May, 2018

Welcome

May, 2018

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Cover art: Beltane Goddess custom order created by artist Silvia of TheCosyGoddess Etsy shop.

About the artist: Silvia is an artist, bellydancer, holistic dance teacher & mother of a little Pixie boy. Originally from Italy, she moved to Devon, Uk to follow her love. The beautiful nature & the powerful presence of Mother Earth in Devon’s hills & coasts and the love for everything that’s divine, spiritual & pagan related inspired her to transform her thoughts into art. She mostly creates with polymer clay but she also draws & paints. To see more of Silvia’s art, please visit her on her Etsy shop or Facebook page.

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On the warm winds of Spring we bring to you our May/Beltane Issue with splendid articles to help you celebrate the month & holiday. Informative book reviews to help you make the wisest purchases for your bookshelves. And we’ve thrown in some great lessons to help you learn something new! May you enjoy this month!

 

In this issue you will find some interesting segments, such as…

 

Once more into the world of meditation apps wanders our Mabh Savage!  Researching which is the best app out there for our readers and for what price.  This time she is exploring the benefits of Simple Habit.  You can read her Review HERE.

 

 

Are you seeking more knowledge of an Old God, who seems older than even the Olympian Gods?  Then Pan is your God and Pagan Portals- Pan: Dark Lord of the Forest and Horned God of the Witches by Melusine Draco is a book you need!  Read Dawn’s review and find out just why you may need this book!

 

 

Looking for a fun way to bring Mindfulness into your life?  How about a Graphic Novel?  From Mike Medaglia’s One Year Wiser series, Robin Fennelley review’s An Illustrated Guide to Mindfulness.  Do the illustrations & techniques capture your mind? Find out in the Review!

 

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You like us, You really like us.  Thank you so very much!!

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Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ Community, Instagram, & YouTube.

 

Friendship isn’t about whom you’ve known the longest

It’s about who came and never left your side

 

 

 

 

 

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App Review: Simple Habit – Meditation for Busy People

May, 2018

App Review

Simple Habit – Meditation for Busy People

Once more into the world of meditation apps I wander! This time I’m exploring the benefits of Simple Habit, an app I’ve had for a while but only used very sporadically. Again, I started with the free version then looked to upgrade for more features. The app is normally about $6 a month for the full version, but you can invite friends to get limited time access to premium content, so I bugged my friends and family in order to get access to the good stuff. Just for you guys. Because I loves ya.

The interface is less showy than the other apps I’ve looked at. It’s a dark gray background, with ‘windows’ style blocks displaying the title of each meditation. It’s very easy to navigate, and the lack of ‘flashiness’ lends itself well to a tool that’s designed to be calming and soothing. There’s a search function that allows you to look for key words. It even suggests things you may be looking for help with, such as ‘stress’ or ‘sleep’.

On the home page, there’s a larger block that simply says, ‘Play Next’, which shows the next meditation that’s either been recommended or lined up based on what you’ve already listened to. Clicking on this today opens ‘Simple Habit Starter’. The block disappears, and the screen shows a podcast style interface with the round circle showing how much audio remains, a pause/play function and before you start, a friendly reminder to ‘Take a deep breath’. Again, the colors are very muted, there is no clutter on the screen. It’s as if the app has been designed specifically to avoid distracting you from examining the recesses of your mind, by being as unobtrusive as possible.

Simple Habit Starter’ is subtitled ‘Introducing Mindfulness’. Many of the meditations (possibly all, I haven’t listened to them all so can’t say for sure!) start with ‘You’re listening to Simple Habit; a daily vacation for your mind.’ What a nice idea, that meditation is taking your brain on a little break. Someone called Cory Muscara tells me to get comfy; either sit or lie down. Close my eyes if it feels comfortable. Give myself permission to be here; stopping can feel foreign. There’s nothing I need to achieve. I’m encouraged to focus on my breathing, and the short starter session is over before I know it, leaving me oddly refreshed and keen to explore the other features. Before I do anything else, I’m encouraged to aim for small meditation goals, like a 3 day streak.

What I particularly liked was once the meditation was over, the app doesn’t fling you right back to the home screen, but lists other meditations you may be interested in, to add to your play list. Some are on the same or a similar theme and others are by the same guide. This is a great feature as if you are picking meditations that appeal to you, you’re more likely to be excited about meditation and see it as something to look forward to, rather than something you ‘should’ be making time for.

