Celticsprite’s Blog

Lunar Calendar: The Mystery Moon (May 20th to June 18th)
May 29, 2012, 1:08 pm
Filed under: Lunar Calendar, Meditation and Healing

This is a Sacred time.

This moon is often known as the Mystery Moon. It is a reference to the wonder and mystery of every season but particularly to the seasonal transition from apparent life and growth to apparent decline and death. Because the world is renewed each spring with a return of life out of the apparent death of winter, this moon should call to mind the mystery of the endless renewal so powerful it transcends even death.

In many other belief systems there are already time-honored traditions for the establishment of a calendar. We have encluded a few examples here for you to consider.

In the Celtic Tree Calendar the name of this moon is Tinne (Holly) which runs from July 8th through August 4th.

The Runic Calendar of Nordic traditions, (which is governed by half months rather than full months), divides this moon of the year by Feoh (Wealth) from June 29th through July 3rd, and Ur (Strength) from July 4th through July 28th.

The Goddess Calendar names this moon of the year after Rosea and runs from June 13th through July 10th.

By whatever name you know this moon, the Mystery Moon, the Blue Moon, or the Buck Moon, it should call to mind the endless cycle of life, which is continuously renewed, reborn, and revealed with each turn of the Wheel of the Year.

This eternal mystery is represented in the cauldron of Cerridwen from which all things spring into being, and into which all things shall return. This eternal mystery is represented in the promise of rebirth after death found in almost every culture and from almost every belief system known to mankind.

Even as you approach the moment when the abundant growth of the summer is felled by the first swing of the harvesters scythe signaling a decline to the season of growth, you should be able to temper your sorrow for what is apparently ending, with the certain knowledge that this life will, in the spring, begin again.

Along with this comforting certainty comes acknowledgement of the ultimate unity reflected through the balance of loss against gain, the balance of light against darkness, and the balance of joy against sorrow.

So, with all that information to guide you, you could consider this moon to be representative of the time to recognize, revere, and celebrate the miracles and mysteries that are revealed with every passing season.

If you select a personal name for this moon, you may want it to be one which reminds you not only of the mysteries that surround you, but the mystery and wonder that you carry within.

If you wish to review a completed lunar calendar for this year, please select the icon image to your left labeled “Lunar Calendar”.

If you wish to go directly to instructions for creating a lunar calendar of your own using our lunar calendar system, please select the link to your left labeled “Lunar Calendar System”.

If you wish to learn more about the individual thirteen moons of a lunar calendar, please use the image links to your left.

Related Source:
(all rights reserved by the author and reposted under her kind permission)

Divinations for the Mystery Moon (5-20-12 to 6-18-12)
May 29, 2012, 1:02 pm
Filed under: Lunar Calendar, Meditation and Healing

This is a time for MYSTERY
This moon is the most movable of all the moons in the lunar calendar and is, for this reason, often known as the Mystery Moon. It is a reference to the wonder and mystery of every season as they express the ultimate mystery of the Wheel of the Year through the seasonal transitions from apparent decline and death to apparent life and growth.

Because the world is renewed every day… and endlessly, because each turn of the Wheel of The Year rolls on eternal, this moon should call to mind the mystery of the endless cycle of renewal so powerful it transcends all, even death.

This eternal mystery is represented in the “Cauldron of Cerridwen” from which all things spring into being, and into which all things shall return.

This eternal mystery is represented in the promise of rebirth after death found in almost every culture and from almost every belief system known to mankind.

This eternal mystery is brought to sweet, full fruition with the abundance of each Summer‘s bounty, and with the final harvest at the end of Autumn, and through the depth and stillness of each Winter, to the first stirring of life and renewed growth each Spring.

By whatever name you know this moon, the Mystery Moon, the Blue Moon, the Oak Moon, or the Buck Moon, it should call to mind the endless cycle of life, which is continuously renewed, reborn, and revealed with each turn of the Wheel of the Year.

So, consider this moon to be representative of the time to recognize, revere, and celebrate the miracles and mysteries that are revealed with every passing season…

Look to the heavens and marvel at the miracle of the universe.

Search deep within to touch the mystery of the human condition.

