The Witches and Deer Hag Stones

The Deer Stone

The deer stone was found tied onto an ancient antler. The antler was carried by a line of ancient priestesses who honored the great antlered one, which some call Elen of the Ways. Who knows why the antler was buried but the stone has told me that it is ready to be worn again, to be used by one who also honors the great antlered one. It offers and insight and guidance to work and learn with Elen.

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The Witches Stone

This is a curious little stone, said to be owned and worn by a local witch. It was found in a nest tucked away in the middle of a hedgerow. How did it get there? Hedgerows of Britain are often very ancient, some hundreds of years old. They are a wonderful metaphor of the boundary between the worlds, one one side the cultivated everyday while they offer a continuation of the wild with all the plants, birds and little creatures which play out their lives within the hedgerow. This stone offers a powerful ally in journeying between the worlds and an invitation to work with the ancient energies of the land.

 Click on the image to view in the online shop

Celtic Soul Prayer Beads

Both stones are offered as the focal point for a set of Celtic Soul Prayer beads where you have the unique opportunity to select the gemstones used. The prayer bead set will be created in ceremony just for you. Click on any image to view in the shop

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Through the Eye of the Reindeer

 

Image from the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre

Through The Eye of a Reindeer

What an invitation into the wild, to see the world through the eyes of a reindeer. To see through their eyes is the story about a rather special hag stone. It’s is a rather magical stone, which told me it’s intriguing tale.

Reindeer eye hag stone

The great eye of the stone was formed many thousands of years ago, yet this tale is set in its relatively recent history – a mere yesterday of 14,000 years ago.  It was worn around the neck of a wise woman. She practiced the ways of being with the reindeer. She was the one who ran with the herd and saw the luminous trails of their ancient migratory paths sparkle and shimmer in the land where there was no path to the discernible eye.

She wore this stone around her neck and when in trance, swaying to the heartbeat of the drum she would look through the stone and find the herd. Then she would shape shift, feeling her hooves touch the earth run and stretching her legs she would run, run with the herd. She would interpret their movements into answers she needed for her people. How to cure this, what plant for that, what solution to this – this is how she gained her answers. As the female reindeer led her herd this wise woman led her people.

She Who Runs With the Herds

Here lies an ancient invitation here to work with this stone and to view the world through it’s eye under a dark and a full moon – what stories and insights she might whisper…..

Celtic Soul Prayer Beads

Click on the Etsy heart below to view the stone in my shop – it forms the focal point for a set of Celtic Soul Prayer beads and you get to select the gemstones. The prayer bead set will be created in ceremony just for you.

 

 

 

Stay tuned for Scottish travel stories as next week we’re off to visit the Cairngorm reindeer herd!

 

Morrighan, Selkie and Moon Hag Stones – Create your own prayer bead set!

A Rare and unique chance to co-create your own Celtic Soul Prayer Beads. Choose your hag stone, select the beads you’d like for your prayer bead set as well as the eight threshold beads. These limited edition run of prayer beads will be created in ceremony with prayers and chants recited as your beads are assembled.

Choose from the following stones (click on the image to view in the online shop) :

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Morrighan Raven Stone

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Half Moon Stone

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White Selkie Stone

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Seal Stone #2

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Through the Eye of the Cailleach Stone

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Crystal Selkie Stone

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Seal Stone #1

 

My Babushka Matryoshka

I have always loved Matryoshka dolls. I’d love to tell you about the set I had in which I’d named every of the 25 little dolls and could tell you a story about each of their lives – but then that would be a complete fairy tale.

My mum just returned from Russia and brought me a set that contained four dolls. Matryoshka means little mother and refers to each of the dolls decreasing down to size with the smallest often refereed to as the baby of the set.

 

It might just be my eye and imagination but the smaller two in my set definitely seem older, not younger.  I get a sense of the two of the biggest and youngest dolls are the living ones, and as the dolls get smaller (as women often do in old age) we carry within us part of our grandmother, her mother and her mother before her. Within us we carry threads of all the women in our lineage – the strengths, the traumas, the dreams and inspirations and sometimes the songs and the wonder.