I did seven ‘sleep better’ sessions, and believe me, I have listened to *many* guided meditations promising a great night’s sleep, so wasn’t expecting anything special. I was pleasantly surprised. Each of the first six sessions taught you a different technique to help you fall asleep. What I found most useful about this was the fact that most of these techniques can be used without the need for external audio input. Once you’ve learned the skill and practiced it, you can simply relax and use the power of your own mind to put it into practice, without having to load up the app every time, which can wake you up further.

Simple Habit is perhaps one of the best mediation apps I’ve found so far. Even when I ran out of ‘premium’ time and was flung back to freebies only, I still found plenty of relevant meditations, from really short ones for busy days, to longer ones for after the kids have gone to bed. The guides are positive without being condescending, it’s reasonably priced and it’s easy to tailor the experience to your own needs. Highly recommended.

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About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals: Celtic Witchcraft.

Follow Mabh on TwitterFacebook and her blog.

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Dance as Catharsis

May, 2018

(Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash)

 

Do you know what I’ve learned? That although ecstasy is the ability to stand outside yourself, dance is a way of rising up into space, of discovering new dimensions while still remaining in touch with your body.  When you dance, the spiritual world and the [physical] world manage to coexist quite happily.”

-From “The Witch of Portabello” by Paulo Coelho

 

I was fortunate to grow up in a culture that valued dance. Every weekend, the whole extended family would get together at a relative’s house, eat together, socialize, and dance. After everyone had had time to chat and digest their food, we’d all pitch in to help move the furniture to the outskirts of the room, thereby creating a dance floor. The record player belted out Top 40 hits, world music, dance music, and all sorts of other eclectic beats and sounds; we’d easily go from Michael Jackson to Julio Iglesias in an evening! Although I confess, I was never much of a Julio fan, the adults in the group certainly loved him. And that leads me to the other brilliant thing about these evenings: they were multi-generational. The kids danced with the adults, teens, and elders. Everyone was included.

This went on until I was about twelve years old. I knew that something was wrong in my extended family when people stopped gathering as often. But I knew that something deep was at work when my family stopped dancing altogether. Internal family conflicts divided people and they simply did not know how to utilize the dance for anything other than celebration and personal expression. They didn’t know that dance was therapy and that they could dance through anything and come out the other side of it more balanced than before. I often wonder what might have been different and if communication would have improved if they had had this knowledge at the time.

It took me about sixteen years to recover my love of dance after that. I found myself attracted to non-choreographed dance modalities such as belly dance, rave, and trance dance. I’ve been dancing 5Rhythms (www.5rhythms.com) for almost two decades now and it is a practice that has supported and moved me through some serious transitions in my life. I’ve danced through tremendous grief, exhaustion, fear, sadness, joy, rocky love relationships, moving away from my family, and healing an addiction. I dance because my body doesn’t lie to me like my mind does. It is utterly honest. When I come to dance an issue in my life, my body tells me exactly what is going on as I move the way it wants me to. My body tells the story of what is out of balance and gives me clues for what I need to do to regain my centre. It does not use words so I’ve learned to uncover the messages of the somatic language of feeling throughout years of practice.

Going to class isn’t a “So You Think You Can Dance” sort of atmosphere. It is the polar opposite of competition, showing off my steps, or learning rigid dance moves. It is a spiritual experience where my body literally moves and heals me. All I have to do is follow my feet and my instincts. Often, I can feel burdens lifting off my shoulders and emotions leaving the hidden caves they’ve been trapped in- sometimes for years. I never know what is going to happen and that unpredictability is a part of the attraction for me. The unknown is where we heal, learn, and grow. They body knows how to move us in that direction if we surrender to its non-linear intelligence.

Dance, rhythm, and music have been used since the beginning of time by shamanic cultures throughout the world for healing and celebratory purposes.  These elements were and are often entwined in ceremony and guided by the culture’s medicine person.  Shamanic cultures the world over weave these three practices into their daily lives because they know of the increased health and well-being they bring into the lives of the people.  These creative modalities give the body and the psyche expression without words. In short, they take the ego mind out of the equation so we have a chance to experience our true selves.

It is fair to say that most people in the Western world are disconnected from these readily available healing tools.  One need not have extensive formal training in any of these modalities to receive healing benefit from practice.  This is intended as an invitation into a spiritual experience that has no dogma and is not affiliated with any religion.  Everyone can practice it.  It is through the experience of it that healing naturally occurs and since no two people are exactly alike, each person will have a different experience.

