Category Archives: Neo-Paganism

Spirits and Entities, spirituality of Alcohol

Spirits and Entities of Alcohol
by Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Productions

It always amazes me how the world really doesn’t understand the “root” of all things, nor pay attention to the “history” of various items or substances that they use occasionally or daily in life. I strongly believe it is very important to know the “root” and “makeup” of anything one puts in their bodies. Regardless of whether one is religious, spiritual, or scientific – the role of religion and spirituality in all aspects of life has some intriguing elements that should not be ignored. The proverb “You are what you eat”; has a lot of elements of truth in that saying because what you put in your body affects it chemically, physically, mentally, emotionally, and yes, spiritually. I won’t debate between science and religion in this article and for those readers that are atheist and don’t believe in spirituality – while reading this – simply ignore the spiritual overtones of this article and focus on the chemical aspect of what is being put in your body and understanding the elements you allow into your temple. For those readers that are avid drinkers – think about the drink you are putting in your body and go for higher quality substances as one really should consider changing to “organic” and “triple distilled” spirits instead, and for the spiritual user – know the entity or “spirit” you are inviting into your being.

This is not a negative article on drugs, substances, or alcohol, but rather a spiritual understanding of why we use them, the benefits and the dangers associated with them. Alcohol use needs to be practiced responsibly, for abusing it can lead to serious consequences. There really is more to “being under the influence” than you can rationally understand. Historically and spiritually, in all world cultures and religions, in folklore and mythology, every substance, every herb, every mineral, and every plant has a “spirit” or “entity” or “deity” assigned or associated with it. Drugs – Alcohol, barbiturates, hallucinogens, chemicals, or what-not are made of compositions of plants, herbs, minerals, and living matter. Drugs are medicines as well as poisons, with positive and negative effects on a living host that ingest them. Side effects from these drugs create various moods, effects on the body, mind, spirit, and persona. Many of these effects are utilized for spiritual visions, trances, omens, oracles, prophecies, messages, or communication with the beyond in the realms of religion. When abused, they often consume the body and the soul and will create a degradation of a being. Regardless of the substance : alcohol, marijuana, psilocybin, LSD, mDMA, barbiturates, etc. – Each substance has its own entity or spirit that culture attributes certain persona and effects to. It is pretty important to understand what entities you are dealing with, and how to gain advantage from a temporary relationship with them, and how to avoid them taking advantage of you.

For this article, I’m focusing on “spirits” or “alcohol”, as it is the most common grouping of entities that the mass population deals with. Why is “Alcohol” given the name “spirits” in the annals of history? The words “alembic” and “alcohol” are metaphors for “aqua vitae” (Life Water) and “Spirit”, often refer to a distilled liquid that came from magical explorations in Middle Eastern alchemy. “Alcohol” comes from the Arabic “al-kuhl” or “al-ku??l”, which means “Body Eating Spirit”, and gives the root origin to the English term for “ghoul”. In Middle Eastern Folklore, a “ghoul” is a “evil demon thought to eat human bodies”, either as stolen corpses or as children.

Since the root of the name “alcohol” is related to the concept of “body eating spirit”, this is also one of the early roots to traditional taboos on imbibing alcohol in the beginnings of Islam and similar prohibition faiths. In Islam, consumption of any alcohol is punishable with 80 lashes. To many “Pagan” or “Heathen” faiths, the imbibing of spirits and the temporary relationship with these entities gives definition to the “aqua vita” beliefs or “life water” or “connection / communication with spirits” that can be quite beneficial. In fact, faiths that had its roots in Paganism, such as Christianity and Islam, have carried over beneficial beliefs about the consumption or imbibation of alcohol.


As Middle Eastern alchemists ingested alcohol they reported that their senses deadened and this is why they saw the elixirs produced as possessing “body taking” qualities. This is where the Europeans are believed to have derived the use of “spirits” for “alcohol”. What is ingested affects a living body spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Some believe it will affect the soul as well and that it is all about relationships. Some faiths and cultures have credible valid positive reasons to abstain from drugs and alcohol, while others have equal reasons to promote them. Many cultures see drugs and alcohol as negative, but if one looks into the history of these elementals, there exists many positive elements in their usage, especially when balanced with spirituality and religion. Many cultures and faiths traditionally ingest something in order to commune with the Divine, God/desses, and/or spirits. Whether the wine and bread of Catholic Mass, or the trance induction of peyote with South American Shamans, the use of these substances have a honored tradition throughout history. Shamanic use of trance-inducing drugs are not considered destructive, but rather gifts of the Gods that allow the body and spirit to commune with higher planes of existence. Peyote, ayahuasca, salvia divinorum, absinthe, psilocybin, and other substances are assigned to induce spirit communication, clairvoyance, and the ability to heal. Most forms of Christianity consume alcohol as part of everyday life and nearly always use “wine” (fermented grape juice) in their central rite with the Eucharist or “Lord’s Supper”. The beliefs surrounding this practice state that Christian Tradition and/or the Bible teaches that “alcohol” is a “gift from God that makes life more joyous, but that overindulgence leading to drunkenness is a sin”. The key of Christianity is “moderation”. 19th century Protestants attempted to move from this earlier position of thought and pursuing “abstention” or “prohibition” of alcohol believing its use to be a “sin” even to the extreme of a sip (i.e. Mormonism). The Bible repeatedly refers to alcohol in use and poetic expression, and while mainly ambivalent to it, still states them to be both a “blessing from God that brings merriment” and a “potential danger that can be unwisely and sinfully abused”. “Wine” is often portrayed in daily life as a symbol of abundance and physical blessing, and negatively as a “mocker” with beer being a “brawler”, and drinking a cup of strong wine to the dregs and getting drunk can be presented as a symbol of God’s judgement and wrath. As puritans often spoke in their sermons that “Drink is in itself a good creature of God, and to be received with thankfulness, but the abuse of drink is from Satan; the wine is from God, but the drunkard is from the Devil”. Bible warns that alcohol can hinder moral discretion, and that alcohol can be corrupting of the body and a substance that will impair judgement and distract one from God’s will of life.

While the Ancient Egyptians promoted beer and wine, they did warn of taverns and excessive drinking. However the Greek Dionysus cult promoted intoxication as a means to get closer to their Deity. Macedonians viewed intemperance as a sign for masculinity and were well known for their drunkenness. Alexander the Great was a proponent to the Cult of Dionysus and known for his inebriation. Ancient and Modern Roman celebrations on March 15th of Anna Parenna celebrates the Goddess of the Returning Year by crossing the Tiber River and “go abroad” into Etruria and picnic in flimsy huts made of branches, drink as much alcohol as they could, as it was thought that one would live for as many years as cups of alcohol one could drink on this date. Once finished they would return to their homes in Rome. Most Pagan religions encourage alcohol use and some pursue intoxication promoted as a means of fostering fertility. To Pagan faiths it is believed to increase sexual desire and to make it easier to approach another person for sex. Norse paganism considered alcohol to be the sap of Yggdrasil and drunkenness as an important fertility rite in this religion. Alcohol was also used for medicinal purposes in biblical times as an oral anesthetic, topical cleanser, soother, and digestive aid. Problems associated with industrialization and rapid urbanization were also attributed and blamed on alcohol including urban crime, poverty, high infant mortalities, though its likely that gross overcrowding and unemployment was the actual root cause. The modern world then started blaming personal, social, religious, and moral problems on alcohol. This led to modern movements of prohibitionism. A typical Buddhist view on Alcohol use is as a shortcut for the pursuit of happiness as it produces a short term euphoria or happiness and this is the reason millions of people drink it repeatedly every day. Buddha teaches alcohol as well as all drugs, lead to mis judgement, blocks rational thinking, and therefore preached against amongst its disciples even though in some Buddhist disciplines it is used as offerings to Deity and spirits. Islam, Jainism, the Bahai’ Faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Church of Christ, Scientist, the United Pentecostal Church International, Theravada, most Mahayana schools of Buddhism, some Protestant denominations of Christianity, and some sects of Hinduism – forbid, discourage, or restrict the drinking of alcoholic beverages for various reasons.

Science tells us alcohol releases dopamine into the brain, stimulating the pleasure sensation. There are a lot of “expectations” with alcohol, and many of these will still operate in the absence of actual consumption of alcohol, when the individual believes they are consuming alcohol. Research in North America shows that men tend to become more sexually aroused when they think they have been drinking alcohol, even when they have not been drinking it. Women report feeling more sexually aroused when they falsely believe the beverages they have been drinking contained alcohol. Men have show to become more aggressive in laboratory studies when they are drinking only tonic water but believe it contains alcohol, they also become less aggressive when they believe they are drinking only tonic water, but are actually drinking tonic water that contains alcohol.

In Magical Views, the use of alcohol, especially in ritual and rite, is a very powerful vehicle for altering states of consciousness, communicating with spirits, Deities, Ancestors, and entities. It aids in relaxation for ritual. It frees the mind of responsibility and control, and is a great aid to those very logical individuals that have to be “in control”. However it can be detrimental to those who have a lot of natural psychic or medium-ship abilities that have been raised in families or cultures that demonized or invalidated these gifts. As alcohol and drugs impair the left brain first (logical) and enhances right brain activity (where spirit communication and psychic abilities reside), thereby increasing psychic or mystical experiences while under the influence. The affects are dependent on the individual and their type, as it can be dangerous with some people – those susceptible to possession and toying by spirits, excessive drinking is similar to “throwing open the saloon door and calling out to a crowd of alcoholics – ‘Bar is open, drinks are on (in) me’”, which will attract lower astral entities to enter the body and soul to experience the alcohol vicariously through the person. It is easier for spirits to influence one when they are intoxicated, some of which are very “low life” or “demonic” entities. (Many are good and powerful, including Deities like Dionysus, Maeve, etc. but usually associate with the particular elixir being imbibed) Mixing of “Spirits” can be dangerous and very toxic on the body and spirit, as the doorway to the soul can be an orgy of spirits that the person cannot handle, often leading to alcohol poisoning, sickness, illness, and/or death.

Historical: Ancient China had wine jars in Jiahu dating to 7,000 B.C.E. and considered a spiritual food rather than a material food with high importance in religious life. Neolithic wine making was found to date from 5400-5000 B.C.E. as archaeologists uncovered a yellowish residue at Hajji Firuz Tepe in a jar that analysis determined came from wine making. Early brewing dates in Egypt showing alcohol was presided over by the God Osiris. Chalcolithic Era Indus Valley civilizations in India date from 3000-2000 B.C.E. with Hindu Ayurvedic texts describing beneficent uses. Babylonians in 2700 B.C.E. worshiped a wine Goddess and other wine deities. Xenophon (431-351 BCE) and Plato (429-347 BCE) praised moderate use of wine as beneficial to health and happiness, but were critical of drunkenness. Hippocrates (460-370 BCE) praised it for its medicinal properties (wine). Some Native American peoples developed an alcoholic beverage called Pulque or Octli as early as 200 C.E. that was used for visions, religion, and prophecy. The first distillations of spirits came from the Medieval Period, with the School of Salerno in 12th century, and fractional distillation developed by Tadeo Alderotti in 13th century. Distillation of whiskey first performed in Scotland and Ireland for centuries, and the first written confirmation of whiskey comes from Ireland in 1405, Scotland in 1494.

Alcoholic beverages are drinks that contain “ethanol” (a.k.a. “alcohol”). They are divided into three classes: beers, wines, and spirits. “Spirits” often related to distilled beverages low in sugars and containing a minimum of 35% alcohol by volume. These are often referred to as Gin, Vodka, and Rum. Alcohol is legally consumed in most countries, though regulated by over 100 countries in terms of production, sale, and consumption. In most countries and religions, alcohol plays a major role in social events, rituals, and traditional celebrations. Alcohol is a psychoactive drug with a depressant effect that reduces attention and slows reaction speeds. It can be addictive and those addicted are considered to be under the sickness called “alcoholism”. Science shows that alcohol is beneficial in moderate amounts, especially a glass of wine drunk daily as it aids in digestion. If food is eaten before alcohol consumption, it reduces alcohol absorption, and the rate at which alcohol is eliminated from the blood is increased. The mechanism for the faster alcohol elimination appears to be related to types of food especially those with alcohol-metabolizing enzymes and liver blood flow. Consumption of alcoholic drinks during Medieval times was a method used to avoid water-borne diseases such as cholera as alcohol kills bacteria.

