Sacred Travels…Fairy Trees, Rainbows and Stone Circles [The Piper Stones of County Wicklow]

There are alignments that happen in life in which you truly feel the presence of magic, even if you are unfamiliar with such things.  For most people the feeling is associated with awe, Druids would call it Awen.

Awen is the spirit of creativity, and Druids believe that for anything to manifest there must first be a moment in which thought is transformed into being.  We have all experienced it.  For some experiencing Awen is accompanied by goosebumps, for others there is a deep sense of knowing.  Like when you wish upon a star, and know that wish will come true.  It is a time of deep magic.

I experienced such a moment while visiting the Piper Stones in County Wicklow, Ireland.

We had traveled through the Wicklow Gap with our host, the O’Hanlons. The gap itself is quite stunning, with mountains covered in icy mist and winds that could easily knock you off balance.  It was a place of raw energy, that made me think of the difficulty early man endured…for I was wearing a long raincoat, an insulated under jacket, and high leather boots.  Early man had traveled through such terrain wearing nothing more then sandals, scraps of wool wrapped around their legs, and woolen cloaks.

The Piper Stones, also known as the Athgreany stone circle is not a tourist destination.   http://www.megalithicireland.com/Athgreany%20Stone%20Circle.html There is no monument center, or tour buses.  It is relatively unknown to anyone but locals, or those obsessed with such things who know how to Google search.  There is a small sign on the side of the road, next to a pull off, and a short walk through a field populated by sheep.

The circle is on the top of a small mound, overlooking the surrounding fields.  It consists of 14 granite stones, most standing upright but a few lying down.  There were originally 17 stones, but 3 are now missing.  In early days, farmers often re-purposed stones for use in stonewalls and the likes.  Along with the stones, there is a beautiful Hawthorn Cloutie tree https://salicrow.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/the-cloutie-tree/ present in the circle.

The Piper Stones was one of two stone circles I visited on this trip to Ireland.  As much as I love them, my visit was filled with other sacred spaces, such as the Giants Causeway, the Blarney Stone, Newgrange & Knowth.  So naturally getting to stand within the stones was powerful for me, as stone circles are often aligned to astronomical and earthly locations.  They were places of worship, particularly by those with a close relationship to the earth.

I placed my prayers among the Hawthorn cloutie tree, and opened myself to the energy there.  I gave offerings and sang songs of Spirit.  It was powerful, and I felt truly blessed.

photo credit-meagan o’hanlon

 

When as I stepped away from the Cloutie tree, I saw another Hawthorn down in the field and it called to me.  To say it called to me, means that I felt its presence from a distance.  I knew it wanted me to visit it as well, and I knew that in many ways it held deep personal magic for me.

As I approached the tree, I began to sing to it.  I noticed that plants grew at its base, plants that I knew to be sacred, known for their healing powers and magical potency…nettle and holly  surrounded the base of the tree.  I reached out to the touch the tree, feeling that my presence was welcome, and it communicated to me that I was allowed to harvest thorns from it.

Hawthorn is a magical tree, with a deep connection to the Fairy folk, it is said that one should never take anything from a fairy tree; particularly one standing in a field by itself, unless permission is given.  My advice here is “If you are unclear to whether permission is given or not, then it is not!”

In my case permission was not only given, but instructed.  I was allowed to take take 7 thorns for myself (the Hawthorn tattoo on my left shoulder has 7 thorns on it), 3 for my sister, and 8 for the magical family, I reconnected to in England last year.

I was deep in trance as I collected the thorns, singing and listening as I went.  I was completely in tune with the tree, knowing that I was taking part in a magical blessing and receiving a powerful gift.  After collecting the last thorn, I looked up from the tree and saw a rainbow before me, or the end of a rainbow more accurately.  Seeing this brought tears to my eyes and reinforced my belief that I was receiving a great blessing.

As I was down in the field near the Hawthorn tree, my husband and our host/friends were standing in the stone circle.  The rainbow was fantastic from where they stood.  They told me later they had tried to get me to turn around for the picture, but I was too deeply involved in my work to hear them.  I think the picture is better this way, as it shows the nature of what was really going on.

