FRIEND OR FOE OF THE FAE? Part 2September 22, 2015
3. Plant indigenous trees, wild flowers & honour the Rock Beings.
I love the Scottish organization Trees For Life. They are all about planting indigenous trees upon the land. The land recognizes its roots. We are a forest people our ancestors lived in forests that provided a canopy over the land. As Trees For Life share on their website ‘we once had the equivalent of a UK rainforest throughout Alba and the rest of the Isles’. They are dedicated to reweaving with the land to help our forests thrive and to reintroduce wildlife to our shores. How beautiful will it be to one day have wild boar, wolves, lynx and beaver roaming the land once more. I would also love to see bears added to that list.
The simplest way to explain the importance of being in the roots of indigenous medicine is to look at the Bees and the Caterpillars. Our insect population in general is challenged by the use of pesticides, which also have a damaging effect on the fae. However it is in the planting of non- native plants that shows us the importance of honouring the roots of our medicine ways. Quite simply put native plants are better than non-native plants when it come to pollinators. Caterpillars are better fed on native plants and bees look for native plants to feed their young. Many of the modified hybrids and non-native species either have no pollen to offer and/or are disrupting the normal function of the ecosystem.
Honey is one of the gifts in the underworld, it is said to drip from the trees of the forest. Looking after our Bee population is a direct way of honouring and supporting the world of the fae. For those who work with the invisible realms you will know that the chaos and disruption that happens in our world has a direct impact on the world of the fae. It is why rituals like the Wild Hunt are so important. Each year at Samhain when the veil is at its thinnest we gather to sweep clean the worlds and sing home the lost souls of the dead. I am grateful to be weaving the Wild Hunt for the 18th time in Scotland this year with gatherings also planned in Canada. In 2016 we will take this work to Cornwall. I will Wild Hunt until the day I die and I know others will then Wild Hunt me home!
One of my favourite walks in Cornwall used to be a wild walk through a faerie glen. The green world was thriving in this nemeton. Recently the guardians of the land decided to clear parts to presumably widen the pathway and make it easier for those hiking through. It is still a wonderful walk and yet the clearing has shifted the energy of the place. More perturbing for me was the introduction of bamboo along the trail. Not only is bamboo foreign to these lands it is incredibly invasive.
An extract from my book the First Santa shares;
‘Dad taught me that each flower has a faerie….. They tend and love the earth, air and waters that we so often take for granted.’
This is something that my Partner Joyce is always advocating. It is an important piece to consider in our hearts. We live in a world where so many people want to own and possess things, people and nature. We parcel up the land and sell it off to the highest bidder. On a large scale we see corporations and governments drill into the earth and rape her and on a small scale we collect and forage for her treasures. Each of us has a responsibility to tend and love the land. I know that flowers are pretty and rocks call to be picked up and explored. However every time we pick a flower we tear it away from beings that come and tend it. The bees, the faeries and a host of other beings including people like me will thank you for leaving the flower to radiate its beauty for those of us who come across its path.
As for rocks, please honour these beings. It is one thing to ask a rock whether it would like to take a journey with you; it is another to let it know the details. Just as we humans like certain climates and terrains so do rocks. Some are water beings; some love the heat of the sun, some like to be in the woods. Becoming dust collectors and having the ignominy of the person forgetting where the rock is from would be cause for resounding ‘no’s’ to be shouted on the wind when asked if they want to travel with you.
This photo is of the Faerie Well that is part of an outdoor medicine circle that we Wild Hunt in in Aberdeenshire. Every Stone was invited to be part of this Faerie Well. All of the stones here happily agreed and were lovingly placed in the wall of the well. Inside is a cow horn that is filled with offerings to honour all beings seen and unseen.
For the budding photographers out there I offer this thought. Please ask permission before snapping away. Some days I do not want to be photographed, Joyce is rarely photographed, so if we humans are asking for consideration then it makes sense that other beings love to be afforded the same respect. I have led pilgrimages in the British Isles and Ireland since 1999 and I have traveled with professional photographers as well as the enthusiastic amateur. I know the joy people have at looking at their snap shots and I respect that this is an art in itself. I always advocate the following: When arriving at a place that is calling you to take photographs please be patient. Put your heart on the land, smell her and ask to taste her. If at a stone circle walk around the circle 3 times to connect with each stone being. Make offerings and be in relationship with the land. Once you have made a deep connection go ahead and ask to take photographs. Now instead of trying to capture the place and the beings that live there you are inviting them to show themselves and come out to play with you.
Here are the links to other sites that may be of interest to you.
I hope you have enjoyed part 1 and 2 of this blog. Part 3 will follow soon.
Thanks to Bob Dougherty for the use of the featured photo at the top of the page.
FRIEND OR FOE OF THE FAE? Part 1.August 4, 2015
I have worked with the Fae for many years now and I know how many people are awakening once again to the presence of the Faerie Race. To have a deep relationship with the Sidhe takes time and whole lot of heart. Like anything we are involved with for anything to grow the roots need to be nurtured, we get out what we put in and it is about being willing to commit time and energy to developing healthy relationships.
