Spell Bound

I stopped in at a local bookshop to see if they would be interested in carrying the Crone book. The owner took one look at the cover and said, “Yes.” So I pulled out a copy of Legacy. “I’ll take them both,” he said. “You know, since Trump got elected many folks are coming in and looking for books on spirituality. Especially books on casting spells.”

Aha. I quickly mentioned that neither of these books are about spell casting. And I thought to myself that if people are casting spells directed at the current leaders in our country, then the Bards of ancient Ireland were more effective in casting satire and causing boils on the faces of ancient kings engaged in bad behavior. But who knows. Perhaps spells against this administration are working. And that’s a scary thought given what’s happening in our country right now. This could be worse?

I believe absolutely in the power of prayer. And at some level, spells are intended for a similar power. To change things. But our ancestresses knew the difference between ‘power over’ and ‘power with’ and for me, that fundamental difference is key. Is this about divine will or my will? Is this about my good or the universal common good? Is this about joining my spiritual energy with the cosmic energies and harmonies already present in the Universe or is it about hoping to bend those energies to my specific and limited human agenda? 

The ancestors knew that we are but one thread in the great cosmic web of all life. One thread in a weaving of even greater harmony. My prayers are about feeding that harmony and trusting that inherent cosmic wisdom, that unlimited and universal power. My prayers will not be spell bound.

Beannacht,
Judith – judith@stonefires.com

This One Light. This One Song.

Last bard of the free, were it mine to inherit
The fire of thy harp and the wing of thy spirit.

The Bards of Ireland were the keepers of the stories. Stories to remind the people who they were and to keep alive the flame and Light of their essential nature. Long after the official class of Bards faded, there were those of a bardic nature who continued to write the stories, poems, and songs. I found these lines, written by a Mr. Callanan, in a book that was once my Irish grandfather’s. Popular Songs of Ireland, published in 1886. Words for that time and for this time.

The recent election here in the US was perhaps not all some of us hoped for. But within this darkness it was a light of possibility. And a story of ourselves as a people of passion and compassion, inclusion and justice both social and environmental. Now the voting is over. But it is on us to continue this story.

I have one vote. I have one light to shine and one song to sing in this world. Sometimes it seems so small compared to the vast darkness that surrounds us. But it’s what I have. And in this season of celebrating the return of the Light, I will shine and I will sing. 

This one light. This one song. The fire of the harp. The wing of Spirit.

Beannacht,
Judith – judith@stonefires.com

A Feast Of Fear & Hatred

Every day in the year there comes some malice into the world,
and where it comes from is no good place.
Cracked Mary

There are some say it is the moon.
Hyacinth Halvey

So it is too. The time the moon is going back, the blood
that is in a person does be weakening, but when the moon
is strong, the blood moves strong in that same way. And it to
be full, it drags the wits along with it, the same as it drags the tides.
Shawn Early

It’s Ireland in 1919 and the villagers of Cloon are discussing the source of madness. The play is Full Moon which author Lady Gregory dedicates to all the sane people who know their neighbours to be naturally cracked or someway queer or to have gone wrong in the head.

It’s the US in 2018 and many of us are wondering about our neighbours. On the eve of an election when here and around the world people are wondering if we have gone wrong in the head, it’s easy to attribute this madness to outside influences. Perhaps even the moon. But it’s not about outside influences. 

I’m reminded of the tale of a grandfather sitting at a fire with his grandson. They boy is troubled about his recent behavior and the grandfather counsels him that we each have two wolves inside us. One holds the energies of greed and anger and fear and hatred. The other holds the energies of kindness and compassion and generosity and love. How we behave is a matter of choosing which wolf we feed.

Republicans have been laying out a feast of fear and hatred. Many have been choosing to gorge themselves on it. Tomorrow we will find out how many. Tomorrow we will find out which wolf we, as a nation, are choosing to feed. 

Beannacht,
Judith – judith@stonefires.com

Time To Be Troublesome

I’ve long been a feminist. And my husband has long been totally supportive. But when I stepped into a serious and now life-long relationship with spirituality and all the power and possibility of unseen realms and other worlds, he was cautious. I remember sitting with him on the front porch and explaining the mystic dimensions that were opening for me. He listened for a while and then quietly said, “You know. They used to burn women like you.”

 “Yes they did,” I responded, “but that was a long time ago.”

Recently in Ireland, I attended a presentation by Melissa Sihra, a professor and chair of the drama department at Trinity College Dublin. A remarkable woman and a troublesome woman by her own naming, Melissa spoke of how Lady Gregory was an enthusiastic supporter of wise women, witches, crones, and hags. Augusta Gregory lived in the community where we now have a cottage and many of her plays, written in the early 1900s, were remarkable commentaries on Ireland’s mystically powerful women.