Small acts of magic happen all the time, but most of us miss them.  Sometimes though we are blessed with exceptional moments of spirit, that we simply cannot help but see for what they are.  My time in the Piper Stones was one of those moments.  I am sure to return there in the future.

An interesting fact about the circle is that when we arrived there was a local man rolling up a yoga mat.  He said he came there daily to meditate.  What a joy that must be.

I hope you enjoyed the read folks.  I will be back in the States on September 13th, ready for the Mabon season and my work with the Beloved Dead.

spreading love-salicrow

 

 

Advertisements

SACRED TRAVEL…There be Giants in the North [the giant’s causeway]

I spoke earlier about my journey up Sleive Gullion; the most sacred mountain in Ireland, in my previous blog, now I will speak of my second experience with land sacred to Giants…the Giants Causeway.

When I take part in Sacred Travel, I am careful not to over-plan, as I am aware that the hidden gems lay in the hand of the locals.  That being said, there were two items on my list for Northern Ireland…Sleive Gullion & the Giants Causeway.

Traveling in early September is ideal for missing out on long lines at popular spots, that are considered national landmarks, as long as you are OK with a bit of unpredictable weather.  Me, I do just fine with such thing, and always remember to pack for any kind of weather…raincoat & thin parkas are advised.  There are benefits to traveling in September, such as kids going back to school, which means the crowds are a lot more manageable.

Having experienced this at Blarney Castle, where the normal wait to kiss the stone could be an hour & I was fourth in line, we decided to take our chances and drive straight to the causeway ourselves, skipping the tour bus option.

Where the first part of our travels had been by BusEireann, we were lucky enough to borrow a car from our host; the O’Hanlon family, in Dublin & the North.   (I will speak of them more in my next blog Welcomed as a Druid)   The drive from Mullagbawn; the place we called our home in the North, to the Giants Causeway was about 2.5 hours.  The path we drove was a beautiful one showing us both the mountainous countryside & the city of Belfast.

This journey showed subtle signs of ‘the Troubles’ (the ethno-nationalist conflict in Northern Ireland during the late 20th century), mostly in the form of flags.  It was easy to determine which side of the coin a community sat on, by whether they flew flags of the Republic or the Union Jack.

Like the wise-woman I am, I make it a point not to get involved in battles that have never been mine, and I never talk politics or religion with strangers…OK, well maybe religion/spirituality with strangers, but only when its business.  Generally I choose the path of love, and observation, often thinking of myself as similar to an anthropologist in such situations, I am there to watch and learn, not to judge.  I find this a good rule of life.

When we got to our destination we again were easily able to get into the park.  *I just want to state here that the parks are very reasonably priced, with the funds going to the upkeep and care of the national monuments*

Stepping out the door of the visitors center; into the park itself,  I was nearly overcome with emotion.  Like just about every sacred place I experience, I find myself with tears welling up in my eyes,and my body buzzing with energy.  Looking back on it I am filled with deep emotion, for the connection to Spirit in such places is overwhelming.

My husband humors me, and often teases me on how puppies and kittens seldom move me, but rocks and trees can bring me to tears.

The feeling I had at the Giants Causeway was one of remembrance.  It was a place known to my soul, the cliffs and ocean breeze, the stones with their hexagonal shape were familiar to me. I had been here before in another lifetime.  When moments like this come over me I find myself existing between the worlds, with timelines buffeting me like the waves of the sea.  I am both Salicrow, and more.  I am walking in the present and the past simultaneously.

We had received the hand held device; like all the other tourist, that were suppose to tell us something of the history, at various stops along the way.  But we soon found that to be a waste, as neither my husband nor myself cared much for the tutorial.  I for one, was there to experience the water, stone and nature beings that called the place home.

Even in the quiet season, there were still hundreds of people there, but I was able to find a space on the rocks that was not populated by others.  It helps that I was raised in the White Mountains, and joke about being part billy-goat, able to nimbly find my footing in rough terrain.