Beer:
is the world’s oldest and most widely consumed alcoholic beverage, and the third most popular drink after water and tea. It is produced by brewing and fermenting starches derived from cereal grains – most commonly by means of malted barley, though sometimes with wheat, maize, or rice. There are two main types of beer: Lager and Ale. Ale is classified into varieties such as pale ale, stout, and brown ale. Most beer is flavored with hops adding bitterness and as a natural preservative. Beer is usually 4-6% alcohol by volume, but can be less than 1% or more than 20%. It is a stipend of the drinking culture of most nations, and has social traditions such as beer festivals, pub culture, pub crawls, and pub games. The Christian Bible refers to beer as a brawler. Medieval monks were allotted about five liters of beer per day – allowed to drink beer but not wine during fasts. Many Saints and Deities were associated with Beer, such as: St. Adrian, the patron saint of Beer; St. Amand, patron saint of brewers, barkeepers, and wine merchants; and The Ancient Egyptians believed Osiris gave their people “Beer” as he invented it and it was a necessity of life, brewed in the home on an daily basis. In Ancient Egypt, Cellars and wine presses often had a God who was associated with each of the 17 types of beer they created. These were used for pleasure, nutrition, medicine, ritual, remuneration, and funerary purposes. Babylonians often offered beer and wine to their Deities as offerings.

Wine: Alcoholic beverages distilled after fermentation of non-cereal sources like grapes, fruits, or honey. It involves a longer complete fermentation process and a long aging process (months or years) that create an alcohol content of 9-16% by volume. Sparkling wines are made by adding a small amount of sugar before bottling, creating a secondary fermentation in the bottle. The Bible refers to wine as a symbol of abundance and physical blessing, bringer and concomitant of joy, especially with nourishment and feasting; as well negatively as a mocker. It is commonly drunk with meals, as the Old Testament prescribed it for use in sacrificial rituals and festal celebrations. Jesus’ first miracle was making copious amounts of wine at the wedding feast of Cana where he instituted the ritual of the Eucharist at the Last Supper during a Passover celebration that “wine” is a “new covenant in his blood”. Under the rule of Rome, the average adult male who was a citizen drank an estimated liter (1/4 of a gallon) of wine a day. Thomas Aquinas, a Dominican monk and the “Doctor Angelicus” of the Catholic Church said that moderation in wine is sufficient for salvation but that for certain persons perfection requires abstinence and this was dependent upon their circumstance. Wine has been associated or assigned to various Saints, Deities, and Spirits such as St. Amand, patron saint of brewers, barkeepers, and wine merchants; St. Martin, the so-called patron saint of wine; St. Vincent, and patron saint of vintners. In Ancient Egypt, Cellars and wine presses often had a God who was associated with each of the 24 varieties of wine they created. These were used for pleasure, nutrition, medicine, ritual, remuneration, and funerary purposes. Babylonians in 2700 B.C.E. worshiped a wine Goddess and other wine deities. Babylonians often offered beer and wine to their Deities as offerings. In Greece the art of wine making reached the Hellenic peninsula by 2,000 B.C.E. – the first of which was Mead, and by 1700 BCE wine making was commonplace and incorporated into religious rituals. Balche’, a Mayan Honey wine, was associated with the Mayan deity Acan.

Spirits: Unsweetened, Distilled alcoholic beverages that have an alcohol content of at least 20% ABCV are called spirits. These are produced by the distillation of a fermented base product, which concentrates the alcohol, and eliminates some of the congeners. These can be added to wine to create fortified wines such as ports and sherries.
These are often Vodka, Rum, Gin, Whiskey, Whisky, Tequila, and other spirits.

Some commonly believed changes in personality with ‘types’ of alcohol:

  • Beer: Boldness, Braveness, Becoming Boisterous, Loud, Obnoxious, Lush behavior, Know-it-all attitudes, and Dumb-ness.
  • Wine: Romantic connotations, sexuality, relaxation, restfulness, tranquility, lush-ness.
  • Vodka: Bravery, Boldness, Invincibility, Strength, Attitude, Security.
  • Tequila: Boldness, wildness, sexuality, aggression, and lush behavior.
  • Absinthe: Creativity, Inspiration, Desire to do Art, Write, or Music; imaginative thought. Rumored to be psychedelic and produce hallucinations. Inspires oracles, omens, and prophetic thought.
  • Rum: Wildness, craziness, boldness, and lust.
  • Gin: Intellectual thought, healing, lethargy, and dumb-ness.
  • Whiskey: Aggression, testiness, boldness, violence, invincibility.
  • Irish Whiskey: Revitalization, Rebirth, Renewal, Invincibility, and Intellectual discussions.

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2016 Vinotok Fall Festival (Crested Butte, Colorado)

Vinotok Fall Equinox Festival ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=27751) - New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken September 24, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Vinotok Fall Equinox Festival ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=27751)

Vinotok Festival”
Middle/Late September Annually
Crested Butte, Colorado
https://www.facebook.com/Vinotok-112218345485150/

Annually around the Fall Equino or after, there is held a major free Fall Festival held by the small town of Crested Butte, Colorado in the heart of their downtown. Activities and festivities are actually held week long, with the cusp and end being the big public procession, trial, theater, and burning of the Grump – a huge bonfire held just at the end of Main Street. This year, 2016 marked its 31st year – and it was a spectacle to enjoy and be part of. Annually this multi-cultural grassroots celebration of the Crested Butte community spirit gathering, celebrating the vital energy and harvest of Crested Butte founders, citizens, and elders who settled the valley, mining and farming, homesteading and ranchers for the bounty and gifts they’ve enjoyed in their history. With a Indo-European Wicker Man harvest festival twist, the spirit of the land and valley is celebrated. Rites and rituals, feasts and events are held, with the final Saturday night involving magical Maidens and Lads led by the Green Men and Harvest mothers into the streets, mumming into each restaurant and bar, luring out the patrons into the streets for the grand trial of the Grump – a large wicker man who is processioned down the streets to the bonfire circle where he is banished and burnt with other effigies into the night – dancing, drumming, and chanting. Everyone pouring in their grumps for the magic to be actualized.

The event is free except for the feast on Friday night. Free camping options available on forestry and BLM land a short drive away.

Vinotok Fall Equinox Festival ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=27751) - New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken September 24, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Vinotok Fall Equinox Festival ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=27751) – New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken September 24, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

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Tobar Ghobnatan Holy Wells: St. Abban’s Well and St. Gobnait’s Well

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Tobar Ghobnatan Holy Wells
* Tobar Ghobnatan * Ballyvourney (a.k.a. Baile Bhuirne), County Cork, Ireland *

1ST WELL: ST. ABBAN’S WELL OR ST. GOBNAIT’S WELL

As you drive up to the Tobar Ghobnatan Statue, Well, Hut, Grave, Church ruins and yard, you will see on your right a wrought iron archway with the letters spelling “HOLY WELL” along its top. Another sign labels it as the “Tobar Ghobnatan Holy Well”. When I walked through this archway, I immediately spied a 3/4 large ring of mushrooms known as a Fairy Ring. I had to walk around it 9 times to see if a gateway to the land of Fae would appear. Magical as the site was, alas, no gateway appeared that I was aware of. A short walk down the path you will find the well at the base of a wishing tree. The tree is covered with rags or clouties as well as many other trinkets placed there or tied to the branches as offerings and prayers. These are often cleaned up and removed by the church occasionally some say online. The well has steps down into it, but can often be difficult to access without crawling on your knees to get at the magical waters. There are two taps nearby where one can retrieve the water. This well is believed to be a lot older than the Christian occupation and creation of this monastic site, probably as a Fairy Well or Pagan Shrine. Today visitors claim it is either St. Abban’s Well and/or St. Gobnait’s Well. From the Cult followings, I would think it has more to do with St. Gobnait than St. Abban even though technically I’ve read it is primarily called St. Abban’s Well. The Other well is up the hill by St. Gobnait’s Hut and Statue. It’s unclear which Saint claimed which Pagan well when they took the land.

In Neo-Pagan practice and visitations of the site, the well is circled either three times clockwise, or in a trio set of three times three. It is conducted clockwise to gain something, pay tribute to the well, or to weave a certain kind of magic. It is done counter-clockwise to unwind something, to banish something, or to undo a spell, curse, or action. It is common then to make an offering to the well or tree. The participant then goes to the well, collects water, offers it back to the earth, then either takes a sip of the magical waters or splashes it on their face. It is common to fill a bottle with the magic waters to take home. A bin of empty clean water bottles is located along one of the rock walls for those who forgot to bring a bottle. This well is very common location for seamen to collect water from to bring to their boats used for safe passage during their expeditions. In Christian/Catholic observation of the rounds, the “Our Father”, the “Hail Mary”, and the Glorias are spoken at each of the stations. At this station, they do a decade of the rosary and drink the water from the Well. According to the stations, the rounds, or the turas, this is station 10: St. Abban’s Well. Every year on the 11th of February, the parish priest would bring out a 13th century wooden statue of St. Gobnait upon which pilgrims would measure a ribbon against the statue and wrap it around the figure, then take the ribbon home to use for healing magic.

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Next to the well is a large tree called a Wishing Tree which is part of any number of such trees found on this monastic site. Covering this particular tree are offerings to St. Gobniat (and the ancestral water spirits or Naiads of this well) in the form of rags (clouties/clooties – pieces of cloth tied around its branches), prayers, trinkets, tokens, pictures, charms, and/or a variety of personal effects from under garments, hair ties, belts, shoes, rings, jewelry, toys, prayer cards, or other effects. The belief behind pieces of cloth are that they are to get rid of an illness and once the cloth decays so will the illness. It is a concept of leaving something behind of themselves or their loved ones in need of healing.

Along the stone wall and around the well is an assortment of cups, jars, and/or bottles that someone can use to gather water from the well for drinking and/or blessing. As far as I know, the well water is not tested or certified, so drinking from such is at one’s own risk. Anything can get into these public wells and a variety of items from coins, pins, and garbage are sometime found thrown into them. When I visited there was a large bin of washed out plastic bottles for visitors to fill up with holy well water and take with them.

SECOND WELL: ST. GOBNAIT’S WELL (or ST. ABBAN’S WELL)

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Again, like the well above, no one is clear on who claimed this Fairy Well, but it seems to be primarily associated with Saint Gobnait since it is located in front of her house, hut, or kitchen. Both wells are part of the pilgrimage and rounds regardless. In Christian/Catholic observation of the rounds, the “Our Father”, the “Hail Mary”, and the Glorias are spoken at each of the stations. At this station, they do a decade of the rosary and drink the water from the Well.
To complete the pilgrimage the pilgrim walks down the road to St Gobnaits well (Station 10). The pilgrim recites 7 Our Fathers, 7 Hail Marys and 7 Gloria, one decade of the rosary and drinks the water from the well. Like many holy wells in Ireland St Gobnaits well is associate with a rag tree and there is a tradition of leaving votive offerings at this tree. Below is a photo of the tree taken when I last visited here in 2006, as you can see is covered rags and bead and tokens left be pilgrims. I think it looks quiet lovely. Since my last visit most of these offering have been removed but a few are still to be found. This well seems a bit questionable as to the safety of the water, but is still one apparently drunken from. This well in in front of the round circular stone hut north of the statue called the “House of St. Gobnait” or the “St. Ghobnatan’s Kitchen”. Earlier evidence suggests that the site was an early pre-Medieval to Medieval bronze and iron working site which operated out of this hut. Evidence for this comes from iron slag, a crucible, and other metal working artifacts found during the excavation of the site. With evidence that the wells were Pagan shrines pre-dating Christianity combined with the metalworking has led some rumors to run wild that it could be the metal working site of the Tuatha D Danann’s Smith known as Goibnui who share phonetic similarities to the name of Saint Gobnait. There is no evidence found to this ‘hunch’ someone probably weaved online in a blog, but it does add a sense of urban lore to the site that would make it an exciting tidbit of mythos. (Especially since there really exists no solid evidence of any of the Tuatha D Danann legend site locations except folklore) In this hut, pilgrims etch a cross into the stones atop this well as well as the entrance stones in the hut during their turas.

BOTH WELLS:

Both of the wells are named after the Matron Saint of Ballyvourney and sacred Bee-Keeping mistress, Saint Ghobnatan (a.k.a. Saint Gobnait) of the holy pilgrimage site and monastic settlement known as “Tobar Ghobnatan“. This is the legendary home of St. Gobnait/Ghobnatan. It is located a kilometer south of the village of Ballyvourney where her church Min Mr (a.k.a. Bairnech) was built. There are two holy wells at this site, both of which are believed to pre-date St. Abban and Gobnait’s arrival to the land, most likely Pagan shrines or Fairy wells. Today these wells are called “St. Abban’s Well” (most likely ‘FIRST WELL’) and “St. Gobnait’s Well” (most likely ‘SECOND WELL’).

There are several wells throughout Ireland (and other countries) dedicated to Saint Gobnait. There exists a dry well known as St. Debora, Deriola, or Abigails Well that is north of Ballyagran in a high field on the left of the road to Castletown which is believed to be the original Saint Gobnait’s Well. It is currently dry. Legends run wild of a white stag that can be seen at this well especially during February 11th, the Feast day of Saint Gobnait. There are other wells and shrines such as the church site in County Kerry at Dunquin that has a well near Dungarvan in Waterford.