In the ‘Celtic’ world 5 represents Sovereignty. We are either in sovereignty with the land or we are in dominion over it.
So I have put together 5 ways in no particular order that explains how we can honour Faerie and I also share ways that honour our ancestors and the land. In Part 1. I explore two of the ways to being a friend rather than a foe of the Fae.
In developing these practices we love the land and we create a loving space in our own hearts. Some of these ideas may be familiar to you and I invite you to explore them anyway. Sometimes we may be looking to help and honour the Fae when in reality we are doing the exact opposite. Read on and you will see what I mean.
1. CLOOTIES – What are they, how to hang them and what are they made of.
A clootie is essentially a ‘Celtic’* prayer tie. You will find clootie or rag trees throughout the British Isles and Ireland. They are often found at the entrance to a cave, at a holy well or a place of power that pilgrims visit to make their prayers. At many of these sites one will find trees that are dedicated to the fae, a hawthorn, a hazel or mayhap a rowan that are strewn with colour from the clooties that have been tied to them.
Traditionally a pilgrim would approach a clootie tree and rip off a piece of cloth from the shirt off their back or perhaps from a skirt or cloak and making a prayer place the cloth tie, i.e. clootie, on the tree. I visit many clootie trees each year and it is a joy to see the prayers rippling in the wind however I often find that people have tied all kinds of junk onto trees.
Please make sure firstly that your clooties are biodegradable, also I advocate using cloth that has a special meaning to you. I will take a favourite shirt that has reached its sell by date and tear it into long strips about 1 inch by 18inches. Placing our prayers in a beloved old shirt gives new life to a garment we have treasured and adds extra sparkle to the prayers!
Many guardians of clootie trees take the clooties down every Samhain and offer the prayers once more to the fire. I am sure some of the offerings are taken down and they go into the earth as landfill. The earth, the air, the fire and the waters deserve our respect and wise love. Please leave the plastic and synthetic offerings at home.
Secondly ask permission before hanging your prayers onto a tree. Please do not assume because someone else has tied their clootie that it is okay to automatically tie yours. Sometimes a tree is carrying all it can in that moment and needs some space.
Next comes the tying of the clootie. I have found that far too frequently people tie their prayers too tightly onto the tree. Perhaps this is indicative of the way people live their lives, so wrapped up in their own journey that they forget about the effect that their lives have on others. A tree needs room to breath. So please tie your prayers lovingly with plenty of room for new growth. Finally I encourage you to give thanks to the tree and make an offering if you have not already done so………
I do not leave the house without an offering for the fae in my pocket. I advocate to be cognizant of the story of where you are in the world and make offerings accordingly. Here in the Blessed Isles (the UK and Ireland) the wee folk love whisky, cake, organic milk, butter, cider and good drop of mead. When I lived in the USA I would make offerings of tobacco with a prayer. I was involved in dancing on the Red Road, honouring First People’s Nations in what we now know as the USA and Canada. Tobacco is a part of the medicine way of North America; it is not part of the Green Road medicine of the Isles. So when I am in Scotland I work with local produce to celebrate the fae i.e. a good measure of Scottish whisky.
Working with medicine of place connects us deeply with the threads of the ancestral story as well as with the nature spirits who are around us all of the time. Please make sure you honour the cows by purchasing organic milk and butter, our cows deserve the greatest of respect. They are beings of abundance, white cows with red ears that give never ending supplies of milk are part of our tradition. They are part of the faerie stories and the red and white flow of the underworld. Here is an extract from my book ‘The First Santa’ which I am sure will bring a smile to your face.
‘Archie stared at me incredulously; shaking his head when I told him what happens if you don’t honour the fae with gifts.
“You’re telling me that the wee folk climb into my fridge and defi what in my butter?”
“Defecate” I shared, with a big grin from ear to ear.
“What’s defecate?” He spluttered.
“Poo!” I giggled.
“Faeries poo in my butter?”
“Yep, they’ve been doing it for years” I sniggered.’
Faerie love sweet things, I have always joked that it is the Pixies who bring barrow loads of treacle from under the hills of Bodmin Moor so we can enjoy treacle pud and custard! A meal that is made with love with ingredients that have been lovingly tended before entering our body will sustain us. There is so much empty food in our fast food world. When making an offering please check it has been made in an ethical way. I am sure that you will agree with the Fae that offering chocolate that has been made by a company that tests on animals, honey that has been produced by companies that harm bees and/or milk from companies that are abusive to the cows is counter productive.
Thank you for reading Part 1. I hope you enjoy Part 2 and 3.
STORY OF A SACRED OUTCASTMay 21, 2015
STORY OF A SACRED OUTCAST. The remarkable journey of releasing a CD of Spirit Songs to flow into the worlds for the highest good of all beings When you fail music in school, play no instruments and have never written any songs you probably can say with a degree of certainty that you will not be recording a CD of songs to go out into the world.
