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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Frogs in Irish Folklore


So a little while ago a good friend asked me about what, if anything, I had heard relating to frogs and Irish folklore. I had to admit that while I personally associated frogs with the Good People I wasn't entirely sure why and I couldn't recall offhand any specific frog folklore. So its been on the back of my mind for a few weeks now and recently while on the Duchas.ie site I decided to see what I could find. Since there was more frog folklore than you might expect it seemed like a good idea to share it here with everyone. 



Frogs in Celtic myth in general are obscure and hard to find much information on. However we do know that they had some position of importance, whatever that may have been because frog bones have been found in faunal deposits in Gaul. In a chariot burial in Marne 100 frog bones were found along with boar, pig, and duck in a pot (Green, 1992). Miranda Green suggests that the presence of frog bones in burial sites may relate to teh animals amphibious nature and connection to both life and death.

When we look at Irish folklore we find more material about frogs covering a variety of topics. The following is a summary of folklore from the awesome Meitheal Dúchas site:
Frogs and weather: yellow frogs mean fair weather, black frogs mean rain. Frogs croaking or coming inland mean rain or storms. Yellow frogs can also mean dry weather.
Frogs Guarding Treasure: there are many stories where a person digging for gold will find the hole suddenly spewing copious amounts of frogs until they are driven off, and in one case where men were digging at the roots of a hawthorn the frogs jump out and nearly eat them. Often the frogs were described as unusually large, sometimes the size of a person's head, and they may simply chase the treasure hunters off with sheer numbers while in other stories they were actively dangerous. In many of these accounts the people who seek the treasure guarded by the frogs die soon afterwards. 
Frogs as Fairy Punishments: One story tells of Poteen makers who forgot to give the first glass of a batch to the fairies and later that night found themselves surrounded by thousands of frogs. They believed these frogs had been sent by the Good People as a punishment. 
Frogs and Fairies: frogs also seem to be associated more generally with the Good People, for example we see this in the poem 'the Wreck of the Ferry Boat'
"So Hanly, elves of every ilk,
Draws from his vast domain,
From Cooltacker he draws little folk,
From Sheeane little men;
From Clounshee both frogs and waterdogs [otters],

And green-caps from the glen"
And it's said that it's unlucky to get water from a well with a bucket that may have milk still in it as the frogs will get the butter for the year, which is reminiscent of the lore about not giving out milk or butter on May day as it may be one of the Good People asking and they'll take your luck for the year. 

There is also a story of a man who dreamt for three straight nights of treasure* in a specific location under a stone; on the fourth night he went out with a neighbour to dig for it. The two men used holy water to mark a circle around the stone to keep the fairies out and began digging. The fairies appeared in the form of horses but couldn't approach due to the circle of holy water so when the men found the gold the fairies turned it all into frogs. Nonetheless the men filled their sack with the frogs and when they got home they found the sack filled with gold.
Frogs as Omens: frogs in the house are bad luck or sign of a coming storm and a frog in the house at night is an omen of death. 
Frog Bones: in one account there's a mention of the use of frog bones in a love spell. It says that if a woman loved a man she could take a live frog and place it in a box until it died and all the flesh was gone. She would then remove the 'wish bone' from it and hide it in the clothes of the person she fancied. According to the folklore the person would immediately fall in love with the woman.


That covers the selection of frog folklore I was able to find, excluding only the use of frogs in folk cures which I feel falls into a separate discussion. It's clear that frogs in lore are more complex than one might assume, and that there is indeed a long and complex association between frogs and the Daoine Maithe although it is one that is rather difficult to fully understand. We might gather from what can be seen here that frogs represent a connection between the living and the dead as well as this world and the Otherworld and that, generally speaking, they act as guardians and protectors of that which belongs to the Fair Folk (keeping in mind that these are not merely frogs but large, fierce frogs that can eat a person or effect their luck). The use of frog bones is an interesting practice, relating back perhaps to the hidden power of the frog and its connection to the Otherworldly powers.

