fellow humans. Many of these places are small, lesser known sites well off the beaten track, but I’ve also been fortunate enough to foster a deep relationship with some of our better known and even famous megalithic sites, having spent time there and held ceremony within their enclosures for many years now. One of the most often misunderstood of these is also the most famous- Stonehenge.  I’ve been fortunate to have been able to have private access to Stonehenge a few times a year for quite a long time, more often than I have ever visited as a tourist. I feel blessed that it is so. During the heady days around the summer solstice I might well visit the stones more than once, and this year when the site is closed, I’m feeling a real sadness that my regular pilgrimage cannot take place. Visiting when you have private access is very different than the huge open public solstice gatherings, that are so famous, when thousands of party goers get to climb all over the stones and unfortunately leave a lot of rubbish behind. Equally, when visiting as a tourist, one is lead around a circular path and are able to only see the stones from afar, as it if were a circus attraction, or a paining in a gallery. Sadly, these two extremes are how many people see Stonehenge; as a place of wild revelry, from a distance on a paid tour, or saddest of all, from the window of a car on the A303 road, stuck in traffic, choking the air of this sacred place with petrol fumes.   

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We have all had times where the challenges that life brings to us feel overwhelming. For the most part, hopefully, these are brief times of illness or misfortune, but it is a fact that each of us will have to come to terms less often with times of real challenge and even with death. As we journey through our lives, we seldom find these things occur at convenient moments, when we feel strong and equipped to endure. At such times we realise that all our lives are constantly navigated through realms of unpredictability and the chaos of a multitude of lives and circumstances co-existing and intersecting with our own. How much power we have over our fate is often woefully small. Yet there is to be found, even at such times, a wellspring of resources within us and around us, if not to cure, then certainly to provide a balm for our distress.  

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs


                                     Dressing the Crone

“To sew is to pray. Men don't understand this. They see the whole but they don't see the stitches. They don't see the speech of the creator in the work of the needle. We mend. We women turn things inside out and set things right. We salvage what we can of human garments and piece the rest into blankets. Sometimes our stitches stutter and slow. Only a woman's eyes can tell. Other times, the tension in the stitches might be too tight because of tears, but only we know what emotion went into the making. Only women can hear the prayer.”                                                            ― Louise Erdrich, Four Souls. 


I couldn't sleep last night. As I got into bed and closed my eyes I suddenly saw the moonlight illuminating a milk offering on the Gruagach stone on the Isle of Colonsay. I had visited this little island off the west coast of Scotland this summer and had sat with the stone a couple of times. There is a long and entangled history of the Gruagach which takes us back to ancient pre-Celtic figures (but that is a story for another time).  

In my vision I sat with the stone and could clearly see the rope-like geological features on the surface of the stone, I could reach out and touch them. Then I saw the same moonlight reflected in a little pool of water on the stones on the top of Carman Hill (above Loch Lomond).  I watched the moon's light reflect off sandy beaches on far islands and in the faces of those who stood in their gardens and peered upwards towards her. Even as I fell asleep I traveled with her, looking down onto the scenes she illuminated. 

The night felt like a prayer between the moon and the earth, honored and felt by all who turn their heads upwards to bathe in her awe.  This feeling of prayer stayed with me as I awoke. As the morning's light changed through various layers of grey the rain turned to snow and the temperature plummeted. Today is going to be a cold day with tonight's temperatures plummeting still down to -12oc. I work from home so there is no need to go anywhere - just feed dogs and chickens and make some soup. 

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Autumn is here and winter will be here soon... As the wheel turns its good too to set our energetic houses in order, in preparation for the new season. Equally there are times in life when the next stage, the next move to make in life is unclear. Stress, worry, negative energy can come into our lives in a variety of ways for a variety of reasons, and sometimes the only thing to do is be prepared to wade through some deep dark waters for a while- or even dive deeper trusting in the journey that in time you will come through to easier times. However, while struggle, and even a lack of clarity is all part of the rhythm of life from time to time, there are always pro-active things that can be done to help re-set and re-connect with the navigating forces in our lives once more. Whether its illness, depression, money worries, politics or a whole host of other challenges, there is always something we can do, to just make a small shift, that may set up some positive ripples in our energy.

 

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We Are Entering the Magical Month of Hazel

Following the wheel of the year through the Celtic tree calendar, August 5th begins the time of the hazel tree and its ogham character Coll. While the tree calendar is a modern construct, it holds meaning because of the concepts it has come to symbolize and the significance it has for twenty-first century magic, ritual, and everyday life.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A Keening for Myself

A Keening for Myself

Slowly I find myself leaving. I take last walks to say goodbye to certain places which is a ritual I carried out all my life. I am woven together with threads of this place, my body holds her water and blood and my bones are made from her bedrock. Then slowly, without any movement, I shift between places. One foot is here while the other has crossed the ocean onto another continent. I am back to encompassing both worlds. Leaving is painful. It’s not muted by knowing I can return at any time. It’s an awareness which brings into focus the pain of those who left and knew they’d never return. Violently uprooted and ripped from the land. To be born of generations upon generations who lived and died on this soil to then be cleared away, eradicated as if they were vermin, swept aside to make way for the more profitable sheep.  

 

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