Seek awe and wonder everywhere… but… don’t be too somber. 

Look through the eyes of mirth to find the magic. 
These don’t have to be deep mysteries or huge miracles, you might just as easily be awed by the magic of last years’ speedo still fitting over this years’ hips… or the mystery of why it takes the same number of bags to haul the groceries in to the kitchen as it does to haul the garbage back out of the kitchen… or even the miracle of the areodynamic impossibility known as a bumblebee busily reminding you that there really is no such thing as impossible…allow your cosmic contemplations to range all the way from the sublime to the ridiculous, not only will it make it easier to match the mood of this moon, but it will give you lots more opportunities for laughter, which is one of the coolest miracles ever.
Related Source:
(all rights reserved by the author and reposted under her kind permission)

Loreena Mc Kennitt : Live in Stratford! (June 11/12)
May 9, 2012, 1:32 pm
Filed under: Loreena McKennitt
Lorena McKennitt in Stratford
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Tickets for Loreena’s hometown concerts on sale now…

Hot on the heels of a sold-out, 32-concert European tour this spring – and before launching a second wave of European touring in July – Loreena will perform two shows in her hometown of Stratford, Canada. On Monday June 11 and Tuesday June 12 she and her seven piece band will perform in the beautiful and historic Knox Presbyterian Church in downtown Stratford. 
“I am delighted,” says Loreena, “that the stars have aligned and enabled me to arrange these hometown concerts and to share my music with family and friends who have not had the opportunity to see a live performance for quite some time.” These will be Loreena’s first shows in her hometown since 2009, and along with a Toronto performance the following day, will likely be her only appearances in Canada this year. [READ MORE]
Official Press / Related Source: Quinlan Road

Druidry: The Practice of Magic – Part Two
May 8, 2012, 5:37 pm
Filed under: Celtic Symbolism, Druidry

As I already quoted on my previoues post Druidry: The Practice of Magic – Part One, the Celts, were devoted to magical practices, mainly in the hands of the Druids. Reflected back upon the mythological cycles, each clan or kingdom had its Druids, who, in time of war, assisted their hosts by magic art, the same power exercised to a great extent over the elements, some of which Druids claimed to have created. I share now with you a quite interesting research upon written sources by James Bonwick.
As to magical arts, exercised by Druids and Druidesses, the ancient Irish MSS. are full of stories about them. Joyce has said, “The Gaelic word for Druidical is almost always applied where we should use the word magical–to spells, incantations, metamorphoses.” 

One way of calling spirits from the deep, to do one’s will, was to go to sleep with the palms of both hands upon the cheek. The magic cauldron was not in such requirement as with the Welsh. But it was a Druidic trick to take an idol to bed, lay the hands to the face, and discover the secret of a riddle in dreams. 
Another trick reminds one of the skill of modern spiritualistic mediums, who could discover the history of a man by a piece of his coat; for, Cormac read the whole life of a dog from the skull.

Healing powers were magical. Our forefathers fancied that a part of enjoyment in heaven was fighting by day and feasting at night, the head cut off in daylight conflict resuming its position when the evening table was spread. The rival forces of Fomorians and Danaans had Druids, whose special work was to heal the wounded at night, so as to be ready for the next morning’s battle.

In the Story of Deirdri it is written, “As Conor saw this, he went to Cathbad the Druid, and said to him, ‘Go, Cathbad, unto the sons of Usnach, and play Druidism upon them.'” This was done. “He had recourse to his intelligence and art to restrain the children of Usnach, so that he laid them under enchantment, that is, by putting around them a viscid sea of whelming waves.”

Nothing was more common than the raising of Druidic fogs. It would be easier to do that in Ireland or Scotland than in Australia. The Story of Cu speaks of a King Brudin who “made a black fog of Druidism” by his draoidheacht, or magic. Druidic winds were blasting, as they came from the East. The Children of Lir were made to wander on the Irish Sea till the land became Christian.