When in the midst of dance, we can heal without words by learning to tap into the body and spirit wisdom that is lying dormant inside of us.  Along with patterns that don’t serve us any longer, we have a chance to witness those that do.  The beauty is that it is never too late to heal pain or celebrate victories from the past.  Indeed, engaging in this ceremony takes courage and willingness to show your true self; that is a huge victory in and of itself! Dancing within a ceremonial context is very different than a class; however, practicing in dancing meditation classes is a good way to connect with our bodies if this is a foreign concept!

These days, I lead Soul Vine Dancing Ceremonies, which are done in a spiritual container of safety with a very specific alchemy. Folks come and dance at their own pace in a way that works for them, their bodies, their hearts, and their psyches.  Most of all, I encourage folks to be gentle and to forgive themselves through the practice.  They can allow what’s there to be there: joy, grief, sorrow, anger, boredom, exhaustion, resistance, or sadness.  This includes negative inner dialogue.  We can keep moving through all these; they are indicators that something is shifting!  We can talk to our High Selves while we dance for guidance.  It’s safe to let go of the past and move that healing right through our beings.  We dance for and with ourselves because we are all worth it.

*Part of this article originally appeared on the author’s blog in August 2014 (https://jenniferengracio.wordpress.com/). The author has added content to the original for PaganPagesOrg Magazine.

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About the Author:

Jennifer Engrácio has been a student of shamanism since 2005. Jennifer is a certified teacher who has worked with children in many different education settings since 2001. She is a certified shamanic coach, reiki master, and lomilomi practitioner; in addition, she runs Spiral Dance Shamanics. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, she now lives in Calgary, Canada with her life partner.

Engrácio participated in self-publishing three books that are now available:

The Magic Circle: Shamanic Ceremonies for the Child and the Child Within”

Women’s Power Stories: Honouring the Feminine Principle of Life

Dreaming of Cupcakes: A Food Addict’s Shamanic Journey into Healing

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For more information go to: www.spiraldanceshamanics.com

 

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Crystal Connections

May, 2018

Book Review

The Ultimate Guide to Crystals & Stones – A Practical Path to Personal Power, Self-Development, and Healing by Uma Silbey

 

 

Published by Skyhorse Publishing, and written by Uma Silbey, this 314 page book is hands down my favorite crystal book to date. From the moment the author described how the “Stone People” spoke to her, I was hooked. I nearly leapt for joy when she tells her readers to “hear” how the crystals want to be used rather than strictly going by a written definition. This is something I often tell my readers to do and reading that simply validated my own practice.

This book isn’t the common encyclopedia style book but rather a book that teaches you how to connect, feel and listen to crystals, and not just crystals but also ordinary rocks and continuing that affinity to the earth. Packed full of information, techniques and methods, The Ultimate Guide to Crystals & Stones would be useful to any beginner and/or seasoned crystal worker. Uma Silbey’s approach encourages the reader to make these methods a practice rather than a one time or two time use. By using the author’s techniques not only will you never look at rocks or crystals the same way again, but I honestly feel it will give the reader a deeper connection and a new appreciation for them. I could go on and on about this book, as I’ve barely scratched the surface here, but simply put, the Earth is a rock and Uma Silbey is the facilitator of connectivity to it. So, if you have a love for crystals, including the matrix that surrounds them, if you want to heighten your crystal experience and build a profound connection to these earthy gems, then make sure to add this book to your library.

About Uma Silbey:

Uma Silbey has pioneered quartz crystal, gemstone and energy information to the world through her jewelry designs, books and music for more than thirty-five years. While running her successful quartz crystal jewelry company for the past twenty-five years, Uma also authored four books, including the international bestseller The Complete Crystal Guidebook. With a master’s in counseling psychology, she has trained with shamans, indigenous healers, and medicine people. She resides in Haiku, Hawaii.

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Shiron (Shi) Eddy hails from the Pacific Northwest and shares a home with her husband, a Great Dane and a cat. Her love for crystals and minerals came from her dad who was an avid rock hound in his younger years. Shi happily shares her knowledge of crystals with anyone who is drawn to them, but especially loves to help people connect with minerals that involves their metaphysical properties. When she’s not networking with other crystal and mineral lovers, Shi can be found making jewelry, painting, crocheting Goddess dolls, selling her wares at shows or spending time with family and friends. You can find her jewelry in her shop ShiJewels or follow her on Instagram.