*the pattern of dreaming three nights in a row of treasure in a location is something we see in various folk stories. 


References:
Frogs (2018) Meitheal Dúchas https://www.duchas.ie/en/src?q=frogs 
Green, M., (1992) Animals in Celtic Life and Myth

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Tri Cuirn o Cormac ua Cuinn - The Three Goblets of Cormac grandson of Conn

Today I'd like to offer a shorter translation piece for you:

Cuirn sin tucad do Cormac u Cuinn dar muir
Feacht n-ann do luid Aedh Oirdnidhi mac Neill Frosaidh mic Fearghuile mic Maile Duin do ordugud fer cuigid Connacht. Do luid dar Eas Ruaidh ocus do baithed a fuis meisi ocus a cuirnn ann. Tainic Aedh co riacht Corca Tri, co n-deisidh a tigh righ Corca Tri. Coeca righ do riguibh Eirenn maille re h-Aedh.
Longuis Aedh adhaigh domhnaidh ocus an rigraidh: ocus cia ro loing Aed, ni sib digh, uair ní bai corn lais, or do baitheadh a cuirnn ocus a cuaich ac Ath Enaigh uas Eas Ruaidh, oc tiachtain don t-sluadh thairis. As amal immoro robai Aed cona sibh digh a leastur aile o ra dealuigh re cich a mathar acht a curn. Ba bron tra do righ Corca Tri ocus dia seithid, each ic ol ocus righ Erenn gin ol. Togbuis Angal a lamha fri Dia, ocus feicis gin codladh gin tomailt co madain, gu n-eabert a bean fris ara barach, ‘Eirg,’ ar si, ‘co Dirlus Guaire mic Colmain, uair ba tealach feile ocus naire o aimsir Dathi anall, dus an fuigbithea corn tria firta na feile ann.’ Cechaing Angal righ Corca Tri tar dorus na ratha amach, ocus tuisleas a cois deas, co ra tuisil cloch leis isin lis .i. an cloch do bai ar belaib an t-suirn a rabudar na tri cuirn as deach robai a n-Eirinn .i. an Cam-corn ocus an Litan ocus an Easgung. Cuirn sin tucad do Cormac u Cuinn dar muir, ocus ro folaig Niamh mac Lugna Firtri an dara comalta do Cormac u Cuinn, iar n-dith Cormuic, co toracht Coirpri Lifeachuir dar muir ocus cia ro fritha na cuirn aile la Cairpri, ni fritha na cuirn-siu co h-aimsir na næmh ocus Aeda Oirdnidi mic Neill, or tucad cealtar tairsib o Dia, co ru-s-foillsid do righ Corca Tri tria firta na feile.
Altaigis a buidi do dia an t-i Angal ocus beiris leis na curna, cona tri lan do mid inntibh. Do-bert a
laim Aeda Oirdnidi righ Eirenn, ocus atlaigi do dia ocus do-bert an Litan a laim righ Ulad, ocus do-bert an Easguing a laimh righ Connacht, ocus fagbuis aigi budhein an Cam-cornn. Co toracht iartain do Mailseachloinn mac Domhnuill, co tuc-sidhe do Dia ocus do Ciaran a coitcinne co brath.
- RIA MS 23 O 48: Liber Flavus Fergusiorum, 1435-40