However when one opens oneself to Spirit becoming a hollow bone placing ones heart in the divine flow with integrity, authenticity and feeling – magic happens. I am grateful on an amazing journey of stepping through the veil, weaving within the mystery and discovering a collection of profound songs singing through me.
I was deemed the ‘goat’, the ‘fool’ in music class at school. I was the only one studying music who was not in the orchestra or choir and the teacher took delight in belittling me in front of my peers. Thirty-six years on I have stepped into the unknown and have recorded a CD that shares the stories of the Blessed Isles, what today is know as Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England. I have a huge smile on my face and in my heart as I offer my music teacher the words of Finn MacCumhaill ‘The finest music in the world is the music what happens!’
These songs are the stories of the Bone Mother, Lugh, the Morrighan, Manannán Mac Lir, the Dagda, the Fianna, Boann, Brighid, the Second Battle of Mag Tuired, the Tuatha Dé Danann, Amhairghin, the sacred balance of the masculine and feminine and of being in Sovereignty with the land rather than dominion over it. These are medicine songs that are multi dimensional, songs to love the land, to help us shift and connect more deeply with the elements, our hearts and all beings.
I received the first song in 2012, the second in 2013 and then the flow of 12 songs in 2014. I love how Spirit connected with the ‘Celtic’ New Year of Samhain to begin this adventure to life. The initial song honours the Bone Mother.
‘Bone Bone Bone Bone Mother Bone Bone Bone Crone Crone Crone Crone Beira Crone Crone Crone, Cailleach She stirs her cauldron underground Cerridwen.
Bone Bone Bone Bone Mother Bone Bone Bone Crone Crone Crone Crone Beira Crone Crone Crone, Cailleach She stirs her cauldron underground Cerridwen.
Bone Bone Bone Bone Mother Bone Bone Bone Crone Crone Crone Crone Beira Crone Crone Crone, Cailleach She stirs her cauldron underground Cerridwen.’
It was in May 2014 that the floodgates opened and the songs came flowing in. The first was gifted under the Beltane full moon and the last celebrated the Sun God Lugh, A journey that started with a song for Samhain finished with a song for Lughnasadh. The wheel of the year celebrated fully with the first song in 2014 coming in the betwixt and between of the Beltane full moon and then the CD being sent to press on the Imbolc full moon in 2015.
Spirit has been ever present guiding and directing. It was in late September that I knew that the songs needed to be recorded and it came in very strongly that they were to be weaved together in the Isles.
Although I know lots of musicians in the USA having lived there for 18 years it was the call of the Green Road medicine to be recorded where the songs were being birthed. Choosing Glasgow, which means ‘Beloved Green Place’, was a great choice.
I was with my fiancé Joyce Helen as we delved into the magical goodies that pack the shelves and hang from the walls in Opal Moon in Glasgow when Spirit knocked loudly. I was standing talking to Eryn Strachan who works in this treasure trove surrounded by Dragons, Faeries and other worldly beings. I was sharing about being on Arran the first week in September with one of my 3-Year Celtic shamanic groups. We had been working deeply with the land and the sea, the sun and the moon, with Lugh and the Morrighan and many other facets of the indigenous medicine that is part of the Gallic and Brythonic medicine ways. Whilst at Fingals Chair stone circle on Machrie Moor Finn and the Fianna gifted a song to honour the Sacred Outcast.
SACRED OUTCAST LYRICS
‘I wander the land I cross the sea There is a roming nomad in me I am the land I am the sea I’ve found the Sacred Outcast in me.
Fianna Fianna Wild Ones Deer Ones Fianna Fianna The Sacred Outcast is Me Fianna Fianna Wild Ones Deer Ones Fianna Fianna I am Free
At one with the earth At home in the trees The wild ways keep calling to me I am the fire I am the breeze I’ve found the gift in poetry
Fianna Fianna Wild Ones Deer Ones Fianna Fianna The Sacred Outcast is Me Fianna Fianna Wild Ones Deer Ones Fianna Fianna I am Free
I live on the edge I make my own trail I weave with magic within the veil I am a King I am a Queen I walk the worlds betwixt and between. Fianna Fianna Wild Ones Deer Ones Fianna Fianna The Sacred Outcast is Me Fianna Fianna Wild Ones Deer Ones Fianna Fianna I am Free.’
I wrote in the CD booklet: “Sacred Outcast is written in honour of Fionn Mac Cumhaill, the Fianna and the Sacred Outcast in all of us. The Fianna lived outside of societal norms. They looked after the land and were daring, courageous and full of magic, poetry and wisdom. For years I felt like I did not fit in, as if I was on the outside looking in and so I was. I had to look deep within myself to find that the only person who could make me feel like I was a misfit was me, myself, I. Once I fitted in with myself I fitted in everywhere. In acceptance of my own true self I can dance with absolute freedom. The word Fianna means wild and also deer. Our ‘Celtic’ ancestors knew how to embrace and dance the wild ways as deer people, we are the descendants of the deer ones. As I learnt to fit in with the yearning in my own heart and dance outside of the lines of conventional society I discovered the gift of sacrifice. My life offers the opportunity for me to live the root of this word that so many people appear to fear. For some people sacrifice means giving something up, the truth of sacrifice is that it means to make sacred. Through sacrificing we are actually gaining something of real value. In choosing to follow my own heartsong I have become Fianna, a Sacred Outcast.”
