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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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...

This week I was honored to be part of a powerful solstice ceremony at Stonehenge, which is astronomically aligned to the setting of the midwinter sun. It is now believed that during the Neolithic era great feasts took place nearby, culminating in a great procession to the stones with the cremated remains of the dead. Having worked in the circle many times, I can attest to its incredible ancestral power, which becomes almost physically tangible during this time of the year. We gathered at dusk, the stones looming before us against a purple dark sky, testimony to generations of ancestors marking this powerful spirit place. I faced the north and called in the powers of the great Celtic bear goddess, Artio to bless us as we gather in the great cave of winter until the re-emergence of life and light in the coming spring, and I felt her- a vast ancient  presence all around me, together with the many people who have called to her in the gathering dark, for millennia. There is great peace and continuity in this.  We may walk in darkness for a while, but we are not alone in the journey. The hosts of spirit know the path well, as do our ancestors, and our fellow living souls...we all feel the call to go within, to sink into the earth at this time, into the underworld, into the cave, and seek renewal in the arms of the goddess, each in our own way...we need not fear the darkness, it is a blessing which will see us re-born with the coming sun.

Tomorrow on solstice proper I shall be part of a ceremony at  Chalice Well in Glastonbury, another ancient and powerful sacred place. Twelve of us shall be calling in peace and blessings across the earth, and lighting a great solstice fire, marking the great turning wheel, and the rebirth of the sun at last. This new light shall need time and nurture before spring comes in the world, and in our own souls,  but the promise of that renewal remains true.

The light is returning, the sun will be reborn anew! Blessed be!



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Danu Forest is a wisewoman in the Celtic Bean Feasa tradition of her Irish ancestors. You could call her many things- witch, seer, walker between the worlds, healer, druid, priestess, teacher, writer, gardener, herbwife, stargazer, faery friend, tree planter, poet, and wild woman. Danu 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 Wild Magic, The Druid Shaman, Celtic Tree Magic, Gwyn ap Nudd and The Magical Year'. She teaches regular workshops and online courses and is available for consultations, including healings readings and other ceremonies.


  • Jeremy Lopez
    Jeremy Lopez Monday, 22 December 2014

    I have been trying to reach you by e-mail and gotten no response. Not sure if you are not receiving the e-mails.

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