masculine

Gael Song

August, 2018

Lughnasa


Lughnasa is my very favorite spirit time of year. The solstice/equinox and cross-quarter days mark the cosmic openings of the eight basic aspects of spirit in all things, shifts that are quite powerful. If you are into feeling energy or spirit, these can easily be felt. The masculine openings occur at sunrise, the feminine at sunset on the eve of each holy day. Early in each year, at Imbolc, this spirit opening feels like a baby, a little Girl. Then comes the Boy of the Vernal Equinox, the Virgin Girl and Boy of Bealtaine and Midsummer, the mother and father of Lughnasa and the Autumnal Equinox, the Grandmother at Samhein, until finally, the Grandfather opens on Midwinter. And all these cosmic aspects of spirit are quite different, with very varied directives in life, plus they open the six-week phase of growth for that inner aspect of the self until the next solstice/equinox portal for everyone. All of us, men and women alike, the cosmos and the earth, too, have these eight parts of our spirits, for this sacred structure interfaces all things. We are not so different after all.

So, on the evening before Aug. 5th, the cosmic Mother spirit opens; within each person, across the globe, and in all the planes of existence. And it is a dramatic change from the world server, strong-willed, action oriented Virgin Male of the preceding six weeks. Everything suddenly slows down. There is a nurturing, comforting presence billowing through the wind and clouds. I often feel the impulse to lie down and rest on the earth’s body, a mother herself. This is Lughnasa. Divine Mother can be particularly felt in the first fruits of the harvest. For this holy day also marks the opening of the action ethers within, which means manifestation into the physical, the specialty of the harvest father, Lugh, for whom even this feminine festival is named. This cosmic mother loves to nourish all her children with foods that delight, manifesting the tastiest blueberries or corn or cucumbers from her soil. The fruits of all the inner work of the previous nine moons of walking one’s path begin to appear at this time as well (the Apple moon is the tenth of the druid year), not just the outer harvest of grains and fruits, for the cosmic Mother wants to manifest all our dreams as well! (Though I have the distinct feeling that foods and recipes that simply cannot be resisted might be her personal favorite.) In my meditations into past lives as a Celt in Scotland over 2,000 years ago, I recalled large tribal celebrations at Lughnasa in honor of the earth mother, with extravagant expressions of gratitude for all the natural resources the earth mother had provided over the passing year, each tribe trying to outdo the others. I saw all priestesses who were mothers circled inside the groves in my visions, too, priestesses in divination meditations, calling out anything they saw that might lay ahead for the tribes, blessings and challenges both. And there were always swans on the lochs, too, the mother totem.

But more than this, Lughnasa falls during the Apple Moon, moon of the Goddess, the White Tara, July 27th-Aug. 19th. And when I do my own Lughnasa ceremony at my altar, calling in my druid guides to facilitate the opening of the mother part of my spirit, I always feel the gentle Presence of the White Tara come in around me as well. “Let Me come very close”,” She says, “I miss you so much, child of My Heart!” And I can sense spirit arms around my shoulders or a gentle head laid, very lightly, on my own with that strong eternal Mother Love pouring into me. And I remember the same thing happening in those ancient lifetimes, too, a personal encounter with the Goddess around the time of Lughnasa in those great tribal crowds, a sweet message of mother love to each and every person there. For myself, I need a space of silence for this intimate interface, not the loud, talking on and on, ceremonies that many prefer. And it’s when I fall asleep later that evening when I often feel Her most closely, spirit fingertips brushing across my temples. Oh, She can become very insistent about learning distressing wisdom lesson of the mother aspect at times across the next six weeks, I’ll grant you that, but not on this one holy day. It brings mother comfort and sweet abiding love, stronger in ways than any other. And then on Aug. 8th, three days past Lughnasa, there is always another personal Goddess message, but this time not a visitation, no, a physical gift of some sort that signifies what else will soon be manifesting during the harvest season. Lughnasa, mother comfort, peace, sweet rest, delicious things to eat, and the hint of fulfillment soon to come. No wonder I love it more than all the rest!

***

About the Author:

Jill Rose Frew, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, energy healer, workshop leader, and author. She will be opening a school teaching light healing and the Celtic path of enlightenment in 2019. For information, please see www.CelticHeaven.com

She is author of Guardians of the Celtic Way: The Path to arthurian Fulfillment (her name was Jill Kelly then), and Alba RebornAlba Reborn, Book One, RevisedAlba Reborn, Book Two, and Alba Reborn, Book Three.

Guardians of the Celtic Way: The Path to hurian Fulfillment

GoodGod!

May, 2018

Meet the Gods: Dagda

(This illustration of Dagda was found on Pinterest. His cauldron, known as the Undry or the Cauldron of Plenty, provided infinite food and drink but never to a coward or an oath breaker. It was also said to revive the dead. One end of his enormous club could kill while the other end could give life.)