As the joy of the music bubbled forth from me Spirit gave Joyce a clear message to ask Eryn to be involved.
Eryn is a singer however at that time I had not heard her sing. I trusted Joyce when she told me Eryn has a great voice and it felt absolutely right to ask her. Joyce was right Eryn’s voice and her harmonies are spectacular. I then looked up the meaning of Eryn’s name and it confirmed to me that Spirit was flowing beautifully within this new weave of the tapestry. Eryn I already knew was the name of the Goddess Eriu who Ireland is named for. Her last name Strachan was new for me and when I discovered it means ‘In the Valley of the Horses’ I smiled brightly. My name as I have shared in my latest book ‘Powering Up Our Life Stories’ means the ‘Manly Goddess’ a great blending of the masculine and feminine. Andrew meaning manly and the horse, the steed is a symbol of the Goddess. So Eryn’s name translates as the ’Goddess in the Valley of the Goddess”. Discovering this I just knew we were in for a treat.
It was Eryn that alerted me to Justin Lumsden and Luigi Pasquini. She recommended that I speak with these talented men as they could provide the invaluable services of producer and sound engineer.
We all sat down in North Star Café on Queen Margaret Drive, a stone’s throw from Opal Moon and a great gathering place to eat and talk. It was towards the end of November and we agreed to begin recording on January 7th 2015. Eryn and I met once off the Dumbarton Road for about 4 hours to rehearse the songs. I had sent her all the tracks in October with me singing acapella via my phone and she had subsequently put some harmony tracks together.
We had another 4-hour rehearsal close to the Solstice in Eryn’s flat and a final one on the 6th January this time at Justin’s as he and Luigi got the key for our recording studio. Then there were all of the times that we sang the songs on our own. I knew it was important to let the songs seep deep into my bones and let them flow out of me in the fullness of their magic during the recording. The bathtub, out on the land and driving in and around in my car offered plenty of practice opportunities.
I loved the ethos of it all. We had discussed the importance of this being organic. So we moved a studio into the Ha’Penny House, aka ‘The Shed” which is located in Lower Botanic Gardens in the city of Glasgow. Our recording home was nestled into a quiet Greenland surrounded by trees a bridge and the flowing waters of the River Kelvin.
I saw the space peeking out of the tree line as we descended the steps into the park. We joined Justin and Luigi on the late afternoon of January 6th to enter this ‘tardis’ in the park.
I love the shape of this utility building that is used to house tools and a meeting space for the Friends of the River Kelvin. We had the pleasure of rubbing shoulders with this wonderful group of souls on the Saturday during our recording schedule. They meet every first Saturday of the month to clean up any litter in the park and to care for the river and its wildlife.
More can be found out about this worthwhile group at www.fork.org.uk
We collectively came up with the name the Tardis as just like in Dr. Who where the Police Box expands inside so does the Ha’Penny House. We moved tables and furniture to the side, brought in several buckets of water as the water was shut off for winter. Water was needed not only for the toilet but for brewing copious amounts of tea. Luigi brought two large throw rugs from his house and then with blankets hung for soundproofing we arranged the space for 5 days of laying down 14 songs.
Being surrounded by the green world was such a treat!
Inside our little haven I set up an altar and the Brighid Candle was lit from the eternal flame that shines brightly once more in Kildare. Great gratitude to the Brigidine sisters at Solas Bhríde, the keepers of the flame whose new centre is now open beside her holy well in the Church of the Oaks.
This candle also carries the energy of the World Peace Candle. Therefore this flame carries the sacred balance of the feminine and masculine . It sparkled in the centre with 2 masks to honour the Sun God Lugh and the Morrighan watching our every move.
On the first morning of recording I called in Spirit. I invited Eryn, Justin and Luigi to join me if called or to continue setting up whichever worked for them. Eryn immediately came over and the two of us set the space. It was wonderful on the last day of recording. That night I worked the Dagda’s Harp, the last piece and the Bone –S-Track. Julia Jeffrey, Justin’s partner and talented artist who provided the stunning artwork for the front cover of my latest book ‘Powering Up Our Life Stories’ had joined us. I then went to release Spirit and invited anyone who was called to join me. Luigi and Justin were straight into the circle to join with Eryn, Julia and myself. Five in the Celtic world is the number of Sovereignty. It was a five day recording experience as well and it was a deep spiritual journey for all of us involved.
Luigi confided in me that he had low expectations before we started. He knew I did not play any instruments and had not written songs before. He not only fell in love with the songs, he embraced the experience. When the fiddle player Graham McGeoch visited I shared the story of the songs. He told me afterwards that having an understanding of where they were written, how they came through me and the meaning within the songs added another dimension to his playing. He had the pictures in his mind as he weaved the music around the waves, the fire and the freedom of the Fianna.
