An Introduction to the Tuatha de Danann

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 Danu by Druidssart. Click on image to go to her Etsy store.

Sunday 06/28. 10.30-5.30pm. Woodfin (5 Mins from Downtown Asheville)

This workshop is a response to lots of questions i’ve been asked about the Tuatha de Danann, and although this is a huge topic the workshop will cover the following:

What exactly is the Tuatha de Danann?
Who are the Tuatha de Danann- are Brighid and the Morrighan members?
How many invasions were there in early Ireland (and who were they all?)
How did the Tuatha de Danann (actual people) become faeries?
Where did the Tuatha de Danann come from – and what is their significance?
Who are the Sidhe? What are the Sidhe mounds?
What exactly is the otherworld, the land of faery?
Why are they called the Shinning people?
What’s the relevance of the Tuatha de Danann today?

 imagesYou will receive an information pack a couple of weeks before the workshop  – some reading about the Tuatha de Danann through video, websites and articles – you can read as much or as little as you wish. On the day we will gather in sacred circle answering questions through a sharing our knowledge.                                                                                              With live drumming you will be guided in a short meditation which will lead you onto your shamanic journey to meet the sidhe. To live drumming you will undertake a shamanic journey to meet the Sidhe (and receive a CD recording of the guided meditation and drumming). The there will be a period of silence to record the impressions of your journey – journalling, or drawing your impressions or just spending some time in meditation or consulting tarot cards ((Wildwood and Greenwood tarot decks will be available).

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Sidhe dolls

Sacred art

After a shared lunch we will gather again in circle beginning by sharing the impressions and experiences from our shamanic our journeys, then gathering branches and wool we will begin our art project. We will consciously begin making our Sidhe doll by acknowledging that through our doll making we are linking to an ancient heritage and that in creating our doll we are entering into a weaving of co-creating. Our Sidhe dolls are made by a needle felted process where we needle felt around one main branch or several thin branches – while branches will be provided you may want to bring your own (full details will be given at sign up). All doll making tools and materials are provided.

We will end our day retreat by sharing our dolls and the experience of making them and reflecting on the Tuatha de Danann and what special meaning they have for us personally.

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Priestess of the Deer Clan

 

 

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She is the priestess of the Deer Clan, their shaman, guide. It is she who petitions the spirits to bring babies safely into this world – and she who sings the old songs as she again midwifes them back home to the otherworld. Her people honor the deer, the great creatrix who is seen as mother of the universe by many peoples around the world.

Her role is to inspire, be a focus of connection to the wise women and healers in our distant lineage. She can sit in a special place or adorn an altar.

 

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Blood Moon Sister Dolls

left edit 1Blood Moon sisters are a series of dolls that honor a women’s blood cycle and it’s moon ties.

A cycle that was once honored for the gifts it bestowed, not just the obvious fertility but the span of a month – from a time to work outwardly in the world and time she is called to the inner world. A time for listening to dreams and visions, a time to journey between the world with personal intention but also asking guidance for the community. A time to soak in this contact with the divine and create sacred art and sacred crafts.

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This Blood Moon Sister doll wears a waning crescent, the last crescent before the dark moon – she makes her preparations, observing within her the reactions and insights that are happening. She takes time to be by herself, to take walks and look for omens and signs. She takes time for meditation and journeying, she takes time to gaze at the night sky and realize her place in all of this. She takes time to connect to all the other women through time that pulled in this moon magic!

Name your own price

I am just beginning this series of dolls – all all that has to be woven into her in what she represents. I hope eventually to use them while working with young women around this sacred cycle – and I am offering a ‘name your own price’ – so just leave a comment below – or contact me via the contact page. I also take commissions of you are interested in a Moon Sister doll incorporating special symbols of your own meaning.

Measurements & embellishment

The Moon Sister doll featured stands 10 inches tall and 3 and a half inches wide at her base. Her necklace resembles a counting stick that women used to mark their own cycle and note the changes in the moon. Her necklace also holds a shell and a red clay bead.

Making process

This doll is made by a needle felting process. I use a barbed needle that felts the wool through hundreds of repetitive actions by hand. Once the basic core and head are completed then I add the hair, a layer of wool over the body for the dress, embellishing yarns and any specific clothing.

Shipping

She ships first class with USPS with tracking (if within the USA) gift wrapped in a protective box.

* Please note as she is made of wool I advise keeping her out of the reach of pets.