 

Merry meet.

The name of the Celtic god Dagda means “Good God.” He’s also known as Eochaid Ollathair, meaning “Eochaid the All-Father.” His name is typically proceeded by the article “the.”

In the Celtic tradition, the Dagda is one of the leaders of a mythological Irish people, the Tuatha Dé Danann, “People of the Goddess Danu.”

These were a group of people, descended from Nemed, who had been exiled from Ireland, and scattered. It is thought that Danu offered them her patronage, under which they succeeded in rebanding, learning new and magical skills, and returning to Ireland in a magical mist,” according to Bard Mythologies.

Britannica.com states, “The Dagda was credited with many powers and possessed a cauldron that was never empty, fruit trees that were never barren, and two pigs – one live and the other perpetually roasting. He also had a huge club that had the power both to kill men and to restore them to life. With his harp, which played by itself, he summoned the seasons.”

Some sources have him married to the sinister war goddess Morrígan. At least one of his many children was borne by the goddess of the River Boyne.

The Dagda is generally described as being a large man, sometimes comically so, with a tremendous appetite and immense capacity. It was said that to make his porridge he needed 80 gallons of milk as well as several whole sheep, pigs, and goats, and that he ate this meal with a ladle large enough to hold two people lying down,” Morgan Daimler wrote in “Pagan Portals – Gods & Goddess of Ireland,” citing “A Child’s Eye View of Irish Paganism,” by Blackbird O’Connell.

 

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Daimler notes the Dagda is often described as having red hair and wearing a short tunic. He is strong and able to accomplish “great feats such building a fort single-handedly.” Every power was his.

He is called the Excellent God, the Lord of Perfect Knowledge and all Father. His central attribute is the Sacred Fire and, like it, he is always hungry, ready to consume the offerings; he is also a red god. The Dagda is also a phallic deity [fitting for Beltane], his lust matching his hunger. He is the father of many of the Tuatha De but his key function is as Druid of the Gods,” according to an article published on adf.org.

Druidic magic, abundance and great skill are among the attributes associated with the Dagda.

From my research, it seems he would appreciate offerings of large quantities of dark ale or beer, and oat bannocks, a porridge, particularly if butter and bacon are added. One source noted they should be offered to the fire.

A cauldron and a club or staff, Daimler suggested, could be his symbols in works of magic.

He is called on for wisdom, victory in law or judgement, and bounty. In a time of need, I can see putting out my cauldron, perhaps with a fire in it, and call the Dagda and his Cauldron of Plenty for help. Because his cauldron also serves as a tool of rebirth and regeneration, I would also call upon that power when going through a difficult ending on the way to a rebirth.

(“Dagda – Celtic All Father,” was handcrafted by James Miller from Stonecrafts. Sculpted in wax based clay and cast in architectural concrete, this plaque is available on Etsy.)

 

James Miller, a sculptor from Colorado, is of Celtic and Germanic descent.

He is part of my cultural heritage, so I honor him as an archetype of the ideal masculine,” James said, adding, “His name actually means ‘the good one.’”

He finds people are more receptive to learning about gods, goddesses and ancient traditions when they are framed in a cultural rather than religious context.

Merry part. And merry meet again

***

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

The Holy Grail

May, 2018

What is the Grail to you?!

The Grail stands as a beacon of hope and wholeness in the midst of the Wasteland created by modern Western materialism.  The potency of this symbol beckoning us back to living in harmony with both ourselves and the land around us is a myth very much of our time.  It speaks directly to wholeness and connection and reminds us that to bring the Wasteland back to fertility and lush abundance we must return to the Source that nourishes it.

Our modern Society and education systems gives us few really useful tools to take with us on the great journey of Life.  We need knowledge and understandings that we can directly apply to the challenges and traumas we face, that enable us to emerge empowered and strong, not weak and victimised. The Lost Wisdom of the Grail telesummit brings together a wide variety of Wisdom Keepers who are working to help humanity overcome the challenges it currently faces and envision a future where all are valued and flourish.

– Saira Salmon, https://www.sairasalmon.com/

Recently I received an invitation to be one of the speakers on a Telesummit in May 2018, titled The Lost Wisdom of the Grail, (https://www.sairasalmon.com/grail/) hosted by Saira Salmon. She has organised this summit from a strong personal connection to the Grail teachings and Grail mythology.

Saira’s question to me was: “How and where does the concept of the Grail appear in your shamanic work and classes?” This was a very exciting question to engage with!  My immediate response was to request a dream on this subject from my spirit team.


