Monday, 31 January 2011

The Robins Song

Is this the start of spring
a rich blue sky, the sun glowing
behind cotton wisp clouds.
A seemingly gentle breeze
to blow the cobwebs away.

Lured out to find that nature
is the mistress of disguise.
This seemingly gentle zephyr
carries the smell of the arctic wastes
intent on cutting me in two.

This same wind carries other things
bringing in its wake the Robins song.
Bursts of ecstatic emotion
like liquid jewels that burst in my ears
a sensory feast of joy.

Pangur-ban 5/02/08

Dog, Cu.

I have drawn what will be an occasional animal oracle card (maybe once a week) and the draw was Dog.

Keywords Guidance, protection, Loyalty.

The card shows a deerhound similar to the hound portrayed in the bronze figure found at the third century shrine of the healer god Nodens at Lydney, Gloucestershire. Another healing sanctuary at Nettleton Shrub in Wiltshire was dedicated to Apollo Cunomalguss - the Celtic “Hound lord” showing that the dog was strongly associated with healing. It is a bright summers day, with the dog rose, dog daisy, dog violet and dog periwinkle all in flower. These hot days of July and August are called the dog-days because at this period the Dog star Sirius rises and sets with the sun, We see a pool beside the dog, for there is a deep symbolic connection between the dog and water.

Cu brings guidance and protection, acting as a loyal companion and friend on your journey in both this life and the next. In the Druid tradition the dog is seen as the Guardian of the Mysteries. As such, he can be fierce, but if our intentions are good, then Cu will lead us over the threshold through the darkness and the waters of the unconscious toward the shimmering realm of the Goddess. The time may come when you need to act with the spirit of Cu, to defend your values or protect that which you hold sacred. Faithfulness, trust, and loyalty are vital ingredients of close relationships, and the time may come for you to focus on these qualities, to develop them gradually in yourself and to appreciate them in others.

Guardian of the Mysteries.

The dog as champion guards more than human lives and livestock. He is the guardian animal o0f roads and track ways, of crossroads and gateways. Here we begin to glimpse the role of the dog as guardian of the Mysteries. Of the underworld. English folklore is replete with tales of the Black Dog, a phantom dog that presages death or patrols the networks of ancient track ways and roads, and other places of transit. Death represents a moment of transit from one place to another, and the dog stands at these threshold places as guardian and protector. Just as the dog would guard his master from harm in the physical world, so in the Otherworld would the dog guide and protect the soul of the dead. For this reason figurines of dogs often accompanied Celts in their graves, and favourite dogs were buried with their keepers. Later, dogs came to be depicted on gravestones for the same reason. Just as a faithful and loyal dog can guide a blind man through the obstacles and dangers of the physical world, so can the dog as spirit ally guide us safely through the Otherworld.

Excepts from the “Druid Animal Oracle.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

The Hedge

The Hedge.

For hundreds of years the hedgerow has been there testament to natures ability to thrive against the odds. It is said that the number of species in a Hedgerow denotes its age, and so this one must be very ancient.

There are Blackthorn trees laden with Sloes, Brambles dripping with lush black berries, and Dog Roses with their bright red haws. And many species that I do not have the names for

Then my ears pick out the distant sound of a Horses hooves coming down the tarmac lane that shadows the hedgerow. I wait while the Horse comes nearer till it comes round the bend and to my delight it is pulling a caravan of the type that the Romany Gypsies used to use.

The caravan is driven by an old crone with pure white hair (although you can see that in her youth she was a great beauty) Come in, come in, she bids me and with a little trepidation I do as she bids.

Inside the caravan we  sit at her table while the tea brews and she gazes into my eyes. “So you want to be a Hedge-Druid” she says to me “Are you willing then to learn of the Spiritual Hedge  that separates this world and the one of spirit?”

As we take tea I ponder her words and eventually answer yes, “Then you have taken the first step” she replies. I think we have far to travel this crone and I.


Pied Wagtail

Tell me tiny
black and white bird
with the tail that wags,
what do you see while
at your morning orisons.
Do you see her whom
we would worship?
I think you must for
your simple life reflects
her radiance and glory.
Teach me little friend
to walk in beauty
with the Earth as my
and the sky as my


