Posted 2 months ago

Living Liminally: Sacred Horses

 Horses have long been seen as sacred animals in Irish paganism. Evidence shows the presence of horses in Ireland as far back as 3000 BCE and we know that during the Celtic period they played an important role (O hOgain, 2006). Horses were a status symbol, a very practical means of transportation, work animals, and also served in warfare, the Irish fighting mounted and with chariots. Many Irish Gods are associated with horses, including Macha, Aine, Dagda, and Manannan, and tests of mythic kingship often feature horses (O hOgain, 2006). Aine, for example, was said to take the form of a red mare and travel around the area near Knockainey. Horses often figure in mythological tales; for example Cu Chulain’s horses played a role in the Tain, with one of them, the Grey of Macha, weeping prophetic tears of blood before the hero’s death. The horses of Donn are said to escort the dead to the Otherworld, by some accounts, and horses were believed to be able to see ghosts and spirits (O hOgain, 2006). Horse skulls and long bones, like human ones, were preserved in ossuaries and there have been archeological finds that included the ritual burial of horses that are believed to have died naturally, showing the importance that the Celts gave to horses (Green, 1992). (more)

Posted 4 months ago
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Posted 9 months ago

Spirits of Place in the Home - Moon Books Blog

I often write about the intellectual aspects of my religious practice and spirituality. Partially because these are the things that are easiest to put into words and partially because I think that these are the topics that interest more people. There is another side to things though that makes up the bulk of my day-to-day practices and that is rooted in my honoring the daoine sidhe, the fairies, by following the Fairy Faith. I grew up with the folkloric practices of this belief system and have followed and studied it for as long as I can remember, and as an adult it fits in naturally with my pagan views. I call them the daoine sidhe, the Good Neighbors, the fairies, but to others they might be landvaettir, house wights, yunwi tsunsdi, or spirits of the Otherworld so for the sake of simple communication I will call them spirits here. (read more)

Posted 9 months ago

Woden's Wandering Witch: Living Liminally: Badb, Morrigan of Prophecy

"Delbaeth…has three daughters, the famous war-furies Badb, Macha, and Mórrígu, the latter sometimes called Anand or Danand." (Macalister, 1941).
   The eDIL describes the word Badb as being both the name of a goddess and meaning scald-crow; deadly; fatal; dangerous; ill-fated; warlike; venomous” (eDIL, n.d.). Scald crow is another name for the hooded crow , or Caróg liath in Irish(corvus cornix) a type of crow that is predominantly gray with black wings and head, giving a hooded appearance. This crow is a form taken by the Morrigan and in particular by Badb. Badb is also spelled Badhbh or Bodb and may be pronounced Bayv or Bibe. I favor pronouncing it Bayv which goes with the Badhbh spelling. She may also be called Badb Catha, or battle crow and some people suggest a connection between her and the Gaulish Cathbodua. 

Posted 9 months ago

Woden's Wandering Witch: Living Liminally: Morrigu

Badb and Macha, greatness of wealth, Morrigu
    springs of craftiness, 
   sources of bitter fighting