 

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Going Shamanic Radio

May, 2018

 

Going Shamanic” is hosted by Jennifer Engracio on P.A.G.E.  Media Project’s blogtalk radio each month. The show focuses on how to integrate shamanism into every day life. Instead of relegating the spiritual aspect of ourselves to Sundays at church or weekend workshops, this show will support listeners in weaving ritual, prayer, magic, alignment with the Spiritworld and the Earth into their lives to enrich their experience of living.

This Month Features Living Creativity with Michelle Darago.

Join us as we explore what it means to have a life filled with creativity and how we can go about increasing our choices in life.  

Today Jen welcomes Michelle Darago for the theme of “Living Creativity“.

Going Shamanic is hosted by Jennifer Engracio, about how to integrate shamanism into everyday life.

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About the Author:

Jennifer Engrácio has been a student of shamanism since 2005. Jennifer is a certified teacher who has worked with children in many different education settings since 2001. She is a certified shamanic practitioner, Reiki Master, and lomilomi practitioner; in addition, she runs Spiral Dance Shamanics. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, she now lives in Calgary, Canada with her life partner.

Engrácio participated in self-publishing three books that are now available:

The Magic Circle: Shamanic Ceremonies for the Child and the Child Within”

Women’s Power Stories: Honouring the Feminine Principle of Life”

Dreaming of Cupcakes: A Food Addict’S Shamanic Journey into Healing

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For more information go to: www.spiraldanceshamanics.com

 

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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 StonecraftArts. 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

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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.

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Sacred Art Video

May, 2018

The Sacred Marriage in the Great Below

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7bo3tYV8Go[/embedyt]

Our soul’s craving for wholeness drives the unfoldment of all stories.

A profound mystery teaching is found at the heart of a collection of myths from ancient Sumeria, such The Descent of Inanna and the sacred marriage of Ereshkigal and Nergal.

The language may be archaic but the message is timeless: the sacred marriage between divine feminine and masculine principles is what animates and revitalizes the cosmos

This phenomenon needs to occur within our own psyche (on the level of soul and archetypes) as much as in the world around us.

I invite you to take a journey of initiation into these mysteries by means of this art video!

I also invite you to check out the following telesummit: The Lost Power of the Grail on which I am one of the speakers and we explore some of the themes from this art video:

https://www.sairasalmon.com/grail/

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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 (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon Books 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 Art 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)

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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 Arthurian 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

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpEfiuthtYo[/embedyt]


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

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7bo3tYV8Go[/embedyt]


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 Books 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 Art Meets Shamanism will be published in December 2018.

Click Image for Amazon Information

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)

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The Road to Runes

May, 2018

The Road to Runes: Hagalaz, the Coming of Hail

So, it was the turn of a different friend to pull a rune this time, and I wasn’t expecting it. On the spot divination, she pulled out the polished, burnt piece of hazel and looked at me quizzically. I had to admit to her that my studies had not taken me this far, and thus, my latest article was born. Pictured is the rune she pulled: Hagalaz, also known as Haglaz or Hagala. This rune literally means ‘hail’, and by what I have learnt, is a pretty fierce and somewhat scary rune to see in any divination.

The Elder Futhark (the group of runes I am working with and believed to be the oldest Germanic runic alphabet) is split into 3 Aett, or groups of 8 runes. Hagalaz is the first rune of the second Aett, or Aettir. There are so many variants of the terms used to describe the runes and their alphabetic structure, and while I am still learning I am keeping myself open to all of these words, so forgive me if I chop and change. The second Aettir is sometimes known as Hel’s Aetirr, which sounds pretty ominous. Hel is the daughter of Loki, and therefore at least part giant, and she reigns over the realm of Hel, one of the dwelling places of the dead in Norse mythology. She is fairly indifferent to the trials and sufferings of humankind, if not actually cruel, and that aspect seems to be reflected in the hail rune. Hail is out of our control. It doesn’t care if we get cold, or wet, or stung. It has no pity for our misery; it simply is, and it is up to us to deal with it; get out of the cold or battle on through the storm.

