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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Help from the Ancestors at times of crisis.


We have all had times where the challenges that life brings to us feel overwhelming. For the most part, hopefully, these are brief times of illness or misfortune, but it is a fact that each of us will have to come to terms less often with times of real challenge and even with death. As we journey through our lives, we seldom find these things occur at convenient moments, when we feel strong and equipped to endure. At such times we realise that all our lives are constantly navigated through realms of unpredictability and the chaos of a multitude of lives and circumstances co-existing and intersecting with our own. How much power we have over our fate is often woefully small. Yet there is to be found, even at such times, a wellspring of resources within us and around us, if not to cure, then certainly to provide a balm for our distress.  

While we may be fragile things in the face of sometimes astounding calamity, we are also as a species incredibly resilient and adaptive. There is not a challenge or trouble that has not been encountered before, by someone, somewhere in our vast history. Every one of us has ancestors who have negotiated troubles, many of which may seem unfathomable to us now. Go far back enough and we have ancestors who were nomadic hunter gathers, making their temporary camps along river shores with tents of animal skins- each meal a victory and a precious resource brought down with their own hands. Each of us have ancestors who solved their problems and faced their challenges by their own hard work and resourcefulness;  who tended the sick through hours of their own exhaustion, who raised children in times of disaster and war, who buried their loved ones, and struggled though and survived through trials and trauma we in our comfortable homes cannot contemplate. We may fear empty supermarket shelves, but generation upon generation of those who came before us until just a few centuries ago,  were most likely, barring the fortunate few in power, subsistence farmers. Working every hour of their lives with constant hunger and discomfort, in dark smoky thatched huts, overcrowded and unhygienic, our ancestors were usually only a few meals, or a season, away from starvation. My own ancestors in Ireland must have survived the famine. All our ancestors must have lived through the Black Death, as well as numerous other pandemics, two World Wars, and countless other trials. All without hand-sanitiser gel! Our grief and our fear are real, but they are not new things, our strength and our compassion can have equal power if we let them. Those who came before us got through things we can scarcely imagine, and still thrived, and loved, and continued. No matter how dark the days we are living through, we shall too.

Try in the hard times, to remember those who came before you. Seek out the solace of your ancestral kin, your bloodlines and those who walked the earth where you live now… Remember those who came before you and be heartened- they had hopes that life would continue- that better times would lay ahead, and they were right. You and your life are proof of that. The future worked out better than they could imagine, as they sat by their smoky fires, as they toiled in the fields and the factories. How do you seem to them do you think? I think they would be proud and relieved, that those future generations ahead of them have had things a little better, and a little better more, than those who came before. They would be amazed at the resources we have now to endure, and to thrive, and they would know, that within us beats a heart that can find its way again and again…just as it was in their hearts too.

Make a place in your home to honour your ancestors, and the history of the land where you dwell- a small shelf is enough, but let it be a place where you remember the continuity of life, that your heart can rest in its reassuring presence. You might like to light a candle there at times of crisis or worry, to honour them and ask for their help.

If you feel to, try this exercise to draw in stronger support.

You will need a mirror, a candle and a darkened room where you will be uninterrupted for half an hour.

Begin seeing that the room is darkened and by creating a sacred space in whatever way you choose- whether that be casting a circle or calling in any good spirits or deities you wish to assist you. Sit comfortably with the mirror in front of you and take some deep breaths, feeling your feet flat on the floor, to ground and centre you. Place the unlit candle between you and the mirror.


Take a few moments to imagine the lines of ancestors streaming back behind you- your mother and father to your right and left, and their parents behind them, with their parents behind them, and so on…infinitely far behind you. Imagine how some may have been friendly, others less so, some would have been stoic characters, others creative, some would have known great love, others great sorrow…let yourself contemplate all the stories that lay behind your own life story, year after year, century after century.

After a while, call to your helping spirits and deities, in whichever way you choose, and ask them to help you contact your ancestral guardian. You will have several of these, but one in particular will come to you in this time. Ask aloud, that one from your line who has the strength, love and wisdom to support you through your current crisis comes forth to your assistance. Take three deep breaths, and call out to them repeatedly to come to you using your own words. Then light the candle.

Let your eyes rest upon either the flame or your own reflection, and allow your senses to stretch out and perceive the supporting spirit who attends you. You may sense them strongly, you may have a clear message come to you, or you may experience a guiding dream when you sleep. Equally you may feel nothing at all at first. If so, still trust that they are there. You may not feel the hands of your ancestors in the flesh, but you know they existed. So it is with this- as your spirit exists, so does theirs. You may like to imagine them, standing behind you, and placing their hand upon your shoulder in support. Reach out with your feelings, and see what you can sense, but either way, trust their guiding presence, in whatever form it takes. Each of us are different and have different paths and abilities, but ancestral connection is our birth right. Sit and breath in silence a while, and let their guidance enfold you in whatever way this comes.

After a while, thank them, and your attending allies and gods, and snuff out the candle, letting the room return to normal. Give yourself some time to ground and come back to your every day awareness.

You may repeat this practice often if you choose, and when going about your day you may simply call on your ancestral guardian whenever you feel the need…in times of crisis it may be useful to imagine their hand upon your shoulder, or their quiet supportive presence abiding with you.

Their blood runs in your veins, and beats in your heart. Countless generations walk with you, and connect us all in an infinite web of care, if we but take the time to remember it. We are never truly alone, and are we are far stronger than we imagine. May their care, their love and their wisdom enfold you always. 

A blessing upon you and yours. 

©danuforest 2020  


www.danuforest.co.uk courses books readings and shamanic counselling - special rares for those in need.


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Danu Forest is a wisewoman in the Celtic Bean Feasa tradition of her 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 Nature Spirits, 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.


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