Some Secret Place
“Whenever you have need of anything, once it be in a month and better when the Moon is Full, there you shall assemble in some secret place and adore the Spirit of Me, who is Queen of All the Witches.”(1)
We meet under the Full Moon, dancing the ring as the light pours down, raising power, sending energy, feet pounding the earth. What do we need from the Goddess? Who is She? The dance is part magick, part prayer and part ecstasy. As we perform our ritual within the Circle we create energy that is palpable. It rolls up our bodies and makes us shiver. As the dance continues we fall into trance as all the Witches are energetically one, hearts pounding, until a feeling of joy overwhelms us. That is the time that the High Priestess motions for us to release the energy upward and outward, focused and pure toward the completion of the spell/prayer/dance.
When we started the ceremony we invited the Goddess to be with us in the Moonlight. Each Coven or Tradition, even each person, has different Patron Goddesses that they know and love. Ours is Anu, the timeless one, the Great Mother of the Celts, also called Danu. When we first met her she seemed distant and obscured by the mist and we couldn’t get a clear image of who she was. In our meditations and Circles Her presence continued to be felt more and more strongly each time we invoked her and she became our Mother Goddess. Her face became clear in our minds, a sweet mature face of a woman of child-bearing age, kind eyes glowing with love and wisdom. We felt nurtured.
Beginners in the mystical and transformative spiritual path of Wicca are drawn to the divine as feminine, often researching the Goddess in books and on the internet. This is a good first step, but the Goddess is the spirit within nature so to truly know Her, in all Her aspects she has to be invited in. This “inviting in” is a process of opening the heart, calling, longing and searching. It doesn’t happen overnight. Seeing Her in a specific aspect with a story and a name helps the process. Without this study it feels as if we are worshiping a nameless, faceless goddess and that can be difficult. Worship involves loving and it’s difficult to love a non-person with no face who is just a feeling in the bones. Luckily for us the Goddess has many names and faces so we move towards the goddess that resonates with us.
Anu, also called Danu or Dannan is the Irish Mother of all Gods(2). She is recognized also as Don in the Welsh Pantheon(3). Anu was named the mythic mother goddess of the Tuatha Dé Danann, the Celtic tribes that first invaded Ireland. The association of Danann with a probably much older figure named ‘Anann’ or ‘Anna’ also suggests that she may have been superimposed on a goddess with more primeval “Mother Earth” traits(4). I find it fascinating that in Christian Mythos Jesus comes from Bethany, which means the “house of Anu”. In Hebrew Anne is “Anu”. Sainte Anne is the mother who gives birth to the virgin who give birth to the God i.e. Jesus. (5)
It’s impossible to say if the Celts worshiped Anu as we do because they were an oral-wisdom people. Their bards held the stories of the tribes in their memories and things were not written down until the Romans came to the British Isles. Although re-constructionism, the honouring of Anu or Danu has profoundly touched many within the Neo-Pagan traditions. Her worship within some secret place, and in the secret place that is our inner heart, has brought Her back to us. She is alive and vital and present.
How to “Invite In” the Goddess
Altar: Anu’s altar should be green with plants and stones on it. Lay a green altar cloth and place a bowl of earth with a bowl of water in it. If you can find a picture that reminds you of Her, the Great Mother, you can also put that on the altar, maybe ringed with stones. Potted plants are also good, but don’t put cut flowers, which are dying, on this altar. Let your inspiration guide you.
Meditation and contemplation : Call to her with an Invocation and sit quietly contemplating Her name and her correspondences. Invite her to come to you and then sit in silence and feel her presence. Here is one invocation you could use:
Lady of the Greenwood Anu
Mother of Earth and Water,
Most holy, most powerful,
Our heart, our blood, our soul
Come to us on this sacred night
And fill us with the power of your love.
Opening the heart: Imagine your heart center opening like a ball of pink light that grows bigger and brighter as you breathe gently in and out. Now invite Anu to enter your heart shrine and bless you.
Chanting her name: “Anu” can be chanted like “Om”; take a big breathe and intone “Ah-Noo”. You’ll be surprised how it changes your consciousness.
Offerings: Make offerings of fruit, nuts, honey, cakes or any food that is natural and organic. Don’t offer store-bought chemical-filled food as an offering. Making an offering to the Gods is a way of honouring Them.
Drawing and writing: Make sure that you write down any experiences you have while working with Anu. How did you feel? Did you have an inspiration about who She is? Can you draw Her face?
correspondences: Plants, stones, children, hills, the Earth, fertility, Full Moon
1. The Charge of the Goddess by Doreen Valiente (Copyright the Doreen Valiente Foundation see: www.doreenvaliente.org)
2. The Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines by Patricia Monaghan (p. 89)
3. The Mabinogion by Lady Charlotte Guest 
5. The Pagan Christ by Tom Harpur Published:
in Toronto, Canada by Thomas Allen Publishers
in Montreal, Canada by Boreal Press