Finding my spot, I set out my offerings and opened myself to the Genius Locus/the Spirit of Place.  I sang my spirit song to the rock beings, the Giants of the Causeway, and to the ancestors of the land who had tread there long before the buses and multi-racial people populated it’s stones.   You can find some video footage of me singing there on my Facebook page, unfortunately I forgot my microphone at home, and the wind was pretty intense often drowning my voice out.  

The work that brought me to the Giants was that of welcoming them to the table, calling them forward to share their strength in these trying times.  For I often see myself as an ambassador to the Spirit realm, finding myself traveling about on tasks set before me by god/goddess/universe.   I do this work because I am a communicator, able to speak not only to the Spirits of the Dead, but to those of Nature.  As a Druid this is my role, one I was given by Spirit shortly before my graduation at Stone Hedge.

Laying on my back on a very large stone in the woods of Dreamland (the land in Vermont that I did my Druid training on), I was seeking my role as a Druid.  What was it I was meant to do?  How could I best serve the Earth, particularly in these trying times of climate change and over population?  The answer had come to me quickly…I was to be a communicator.  I often refer to myself as being similar to Deanna Troi in Star Trek, the Next Generation.  My work is that of understanding, and perceiving.  I come to the table without judgement, I do not expect other beings to have the same rules of engagement as myself, and I understand that sentience is not limited to the arrogance of human beings.

Look carefully for the face beside of me

Meeting with the Giants was a lot softer then one might expect.  They had known of my coming, as I had connected to others of their kind before in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and to cousins of theirs in Iceland.

I do not begin to understand what will happen at the table in which I believe all beings are being called to, I simply am there as the ambassador, giving the invitation to attend.

We are all going through these times of change.  It is not just our planet.  We alone cannot be the only players at the game, for surely by now we can see what a mess we have made of disconnecting ourselves from the spirit world, and the world of nature.  Many cultures still hold great value in the unseen world, Ireland being one of them.  Many of their people still hold a strong connection to the lore of the Fae beings, to the fairies, and giants, and dryads, and in other lands the belief in  trolls, huldafolk.  It is time for us to open our senses and perceive that we have the power to make great change, but only when we see that the world is much more vast then we could ever imagine, and there are many more beings living here then the ones we see with the our eyes.

I hope you enjoyed the read folks…I will keep them coming for the next couple of days, so keep checking back to see where my journey has taken me.  I will be back in the States on the 13th of September.

spreading love-salicrow

Sacred Travel…Releasing Expectations [walking to the Calliagh Berra’s house]

Let me start by saying my legs are killing me.  Today we walked for 6 hours; up a mountain and back, with very little breaks.  My goal when I left the house this morning was to climb to the top of Sleive Gullion, and submerge myself in the lake of the Hag; the Calliagh Berra of Irish mythology.

When I left the house, I had expected we would drive to the beginning of the trail and climb from there.  But somehow my husband got the idea in his head that we would just walk from the house we are staying at in Mullagbane, Northern Ireland.  When he said this was the plan (he is the directions guy), I immediately questioned his logic, as I could see the mountain off in the distance.  I knew it would take us an hour just to get to the trail head.  But he was insistent that this was what we should do.

Sleive Gullion is considered the most sacred mountain in Ireland.  The name means Mountain of Cuchulain.  It is the heart of an ancient volcanic chain in Northern Ireland, which is truly breath taking.  The legend around Sleive Gullion speaks of a dispute between Finn Mac Cumhail (finn mccool); an irish hero, and the Hag/Calliagh Berra.

In the story, Finn Mc Cool (an Irish hero) dives into the Calliagh Berra’s lake seeking the love of a beautiful maiden.  When he enters the lake he ages rapidly, and his hair turns white.  The feeble Finn, comes out of the water to see the fair maiden is really an old hag.  After a bit of persuasion, Finn is able to convince the Calliagh to return his youth, but she leaves his hair white.

