Last day of the sale!
– before we shut up shop and head home for the Ancestral Mothers of Scotland Retreat – click the image above to check out the sale.
Environmental activist Olivia Arévalo Lomas of the Shipibo Konibo Indigenous people of Peru has been assassinated. Two other female Shipibo leaders have received death threats. Olivia Arévalo Lomas was an Ikaro (singer) who was a wise woman healer and practitioner of a traditional form of singing medicine. Their songs, known as Onyanya (‘plant songs’), are taught to healers through a specific dietary regime lasting roughly four years. It’s intended to immerse the singer in the healing powers of plants and help them inherit the songs(you can hear her singing in a clip below).
She was an activist who stood up for her community and their indigenous lands. All over the Amazon industrialized countries use any means to silence and displace indigenous people – down to murdering their leaders, sadly a pattern happening around the world and ignored by mainstream media.
“Communities that take a stand against environmental destruction are now in the firing line of companies’ private security guards, state forces and contract killers. For every land and environmental defender who is killed, many more are threatened with death, eviction and destruction of their resources. “These are not isolated incidents. They are symptomatic of a systematic assault on remote and indigenous communities by state and corporate actors.” Billy Kyte, Global Witness
FECONAU – the Federation for Ucayali and Afluentes Native Communities (one of the oldest indigenous federations of the Peruvian Amazon) and COSHICOX call for national and international solidarity in calling on the Peruvian state to bring those responsible to justice, and to provide guarantees for the safety of two other Indigenous leaders of the Shipibo Konibo people who today face death threats and harassment.
Olivia Arévalo Lomas was an activist protecting her way of life, protecting her indigenous lands. She was a wise woman, a female healer – the very embodiment of the vision, teaching, and activism the world needs. As someone whose roots are in the Celtic/pre-Celtic Bean Feasa (wise woman) tradition, Olivia Arévalo Lomas is an inspiration for women standing up for indigenous rights and our role in the Western world to support indigenous women, to listen to their voices and help their struggle in any way we can.
Olivia Arévalo Lomas sings a traditional healing song
Folks – if you didn’t see our last newsletter – we will be pretty quiet over the summer when we head off home to Scotland for the Ancestral Mothers o Scotland Retreat in the Isle of Eigg. We will be relaunching in August with a new name (Ancestral Soul Craft) and a new website.
This weekend (Friday 20th, Saturday 21st, and Sunday 22nd April) we will be holding a 10% of everything in the shop. There are some new items listed – I found one more hag stone (which you can see the stone’s crystals in the hole of the stone), a new Cailleach doll, some new fabric/wool art and some new prayer bead sets.
Click here to sign up to our newsletter especially for ‘Scottish Travel Journal’ to join us virtually on our adventures in Scotland – from the Isle of Eigg, the Loch Lomond area (where I’m from) and hopefully a visit to the Cairngorm Reindeer herd!
I have been following the Wheel of the Year for almost 30 years. Within those years I have viewed the wheel very differently which reflects many of the changes I myself have gone through. While I grew up with the Celtic wheel the inspiration of my wheel is the four Celtic festivals and the four pre-Celtic festivals. I weave in the inspiration of my relationship to the Ancestral Mothers of Scotland, the foremothers of my own lineage – the mtDNA Xenia Clan, a descendent from Mitochondrial Eve (Sykes 2001) and the lineage of both sides of my family are from Western Ireland and the lineage of the megalithic builders, descendants of the hunter-gatherers of Europe.
I think of the wheel as a great path, one which holds the stories, myths and a deep inspiration of the season. As a doll maker, these creations hold that vision and inspiration for they are vessels which hold the ancestral connection, the story of my foremothers.
The Cailleach – Needle felted doll by Jude Lally
I have probably changed my favorite point on the wheel as many times as I have traveled around the wheel. When I was younger I was all about the wild Beltane festival and in the last few years, I enjoy the stillness of Winter Solstice and the Equinoxes which mark our descent and emergence from the dark of the year. At each equinox, the morning sun shines into Carin T at Loughcrew, Ireland – known as the Hill of the Witch or the Cailleach. This cairn is connected to the great Hag – the Cailleach, the great horned kerbstone is said to be her ancient seat. It is she who marks this imaginary still point, a balance point as we begin our descent into the dark. It is if the great hag herself marks the thresholds in and out of the dark of the year through an imaginary balance point a still point which we could view as our own invitation to consider what do we want to walk with for the rest of the year. What did we work with throughout the dark of the year through our rituals and dreams and what have we worked with that we are actually now able to leave behind.
In the dark of the year, we retreat to our caves, the cave of the sleeping she-bear. It is a place that many women come to throughout the dark as they dream with the great bear and come to be with the wise woman – those most ancient foremothers of the bear.
The Green of the World and the Bear
I begin the descent into the dark with a ritual in which I line a great black clay cauldron and put in a small green doll. She represents the green vitality of the world which returns back to its roots over the dark months. Alongside the green doll, I place a bear, who at this time is preparing to enter into hibernation. While the bear only walks the land in spirit in Scotland this gesture is to honor all the women who honored her. She holds a most ancient spark of the Goddess Brighid – and so my bear is marked with gold, fiery swirls. If you had come across a sleeping bear hibernating she might have appeared dead for her breathing and heart rate was slowed to almost undiscernable levels. To ancient peoples, it would have been an act of deep magic that not only did she come back to live in the spring, but she often would have cubs with her. As she emerged with new life it may have seemed that her emergence brought new life back to the land (Lally 2013).