Moscow, Russia, 2011. An exhibition of of giant Russian matryoshki dolls 


 

 

 

Scottish Travel Journal – DISTASTER and the best beachcombing find ever!

We arrived to the small island of Eigg to some wonderful rainy days which are all the more enjoyable knowing they aren’t going to last for the entire time on the island. We got properly soaked (even with waterproofs on) which is all the more wonderful knowing you can have a hot shower when you get in.
Mist was the perfect cloak to be wrapped in as we made our pilgrimage to the Well of the Holy Women. Throughout the UK and Ireland there is a long tradition of women who tended wells, keeping the water free from overgrowing weeds and allowing the water to run free. This is the perfect place to sit and soak into this place. To consider who were the Holy Women and even to consider what in us needs to be tended, what weeds need to be removed in our lives in order that the same flow can run within us.

The weather cleared in a few days and we had glorious skies which darkened just for a few hours each night after a wonderful wash of twilight.

The disaster part of this trip was that by the time I  got home to Loch Lomond I started to feel a bit strange with severe aches in my joints. The next day brought a rash of spots and I was beginning to consider if I had Chicken Pox. I’m recovering now but wow this illness, most likely a sever case of dermatitis/heat rash has taken its toll with  all the symptoms very similar to Chicken Pox.

So it’ been a strange twilight of illness as I get my strength back as this illness has floored me. As I get my strength back there will be more tales from Eigg such as the story of the Hebridean Sheela na Gig but next up on this trip is my annual beachcombing for some hag stones in the South of England…..then it’s a visit north to the Cairngorms to visit their reindeer herd!

A Beachcombing Adventure

Beachcombing has to be one of my most favourite things – who knows what treasures might be thrown up from the bottom of the sea. While on Eigg it’s a great motivation to get up to reach a certain little beach when the tide is out. To join the seagulls, the oystercatcher’s and to glimpse out to slightly distant rocks in the hope of catching sight of one of the seal people.

On this little beach is the hope of finding something rather special – a Scottish Cowrie Shell. Cowrie’s have been prized by people around the world and by the earliest people to walk on this island around 50000 BCE (you can see the cowries in the photo above in the middle of the skull looking like eyes).

It was last year I came across this wonderful skull. As I held it and turned it around in my hands it took me a minute to relaise it was a dolphin skull with the thinner nose cartilage had long gotten smashed against the rocks. How amazing to hold a dolphin skull and wonder what she had seen through her eyes as she swam in the sea channels around these Hebridean islands. What wise woman looked out to sea for the sign of a fin or flick of the tail and what women shape shifted and dove down into the depths to find the answers to their questions.

I’ll return her to the beach or the waves next year after we’ve share a few stories.

The Seal People

Seal’s really have been the pointers on this journey home. From books falling off shelves to an open page to a chapter I’ve highlighted in the past (that’s some serious wu wu from someone who spent most of their life as a librarian). I was lucky enough to spot some seal people hanging out on rocks as we arrived on the Isle of Eigg and I’ve been exploring the dark, scary depths around towering kelp forests in my dreams.

It’s been many years since I’ve read ‘Seal Morning’ long enough for me to forget most of the story so it was a perfect read – the story follows a young girl living in India with her parents who is sent to live with her aunt in a very remote croft in the North West of Scotland. The story is a wonderful adventure of self sufficiency and survival of a small family of two humans, rats, otters, squirrels and a seal. Plus the wild animals visitors and the curious insights from their distant crofting neighbours.

Published in the 1950’s there has been some controversy to wither the book is indeed a true account but it’s such as wonderful tale woven with so many interesting characters and nature observations I wonder does it really matter if it’s true or not?

Wise Woman Doll Making on the Isle of Eigg 2019

We return to Eigg in 2019 with a doll making retreat which launches in August.

The retreat will have lots of story telling of all the Wise Women from Eigg, the surrounding island and of course the Ancestral Mothers of Scotland to inspire your doll making.

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The Bean Feasa’s Prescription

The you and I we know are made up of many different parts. I have a theory that when we take a big journey our parts travel at different speeds. This would explain how out of alignment travel makes us, the ‘lag’ of jetlag being that we are incomplete until all those parts are back inside our body.

