A Lughnasadgh Lament?
(or In the Time Before Lugh)
Oh Lughnasadgh – have you been canceled?
I remember a time before Lugh was born. This time of year was a time of great gatherings. Yet where is my great gathering? Where are my sisters, and mothers, my aunts and my grandmothers?
Where is Taliesker arriving in her great shadow of wings, turning the sky dark with her flocks of crows? Are the seas so poisoned and polluted that Se-al Kie is dead or harpooned and no longer navigates the sea currents to land ashore and step out of her sealskin?
I miss my sisters who follow the herds arriving with a great clicking of hooves as they step from their world into ours.
Thankfully I know these women as I was born between the worlds. I still hear their voices on the very edge – on the edge of twilight…on the edge of far-flung Scottish islands. I was also born into this world, born into a warring, patriarchial fucked up world.
But if you can take to the skies, with Taliesker and look down on the world at night. There are hundreds of small fires, hundreds of wise women and men gather. For the wise women still, meet. The witches still meet.
They still dance between the worlds. They still spin their magic that will bring this world down. Magic that will free the girl children from horrid stinking rooms of sex slavery. Magic that will empower every woman and child. Magic that will transcend all the lives tortured in intensive farming, magic that will replant the trees, clean the oceans and protect the herds.
In a world, whose temperatures are hotter than hell my harvest is scorched, strangled by the fingers of patriarchy. Patriarchy who is happily wielding it’s scythe and cutting us down.
She Who Brings Rebirth
Yet they have forgotten the essence of this age-old wheel story, the force of rebirth!
click to view her in the shop
Women Who Followed the Reindeer
Exploring the Stories of my Foremothers
Antlered Headdresses and Drums
click to view her in the shop
Feeding Ancestral Longing
Dancing Between the Worlds
click to view her in the shop
Old Antlered One
Mother of the Herds
Click on the image to view in the shop
I had an interesting experience while creating this doll – as I built up the layers of wool I had this image of creating a landscape of adding layers of soil and as I added her layers of clothes I was creating the all the layers of an ecosystem.
The inspiration for this doll was born in a time of ice, a time when great herds of reindeer crossed from mainland Europe across the to Britain, a time when Britain wasn’t an island. She was there with the first herds and the people who then followed the herds. The wise women of these clans were the women who went into trance to contact this Great Mother of the herds to ask for a sign of where to find the herds and in ritual gave thanks for using them for food, shelter, for sacred objects and clothing.
Click on the image to view in the shop
The female reindeer, like the male, grows antlers. She is the leader of the herd, following the ancestral deer trods over the land that her mother led the herd on and her mother before that – stretching back thousands of years.
There is an ancient connection between women and these female reindeer – one which has been honored and respected. Even today many women see the wisdom in this great Mother of the Herds, they search out her knowledge, dream of their foremother’s rituals and ceremonies.
Amazonite & Howlite Antler prayer Beads – click to view in the shop
The inspiration lies in the power of these women, the symbol of them in today’s world fighting for what is right, for community and place which is represented by the amazonite. On the other hand, these women were rooted in their faith, their belief in the ancestral Goddesses of Scotland whom they saw the earth herself embody. These beads hold the power for us to stand in our own truth while we face all that is wrong with the world today and provide us with a vivid connection to our ancestors, the forewomen who went before us and all the generations of women whose shoulders we stand on through the essence of howlite.
Howlite is a stone that looks like ancient bleached bones. In fact, it can help absorb calcium and strengthen teeth and bones, yet its bone-like appearance can connect us to the bones of our previous lives. While many people will tell you tales of previous lives at King Arthur’s court or their life as Egyptian royalty, howlite helps us to remembers past lives and maybe it will tell you of your previous life of fox, owl or even a great elk. This set feature a wonderfully gnarly antler tip from a wildcrafted naturally shed White-tailed deer antler, maybe you might remember a previous life as deer? Surely all our previous lives weren’t human and for those lives that were human who is to say that they were lived out on planet Earth!
Howlite also offers us qualities of soothing our emotions whether that be anger or stress. It calms an overactive mind and howlite prayer beads are particularly useful in meditating with before sleep to help calm your mind if it often races with worries which keep you awake. It is a stone beneficial in recalling information – wither it’s the past lives we mentioned earlier but if you’re like me and have trouble remembering your dreams, howlite can help recall that wisdom that came to us when sleeping.
Click to view in the shop
Amazonite is a stone o the peacemaker and the truthteller. Firstly it helps us communicate our true thoughts and feelings and then secondly it helps us with compassion in an ability to see the others point of view. We can work with it by keeping it under our pillow – it helps make everything more conscious and with it being a stone of truth we can trust it’s visions and dreams and the intuitions that bubble up while we are working with it.