The Three Goblets* of Cormac Ua Cuinn
There was one time Aed Oridnide, son of Nial Frosach, son of Feargal, son of Maelduin, came to bring order to the men of the province of Connacht. He went over Eas Ruaid, and his table-attendants and his goblets drown there. Aed went until he reached Corca Tri, and rested at the house of the king of Corca Tri. Fifty kings of the kings of Ireland were along with Aed.
Aed ate on Sunday night and the kings [as well]: but though he ate he drank no drink, because he had no goblet, because his goblets and his cups were submerged at Ath Enaig, above Eas Ruaid, as the army was taking it. It was thus around Aed with them drinking from other vessels of great distinction as if from the breast of their mother but his goblet alone [was missing]. It was a sadness for the king of Corca Tri and his wife that the horse nearby was drinking and the king of Ireland without drinking. Angal raised his hands to God, and went on without sleep [and] without food until morning.
The next day his wife said to him: "Go," said she, "to Dirlus, to Guaire son of Colmain, for that has been the house of welcome and generosity from the time of Dathi on, to see if you would get a goblet there through his wonderful generosity."
Angal, king of Corca Tri, proceeded through the door of the fort outwards, and his right foot slipped, and a stone fell from the fort that is the stone that covered the mouth of the division(?) where were the three goblets that were best in Ireland that is the Curved-Horn, and the Litany, and the Eel. These were the goblets that were brought by Cormac grandson of Conn over the sea; and they were hidden by Niamh son of Lugna Firtri, the second foster-brother of Cormac grandson of Conn, after the slaughter of Cormac; and Cairpri Lifeachuir came over the sea, and though the other goblets were found by Cairpri, these goblets were not found till the time of the saints and of Aed Oridnide son of Nial. Because a cloak went to cover them of God, until they were revealed to the king of Corca Tri, through his wonderful generosity.
Angal gave thanks to God, and went with the goblets, with the three full of mead. He put them in the hands of Aed Oirdnide, king of Ireland, who gave thanks to God, and put the Litany in the hands of the king of Ulster, the Eel in the hands of the king of Connacht, and reserved to himself the Curved-Horn.
Successively afterwards [it went] to Maelsechlainn son of Domhnaill; it went as a peace-offering to God and to Ciaran, generally, until Judgement.
- RIA MS 23 O 48: Liber Flavus Fergusiorum, 1435-40

*I'm translating corn here as goblet but it can also be read as drinking horn. Certainly drinking horn has a more poetic feel with the names Curved-Horn and Eel, and the word tends to convey meanings attached to those shapes. I just went with goblet because it felt more regal in context. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Online Fairy Resources

I've posted various recommended reading lists before but I thought it would be both helpful and fun to post a selection of assorted links to online resources for the subject of fairylore here that don't fall into the realm of 'recommended reading'. There are after all other media one can look to for education on the subject and there's some great music and fiction as well. Many of these are also more modern looks at fairylore and show, I think, the way that the Good Folk continue to interact with people and the way that stories and poetry act as vessels for the older folklore to be carried forward.





Videos
Kin Fables by Five Knights Productions is an excellent series of short independent films with fairy themes
Dr. Jenny Butler gives a great interview on youtube about Irish Fairy Lore
There's also this short video of a modern fairy encounter that I recommend people watch.
Michael Fortune has a wonderful series of videos on Irish folklore, some of which focus on fairy beliefs. These are must watch in my opinion.
Ronan Kelly's Ireland (linked above) has an episode 'Pat's East Galway Fairies' that also worth a watch.
You can find several videos of Eddie Lenihan on youtube, of varying quality, and I suggest watching them all. Lenihan is a well known story teller in Ireland and he has fought in the past to keep a fairy tree from being destroyed for the sake of a road.
Lora O'Brien offers a fabulous class on the Irish Sidhe on her website.

Fiction and Poetry
Charmingly Antiquated on Tumblr has a great comic about a university taken over by the Fey.
Five Knights Productions also has a graphic novel series titled Kin available online
Rosamund Hodge has an excellent short story online called 'A Guide for Young Ladies Entering the Service of the Fairies'
Lora O'Brien's 'The Fairy Lover' is a fascinating look at the Leanan Sidhe, and 'The Banshee in Italy' is worth a read for certain.
Author Jennifer Lawrence has several excellent pieces online including 'Tam Lin's Garden' and 'Rebuttal: The Faerie Queen's Reply' that represent good, modern takes on the story of Tam Lin

Non-Fiction
Professor Ashliman of the University of Pittsburgh has a very useful site called 'Folktexts' that I recommend people checking out as a solid online non-fiction resource
Another great non-fiction source is the folklore site Duchas. There is a great deal of fairylore to be found there, although in fairness not all has been transcribed into English.

