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SageWoman Blogs

At SageWoman magazine, we believe that you are the Goddess, and we're devoted to celebrating your journey. We invite you to subscribetoday and join our circle...

Here in the SageWoman section of PaganSquare, our bloggers represent the multi-faceted expressions of the Goddess, feminist, and women's spirituality movements.

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Samhain Salutations from the Fairy Goddess

At this thinnest time of year, Samhain, when the veil between our world and the sidhe is gossamer I want to offer a poem in praise of Danu, our most ancient of goddesses. Danu is the gift giver and it is said that her name is embedded in our English word donation. Her name is embedded in the rivers - the Don in Russia in the east and another in the west in Yorkshire, England and the Danube that runs through the heart of Central Europe.  Some say that her origins are in India. She is undoubedly pan-Celtic and very, very ancient, sort of the great-granny of so many deities. 


The first impulse in a divinity is, then, to give. It is said in Ireland that Danu had a husband called Bile. Now that is a word, along with crann, for tree.  In my research I found that Ireland has seven sacred or chieftain trees.  It got me thinking about Danu's husband and this poem, Nemeton, is the result.

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The Witch

The Witch
Max Dashu
Spinner shaman
Weirding woman drawing out Fate,
Knotter of ties, name-giver.
Wisewoman, counselor, teacher.
Clear-seeing sibyl,
Crone who knows meanings,
Remembering essences.
Healer, herbalist, surgeon, midwife.
Priestess of Mysteries.
She of the Cauldron, she waving Wands.
She of the Flame, of the Standing Stones.
The woman whose words are powerful.
The woman whose glance has force.
The woman who petitions Fates.
Fata, fada, hada, feé.
The woman of Faérie
Who refused to accept
Three causeless blows.
The “Good Women Who Go By Night,”
Who give growth and fruits and babies,
Give life of all kinds.
Go on your Wild Ride,
The Tregenda of the Witches.
A witch who cures
A witch who gives birth charms
Who teaches herbs of contraception.
A witch whose garden grows well.
A witch who advises battered wives.
An enchantress who sings
With uncanny beauty.
A witch who prefers
The company of women,
Who is ancient but makes men tremble.
Whose purpose is dreaded by lords
And thus:
The woman burned, the woman drowned,
The woman branded and banished.
The woman tortured, the woman
Forced to perform the ordeal
The woman violated in public,
The woman cursed and cast out,
The woman whose existence is
Forbidden to be.
The witch alone
Witch aloof from marriage.
Witch of independent, productive work.
Girl who does not look down before men.
Mother who does not bow her head
To the priest. Proud blind woman.
Elder homeless, weather-maker.
Marketplace spinster selling charms.
Rural woman who visits sacred springs.
Dreamer in the forest, the faery country.
Do you truly fly.
© 1983 Max Dashu


Painting: Calling at the Pictish Stones, © 1983 Max Dashu

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Honoring Our Ancestors

When we lived in Seattle, we hosted a Halloween/Samhain party each year for both pagans and non-pagans. We invited friends of all ages to join us for pumpkin soup, roasted turnips, hot cider, apple bobbing, and seed bread.  The children were gathered for trick-or-treating (real food before the candy), and after we returned and the kids compared (and sometimes traded) loot, we'd begin the real party, starting with the sliced apple to reveal the star, and tales about the history of Samhain.  At this point, non-pagan families who choose not to share in the divination, speaking with the dead, or honoring them, left.  The rest of us joined in quieter work.

Now that we live in a rural town, people are less inclined to make the long drive for a celebration, but there are some traditions we continue.  The kids still trick-or-treat in the neighborhood, and we still come home to do our good work for the holiday. 

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“Next to Normal" and walking the path of grief


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The Hallowmas Woman: On the Threshold

A woman is a shapeshifter, flowing from one life stage to another, just as each season gradually becomes the next. We trace each season of a woman’s life, with all its gifts and challenges, as it resonates with each phase of the Wheel of the Year.

There comes a time in every woman’s life when she embarks on an Underworld journey. Indeed, she will visit the Underworld more than once during the course of her lifetime. This journey may be precipitated by the loss of someone she loves, or by a life-threatening illness, or a grave disappointment in career or craft. When it happens, she feels that all is lost. She is separated from everything she holds dear. She is in shock. She despairs. She grieves. 

She descends to the realm of the Old One, the Crone, the Cailleach, the Grandmother, Lady Death, Hecate, Baba Yaga, Erishkegal, La Santa de Muerte. The Old One has a thousand names. 

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