It was especially fun to embrace the way Spirit moved in the songs. The song Brighid 3 which was gifted on the May full moon at Burn O’ Vat was originally to be a ballad. About two minutes before we went to record I asked Eryn to pick up the tempo on the guitar and then I found a rasp in my voice as it morphed into a rock song. It was recorded in one shot. Here I am rocking it out next to a photo of where the song was conceived at the Burn O’ Vat.
On our first day of recording Eryn and I watched Justin and Luigi disappear into the cupboard that housed all of the recording equipment and Eryn said ‘They are in Narnia” whilst I said “They are in Harry Potter’s bedroom” adding “Look Justin is in Gryffindo colours” we both had a good chuckle over this.
I have always enjoyed numbers and I have already alluded to the involvement of all of the seasons, Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnsasadh. They were all weaved into the songs. Beginning on the May full moon and going to press on the Imbolc full moon was another part of Spirit’s guiding hand. The songs themselves essentially downloaded over a 5-month period, which is Sovereignty. Three rehearsals, the number three is a constant in the Celtic world representing amongst other things life, death, rebirth, mother, maiden, crone, morning, night, & the betwixt and between, the 3 daughters of the Dagda – Brighid, Brigit and Brigid, the upper world, the middle world and the lower world and the list goes on. We spent 5 days in the recording studio, 3 days mixing and add in the rehearsal day on January 6th and the total number of days that we worked consecutively in the rehearsal, recording and mixing process was 9, three times the three levels of being. We also had 5 people involved on the songs on the CD, 5 people present at the end of recording and I am sure there is more hidden within the folds of the magic stirred in this journey.
We had a wonderful opportunity for Brighid to weave connecting strands on the Saturday morning, our fourth day of recording. We were working on Poetry of Life that morning when the doors opened and in strolled a bunch of people. These turned out to be the good folks of the Friends of the River Kelvin.
As they strolled into Ha’Penny House there was that moment ‘where two worlds collide.’ Luigi had arranged for us to be in ‘The Shed’, however communication had not been passed along the lines and this was their Saturday ‘clean up day.’ One man looked at me and asked, “Is that your regular get up?” When I answered, “Yes” He stared at me incredulously and spat “Are you part of the Monster Raving Loony Party?”
This question could have stirred annoyance even anger from some people; instead it brought a chuckle in my heart. When people are faced with something that is beyond their own experience they either embrace it or they can go into their own fear. Part of my journey on the planet is to encourage us all to express ourselves for who we are, to be the authors of our own story. I do not dress to impress others, I do not care about current fashion trends, I do enjoy my own creative fashion. I dress to express myself on any given day. I love bright colours, I love hats, bags, shoes and coats and all the pieces in between, it is always wonderful to have something custom made. I know a lot of talented artists and over the years I have invested and traded for some amazing clothing that sings in my heart. If my clothes are not to someone else’s taste so be it. They do not have to be!
As I softened my field and we talked with this group of beautiful souls who are Earth Keepers, we found a way to share space that morning. And when the main body of the group went off to work, two of the people including the man who had asked about my attire stayed to have a meeting in the warmth and dry of the ‘Tardis’. They were as quiet as mice whilst we were recording and then continued their discussion as we set up and reworked pieces.
Again Spirit was in the house. Take a look at the lyrics to Poetry of Life. The song touched the hearts of the 2 people who had unexpectedly joined us. Our two worlds became one world where all beings are connected. Where we recognized each other as Earth keepers in our own wonderful way.
POETRY OF LIFE
‘Sacred Earth Sacred Trees Sacred Flowers Sacred bees In the stories of the oaks in the rocks lie mysteries Sacred Earth Sacred Trees Sacred Flowers Sacred bees In the stories of the oaks in the rocks lie mysteries
Sacred Earth Sacred Trees Sacred Flowers Sacred bees In the stories of the oaks in the rocks lie mysteries When I listen with my heart With my ears with my eyes I’m the story I’m the music I am gentle I am wise So I kiss the sacred ground hug the trees all around And I stop to smell the flowers growing on a faerie mound Sacred Earth Sacred Trees Sacred Flowers Sacred bees In the stories of the oaks in the rocks lie mysteries
Sacred Earth Sacred Trees Sacred Flowers Sacred bees In the stories of the oaks in the rocks lie mysteries As I dance my own true self in relationship with all I’m the poetry of life and I hear the sacred call I’m a mountain I’m a cave Fertile Goddess of the Earth I’m the Green Man of the woods I am life death rebirth Sacred Earth Sacred Trees Sacred Flowers Sacred bees In the stories of the oaks in the rocks lie mysteries
Sacred Earth Sacred Trees Sacred Flowers Sacred bees In the stories of the oaks in the rocks lie mysteries Sacred Earth Sacred Trees Sacred Flowers Sacred bees In the stories of the oaks in the rocks lie mysteries Sacred Earth Sacred Trees Sacred Flowers Sacred bees We’re the stories of creation in the sea land sun and breeze in the sea land sun and breeze, in the sea land sun and breeze.’ (3 breaths)
Poetry of Life was written in the shade of the Beech trees at Tree Root Hill, which is part of the Avebury Stone Circle in Wiltshire.