Hail is the coldest of seeds… (Viking Rune Poem)

Hail is often described in runic inscriptions as a seed, and perhaps this is simply due to its appearance, as if someone high above was casting ice cold grain onto the earth, in the vain hope of it sprouting into some bizarre crop. However, there is more to the seed aspect than simple appearances. If we are tested, and we follow through with the test, whether we pass or fail, we grow as people. Each new challenge we face changes us in some way, usually for the better. Even bad experiences teach us something. Hagalaz is a seed rune because although hard times may be coming, there is the chance for great personal transformation; to be the sprouting wheat after the grain is cast.

Hail is whitest of grains. It whirls from the sky

whipped by the wind, then as water it trickles away. (Old English Rune Poem, translation Marijane Osborn)

This is a reminder that hard times don’t last forever; just as the icy hail turns to water and trickles away, so will our hardships eventually come to an end. We may be whipped into shape by the storms that buffet us, by the challenges that are sent to test us, but ultimately, calm will come, and a time to take stock and see what we have learnt, gained, or been left with. Also, it could be that we are about to lose something, but perhaps that is something we should have let go of long ago. Are we holding on to something that does not help us achieve our highest goals? Are we clinging to a relationship that prevents us being the best we can be? Hagalaz warns that it may be a tough time, but something different is coming, and it’s up to us to make the best of the new situation.

Hagala who breaks helmets… (Runic Inscription on the Kragehul Lance)

So far, I’ve concentrated on the more positive aspects of Hagalaz, but I can’t avoid the simple fact that this is a rune associated with destruction, turmoil, conflict and crisis. Hail is coming and you’re going to be caught out in the storm. If you’re already having a tough time, it’s possible it could get worse before it gets better. Are you ready to be tested? Be prepared, have your wits sharp, don’t be complacent about any potentially upsetting or risky situation and muster your inner strength. Yes, transformation and growth might be just around the corner, but you’re going to have to turn your face into the cold wind and really push hard before you feel the benefits.

The ninth rune in the Elder Futhark, just as Yggdrasil holds nine worlds, Hagalaz is a powerful and crucial rune in any reading. I think it’s important not to panic if you do pull this rune for a client. I’ll admit, when my friend pulled the rune and I read the meaning, I was startled and worried at first, but thinking about her personal situation (private, sorry!) it makes sense. She’s been through a tough time, it’s not over yet, and we’d already spoken about certain things probably not being resolved to satisfaction until Samhain. A gifted practitioner herself, it doesn’t surprise me that she pulled the rune that almost exactly describes the situation she is in and where she appears to be going. And it gave me the chance to learn about a formidable rune; one more step along the road.

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals: Celtic Witchcraft.

Follow Mabh on TwitterFacebook and her blog.

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Gael Song

May, 2018

The Wild Rose of Druidry

The Celtic path is unlike any other, unique in ways that mean so very much to me. The first blossom of this path is that it imposes absolutely no restrictions, except that one should not harm another (which seems like quite a sensible restriction to me!) In the Celtic pagan tradition, all paths are good, and everyone has total freedom to be, to wander into darkness and shadows, if one wishes, then out again into light. I searched for many years for a spirit tradition that would allow me the freedom I longed for, going through Congregational, Presbyterian, and Quaker phases over the past thirty years, dabbling in Buddhism and Sufism for brief periods along the way as well. But the formal Christian, Buddhist, and Muslim religions impose definite dogmas and expectations on their adherents, worshiping in very specific ways, often holding up their own paths as (far!) better than the rest (this one turned me off every time!). Even Quakers, who are accepting of all religions and impose no dogma whatsoever, have subtle restrictions, such as being quiet, no singing during meeting, wearing clothing that isn’t loud. I love the gentle acceptance, honesty, and social activism of the Quaker tradition, but there are mornings I don’t feel a bit drab or quiet! And God/Goddess are neither of these, ever! I want the freedom to sing in ceremony, to dance and laugh, to wear fairy wings if I feel like it! Ha. That would turn Quaker meeting upside down! (Now that I’ve thought of it, I think I’ll just have to try this to see what happens!) The freedom call of druidry draws my heart so strongly, like the wind across the moors in the Oak moon (June) or the hint of fairy flutes in the wood at dusk. Why can’t I be anything I feel like, as long as it harms no one at all? No other path I’ve ever seen holds out this wild rose promise to be whatever one likes.