Audio Resources and Music
Bluirni Bealoidis has a great podcast focused on fairies titled 'Fairy Forts in Folk Tradition'
The BBC program 'In Our Time' has an episode titled 'Fairies' that presents a variety of views on the subject
There's a large array of songs that could be recommended, of course, but below I'll offer a selection of some that keep with the more traditional views.
Heather Dale, "The Changeling Child' and 'The Maiden and the Selkie'
Mor Gwyddelig's version of Buain a Rainich is very good and bilingual.
There's also several good versions of Tha Mi Sgith or A Fairy's Love Song.
Coyote Run has a very good take on fairy lore with their song 'Finnean's Dance'
Some of the old ballads can be listened to as well such as 'Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight' and 'Tam Lin'.
I'll end with one of my favorites songs with a fairy theme:


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Magic in Motion - Circles and Compasses in Folklore

The idea that movement in magic has significance is of course an old one and can be found in both folk magic and folklore. In witchcraft we see this reflected in the idea of casting a circle and in some forms of modern traditional witchcraft in casting the compass*, and we also find the idea in references to early modern witchcraft which involve the idea of moving directionally around a space either deiseal [clockwise] or tuathail [counterclockwise]. This same idea is reflected in Irish and Scottish folk practices where sacred spaces such as grave yards or holy wells were first circled three times deiseal before being entered.

Movement in circles is seen for a variety of purposes, including taking oaths, enchantment, breaking spells, and protective magics (Wimberly, 1928). We see the idea in various ballads and stories of a person circling or moving around a place or person in order to cast magic on them. This idea also exists in folk magic, such as we see in the Carmina Gadelica in Caluinn a Bhuilg 63 where the visiting carolers circle the house three times deiseal to drive out negative spirits and Oidhche Challaig 66 where inhospitably treated singers circle the fire tuathail before reciting a curse on the house (Carmichael, 1900).

The idea of a circle being used for protection is also an old one. There are examples from The Ballad of Tam Lin where the variously-named protagonist uses holy water to create a protective circle or compass around herself, apparently to avoid detection by the Fairy Rade:
"There's holy water in her hand,
She casts a compass round,
And presently a fairy band
Comes riding o'er the mound
." (Tam Lin 39D)
Generally the protagonist takes this action after being explicitly told to by her fairy lover:
"Ye'll do you down to Mile Course,
Between twall hours and ane,
And full your hands o holy water,
And cast your compass roun
'" (Tam-a-Line 39G)
Wimberly suggests that the references to holy water in these versions are reflections of the later use of milk or water to rescue Tam Lin by bathing or submerging him, and also that it may represent a later Christianization of the pagan practice of using protective circles/compasses. In either view the act seems to secure a level of protection for both the protagonist and later her lover as well by creating a barrier against the Good Folk (Wimberly, 1928). The ballad also suggests that while within this circle the protagonist was invisible to the Fairy Rade passing by, and was only finally seen when she moved to pull her lover down from his horse. 

The direction of the movement was important, with circling done in a deiseal way, with the sun [clockwise], being seen as blessing or protective:
"So let me walk the deasil round you, that you may go safe out into the far foreign land, and come safe home." (Scott, 1827)
"...the kindred of the deceased carried the body ashore, and, placing it on a bank long consecrated to the purpose, made the Deasil around the departed." (Scott, 1828)
In some cases this is referred to as 'right and round' or 'right and around' (Wimberly, 1928). McNeil wrote that all festivals started with the deiseal circumambulation three times of the site or the specific item like bonfire or holy well (McNeill, 1956). Bullán stones are turned deiseal to work cures or for healing prayers and it was once the common practice for holy wells to be circled deiseal before being entered. The concept behind this magic hinges on the idea that moving deiseal, or towards the right hand side or south, is a naturally positive and beneficial direction which follows the motion of the sun.