It flowed from me and I sat here singing the words that are written above in gratitude to the sacred trees that whispered it into my bones.
I then took it out into the sunshine of the West Kennett Avenue and danced with the stones, the wind, the sun as the medicine flowed into my own waters allowing it to be birthed beautifully into the world.
When their companions returned from their labours we all had tea and cake together. The man who had initially spoken to me had baked a chocolate cake and he left it with us when he and the Friends of the River Kelvin departed on their way.
The last track we recorded was the Bonus track which I renamed the Bone-S-Track. I journeyed on whether or not to include it on the album, as it is not a song to play on a regular basis. It is part of the medicine of the Dagda’s Harp where we pluck deeply on and in the 3 strands of poetry. The song is a keening song. It begins in sorrow and as all of the feelings connected to sorrow are released in the fullness of the death, the song shifts into rebirth and the feelings of joy until finally we are at peace in the new vibration of life. The renaming works for me because we go to the Bones in this track. It was a fitting conclusion to our work together in our Ha’Penny Home.
For the next 3 days we huddled around the mixing board in Luigi’s front room and the ever-present unicorn added to magic of the mix as the songs were prepared for mastering.
It was fitting that the last song to go into the mix was High King High Queen. This song of the balance of the masculine and feminine came flowing forth at 3.30am in the dreamtime whilst I was leading a pilgrimage in the Kilmartin Valley. As I am writing this I am reminded from Spirit that just off the Argyll coastline a stone throw away for the like of Ossian and Finn is the Corryvreckan, the cauldron of the plaid where it is said Beira, the Cailleach, scrubs her clothes in this giant washtub and as they become white she breathes a blanket of snow upon the land.
I have always been drawn to Kilmartin, The Valley of the Dead/The Crowning of the Kings. The King who placed his footstep in the stone high upon the rough outcrop of Dunadd made an oath of Sovereignty with the land. He worked with the Stone of Destiny and this symbolic act was a sacred union between the masculine King and the Goddess, the High Queen, the land herself.
Spirit has been teaching me for many years that balancing the feminine and masculine energies within our own hearts brings us to our own centre and is the pathway to Sovereignty. I believe it is where we will help the shifts for our species to evolve. The balancing of the energies is one aspect the other is making love within in our own hearts. This fire centre, the bridge (Brighid) between our cauldron of wisdom (our head) and our cauldron of warming (our belly and our roots) is where Bride and Lugh dwell. They make love within the fires and waters that shine within us. When we open ourselves to the creative light that is forged within their fires, a rainbow of wonder results from their union.
HIGH KING HIGH QUEEN
When this song came in Kilmartin we ascended Dunadd and as we made our oaths above the carved boar, in the footsteps of the Kings we sang this beautiful song onto the wind.
‘High King High Queen you are beautiful thank you thank you thank you on being here. I am I am I am the Queen I am I am I am the King I am I am I am masculine I am I am I am feminine I am Queen and King’…………..
Here is the bullaun stone and the crowning stone looking over the Kilamrtin Valley. This is always such an auspicious place to make an oath.
I left living in the USA and flew home to Scotland on Sacred Fools Day 2011 after living in the USA for 18 years. The Isles, especially Scotland, Southern Ireland, Anglesey & North Wales, Cornwall, Devon, Northumbria, Somerset, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire have offered great insights into understanding my relationship with the Sacred Fool. I am a Sacred Fool, which in my language has equates to the Sacred Outcast in me. The Land has been my greatest teacher; I have gleaned so much from leading 50 plus pilgrimages in the nemetons of these Isles since 1999 and now I have moved home I get to wander into the spaces with increased frequency.
For many of us this planet is a challenging one. It is a planet of battle and with all of the pressure that many have bought into on what is fashionable, what is beauty, how we interpret success, many people have felt like they do not fit in. In striving to belong we can easily give our power away. So many people fear the unique wonder that is inherent in them. These songs open our hearts to the acceptance of the beauty that is within us and within all beings. The Sacred Fool has taught me to be comfortable in my own skin and be in Sovereignty with my own inner Sacred Outcast.
The magic continued to weave as the CD cover took shape. I had bought an original painting from Julia Jeffrey’s striking tarot deck of the Hidden Realm. It was none other than ‘the fool’.
He was Joyce’s favourite, she knew he was coming home with us as soon as she saw him and I readily agreed. We both saw Lugh in the painting and I saw him as a Sacred Outcast, naming him thus before I had written the song or even conceived of making a CD.
To have him carry the CD into the world is the magical icing on the cake!
Inside the eco friendly wallet is a booklet that shares where all of the songs were written and delves into other aspects of this magical story. It is the Morrighan energy that is wrapped around this part of the story.