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Article by Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Productions and Research Services: Technogypsie.com. © 2013: All rights reserved.

Article on the Church, Shrine, Graveyard, and Well found at http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=14339. Article on the Holy Well found at http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=7591. Article on the Tobar Ghobnatan Wishing Trees, Saint Ghobnatan, and Tobar Ghobnatan cross etchings.

How to get here: Drive West from Macroom to Kerry on the N22. As you pass through Ballymakerry (Baile Mhic Ire), you will pass a church on your right-hand side and will take the first left hand turn after the church that has a sign post. Follow the road 400 meters and you will see the first (and main) holy well on the right. You’ll need to go up the hill a bit for parking as it is a very narrow road. Take the next right hand road (near where you can park by a graveyard) up the hill to see the other holy well, statue, hut, church ruins, and main graveyard. There is also a modernized porta-toilet in this parking lot so you don’t have to use the bushes. The GPS coordinates are: 79: W 1967 7688. Longitude: 9 10′ 5″ W, Latitude: 51 56′ 18″ N.

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Wisteria Campground (Pomeroy, Ohio)

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Wisteria Campground
* Pomeroy, Ohio * http://www.wisteria.org/ * * info@wisteria.org * 740-742-4302 *

I remember the first time I ventured into the fabled lands of Wisteria. That was for Pagan Spirit Gathering held by Circle Sanctuary back in 2002. Alas, Pagan Spirit Gathering is no longer held here. But just as Starwood was akin to Brushwood, Starwood is now held (and for quite some time) at Wisteria. Wisteria is a great place for nature lovers, naturalists, Pagans, earth spiritualists, and alternative campers. It is also a fabulous site for festivals and events as acclaimed by the infamous festivals held on its grounds. It is a great place for large gatherings or small get-togethers, weddings, music festivals, and spiritual events. They are equipt to handle small groups of just a handful upwards of several thousand participants. Wisteria is set with a grand stage, bonfire circle, hiking trails, a faerie shrine, sacred sites, stone circle, an ancestor mound, a turtle mound, sweat lodge, workshop sites, the permanent setting of Caffeina’s Cosmic Cafe Restaurant and Coffee House, The Green Man Tavern, a swimming pond, a merchant loop, a playground, shower house, and wifi. Groups can rent space in the campground or hold private camping events. Wisteria is managed by itself as well as services of the site to make it an easier place to hold events by organizers. Wisterians are open-minded, professional, and very experienced with events large or small. They will custom tailor their event services to the festival organizer’s needs.

071213-026

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Starwood 33: July 9 – 14, “2013”

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Starwood XXXIII: 2013
* July 9-14, 2013 * Wisteria Nature Sanctuary * Pomeroy * Ohio * * http://www.rosencomet.com/starwood/

One of my most favorite festivals, Starwood is billed as the world’s largest Pagan / Magical / Consciousness gathering in North America and potentially the world. It began for me when it was at the awesome Brushwood Folklore Center campgrounds in New York, but have moved away from that location and is now held at the Wisteria Nature Sanctuary in Ohio. I remember fondly the days when Timothy Leary, Terence McKenna, Oberon Zell, Isaac Bonewits, Louisa Tesha, and many other famed authors and writers would hold workshops. Rituals were numerous and fantastic. This year was a bit different as it was my first time at the event held at Wisteria, albeit my 7th Starwood in my life (the other 6 were in New York). Starwood holds classes and workshops by local and internationally acclaimed artists and authors. Its known for its ecclecticism and diversity, great concerts, performances, dancing, drumming, film, rituals, and poetry. It is a one stop shop for a diversity of faiths and beliefs, religions, alternative belief systems and lifestyles. I’ve been introduced to Voodoo, hoodoo, Druidism, Wicca, Shamanism, Ceremonial Magic, and the Church of All Worlds during my times at this festival (and much more). Seven days of exploring the mind, body, and spirit with over 20 various performances of music, drumming, dance and theater on its four stages. In the clothing optional nature sanctuary of Wisteria, the landscape couldn’t be better. There was over 150 different classes, workshops, and ceremonies offered. Family friendly camping event with hot showers, hiking trails, swimming, co-op child care, kid village, multimedia shows, social events, parades, jam sessions, merchants, parties, giant puppets, all-night drumming, and a giant bonfire. This year was a combination of wet and wild, hot and relaxing, humor and weather. We merchanted the event so missed many of the workshops, but those we were able to make were fantastic. Vending selection was fabulous as was the food. The end bonfire was ecstatic and fun-filled, the drum circle momentous. It was our son’s first Starwood and found him addicted to drumming. A great place for all. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.

starwood-fire

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Brushwood Folklore Center (Sherman, New York)

070113-033
Brushwood Folklore Center, Sherman, New York

Brushwood Folklore Center
* http://www.brushwood.com/ * * 8881 Bailey Hill Rd. * Sherman New York * 14781 * 716-761-6750 * camp@brushwood.com *

One of my favorite campsites and festival grounds is Brushwood Folklore Center, nestled in upstate New York. A rustic wooded retreat on over 180 wooded acres outside of Sherman, New York in rural Chautauqua County. A clothing optional campground and resort focused on creativity, community, and spirituality. A great place to relax, become one with nature or with others, or to be part of the fabulous festivals held year round including bonfires, drumming, dancing, swimming, and soaking in the hot tub. The grounds are full of lots of temples, sanctuaries, altars, and sacred spaces where various groups host numerous rites and rituals every year. Family and community run since 1970, Brushwood is a family and community oriented campground.

070113-089
Brushwood Folklore Center, Sherman, New York

The campgrounds have seasonal campground sites, co-ed showers, flush toilets, a swimming pool, and two hot tubs. There are three covered pavilions near main camping, lots of outdoor space for workshops, lectures, ceremonies, and performances. An heated indoor lodge for year-round use and heated indoor sleeping areas for over a dozen visitors. Camping fees are only $10 /night (2013 rates) with day passes at $6/day until 6 pm. The heated indoor lodging (dorm-style trailer) is $15/night – all per person. On occasion, potluck dinners are held to promote opportunities for community to meet and share meals together. Home to numerous annual festivals, some of the famous festivals like Starwood in the past, now Summerstar, Sirius Rising, Wellspring, and many other events each year. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

070113-046
Brushwood Folklore Center, Sherman, New York

070113-040
Brushwood Folklore Center, Sherman, New York

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Military Casts Wicca in the Shadows

Saturday, August 14th, 2004

Military casts Wicca in the shadows


moved from www.technogypsie.com/folklore/ (an area of our site being redirected here) as a historical archive on the Wiccan religion.
reprinted from: http://www.contracostatimes.com/mld/cctimes/news/state/9380053.htm?1c

Posted on Thu, Aug. 12, 2004

As members serve their country, they also battle the military to accept their faith

By Randy Myers

CONTRA COSTA TIMES

After U.S. military personnel pelted American Wiccan servicemen and servicewomen in Iraq with bottles and rocks as they worshipped in a sacred circle, the Pentagon turned to Patrick McCollum of Moraga.

The chaplain, a national expert on the earth-based Wicca religion, conjured a little Wicca 101 for the troops.

Most Americans glean their Wicca knowledge from TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” or “Charmed,” with their witches and curses, good and evil. Wiccan worship focuses on respect for the earth and its inhabitants with a “do no harm” credo.

“Education is the single most powerful tool,” in dealing with misunderstandings in the military, McCollum said.

Wiccans represent a small fraction of the military, roughly 1,500 among 1.4 million active personnel, but the Pentagon wants to accommodate their faith. The military trains chaplains to meet the religious needs of all service members without compromising their own religious beliefs, said Col. Richard Hum, executive director of the Armed Forces Chaplains Board at the Defense Department.

That’s where McCollum and a few other Wiccans come in as on-call Pentagon advisers. The military has sought his advice three or four times since he started after Sept. 11, 2001, he said.

An advisory team became a Pentagon priority when Wiccan military personnel reported problems while conducting rites and religious activities.


Loye Pourner, Travis Air Force Base Wiccan Lay Leader, listens to Wiccan members talk about their faith during an informational meeting while Wiccan ritual objects sit on a table in the foreground on Monday at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield. (Deborah Coleman)


Loye Pourner’s dog tags show the word “Wicca” printed on the last line. (Deborah Coleman)

The Wiccans said that some chaplains were trying to convert them and that commanding officers made it difficult to practice, McCollum said.

Wiccans also have been pressuring the Department of Veterans Affairs to allow a Wiccan emblem, most likely the pentacle, for armed forces burial headstones or markers. Mike Nacincik of Veterans Affairs, said the department authorizes 38 emblems, including one for atheists, but none for Wiccans.

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The Eight Fold Path

© 1986-1990; 1990-2000; 2001-2010; 2011: Technogypsie.com/Treeleavesoracle.org/Leaf McGowan. Edited and adapted earlier versions for use in training a magical apprentice rite/workshop on Monday, 16 August 2010. No portion of this text may be copied or reproduced without permission from author: technogypsie@gmail.com.

The Eightfold Path to Altered States of Consciousness

In Ritual or spellcraft, the ritualist/magician/witch/Druid needs to incorporate the altered states of consciousness in order to tap into a higher consciousness and the field of energy from which to do magical workings. This is also the method utilized for connecting with otherworldly entities on their levels of existence whether that be the otherworld, the faerie world, the spirit realm, ancestral realm, or Realm of Deities. The more elements that can be implemented for altered consciousness from the 8 fold path, the stronger your altered state of consciousness will become, and the stronger, more dramatic, and serious the working will be. Including all 8 forms of the Eight Fold Path will ensure complete success with your working however, sometimes it is not logistically possible to include all 8.

By mastering your state of consciousness at will with intent helps focalize the energy and controls the magical current, opening communication with Deity and entities, and finding successful results. Altering ones consciousness is not always safe, so one needs to be aware of what they are doing, the process by which they are operating within, and what methodology they utilize to achieve various results. It is the means to achieving Prana, Mana, or the Magical Life Force.

1. MEDITATION OR TRANCE

Path of Breath The first of the Eightfold Path is accomplished by altering state of consciousness through specific forms of breathing. This is often achieved by emptying the mind, embracing a state of stillness, encompassing a state of serenity, and inducing a state of tranquility. Implementation of visualization, focused thought, projection, intention, concentration of intention, and trance work are all elements of this path. The highest point in the first path is projection of the astral body.

2. RITUAL/CHANTS/SPELLS/CHARMS

The second of the the Eightfold Path is the creation of sacred space and by doing deliberate intentional activities imbued with symbology, meaning, and projection. By creating a space in which to do the sacred, you achieve altering a point in time, space, and continuum. When you utilize symbols, spells, chants, tools, amulets, talismans, and mantras – it creates focus, rhythm, rhyme, replication, and circulates the energy achieved within and without.

3. RHYTHM, MUSIC, AND DANCE

The third of the Eightfold Path is by incorporating rhythmic repetitive motions, dancing, drumming, or music making. Dancing repetitively or wildly, ecstatically, or frantic rhythmic moving or motion of the body, spirit, and/or soul creates trance-like states, altered states of consciousness, and chemical/physical changes in the body, mind, and spirit. Circle dances, spiral dances, cone of power raising, drum circle dances, etc. will circulate, build up, and propel energy within and without.

4. ASCETIC PATH: FASTING, DEPRIVATION, PURIFICATION

The fourth of the Eightfold Path is accomplished by placing the physical body into an extreme state of deprivation, deprival, or change of environment from the usual comfort zone. This can include fasting, sensory deprivation, purification ordeals, etc. Some physical environments that can induce these atmospheres are sweat lodges, saunas, hot springs, isolation tanks, and/or pure darkness. By deprivation, the physical and mental body will react with its own energy fields creating visions, omens, oracles, prophecies, and hallucinations. The mind will generate images, ideas, thoughts, and processes that will assist the body to survive or transition.

5. IMBIBING SACRED PLANTS, SPIRITS, OR ALTEROGENS

The fifth of the Eightfold Path is communing with Spirits or entities that can include a “chemical” nature that poisons or possesses the physical body and mental state of the brain. Utilizing the Spirits or entities of plants and substances to chemically alter the mind/body into a state of consciousness. Drugs, alcohol, ethnobotanical plants with shamanic side effects are common instruments for this alteration. This path is onne of the most notorious instant methods for altering the state of consciousness, especially when one has difficultly doing it by means of their physical body without the introduction of a separate substance/spirit into the body. One needs to have a good relationship (or develop one) with the plant or spirit in question. Every plant, alcohol, or drug has a spirit this is why alcohol is often referred to as spirits. It has a consciousness and by blending together that spirit with yours, will alter the state to the consciousness one seeks. This can include food and drink as anything entering into the body alters its chemical and biological state. Cakes and Ale, Waters of Life, hosts, Body & Blood of Christ, sacrements, etc are common found types of this path in most religions. This can also include incense, oils, scents, and fragrances that can alter ones being by the senses. Read my article on “Spirits” of Alcohol here: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=1080.