I have noticed through the years that I have parts which regularly travel independent of the rest of me. There are parts which travel to gather around campfire on distant island shore off the west coast of Scotland somewhere around 6,000 BCE. I have parts which run with great herds of reindeer and come back grateful to have been given that space to run. All these parts don’t behave to what we might call ‘normal’ time or reality, so it makes sense that things get a little scrambled when we’re awake for 32 hours and have traveled by car and bus, train, plane and boat.

It’s only after five days having left the mountains of Asheville that all my parts have reassembled back home on Scottish soil. Those in-between five days aren’t much fun. I’m unsettled, my ‘self’ doesn’t work properly, I can’t concentrate. The tell tale sign is boredom for am I someone who is very rarely bored. The mixed up sleeping pattern is the smallest part of jetlag, I can deal with that. In an episode of Star Trek TNG  the character of Deanna Troi a half Betazoid whose psychic abilities allow her  access to the ‘psionic field’, (the medium through all unspoken thoughts and feelings are communicated) . While human eyes can sense portions of the electromagnetic field telepaths can sense portions of the psionic field. In one episode she looses these abilities and this is exactly how I feel with jetlag – without all of my parts I can’t hear stories from the land – there is no inspiration flowing, no sense of ancient lives and the remnants of their thoughts and feelings. Everything is blank, there is no interaction. I’m suddenly deaf or blind and cut off from the flow of all that matters.

To run with with herd

 

I decided to go visit the Bean Feasa (the wise woman) and the old hag prescribed watching the crows and imagine life through their eyes. She advised I watched the rain clouds gather and count the falling raindrops. She advised me to visit old friends and so I went to greet the great oak and the walked down a country lane to visit my favourite hedgerow.

Mostly she recommended twilight and so I listened to the nightly song of the blackbirds.  The old hag recommends twilight a lot for much magic happens in this magical half light – and before I knew it all my parts had settled home.

 

 

 

 

Into the Wildwood

Beltane is a great Celtic festival although it’s highly likely that it has its roots drawn down to a far longer distant past. My imagination has always been stirred by far earlier peoples.

At Beltane, the life-giving forces of the land are honored as it manifests within the land and people, yet that energy can take many forms throughout our lives. Here in the foothills of the Appalachians, the land is experiencing the great greening and I take a hammock and go head into the trees to listen to the song of the forest.


The wheel of the year is a lived experience drawing in folklore and ancestral memories which helps to make sense of the world. The wheel is an ancestral soul path, a pilgrimage around the year through the great festivals and yet the meaning of those holy days has morphed and changed through time.

At Beltane I put on a mask, inspired by the mask of Star Carr, a culture which existed at the end of the ice age and could hold a pattern of belief handed down by those who visited Britain in the summer months with the greening of the tundra as they followed great herds of reindeer and wild horses across the land.

Our modern society has herded us, sedates us and tries through a vast array of distraction and addictions to keep us from hearing the call of the wild. If we were to heed that call of the wild we’d find the old stories and ancient ways to know life wasn’t always like this. Patriarchy didn’t always exist. My Beltane takes me to wild places, islands off the West Coast of Scotland – wild places where I can re-wild my imagination, re-envisage this modern life and take ancient inspiration and weave it into my life in ways which resist the psychological smog patriarchy would prefer we lived in.

Red Deer Skull Headdress from Star Carr, Yorkshire, UK

Creative Resistance

Beltane can invite us to take off our socially acceptable mask, to listen to the plants under our feet, the calls of the birds and animals and step into relationship with the world. To watch the land painted in a wash of twilight which brings out the magic and mystery. To wear the mask of our wild self, to step between the worlds and see through the eyes of the Bean Feasa, the wise woman and offer gestures of ritual to that relationship. To weave

This is my Beltane to step into my wild self, re-imagine myself, celebrate my relationship with the world. To dance what is my heart’s desire, the worlds’ desire for if we don’t dream these dreams we can’t take the steps that are required to get there. This world needs our imagination more than ever!

What is your gesture of ritual this Beltane?

I will be launching ‘Sisterhood of the Antlers’ a creative journey around the Wheel later this year – click on the logo above to be added to the mailing list to get some travel updates as we head to Scotland and be first to hear when the new course launches