There are some good versions of the story out there, if you have a love of mythology, simply google The Calliagh Berra’s lake.

Like most stories there is a lot more to it, then the simple trickery of the hag.  Some stories tell of Finn’s hunting dog chasing a white stag (considered a magical creature) to the edge of the lake.  In short, he crossed the witch, and she was not pleased.  I like to point out that she returned his youth, when he threatened to empty her lake, drowning all of Ireland.  To me this shows she had great care for the land, and the people of it.

My work as a Druid, and Spiritual adventurer often takes me to such places, places that others may think twice about going to.  I do not fear the Hag, for I see her as the crone…the ancient one, the one who sits at the edge of death.  She has great wisdom, and demands respect, but her gifts are powerful and filled with wisdom.

When it became clear that I would be heading to Northern Ireland on this trip, I knew that I would climb the mountain.  I was also quite convinced that I would need to submerse myself in the water of the lake, facing my fears; not of white hair, but of muck.  I truly have a repulsion/fear of mucky water.

Leaving my house for my journey up the mountain, I still held this as my truth.  I wore my bathing suit under my clothes, packed a towel and change of clothes in my bag, and mentally prepared myself to face the muck.

We had already walked for about an hour by the time we reached the trails head. The path we took was an old road, probably used as a farm road at some point.  It wound back and forth, giving us great views of the surrounding countryside and other mountains that made up the Ring of Cuchulain.  It was not particularly steep, but there were ‘poop mines’ to avoid, as sheep and cows had traveled the road as well.

We reached a gated off area, with a step over next to the gate (a small built in ladder), and crossed into what was being used as a grazing land for his animals.  It was not really a field, being mostly filled with brush and ragged looking trees. This path was more narrow, and wound back and forth, here and there, but obviously looking like a well trod trail.  After crossing the ladder/gate, and walking for about 20 minutes through said poop mines, we came to a most peculiar barricade.

On our side it looked like a downed hawthorn tree, or a heavy stack of hawthorn brush, on the other side it was pallets roped together.  I believe the barricade was designed to keep his cows in, because even cows are not stupid enough to plow through a barricade of Hawthorn (thorn is even in the name).  But me…I love Hawthorn, in fact I have Hawthorn tattooed on my left shoulder.  It is a fairy tree, and a powerful protector.

The barrier was not a deterrent to me, just as the idea of visiting the hag was not scary to me.  If you are friends with such beings, you simply know to respect their customs.

Shortly after crossing the barrier the ground exploded in color…as the hillside was literally covered in Heather in various shades of purple.  It was deliciously intoxicating, in its vibrancy and I soon began adorning my hat.

The other thing I saw of notice when we got over the barricade, was that we were still in the foothills of the mountain. At this point, I realized that the trip to visit the Calliagh Berra for me at least was one I had to earn.  It was not an easy trek, or a quick check in.

We traveled on, and finally met up with the road…yes the road.  There is a road that leads almost to the top, from a few towns over.  Taking the road gives people the option of getting a fantastic view, and if so choosing…a climb of 30 minutes to the top.  Albeit that climb is a steep one.

Where we met the road, we still had a significant walk before the actual climb, but the road was significantly more pleasant then avoiding poop mines and climbing over Hawthorn barricades.

When we got to the parking lot; at the base of the climb, we met up with other travelers.  We told them they could go ahead of us, up the goat climb of the mountain, as we would be most likely walking slow, having traveled from Mullugbane.  They were actually shocked, and might have thought we were a bit nutty.  But such is the way of a spiritual adventurer…

The last bit of the climb was a rocky, goat trail, in which you really had to watch your footing.  Stones had been made into stairs, and I did not take a lot of pictures of this part, as I was too busy watching where I tread.

When we were nearly to the top, we saw the travelers we had met in the parking lot on their way down.  We spoke for a few minutes on their short stay at the top, and I told them I planned on going into the water.  At this point we were really cold, wearing sweaters and rain coats.  They explained that it would most certainly be brisk, but little else.