6. PATH OF THE FLESH / SEX

The sixth path is the Path of the Flesh or Sexual Magic / Tantra / Love / Lust. The utilization of sexual energy as a means to open ones self to the spirits. Sexual energy, generated alone or with a partner, raises the strongest forms of magical power, contact with prana, mana, the akh, the ba, the ka, and instantly alters the state of consciousness by a natural means of chemicals with reaction in the body that can even overpower the fifth path of the plant or altergen. This is accomplished with masturbation, Sexual thought, Sexual play or stimulation, Intercourse and/or interaction with others that can introduce this state instantly. This is often accomplished in ritual with Sex Magic, The Great Rite, Tantra, etc. The rituals of love and lust can also tap this energy and be embraced to alter the state of consciousness with which to connect to spirits, Deities, the Otherworld, and prana.

7. PATH OF ORDEALS/PAIN

The seventh path is by going through an ordeal, a tragedy, embracing or experiencing pain or physical/emotional trauma. This, like chemicals or spirits, sex or deprivation, chemically and physically alters the mind, body, and spirit and launches a state of altered consciousness. By embracing this altered state – it becomes easier to focus that manifestation of power into projected will to focus on what is willed to be achieved. The intentional or careful use of pain to place the body into an altered state of consciousness is the most common ordeal one can manifest. Pain and endurance, trials, or challenges will effect change in state sometimes as powerfully equal as the path of the flesh or sex. This is often done in ritual or ceremony by means of flagellation, BDSM, tattooing, blood-runes carved into the flesh, the Sundance, cutting, wounding, or self infliction.

8. POSSESSION/EVOCATION/PATH OF THE HORSE

The final path of the Eight is Possession, Evocation, or allowing oneself to be ridden like a horse. This is the intentional act of permitting direct spirit-possession to bring Deities or spirts into the body for a short period of time. This can also be the most dangerous form of altering one’s consciousness. Some individuals are wired to do this, others are not. Much study and focus must be achieved before embracing this method.

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Prana, Mana, The Life Force

Spirit Force, Life Force, The Force, Mana, Prana, Spiritual Energy

Many see this as the all creating and destroying eternal force in the universe from which all life – whether biological or spirit comes from or departs to. Some call it the Creator, some see it as above any Creator or God/desses. Some call it a Supreme Being, others call it the Universe. Some call it “Energy” while others call it “Magic”. Some give it a consciousness while others see it as a energy field. Every religion, cult, belief system, form of spirituality and even alternative medicinal practices embrace and address it. It is seen as a variety of phenomena that is observed or experienced by some observers in a particular faith, spirituality, or religion. It is seen as the “energy” that is the life force that flows within and between all things. It is Life. It is the “breath of life”. It is seen as the continuum that unites body with the mind and spirit. It is what makes a animal be “alive”, or a plant “grow”, or a lightning bolt scream across the sky. It is the force behind gravity, science, and magic. Some see it as “vitality” or “vitalism”, “subtle bodies”, “qi”, “prana”, “mana”, or “kundalini”. Some say you can see this energy force as “vibrations”, “rays of light”, “fields”, or “auras”. It is the web of life that connects all life together. PRANA is the Sanskrit term for “vital life”. It comes from the roots “pra” meaning “to fill” and Latin “plenus” meaning “full”. It is seen as one of the five organs of vitality or sensation, as “breath”, “speech”, “sight”, “hearing”, and “thought”. It is the notion of the vital life sustaining force of all life and vital energy. Mana as a Oceanic term for the impersonal force or quality that lives within animals and inanimate objects. It is seen as the “stuff of which magic is formed” as well as the substance from which souls are made.

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Aeromancy or Cloud Divination

Cloud Omens

Aeromancy or Cloud Omens or Cloud Reading is a form of augury or divination outdoors in nature. The word aeromancy comes from the Greek word “aero” which means “air” and “manteia” which means “divination”. It is the divination by observing events in the air or wind including cloud shapes, weather conditions, rainbows, changes in weather patterns, storms, and atmospheric phenomena (including comets and meteors). It can also be used to foretell or predict weather or climate. Its history is popular as far back as use by the Greeks and Romans. Particular attention was paid to cumulus clouds and the shapes, sizes, forms, and pictures they would create. Clouds through history form shapes, faces, fantastic landscapes, mythical creatures, and wondrous images. Theories behind these images are based on one’s intuition trying to create an order out of randomness and some believe are reflections of the workings of the inner self. Seers look for these images not only in clouds, but fire embers, nature, water, smoke, and entrails of sacrificed animals in order to establish auguries and portents for the future. Aeromancy can be achieved by studying wind patterns such as with the seer tossing sand or dirt into the wind after asking a question and the answer being retrieved by the nature of the dust cloud. Another method involves throwing a handful of seeds and observing the pattern that the seeds form on the ground. This is sometimes referred to as Austromancy. To many ancients, the wind was the actual breath of life of their God/desses and was one of the most divine of elements. Alternatively, some believed that heated winds were the work of demons. Observing clouds is the most popular form.
Some popular cumulus formations that are known meanings are the Pegasus Cloud represents the mythical Greek God Pegasus. This usually represents meaning that a person will be rising above a problem or escaping from something that is worrying them. It can also be symbolic of someone achieving something great such as in the myth where Bellerophon tried to fly Pegasus to Mount Olympus and can take on a meaning of a Olympian endeavor being accomplished in someone’s life. UFO Clouds appear like an Unidentified Flying Object in clear skies or over deserts and when refracting light from the setting sun gives such an image. Carl Jung philosophizes that modern man wants to see flying saucers as he yearns for the wholeness of the inner self symbolized by the shape of a circle. In the East these can be seen as mandalas to aid meditation to establish the inner equilibrium. These can mean wholeness and completion. Grim Reaper Clouds are usually death-like images or symbols in cloud patterns that usually represent death of the old so the new can emerge. These can be seen as positives. Angel Clouds have been seen as portents of untimely death or as a messenger or a blessing that all will go well. During Elvis Presley’s cross-country road trip in 1964, he claimed he saw a angelic vision in the clouds of Stalin and believed it meant that God was displeased with him. This face then turned into a smiling face of Jesus which he believed was a portent of his untimely death. Rocket Ship could mean a symbol of rapid movement in one’s life, breaking free of physical limitations, or explorations of one’s personal or inner space and time. By viewing patterns of clouds in the sky, it is believed that one achieves the opportunity to examine what they see and what questions the mind wants to see based on the symbology and patterning of the clouds. It is very similar in practice to the modern psychology practice of ink blot testing. Based on how a person interprets a pattern can determine much about intuition and train of thought.

One recommended method of cloud prophecy is before looking into the skies, is to ask a direct question, relax, and allow the mind to accept whatever it sees. Before making out a specific pattern, use your imagination to see what might be the connection and do some research into the meanings of different symbols.

Related forms of prophecy are “Eromancy” which involves divination by taking omens from the air, “Austromancy” as divination of studying winds and cloud shapes, “Anemoscopy” as divination by studying the winds including studying the speed, direction, and sound of the wind or observing certain objects blown by the wind. “Nephomancy” is divination by studying clouds and their colors, shapes, and positions in the sky. This practice was called “neladoracht” by the ancient Druids. “Chaomancy” is a form of aeromancy looking for visions in the sky such as in the shapes of clouds and cloud formations. “Ceraunoscopy” is divination by observing thunder and lightning.
“Brontoscopy” is divination by listening to the sound of thunder. “Roadomancy” or “astromancy” is divination by observing stars, comets, and meteors. “Cometomancy” is specifically the taking of omens from comets as “meteormancy” is from meteors.


Cloud Omens

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Wishing Trees


Wishing Tree @ Brigid’s Well in Kildare, Ireland

Wishing Trees
“Wishing Trees” are very common throughout Ireland, England, and Scotland. They are usually individual trees upon which “folk magic”, “folk spells”, “faerie offerings”, or “prayers” are offered. Sometimes it is particular to a specific species, where the tree lives, or how it looks. Many times they are associated with faeries or a particular Deity. They are very common alongside sacred wells in Ireland and the UK. The practice usually involves petitions or offerings made to the tree, a nature spirit associated with the tree, a Saint, a God/dess, or the ancestors with a request for a wish to be fulfilled. Coin trees involve offering of coins to a particular tree. These are often hammered into an old trunk, branch, or small tree. Sometimes these are oaks, rowan trees, hawthorns, ash, or thorn trees. Some hawthornes serve for fertility magic such as a common one in Argyll, Scotland by the Ardmaddy House. Sometimes hundreds of coins are hammered into the bark and wood with the belief that a wish will be granted for each of the coins added. A similar one that is well known is by the sacred well of ST. Maree in Loch Maree, Gairloch, Scotland that has hundreds of coins hammered into it. Also all over the Yorkshire Dales, such as in the pictures shown here I took during a hike, are found with hundreds of coins offered to nature spirits and/or faeries for a granting of a wish. Clootie Wish Trees are found next to sacred wells throughout England, Scotland, and Ireland. This involves the practice of tying a piece of cloth, often called “clouties”, “clooties”, or “cloughties” to ask for a answer to a prayer, a wish, and/or a petition. One of the most well known “wishing trees” is the Madron Well in Cornwall. With the Madron well, a sacred well of healing, it is believed that as the cloth rots, the ailment that one is seeking a cure for disappears. Even Charles Darwin recorded the finding of a “wishing tree” in his travels in Argentina called “Walleechu” which was treated by the local inhabitants as a Deity. It was festooned with offerings such as cigars, food, water, and cloth hung from the branches by bright strips of colored thread. Popular wishing trees in Hong Kong is the “Lam Tsuen Wishing Tree” near the “Tin Hau Temple” in Lam Tsu where paper tied to an orange and thrown up in the trees that stick will grant the petitioner a wish. The wishing tree next to Brigid’s Well in Kildare is a common tree for petitioning healing requests.


Penny offerings for good luck
and as gifts to the Fae

“Wishing Tree”
Yorkshire Dales, England

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Brigid’s Sacred Wells in Kildare, Ireland


Brigid’s Well #1, the “Wayward Well”, Kildare, Ireland

Brighid’s Holy Wells in Kildare
*
Kildare, Ireland

The Goddess or St. Brigid has two holy wells in Kildare? She certainly does. Some say that one of the wells belongs to the Ancient Goddess Brigid while the other well belongs to St. Brigid. Both are sacred, both are holy, and both hold Brigid’s magical healing waters. Well #1 is the ancient “original” sacred well of Brigid. Well #2 is the dressed up sacred shrine and park of Brigid with her well. They were two distinctly different entities … an Ancient Goddess who’s ethereal Godly presence can manifest as a human female and the actual magical human nun turned Saint who was the personification of the Deitie. One in the same? could be. Two differently distinct entities who share the common thread? very possibly. Two wells … that seems to be the case. One for the Goddess and One for the Saint? I would say “both” wells contain “both” the Saint and the Goddess in them. I’ve come to notice a pattern with this, that the “ancient” Pagan “original” well is often offset from the “Christian” one. This seemed to be the case when I went to see the Madron well in Cornwall, England (though technically that one had “three” – the original one buried in the marsh, the Pagan “original” one offset from the one underwater, and the Christian well house.). There are many Brigid wells in Ireland as well as Britain. As wells were the sacred sites of veneration in the Druidic faith, many also have an associated sacred tree with them that are covered with votive offerings. These are often called “Wishing Trees”. Trees covered with “clotties” or ribbons of cloth done as a prayer for healing or a spell to obtain something. Pilgrims come here to get in touch with the well inside themselves. Wells are sacred places where people for thousands of years have come to pray, worship, and reflect. Pagan and Holy wells are often seen as the entrance to the womb of Mother Earth, the source of life. Each holy well usually is always related to healing, and each well usually has a specialty that it performs. Brigid’s wells are pretty powerful for healing sore eyes. Brigid is associated with all healing. Her girdle is capable of curing all disease and illness and this well is rumored to make “the blind man seeing, the dumb girl speaking, etc.”

Brighid’s Holy Well #1 a.k.a. “The Wayside Well”

The first well is the ancient Pagan sacred well of the Goddess Brigid. It is located just next to the car park of the Japanese Gardens. This well / spring itself feeds and nourishes the Gardens themselves. This is the spring source whose waters run off and feeds the newer well. It’s not really decorated and is simple, rustic, ancient, and silent. Seemingly forgotten. I has only an inscription sign in Irish that translates “St. Brigid, Mary of the Gael, pray for us.” However it is still a major focal point for pilgrimmages and ceremonies. The Brigid Eve ceremonies (January 31st) start at a small fire set up just outside the Japanese Gardens car park with a chanting to the Goddess Brigid which is followed by a candlelit journey of contemplation about the Goddess and the Saint and the spirit that weaves them together. The candle lit journey goes to this well and ends at the second well. It is customary to gather this well water in a bottle because of its strong healing properties and in exchange to leave an offering for the spirits and faeries who dwell there.


