Posted in Celtic festival, Goddess, Mother Earth, mythology, nature

The Goddess and The Wheel

The Goddess is complex and has many faces.  The ones most talked about are Maiden, Mother and Crone.  Personally, I see the Goddess in the turning of the Wheel of the Year and assign three moons to each Goddess aspect on the cycle, making four.  Maiden, Mother, Crone and one more.  I call this fourth face Bride, sometimes, she is the Sorceress.  The energy feels like this:

The first face is the Maiden, the story of divine feminine starts with her. 
She is Sleeping Beauty or Snow White. 
She’s a Winter’s landscape, like the land beneath snow.
She is waiting to grow into her power.
The acorn waits in the dark earth for the Spring sun to kiss it awake.
The acorn grows into the oak just as the Maiden grows into Bride, Mother and Crone.
Her womb is waiting to bleed.
The Maiden sits in the season of Winter on the Wheel of the Year, for she is first.
 And the Celtic New Year begins at Samhain, last day of October.
Winter precedes all other seasons, just as the dark void gave birth to light.
Everything starts in the dark, as the baby is born from the dark womb.
The elemental energy of the Maiden is Air, for hers is the first breath.  
She is assigned the moons of November, December and January.

We are now at Imbolc, last day of January. 
The season when light returns and the earth wakes from slumber.
Powerful season of Fire and renewal.  
The sun has kissed the Maiden and she has woken up.
Everything is stirring in nature, in her season.
The birds and beasts are mating and trees and plants are thrusting out their leaves.
Here sits the Bride, assigned three moons of February, March and April. 
She is the May Queen whose potent, fiery blood brings transformation at Beltane.
Just as Spring transforms the land.
She is red and white, purity and blood, for her womb is fertile and not yet pierced.
She is the Enchantress.

The Goddess energy passes on at Beltane.
When the womb of the May Queen is pricked.
Life is growing within her dark womb.
The season of the Great Mother Goddess is here.
Divine Mother rules the moons of May, June and July. 
She reigns through Summer, season of abundance and blessings. 
She is the cornucopia of plenty. 
She births the land as the magical child, the seed of humanity.  
She reigns until July’s end, whence comes the festival of Lughnasadh.
Festival of the Child of Light, which is us, dear listener.
For we, and all beings upon the Earth are her children.
The earth is rich with flowers, corn and fruit during the season of the Great Mother.
The element of Earth is her gift to us.

At August’s start, power passes to the Crone.
Wise Woman, she is Elder. 
She, who is Keeper of the Wheel of the Year.
Turner of the wheel.
She oversees the process of change.
She sits at the spinning wheel with the silver thread in her fingers. 
Her element is Water, for water is a record keeper, as is the Crone. 
To her are assigned three moons of August, September and October. 
Her womb is not barren, it is the void.
Cave of inconceivable power.
It is the gaping gash of Sheela Na Gig.
She beckons us to enter.
To go inside ourselves and know who we are.
She sits in the season of the ancestors.
At Samhain, the ancestors are honoured. 
And the Crone passes her power back to the Maiden.
The wheel begins again, not a circle but a spiral.  

For this reason, as a woman in her Crone stage, it is mine to gift my power to the Maiden, imparting wisdom and teaching skills to one who is starting on the same journey I have travelled.  Already, the honour and opportunity has befallen me, more than once, in teaching my shamanic craft.  I hope that all women in their crone-years, the years we call peri-menopause, menopause and beyond, will gift some of their power to the Maiden, for she is a Bride-, a Mother-, a Crone-in-becoming. 

We Crones are the ones who have travelled the full stretch of the road and passed through all four stations.  We are in our full power.  And if we don’t value that, if we don’t honour ourselves for all we are, who will? 

The Wheel of the Year

    

Posted in Celtic festival, Goddess, nature, Personal Story, Storytelling

Beltane Story

Today is Beltane and here is a rare Saturday post.  When I was a child, I began to receive glimpses of one of my past lives, the one that I learned about first.  I remembered being a young woman living on an island off the coast of present-day Wales, called Ynys Mon, otherwise known as Anglesey.  I was there in 60AD. I will try to recount a little of what I remember. 