Amazonite is particularly powerful in manifesting our dreams and desires. Try holding it as you consciously affirm what it is you wish to create and the power of the stone helps our ability to bring this into being.
A new doll in progress. very happy with how the new style of antlers turned out.
Breejah – The First Doll I Ever Made
It’s been a while since this doll maker made a doll. Although I’m always thinking of creations which want to be made, to be given form. My dolls hold the wisdom and insight of folklore, of the way of the Wise Women – and extend an invitation to view the world through their eyes.
This Samhain I’ll be launching a wheel of the year course which through the cycle of the year explores each of the eight festivals in relation to the folklore of the Bean Feasa (Wise Woman). Each festival is represented by an Ancestral Mother of Scotland and a doll who represents her – there will be creative projects which stir the imagination and guided meditations to journey with the wise woman.
This post celebrates doll making and an inspiration to me to celebrate these wonderful creations!
The Old Dark One
She Who Holds the Wheel
Vasilisa and the doll her mother gave her
The Great Eye of the Cailleach
She Who Runs With the Herds
Sign up below for our mailing list and so you’ll hear more about our upcoming Wheel of the Year course as well as our upcoming celebrations when we launch our new website!
Holey stones are part of a long magical curative tradition in the UK. Different regions of the UK used the stones for different uses, throughout the country holey stones are known as hagstones, witch stones, snake stones, Druids stones and mare stones to name a few. These stones were used to curing eye issues curing diseases in cattle, protecting horses from night-hags and preventing nightmares and to help children through teething (which in the 1700-1800’s in Glasgow, Scotland was the cause of a considerable infant mortality).
Impression of Agnes Sampson, the Witch of Keith
Snakestone beads are generally thought of a being a glassy disc with a hole in the center and said to have been created by the spit or foam from the mouths of snakes. There is a legend from Cornwall which tells of a tradition that snakes would gather at midsummers eve and as they joined their heads together and hisses they created a bubble till it formed around the head of one of the snakes and it would travel over its body until it came off at the tail.
Agnes Simpson – the Wise Wife of Keith
Snakestone beads were also natural stones with holes in them, were sometimes used to ease the pain of childbirth in Scotland. In the trial of Agnes Sampson, as part of the North Berwick witch trials, another woman on trial – Eufame Macalyane, is said to have called on the services of Agnes. Eufame had called on Sampson for the relief of her labour pains, the cure involving the use of enchanted powders as well as the ‘baird stane’ (a bored stone, ie a stone with a hole in it). Agnes was eventually convicted not just for having the snakestone but the bigger sentence charged with treason (of allegedly trying to kill Kings James VI and his new wife on their voyage from Denmark by conjuring up a violent storm). Her use of the snakestone inferred her use of using magic as the stone wasn’t attributed with any known actual curative properties – the use of the stone was then used as additional evidence that Sampson was indeed a witch and was burnt at the stake in Edinburgh 1591.
Antler hagstone – click to view in shop
To me, a stone with a hole in it connects us to these wise women and to their beliefs which they tapped into in doing their work, whether helping with childbirth, find something treasured that was lost or to make sense of a particular situation and to bring balance back. People sought out the help of wise women in times of crises in their lives and while the world has gone through many crises we are currently in a monumental planetary wide crisis. There are many women from different traditions who call themselves wise women, or are called wise women by others. Each woman brings about balance in her own way through her skills within her tradition. I work in a pre-Celtic Bean Feasa tradition – while the word is from Gaelic I recognize my recent ancestors and all the generations of women before them. Countless generations of women who brought their healing skills, their helping and organizing skills, their skills as nurturer and therapist, of herbalist and skills of artist and storyteller weaving the magic of imagination.
My hag stones are decorated with an embellished cord, a symbol of the roots, the bones and the blood which link us to the women who came before us – down through countless generations of women healers. The cord is a symbol of the tap root that weaves through us to past generations and all those women. It is emblellished with talismans which some women would have held sacred in that special relationship they had with an animal, plant or Goddess.
Whatever she was doing, weaving together some magic, tracking down a lost calf for someone, a lost mind for someone else or giving out instructions on a ritual on how to appease the Good Folk the Bean Feasa (wise woman) had her own way of working.
Brighid hagstone – click to view in shop
The cord of this stone holds Brighid’s wheel (or cross) and a snake bone. The red yard represents Brighid’s flame, the fire priestesses kept alive or generations. the piece is an invitation to work with the hag stone and Brighid.
Ancestral Mother hagstone – click to view in shop
The threads attached to these stones invite you to follow them, like roots they branch out past your hand, past your mother, your grandmother, further and further to women whose names you don’t know, women whose lives you don’t know. Yet within that lineage sings a language, a magic, a creativity. This is the red thread, the beating in the heart, the wise voice that comes from nowhere, the stream of synchronicity.