“Tobair Bride” / St. Brigid’s Well, Kildare, Ireland

Brighid’s Holy Well #2 a.k.a. “Tobair Bride” (St. Brigid’s Well)

The second well is the “supposed” Christian well of St. Brigid. It’s the tourist one. It’s the “Official” one. This is the one in the tourist guides, sign posts, and advertisements. It is located in a landscaped grotto at the end of a short lane close to Well #1. The local Catholic clergy moved Christian devotion and practices to this site in the 1950’s supposedly out of concern for people’s safety in accessing the original well which was at the bend in a narrow busy road. It is here that the Roman Catholic healing well is located. While pilgrims often visit both wells, this is the well where an involved ceremony, similar to the “stations of the cross” is conducted. Pilgrims reflect on the Goddess and/or Saint Brigid and how they weave together.

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Brigid’s Sacred Flame at Kildare


Brighid’s Flame
* Kildare, Ireland *

For well over 1,000 years, if not 2,000 years or more, the sacred fire of the Goddess Brigid (now St. Brigid of Ireland) has existed and kept holy / sacred by her followers, priestesses, and/or members of her Order. In Ancient times, the Priestesses of Brighid kept her flame eternally lit with 19 Priestesses keeping vigil that the flame was never extinquished. As Christianity spread through Ireland, the Goddess Brigid was so integral to the Irish population that She could not be eradicated and thereby made a Saint by the Catholic Church. In the 6th century C.E., A nun iconified as “St. Brigid” came to Kildare and built a nunnery/monastery and school on the same site where the Brigid Priestesses were keeping vigil at the Fire Temple eventually absorbing and taking over the duties of the Priestesses now brandishing the torch for Christianity while keeping the Pagan faith alive just hidden. Through many Viking conquests, raids, and wars, the original wooden church, monastery, and foundation was eventually rebuilt as a stone Cathedral by the 13th century. Giraldus Cambrensis wrote in the 12th century that the Flame was attended by twenty “servants of the Lord” at the time of St. Brigid with Brigid herself being he 20th. When she died, the number went down to 19 with each of the nuns taking their turns at night and on the 2oth night, the nineteenth nun would put logs on the fire and St. Brigid would miraculously tend the fire which never went out. By the time Giraldus wrote that, the fire had been continually burning for 600 years, and thereby never had its ashes cleaned out, nor did the ashes ever seem to increase in size. Surrounding the fire was a legendary hedge that no male could ever cross. By Legend, one of Strongbow’s men attempted to cross the hedge and wound up going mad. Another had attempted but just as his leg crossed the threshhold, his comrades pulled him back. Unfortunately the leg that did cross became maimed and he was crippled for the rest of his life. The magical hedge no longer exists, but in times of legend, protected the flame from male invaders by cursing them to go insane, die, become maimed, or have their penis wither. The Sisters of Brigid (Catholic nuns) continue the work in safeguarding the eternal flame in Solas Bhride which means “Light of Brigid”.

Once during the 1200’s the Eternal flame was briefly extinquished by Henry of London, the Norman arch-bishop of Dublin who ordered it to be put out as he considered the tending process to be a Pagan practice and not to be tolerated. It was quickly relit by the locals and the Sisters continued doing this until the 16th century’s British Reformation. During the Reformation, King Henry XIII had a campaign to destroy Catholic monasteries and in this process, attacked the St. Brigid foundation at Kildare, thereby extinquishing the flame. On February 1st of 1807, the Bishop of Kildare, Daniel Delany, restored the Sisterhood of St. Brigid and thereby re-lighting the Eternal Flame of Brigid. The Sisterhood of St. Brigid’s mission was at this point to restore the Ancient Order and bring back the legacy and spirit of St. Brigid to Kildare (and thereby the world). The town center saw the Flame rekindled in the heart of Kildare’s Market Square once again as well, in 1993 by Sister Mary Teresa Cullen, the leader of the Brigidine Sisters at that time. From that point, the Perpetual flame was monitored and kept alive in their home and on February 1, 2006 – the flame was brought back to the center of the Market Square where it has been permanently housed in a large glass enclosed vessel (and numerous flames kept alive in the Sister’s houses). The St. Brigid’s Flame monument, centered in the photo above, was unveiled by President Mary McALeese on St. Brigid’s Day, February 1st, 2006.

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Brigid’s Cross

Brighid’s Cross
* Kildare, Ireland *

Another blessed part of my pilgrimage to Brigid and Kildare was learning more about Brigid’s Cross. I had the pleasure of Faerie Moe as a guide, a local friend giving me the tour of Kildare and the sacred wells as well as giving me an on-hands explanation on how to weave a Brigid’s Cross. As a dedicant to the Goddess Brigid for over 20 years, in my early years i fumbled at making them, but never made anything as intricate and powerful as the crosses I saw at St. Brigid’s shrine and Sister Mary’s house. Amazing. Many say that the St. Brigid’s Cross, a.k.a. Cros Brde, Crosg Brde or Bogha Brde, is actually an Irish symbol of sun worship representing the sun in the center with rays of light coming from it in the shape of the arms of the Cross. Some say it represents a Brigid legend where in the story St. Brigid miraculously hung her wet clothes to dry on a sunbeam. It is also considered a Pagan sun wheel. They are traditionally made on February 1st for L Fhile Bhrde (St. Brigid’s feast day). It is also a symbol of Ireland and its provinces. Ireland has four provinces, but in ancient Ireland there were five – an invisible one in the center of Ireland. To some, the Brigid’s cross represents the four provinces (in the modern standard design) and in the 5 handed cross like shown in these pictures, representing the 5 provinces. The arms represent North, South, East, West, and Center. The 5th Province, the invisible one, is the province of healing and reconciliation. Brigid’s Cross probably first appeared in Ireland between the 2nd century B.C.E. and the 2nd century C.E. It is a folk magic tradition of weaving together straw to create a equal-armed Celtic cross that represents the Goddess Brigid, or modern day St. Brigid. Taking rushes that are woven together into a swastica-like /Celtic cross-like ornament, with a central square and four spokes protruding from each corner of the square in opposing directions, that has some variations found in Celtic art both ancient and modern. Brigid’s cross appears often traditionally on February 1st, the eve of St. Brigid’s feast / Imbolc / or Candlemas. In some traditions, the Brideoga or Biddies, young virgin boys who would carry a churndash (post used to churn butter) that is dressed up as a woman or an effigy of St. Brigid, and would go door-to-door through their neighborhood collecting alms for the poor. While collecting alms, they would leave bundles of straw and rushes outside the homes that they visited. At nightfall, young virgin girls would pick them up and ask to be admitted to the homes in the name of Brigid and would weave the rushes into crosses. After traditional prayers and a meal at the homes, the crosses would be placed under the eaves in the house or in the outhouses and sometimes blessed with holy water. The leftover rushes would be woven into a girdle called a “crios” or a tie for cattle or sometimes as a Brid’s bed or mattress for the Saint. Just as cattle were traditionally led through holy lakes or doused in water from Brigid’s well, they were often led through uplifted arches of these girdles. The Brid’s bed or holy mattresses were often placed at specific sacred wells and believed to possess curative powers to counter barrenness and to protect families and animals from natural calamities, especially lightning and fire. Some see the Brigid’s cross as symbolic of the evolution of the Goddess into the Saint. The Brigid’s Cross magically is believed to protect a house where it hangs from evil and from fire. Because of this, it is often hung in kitchens.

The Brigid’s cross is commonly woven on February 1st or 2nd, the date of Celtic Imbolc or Candlemas, a time to celebrate Brigid in her maiden form – the winter elder “cailleach” is reborn the maiden in her phase of collecting kindling for winter fires and warming the hearth for spring when she becomes young again. (After serving the winter as the aged woman still collecting kindling to keep the fire going to rejoice the flame for her rebirth) As the inventor of “caoineadh” or “keening”, from the mourning of her son Ruadn’s death, she inadvertently created the art form to keen. Some say this is tied into the creation of the Brigid’s cross. At this time when the night sky turns to the North star, the big dipper turns through the seasonal year, creating patterns in the sky that the Brigid cross is said to invoke. To tie into the warming for spring, Brigid is the fire keeper of the eternal flame always burning in Kildare, keeping the people of Ireland eternally warm. During her conversion to becoming a nun led to the practice of the Brigid’s cross, a craft many children and adults partake of weaving the kindling into a spiral form of the Brigid’s cross.

Here is a great web site with diagrams of the weave: http://www.fisheaters.com/stbrigidscross.html

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The Pagan Goddess Brigid, or the Christian Saint Brigid


St. Brighid

The Goddess Brigid
a.k.a. St. Brigid of Kildare, Brigid of Ireland, “Brigit”, “Bridget”, “Bridgit”, “Brd”, “Bride”, “Mary of the Gael”, or “Naomh Brd”
As a Saint and Actual Living Person: St. Brigid – c. 451 – 525 C.E. (A.D.)
Goddess of Poetry, Magic, Healing, Smith craft, Learning, Common People, Flocks/Stock/Yield of the Earth, and Inspiration.
Patron Saint of Ireland along with Saint Patrick and St. Columba. Early Christian Nun, Abbess, and Founder of several Monasteries.
Holiday: February 1st as “Saint Brigid’s Day, Candlemas, Imbolc, or Oimelc.

“As the Goddess: ” Throughout Europe, especially in England and Ireland, was the Pagan worship of the Goddess Brigid. She was the Goddess of Poetry, Magic, Healing, Smithcraft, Learning, Common People, Flocks/Stock/Yield of the Earth, and Inspiration. She is identified in Lebor Gabla renn as the Daughter of Dagda and a poet; a half sister of Cermait, Aengus, Midir, and Bodb Derg. In the Cath Maige Tuireadh she is responsible for inventing keening while mourning as well as the whistle used for night travel. Her British Counterpart Brigantia was the Celtic equivalent of the Roman Minerva and the Greek Athena. She is also the Goddess of all things perceived to be of higher dimensions such as high-rising flames, highlands, hill-forts, upland areas, activities depicted as lofty or elevated such as wisdom, excellence, perfection, high intelligence, poetic eloquence, craftsmanship, healing, Druidic knowledge, the home, the hearth, and skills with warfare. When the Celts came to Ireland in 500 B.C.E. they brought with them the Druidic religion. Druidism was polytheistic with many Deities who interacted with humanity for good and for bad. It was a common practice for various Deities to be assigned to certain regions or places where a cult site would be established. One was established, as early, if not earlier than, 500 C.E. in what is now known as Kildare. The shrine and cult was dedicated to the Goddess Brigid. In the Celtic cosmology, the chief God was The Dagda Mor (God of musicians, magic) who ruled over the people of Dana (the Tuatha de Danann or the Faerie folk). Dana was the Mother of Irish God/desses. She was also associated as “Brid” the “Poetess” which is identified with the Goddess “Brigantia” who ruled over the Brigantes – a powerful Celtic tribe in North Britain. Brigantia ruled over water and the rivers – the Brighid in Ireland, the Braint in Wales, and the Brent in England. “Brid” meant “exalted one”. She is often referred to as a “Triple Goddess” – the Three Sister Goddesses named Brid: (1) Goddess of poetry and traditional learning; (2) Goddess of the Smith’s Art; and (3) Goddess of Healing. Through time, these three Goddesses and their attributes were merged into one figure – the Goddess Brigid. With the coming of Christianity, Paganism became absorbed and purposely phased out by the mainstream populace until eventually it was not tolerated. The Gods and Goddesses of old were diminished down to the same rank as faeries, angels, Saints, and royalty. Many of the ancient Gods and Goddesses were converted to Christian Saints by the Catholic Church as a means to dissolve Pagan belief systems. In Christian times she was converted to a Saint, after the actual St. Brigid of Kildare.

    Ni bu Sanct Brigid suanach
    Ni bu huarach im sheirc D,
    Sech ni chiuir ni cossena
    Ind neb dibad bethath che.