Saturday, 22 January 2011

Warriors of the Rainbow

Warriors of the Rainbow

Native American Lore

There was an old lady, from the Cree tribe, named Eyes of Fire, who prophesied that one day, because of the white mans' or Yo-ne-gis' greed, there would come a time, when the fish would die in the streams, the birds would fall from the air, the waters would be blackened, and the trees would no longer be, mankind as we would know it, would all but cease to exist. There would come a time when the "keepers of the legend, stories, culture rituals, and myths, and all the Ancient Tribal Customs" would be needed to restore us to health. They would be mankinds' key to survival, they were the "Warriors of the Rainbow".
There would come a day of awakening when all the peoples of all the tribes would form a New World of Justice, Peace, Freedom and recognition of the Great Spirit. The "Warriors of the Rainbow" would spread these messages and teach all peoples of the Earth or "Elohi". They would teach them how to live the "Way of the Great Spirit".
They would tell them of how the world today has turned away from the Great Spirit and that is why our Earth is "Sick". The "Warriors of the Rainbow" would show the peoples that this "Ancient Being" (the Great Spirit), is full of love and understanding, and teach them how to make the Earth or "Elohi" beautiful again.
These Warriors would give the people principles or rules to follow to make their path right with the world. These principles would be those of the Ancient Tribes. The Warriors of the Rainbow would teach the people of the ancient practices of Unity, Love and Understanding. They would teach of Harmony among people in all four corners of the Earth.
Like the Ancient Tribes, they would teach the people how to pray to the Great Spirit with love that flows like the beautiful mountain stream, and flows along the path to the ocean of life. Once again, they would be able to feel joy in solitude and in councils. They would be free of petty jealousies and love all mankind as their brothers, regardless of color, race or religion. They would feel happiness enter their hearts, and become as one with the entire human race. Their hearts would be pure and radiate warmth, understanding and respect for all mankind, Nature, and the Great Spirit.
They would once again fill their minds, hearts, souls, and deeds with the purest of thoughts. They would seek the beauty of the Master of Life -- the Great Spirit! They would find strength and beauty in prayer and the solitudes of life. Their children would once again be able to run free and enjoy the treasures of Nature and Mother Earth.
Free from the fears of toxins and destruction, wrought by the Yo-ne-gi and his practices of greed. The rivers would again run clear, the forests be abundant and beautiful, the animals and birds would be replenished. The powers of the plants and animals would again be respected and conservation of all that is beautiful would become a way of life.
The poor, sick and needy would be cared for by their brothers and sisters of the Earth. These practices would again become a part of their daily lives. The leaders of the people would be chosen in the old way -- not by their political party, or who could speak the loudest, boast the most, or by name calling or mud slinging, but by those whose actions spoke the loudest. Those who demonstrated their love, wisdom, and courage and those who showed that they could and did work for the good of all, would be chosen as the leaders or Chiefs.

They would be chosen by their "quality" and not the amount of money they had obtained. Like the thoughtful and devoted "Ancient Chiefs", they would understand the people with love, and see that their young were educated with the love and wisdom of their surroundings.
They would show them that miracles can be accomplished to heal this world of its ills, and restore it to health and beauty. The tasks of these "Warriors of the Rainbow" are many and great.
There will be terrifying mountains of ignorance to conquer and they shall find prejudice and hatred. They must be dedicated, unwavering in their strength, and strong of heart. They will find willing hearts and minds that will follow them on this road of returning "Mother Earth" to beauty and plenty -- once more.
The day will come, it is not far away. The day that we shall see how we owe our very existence to the people of all tribes that have maintained their culture and heritage. Those that have kept the rituals, stories, legends, and myths alive. It will be with this knowledge, the knowledge that they have preserved, that we shall once again return to "harmony" with Nature, Mother Earth, and mankind.
It will be with this knowledge that we shall find our "Key to our Survival".

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Elen of the Ways: A Poem

Autumns chill gripped the land
Decorating her in misty garments
And it was then one misty morning
I met her Milady Elen of the Ways.

Down the old forest tracks I wandered
In and out of the secret ways I went.
And there She stood the one I sought
Flame haired Milady Elen of the Ways.

My search had been long and twisted
Clouded by mist like the land itself
My spirit yearning for what it knew not
Till I saw Milady Elen of the Ways.

Then she faded into the morning mists
Will you not stay? I asked.
Will you not follow? Her reply.
My enigmatic Milady Elen of the ways.

Pangur-ban 2/10/2009

Elen of the Ways

I follow a Goddess that not a lot is known about by the name of Elen of the ways, so when  The Kitchen Witch blog asked for suggestions for Goddesses to write blogs about I suggested Elen. This is the result

Elen of the Ways.

I put a name to my path over a decade ago, but it was only in the past couple of years that I discovered a patron Goddess. I came across the name of Elen of the Ways thanks to an acquaintance, little more than a couple of sentences, but I was well and truly hooked into finding out more.

Few people have ever heard of the name of Elen, the name itself isn't really that old, and most of the information "known" about her is pretty much thanks to one person, Caroline Wise, who devoted a number of years into research on this elusive deity. The pantheons of Old Britain are vague as it is, the Celts preferring to keep their tales in oral form rather than written, but there are clues scattered across the continents as to who Elen was.