 

 

Black shrines & red altars

black shrine 1 editblack shrine 2 The exploration into creating shrines continues. I really didn’t enjoy paper mache, even after sanding it wasn’t precise enough. This shrine has 3 layers o paper mache over a foam board base. I added and glued the string which is the painted gold spirals. It’s sturdy enough but I don’t like the detail. black shrine 3

I’m planning smaller dolls – maybe 3 small priestesses

I found a wonderful paper mache artist on youtube who create paper mache clay which uses builders joint compound mixed in with some other details to create an air drying clay. So materials have been gathered and this is my next experiment. In the meantime, with the need to build an altar I gathered fabric scraps and sticks, beads and shells – inspired by the full moon – or the full moon working through me. Title? The red altar, red altered…? red altar 1 edit

The Song of Tah-kee-os-tee

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I’ve always been a little bit obsessed with reliquaries. I remember once as a child going on a day trip to Church site that not only had a grotto but also had an entire collection of little glass bubbles each a perfect little reliquary. As far as I remember there was a piece of a female saints cloak, a toe bone of another saint and a splinter of wood from the cross where Jesus was crucified. Oh such magic to the child with the pagan heart who was brought up catholic! The sheer mystery – I could almost hear the story of how the cloak came to be here, the toe bone and the many clips of hair!

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The little church on the site, the All Saints Reliquary Chapel contains 735 relics of many saints, seemingly the largest collection of relics outside Rome.

 

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Roadside Shrine with Catholic Saints on a Druidic Sacred Oak (source)

Usually my first place to visit would be the river, beach combing along the banks of the Clyde, but i’m no longer in Scotland so i’ll begin on the banks of the French Broad River. She is old but she is fast. Her swirling currents pull you back in time to a time before roads and logging. She is the oldest river in the world, far older than the mountains she has carved her path through. To the The Cherokees she is Tah-kee-os-tee or “racing waters,” Poe-li-co, Agiqua, and Zillicoah.

I wonder what stories she will offer, what insights she will bring? 

And so I am gathering bones and shells, stories and pieces of half heard conversations while sewing on remnants of dreams that left you feeling drenched in the deep mystery of things…

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Let us see what magic we can weave….

Our day with the Antlered One

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Our intentions for the day wrapped around an antler

 We gathered in sacred circle and shared stories and encounters of antlered beings, carefully considered our intentions and wrapped them around an antler. A story of deer priestesses took us back to a time when women gathered to honor Her – and as those ancient women, the ones who followed the reindeer via ancient Scottish pathways, the deer trods, the leylines – we in turn followed behind them and slipped between the worlds. The drum lead us on a journey with flying reindeer, maps to her terrain, dancing the deer trods – personal healing and healing for community.

The we sat again in circle with wool and yarn and translated some of our visions and messages into sacred art. Sacred art that mirrors the wonder and mystery – that while it was wonderful to read so many stories we ourselves need to find our own path. We ourselves need to journey and ask questions, receive wisdom, we need to sit in circle, to share our insights and see themes and common threads – that create a new weave, a new cloth – a new way.

‘Their physical journey can be seen as a symbol for the spiritual migration of human beings searching for the meaning o life in the everyday world. Our spiritual journeys, too, take us through bogs of consciousness. We too must pass through raging rivers of grief, tread carefully over areas of icy despair, cross craggy ravines that reflect our terror of the unknown, and face feared enemies that threaten to devour us, like hungry wolf packs.’ L Schierse Leonard

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 ‘The reindeer’s antlers are considered by some to cradle the third eye, that special, inherent form of intuitive knowledge’.  L Schierse Leonard

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‘Our own reflection framed within the peaceful eyes of the reindeer can remind us of our intimate, primal connection with and responsibility to all of nature. The reindeer’s ability to survive the starkest winters and find their way through dangerous wilderness to create new life may help us reclaim a guiding symbol for our existence, one that can help us rediscover and redeem our own enduring instincts’ . L Schierse Leonard

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‘Antlers shape suggest spiritual antennae reaching to the sky, pointing to the spirit world, receiving messages and becoming the instinctive wisdom of death and rebirth’. L Schierse Leonard

We explored what it means to us today to connect to that most ancient, primal energy – that it is just as empowering and rejuvenating to women today, as it  flows through time – not in a linear fashion but through circles and synchronicity to engage with us through flowing spirit.

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Click on the above image for a small introduction to Elen Sentiers book – Following the Deer Trods

 

 

* All quotes come from Leonard, Schierse, L. 1995. Creation’s Heartbeat. Following the Reindeer Spirit. Bantam, USA.