    Saint Brigid was not given to sleep,
    Nor was she intermittent about God’s love of her;
    Not merely that she did not buy, she did not seek for The wealth of this world below, the holy one.
    ~ Saint Broccan Cloen

“As the Saint and Historical Person:” St. Brigid was the “Mary of the Gael” and only second in popularity to the people of Ireland next to St. Patrick. She was primarily associated with Kildare, the Curraugh, and the whole region of the Liffey Plain known as “Magh Life”. St. Brigid was born to Dubtach or Dubhthach, the descendant of Con of the Hundred Battles, a Pagan Chieftain of Leinster; and to Brotseach or Brocca, A Christian Pict of the house of O’Connor who was a slave baptised by St. Patrick. St. Brigid was believe to have been born somewhere between 451-458 C.E (453 most common) at Faughart near Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland. Some accounts state that Dubhthach, her father, was from Lusitania and kidnapped by Irish pirates and brought to Ireland to work as a slave in the same regard as happened with Saint Patrick. Her mother, Brotseach, was also believed to be a slave of Dubtach who was sold off shortly before Brigid’s birth to a Druid who lived at Faughart a few miles from Dundalk. Apparently much of this regard in her life affected Brigid’s views on things, especially with the concept of people being property.
Dubtach, her father, and his family, were natives of Leinster and Fr. Swayne, the late Parish Priest of Kildare, who claims they were from Umaras between Monasterevin and Rathangan in County Kildare. She was baptised in the Christian faith under the name of “Brid” or “Brigid”. Legend has it though that she was weaned on the milk of a white red-eared cow, the color of the beasts of the Tuatha De Danann. Through her life Brigid was especially kind to the people she encountered and was notorious in legend for miracles to be associated with her. One legend tells of her as a child in charge of the dairy by her mother that she gave away so much milk and butter to the poor people where they lived that none was left for her family. She knew her mother would be furious so resorted to prayer. As an answer to her prayers, when her mother visited the dairy she found an abundance of milk and butter. She was also known to be a lover of animals and had many tales of her kindness to stray and starving dogs. In childhood she supposedly encountered St. Patrick. Supposedly she was brought to hear him preach and when she listened to him she fell into ecstasy. She was so dedicated to charity, taking care of common people, healing the sick, and her faith that when she reached marriage age, she instead decided to dedicate to religious life. Pagan lore states she was one of the guardians of the Sacred Flame and Shrine of the Goddess Brigid in Kildare.

Christian tales tell of her leaving home with seven other young girls and traveling to County Meath where St. Maccaille the Bishop resided. The Bishop was hesitant to instate the girls because of their young age into the order. During prayer, it was here that they experienced a column of fire that reached the roof of the church resting on Brigid’s head. The Bishop gave the veil to the eight young girls upon hearing of this miracle. St. Maccaille’s Church was on Croghan Hill in County Westmeath and it was here that St. Brigid founded the first convent in Ireland which attracted many ladies of nobility as postulants and it was here that Brigid and her sisters completed their novitiate. After completion, they journeyed to Ardagh where they made their final vows to St. Mel, the Bishop of Ardagh and nephew of St. Patrick. Brigid founded another convent here and remained for 12 years. At the Bishops request, she sent sisters to various parts of Ireland to establish new foundations including herself. As St. Brigid traveled around Ireland, she visited with St. Patrick when he was preaching at Taillte or Telltown in County Meath to obtain his blessing. Throughout her travels she conducted blessings and miracles along the way gaining Sainthood. The Leinstermen knew Brigid was from their province and constantly asked for her to return home amongst them and was offered any site in that province. She decided to make her foundation on Druim Criadh near the Liffey in what eventually grew into Kildare. She chose a spot on the ridge of clay near a large oak tree and decided to build her oratory beneath its branches. Purportedly there was already a Shrine to the Goddess Brigid here. The new foundation prospered and grew quickly. Girls from all over Ireland and even abroad came to St. Brigid’s foundation to join the community. The foundation was named after the “Church of the Oak” or “Cill Dara” which evolved to modern day Kildare. The poor, the afflicted, the sorrowful came to Kildare for Brigid’s healing, advice, and guidance.

Besides a church, Brigid built a small oratory at Kildare which became a center of religion and learning and developed into a Cathedral city with two monastic institutions, one for men and another for women with St. Conleth appointed as spiritual pastor for both of them. She also founded a school of art, including metal work and illumination that St. Conleth presided over as well. From this was produced the “Book of Kildare” which was praised by Giraldus Cambrensis as having every page fantastically illuminated with interlaced work and a harmony of colors that it was the work of Angels and not of Humans, but it has long since vanished since the Reformation.

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Ragnarok


Ragnarok


Ragnarok

“Ragnarok”, “Gotterdammerung”, or a.k.a. “Doom of the Gods” or “Final Destiny of the Gods” is the apocalypse in Norse mythology. Its an important event in the Norse canon. This event will be followed by the Fimbulvetr, or the “Winter of Winters”. These three winters will follow each other with no summer. This will be a time of conflicts and feuds between all people and inhabitants on Earth, and all morality is believed will disappear. The mythos discusses that the “wolf Skoll will devour the sun and his brother Hati will eat the moon, plunging the Earth into Darkness. The stars will vanish from the sky. the Fjalar cock will crow to the giants and the Gullinkambi cock will crow to the Gods. A third cock will awaken the dead. The Earth will shudder with earthquakes and every bond and fetter will burst. The wolf Fenrir will be released. The sea will rear up because Jormungand the Midgard Serpent will write in fury making his way to the lands. With every breath, he’ll stain the soil and skly with poison. The Naglfar ship will be freed from waves caused by the serpent, and the Hymir giant will lead the giants to the battlefield. The Realm of the dead will send a second ship with Loki as the helmsmen, off to the battle. The fire giants led by Surt will leave Muspell in the south to join forces against the Gods and scorch the Earth. Heimdall will sound his horn, calling the sons of Odin and heroes to the battle. From all corners of the world – the Gods, the Giants, the Dwarves, the Demons, and the Elves will ride towards the huge plain of Vigrid to fight the last battle. Odin will engage Fenrir in battle, and Thor will attack Jormungand. Thor will be victorious, but the poison will eventually kill him. Surt will seek out the swordless Freyr, who will succomb to the giant. The one-handed Tyr will fight the Garm and they will kill each other. Loki and Heimdall, will meet a final time, and both will die. The fight between Odin and Fenrir will rage for a long period until Odin gets seized and swallowed. Odin’s son Vidar will leap to kill the wolf. Surt will fling fire in every direction and the nine worlds will burn, killing all friends and foes. The earth will sink into the sea. After the doomsday, a new and idyllic world will arise from the sea and abundant with supplies. Some of the Gods will survive will others will be reborn. Wickedness and misery will be non-existent and Gods with men will live happily together. Two humans, Lif and Lifhrasir will survive by hiding in the wood Hoddmimis holt and will repopulate the Earth. The personified sun, Sol will have a daughter at least as beautiful as she and this daughter will follow the same path as her mother. ” This cosmic event is attested in the 13th century “Poetic Edda” from early traditional sources, and the “Prose Edda” written also in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson. There are several archaeological objects that depict events from Ragnarok. These are (1) Thorwald’s Cross: a partially surviving runestone erected on the Isle of Man, depicting a bearded human holding a spear down at a wolf, his right foot in its mouth, while a large bird sits at his shoulder. This dates between 940-1000 C.E. Its believed to depict Odin, with a raven or eagle at his shoulder, being consumed by Fenrir at Ragnarok. There is also a depiction of a large cross and another image parallel to it that some state is Christ triumphing over Satan. (2) Gosforth Cross: mid 11th century, from Cumbria, England that parallel’s Thorwald’s Cross combining Norse Pagan and Christian symbolism in a similar manner apparently combining scenes from Christian Judgement Day and the Pagan Ragnarok. (3) The Ledberg Stone. 11th century C.E. from Sweden and is similar to Thorwald’s Cross featuring a figure with his foot at the mouth of a four-legged beast, perhaps of Odin being devoured by Fenrir at Ragnarok. (4) The Skarpaker Ston. 11th c. C.E. from Sweden – father grieving his dead son used the same verse as in the Poetic Edda in the engraving translating to “Earth shall be riven and the over-heaven”.
Some correlations have been made between Ragnarok and the 9th century Old High German epic poem Muspilli about the Christian Last Judgement that states the world is to be consumed in flames. Other comparisons between Ragnarok and other Indo-European peoples depict a later evolution of a Proto Indo-European belief about a cosmic winter motif between the Norse Fimbulwinter, the Iranian Bundahishn, and Yima. Vidarr’s stride compared to Vishnu’s with a special shoe to tear apart the beastly wolf. Larger patterns drawn between final battle events in Indo-European cultures including the occurence of a blind or semi-blind figure in the themes. Other theories about the volcanic events after the death of the Gods – the sun turning black, steam rising, flames touching the heavens – may be inspired by the volcanic eruptions on Iceland. Records of eruptions on Iceland bear strong similarities to the sequence of events described in Voluspa, especially the eruption at Laki that occured in 1783.

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Memorial Tribute To A Great Scholar: Phillip Emmons Isaac Bonewits (R.I.P. 1949 – 2010)

A Tribute To Phillip Emmons Isaac Bonewits, Scholar & ArchDruid Emeritus
Rest In Peace : October 1, 1949 – August 12, 2010


Isaac @ Newgrange, Ireland
photo given to me by Isaac, photographer unknown

I fondly remember when I first met Isaac back at the Gathering of the Tribes in Atlanta Georgia in 1991. At the time, I was a Graduate Student doing his research on the Ethnography of Wicca in the Southeastern United States – having not only the academic interest but undergoing a transformation from being a devout Catholic to a Neo-Pagan Witch. Various covens I had initiated with and worked under as well as studied had not so many nice things to say about Isaac. Many of the coven leaders I had known at the time were threatened by him and said he stirred trouble for Witches. Oddly, I took that as truth so was very biased about this amazing man in 1991. Mix that with being a relatively new Wiccan and having a bit of Fundamentalist Witch attitude about me – I was actually rude to him when he walked up to my table. He humbly picked up my ‘Wiccan practitioner survey’ and asked if he could have one to fill it out … I snapped at him and said “You’re a Druid, Not A Witch.” He looked crushed and walked off. This was not the man I was forewarned about. So I had someone watch my table and I wandered off to his workshop “Introduction to Druidism 101”. What I met in that lecture was an overwhelming sensation of connectedness to the Druidic faith and admiration for this man others spoke harshly about. Turned out that “Druidism” described who I actually was, not “Wicca”. I apologized to him and quickly sought out his book “Real Magic” and information about his Druid Organization “ADF: Ar nDraiocht Fein. I found him to be an amazing kindred soul – and it was canny that our paths to Paganism and the Occult were pretty identical from Catholic upbringing with a Catholic mother and a Presbyterian father to being altar boys looking into becoming Catholic priests. We were both intrigued by the divine at a young age and discovered spellcraft independently by Voudon priestesses while visiting New Orleans. I think that was a cohesive glue that gave us a commonality. Within months I started up a proto-Grove in Tallahassee, Florida called “The Wakulla Cypress Grove”. Within a year I had a full clergy and we gained Full Grove status. Correspondence and chats with Isaac were very motivating as was learning from him, attending his multiple workshops at Starwood and Wellspring. I videotaped a number of his workshops (reminds me I need to convert them to DVD and Youtube) and learned everything I could from the Man. I was roped into becoming the Assistant Pursewarden for Regalia in ADF – carrying ADF wares with me to various festivals. But after dealing with Debt, Death, and Divorce – (Divorce from my Wife, Death of my Father, and Bankruptcy) I had to resign and moved off to the Pacific Northwest where I started another ADF Grove – the Ancient Forests Proto-Grove in Eugene, Oregon. With Isaac’s long-distance guidance we had tried to kindle it with the Outpost proto-nest of the Church of All Worlds – but it was short-lived as I had to move back to Florida to deal with my Bankruptcy. Isaac was very supportive of me with my ups and downs at the time. He also guided me through some things I was uncomfortable with when I was getting my Minerval degree with a local chapter of the O.T.O. (Ordo Templaris Orientis) I had always known I could depend on him for answers … he was my personal Merlin of sorts – a Dial a Druid – with his own 800 number at the time … 1-800-DRUIDRY. The man made me laugh, gave me a deep insight into questioning various Pagan groups and their claims of heritage, to use academic scholarship to cross-check everything in the Occult. He was truly an inspiration to me. I went from despising to loving his “Devil’s Advocate” stance with all Occult Groups. I used his shared knowledge, articles, treatises, and handouts for all of the classes I taught from “Neopaganism 101” to “Druidism 202”. While from 1991 until 1996 my involvement with him was only thru a distance when I was part of ADF, and what adored times I got to hang out with him at various festivals annually. I even left ADF when he stepped down as Arch Druid (of course drama in the organization at the time contributed to that as well).