About 3 more minutes into the hike, and the weather completely changed. It went from being just cold to whipping winds, low visibility, and a cold mist that chilled you to the bone.  We had reached the cloud cover.  At this point, my husband and I decided that I would be a fucking idiot to try and go into the lake, specially seeing we had a 3 hour hike back to our lodging.

By the time we reached the top, there was no way I would even consider it.  The cloud cover was so thick, that we couldn’t even see the lake, until the very end of our stay there (after spending time in the Calliagh Berra’s house), when there was a brief break in the cloud cover.

In the Calliagh Berra’s house, I made offerings.  She wanted all of the flowers I had gathered on her mountain, as well as the crystals and feathers I had already planned to bring her.  I spent time inside her home toning & singing, offering up my voice and energy, in thanks for being able to stand in her energy.

You can watch the video of me singing on my Facebook page… Singing in Calliagh Berras house

After giving our offerings, and spending time in he wild energy, we began our descent down the mountain.  At this point my husband said “Well you couldn’t go in the lake, but you needed to make a sacrifice anyways.  You had to take the long road, door to door, from our door to hers”.

This is an important factor in Sacred Travel. We can set out with the grandest of intentions, our story laid out of what we plan to do, but in the end it is a journey shared between the one who travels and the gods.  It seldom goes according to plan, it is almost always trying, and in the end it is greatly rewarding.  Perhaps I never needed to go into the muck, I just had to set out with a dedication that I would, no matter how difficult it would be for me.  It was the dedication, the willingness that matters.

Our journey was long, it had a lot of aches and discomforts, but it was something I will now hold as as a deep treasure.

We will try to get to the lake again before we leave the North, but only if weather is permitting, and we will take the car as far to the top as we can.  If I never make it into the lake, I will still know that I have been tried by the Calliagh Berra and that I succeeded.

As for today, we are off to the Giant’s Causeway…more work to be done.

spreading love-salicrow

 

Stories of Spirit…Celebrating the Harvest [Lughnasadh & the Warrior Bitches]

I love the company of men.  I find them as a general rule to be straight forward, outwardly competitive, and less likely to engage in drama.  That being said, there are times in which I truly crave the isolated company of my lady friends; the warrior bitches and sacred mamas, who have seen me covered in my own tears and snot.

For years now, I have found myself congregating with my wise-women, during the heat of summer; for powerful, soul-moving work.  Work that is not filled with deep planning and bullet point schedules, but is instead more of a wild-rumbus of magic, emotions, and intoxication.  We come together to let our hair down, (or plate it into viking braids), have late night conversations by the light of a campfire, and to engage in the wildness of magic…the kind that oozes from one’s soul, when we are truly in sync with the universe and the natural world.

When it comes to magic of manifestation, I am not one for large crowds, and find myself put off by the glut of retreat weekends offered up.  Not because I think they have no value, but more because I struggle to let down my guard when the numbers are high, and the people are not intimately connected.  As a Psychic I often find myself overwhelmed in large groups, and immediately switch into the role of teacher/facilitator/counselor, making such weekends feel less about myself, and more about others.  I feel the people who are holding back,  the ones who are trying to hard, and the ones who are just barely holding themselves together, and I step into the role of caretaker.  This takes away from my ability to focus on myself, and my personal work.

We must take time to know ourselves, and to cater to the needs of our soul.  Lughnasadh for me is such a time.

Lughnasadh is the first of 3 harvest holidays in the Celtic Wheel of the year.  (The Celtic Wheel of the Year consist of 8 holidays, equally spread out through the solar year) Celtic Wheel of the Year.  Lughnasadh on a personal level is a celebration of the abundance of life, and the hopes and wishes of what is still in store.  It is a time to step boldly into ones dreams, and reach for ones desires, while consciously being aware and thankful for all that we have received thus far.  It is time of high-magic and potent manifestation.