Elen probably began her reign back in paleolithic times. One of her titles is that of Horned Goddess, and thus Lady of the Beasts, a female equivalent of Herne or Cernunnos. But how can a Goddess be horned, when it's the male animals with the antlers? A little known fact is that it is the female reindeer that keeps her antlers during the winter, when the male loses his. Of course, this means that Rudolph is a girl...

Although they have been reintroduced to parts of Scotland, Britian last had reindeer roaming it's hills over 8,000 years ago, but they would have been an important resource for our ancestors - where they would have used just about every part of the animal in some way. Deer migrate, and our ancestors would have had to follow the migrations in order to hunt. Deer also follow the tracks of their deer ancestors, there are routes that are walked year after year, century after century, and a hunter knowing these tracks would have an advantage.

This is the origins of Elen, a reindeer goddess presiding over their migrations and their pathways, and this is where "the Ways" part of her name comes from. She has maintained that remit throughout the centuries, becoming interweaved into the Celtic legends and landscape to this very day.

Elen appears in the Mabinogion, a collection of Welsh myths, in the Dream of Mascen Wledig, based, it is thought, on the Roman Emporer Maximus and his Empress Helen. Macsen dreamed of a beautiful lady, and travelled far and wide to find her. He eventually did so, in Wales, where she was the daughter of a king. Elen Llwyddog, or Empress Helen, has been thought to be responsible for building the roads across Wales that connected the strongholds in order to protect the country. These roads remain today, and are known as Sarn Elen, even marked as such on the maps.

She has links to the origins of Christmas too - and not just through Rudolph. The shamanic peoples of Scandinavia, the territories of modern day reindeer, have discovered a secret. In these regions also grows the hallucinogenic fly agaric mushrooms - toxic to humans, but not to the reindeer. I would be interested to know how it was first discovered, but the urine of the reindeer contains the halluginogens of the fly agaric, but not the toxins. A shaman could drink this to embark on his journeying (where his astral body would leave and return his abode through the smoke hole in the roof). Elen is again linked as a guardian to the astral trackways - the leylines.

Another link to the trackways is her mantle as Star Goddess. Perhaps she's an early incarnation of Arianrhod. If you could lie upon the ground the whole of a clear night, you would see that the stars and constellations move across the sky. Due to the turning of the earth, the stars follow a circular path, centred on the North Star. Here, at the centre of the circum-polar stars, is Caer Arianrhod, the heavenly Otherworld castle and abode of the dead.

There are few images of Elen, she appears with vegetation adorning her glorious red hair, resplendent in a green dress. Her mantle as Horned Goddess of the Beasts stretches also to that of Green Lady of the vegetation. She is Goddess of both fauna and flora. She is strongest at dawn and dusk, that yellow tinge to the daylight at those times I find incredible evocotive of her. She is the perfect consort to the well-known Green Man.

But another side of the Green Lady, is the inference that she is the land itself, linking her to the old traditions of the sovereign becoming wedded to the land via the Goddess. Indeed, a king wasn't a valid ruler until he was willing to undergo this ceremony. Another link going back to the story of Macsen Wledig.

So, Elen of the Ways, Guardian of the pathways both astral and corporeal, Star Goddess, Horned Goddes and Green Lady of Sovereignty. But I have recently discovered another possibly link, which I shall leave for you to decide whether you agree. I have been looking into the Cailleach also, Tansy has written about her before,  but it struck me on how similar these two ancient deities were. Both are indelibly linked to the land, both Ladies of the Beasts, though one Light and one Dark, perfectly balanced. Perhaps it was not Brighid that should be equated with the Cailleach, but Elen...

Love and hugs


Thanks to
Blaidd and Tansy from Kitchen Witch

Sunday, 16 January 2011

~Dulngulg Song Cycle, Australian Mudbara People~

At daybreak, the rising sun stretches her arms.

At daybreak, the goddess rises  to her  feet.

She rises, driving out darkness from the land.

She rises, bringing daylight and birdsong to the land.

Beneath her, we move about, enjoying her warmth.

Above us, she moves about, moving westward.

She shines bright on the blooming collibah tree,

with its sprawiling roots, with its spreading branches.

~Dulngulg Song Cycle, Australian Mudbara People

Light grows daily stronger at this time of year, but it is hard to believe it, for the world still seems shrouded in wintery gloom. Yet daily, the sun rises earlier and sets later. Daily, the great round of the year reveals its mysteries once again.

So it is with our lives. We pass through periods where we believe that we will never find happiness again, that we will never find an end to pain, that we will forever suffer from frustration and unease and anxiety.But nothing lasts forever. The greatest pain, like the greatest joy, someday ends. True joy exists in learning to delight in the dance of life, not clinging to a certain day's beauties or even to its pains. True joy exists in moving like the sun through each day, knowing that it will finally end but also that a new day will always dawn afresh.