I have worked with the Morrighan for many moons and she has gifted me strong medicine to weave with. It was rich to open up to her powerhouse of a song that is shared on the CD.
She brought the flesh to cover the bones of her song that began on a pilgrimage in July in Ireland and was completed by a burial cairn on Arran in September.
I am excited to visit her cave in Ireland this year and sing deep in the womb of the Mother at the Oweynagat Cave.
I have the great fortune of entering this womb and honouring the Morrighan with her song as I lead a pilgrimage in Southern Ireland this July.
I am grateful on Amrun, the song that sings us. It is in the love and dedicated joyful practice of this indigenous medicine that these songs have been birthed through me. My next blog will share more on the journey of Amrun, what it is and how we weave with it. I am excited to share in particular about our recent journey to Jamaica to help displaced souls fly free.
Joyce shared a final piece of the ‘Fools’ journey when she told me how much she loved that I stepped fully into this without fear. The songs were gifted from the land and birthed within a 9-month period. Most people record a CD over months; we recorded and mixed in 9 days. She paid me the highest compliment by saying ‘Fools rush in”. Many people would look at this and see a negative. We both saw the bigger picture as we completed the sentence “Where Angels fear to tread”. Living our lives takes courage, walking into our dreams takes courage. Listening and following the guidance of Spirit gives us strong roots and powerful wings and it takes courage. In gratitude to all of the unseen beings and to the seen ones, thank you on all of your help in bringing this medicine to the world. This Sacred Fool who was told by his career counselor at school to “Go push a barrow” and ridiculed by his music teacher is laughing heartily with the song of the Universe whistling in his bones! Séa.
If you are called to hear the songs please visit my website and go to the merchandise page at www.andrewsteed.com where you will find a sampler of the songs and the lyrics. I hope you choose to invest in several copies for yourself and for friends. These are songs of transformation, for personal cleansing, for voices coming together in circle, please learn them and join with me in singing them as we make love to the land.
A final shout out goes to Martin Bal for the wonderful mastering. His is a powerful name to weave into the birthing of the CD. Martin means the God Of War and Bal is for bold and strong. May the CD go boldly in Battle Truth and strengthen love in the worlds between the worlds, Séa!
A Paradise of Screams – A ‘Celtic’ PerspectiveMay 23, 2014
I read recently that two days before a slave ship docked it could be smelt on the quayside, the air thick with the stench of rotten flesh, vomit and faeces. Add to that the energetic qualities of fear, anger, sorrow and despair and you have a recipe for hopelessness and abject suffering. Within the paradise of the Caribbean’s sun kissed beaches, the grains of sand are screaming and dripping with blood.
Just as we can get stuck in our own stories and stuff our past in the folds of our own skin, so the earth holds the pieces of the story that have not been energetically cleansed. Oh the earth itself is constantly bathed by sun, water and the sweet breath of the wind, however, energy still stagnates in places where displaced souls meander aimlessly, an army in torment, stuck in the story of their past, and in these spaces the suffering is palatable.
Empaths will know what I mean. Those who are sensitive to the energetic vibrations that are constantly swirling around them will sense this. Take an empath to the Caribbean and they will see, hear, feel the anguished shrieks that echo from the shores where slave boats once docked in the sparkling sunshine of a seaside port. It was certainly so for my fiancé Joyce, she felt the shifts before we disembarked the plane.
Displaced people from Africa sing their laments on the wind and to those wild screeches come the keening cries of the Gaelic and Brythonic people, who like their dark skinned brothers and sisters were also rounded up as both slaves and indentured servants. Shackled, beaten and treated as if they had no soul, sold and abused so that others could grow fat from the profits of their labours. For some ‘White Slaves’ their treatment was less harsh than those stolen from Africa, for some the journey was as harsh if not harsher. The pale ‘Celtic’ skin sizzled in the sun, crisp and raw and these unfortunates were saddled with the nickname of redshanks. The worth of a pale skinned Scot dropping as they drooped in the stifling heat of a foreign sun.
Glasgow reeks of the fortunes made on the backs of those kidnapped, and stolen from their homelands. Buchanan Street, Jamaica Street, Tobago Street and the Kingston Bridge all bear the name of the seedy past that brought great wealth to the Lairds, Ladies and business folk that wheeled and dealed in the price of flesh. Trouble makers, children, prostitutes, the destitute and those unfortunate enough to wander down a wrong alleyway disappeared in the night, thrown into an abyss of darkness, torn from their homes, their families, the land of their ancestors and carried on stinking vessels to feed the economy throughout the British Isles.
So what can we do about this and how does the past affect our lives today?