Emerging From the Cave
Now at Spring Equinox, it is time to take out the great cauldron. In a gesture of ritual, I look over the writings and drawings and the art made in the dark of the year this way I see what it is I can finally leave behind and what ideas were planted deep in the darkness and are stirring towards the light. I take out the bear and the little green doll – which represents the green vitality returning to the land as me myself emerges from the dark and returns to the outward life.
Grandmother Dolls – A place to hold the intentions of working with the energies of Spring Equinox
A Reminder of the Dark
Through the business of the warmer months, the heat and the so-much-to-do days I like to have a symbol of my time in the cave and a reminder that I can return there any time to visit the ancient Grandmothers and ask for their insight and wisdom – so at Spring Equinox I make a Grandmother doll. This doll is my reminder of my connection to my foremothers and they hold all manner of charms and talismans and little glass jars with small scrolls of paper on which I’ve written things that are only between myself and the Grandmothers. They adorn a wall or sometimes hang outside under a full or dark moon.
Celtic Soul Crat is about to undergo a big transformation. We are changing our name, our website and relaunching this fall. We will be offering a year-long Wheel of the Year online course which is woven with the folklore, stories, inspiration and creativity of the Ancestral Mothers of Scotland – and all the dolls, stories and insights mentioned in this article.
Click on the logo to join our mailing list to keep up to date with our changes. While we’ll be pretty quiet over the summer we will be posting a series of Travel Stories from our time home in Scotland with the Ancestral Mothers of Scotland annual retreat on the Isle of Eigg.
Sykes, Bryan. 2001. The Seven Daughters of Eve. The Science that Reveals our Genetic Ancestry. W.W. Norton & Company, USA.
Lally, Jude. 2013. The Great Bear Mother: A Journey with Brighid to the Ancient Dawn of Imbolc. Contained in: Monaghan, P and McDermott, M, (Eds), Brighid: Sun of Womanhood. Goddess Ink, USA. Pgs 10-16. You can read this essay here
As we move towards spring equinox it is time for us to leave the winter cave. This is not an easy time as I am really getting into the rhythm of hibernation, dreaming and exploring it all in art. Trees full of spring bloom entice out as well as mild weather, until some snow and we feel justified again to retreat.
To help with the shift I’m offering 10% of all prayer beads sets. The circle of beads is divided into eight sections which represent the wheel of the year, the diving beads mark the threshold and a point where we are equally between two festivals. I created these beads as I am not of the tradition which mala’s or rosary beads belong to.
There are many ways to work with these beads and I find as my fingers move around the beads it naturally quietens my mind. Breathing in and out of the circle o beads is also calming, as I hold them in my hand and let the medicine of the stones work is effective,
Spiritual Warrior Beads with Wolf & Bloodstone
These prayer beads are imbued with the spirit of wolf, acknowledging how their very presence helps a landscape flourish and yet that these beautiful creatures are persecuted. These prayer beads are inspired by the spirit of the wolf and paired with the medicine of a stone which is called the stone of spiritual warriors.
Sheela na Gig Prayer Beads with Carnelian
The theme of these Celtic Soul Prayer beads is set by the Sheela na gig pendant a figure found adorning medieval church entrance ways whose origins go back to Paleolithic cave art. Starr Goode author of ‘Sheela na gig: The Dark Goddess of Sacred Power’ describes her as a renewing life force of the universe. She is a symbol of birth and rebirth and all the creative powers of the cosmos.
click on photo to view in shop
Woman of Willendorf Prayer Beads with Picture Jasper
The Woman of Willendorf is probably the most well known of the ancient female figurines. She represents many things to many people and to me she represents the female lineages, my foremothers. We can only imagine the world of the people who created her, what she meant to them and their deep relationship to the land.
click on photo to view in shop
Edgewalker Antlered Prayer Beads with Hematite and Mystic Quartz
The beads separating the sections in the Celtic Soul Prayer beads represent the thresholds, the edges of one holyday as we move into another. The threshold beads on this set are purposely large with the use of mystic quart crystal to represent being at the edge of things. Thresholds are in between places – not quite fully in one and not fully the other yet somehow a combination of both. The main hematite beads provide a strong grounding and protecting force in the work you do on the edges – be that in an otherworldly realm, in your community or even at the edge of your own thinking or interacting.
Around the world, the balance of night and day which happens twice a year at spring and autumn equinoxes is played out by great mysteries such as the story of Persephone and Demeter. The first emergence story was that of the bear, she who went into hibernation around the autumn equinox, slept through the dark months to awaken again at Spring Equinox. This is a time on the Ancestral Mothers of Scotland wheel of the year which explains the bear’s emergence, her relationship with Brighid and why the Cailleach’s day is 3/25, all stories we will explore on this day workshop.
Throughout the dark months of winter, the bear has slept in her cave, the Cave of the Grandmothers. Women throughout the ages have journeyed to this cave to ask the guidance of the Bear grandmothers
We’ll make a grandmother doll from a stick or sticks. Your doll will be a talisman of what you are taking from the dark of the year and mark what you wish to leave behind. These are dolls which you can hang outside or hang from a wall and act as a reminder that whatever the time of year you can return back to the Cave of the Grandmothers to ask for their advice.