By Patricia Monaghan

Saturday, 15 January 2011


It's that time of year again when the apple trees in the UK are "Wassailed"  a process which is intended to wake the trees from their winter slumber.

Wassailing usually takes place during January on cold frosty nights when groups of people can be found processing to orchards some in silence but many banging on drums, or pots and pans making lots of noise to wake the trees. They also may bring an offering of cider to pour round the roots of the trees. A shotgun may also be fired in to the air to further waken the slumbering trees.

The word wassail derives from the old English words waes and hael meaning be healthy or whole.Both of which survive in modern English as hale and hearty. The trees are serenaded with rhymes and verse an example of which is this one which I wrote for the occasion when we wassailed a friends apple trees.

Figures trudge in single file
through the cold starlit night.
Banging drums and beating sticks
and making merry,
to the orchard they come,
to wassail the magic apple trees.
As they come the warm smell of cider
is on the breeze and shotgun
blasts echo through the night.
"So here's to thee old apple tree
may you afertile be.
Come the spring bedecked in
blossom white.
And in the Autumn be you
laden in fruit
unmarked by blight."
Is the merry toast thats given
to Wassail the tree that
bares the fruit of love.


Friday, 14 January 2011

The Big Bad Wolf?

The Big Bad Wolf?

He was there again today, just watching
and waiting for me to acknowledge him.
Big Wolfie eyes glowing like molten gold,
full of timeless wisdom reaching out
from the spirit world.
As I gaze into those eyes I begin to see
what freedom means, the freedom of wildness.
I feel a change start in me a metamorphosis
my body merging with his bringing
a sense of freedom.
Let's run he says starting to bound away
across endless forests of the mind,
and I am lost, lost in the world of sound and scent
and the scurrying of little creatures.
But I am found as well, in him i find acceptance
the oneness and completeness of the pack.
All to soon its time to come to my senses and return.
This time is different though he leaves as well,
and comes with me as guide, protector and friend.


