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...

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form
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 three books: Nature Spirits, The Druid Shaman, and (coming soon) Celtic Tree Magic.

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

The summer solstice has been honoured around the world for millennia. In Britain and Ireland its marked by hundreds of earthworks, henges stone circles and rows, and it has a history of celebration from the Neolithic going through the Iron Age druids, through folklore and into the present day where it is honoured by pagans and heathens of many varieties. Solstice means solar standstill, and at this time the suns position from dawn to dusk does its highest arc in the sky, from its most north  easterly at dawn to its most north westerly at sunset, before gradually rising further south day on day until the winter solstice. During this time when it is at its most northern arc, its position at dawn  appears to 'stand still' until its journey south becomes discernible again. In many ways this can be seen as time where life force and the solar energies are at their height- a time of enthusiasm, celebration and empowerment, but also a time out of time, when the spirit world and our connection to our own souls may become more apparent.

Lighting fires has always been a popular practice at the summer solstice, and one that survived through to the modern era before being taken up with increasing enthusiasm in recent years. In Ireland there are many hills and ancient monuments sacred to or astronomically aligned to the summer solstice, but there are two especially famous hills, Knockainey, sacred to the fire goddess Aine, a faery queen, and Knoc Gréin, sacred to the solar goddess Greine. These two hills near each other in county Limerick were likely to have been beacon hills long ago, with twin fires honouring the sun at this time. Across Britain there are also many 'beacon' hills which are likely to have been used for the same purposes.  An agricultural tradition across Britain and Ireland was to drive cattle in between two fires at this time to purify and bless them, and a custom among young men in particular was to leap the flames as well to be blessed and as a sign of fiery prowess.

...
Last modified on

May in Britain sees the hawthorn      ( Crataegus Monogyna) in flower, frothing down the lanes in clouds of white tinged with the deepest pink. So important is the hawthorn that in our indigenous traditions, the festival of Beltane cannot happen until the full moon after it blossoms, highlighting its significance to the goddess of Beltane the lady of sovereignty who goes by many names in British and Irish lore. At Beltane the goddess marries the sun god Bel, or sometimes oak king, or jack in the green, to bring fertility to the earth, and this is a highly erotic tree, associated with female sexuality and life force.  Known as the May tree, and the goddess tree, it is also the original Faery Thorn, marking places sacred to our Otherworldly kin. In Britain and Ireland there are many 'faery thorns' which are honoured as sacred magical places, and are protected even from roads and other development by their local villagers even to this day. Hawthorn blossom should never be taken inside the house lest the faeries wreak havoc on your home. However, the hawthorn is a powerfully magical tree to have as an ally and friend.

One of the greatest Celtic seers, Thomas the Rhymer, who lived in the early 13th century met the Queen of Elfland beneath a hawthorn tree, growing near his home in the Eildon hills in Scotland,  revealing its nature as a marker between the worlds and a tree beloved to the faery queens, preserving its place in our traditional sacred faery lore.

...
Last modified on
Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Helena
    Helena says #
    I loved this entry! Thank you for the information about clooties - I did not know the real purpose behind them. From now on, I wil


a1sx2_Thumbnail1_SAM_2244.JPG

In this the second final part of my blog on working with ancient sacred sites, I look at offerings and how to approach the powers of place with the right attitude...

...
Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Danu Forest
    Danu Forest says #
    that sounds great Natalie- i often leave hair too, its quite literally a gift of myself, and green too! I know modrons well i visi
  • Natalie Reed
    Natalie Reed says #
    In the mid-90's I was fortunate to visit the southwest of England on a tour of sacred sites. One of those sites was Modron's Well
A guide to working with Sacred Sites and the Powers of Place- part 1

I spend a lot of time in 'sacred spaces', especially ancient sacred sites.  To be able to visit somewhere sacred that is thousands of years old is such a privilege in the modern world. To be able to spend time somewhere set aside from the everyday world, a place for sacred activities and communion with spirit is a wonderful thing. Yet we often we know little about what protocols were used there in the past, especially when it comes to the ancient Celtic, Bronze age and Neolithic sites so common across the British Isles. We can know a lot about the archaeology of a site but spiritually, psychically, energetically it's a different matter. These places can be so evocative, yet somehow remote from our lives today. So in this first of a small series of blogs on working with sacred sites I thought I'd start at the very beginning, and discuss a little about how to approach these sacred places, to get off to the best start with the 'powers of place'. I work with ancient places in Britain and Ireland primarily, but in my experience the same goes wherever you are.    