In sharp contrast compassing tuthail, or widdershins* in the Scots language, was seen as having a very different purpose. It was sometimes referred to as 'wrongwise' or 'contrariwise' and represented going against the natural order, towards the left hand side or north, or against the motion of the sun. It is a direction strongly associated with witchcraft and also with invoking Fairy:
In the Ballad of Childe Rowland the protagonist's sister is taken into Fairy after going around a church widdershins, with the implication that this action opened her up to fairy abduction; in the same way to gain entrance to rescue her the protagonist must walk three times round widdershins himself. 
"Margarat Davidsone quhan scho sa the new moyne scho ran thrys widdersones about" [Margarat Davidson when she saw the new moon she ran thrice widdershins about] (Crammond, 1903).
"The wemen maid fyrst thair homage [to the Devil], and nixt the men. The men wer turnit nyne tymes widderschinnes about and the wemen sax tymes" [The women made first their homage {to the devil} and next the men. The men were turned nine times widdershins about and the women six times](Pitcairn, 1833)
"Upon the pronouncing of some words, and turning himself about wider-shins, that is turning himself round from the right hand to the left, contrary to the natural course of the sun" (Miller, 1877).
When bullán stones are used for cursing they are turned tuathail and there are some accounts in folklore of stones being held in the hand and turned tuathail to enact hexes as well.

However while widdershins does have a particularly strong association with hexing and negative magic today, and is even viewed by some Christians as both unlucky and even blasphemous in relation to sacred sites, it was used for positive ends including healing and its historic association with witchcraft is likely, in my opinion, why in modern terms we view it entirely as negative. Some examples of positive uses:
"The said Aliesone past thryse widdershynnis about the said Issobel hir bed muttering out certane charmes in unknawen wordis … and thairby cureing of the said Issobell of hir diseas " [The said Alison passed thrice widdershins about the said Isobel's bed muttering out certain charms and unknown words...and thereby curing the said Isobel of her disease] (Gillion & Smith, 1953)
"In cureing of his wyfe, be causeing ane grit fyre to be put on, and ane hoill to be maid in the north side of the hous, and ane quik hen to be put furth thairat, at thre seuerall tymes, and tane in at the hous-dur widderschynnes " [In curing his wife, by causing one great fire to be put on, and one hole to be made in the north side of the house, and one quick hen to be put through it, at three separate times, and taken in at the house door widdershins] (Pitcairn, 1833).
In these examples of healing we see widdershins motions being used to remove illnesses and work cures on ill people, resulting in a positive outcome for the patient. As previously mentioned widdershins motions were also associated with entering Fairy as well.

The exact use of the circle and the choice of direction depended on the situation and purpose as discussed above, but the wider concept is a recurring thread in folklore and folk magic. This idea includes everything from walking fully around a location, object, or person, to turning something like a stone in the hand with the direction of the motion having intrinsic significance to the outcome. We still see these concepts today in neopagan witchcraft, although how close or far from the folk practices the modern practices have grown is debatable.

Caiseal Chaoilte


*the concepts of casting a circle or casting a compass are effectively synonymous, and in fact the term 'compas' or 'compasse' in Scots means "a round or ring; a circle or circuit" (DSL, 2018). In practice they also seem to have many similarities, particularly the older versions.
*there are roughly two dozen variant spellings for widdershins in Scots. I'm using what I think is the neopagan standard here as the word has passed into some sort of common use through older neopagan texts. Be aware however that in older non-pagan material the word may be found in various spellings including, for example, withershins, wyddyrshins, wouderschinnis.


References
Pitcairn, R., (1833) Ancient Criminal Trials in Scotland
Miller, J., (1877) Renfrewshire Witches
Carmichael, A., (1900) Carmina Gadelica volume I
Gillion, A., and Smith, J., (1953) Justiciary Cases
Geoghan, S., (2005) Gobnait: Woman of the Bees http://www.matrifocus.com/IMB05/ireland-gobnait.htm
Harold Johnson and the Cursing Stones (2011) https://vimeo.com/16714531
DSL (2018) Compas. http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/compas_n
Child, F., (1882) The English and Scottish Popular Ballads
Scott, W., (1827) Chronicles of Canongate
Scott, W., (1828) The Fair Maid of Perth
Crommond, W., (1903) The Records of Elgin, 1234–1800
Wimberly, C., (1928) Folklore in the English and Scottish Ballads
McNeill, F., (1956) The Silver Bough