Then in 1996 he came to Tallahassee to legally handfast in a Druid Ceremony me and my second wife Hena. I was nothing more than honored. It was an event I’ll never forget and will always hold true to my heart. A couple of years after our handfasting, Me and Hena moved to Putnam Lake, New York where we were only a short drive from Isaac. Isaac was kindling up the “Black Dirt Protogrove” and roped us into re-joining ADF and assisting him in getting it started. It was a honor and ceremonies with him were amazing. I always learned something new every time I saw him. He had suggested I write his Biography at the time, which I had always pondered, but never pursued as I was very busy at the time with the Dotcom wave in running my own Web Development firm and things were getting rocky between Me and Hena. Life shattered for me and after divorce I was on a walk-a-bout to the Pacific Northwest and Canada. I fell out of contact with him, except for the annual visits to his camp and workshops at Starwood or another random festival we were at during the same time. By 2005 I completely fell out of touch with him until we re-discovered each other on Facebook when it came out. I always regretted that. This was a man who inspired me so much through my life – I should have taken him up on his offers to come back to New York and write his Biography for him. I truly Appreciated Isaac and all that he taught me. He’s been a role model. He’s been a guiding light. Much of what I contributed to the Neo-Pagan community wherever I lived was because I saw what Isaac gave to the community and I wanted to do the same. It was also Isaac’s dedication to the Goddess Brigid that led me onto the path to her. He may have been the one to introduce me to her. I do not remember. But thankful nonetheless for that wonderful connection.

    “Isaac …. you did so much for the Neo-Pagan movement – You are loved and honored – You are an amazing man and soul. Thank you for all that you have done. You will be missed tremendously, not only by Me, but the Neo-Pagan movement in all its faiths, traditions, and sects. We would not be where we are today without you. May your Passing to the Otherworld and Summerland Be An Amazing Adventure – I Hope You Are Reading This As You Sip Mead Side-by-Side With The Gods … Thank You. “

About Isaac Bonewits:

Continue reading Memorial Tribute To A Great Scholar: Phillip Emmons Isaac Bonewits (R.I.P. 1949 – 2010)

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Purification Pools at Saveok

Saveok Purification Pools:
Saveok Mill, Greenbottom, Cornwall, England

Located on the small local farm of Saveok Mill called “Saveok Water Archaeological Site”, resident Jacqui Wood discovered very curious archaeological features in her backyard when clearing the ground for a metal-work furnace on her land as one of her experimental archaeology projects. One of the phases of the site, was the uncovering of sacred stone-lined purification pools that had a plethera of ritual offerings within them such as cloth, heather branches, a cauldron, clothing, shoe parts, pins, finger clippings, and hair. This votive pool was found to have been filled in during the mid-18th century. The silt appears to have been imported into the site from elsewhere. This site phase appears to be a Neolithic ritual area was a series of Spring pools that may have been utilized as ‘purification pools’ or ‘sacred wells/springs’ through the ages. This natural spring line were large rectangular pools stone-lined with white quartz cores. As of this writing, there are at least two such pools on the site. Patterns of the stone lining, pool contents, and the seasonal filling of the second pool appears to have religious or ritualistic usage. Both of these features are very unique in Cornish archaeology – the only other such find was under the Maeshowe monument in Orkney that had a similar stone lined drain. Since anti-witchcraft laws were in place since 1541, their participation in these activities would have definitely remained hidden, for at this time the King James version of the Bible at the time declared into law that “thou shalt not suffer a witch to live“. [Exodus 22:17] The stone-line spring may have been utilized as a ‘holy well’ by these residents as well as its prehistoric use as such. The spring was packed full of ‘offerings’ dating to at least the 17th century including 125 strips of cloth from dresses and clothing, as well as pins, remains of a cauldron, cherry stones, human hair, shoe parts, imported heather branches, and nail clippings – all very commonly used offerings to sacred springs and wells. Modern day applications of these elements can be found existing in sacred wells and springs throughout the Cornish landscape today. Pins and cloth are common offerings to wells. Heather branches are associated with luck. The scraps of clothing could potentially have been remnants of ‘clotiers’ that are found around most of the wells throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland perhaps from a tree that was alongside the spring or just offered into the pool directly. (see modern example in article on “St Madron’s Well” located 25 miles from this site) This Well and/or Spring had sometime after the time of Cromwell had been filled in and destroyed in order to hide the practices that were taking place on this site since at least Neolithic times. The death penalty for the practice of Witchcraft officially ended in 1735 and by that time, evidence of this ritual site was covered over, and later residents of the site would have not been aware of what lie beneath. Over 128 pieces of fabric, varying from different weaves, thickness, and color were found in the votive pool. There were over 48 leather shoe parts found in the votive pool from sandals to shoes. Shoe offerings are notably in history to be associated with female genitals and could have been deposited for fertility offerings. Heather branches found offered into the pool are potentially good luck offerings done by gypsies. Six delicate pins were also found in the votive pool.

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The Ritual Offering Pits at Saveok

Offering Pits at Saveok Water Archaeology Site:
Saveok Mill, Greenbottom, Cornwall, England

Within the last 10 years, one of the world’s best archaeological examples of Ritual Witchcraft has been exposed in Cornwall, England. This site, Saveok Water Archaeology, has several site features suggesting ritual offerings, purification pools, and spellcraft dating as early as the mesolithic upwards to offering pits from the 1500’s to early 1900’s. Some of the practices on the site took place during conservative religious periods that outlawed the practice of Witchcraft, killing of swans, or Pagan faith and ritual. This didn’t seem to affect the religious patrons to this site as offerings and practice appears very abundant on these grounds. Prior to these finds, some of the only remains of witchcraft in England were witch bottles. Located on the small local farm of Saveok Mill called “Saveok Water Archaeological Site”, resident Jacqui Wood discovered very curious archaeological features in her backyard when clearing the ground for a metal-work furnace on her land as one of her experimental archaeology projects. One of the phases of the site, discovered in 2003, in areas EF and Area L appears to have had ritualistic use by means of offering pits (upward of 35) primarily swan-feather lined with imported pebbles or additional elements in them that date from the late 1500’s to the 1640’s onward. Use of such offering pits during a period of turmoil in England when Cromwellian Puritans destroyed much of pre-Christian Pagan England along the countryside would not only have been extremely dangerous to practice, but simply unheard of for the time period as the practice of witchcraft often led to a death sentence. These offering pits are believed to be evidence of Cornwall Witchcraft practice throughout the ages. While lineage or written evidence for the site is lacking, the remains are vast and tie into much of the lore, practices, and belief systems utilized by Paganism in the area – standing as the most common-sense theory at this point in the investigations. These practices may or may not have been done by the former 17th century residents who built the dwellings that currently exist on the site. But some of the offering pits were certainly dug during their occupation. Ethnographic discussions with locals suggests that some of the land’s residents, the Burnett’s, were reputedly witches. Since anti-witchcraft laws were in place since 1541, their participation in these activities would have definitely remained hidden, for at this time the King James version of the Bible at the time declared into law that “thou shalt not suffer a witch to live“. [Exodus 22:17] The death penalty for the practice of Witchcraft officially ended in 1735 and by that time, evidence of this ritual site was covered over, and later residents of the site would have not been aware of what lie beneath.

The presumed ritualistic “offering pits” are generally 40 cm sq. x 17 cm depth earthen dug pits that were primarily carefully lined with the intact pelts of a swan and other bird remains such as claws and beaks from different species. Some of the pits had other animal elements including pigs, dogs, and cats. One was lined with the skin of a black cat and contained 22 eggs – all with chicks close to hatching, as well as cat claws, teeth, and whiskers. Another had a dog skin, dog teeth, and a baked pig jaw. Another pit had a mysterious 7 inch iron disk with a swan skin on one side and animal fur on the other. Based on ritualistic comparisons from Celtic Paganism, Witchcraft, Santeria, and Voodoo – such offering pits are common practice for fertility spells, sacrifice, and magical intentions. The abundant use of swan feathers, suggest fertility in this case, and based on local folklore could have been offering pits to the Goddess Brigid (now the Catholic St. Brigid) as per interviews with local witches and folklorists determined due to Brigid’s association with swans and fertility magic. According to local folklore and beliefs – the swan feathers associated with fertility were possibly offered her to promote conception. If conception took place – then 9 months later the person would return to empty the pit. This is the current explanation for some of the empty pits that were found. Some of the pits also contained leaf parcels of imported stones that have been traced to Swanpool Beach which is approximately 15 miles away from the site – a area famous for its population of swans. Not only were these practices at this time dangerous because of Cromwell, but the act of killing a swan would have been risky throughout English history as swans belong directly to the Crown. In addition within these feather pits were found over 57 unhatched eggs ranging in size from bantams to ducks that were flanked by the bodies of two magpies. Magpies are birds very tied to Cornish folklore and also seen as taboo to be utilized in such a way. These organic remains had incredible preservation on this site due to the Spring’s water-logged ground and mineral content. Radiocarbon dates of some of the swan feather fits date to 1640. The cat pit dates to the 18th century and the dog pit dates to the 1950’s. The combination of the holy well/spring, remains of the cauldron, ritual offerings to the well, swan feather lined offering pits, and other ritualistic evidence strongly suggested that this site was a ritual place for Cornish Witches. If this is the case, then Saveok Mill serves as one of the world’s best examples of sites of this kind since much of Witchcraft practice through the ages prior existed only in witches bottles and remains found in Salem, Massachussetts in the New World. Much of this fabled history, ressurrected by modern day Witches or continued by family tradition witches in the local area, has been buried in secrecy and buried underneath intentional cloaks of mystery. Until the modern era of the practice, written records of this religious movement and/or practice was next to non-existent.

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Cornish Witchcraft

Cornish Witches
Cornwall is notorious for its fabled land of pixies, elves, faeries, witches, and magical folk. The entire area of England is just absorbed in magic and folklore … and most people … even if not magically connected will state that very fact … especially with Cornwall being the tromping grounds of King Arthur, Excalibur, and Merlin. My first visit to Cornwall I experienced none-other than sheer enchantment. From magical megalithic sites, mesmerizing coastlines, enchanted wells, to frolicking with Faeries on Lake Colliford my adventure was beyond magical. Cornwall also hosts a plethera of brightness and darkness … as it is entwined by leylines and magical practitioners such as Shamans, Witches, and Druids. Lore about mischievious faeries wreaking havoc on those who have crossed faerie paths or disturbed faerie mounds. The entire landscape is littered with evidence of Pagan beliefs, Paganism, Ritual, and Religion. No other place however has provided as much archaeological evidence of some of the macabre practices as was found in recent years at Saveok Mill in Greenbottom. This site involves purification pools, a possible sacred well or spring, and macabre rituals involving swans, magpies, and other birds in what could only be described as ‘offering pits’. Some of these ‘offering pits’ were still in practice even during the 17th century when the law of the Bible dictated that one should not suffer a witch to live and during a time when Cromwell’s army would surely have condemned anyone practicing such rites. Cornwall has appeared to have escaped the Roman vanquishing of Celtic Paganism as ‘Magic’ stayed alive and well there. However, throughout England it became illegal to practice magic and witchcraft. Even with the official bans, there is evidence of practice throughout the land. The first Witchcraft Act was passed in 1541 which propelled the Witch hunts, the Inquisition, the Witches’ hammer, and suffering for those accused of witchcraft which ended in 1735. Witches however, especially in Cornwall, and throughout the British Isles, have taken care of their neighbours by curing toothaches and aches, weaving love spells, telling fortunes, and blighting crops. This wasn’t exclusive to Cornwall nor England – it was pretty common throughout the world. Whether by the art of magic or through the course of an actual religion, Witchcraft was alive and well throughout the ages even to this very day back in an age where it can be practiced openly in broad daylight with minimal reaction from the mainstream bystanders. Witchcraft offered its participants the ability to bend, twist, and shape reality – to create change; to control the world by means of magic, ritual, and spellcraft. It all began quite secretive as an oral tradition – often passed on through family lines – changing through time – and varying today in the modern age where it is now written about, practiced throughout the world heavily, and embranced through an assortment of religions, traditions, and sects. Oddly enough, you can even get a “Witchcraft for Dummies” book from Barnes and Nobles. Depending on the scholar you talk to, there are roughly 9-13 different “types” of Witchcraft each with potentially hundreds of different traditions encompassed within those ‘types’.

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Madron Well

Madron Well, Wishing Tree, and Baptistry
Madron, Cornwall, England

This is one of Cornwall’s most actively sacred sites and blessing wells. It is throughout Cornish history known as a Cornish sacred site that was dedicated to Madron or Mabon, the Earth Goddess, as a site for the granting of wishes, answering of prayers, and its healing waters. To this day, people flock from all over the world to make requests or petitions by offerings of pins or coins to the well or by tying ‘clouties’ (or pieces of cloth) to the nearby bushes to appease the water spirits within the well to grant blessings. The well has a long history of healing properties. Up until the 18th century it was the only source of fresh water for Madron and Penzance. A stone baptistry was built near the well dating to the 6th century that was utilized for baptisms and blessings making use of the sacred waters that flow in this area. The baptistry is now just stone ruins measuring 7 x 5 meters with no roof (no evidence there was ever a roof). The blocks are made of granite. Spring water flows through the granite blocks into a basin located within the southwest corner of the ruins. A low altar stone, believed to be Pagan, can be found along the eastern wall with stone seats lining the walls. During my visit in June of 2010, the altar was in use as a memorial for a girl named Cherry who loved this site. I can only assume she recently passed away. The waters flowing from this Spring, feeding both the baptistry and the Pagan well is buried in lore about it hosting healing waters. The true ‘Pagan’ well is believed to be buried further into the marsh (approx. a half a mile from the baptistry) and not at the actual spot where people traditionally have been tying the clouties.