Candlemas: The Light Returns

The Light Returns
by Mike Nichols

It seems quite impossible that the holiday of Candlemas should be considered the beginning of spring. Here in the Heartland, February 2 may see a blanket of snow mantling the Mother. Or, if the snows have gone, you may be sure the days are filled with drizzle, slush, and steel-grey skies—the dreariest weather of the year. In short, the perfect time for a Pagan Festival of Lights. And as for spring, although this may seem a tenuous beginning, all the little buds, flowers, and leaves will have arrived on schedule before spring runs its course to Beltane.
“Candlemas” is the Christianized name for the holiday, of course. The older Pagan names were Imbolc and Oimelc. Imbolc means, literally, “in the belly” (of the Mother). For in the womb of Mother Earth, hidden from our mundane sight but sensed by a keener vision, there are stirrings. The seed that was planted in her womb at the solstice is quickening and the new year grows. Oimelc means “milk of ewes”, for it is also lambing season.
The holiday is also called “Brigit’s Day”, in honor of the great Irish Goddess Brigit. At her shrine, the ancient Irish capitol of Kildare, a group of nineteen priestesses (no men allowed) kept a perpetual flame burning in her honor. She was considered a Goddess of fire, patroness of smithcraft, poetry, and healing (especially the healing touch of midwifery). This tripartite symbolism was occasionally expressed by saying that Brigit had two sisters, also named Brigit. (Incidentally, another form of the name Brigit is Bride, and it is thus she bestows her special patronage on any woman about to be married or handfasted, the woman being called “bride” in her honor.)
The Roman Catholic Church could not very easily call the Great Goddess of Ireland a demon, so they canonized her instead. Henceforth, she would be ‘Saint’ Brigit, patron saint of smithcraft, poetry, and healing. They ‘explained’ this by telling the Irish peasants that Brigit was ‘really’ an early Christian missionary sent to the Emerald Isle, and that the miracles she performed there ‘misled’ the common people into believing that she was a Goddess. For some reason, the Irish swallowed this. (There is no limit to what the Irish imagination can convince itself of. For example, they also came to believe that Brigit was the ‘foster mother’ of Jesus, giving no thought to the implausibility of Jesus having spent his boyhood in Ireland!)
Brigit’s holiday was chiefly marked by the kindling of sacred fires, since she symbolized the fire of birth and healing, the fire of the forge, and the fire of poetic inspiration. Bonfires were lighted on the beacon tors, and chandlers celebrated their special holiday. The Roman Church was quick to confiscate this symbolism as well, using “Candlemas” as the day to bless all the church candles that would be used for the coming liturgical year. (Catholics will be reminded that the following day, St. Blaise’s Day, is remembered for using the newly blessed candles to bless the throats of parishioners, keeping them from colds, flu, sore throats, etc.)
The Catholic Church, never one to refrain from piling holiday upon holiday, also called it the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (It is surprising how many of the old Pagan holidays were converted to Maryan feasts.) The symbol of the purification may seem a little obscure to modern readers, but it has to do with the old custom of “churching women”. It was believed that women were impure for six weeks after giving birth. And since Mary gave birth at the winter solstice, she wouldn’t be purified until February 2. In Pagan symbolism, this might be retranslated as when the Great Mother once again becomes the young Maiden Goddess.
Today, this holiday is chiefly connected to weather lore. Even our American folk calendar keeps the tradition of “Groundhog Day”, a day to predict the coming weather, telling us that if the groundhog sees his shadow, there will be “six more weeks” of bad weather (i.e., until the next Old Holiday, Lady Day). This custom is ancient. An old British rhyme tells us that “if Candlemas Day be bright and clear, there’ll be two winters in the year”. Actually, all of the cross-quarter days can be used as inverse weather predictors, whereas the quarter days are used as direct weather predictors.
Like the other High Holidays or Great Sabbats of the Witches’ year, Candlemas is sometimes celebrated on its alternate date, astrologically determined by the sun reaching fifteen degrees Aquarius, or Candlemas Old Style. Incidentally, some modern Pagan groups have recently begun calling the holiday itself ‘Brigit’, presumably as shorthand for “Brigit’s Day”. This lexical laziness is lamentable since it confuses a Deity name for the proper name of the holiday. The same disconcerting trend can be seen in the recent practice of referring to the autumnal equinox as ‘Mabon’, which is more properly the name of a Welsh God-form.
Another holiday that gets mixed up in this is Valentine’s Day. Ozark folklorist Vance Randolph makes this quite clear by noting that the old-timers used to celebrate Groundhog Day on February 14. This same displacement is evident in Eastern Orthodox Christianity as well. Their habit of celebrating the birth of Jesus on January 7, with a similar postdated shift in the six-week period that follows it, puts the Feast of the Purification of Mary on February 14. It is amazing to think that the same confusion and lateral displacement of one of the old folk holidays can be seen from the Russian steppes to the Ozark hills, but such seems to be the case!
Incidentally, there is speculation among linguistic scholars that the very name of “Valentine” has Pagan origins. It seems that it was customary for French peasants of the Middle Ages to pronounce a g as a v. Consequently, the original term may have been the French “galantine”, which yields the English word “gallant”. The word originally refers to a dashing young man known for his “affaires d’amour”, a true galaunt. The usual associations of V(G)alantine’s Day make much more sense in this light than their vague connection to a legendary ‘St. Valentine’ can produce. Indeed, the church has always found it rather difficult to explain this nebulous saint’s connection to the secular pleasures of flirtation and courtly love.
For modern Witches, Candlemas O.S. may then be seen as the Pagan version of Valentine’s Day, with a de-emphasis of hearts and flowers and an appropriate reemphasis of Pagan carnal frivolity. This also realigns the holiday with the ancient Roman Lupercalia, a fertility festival held at this time, in which the priests of Pan ran through the streets of Rome, whacking young women with goatskin thongs to make them fertile. The women seemed to enjoy the attention and often stripped in order to afford better targets.
One of the nicest folk customs still practiced in many countries, and especially by Witches in the British Isles and parts of the U.S., is to place a lighted candle in each and every window of the house (or at least the windows that face the street), beginning at sundown on Candlemas Eve (February 1), allowing them to continue burning until sunrise. Make sure that such candles are well seated against tipping and guarded from nearby curtains, etc. What a cheery sight it is on this cold, bleak, and dreary night to see house after house with candlelit windows! And, of course, if you are your coven’s chandler, or if you just happen to like making candles, Candlemas Day is the day for doing it. Some covens hold candle-making parties and try to make and bless all the candles they’ll be using for the whole year on this day.
Other customs of the holiday include weaving “Brigit’s crosses” from straw or wheat to hang around the house for protection, performing rites of spiritual cleansing and purification, making “Brigit’s beds” to ensure fertility of mind and spirit (and body, if desired), and making “crowns of light” (i.e., of candles) for the high priestess to wear for the Candlemas Circle, similar to those worn on St. Lucy’s Day in Scandinavian countries.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Hare, Gearr

Today's draw from the Druid Animal Oracle.


Rebirth, Intuition, Balance.

the card shows the original hare of Britain- the Arctic hare which was later replaced by the common brown hare, imported by the Romans from the plains of central Europe. It is nearly dawn but we can still see the moon in the sky. In the background stands a dolmen- symbol of rebirth-and in the foreground we can see a lapwing's nest. with the eggs which were said to have been brought by the hare. Harebell, hare parsley, and hare's foot clover grow close by.

