Willendorf!

 

 

Willendorf has been in the news this week with Facebook banning her image calling it ‘pornographic’, while that decision was reversed our reaction to these ancient female figurines (Venus’s) says volumes to our values. The Woman of Hole Fels – 40,000 BCE

In 2009 when the Woman of Hole Fels was discovered she was met with these headlines:

 

Even the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna where she is on display has a description which read ‘Early Mother or Pin-Up Girl’

When I hold replica’s of them in my hands I consider the intention, the hours of work that went into their creation, I wonder what intention the maker held and I wonder about the relationship these people had with the world around them. While we will never know for sure the intentions and the reasons for these figurines we do know that some interpretations are life-sustaining while others are life-threatening. There is a danger in interpreting these figurines in a purely sexual context as it results in unintended social consequences such as giving the message that objectification of women is acceptable. It is also ridiculous to try and interpret their meaning while you’re analysis is rooted in today’s mindset.

Click on the image to view the Woman of Willendorf prayer beads in the shop

Gatherers and Hunters

To me, they form part of my own tradition in doll making. I interpret those ancients hands created these figurines in honor of their god – who was female. Ursula Le Guin in discussing Elizabeth Fisher’s work explains that some of the earliest cultural inventions came from women’s inspiration, this gather’s story birthed containers in a sling style, counting sticks used to measure the phases of the moon and the red ochre of handprints in dark cave recesses were predominantly made by women.

The hunter’s story,  the one our patriarchal culture glorifies,  lies in the hunter hero retelling the story of blood and guts, killing and slaying. When interpreting the practices of both into a modern context the gather’s story is one in which we care for each other, consider everyone’s needs and ensure all are provided for while the hunter’s story extends itself to the raping and killing story which is the dominating narrative in our culture today.

Click on the image to view the Woman of Willendorf prayer beads in the shop

The Facebook censorship of the Woman of Willendorf (although that decision has now been overturned) invites us into this greater story we choose, do you wish to live by the gatherers or the hunter’s story? Willendorf stands powerful (at just 11.1 cm 4.4 inches) to remind us things weren’t always this way. God was female for THOUSANDS of years and cultures were rooted in those life-sustaining values. She stands to remind us that..

 

This is an excerpt from my essay ‘Radical Doll Making From Willendorf to Today’ – you can read the essay by clicking here 

 

 

 

 

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New in the Shop

 

Prayer Beads for the Spiritual Warrior

Wolf and bloodstone prayer beads – click on photo to view in shop

 

Edgewalker Prayer Beads

Antlered hematite and mystic quartz prayer beads – click on photo to view in shop

Ancestral Guidance Prayer Beads

Antlered mookiate prayer beads – click on photo to view in shop

Bee Priestess Earrings

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Sheela na Gig Prayer beads

I’ve always enjoyed hunting out Sheela na gig figurines in old churches in the West Country of England such as this one I got to visit at St Mary and St David’s Church in Kilpeck, Herefordshire (not my photo).

This wonderful curious figure is often a liminal figure as you enter into a church a reminder that your entering into sacredness, a sacredness that Starr Goode in her book Sheela na gig: The Dark Goddess of Sacred Power links the Sheela na gig to Paleolithic cave art and relates the sacred display of the vulva to be a universal archetype and the most enduring image of creativity throughout the world. 

The Sheela na gig prayer beads are inspired to bring you into alignment with this cosmological creative force, she who gives both life and death.

Click on the Etsy heart to view the Sheela na gig prayer beads in the shop

 

 

Click above to listen to Karen Tate radio interview The Mysterious and Sacred Sheela Na Gig with Starr Goode author of Sheela na gig: The Dark Goddess of Sacred Power. 

 

 

 

 

Remembering Your Non Human Past Lives

 

Howlite is a stone that looks like ancient bleached bones. In fact, it can help absorb calcium and strengthen teeth and bones, yet its bone-like appearance can connect us to the bones of our previous lives.

While many people will tell you tales of previous lives at King Arthur’s court or their life as Egyptian royalty,  howlite helps us to remembers past lives and maybe it will tell you of your previous life of fox, owl or even a great elk. This set feature a wonderfully gnarly antler tip from a wildcrafted naturally shed White-tailed deer antler, maybe you might remember a previous life as deer? Surely all our previous lives weren’t human and for those lives that were human who is to say that they were lived out on planet Earth!