I want magic to be tangible, titillating, and filled with wild abandon.  I want to release myself to the Spirits of Nature, and be ridden by the bliss of an open Kundilini (complete chakra system).  I want to know without a shadow of a doubt that the person standing next to me has my back, knows the value of holding secrets that are not theirs, and is also willing to ride the rapids of their dreams.  I know it seems like a lot to ask, but it is not impossible.

It begins with intention, with the thoughts and desires to find and create such a community for oneself.  The feeling of trust is necessary, for how are we to speak of our desires, goals and dreams while they exist in the vulnerable place of becoming, if we do not trust those we work with.  Just like a newborn child, we must be careful who we entrust with the safety of that which we seek to manifest.  We do not need know them for years on end, but we must know in our soul that they are worthy of such a duty.

Finding deep friendships, and feeling secure enough to let your wyrd out, is invaluable.  In truth it does not require that participants should or shouldn’t be of the same sex as you.  It has nothing to do with that at all.  I just happen to like the feeling of empowerment that a group of ladies generate, when they come together as their bad-ass selves.  Specially since I am a person who prides myself on not-doing manual labor.  This is where I make the exception.  I put up my own tent, I carry my own shit, I do all the things I prefer to let my husband do, and I do it in style.

When we step outside of our every day self…the self who likes a soft bed, and appreciates cooking in a kitchen with running water, lights, and a nice stove, we invite ourselves to become more.  We are ignited by the flame of adventure, and find we are capable of more then we believe possible.  The chill of the air, the layers of clothing, the roots poking up lightly under our yoga mat/sleeping bag, are all reminders to not get ‘too comfortable’, to stay aware, and to open our mind to the unseen.

This years weekend was all that I needed, and hoped for.  The group has changed over the years, expanding and contracting to accommodate those who can and cannot make it.  But the work remains essentially the same.  We gather in hopes of fueling our dreams, and expanding our consciousness.  We gather to support one another, and to step intentionally further onto our paths.

As a Druid and priestess of the Earth, much of my time was spent hugging trees, melding into rocks, and traveling astrally into holes in the ground & openings in the rock.  I go into the forest to meet with the Fae Folk, the Spirits of Nature whom I consider friends and teachers.  This weekend gave me ample time to do so, as we explored path ways in the Notch (Crawford Notch) that I had never been on.  I found myself preparing for my trip to Northern Ireland, by meeting with stone beings/giants and reacquainting myself with those I had met before.

I know the idea of talking to Fairies, Trolls, and Giants can seem a bit far fetched.  But only if you are imagining with Hollywood eyes.  These beings exist in different dimensions then we do.  They vibrate on different frequencies, and one must be open to experience them.  Over the years my ability to do so has expanded, just as my ability to speak to the Dead has done so.  The longer I do it, the more places I wonder, the more magic I see present in the world, the more beings I come to know as friends.

I find this to be important, as we are living in changing times.  Times when the old ways of magic, and divination are returning.   Expansion of consciousness is not just happening to those who seek it, but to those who stumble onto it as well.  In truth it is far easier to assimilate to if we believe and accept.  Our struggle with the term ‘reality’ can cause many a problems for the masses.

In the light of dusk on the last night of our weekend, we found our way into a cave in the rocks.  It is a cave I have visited many times, one that has expanded physically over the years.  What once could hold only two people close together, now holds 5 comfortably.  Its expansion has been a thing of wonder to me, for it truly has grown both energetically and physically with use.  In the darkness, and light of a small fire we spoke that which we meant to manifest into becoming.  We connected to the nature beings that surrounded us, and opened ourselves into timelessness…we surrendered to the universe, got out of our way and became co-creators of our reality.

The rock walls around us vibrated, and pulsated with the energy generated by our voices and the solid beat of the drum.  We became one with the moment of becoming, and let go…knowing that we had just impregnated something fantastic.  We had seeded our dreams.  The days leading up to the moment in the cave, were as important as the moment itself.  For they were the building blocks, the invitations, and the call to arms necessary to step onto the path of the Spiritual Warrior.  It was an exceptional moment of Spirit, and we were ready.