Gearr brings us the benefits of balance and intuition, of promise and fulfilment. The hare is a creature of the Goddess, the moon and the night, and yet it also represents the dawn, brightness and the east. It  is the most adept of animals at shape-shifting we can never be sure exactly where the hare is - in this world or the Otherworld. It represents intuition, which makes things appear suddenly in our conciousness, like the lapwing eggs of Eostre, that magically appear in the hare's form (nest). As representative of the Corn spirit and the two equinoxes, the hare brings the excitement of rebirth, fertile abundance and willing release as each creative cycle comes to an end. With the Hare as your ally you will be well able to negotiate times of change, and you will be able to draw on your intuition to guide you through life.

Rebirth, Resurrection and the Corn Spirit.

As bearers of good fortune, and as animals sacred to the Goddess, hares, or figurines of them, have been found buried in ritual pits. As a grave companion the hare is ideal, for it symbolises the power of the Goddess to bring rebirth and immortality. This power is often represented in the Corn spirit, who embodies the magical ability of the life sustaining crops to die in the autumn only to be reborn in the spring. The pagan underpinnings of Christianity become abundantly obvious at Alban Eiler, the spring equinox. Here the hare is the original "Easter Bunny" - The word Easter being derived from the Saxon Goddess Eostre, to whom the hare was sacred. The hare reappears again at the other side of the year at the time of Alban Elued, the Autumn Equinox - when the promise of the spring is fulfilled in the Autumn harvest. The last sheaf of corn to be cut is called "the hare" and its ritual cutting was known as killing or cutting the hare. If a hare happened to bolt out of this last sheaf as it was cut, this was considered extremely auspicious.

Excepts from The Druid Animal Oracle.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Winter Haikus

Silent in the snow
Crane stands at waters edge
fish are not biting.
 Cherry trees branches
snow covered and encrusted
dream of springs blossom.

Swans landing on ice
surprised by the lack of water
slide to a slow halt.
Snow powdery and white
settles on verdant green fields
reflecting moon glow.

Seven Gifts of Druidry (higher definition version)

Starlings Over Radipole Lake

Heart sore and weary at days end
I seek solace from drab Winter streets,
Dirty and grimy from days of rain.
Wending my way through last minute shoppers
Laden down with bags and the cares of life,
My desire is to escape to somewhere simpler.
Unbidden, my feet take a well trod path to a place
Where earth meets water and this world the next.
Where wind whistles through the reads
Like the sighing of dead birds yearning for rest.
This place is abundant with life though, and as I watch
A lamentation of Swans glide by elegantly plumed in white.
Then time itself seems to pause, as if the universe is waiting
For the days main event to unfold before my eyes.
Suddenly, a murmeration of Starlings
Burst skyward to perform their nightly aerial ballet
And in this dance my soul finds balance and is healed.
Returning I find my heart lightened and young again.
The streets no longer drab and dirty but washed clean.

Pangur-ban 04/03/2010

Tuesday, 11 January 2011


I have recently been confronted by the Elder tree and not one who believes in coincidences I decided to do some research on the trees meaning.

This is from John Matthews the Green Man Oracle

Sacrifice requires us to set aside something we value in a specifically sacred way. We give what is worthy, honouring our most holy ones and acknowledging the reality of the unseen side of life, which is too often ignored or neglected. We do not give out of fear or in appeasement, but to make space in our daily lives for the divine, for we believe that if we do so the Divine will make way for us. Sacrifice is a way of generous and unselfish giving to the whole of the universe, without something being lost. 
The Elder has strong associations with witchcraft and transformation in Britain. Witches were rather fond of turning themselves into elders.  Some traditions see the Elder as being a strong protection against dark magic, and if elder twigs are collected on St John's eve (just before mid-summer) they are a protection against any bad luck that may surround the Twelfth Night celebrations. In Christian tradition it provided the wood for the cross, and is the tree in which Judas Iscariot is supposed to have hung himself.  A superstition is that people living in houses built in the shadow of an Elder were likely to die young, and it was never used to make furniture.


Winters crone

Winters dying breath
lingers long.
The Cailleachs reach
carries far.
Snow falls from
the hem
of her dress
covering fresh 
Spring grass.
The cold blast
of wind
from her mouth
shrivels growth
But, Springs maiden
is moving,
gaining new strength
every day.
Till the Cailleach
Winters Goddess
sleeps once more.