A wonderful story in an old MS. respecting Diarmuid is connected with the threatened divorce of the lovely Mughain, as no prince had appeared to her husband the King. “On this,” says the chronicler, “the Queen went to Finnen, a Magus (Druid) of Baal or Belus, and to Easbad, named Aedha, son of Beg, and told them she was barren. The Reataire (chief Druids) then consecrated some water, of which she drank, and conceived; and the produce of her womb was a white lamb. ‘Woe is me!’ said Mughain,’ to bring forth a four-footed beast.’ ‘Not so,’ replied Finnen, for your womb is thereby sanctified, and the lamb must be sacrificed as your first-born.’ The priests blessed the water for her, she drank, and conceived. Say the priests, ‘You shall now bring forth a son, and he shall be King over Ireland.’ Then Finnen and Easbad Aedha blessed the Queen and the seed of her loins, and giving her more consecrated water, she drank of it, and called his name Aedh Slaines, because he was saved from the sacrifice.”

Cuchulainn of Ulster was much given to magic. He caught birds by it. He left his wife to be with a lady in fairy-land. Caught by spells, he was brought back home. He drank the draught of forgetfulness that he might not remember fairy-land, and she drank to forget her jealousy. All this is in Lebor na hUidre or the Book of the Dun Cow (MS 23 E 25) is an Irish vellum manuscript dating to the 12th century.

When the Danaans raised a storm to drive off the invading hosts of Milesians, this was the spell used by Milesius, as told in the Book of Invasions:–“I pray that they reach the land of Erinn, these who are riding upon the great, productive, vast sea–that there may be a King for us in Tara,–that noble Erinn be a home for the ships and boats of the son of Milesius.”

By the 14th Canon of the Synod at Armagh, as asserted for the year 448, a penance was exacted for any soothsaying, or the foretelling of future events by an inspection of animals’ entrails, as was the practice with the Druids. It is curious to see how this magic was, by the early writers, associated with Simon Magus; so much so, that, as Rhys observes, “The Goidelic Druids appear at times under the name of the School of Simon Druid.”

An odd story of the Druid Mananan is preserved in the Ossian Transactions. It concerned a magical branch, bearing nine apples of gold. They who shook the tree were lulled to sleep by music, forgetting want or sorrow.

A chessboard often served the purpose of divination. The laying on of hands has been from remote antiquity an effectual mode for the transmission of a charm. But a Magic Wand or Rod, in proper hands, has been the approved method of transformation, or any other miraculous interposition. Here is one Wand story relative to the romance of Grainne and Diarmuid:–“Then came the Reachtaire again, having a Magic Wand of sorcery, and struck his son with ‘that wand, so that he made of him a cropped pig, having neither ear nor tail, and he said, ‘I conjure thee that thou have the same length of life as Diarmuid O’Duibhne, and that it be by thee that he shall fall at last.'”

The Magic Wand is also featured in the story of Eochaidh Airemh … There is a fragment of it in Leabhar na-h-Uidhré, in the Royal Irish Academy, a manuscript which was actually written before the year 1106…the Irish Druid’s wand of divination was formed from the yew, and not from the oak, as in other countries; invoking diviantion thanks to the aid of actual characters, letters, or symbols, so well known as Ogam stones.

Spiritualism, in all its forms, appears to have been practised by the Irish and Scotch Druids. Dr. Armstrong’s Gaelic Dictionary has an account of the Divination of the Toghairm, once a noted superstition among the Gaels, and evidently derived from Druid-serving ancestors. The so-called prophet “was wrapped in the warm, smoking robe of a newly slain ox or cow, and laid at full length in the wildest recess of some lonely waterfall. The question was then put to him, and the oracle was left in solitude to consider it.” The steaming body cultivated the frenzy for a reply, although “it was firmly believed to have been communicated by invisible beings.”

Similar traditions are related by Kennedy, in Fictions of the Irish Celts. One of the tales is of Sculloge, who spent his father’s gold. While out hunting he saw an old man betting his left hand against his right. At once he played with him for sixpence, but won of the ancient Druid a hundred guineas. The next game won, the old fellow was made to rebuild the Irishman’s mill. Another victory brought him as wife a princess from the far country. But Sabina, when married, besought him to have no more to do with old Lassa Buaicht of the glen.