There is little evidence as to the existence of a actual Saint Madron and is believed that it was just a means by Christianity to take over a very Pagan sacred site to claim as their own. Author Misses Quiller-Couch stated that “No clue can be found as to whom St Madron was, or whence he came; beyond the fact that he lived in the hermitage which bears his name, nothing is known of him; there is even a diversity of opinion as to the sex of the saint, some writers speaking of him as a woman.”
It is told that local Pagan groups have located the original well and made the true location more accessible. The well is outlined by a stone surround and is located near the green mound known as “St Madderns” bed where pilgrims would sleep upon as part of the healing cure. Clouties or pieces of cloth are often cut from a person’s clothes, like I did with the shirt I wore to the site, and hung / tied to a thorn on the hawthorne tree for luck. Also tearing a piece of cloth off of the body where the body is ill will result in a cure for that which is ailing the requestor. East Cornish lore also has a custom of bathing in the sea on the three first sunday mornings in May – after which the children were brought to this site before sunrise to be dipped in the running water so that they may be cured of rickets, skin diseases, colic, shingles, aches, pains, and other child disorders. After being stripped naked, the children are plunged three times into the water, parents facing the sun, and passed around the well nine times from east to west. They were then dressed and laid by the side of the well to sleep in the sun – and if the water bubbled when they lied down, it was good sign the prayer/petition was heard. Not a word was spoken of the even for the whole time for fear it could break the spell. The water from the well has magical healing properties if drunk or applied to the body of the ill. The site is also used for love magic. Young girls often would visit the site in May to find their sweethearts by dropping crooked pins or small heavy things into the well in couples, and if the items stayed together the pair would be married. The number of bubbles surfacing from the fall will show the time that will elapse before the match is made. Sometimes two pieces of straw were weaved into a cross and fastened to the center by a pin to be utilized in these divinations. The area is extremely magical and enchanting. Walking in the forests around the Well on a breezy day will result in great tree chatter and omens revealed by dryads. Water naiads are also abundant in the Spring who grant the wishes/petitions. In 1996 there was an incident where unidentified persons who took offense to the Pagan practices of the Spring cut down to branches upon which the clouties were tied. Folklore states that the Bishop of Exeter brought a crippled man named John Trelille here … who was paralyzed from the waist down. Upon bathing in the waters on the first three thursdays in May, each time sleeping on St. Maderne’s bed, was miraculously cured of the paralysis.

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7.22.09: Cronicles of STL: Chapter 12: ‘The Otherworld, Haunting in Connecticut, Contemplations about the Afterlife’


From the journal of Sir Thomas “Rymour Oisin” Leaf: The 22nd of Quintilis (Julius Caesar’s “July”) in the good year 2009 of the Common Era


“Awoke with many dreams of Faerieland and Faerieworlds. Of course that just feeds into my upcoming Adventure to Faerieworlds come the end of this month. I was up in a shake and off to the laboratory to work on some artifacts and maps. The restrictions on technology, portable drives, and network connectivity is really stressing me out at work. In an age where technology is at our fingertips, I come to wonder what the problem is. Why is it failing? and of all places within the government. So after work, decided nothing better to dispell the stress but renting a good movie … one I’ve been wanting to see, especially since I’m such a big Supernatural, ghost story, occult, and horror fan … none other than “The Haunting in Connecticut”. Pretty freaking good movie if you ask me. An early night, dreams of the Otherworld, and since I’m on a run with all the alternative community views of upcoming apocalypses and great transitions, why not start grasping concepts about ‘the Otherworld’ and beliefs some have in the veils between the worlds dissipating and the spirit and undead realms merging with our realm, even moreso than it has over the last several hundred years. Lets talk about the Otherworld and/or the Underworld.”

My review of “The Haunting in Connecticut”

The True Story about the Haunting in Connecticut

“As we left off with the theories about the ‘Faerie Great Awakening’ in the previous post of these chronicles, there is a belief by many individuals and alternative sub-communities that there will come a time when the realms between the worlds will fade away and disappear, thereby placing inhabitants of other realms, including the faerie realm, and to some the Otherworld and Underworld, to become residents of this world / realm in which we supposedly live. So to explore this concept that we’ve all come picture and fantasize about from the fantastical television series of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “Angel”, and “Supernatural”, lets discuss what exactly “is” the “Otherworld” and the “Underworld”. Interesting theories and prophecies out there. Many clearly claim these realms are already blended into our own. I might inquire … Do you believe in ghosts? spirits? demons? the undead? Vampires? zombies? and werewolves?”

Continue reading 7.22.09: Cronicles of STL: Chapter 12: ‘The Otherworld, Haunting in Connecticut, Contemplations about the Afterlife’

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7.21.09: Cronicles of STL: Chapter 11: ‘The Faerie Great Awakening, Otherkin, Faeids, Faeries, gardening, domesticus’



flowers in my garden blooming

[ Back to Chapter 10: Mayan Prophecy ]   [ Chapter 11: Faerie Great Awakening ]   [ Chapter 12: The Otherworld ]

From the journal of Sir Thomas “Rymour Oisin” Leaf: The 21st of Quintilis (Julius Caesar’s “July”) in the good year 2009 of the Common Era


“Interesting dreams last night as I absorbed what speakers, tribesman, and friends from Dreamtime and other communities keep talking about with the Mayan Prophecy. Early into the laboratory to work on archaeology with loads of computer issues that I also needed to straighten out for my team as the database and network access kept breaking connectivity. Apparently their system and technology is failing them and is just simply going to hell which of course doesn’t alleviate my stress level. I’m already ready for another vacation! After work, I returned to my enchanted cottage to absorb the beauty of the plants starting to produce in my garden – lettuce, tomatoes, pumpkins, herbs, and flowers. Of course with all the recent travels the weeds have gotten out of hand, so a portion of the afternoon was spent weeding and giving the plants attention and care. In the evening I started to contemplate ‘other’ alternative community prophecies about changes to come, transitions, and perhaps connections to 2012. This of course brought me to spend the evening on contemplation about the Otherkin and Faerie realms beliefs about the ‘Great Awakening’ as there were quite a few references to ‘Great Awakening’ and ‘Quickening’ in the ‘Mayan and 2012 prophecies’. Looking for connections and lead-ins, but what the hippies, cults, religions, and movements refer to as ‘the Great Awakening’ in their mythos is quite different than what the ‘Otherkin’, ‘Faeries’, and ‘Otherworldly spirits’ describe as their ‘Great Awakening’. So in order to keep the two separate, even if they might be describing the same thing, I’ll describe below what I’ve heard, read, written, and been exposed to as ‘The Faerie Great Awakening’ even if it does involve more than just the Faerie realm. Much of this is described in detail within my upcoming book about Faeids and Otherkin so in a way, these festivals, theories, interviews, discussions, and networking has acted as a ‘muse’ to me to get me back into writing. While all of this may be portrayed as ‘fantasy’, ‘science fiction’, ‘pseudo-science’, ‘mythology’, ‘folklore’, and ‘hogwash’ … to many I’ve discussed and networked with (including over 100 interviews) – many believe this to be the ‘truth’, ‘reality’, ‘prophecy’, and ‘the future’. Make of it what you will.”

Fairy Faith Brian Froud interview excerpt
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYY1sdXmJwI

Continue reading 7.21.09: Cronicles of STL: Chapter 11: ‘The Faerie Great Awakening, Otherkin, Faeids, Faeries, gardening, domesticus’

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DAY 2 and 3 of BELTANIA 2009

2nd Annual Colorado Beltania Festival: Day 2 and 3
www.beltanefestival.com * Parrish Ranch * Outside of Fort Collins, Colorado * Living Earth aka Highlands Ranch Pagan Meetup *
Friday-Sunday, May 8-10, 2009
“Living Earth” which is formerly known as “Highlands Ranch Pagan Meetup” has begun to host an annual celebration of the Pagan Sabbat of “Beltane” or “May Day”. On their 2nd annual run of the three day festival, this nonprofit event on a private ranch brings festivity to the season with open rituals, classes, workshops, children’s activities, and service projects. Beltania offered its attendees a large outdoor stage with some incredible acts, an indoor 3000 square foot lodge, hundreds of acres of outdoor space, restrooms with cold water showers, workshops, activities, rituals, a traditional Maypole dance, sweat lodge ceremonies, all-night drum circles, catered breakfasts/dinners, merchant area, RV/camper’s hookups, wild camping area, quiet camping area, skyclad areas, a swimming river, and much more. Over the course of the three days, the festival saw over 700 guests in attendance.

May Pole Procession:

Continue reading DAY 2 and 3 of BELTANIA 2009

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Bodypainting at Beltania 2009

2nd Annual Colorado Beltania Festival: Tree Leaves’ Bodypainting
www.beltanefestival.com * Parrish Ranch * Outside of Fort Collins, Colorado * Living Earth aka Highlands Ranch Pagan Meetup *
Friday-Sunday, May 8-10, 2009
It was a last minute decision for The Tree Leaves’ Oracle to decide to show up to Beltania 2009, and while pretty sure that entering as a last minute merchant/venue wouldn’t fly, they figured they would try it anyhow. Of course, merchant row was too full, so it was just camping and festival fun. I decided to setup the camp anyhow, a place where people could come for free to paint themselves or get painted, just like we do at Apogaea and Burning Man. We were having too much fun running around dancing, frolicking, swimming, and merrymaking, but did get a few dynamic designs in … here they are ….


Leaf as the “Green Man”
hand-painted with acryllic


Allison as the River Spirit
handpainted acryllic by Leaf

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Beltania Festival 2009: Day 1 – Parrish Ranch, Colorado

2nd Annual Colorado Beltania Festival: Day 1
www.beltanefestival.com * Parrish Ranch * Outside of Fort Collins, Colorado * Living Earth aka Highlands Ranch Pagan Meetup *
Friday, May 8, 2009: 9 am – 2 am
“Living Earth” which is formerly known as “Highlands Ranch Pagan Meetup” has begun to host an annual celebration of the Pagan Sabbat of “Beltane” or “May Day”. On their 2nd annual run of the three day festival, this nonprofit event on a private ranch brings festivity to the season with open rituals, classes, workshops, children’s activities, and service projects. Beltania offered its attendees a large outdoor stage with some incredible acts, an indoor 3000 square foot lodge, hundreds of acres of outdoor space, restrooms with cold water showers, workshops, activities, rituals, a traditional Maypole dance, sweat lodge ceremonies, all-night drum circles, catered breakfasts/dinners, merchant area, RV/camper’s hookups, wild camping area, quiet camping area, skyclad areas, a swimming river, and much more. Over the course of the three days, the festival saw over 700 guests in attendance.

Day 1:
While a good portion of the attendees spent most of the first day setting up their camps, dressing up, shopping around in the merchant area, and exploring … quite a few workshops were offered such as “Meditation Beads”, “The Healing Arts of the Goddess”, “Cuddle Celebration”, “Kids Face Painting”, “Drumming 101”, “Hair Wreaths”, “Sensitives, Psychics, and Empaths, oh my”, “Sacred Body Painting”, “Hoop Dancing Playshop”, “Bubbles in the Buff on the Bluff”, “Myth for Ritual and Inspiration”. Activities involved Sweat Lodge ceremonies, Face/Body Painting, Cuddling, Parent/Child River Splash, Drum Circles, Rites of passage, Opening Rituals, Open Mic Hours, Swimming, a Hay ride, Girls’ Moonrite and Amazon Sisterhood Rites, and concerts. The Stage saw Ariana Saraha and Friends, the Mountain Trance Medicine Band, and the Muses of Turiya. The Full Moon ritual was performed under the full moon in Scorpio with emphasis on the Egyptian God Osiris and the Goddess Hathor. Elaborate costumes and drama, Hathor granted eternity and protection to the ritual participants later raising Osiris from the dead. Pretty intricate ritual. Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5. Continue reading Beltania Festival 2009: Day 1 – Parrish Ranch, Colorado

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May Day / Beltane

Beltane/May Day (May 1st)
may day
is a celebrated sabbat and holiday of Indo-European Paganism that was later adapted by Christianity, and then “holiday culture.” In terms of "holiday culture", is meant the current trend within our culture to take really traditional practices & rites and commercialize them or turn them into a non-religious "fun" holiday game or party favor. (Cypress Knee) As there is nothing wrong with this evolution or abstraction of tradition in itself, its very important to understand the tradition and to respect its origins.

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