    were the three daughters of Ernmas.” ( Macalister, 1941).
  The meaning of the name Morrigan is somewhat disputed, but the current leading theory is that it means, roughly, nightmare queen - often given as phantom queen - although others still prefer the great queen interpretation (eDIL, n.d.). The name is a title, and also appears as Morrigu, Morrigna, and Morrighan; it is applied not only to a specific singular goddess but also to that deity’s sisters, Badb and Macha, and later to the goddesses Fea and Nemain. In the Lebor Gabala Erenn we are told “Delbaeth…has three daughters, the famous war-furies Badb, Macha, and Mórrígu, the latter sometimes called Anand or Danand.” (Macalister, 1941). She is the daughter of Ernmas according to the Lebor Gabala Erenn: “Ernmas had other daughters, Badb, and Macha, and Morrigu, whose name was Anand” (MacAlister, 1941). This reinforces that Morrigan’s name could actually be Anand or Danand, or Anu or Danu, and indeed both are given as her name in various portions of the Lebor Gabala Erenn (Gray, 1983). For example, in verse 62, she is listed as one of the sisters with Badb and Macha: “Badb and Macha and Anand, of whom are the Paps of Anu in Luachar, were the three daughters of Ernmas the she-farmer.” (Macalister, 1941). When the Anu connection is accepted some people further relate her to Aine (Berresford Ellis, 1987; Jones, 2009). The connection to Danu is based on the idea that Anu and Danu are the same goddess; This would make her the ultimate progenitor or matriarch of the Tuatha de Danann. A single portion of the Lebor Gabala Erenn says “The Morrigu, daughter of Delbaeth, was the mother of the other sons of Delbaeth, Brian, Iucharba, and Iuchair: and it is from her addtional name “Danann” the Paps of Ana in Luachair are called, as well as the Tuatha De Danann.” (Macalister, 1941). Anu herself is an obscure goddess; the Sanas Cormaic says that she, Anand, is the mother of the Irish gods (Jones, 2009). 

  (read more)

Posted 11 months ago
Posted 11 months ago

URBAN-POOKA: PSA: Date-mining


At Christmas time, I regularly take photos of my family and home. I have sometimes published many of the photos on Instagram and Facebook. I have even published some of them on Tumblr. I have done so for a variety of reasons, but most often to share a funny or touching picture.

But that is all I have shared: a picture. Nothing more and nothing less. I have not given you the entire history that led to that moment or explained the family structure one iota. I have not even given you the names of the people in the picture—at least not their real names. I have not given you the access codes to our security system, the keys to the locks on our door, or given you permission to enter my house.

When I share a dream or journey on my tumblr, I have shared a picture, nothing more and nothing less. All the same rules apply. While a determined person may try and use that picture to invade my personal space, they are violating my private territory. They are breaking in, and I view it no differently than I would breaking into my home. I will respond in kind, with claws out and fangs bared.

Publishing a picture of yourself, your family, or your home on the internet does not grant anyone permission to touch you, them, or enter that home. Speaking of your otherworldly self, family, or home on the internet does not grant anyone the right to touch you, them, or enter that home. Talking about an otherworldly land is not an invitation to visit it. If you want to, you should check with those who speak about it to see if its borders are closed, just as you should check with those who practice a religion to see if the religion is closed before you start practicing it. Otherwise you are not only violating their space but being appropriative. Reblogging someone’s writings does not suddenly make them yours, or make the land they speak of your land, just as reblogging one of my family photos would not make you my blood.

Some otherworldly spaces are not for you. Some are invite-only. Some allow visitors, but only with the right paperwork. Some are not quite otherworldly, but more head-spaces. You have to do the research to know the difference, and research is not the same as data-mining. Reading my journeys is not the same as getting the whole truth. You can only get that by asking me, and I have the right to say no. The culture of which I have written is closed, as is my private life, and I need never share any more than I wish to share. All you can do is ask and hope, which is the exact same situation that arises when approaching anyone else who possesses knowledge that does not belong to you. Assuming makes an ass out of you, and can cause great harm to all those involved, especially when assumptions are passed on as truth.

Please consider this when reading any journey-worker, dream-worker, or spirit-worker’s blog.

Posted 11 months ago

"Working" with a Deity

  There is a common expression in neopaganism, where a person will say that they “work with” certain deities; generally what they actually mean is either that they worship those deities, or that they call on them for a specific purpose. In my experience among reconstructionists its considered disrespectful to say you work with a deity, because however you view the Gods they are not usually seen as our partners in projects. Patrons, perhaps, or guides, but not partners as another person would be to work with us. It’s an interesting bit of semantics between the two approaches to paganism. In neopaganism the phrase is used commonly and doesn’t seem to even register with most people, while in recon faiths you don’t tend to see it used and when it is it can become the focus of the discussion as people debate the accuracy or blasphemy of it. (read more)