Things went on well a good while, till the man wanted more gold, and he ventured upon a game. Losing, he was directed to bring the old Druid the Sword of Light. Sabina helped her husband to a Druidic horse, that carried him to her father’s castle. There he learned it was held by another brother, also a Druid, in an enchanted place. With a black steed he leaped the wall, but was driven out by the magic sword. At last, through Fiach the Druid, the sword was given to Lassa Buaicht. The cry came, “Take your Sword of Light, and off with his head.” Then the un-spelled wife reappeared, and the couple were happy ever after.

One of the Irish MSS. thus introduces the Magical Stone of Tara:–“One evening Conn repaired at sunrise to the battlements of the Ri Raith or Royal fortress at Tara, accompanied by his three Druids, Mael, Bloc, and Bluicné, and his three poets, Ethain, Corb, and Cesare; for he was accustomed every day to repair to this place with the same company, for the purpose of watching the firmament, that no hostile aerial beings should descend upon Erin unknown to him. While standing in the usual place this morning, Conn happened to tread on a stone, and immediately the stone shrieked under his feet so as to be heard all over Tara, and throughout all Bregia or East Meath. Conn then asked his Druids why the stone had shrieked, what its name was, and what it said. The Druids took fifty-three days to consider, and returned the following answer:–‘Fal is the name of the stone; it came from Inis Fal, or the Island of Fal. It has shrieked under your royal feet, and the number of the shrieks, which the stone has given forth, is the number of Kings that will succeed you.”

There is also a reference of Tara on the story of Etain, wife of Eochaid, was carried off by Mider through the roof, and two swans were seen in the air above Tara, joined together by a golden yoke. However, the husband managed to recover his stolen property by the aid of the mighty spell of his Druid.

At the Battle of Magh Tuireadh with the Fomorians, it is said that the chief men of the Tuatha de Danann “called their smiths, their brass-workers, their sorcerers, their Druids, their poets &c. The Druids were engaged putting the wounded in a bath of herbs, and then returning them whole to the battle ranks.

Nash, who showed much scepticism respecting Druids in Britain, wrote:–“In the Irish tales, on the contrary, the magician under the name of Draoi and Drudh, magician or Druid, Draioideacht, Druidhieat, magic plays a considerable part.” The Cabinri play a great part according to some authors; one speaks of the “magic of Samhan, that is to say, Cabur.” A charm against evil spirits, found at Poitiers, is half Gallic, half Latin. Professor Lottner saw that “the Gallic words were identical with expressions still used in Irish.”

We are told of a rebel chief who was helped by a Druid against the King of Munster, to plague the Irish in the south-west by magically drying up all the water. The King succeeded in finding another Druid who brought forth an abundant supply. He did but cast his javelin, and a powerful spring burst forth at the spot where the weapon fell. Dill, the Druidical grandfather of another King of Munster, had a magical black horse, which won at every race.

Fintain was another hero of antiquity. When the Deluge occurred, he managed by Druidic arts to escape. Subsequently, through the ages, he manifested himself in various forms. This was, to O’Flaherty, an evidence that Irish Druids believed in the doctrine of metempsychosis. Fintain’s grave is still to be recognized, though he has made no appearance on earth since the days of King Dermot.

In the Book of Lecan is the story of a man who underwent some remarkable transformations. He was for 300 years a deer, for 300 a wild boar, for 300 a bird, and for the like age a salmon. In the latter state he was caught, and partly eaten by the Queen. The effect of this repast was the birth of Tuan Mac Coireall, who told the story of the antediluvian colonization of Ireland. One Druid, Trosdane, had a bath of the milk of thirty white-faced cows, which rendered his body invulnerable to poisoned arrows in battle.

The Book of Leinster has the story of one that loved the Queen, who returned the compliment, but was watched too well to meet with him. He, however, and his foster brother, were turned, by a Druidic spell, into two beautiful birds, and so gained an entrance to the lady’s bower making their escape again by a bird transformation. The King had some suspicion, and asked his Druid to find out the secret. The next time the birds flew, the King had his watch; and, as soon as they resumed their human appearance, he set upon them and killed both.