I know that which I have planted, must be tended.  I cannot now forget it as it is still in need of tending.  But that being said, I have full faith that my work is potent, and that which I seek to create is beautiful, powerful, and filled with integrity.  I give thanks for the blessings of Lughnasahd, the first harvest.

LUGHNASAHD actually takes place on August 1st, so you have not missed the deadline.  For those of you looking to create something magical yourselves this harvest here is a quick do it yourself idea.

YOU WILL NEED- a small fire (candle, campfire, raging bonfire, etc), a piece of paper and pen, any sacred items you like (crystals, feathers, holy symbols, etc), your voice.

Start by creating fire, as you do so welcome in your ancestors  and imagine you are surrounded by a white light of protection. Sit comfortably in front of it and pick up your paper and pen.  Make a list of that which you are seeking to become.  If you are seeking self empowerment, examples may be…more confidence, find my voice, stand tall, value my intuition, etc.

With the list in hand, begin chanting your own name.  You can elongate the vowels and turn your toning into more of a sacred song, or keep it short and sweet, building momentum over time.  Hold onto your paper as you do so.  Gaze into the fire, and let yourself relax into its light.  Keep your vision soft, paying attention to that which appears in your peripheral vision.  Continue chanting your name for at least 10 minutes.  As you do so, imagine you are charging up the paper which you hold in your hands, charging up the dreams you hold.

When the energy feels full, stop…hold onto the energy and speak the words written on the paper aloud, with the force of fact.  Then burn the paper, letting the words and intention go to the universe, where they begin their becoming.

Thank your ancestors, and close your protective circle.

Know that you must continue to tend your dreams, in order to grow them.  Your magic is simply fertile ground, it aids in growth, but work is also necessary.  We must care for and nurture that which we aspire to.  We must believe in our dreams and work toward them, if we want to see them ripen.

I hope you enjoyed the read folks. Now go out and embrace your wild self, and make some magic!

 

spreading love-salicrow

STORIES OF SPIRIT…Beltaine [celebrating with Spirits of Nature]

Today is Beltaine…a day when the Fairies walk among us.  A day that is Betwixt & Between, standing half way between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice.  It is a powerful day, like Samhain/Halloween, when the veil between the worlds is at it’s thinnest.  A day when our Beloved Dead and the Spirits of Nature are strongly present in our world.

In my little corner of the Universe, the day is wet.   The sky has opened up, and the rain is coming down in buckets.  In many ways the nature of the day is contrary to what one would expect, of hope for on Beltaine.

Beltaine is one of the 8 holidays that make up the Celtic Wheel of the year.  It is a celebration of all that is fertile, and newly awoken; of passion, play, and wild abandonment.  Traditionally it is a time in which the land is blessed, in hopes of a bountiful harvest.  A time of flowered wreathes and brightly colored frocks, a time of revelry.  In modern times this blessing of fertility that is most potently known as the Maying, has expanded to include all of our creative endevours, that our way will be fruitful and sacred.  As the veil between the worlds is particularly thin during May Day (Beltaine), it is also a time in which we give thanks to the “others”, the unseen being who share this planet with us, the Fae Folk.  

Astronomers have proposed that solid matter makes up only 5% of the Universe.  That leaves 95% unaccounted for.  In my opinion, this is a good argument for believing in unseen beings…the Spirits of the Dead, and that of Nature alike.  Beyond opinion, I have personally had experiences with many of these beings, Ancestral Dead and Nature Beings alike.

Beltaine with some of my most loved Druid companions, a few years back.

I have celebrated Beltaine since I was in my early 20’s, when I found my way back to the holidays and connections of my Ancestors, and began living my life within the cycle of nature, known as the Celtic Wheel of the Year.  My Ancestors, that which I came from, have always lived close to the Earth, and in doing so given honor and thanks, to the Planet itself.  The 8 holidays that make up the Wheel, remind me of the changes my beloved Gaia is going through, and help me to stay in sync with her rhythms.   In doing so, I feel that my life is richer and more balanced.

