"Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best."- Henry Van Dyke (via nitlon)
This year’s Imbolc was a special one for me, celebrating with the children, for two reasons. Firstly, because my oldest daughter, who is 10, has taken an active interest in participating over the past year. Secondly because I spent last Imbolc in the hospital recovering from a near fatal postpartum complication. This Imbolc I am home with my family, healthy, and have my children fully joining in with what I am doing. Life is truly good. (more)
and the morning of Imbolc dawns…hopefully Brighid visited and blessed you all last night!
Whether or not the flowers have pushed through the snow
Whether the morning has dawned warm or stayed cold
The ewes have begun birthing a new generation of lambs
Blessed Brighid, the noble Goddess, is among us!
Happy Imbolc, my friends
Having blogged about the daoine sidhe and alfar we’re on to the third part, the spirits of the land. This is an important one for me to discuss because I find a most people conflate land spirits with Otherworldly beings; most popular authors I know of blithely refer to the daoine sidhe as nature spirits or land spirits, for example, which I think misses the nuanced difference between the two. Of course it is murky waters at best, as all these things are, because there is a lot of crossover in folklore between the two categories, where landveattir are part of the huldufolk and spirits of the land are usually seen as fairies. However while land spirits fall into the broader category of Hidden Folk, they do not represent all of the beings of the Otherworld and there are many key differences between true land spirits and other kinds of Fair Folk. (more)
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)
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)