The Book of Leinster records several cases of Druids taking opposite sides in battle.The northern Druids plagued the southern men by drying up the wells; but Mog Ruth, of the South, drove a silver tube into the ground, and a spring burst forth. Ciothrue made a fire, and said a charm with his mountain-ash stick, when a black cloud sent down a shower of blood. Nothing daunted, the other Druid. Mog Ruth, transformed three noisy northern Druids into stones.

Spiritualism, as appears by the Banquet of Dun na n-Gedh, was used thus:–“This is the way it is to be done. The poet chews a piece of the flesh of a red pig, or of a dog or cat, and brings it afterwards on a flag behind the door, and chants an incantation upon it, and offers it to idol gods; and his idol gods are brought to him, but he finds them not on the morrow. And he pronounces incantations on his two palms; and his idol gods are also brought to him, in order that his sleep may not be interrupted. And he lays his two palms on his two cheeks, and thus falls asleep. And he is watched in order that no one may disturb or interrupt him, until everything about which he is engaged is revealed to him, which may be a minute, or two, or three, or as long as the ceremony requires–one palm over the other across his cheeks.”

Related Sources:
Irish Druids And Old Irish Religions – by James Bonwick [1894]

Faerie Lore: Elf-shot by mermaids…
May 4, 2012, 3:14 pm
Filed under: Faerie Lore, King Arthur
 I am glad to share with you this fine article as previously published on the partner blog Esmeralda’s Cumbrian History & Folklore and written by Diane McIlmoyle. Re-posted under her kind permission. All rights reserved by the author.
It’s a good theory that faeries are most strongly associated with the ‘Celtic Fringe’ (Scotland, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Cornwall and Wales) because these areas were not overrun by later beliefs that came with the Romans and Anglo-Saxons. Cumbria also largely missed out on the Saxons, so our traditions have a lot in common with the classic Celtic areas. But a perusal of a map, never mind a tome of folklore, shows that Cumbria has at least as many elves as faeries.
Dancing Elves (1866) by August Malmstrom 
Dancing Elves (1866) by August Malmstrom
The word, ‘elf’ is derived from ‘alfar’, the Scandinavian word for diminutive supernatural types; they are, if you like, Viking faeries. There are several Elf Howes; the Elfa Hills; Elva Hill, Elva Plain and Elva stone circle; Elf Hall at Hallthwaites, Ellabarrow at Pennington, and lots more.
The elven ‘howes’ and ‘barrows’ are an interesting continuation of the pre-existing tradition of faery hills. In 1885, a vicar from Lanercost recorded the story of a Bewcastle man who was dragged off his horse and nearly pushed into a faery hill. The only thing that stopped this calamity was the page of the bible that he kept in his pocket specifically with this need in mind. Ellabarrow is home to ‘Lord Ella’ who sleeps under the hill with his golden sword, waiting to be awoken in a time of need. Of course, many parts of the country have a tale of kings and knights who live under the hill – I recall one about a sleeping King Arthur from Alderley Edge in Cheshire – that are clearly related to faery/elven hill stories.
A lot of the detail in elven/faery folklore supports the link with ancient peoples. Lord Ella’s ‘golden’ sword could have been folk memory of a bronze blade, mistranslated by time. Ancient beakers unearthed by farmers – probably from an ancient grave, whether they realised it or not – were said to be ‘faery cups’. And well into the 20th century, neolithic flint arrowheads were believed to be faery arrows, or ‘elf-shot’.
For hundreds of years, if cattle were taken ill, they were said to be ‘elf-struck’, which meant they had been shot with a faery arrow. There’s even a theory that our colloquial medical term, ‘stroke’ is derived from elf-stroke, too. The cure in Cumbria was to touch the beast (or, presumably, the human) with one of the faery arrows or to give it water in which the arrow had been washed.   The arrowheads were valuable commodities and carefully preserved for this purpose. In 1712, Bishop Nicholson remarked in his diary, that at ‘Bowness (on Solway)… we saw several Elf Arrows, too pretious (for the cure of Cattle Elf-shot) to be parted with’.
I was rather elf-struck myself recently to read Marjorie Rowling’s assertion that the elves got the elf-shot from the faeries, who, in turn, were given the arrows by mermaids. For one, this suggests that tradition does reflect a chronological succession from faeries to elves. But secondly, and more importantly – where did the mermaids come from?