Sunday, 9 January 2011

Natures Greening

Long has the land that gave me birth
lain in winter’s dark grip.
This is nature’s vesper time where she worships
At the altar of ice and snow.
Into this dark night I do not venture wayfaring is for another time.
This is the time to join the dormant dormouse
curled in its nest.
But a change is coming whispers are in the wind winter is loosing its grip.
New life is stirring budding forth
From a land locked in quietude.
Spring is here!
and the ice and snow retreat.
Now is the time to venture out into
The highways and byways of the land that gave me birth
and as I go, I spy the dormouse at his matins,
giving thanks at the altar of fruitfulness



—by Míchealín Daugherty

“And she shall arise like a shining sun”
—The Book of Lismore
Celebrated on February 2
Imbolc, a Celtic word meaning “in the belly,” is a celebration of the first feral stirrings of Mother Earth as She responds to the wake-up call of Spring.  The “belly” being referred to is that of the Great Mother.  
Imbolc is also called Oimelc, Brighid, Imbolg, Imbollgc Brigantia, Lupercus and Wives’ Feast Day.  It is also known as Candlemas or St. Brighid's Day (its Christianized titles) and Groundhog Day.  
Imbolc's primary themes are purification, inspiration and new beginnings.  It is a time of renewal, dedication and purification – a time to rededicate and purify our surroundings and ourselves in preparation for the coming Spring.  Imbolc is also a celebration of knowledge and understanding, and a celebration of the beauty and mysteries of life.    
New Life
This time of year has traditionally been the lactation period of ewes and cows.  Ewes are unable to produce milk until after they bear their young, which occurs at this time.  Since milk was very important to the basic survival of the Celtic tribes, this was a time of great joy, and signified that the end of a long winter was in sight.  At Imbolc, we are one with Nature, as we await the coming of Spring, the Vernal Equinox, when day and night are equal; light has vanquished the dark and a new change is upon the land. 
At sunset on Imbolc, it is traditional to light every lamp or candle in the house in honor of the Earth's rebirth – asleep during the Winter, awakening during the Spring. 
Imbolc Also known as Candlemas or St Brighid's Day (its Christianised titles) and Groundhog Day:
If Candlemas be bright and fair
Winter will have another year
But if it be dark with clouds and rain
Winter is gone, and will not come again
Snowflakes, crystals, lambs, milk, Brighid's Cross, white flowers, orange or yellow candles, alder, hazel, wisteria, myrrh, basil, rowan
Imbolc is  a celebration of knowledge and understanding, and a celebration of the beauty and mysteries of life. Its themes include purification, inspiration, new beginnings.

The Celtic Goddess Brighid (Brid, Bride, Brigante) presides over Imbolc.  She is the radiant triple-Muse Goddess, and she is also a fertility-bringer.  At Imbolc, Brighid is pregnant with the seed of the Sun, ready for new life to awaken within the Earth.  She was later adopted by Christianity as a Saint. 

Brighid's CrossBrid's Bed. In some circles, 'Brid's bed,' the union place of the Goddess and the Sun God, is created and placed within the circle, inviting the fertility of life that begins anew around us. This is done by creating a female figure of straw or a 'Brid's Cross,' and laying it in a basket at the center of the circle with a phallic wand across it to symbolize the impregnation of the Mother.
Snow. Reverence of the snow is also a part of this celebration, and this festival falls during the Snow Moon. Some symbols or tools to have for present for ritual include a representation of a white flower or a snowflake and an orange or yellow candle to symbolise the renewing energy of the Sun’s rebirth.
Candles, Fire. Imbolc is also a fire festival, with significance placed upon the Light of fire, to celebrate the ever-increasing light at this time — symbolic of the Earth working Her way back to Spring. It is tradition for every candle or lamp in the house to be lit for a little while welcoming the return of the Sun. A figure or person representing Brighid is sometimes crowned with a wreath of candles. 
Ceremonies. Some circles make a ceremony of 'charming the plow,' in which they bless a spade or shovel with oil or wine, and then use it to dig a hole in the earth and bury an offering to the Mother.
During the Imbolc ritual, most traditions also pour milk onto the earth as a ‘thanksgiving’ to Brighid; and as an offering of nurturing with hope of the return of fertility to the Earth and its people. According to some sources, alder and hazel are coming into bloom and make great offerings. In the Celtic Tree Calendar, rowan is associated with the festival for Imbolc. It is a member of the apple family, and if you cut across the berries horizontally, a tiny, pentagram-shaped seed container will be revealed, much like a wee version of the one found inside an apple.
Female Bonding. Brighid's Day is perfect day for female bonding.  In some traditions, all the females go to stay at a friend's house and there they light the candles to Brighid. The the eldest participant takes the role of The Great Mother and is festooned in white flower petals beside the fire place; and the milk is presented before the fire to all present.  The Great Mother is blessed by all present; and then they finish up by eating half- moon cakes covered in white icing and sprinkling the remnants in the garden for the wild life to finish up. 'Tis a lovely sacred occasion! 
Copyright © 2001 Ireland's OWN.  