Like most things in modern times the celebration of such holidays is done loosely around the date that they fall on.  As today is a Monday, my celebration today, will be simple and homey.  I have set out honey water for the Fae Folk on one of my outdoor altars, as an offering, and left out a glass to fill with rain water.  Traditionally the water collected on May Day would be dew, collected from leaves, under the early morning sun.  As the day is wet, with a heavy layer of fog, and intermittent downpours, I decided that I would collect the rain water instead.

Collecting dew (or rainwater) on May Day is an old Folk tradition, the water is said to bring luck, beauty and good health, particularly if one washes their face with it.  I myself will use my collected “May Rain”, by anointing my Third-eye, and Crown Chakras with it, as long as it last.

Mother Goose Rhyme about collecting Dew on May Day…

“The Fair Maid, who on the first of May, goes to the fields at the break of day, and washes of the dew of a Hawthorn tree, will ever after handsome be!”

Maypole

Another Beltaine tradition is the May Pole.  Dancing the May, is simply the act of weaving colored ribbons around a large pole.  It is simple and playful, but laden in old-school fertility magic.  The pole being very phallic like representing the God or masculine aspects of Nature, and the hole that it is planted in, representing the female/Yoni.  The dance was traditionally done as part of the blessing of the land, but it had personal effects as well, and often those seeking to become fertile in their personal lives would/do dance.  As I have said earlier, in modern times this fertility has expanded to include many aspects of creativity, but in the olden days it was mostly about the fertility of livestock, land and personal womb.

This year I will not be dancing the Pole, nor will I be attending a large May Day celebration.  Instead I will be boarding a plane this Friday and heading to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where my sister and I will be teaching a weekend intensive on Earth Magic.  And though I will miss the ribbons, and drums of the greater circle, I am delighted to be bringing the magic of nature, and the Fae Folks to those who are seeking it.  We will sit around a fire, and enter deeply into the space of Betwixt and Between, and we will seek communion with the beings of Nature, as we walk through the trails that surround Lake Michigan.

Here is a simple bit of goodness, for those of you seeking to connect with Nature and bring the blessings of fertility into your lives this the First of May.  If you cannot do this on May 1st, due to timing or lack of rain, do it the first day of May that you can.

Rainy day Beltaine altar. The stick inside the blue glass holds a branch of thorns from the Blackthorn tree @ Madron’s well, in Cornwall, UK. The golden glass holds the honey water, my offering to the Fae Folk.

You will need… 2 glasses (preferably the most sacred, or prettiest you have), honey,  a bit of hawthorn if you have it

*In one cup…add 2 tablespoons of honey to a 1/2 cup of warm water (this is your offering for the Fae Folk)

*Leave the second cup empty (this is for collecting rain water)

*Place your bit of Hawthorn in the empty cup, so that the rain water may run down it, into your glass

LEAVE THE GLASSES OUTSIDE on an altar, or upon a large rock, over night.  Give the glass time to fill with rain water.  The honey water left out for the Fae Folk will most likely still be there the following morning.  This is because they absorb the energy of the offering, not the actual physical material.  Dump the honey water, onto the ground, when you collect your May rain water the next day.

*Place your index finger and middle finger into the rain water and anoint your Heart (middle of the chest), Throat, Third Eye (between your eye brows/middle of the forehead), and your Crown (top of the head).  These four Chakras are connected to communication and Psychic Knowing.

Make sure to verbally thank the Spirits of Nature, and the Earth itself for this offering.

*place the remainder of the May water in a glass canning jar, or bottle, and label it.  Anoint your heart, throat, third eye, and crown, every morning as you start your day, until the bottle is empty.

This little spell is helpful for opening our consciousness to the unseen world, and giving the blessing of fertility to all of our creative endeavors.  Remember (before you get caught up in the word) that a spell, is simply a potent prayer.  It is intention with action.

I hope you have enjoyed the read Folks, and that you have a beautiful Beltaine, and a Spirited May!

spreading love-salicrow