 Whilst Cumbria’s coast has been far more important to its development than the casual observer might realise, we don’t often hear of mermaids. What we do have is a strong tradition of faeries – and it usually is faeries, rather than elves – at other watery places: springs, wells and tarns.

St. Cuthbert’s Well at Edenhall is said to be an entrance to faeryland; perhaps this was the home of the faeries who gave the Luck of Edenhall to the Musgraves. There are numerous similar stories recorded by Cumbria’s pre-eminent faery tracker, Mr Alan Cleaver.
© Diane McIlmoyle 09.12.11
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Celtic Poems: Ye Banks And Braes O’Bonnie Doon
May 2, 2012, 12:42 pm
Filed under: Celtic Poems

Ye banks and braes o’ bonnie Doon,
How can ye bloom sae fair!
How can ye chant, ye little birds,
And I sae fu’ o’ care!

Thou’ll break my heart, thou bonnie bird
That sings upon the bough;
Thou minds me o’ the happy days
When my fause Luve was true.

Thou’ll break my heart, thou bonnie bird
That sings beside thy mate;
For sae I sat, and sae I sang,
And wist na o’ my fate.

Aft hae I roved by bonnie Doon
To see the woodbine twine,
And ilka bird sang o’ its love;
And sae did I o’ mine.

Wi’ lightsome heart I pu’d a rose
Frae aff its thorny tree;
And my fause luver staw the rose,
But left the thorn wi’ me.

(c) Robert Burns (1759-1796)

Arthur’s Stone: The last resting place of King Arthur?
May 1, 2012, 1:12 am
Filed under: Celtic Symbolism, King Arthur, Standing Stones

Clas Merdin: Tales from the Enchanted Island, where he shares his interests in Early tales of Arthur the Warrior, Arthur in the Landscape, Anglo-Saxons, Dark Ages, Post-Roman Britain, and Glastonbury Legends. (All rights reserved by the author, and reposted under his kind permission – Copyright © Edward Watson, 2012 ).

Arthur’s Stone is one of the most notable of all Neolithic burial monuments in western Britain. Located at Grid Ref: SO319431, between the villages of Dorstone and Bredwardine, west Herefordshire, England. This dolmen is associated with the legend of the last resting place of King Arthur and set within a picturesque area of gently rolling countryside lying in the lee of the Black Mountains of Wales, with stunning views to the north-east over the Wye valley.
To find the tomb leave Dorstone by the B4348 heading towards Peterchurch. As the road crosses the river, turn off left at a sharp right-angled bend and head uphill past Dorstone Hill Wood. Some distance further up the western slope of the ridge turn into Arthur’s Stone Lane. Continue along the lane, here on your left, overlooking the natural depression of the River Dore known as the Golden Valley, is Arthur’s Stone.

 Legend’s claim the site is either the tomb of Arthur himself or a giant that he killed. One stone bears the marks of the giant’s elbows when he fell dying. On another slab marks are said to have been made by Arthur’s knees where he knelt in thanksgiving after the duel, alternatively they may e marks his fingers made as he played quoits; many cromlechs in Wales are named Arthur’s Quoit and it is tempting to think that the name may once have also been used for the mighty capstone at Dorstone. By implication Arthur must have been a giant, who according according to legend, were the first inhabitants of the Island of Britain, indicative of his great antiquity and rightful association with these ancient monuments.

We find another Arthur’s Stone, also known as Maen Ceti, or Coetan Arthur, in West Glamorgan, South Wales. One day, so the story goes, when Arthur was walking through South Wales near the site of modern Llanelli he became irritated by a pebble in his shoe. He removed it and threw it towards the sea. The pebble finally landed several miles to the south on a ridge of land in the Gower Peninsula just below the summit of Cefn Bryn. The pebble forms the capstone of another exposed burial chamber, a huge slab of granite measuring 14ft x 6ft, overlooking the estuary of the river Lougher.


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