 In her presentation, Melissa commented that the witch hunts in England and the United States are now considered misogynistic massacres of women. The patriarchal persecution of the witch embodies a fear of women’s sexuality, a repression of women’s alternative healing practices, the abolition of abortion, the rejection of women who chose to live a single life, and the prohibition of women’s communities.

Our foresisters were the Great Hags whom the institutionally powerful but privately impotent patriarchs found too threatening for coexistence, and whom historians erase.

History has erased our stories. But now the patriarchy is again emboldened and it seems the persecution and the witch hunts have returned. It’s time to raise our voices and stand in our power. As a character in one of Lady Gregory’s plays said about the local wise woman character, “Sometimes singing and dancing she does be, and sometimes troublesome.”

 It’s time to be troublesome.

 In a few days I will join my elder spiritual sisters for our annual Hag Retreat. We will sing. We will dance. And I expect there will be troublesome brewing.

Beannacht,
Judith – judith@stonefires.com

Strong Knowing. Strong Hearts.

I just posted this image on FB. There is a rage and rising within the sisterhood. And we need it. In these times and all times. We stand on the shoulders of outrageous and outraged women who have come and gone before us, for women have long been the keepers of communities in balance and right relationship.

I wrote a story about this for my new book, A Call To Crone. It’s just below. It’s a story inspired by the many times I’ve listened to musician Christy Barry share his story of growing up in Doolin and having the community gather in the thatched cottages to dance through the night. It’s also inspired by a knowing that the women were the ones who attended the health and well being of their people. Especially our mystic ancesstresses who kept their tribes and their people woven with the harmonies of the Earth and with each other. So I took the liberty to weave both inspirations in this story to honor the women who wove a harmony for their people.

The knowing of it was now strong in her. There was no special occasion, no celebration of either life or death. But Máirín knew there was a need for it and she put out the call that quickly spread through the village.

That evening after dusk and the day’s work done, her neighbors made their way to one of the thatched roof stone cottages. They gathered to share stories and perhaps a clay pipe but most of all they gathered to dance. The concertina was taken from the small alcove in the hearth where the warmth of the stones kept it dry. The fiddle was tuned, the dance sets were chosen, and the dancers checked that the short nails were secure in the soles of their shoes. As the nails set a rhythm on the flagstone floor, music and movement filled the room.

Music well played was important but it was all in service to the dance. For it was all about the dance, the rhythm of the dance that flowed through the dancers as they moved together in unity and harmony, set upon set and hour upon hour into the night. The rhythm of the dance became the heartbeat of the people. The rhythm of the dance restored their spirit.

With the growing light of dawn, the people returned to their homes to get ready for another day of work. They had danced through the night but they were not tired as a renewed spirit and energy was in them. Máirín smiled quietly to herself. The heart of her people was again strong.

May we weave wisdom and harmony for our people and may their hearts be strong.

Beannacht,
Judith – judith@stonefires.com

A Call To Crone

 

Thank you for your patience. The book is now available through my website. On the Books page…or this link.  https://stonefireblog.com/books-by-judith/ I am able to sell and ship the books within both the US and Ireland/Europe. 

Some are asking about the woman on the cover. Her name is Stefanie Lange and she’s a fashion model in London. Go figure. When Dennis and I knew that we would be working with images of elder women in the book I remembered I had saved this photo. How can you not love this photo? And so I set out to find the photographer to obtain use rights. In the process I found Stefanie. When I messaged her through FB about using the photo and finding the photographer, this is what she wrote back: It’s lovely you got in touch. How wonderful you’re writing this book of the power of womanhood and wisdom. We are definitely not sliding into being invisible. And with that she shattered my preconceptions about where we will find our Crone Sisters.

Beannacht,
Judith – judith@stonefires.com

Blasphemous Free Speech

The Irish will soon vote on a President and blasphemy. When I saw the referendum guide land in the post over here my first thought was that in the 2016 US election we got something of a package deal that’s gone from bad to horrendous.

In spite of popular and ubiquitous epitaths like Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!, Christ on a bike!, and Jesus feckin Christ!, blasphemy is currently illegal in Ireland and subject to a fine up to €25,000. I doubt many have been so fined and perhaps that’s reason for the upcoming referendum to remove the word ‘blasphemous’ from the Constitution. The referendum is expected to pass. 

The Irish are big on free speech. The Consitution states: The State guarantees liberty for the exercise of the following rights, subject to public order and morality: – 

The right of citizens to express freely their convictions and opinions.

The education of public opinion being, however, a matter of such grave import to the common good, the State shall endeavor to ensure that organs of public opinion, such as the radio, the press, the cinema, while preserving the rightful liberty of expression, including criticism of Government policy, shall not be used to undermine public order or morality…

The publication or utterance of blasphemous, (this word would be removed with a ‘yes’ vote) seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law.

The education of public opinion. Common good. Morality. It seems in the States we’ve stepped beyond these ideals to embrace a narrative and public discourse that is blasphemous to the core. And it is a matter of grave import.

Beannacht,
Judith – judith@stonefires.com