Priestess Zhann from the show TV Farscape

Howlite also offers us qualities of soothing our emotions whether that be anger or stress. It calms an overactive mind and howlite prayer beads are particularly useful in meditating with before sleep to help calm your mind if it often races with worries which keep you awake. It is a stone beneficial in recalling information – wither it’s the past lives we mentioned earlier but if you’re like me and have trouble remembering your dreams, howlite can help recall that wisdom that came to us when sleeping.

 

Click here to check out suggested ways of using Celtic Soul Prayer Beads and click on any of the photos or the Etsy logo below to view these howlite beads in the shop.

Prayer Beads for the Spiritual Warrior

These beads are now sold – get in touch if you’d like a set made just for you 

These prayer beads are imbued with the spirit of the wolf, of knowing their plight in today’s world yet acknowledging how their very presence helps a landscape flourish. With the inspiration of wolf and the medicine this stone provides is a wonderful tool for today’s spiritual warriors. These beads were made as we approach the first full moon – the Wolf Moon and the first supermoon of 2018.
Stone Medicine Qualities

Bloodstone is known as the stone of spiritual warriors. The energy of bloodstone offers support and courage during times of adversity – offering the courage to take the right action to help fulfill commitments in the face of obstacles. It helps strengthen the physical body and help maintain stamina during extreme difficulty. It offers emotional support to find the courage to follow your own heart and take action on what you know in your own heart to be true.
Working with bloodstone (as well as wearing or carrying it) can help foster an increased zest for living and manifest physical endurance which in today’s world is something much needed by spiritual warriors.

You can learn more about how to use Celtic Prayer beads and the symbolism of the layout of the beads here

Click on the Etsy button to view beads in the online shop

 

 

 

Ancestral Mothers of Scotland Retreat

 

Join us for a ten-day retreat to a rather special Scottish island whose name means Isle of the Big Women.

We will hear stories of the Big Women – from the Ancestral Mothers – The Cailleach, Brighid, Clutha, the old Antlered One as well as tales of Amazons and Celtic warriors.


We’ll make a doll inspired by one of the Ancestral Mothers who inspires you

These ten days offer you an opportunity to sink down deep, to walk the land and offer gestures of ritual at the Well of the Holy Women, the Hill of the Cailleach and stand in the waters of the Loch of the Big Women.


At the Well of the Holy Women

We’ll wade in clear water on white sand beaches, gaze up at towering mountains and watch as the landscape becomes even more alive at twilight. We’ll dance to the drum and move between the worlds to ask the wisdom of these ancient foremothers.

We’ll share our stories of our rewilding on these lands in circle and weave our insights into form through doll making, creating sacred maps on land which is at the furthest edge of Europe.

Creating sacred maps through drawing, sewing with natural items

We’ll meet local women in a song group, meet wild and spirited sheep, listen to birdsong which all go towards leaving our time on the island with our roots replenished, our souls rewilded and our selves inspired through our time with the Ancestral Mothers.

 

 

 

Welcome, Brighid!

Brighid has returned to the world. It is not yet spring but it is the very first stirrings of spring. The Cailleach isn’t finished yet – there are far more cycles of ice and snow still to come. The Cailleach isn’t angry nor does she fight with Brighid – both were born into different era’s and it is we humans who weave their stories together and pit them against one another. Both are dance partners on the wheel and at Imbolc they begin the slow shift, the change of partners that allows Brighid to lead the dance yet the Cailleach doesn’t leave she is still very much in the world.

How do you celebrate Imbolc and bring Brighid back into the world?



Weaving Brighid’s Protection

How do you weave Brighid into your life? Weaving Brighid’s Protection is a course which offers a guide to several of Brighid’s ways of insight and healing and protection that you can adapt and bring into your life in ways as simple or as engaged as you wish.

 

Celtic Soul Beads


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The pink of the adventure beads is symbolic of the first rays of Imbolc light, it’s not yet spring but the new light carries Brighid’s blessings as she ‘breathes life into the mouth of the dead Winter’.

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These Goddess Brighid prayer beads work with the partnership of the stone medicine rose quartz and moonstone offer. Rose quartz is just the stone we need at Imbolc – it’s a fragile time to this powerful stone works in a soothing and gentle way, protecting our heart and allowing us to be tender with ourselves.

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Brighid is known for her mantle which had magical qualities. It is a healing cloak that offers great comfort when it’s wrapped around you. The rich green of these jade beads is a symbol of the deep greens of the land and green jade offers us calming and healing qualities just as our deep relationship with the land does. This set of prayer beads offer working with the magic of Brighid’s mantle wrapped around us and the stone medicine of drawing courage from that protection and the confidence to face whatever it is we need to face in our lives while we remain grounded.