As a shamanic practitioner who stirs the cauldron of the ‘Celtic’ pathway I have been led to work with displaced Celts in the USA, Canada, Barbados and now Jamaica. In working to clear my own ancestral lines I discovered a huge cog in the wheel that needed a major overhaul. My grandmother was born in 1915 and before birth was disowned by her father. She never named him; she took that piece to the grave with her. All we know is he was a Scottish Laird; my great grandmother was a servant at the Manor House. She was dismissed from service once the babe started to show. Being ‘bastard born’ carried a huge weight in those days and was a millstone around my Nana’s neck throughout her life. Can you imagine the surprise of my family to find that the Laird on his deathbed left his fortune to her? However she refused his fortune because it was in her words ‘Blood Money’. Up until 3 years ago I thought it was because her father had not accepted her blood as his. Spending an afternoon working with the threads of Family Constellation I was gobsmacked to find out that my Great Grandfather and my Great Great Grandfather, both Scottish Laird’s, were ‘White Slave Traders.’
Three years ago I was ignorant to there being a white slave trade. I have since found out that according to the Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, America and West Indies of 1701, there were an estimated 25,000 slaves in Barbados, out of these 21,700 were white.
Within 5 months I found myself being invited to Barbados by a Scottish woman to work the Wild Hunt, this is Gaelic shamanic medicine whereby we stand up for life, sweep away negative forces that look to rob the worlds of prosperity and sing home the lost and displaced souls of the dead. Oh, and where on Barbados did this take place? A plantation!
Not only was the keening work and collective journey work important for all of the slaves involved, it was vital for beings like my Great Grandfather who was wrapped in darkness, suffocating in guilt from his work as a ‘Slaver’. The work we did in plucking the 3 strands of poetry in the Celtic world, connecting with the sorrow, transforming it to joy until the chords of peace vibrated through the air was incredible, it is work that requires lightwalkers to wander into the depth of shadow to take our light there. It means being willing to go into our own shadow first, to do our own shadow work so that we can wander brightly into the harsh places and seriously love the land!
So is it any wonder that I am headed to Jamaica this February? I have been invited to a beautiful retreat centre that is on a stretch where slave ships docked. I go armed with the 3 strands of poetry, with the medicine of the Morrighan, Brighid and Boann, with Lugh’s spear of vision and with a group of dedicated beings that are ready and willing to do this work with me. Once we have worked with the displaced souls we will stir in Amrun, the magical chanting of the ‘Celtic’ people and with the aid of the Dragon beings, we will power up the Dragon Lines, the energy lines, the grid that goes through the earth, the waters, the airwaves with the fire of love, beauty, freedom and truth!
So what can you do?
Why not join me.
Whether it is in the sunshine of Jamaica in February or at the Wild Hunt in either the USA in October, Scotland in November or Canada in Oct 2015, the work of singing our ancestors home is of paramount importance. When a people or a land is displaced and disrupted we need to address the disturbance. Scotland has not yet come to terms with the Highland Clearances. It is our own trail of tears. When the Jacobites fell at Culloden in 1746 the ring leaders were hung or deported. Our language taken away and the tartans worn by the Highland Clans were banned. Wearing an outlawed tartan was a quick way to find oneself in the belly of a Slave ship bound for a plantation. Not only were we displaced, we forgot that we were and still are an indigenous people. Working the medicine of our ancestors calls us home here on planet earth/planet water whilst helping our ancestors cross the bridge to the ancestral grazing grounds.
It is why I have been called to work in the lands where my ancestors were shipped to and as importantly why I work these ways in the heart of the Isles. Interestingly the displaced Celts in North America understand and yearn to touch their ancestral lands and drink deeply from the cauldron of their own medicine ways. My fellow brothers and sisters here in the Isles are often gulping down the medicine of other cultures and denying the fullness of their own home brew. I hear the words Aho Mitakuye Oyasin spoken from the lips of so many of those walking a medicine way with tobacco being placed on the land as an offering for Spirit all across the British Isles and Ireland. This is so appropriate for those on the Red Road in North America. Here in the Isles we are dancing the Green Road. We have are own medicine ways and when we work with them we will reweave, restore and replenish what was ripped from the land when we forgot our own indigenous wild nature.
When I first started leading pilgrimages in Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales in 1999 I was seeking a word or phrase to give thanks at the end of a prayer or invocation. I love that a group of Irish Sisters and Brothers shared the word Séa with me. It means ‘Yeah’. I always say the ‘Celtic’ world is about yes and yes. King Arthur was born in Wales, yes he was. King Arthur was born in Cornwall, yes he was, Scotland’s birthplace is at Dunadd in Kilmartin, yes it is, Scotland’s birthplace is in Angus at Arbroath Abbey, yes it is, it is all yes and yes!
It is time to place whisky, organic milk, juniper or cake onto the land and to dance our own medicine ways with a resounding Séa ringing on the wind. Let us embrace the Living Tradition of the Green Road and embody the Celtic saying; ‘Sing like no-one is listening, dance like no-one is watching and live each day as if it were your last’. Look for teachers who know and are living the traditional ways of your ancestors and then stir it into your own cauldrons, the ancestors and the fae will love you for it.
If you are called to weave the web and sing home displaced souls please consider coming to Jamaica with me or sign up for the Wild Hunt in Scotland, the USA or in Canada. It will be a pleasure to go into battle beside you. Email me at email@example.com with questions or for more details.