I've seen people relate to ancient sacred sites in a variety of ways, and its always interesting. Sometime's the genius loci, otherwise known as the local residing gods or 'powers of  place' work their magic on us even when we don't realise it, and sacred dramas, lessons and healings  play out without any conscious awareness- people lose things, cars don't start, cameras and phones run out of batteries, people feel weepy or angry, push their own agendas too heavily, or feel so intimidated by the idea of unseen presences that they lose all ability to 'act natural'-and either assume the mantle of ego driven spiritual expert or spiritual supplicant,  consumed by self doubt or even fear just by being there. Our model about how to be in a sacred space, is for many of us at least, guided by experiences of being in churches, where the spiritual hierarchy and etiquette is clear. But it's not the same in ancient sacred sites, there is rarely a human priestess or shaman for example residing there to oversee or guide what we do.

...
Last modified on
Ancestral hearths- A wisewomans Cornish Retreat.


This winter has been a season of wind and rain, and I've been lucky enough to spend some well needed time really seizing this opportunity to look within, to seek vision in the deep silence of the fireside at night, and take some time out to go on retreat on the wild Cornish coast, a place of pixies, ancient tin mines that stretch for miles filled with the ghosts of times past, and tales of pirates and shipwrecks.

Cornwall is an ancient land, where Celtic villages like Carn Euny and Chysauster can still be found. Their stones walls breaking through the hummocks of turf, it's possible to stand by their hearths and look out to sea, as they did long ago. Traders with the Romans, Greeks  and those who came before, these were a proud and clever people. They mined their land for tin,  copper and even gold and lead, and were skilled metal workers with trading links all across Europe. Sitting sheltered from the harsh February winds against their strong walls there is a still and steady presence, as if the passage of time can be cast away and it is possible to sense their lives all around.

...
Last modified on
Solstice at the stones and sacred wells- two ceremonies upon our ancient sacred land.

Solstice Blessings everyone! On the 21st, in the northern hemisphere, we celebrate the winter solstice, the shortest day when the Sun appears to 'stand still' while at its lowest  point in its yearly cycle. From then until the summer solstice in June the sun will shine for a little longer each day, in time bringing back the light and warmth.

In Britain this sacred time is said to be overseen by an ancient figure known as the Holly King- a counterpart to the Oak King who rules over the summer, both perhaps aspects of the Green Man, that mysterious divine figure which features in so many ancient Celtic tales. These beings have most evidence in the Middle Ages, but hark back to far older pagan traditions, reflecting both the importance of the oak to the druids, and the evergreen holly as its protective 'other face' during the winter months. The holly is said to have many magical powers, protecting from storms and ill wishes hence is presence as a decoration in the home over the darkest time of the year. It is also helpful as a Celtic 'power plant' in overcoming our own darker issues; pain, anger, jealousy, fear, grief, the darkness of the underworld within our own spirits. It achieves this by raising our life force, our kundalini, to give us the strength to overcome adversity within. The Holly King is a guide and guardian of this inner and underworld, known as Annwn in Celtic lore, which aligns energetically as well as psychologically with the mortal realm over the winter months, calling to us to seek stillness and sink into the cave, the great cauldron of the earth, to look within and seek rest and renewal...

...
Last modified on
Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Jeremy Lopez
    Jeremy Lopez says #
    I have been trying to reach you by e-mail and gotten no response. Not sure if you are not receiving the e-mails.
Celtic Tree Magic- ogham lore and druid mysteries

This month has seen the culmination of many years work for me, with the release of my latest book 'Celtic Tree Magic- ogham lore and druid mysteries.' ( Published by Llewellyn worldwide).

My spiritual journey began well over 20 years ago now, with the trees. The trees were where I felt my connection to the divine, where I felt a connection to spirit the most strongly.  It's still true for me today. My magical training began with herbs and tree lore, and I quickly understood that the trees were powerful, graceful spirits, which a host of healing qualities, magical attributes as well as tales and lore that preserves the Celtic druidry and wisdom of my ancestors. In the Celtic lands, they are some of our most potent 'power plants' our most trusted spiritual allies.

...
Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Tiffany Lazic
    Tiffany Lazic says #
    Hi, Danu ~ That is my next project - collecting woods to make such a set :-) It may take quite awhile to create (I'm thinking year
  • Tiffany Lazic
    Tiffany Lazic says #
    Dear Danu ~ I love working with the Ogham. I have some handmade sets. The Pracownik deck, of course - which is beautiful. And I ju
  • Danu Forest
    Danu Forest says #
    Hi Tiffany- oh yes handmade sets are the best- especially when each one is the right wood...i love going out with my son and colle

Additional information