I didn’t grow up on Ynys Mon but nearby Snowdonia, travelling to Ynys Mon for sanctuary because things were unstable in Britain.  There was no England, Scotland or Wales at the time, only Britain, we called the land Pryd or Bryd back then.  There were Romans in Britain, they had come to claim our lands. It was said they traded British people as slaves throughout their empire, as well as British dogs and horses, which were highly prized throughout the continent.  I could go on about all the horrible things they did but I won’t, suffice it to say, they were the enemy to me and mine.  British tribes, across the lands were making individual decisions whether to go in with them, try to keep their heads down or downright resist.  I lived in an area that resisted and, luckily, the mountainous landscape made things difficult for the Romans. So, a fighting resistance was created. My brothers, mother and father left to fight and support the resistance.  Only I stayed to tend the homestead.  But the day came when I had to pack up and leave.  I travelled with my animals and others of my tribe to Ynys Mon, for that was the safest place we knew. 

I already knew the island, my mother had taken me many times since childhood to visit the Temple of the Goddess cradled below what is now called Holy Mountain. I made my way to the head Priestess who knew me well.  Soon, I was immersed again in the wisdom, mysteries and blessings of the Goddess.  I loved it there.  Ynys Mon was known as the stronghold of the Druids.  There were a number of Druid strongholds throughout Britain but this was the main headquarters.

It is believed today that British people were Celtic then.  I must explain, people in Britain were, for the most part, British, and belonged to an ancestry that led back to the oldest days in the island.  What was Celtic was the new culture, fashion and style that people adopted.  It came from the continent, brought in by traders, travellers and a handful of wealthy settlers.  Clothes, artefacts, attitudes and behaviours had taken on a continental flavour but we didn’t know the word ‘Celtic’ back then.  

We celebrated the yearly festivals, more than the four we know today, my favourite was Beltane.  The sacred festival fell from dusk, when fires were lit to ignite the dark, to the next dusk when fires were quenched to invite back the night, safe in the knowledge that light and heat had been kindled for another year.  There were fires everywhere throughout the land, big and small.  They were often built in avenues and everyone drove their animals along the middle as they invoked the fire spirits to purify the animals. 

The festival atmosphere started a moon earlier and lasted the entire moon’s turning, since many came from far and wide and stayed long with friends over the festival.  It was a joyous, raucous time of celebration and passion.  It was also the time of hand-fasting and twelve-month bonding when couples entered into a trial marriage of a year and sealed or broke the bond at the year’s end. One Beltane, I entered into a hand-fasting with a man who was a Druid of the island. We had a strong soul connection and our union was destined. He died in the carnage when the Romans attacked in 60AD, as did all but a few. I was one of the few. I lived to be old in that lifetime and through many more lives, holding inside that terrible trauma, clearing it at last in this life time.   

Back to the Beltane fires. There were several people in those days who could still perceive the little people, they were the spirits who looked after nature and water and fire and some folks could talk with them.  During the festival, I saw the fire spirits dancing in the flames and amongst us in our dancing circles.  At Beltane in the season of Spring, we honoured the living fires.  We asked the fire consciousness to protect, purify and bless us.  As we left, we each took a piece of Beltane fire home to restart our hearths. Taken from the main fire, it had been circled and blessed by the Druids and Priestesses.  Beltane was the only time we put out our hearth fires, so we could light it again with the blessed Beltane flames. And that fire was kept alive in our hearths and hearts throughout the coming year, until the next festival of fire.     

Beltane Blessings to you, my dear reader.  May you kindle fire in your life today and invite the fire spirits to keep the passions ignited in your heart.        

Posted in Celtic festival, Full Moon, Goddess, Uncategorized

The Special Moons Of October

If, like me, you’re a moon lover, you are in for a treat this month of October.  It’s one of those rare months when there are two full moons.

Tonight, Thursday 1st October is the first, it’s the unique Harvest Moon, the name given to the full moon nearest to Mabon or Autumn Equinox.  Then, on 31st October, we get a second full moon called the Hunter’s Moon.  This is also a blue moon, being the second full moon in the same month.  That this takes place on the night of Halloween, or more precisely the Celtic festival of Samhain, (pronounced ‘sow-en’ as in the female pig with ‘en’ on the end) is extra special.

The Harvest moon and Hunter’s moon are the two moons of the year that usually rise closer to sunset, meaning we get more moonlight and that’s why farmers and hunters use these nights to get their work done.

