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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Wolf Clan

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 WINTER SUN AND SUMMER FLOWERS – Orkney International Science Festival


A Tale of the Latter-Day Hwicce


Why the young warrior was out that night, the stories don't say, but there he was, on his own, when a fierce great blizzard blew up. After a time, he couldn't see a spear's throw before him, so hard was the snow driving, but he pushed on into the fury, looking for shelter. You do that, or you die.

Well, out of the driving white comes looming a great mound, all white with snow, and in it a door, and before the door, four young men standing.

“Come in to our fire,” they tell him.

So he goes into the mound with them, having little choice in the matter, and isn't there a fine hall there, with a great fire blazing on the hearth. The four young warriors take his clothes to dry them, and feed him well, and for four nights he sleeps warm and dry with those men in their hall, while that great storm blows itself out.

On the fifth morning, the Sun is shining, and when the young warrior wakes he sees with him in the mound not four young warriors, but four young wolves, but he knows that they're the same.

“Remember what we have given you,” they tell him, and they teach him a dance.

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A Tale of the Latter-Day Hwicce


They say there was once a woman who went to live with the wolves.

I don't why she did that. Maybe things were bad at home. Maybe it was a time of hunger. Maybe she fell in love.

Here's what I know. Some time after, a hunter comes across a she-wolf laying in the sun outside a wolves' den, and she's suckling two bairns: twin boys, they were. So he kills the she-wolf and takes the boys home.

(No, I don't think it was the mother that he killed, shape-shifted. I think she was probably kin to the boys' father, a sister, maybe: wolves do that, you know, take care of one another's young. Maybe the mother was dead. Leastways, she didn't come after them, as you might have expected.)

Well, he raises those boys himself, that hunter, and don't they grow up to be fine hunters too, men of meat, the both of them.

That's where Wolf Clan comes from, of course.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Seal Maiden

We're Seal Clan on my mother's side, and we've got the toe-webbing to prove it.

You know the story. One full Moon night, a man sees the Seal Maidens dancing naked on the beach. He steals one of the laid-by skins, so that, when the dancing's done, the youngest (and most beautiful) of the Seal Maidens cannot follow her sisters back to the Sea.

She becomes the man's wife and bears him several fine children. But then one day she finds her old skin in the chest where it's lain hidden for years, and it's back to the Sea for her. That's how these things work.

It's an interesting story, and an old story. You have to think that among the truths that it tells is the trauma routinely experienced by young women in patrilocal societies when, at marriage, they're uprooted from everything that they know to go live with their husband's family.

But that's where Seal Clan comes from, and to this day some of us bear the signs of that ancestry on our bodies.

I didn't know any of this until my nephew was born. That's when I first heard about the toe-webbing from the aunts, the bearers of family memory. Not all of us have it, but my nephew does and, as it turns out, so do I. I'd never noticed it before because, well, that's just what feet look like, right?

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Human Initiations 8 to 13 to Reach Enlightenment


The following is an excerpt for Agnes' latest book, The Goddess Lives, poetry, prose and prayers in her honour. To order please visit:

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