Saturday, 8 January 2011

The Druid Mysteries

The Druid Mysteries.
By Pangur-ban

Life is a mystery, something that being a Druid I am quite happy about. Picture, if you will that you possessed the answer to all the questions in the universe, what would there be left for you to wonder at?

We live today in a world governed by science, in fact to many science has become their God. Let me say at this point that I think that science is great but there is more to this wonderful world  we live in than bare facts.

So what are these mysteries I hear you ask? The most important mystery for a Druid to learn is that the inner world is as real as the outer world.

The Druids inner world is where they meet their deities, work with the energy of the universe, and meet and work with their guides both animal and human.

For most Druids this inner world takes the shape of a Grove. In its simplest form it could be a clearing surrounded by trees, but as the Druid grows so does his Grove.

My Grove is now a landscape but at its heart is a clearing surrounded by Silver Birch trees. In the centre of the clearing is a simple rough hewn wooden altar. There is a spring in my Grove that gives forth cool clear water that forms a small pond.

If you would like to find your inner grove try this exercise. Close your eyes and breath slowly and deeply, let your body relax, and when ready open your inner eyes. What do you see? What trees are there in the surrounding area? Repeat this exercise as often as you need to and you will be surprised how quickly your Grove takes on a personality of its own and will change its appearance of its own accord.

There are many more mysteries that the Druid learns and over the coming weeks and months I would love to share my perceptions of them with you.

Everything is Connected

Everything is Connected.

One of the core values of Druidism is that everything is connected there is no separation. Humanity in its so called wisdom believes that it is the pinnacle of creation, this of course leads to so many problems.
Wars that pit nation against nation. Disregard for the world that sustains us, leading to environmental melt down.

The idea that we are somehow divorced from the rest of creation is of course a fallacy, and one we need as Pagans to admit to. Part of the problem is that we do not see past the superficial and really look at the world.

When we look at the world with our spiritual eyes we see that everything is connected and interconnected. The Native Americans talk of the stone people, the animal people, the tree and plant people, and of course the people people.

As a Druid I see it as my duty to reconnect to these realms of nature as I am made of the same energy they are. The same atoms that flow through the trees of a forest, are the same atoms that flow through me. “We are stardust, we are golden” as the song from the musical Hair so eloquently says.

In the rest of this article I am going to dwell on the relationship we have as Druids with trees. Why does the Druid have this relationship with trees? Why do people who hardly know anything of what a Druid is or does know this one fact that Druids love trees?

Most modern scholars agree that the word Druid is derived from the words Oak and wise with a meaning of one who has the “Wisdom of the Oak.” So without doubt the Druids of old were associated with trees.
What of today? I feel that it is most important for today’s Druid to care for and love trees, as they are our lifeblood, and if we loose them we loose so many things not only in the physical realm but also in the spiritual .

Trees are the storehouse of the Suns energy, they stand upon the earth their roots going deep into the Goddesses body. The leaves of a tree absorb carbon monoxide, and give out oxygen, they are literally the earths lungs. We use trees in countless other ways as well for our houses, books (and how Pagans love their books) for heating when it is cold and many other ways.

Consider this though, the oldest tree in the UK is a Yew tree estimated to be roughly three thousand years old just imagine what this ancient being has seen and has then stored the information in its rings of growth. Each time of drought, famine and fire is recorded by the tree.

It is not just the physical benefits of trees that the Druid celebrates though, we also venerate trees for their spiritual qualities as well. As Druids we believe that we can enter into a relationship with trees, but this takes time and commitment. Trees are old beings and do not live in the same time-scale as we do., so whenever you try to form a relationship with a tree it must be on their terms and time-scale

Go for a walk in a forest or park where there are many different types of trees, walk slowly and thoughtfully. Does one particular tree call to you? If so sit with it, slow your breathing and send your thoughts to the tree. With perseverance I believe that you will be able to form a relationship with trees.
Trees Dance.


Bird Song

Bird song heralds the dawn
Of a frost rimed morn.
Blackbird, Robin and Wren
Sing for joy in paeans of praise,
To their creator.

( Are not all things created
in the image of God )

This same song lifts my spirit,
Reconnecting me to the Divine
That envelops and mends me.
Bringing forth my own song
To my creator.

(Are not all things created
In the image of God)

And if all things are created
In the image of God what then
Does God look like?
The answer is everything, that walks,
Flies, and stands upon the Earth.

(As are not all things created
In the image of God}



Disaster!! I have somehow managed to delete all my blog posts so this is a new start to go along with a new year.

So what are my thoughts on the just past New year? I have never been a fan of the idea of New year celebrations but there is something I think about ringing out the old and ushering in the new.

It is a time of new beginnings and new goals, a time to sort out our priorities and concentrate on the important things in life. So as I said a new start to go along with a new year lets see what I can make of it.