There is a dark or hidden face of the Goddess that sits on the Wheel of the Year. This face can present itself at any point of the year as it appears with the blue moon.  Usually, there are twelve moons within a solar year but since the sun and moon’s cycles do not coincide, sometimes there’s an extra moon in the year.  This occurs because a calendar month is longer than a lunar cycle, so if a full moon takes place very early in the month there can be a second full moon at the end of the same month.  The thirteenth full moon of the year, the second within the same month, is associated with the dark or hidden face of the Goddess.

At the time of the blue moon, we can really connect to our own hidden, dark or shadow self.  It is a mistake to associate this with negativity, we are all part of the world of duality, we do well to embrace both the dark and light from which we are made, the yin and yang, for without one, the other does not exist.  Embracing this part of ourselves and working with the Goddess in this mysterious and deep aspect is extremely valuable.  This is clearing work and we all have unneeded energies to clear. It can be difficult as, in her hidden face, she is likely to bring challenges, but hugely rewarding in the longer term.

Personally, I associate the hidden face of the Goddess at the blue moon with the divine feminine energy of Sheela Na Gig, she definitely has the Crone energy about her and I will write more about that in my next post.  However, depending upon which quarter of the year the extra moon falls, she can be Maiden, Bride, Mother or Crone and also bring qualities that are passive, teacher or challenger energy.  Whichever she is, she comes to reveal aspects of ourselves that we may consciously or unconsciously be trying to hide.

This October 31st, she is appearing in the season of the Crone, the Wise Woman Elder archetype of the Goddess energy, and at Samhain, no less!  This is kick-ass timing and we are the ones getting our ass kicked. What an incredible synchronicity and I am so excited!  Samhain is the festival of the ancestors, the time we especially acknowledge our lineage and all the wisdom and learning that has gone before us and been handed down. The veil between the worlds is at its thinnest on this night.  We are our ancestors, this is especially true if you consider past lives, we lived as them, in all probability.  And when you factor in the eternal ‘now’, because when you take the illusion of time away it’s all happening now, you could say we are living all those lives, past and future, right now, all at the same. I don’t know how that works either, but I do believe it.

Posted in artistic, Celtic festival, mythology

Mabon

It is Autumn Equinox and the festival of Mabon, but do you know who Mabon is?

His full name is Mabon Ap Modron and he is the Welsh god of youth. His name means ‘Son, son of Mother’. The mother in question is the Great Mother Goddess. He is the archetypal magical child and represents the product of every creative process of birth and rebirth. He is magical because the creative process is magical. We are all creating magical outcomes because we have the divine gift of manifestation and creation within our grasp. We can produce another human being and how magical is that! We can produce amazing ideas and express them in the world.

Mabon was born of the Great Mother at the beginning of time, he mysteriously disappeared from between his mother and the wall on the third night from his birth. One day, a cousin of King Arthur appealed to the King for help because he had fallen in love with the beautiful daughter of the giant Ysbaddaden. The giant knew that the man who weds his daughter would take his life, so he set the young suitor a series of tasks, each seemingly as impossible as the next, which must be accomplished to win the bride. The young knight wisely seeks the help of his cousin, Arthur.

One of the tasks is to collect the comb, scissors and mirror from the brow of the great boar, Twrch Trwyth, and for that they need the greatest hunter of all, Mabon. But he has not been seen or heard of since his birth. The oldest creatures are consulted to find out if they have heard of Mabon’s whereabouts. They ask a thrush who had lived long enough to wear down a metal anvil to the size of a nut with its beak, but the thrush didn’t know. They ask a succession of increasingly older animals until they finally come to the oldest of all, the wise salmon. The salmon tells them of a place where he heard such great suffering that he had never in his long life heard the like before, there they found Mabon, imprisoned behind a wall. Arthur summoned all the fighters of Britain and a great war took place before Mabon could be freed.

Now, the boar Twrch Trwyth was the size of an elephant, his tusks as long as huge tree trunks. Nevertheless, Mabon thrust his spear into the boar’s heart and they gained the mirror, comb and scissors to prepare the giant’s hair for the wedding of his daughter and the young knight married the beautiful maiden.

What does all this signify? Mabon is us, each and every one of us, we are trapped behind a wall of our own making, the many limitations, boundaries and conditions we impose upon ourselves as we go through life. We are suffering as much as Mabon to be held prisoner by our thoughts and emotions which rule our actions and cause us to suffer. We are not free. But Mabon breaks free and so can we. The comb is for smoothing out the tangles in our life, the scissors are to cut away all that no longer serves us and the mirror is to see ourselves as we truly are.

Wishing you blessings and healing for the festival of Mabon!