And second, comes the complete druid acceptance of whatever folks may be going through in life. In the Christian tradition I’m most familiar with and still love in many ways, there were definite restraints on the expression of anger or sexuality especially, specific qualities that were held up as better than the rest (oh, not that again!),not to mention their utter horror of my pagan leanings! But I have wonderful friends who can be a bit volatile, who want to howl or drum half the night in their pain, who clam up, perhaps, or talk non-stop when they are stressed. I want to love them all, especially in their difficulties! I just can’t stand imposing goody-goody nonsense on them. And the druid tradition does not. It brings patient understanding that says challenges must be faced and walked through, the wisdom of knowing all is ordered from above for good reasons that will someday flower into the deep embodiment of truth that is far more precious and permanent for having been earned through hard experience. During my long years as a therapist, I watched clients turn early traumas into career choices time and time again, with hearts that held far more passion and determination for turning things around in the world as a result of those early difficulties in life. There is a reason for the darkness that comes into every life. Every druid knows this. I confess I can be a bit judgmental underneath of folks who seem loud and rough, but the druid path has taught me not to do that, or far less than before. The standard of accepting everyone onto the path just as they are is druid, held high, and I will follow it with my whole heart, inspired by the breadth of love it carries.

The third blossom of druidry is being deeply grounded in the earth, loving the sensual gorgeousness of this world; the upside down mirror in each raindrop, the softness of birch bark in the rain, the sweep of clouds twirling across the sky at dawn. At light healing school, we were often in the clouds ourselves, meditating and drifting for whole days at a time. And those hints of heaven are intoxicating and bring through shifts we probably couldn’t manage any other way. But some folks thought that passing over to the Otherworld would be just lovely, too, and focused on this end-of-life passage a lot of the time. Others forgot to look down again at the end of the day. Oh, goodness! Give me druids every time! I want to run my fingers across rose petals for a whole lot of years to come, make eye contact with real people, wriggle my toes in the mud! Earth is fantastic! Sensuality is phenomenal! And bringing all those dreamy changes into real work in the world is best part of all!!! This is what I love most, putting what I’ve learned into real effect in my life. I just adore that. It’s my coffee in life, truly. Other traditions are action oriented, too, of course, but none that I’ve tried have the earth-loving, sensual, vitality of druidry.

And this leads to the sweetest, most fragrant blossom of all, sexuality. (Not that there aren’t distortions mixed in here, there are.) Every formal religion I’ve been involved with has imposed fairly rigid restrictions on sexuality in life, Sufism and Christian particularly. And while druidry does have that standard of not harming anyone, which carries some responsibility with it, no dogmatic rules are imposed on this aspect of life, either. Everyone is left to choose and learn and explore as they wish. I was raised by a wonderful Bostonian/Scottish mother, but she had unfortunate puritanical underpinnings. If I went outside skyclad as a young child, this would cause an utter uproar in the household. Thank goodness druids are not this way! Thank GOODNESS a hundred times over! I was so relieved and happy to find a tradition without a straight jacket in this regard! And then, sexuality itself is so exquisite. There are no adequate words at all here, it’s beyond them all. I think this acceptance of sexuality is the greatest gift of the druid tradition really, the shining starry pentacle. For I believe that God and Goddess intimately overlight all sexual joinings, that They move into each partner and send Their intense loving passion for each of us, very personally, into our skin and eyes and hearts in just this way. It’s how we can unite with God and Goddess in the most intense form on earth, the most sacred act there is. This is what I feel, anyway. So, all those religious/societal severe restrictions on personal sexual expression keep God/Goddess at bay in a very real way. Besides being sacrilege, those restrictions are all control energy, pure and simple. So again, thank Goddess for druidry! For it allowed me to break out of the heavy gridwork those puritan leftovers built around my very affectionate soul! So there!

And lastly, I just want to add that all these special qualities of druidry are identical to the qualities I have felt in the Goddess, the White Tara, Who has led and assisted me over all these thirty pagan years of my life. She has embraced me in my deepest darkness and does so with everyone (a breadth of love I WISH I could embody.) She rules the path of experience, teaching us all through life’s hard lessons and bringing forth the fruit of these later on. These are Her very children, these highest destinies in us all. And the Goddess is as sensual as roses, the tongue of the wind on the skin of the sea, ocean breakers gently caressing the shore. She IS the earth! It is Her very Body! And then, lastly, sexuality is Her middle name! For She is the inner teacher of intimacy, love-making, lifelong partnership in real love. And druidry is Her religion on earth. Of course, it holds up Her standards of love to the world! Thank Goddess for druidry!!!

***

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 RebornVolume One Revised, and Volumes Two and Three.

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