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Following in the Tracks of Hooves - a Pilgrimage in Ireland

Sheep tracks at Healy Pass

I'm just back from a recent trip to Ireland, helping co-facilitate a tour for Land, Sea, Sky Travel to the Beara peninsula. Most of the tour, of course, was focused on that job of facilitating for the people on the tour, but I had my own moments of experience as well and as I sit here back at home processing all of that I thought I'd share a little bit of what the experience was like for me. Later I'll write a more detailed blog about the tour and the places we went. Here I just want to explore a bit about my personal experiences.

The title of this blog is based on a joke I started making early on, that we were 'following in the track of little hooves' as we went along our journey. It was only partially a joke though, as we did indeed end up following sheep tracks more than once - on Oileán Baoi they guided several of us to a beautiful spot to meditate and crossing Healy Pass on foot from one viewing point to another they led us along the side of the road. We saw sheep often, not particularly surprising, but it was delightful to see the lambs everywhere and to feel like Bealtaine was more than just pretty words and flowering trees. Following the sharply pointed little hoof prints was a way of listening to what the land itself was saying to us.

Animals more generally became something of a theme for me on this trip, although I'm not sure I can explain exactly how meaningful that was. There were domestic animals, including the aforementioned sheep as well as cows and horses; there were black dogs at portentous moments and black and white cats lurking along paths. At the Burren Bird of Prey Centre we met a variety of magnificent birds and I was able to assist by holding a barn owl, which is like a dream come true for me. There were also many wild animals that crossed my path in what seemed like important ways. When my plane landed I was greeted by the sight of rabbits in the field at the airport; I saw seven of them which seemed a good omen. When we went to the Cliffs of Moher I made friends with a Chough, who after I started talking to him as he dove around the edge of the cliff came over and landed near me for a conversation. We went on a whale watch and saw a basking shark, minke whales, and seals and when we went over to Oilean Baoi [Dursey Island] I saw dolphins in the channel. I saw swans at Loch Guir, and Gougán Barra, and Poulgorm; the two at Poulgorm hung out with me for hours (in fairness they were used to tourists feeding them and seemed very docile for swans). I also saw a wild owl at Poulgorm one evening, which felt very special. The last animal I saw at Dublin airport was another rabbit.

My Chough friend
During this trip we went to many significant locations - places that were well known or maybe less well known but archaeologically significant. They were all amazing of course and important...but the places that spoke most to me, the places I felt the most strongly connected to weren't famous ones, or at least weren't in themselves famous. I enjoyed the camaraderie at the big locations and the feeling of helping others (or trying to) in their quest to connect to these places, but for me it was the odd spots I stumbled across, sometimes fully unexpected and unintended that really grabbed me.

There was a Whitethorn outside the circle of stones at Ciorcal Liag na Gráinsí [Grange stone circle] that I immediately connected to in a deep way, and later in the trip when we came back to the site and were able to access an adjacent smaller circle there was also a solitary Thorn there that spoke loudly to me. Of course I have an affinity for Whitethorns so maybe that's no surprise. At Oileán Baoi [Dursey Island] there was an out of the way spot across from Crow Head that had some very powerful energy to it. And when we climbed up to see the stone circle(s) at Caiseal Chaoilte - or Caiseal Coillte, the signs couldn't agree on the Irish - it wasn't the stone circles that drew me but a small outcropping of rock jutting up into the air a short way off. In the same way at Gougán Barra while the Slanan healing stream was beautiful it was a spot near the shore of the lake that spoke strongly to me. I spent a lot of time at Poulgorm near our hotel, listening to the water and the wind and feeling the flow of it all around me.

