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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Seeing spirits is a common thing in the Celtic traditions. A glimpse out of the corner of your eye, a shimmer in the air, or a full film-like vision- the second sight, or more accurately, the two sights- an da shealladh- as it is known can take on all sorts of forms. It often seems to run in families, and it runs in mine to varying degrees. It is both a blessing and a curse, sometimes, and requires a very flexible yet strong sense of reality to stay grounded in the face of such experiences. Traditionally tales tell us that it is especially useful to foretell a death, but it is seldom so dramatic, or so straightforward in real life. Because the thing is, seeing spirits, just like seeing anything else in this life, isn’t necessarily all that directly useful all the time. It would be wonderful to say that everything I’ve ever seen has been clearly meaningful, and relating to my life and those around me, but like seeing anything corporeal in this world, its foolish to presume it’s all about you, and there are a great many things about the workings of the spirits that we just don’t know, and will never know when we walk the mortal path. Some things just are just getting on with what they do, and aren’t there to instruct or warn or do anything useful for you at all. In a way that can be much scarier than seeing ghosts or the trapped, caught- on- a- loop type energy recordings that are so often what people experience when they are somewhere haunted. There is no narrative for us, necessarily, any more than there is in seeing a stranger cross the road- it’s not a message for you- other than to say the Otherworlds are far vaster and more varied than we’ll ever know. 

That said, there are also friends out there, allies, and kin, regular welcome visitors…and those that walk with you sometimes. It’s traditional to make these offerings, and I reserve a special dish on my hearth and in my garden to leave them gifts of cream, honey and mead, as well as the best portion of every cake I ever bake. One such visited me a few weeks ago, busting into the room behind me in such a rush that at first I thought it was my son. A few moments later I experienced the first proper earthquake I’d ever felt, measured 4.4 on the Richter scale. A very rare thing for the UK. Was their visit a warning? Could I have stopped the earthquake? Of course not, and there was no danger for me and those I loved…no, it was not a warning. But it was lovely they came to tell me all the same. An da shealladh doesn’t always have a use, it’s not like in the movies, but it’s still a gift, in the long term, if you are strong enough…to see a wider reality, and feel a wider, greater sense of kin. I still think a greater sense of scale, in the heart and in the mind- is a good thing.

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  • Danu Forest
    Danu Forest says #
    Thanks Ted! i like to think the hill just shrugged off what it didnt want!
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    This is delightful, Danu. Thank you for the timely reminder that it's foolish to presume it's all about you! You're right: a gre

b2ap3_thumbnail_Bimages.jpgAn antidote to the frustrations of current politics, environmental degradation, and the struggles in our own individual and collective human lives--that can include sheer exhaustion from fighting and emotionally processing these forms of oppression--is music. Singing, and especially dancing, uplifts the human spirit and renews us in ways that few other experiences can. When songs are specifically written to address the very struggles we are engaged in, and remind us that we struggle together toward similar goals of social equity, global community and peace, and economic stability for all, it can downright uplift our resolve to get back in the fight, our vigor shining!

b2ap3_thumbnail_BuffySainte-Marie.jpgThis is what Indigenous-Canadian of the Cree nation, Buffy Sainte-Marie, has been doing for the past 50 years! St. Marie became well-known for her activist peace song "Universal Soldier" in 1964 and was a headline act at many national venues in the 1960s. Her song, “Until It’s Time For You Go” has been covered widely, including by such greats as Elvis Presley, Cher, Roberta Flack and Glen Campbell.  She had a million-selling theme song from the western, Soldier Blue, and in 1982, she won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a British Academy Film Award for Best Original Song for the theme song from the film An Officer And a Gentlemen, called “Up Where We Belong” that was sung by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes. St. Marie also had a stint on Sesame Street in the 1970s and she continued appearing on that iconic American children's show into the 1980s. In 2015, she won a prestigious Polaris Music Prize for Album of the Year for Power in the Blood.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Hot Line

Back in the days BC (Before Cell), a priestess from Minnesota was visiting another priestess in California.

As she's showing her around, the Minnesotan notices a red phone on the desk.

“Is that what I think it is?” she asks.

“The Hot Line,” says her friend. “Direct to Big Mama Herself.”

“Do you mind if I make a call?” asks the Minnesotan. "I've got a question I need to ask. I'll be happy to cover the cost.”

“Be my guest,” says the Californian.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs

In my dream I was an aging soap opera actor. I had played the same supporting role for many years, surviving innumerable story lines and becoming a background fixture in the TV community. For decades I had looked forward to the day when my efforts would be recognized and my character would be promoted to the level of a leading role; but it never happened. As my hair gradually turned gray, it seemed to me that every year the writing got more childish and the story lines became more trite. Still my character continued to be taken for granted, while new characters and younger actors were promoted instead.

Finally, the day came when I had had enough. We were blocking a crowd scene in which more and more characters kept entering the room - a confusing affair requiring a lot of choreography, which I felt the director was handling very badly; every lead character who entered was simply sent to Stage Left, and we secondary parts were left sitting in chairs Stage Right. There were only three of us in those chairs, and the more jammed Stage Left became with actors of note, the more demeaned and disrespected I felt.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs



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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Do Druids Cast Spells? A Look at Magic in Druidry 

I’m not sure where it happened, but somewhere along the way the notion that Druidry and magic are somehow separate things seems to have slipped into the collective consciousness. Perhaps it is because in Neo-paganism we tend to view magic as being the purview of witches and Wicca, the role of magic in Druidry has by consequence been diminished to the point that some may forget it is even there in the first place!

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  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
    Hiya - I find this post very interesting, but difficult to read because of what looks like a formatting error. Am I the only one e

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Great Remembering

The Khazí is the guardian of the legends. With his songs and his stories he reminds us all who we are and where we come from.” (Saifullah Jan, of Khazi Khoshnawaz)


Paganism is a matter of remembering.

We are pagan because we remember.

For a long, long time we forgot who we are. We forgot who our people are. We forgot what our people do. We forgot our stories, our songs, our rituals. We even forgot our gods.

It was a time of forgetting, the time between the Old Paganisms and the New. You could call it the Great Interruption. You could call it the Great Forgetting.

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