Danu's Cauldron: Wisewoman's Ways, and Wild Fey Magic

Living in a sacred landscape, walking between the worlds in the veil of Avalon Glastonbury. Where the old gods roam the hills, and the sidhe dance beneath the moon...wander into the mists with me and let us see what we may find...

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Danu Forest

Danu Forest

Danu Forest wisewoman, witch, seer, walker between the worlds, healer, druid, priestess, teacher, writer, gardener, herbwife, stargazer, faery friend, tree planter, poet, and wild woman lives in a cottage near Glastonbury Tor in the midst of the Avalon lakes, in the southwest of England. Exploring the Celtic mysteries for over 25 years, and noted for her quality research, practical experience, as well as her deep love of the land, Danu writes for numerous national and international magazines and is the author of several books including Nature Spirits, The Druid Shaman, Celtic Tree Magic, and an on going seasonal series 'the Magical Year'.

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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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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • 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

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Though many Celtic pagans celebrate the new year at Samhain, early January still has a distinct feeling, as the hubbub of the winter solstice and Christmas celebrations subsides and we are left with the blank page of the year ahead. Now is a good time to encourage stillness and contemplation within our days if we are able, and to be aware of keeping our energies clear to allow the wisdom of spirit to emerge into our awareness and maintain our focus on our plans ahead. Traditionally for those who acknowledge the 12 days of Christmas there is an opportunity to seek omens each of the twelve days for guidance in the year ahead, but truly the world of spirit always shows us signs and messages if we open up to their potential. Seeking time every day to find stillness and open ourselves to the natural world around us allows us to receive this messages at any time.

Throughout January spend some time, even for just a few minutes, outside. Be in wild nature if you can, but just feeling the earth beneath your feet, or seeing the sky or having the wind on your face is all you need. Breath deeply and let your senses open gently, focusing on nothing in particular…let yourself remember that the earth is alive and sacred, wherever you are, and just connect. Be with it. Be aware of the flight of birds, the shapes of clouds, the sound the wind makes, know that spirit is speaking to us always, and let their meaning and messages come to you in each its own way. Listen. Breathe. Pay attention to your dreams.  

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My new book Gwyn Ap Nudd is finally here! After a long long period of retreat it's such a joy to see this book, written as an offering to my patron god finally come into the world in time for Samhain/ Nos Galan Gaeaf! At this time of year he is said to ride out from the 'deep place' Annwfn, as leader of the Wild Hunt, leading all unquiet spirits to their rest and chasing wicked souls from the world.  Working with Annwfn the underworld of the Brythonic tradition, is not an easy path, entwined with faerie it is a place of transformation where we may learn more of ourselves than we are comfortable with….  Yet Gwyn ap Nudd, whose name means ‘Bright’ or ‘White’ is also a mysterious Faery King, dwelling in his Glass Castle beneath Glastonbury Tor, and under numerous dark still lakes in the wild Welsh hills. A dark lover and hunter god of the winter, he guides us to the secret places, within our magical land and within ourselves….      

In the 14th Century, Welsh soothsayers when entering the forest would say

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Jeannetta Young
    Jeannetta Young says #
    Danu, this is more of a question than a comment, though the answer might benefit others...with which of your books would you recom
  • Danu Forest
    Danu Forest says #
    thank you!
  • Thesseli
    Thesseli says #
    This was an excellent read. I've been feeling a draw to Gwyn ap Nudd lately, and this book couldn't have come out at a better tim

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Stonehenge dreaming

 

A few weeks ago, as part of my summer solstice celebrations I was fortunate enough to be part of a private midsummer ceremony at Stonehenge. We slept a few hours on the drove-way, a small track that passes within a few hundred yards of the stones, and at a sleepy 3.00am took a slow walk across the sacred landscape to join a pilgrimage procession to the stones from the visitor’s centre, as the stars were still bright overhead, and all but us and the owls were lost to dreaming. Stonehenge is not just the stones you see, there is a whole ritual landscape around it stretching for quite a distance with barrow mounds and the mysterious cursus- a rectangular earthwork enclosure 1 and ¾ of a mile long. Predating the stones by 500 years it’s aligned to the equinox sunrises. There is also the likely procession route of the avenue between Stonehenge and the river Avon, surfacing on land again to ‘woodhenge’- Durrington walls henge and settlement just a couple of miles away. Everywhere you go all around the area you step on sacred ground.

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Eriu, returning to the great cauldron.

 

Arthurian tales tell us of the Holy Grail, not the cup of Christ, but a sacred vessel, a symbol of the goddess at the heart of the land, the sacred womb which sits in the centre of Annwfn- ‘the deep place’ of Welsh myth.  In earlier tales it was a cauldron as mentioned in Preiddeu Annwn ‘The spoils of Annwn’, a poem by Taliesin as a great vessel at the heart of the land which was ’kindled’ by the breath of nine maidens, or priestesses. Here we find the sacred source, the well of Segais in Irish myth, the place where life and wisdom spring eternal and renewed. A sacred place at the centre of things.

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Spring Transformation Magic

 

We are living in a time of transformation. Here we are with winter quickly turning into spring, and while a lot of the human world right now may seem less than positive there is always the opportunity to empower ourselves and use the magic of nature, if She’s willing, to help us and help others find ways to make it through, and even make it better.

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Imbolc and Brighid's blessing

 

Imbolc blessings to you! 

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