The place that I connected the strongest to, by far, though was the ruins of a building at the edge of a cemetery near saint Gobnait's shrine in Baile Bhúirne. I stumbled across it entirely by accident. Our group had stopped at the tobar Ghobnait [Gobnait's well) on the way up to the shrine and when most of the group went back to the road to continue to the shrine I and a few others didn't. Instead we decided to follow a small trail through the woods. It led to the ruins of a large house, which the group stopped to explore. I headed off into the woods, following the pull of something calling me*. After some wandering through the trackless woods I found myself inside high stone walls with the ruins of a building, surrounded by blooming gorse, blackberry, young trees, and thick-growing underbrush. The building was like a siren song, calling me in**. I stood for a while as close as I could easily get, just speaking to the spirits there and listening to what they had to say to me. I could not get inside the building, which was surrounded at this point by a small stream and heavy underbrush and at then several of my adventurous companions had arrived on the scene making me reluctant to involve others in further risky shenanigans.

Ruins near saint Gobnait's shrine


We found our way into the cemetery and then over to the area where saint Gobnait's statue is, but I kept being drawn back to the site of the ruined building. I felt like I belonged in it. I wandered over to the side of the building against the road, peering into the windows, touching the stone. At the far corner was a plaque which read '1846-48 Famine Porridge House'. Reading that gave me a physical jolt. There was a haunting spirit to the place but also a sense of belonging and home that made me want to crawl through the window and move in.



I also found myself living my service to the aos sí on this trip in many ways. I listened to the spirits of the places I went, to the ones who spoke to me and the ones who didn't. I found myself compelled to work to help and heal Thorns being damaged by improper rag tree practices. I've been an advocate of proper rag tree traditions before now of course but on this trip I found the sight of damage to the trees bringing me to tears and whereas before I cared about it now I find it's a compulsion.

Removing a nylon strap from a Hawthorn; you can see the way the strap is restricting growth of the limb and the way the bark has grown into the imprint of the nylon pattern because of the tightness of the material. This will kill the entire branch over time. 

My first trip to Ireland was a profoundly initiatory experience that changed my life. This trip was about service on many levels - about doing what little I could to work for the land and the spirits of the places I was going to. It was also about being open to the experiences as they came and accepting the journey as it happened instead of projecting my expectations onto it. There was no profound moment here, no life changing shift, but it little moments and small things that made me feel a sense of connection to some places.


*not always a wise thing to do
**seriously don't be me here. The smart thing to do in this situation is not go wandering into dangerous ruined buildings.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Upcoming Releases 2018

The second half of 2018 is going to be busy for me with published pieces being released, and since I often have people asking me what I have coming out and when I thought it might be helpful to recap here.

August 31, 2018 - Seven Ages of the Goddess. An anthology by Moon Books that features a series of articles from various authors each focusing on a different aspect of the goddesses in history. I contributed a piece to this focusing on goddesses hidden in folklore. The idea behind it is the way that some goddesses became folkloric characters as paganism shifted into Christianity in europe. There are, of course, many other interesting articles in here as well.

September 18th, 2018 - The Real Witches of New England: History, Lore and Modern Practice by Ellen Evert Hopman. I was interviewed for this book and am in a section of it discussing my particular kind of witchcraft and some of my thoughts on practicing and New England witchcraft.

September 28th, 2018 - Travelling the Fairy Path. The third book in my Fairy witchcraft series this book is also (as far as I plan anyway) going to be the final one. I do like things in threes. It takes a more personal look at my practice and is meant to be a more advanced book, focused on the actual practice of this type of witchcraft.

October 26th, 2018 - Pagan Portals the Dagda. My next Pagan Portals book ,focused on the Dagda, will be out this October. I'm very excited for this one as there just isn't anything on the market focused on this deity and he is such a fascinating and multilayered god.


There are a few other books coming out this year that I don't have release dates for yet. I contributed three pieces to a wonderful Dagda anthology that is on track to publish this year, but hasn't gotten a firm date for publication yet. My 7th novel is also nearly complete and should be out either late May or early June, but again I don't have a precise date yet.