The dream that came was about “the wounded masculine” – linking it to the hurian tale of The Fisher King. In the dream I had to make my way to this wounded male figure (first I could not even see if it was a toddler or grown man). When I got there I realized that he was my father/son/husband/male friends all in one. The dream was asking me to reflect on where I need to heal my inner masculine (born a woman) to arrive at a healthier relationship of masculine and feminine in our world. (The external world is always an expression of our internal world!)

Over the centuries many scholars and mystics have arrived at different definitions of what the Holy Grail is or was. For me personally the crucial question is: what is the Holy Grail to you?!


For me, first and last, the Grail is a CRUCIBLE – a sacred container of transformation and transmutation – the big question is: are we willing to make ourselves a crucible (sacred chalice or Holy Grail)?!

For much of 2016 and 2017 I was working intensely with a mysterious figure who called herself The Poison Mother.  She came to me in Sweden and became one of my key allies over time. I made an art video about our work together by the same name:

The Poison Mother


As our work unfolded she told me that was familiar with her under a different name:  Norse goddess Sigyn (wife of the trickster god Loki). Her big question to me (to all of us!) is: am I willing to make myself a crucible for transmutation in the world? This means rather than avoiding “toxic situations” actually choosing to be there and using myself as a chalice (or Holy Grail) to be an agent of change in service to our collective consciousness evolving.


In ancient Sumeria this sacred marriage (or Hieros Gamos) was the central idea at the heart of their religion.  I just finished an art video exploring this mystery today:

The Sacred Marriage in The Great Below


Another Grail in Norse cosmology is the cup that the Valkyrie holds out to the warrior in the moment of death. She is also known as the “The Maiden with the Mead” and she is a supernatural being (a goddess!) and Mistress of Initiation. (I invite you to check out the work of author Maria Kvilhaug (http://freya.theladyofthelabyrinth.com/?page_id=35) who wrote a PhD dissertation on this subject!) This cup is said to hold the mead and her offering accompanies a sacred marriage between the Maiden and the “Hero” of the tale. He faces fierce trials and a descent into the Realm of the Dead to earn this privilege.

It is my belief that profound mystery rites of initiation involving women and feminine power are found at the very heart of Norse cosmology (more commonly perceived as quite a male-god dominated tradition!) The same thing is true for many other cosmologies that map an Other World. The details might be culture-specific but the concept and mystery teachings are very similar.

My personal intention is to call together groups of powerful talented people and harness the group power to retrieve those ancient mysteries and initiations! – If that works speaks to you – please check out my 2-year Seiðmaðr & Seiðkona 2-year program in Sweden (starting Summer 2019):

http://www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk/info2.cfm?info_id=224450


For the Celtic peoples this ritual was about the sacred marriage of the king to the goddess of the land (Sovereignty). Without this marriage the land becomes a barren waste land (and look at what we are doing to the Earth and her creatures – we need to revive this mystery teaching!
This is the core of the shamanic teaching I am doing – putting ancient mystery teachings back into practice in the modern world with modern groups of people working in spirit-led ways, using the process of direct revelation).

When we lose these wisdom traditions our inner world becomes barren. Our external world becomes a wasteland, dominated by conflict, pollution and a lack of respect for all sentient beings. This way of being in the world brings dis-ease and disharmony with the great Web of Life (or Web of Wyrd in Norse cosmology).

Another question Saira put to me was: what is the Grail in terms of spiritual work with young people? In this context for me The Holy Grail is the safe sacred space – container – for young people to develop their own spiritual toolkit in partnership with their spirit allies. In our culture we make sure that children are looked after in the physical/social/emotional realm but often we leave them rudderless when it comes to the spiritual dimension. I obviously wrote a whole book about this (Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit for Life) but to sum it up in just a few words… our children and young people need:

  • A viable spiritual toolkit to help them navigate the challenges life throws at them

  • Safe sacred space with kindred spirits – if their innate psychic /healing/shamanic abilities are to be nurtured

  • Rites of Passage offered by the Elders of our Communities – safe experiences of initiation and stepping through developmental portals in order to become fully-fledged adults who do not fear death.

Therefore The Grail is directly linked to a rich inner life, to sacred space held by elders and wisdom keepers, to a sacred marriage within ourselves but also between the archetypal figures of King and Sovereignty (Goddess of the Land)!


Are you willing to be a crucible for change and transmutation in our world?!

If this material speaks to you: please make sure to register for the Grail Summit and tune in. Expert speakers from all over the world will share their unique take on this material! And this summit is FREE!!

***

About the Author:

Imelda Almqvist is an international teacher of shamanism and sacred art. Her book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon in 2016.  She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit  2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True. She divides her time between the UK, Sweden and the US. Her second book SACRED ART, A Hollow Bone for Spirit : Where Meets Shamanism will be published in December 2018.

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www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk  (website)

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/  (blog)

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=imelda+almqvist  

(Youtube channel: interviews, presentations and art videos)