Crone in Corrogue: Wild Wisdom of the Elder Years

Glorying in the elder years, a time of spirituality, service and some serious sacred activism

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Don't Frack My Holy Well

Sisters, Brothers, can you spare me a spell?

Can you help me save sacred water in our holy wells?

We have been campaigning to prevent this since 2010 but the Tory government in Westminster that governs Northern Ireland is keen on fracking and have even mentioned the expansion of it in the Queens Speech in Parliament.

While we living in the Republic of Ireland have been painstakingly campaigned blockades county by county in legislation it looks as if the pollution that will honour no international borders on this single island is coming our way.

I live in the Cavan/Fermanagh border counties of Ireland eight miles from where Tamboran intends to start fracking test drills for fracking (hydraulic fracturing) shale gas over the next quarter. This landscape, originally settled by the Tuatha dé Danaan, Ireland's fairy race, is mostly limestone and bog, a network of underground streams, rivers and loughs. The River Shannon originates underground in the caves beneath Fermanagh's Cuilcagh Mountain before rising in the Republic of Ireland in Co. Cavan. The area's natural heritage is of enough international signficence to warrant Global Geopark status.



The landscape is ideal for a network of sacred springs.  In Holy Well, a mile from Belcoo, one of the most significant springs was dedicated to Crom Cruich, an underworld god some liken to Pluto or Hades. It is here in Belcoo, close to this holy well sacred to Crom Cruich that Tamboran want to frack. Belcoo lies directly on the border between the Republic and Northern Ireland with a narrow bridge over Lough MacNean marking the international boundary.


The cult of Crom Cruich was so strong in this region that St. Patrick himself came to convert the area.  Then St. Brigit built a monastery on a Crom Cruich site across the lake in what is now Blacklion, Co. Cavan,  in a belts and braces exercise to discourage backsliding.  A circle of bullaun stones originally dedicated to Crom Cruich are now known as St. Brigit's Cursing and Blessing Stones.


The traditional Lunasa fair and festival of Pagan Ireland survived St. Patrick's evangelism; while it is technically a Christian site the prayer pattern for healing includes praying at bullaun stones (boulders with natural bowl indentations looking similar to holy water fonts in Catholic churches). The pilgrim pattern also includes leaning against stones facing east to pray for the cure. This is probably a form of Christianity or Catholicism unfamiliar to many brought up in that tradition. But that is rural Ireland for you.



How will the old gods and the Tuatha dé Danaan react to this desecration of land that has retained much of its pristine character through millennia? How will the underworld god that was so strong here react to having gallons of chemicals pumped into that network of rock, cavern and water?


We will continue to lobby political leaders- the MLAs of the Northern Ireland Assembly, MPs in Westminster's Parliament in London and the TDs in Dublin's Dail, county councillors north and south.  But we really need spiritual support to protect and prevent the desecration of what is truly sacred land and holy water. 


All prayers, spells, ceremonies and bells welcome.

Make it so.




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Bee Smith has enjoyed a long relationship with SageWoman as a contributor, columnist and blogger. She lives in the Republic of Ireland, teaches creative writing and is a member of the Irish Art Council's Writers in Prisons panel. She is the author of "Brigid's Way: Celtic Reflections on the Divine Feminine."    


  • Courtney Weber
    Courtney Weber Monday, 02 June 2014

    Bee, we feel you here in NYC. We've been fighting for years to keep fracking out of our state. It is an uphill endeavor, sometimes. Please know you are not alone.

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