Tag Archives: wisdom

What does a year look like?

Does it look like
Twelve coloured pictures on a wall,
And 52 pages with numbers to call?
And is it a circle divided by four,
Showing cardinal points, the elements and all?
Two lists of people come with the tide,
Of those just born and those who died.
But maybe a year’s a butterfly,
A rose, a twig, a yellow leaf,
Or shows itself as yet
Another wrinkle in my face.
It looks just like a bag of tears,
And like a secret sold.
Looks like a child, a man,
A woman, young and old.
It’s also in the many smiles,
Returned a hundredfold.
And when I pass a mirror
And catch the person’s eye,
I see that I’m the year, that I am life.

© jsmorgane (June 2010)

Ogham – Q: Quert: Apple

Quert - Apple

  • The Moon-month for Quert runs from 5 Aug – 1 Sep… it shares the month with Coll, hazel, as the wild apple and nut harvests coincide.
  • Apple is the tree of knowing and reincarnation. This is the wild apple, crab-apple. Merlin’s tree that he shares with the Pigling, one of Ceridwen’s children with whom he runs wild deep in the forest of Caledon, eating the apples of knowing.

Merlin, Pigs & Apples

In the Celtic mythos one the most famous connections with the apple is Merlin in his “mad” phase in the Caledonian Forest with his companion pig and Ceridwen.

The main reason usually quoted for Merlin’s madness is the slaughter at the battle of Arfderydd. The Yr Afallennau has Merlin sleeping under apple trees with a pigling that has come to him and coming into his prophetic self. For us, nowadays, maybe many need some “down to earth” reason for madness that can be “dealt with” through psychobabble, however this was not the case in the old days, nor is it now amongst those who walk the old ways.

Madness is a form of changing. How it works out, if the person is still able to function in the everyday world, if they live even, is another matter. The shaman knows this. The old ways – now sometimes called sensory deprivation – when one went voluntarily into a long barrow to be shut in for three days and nights worked to produce the seer, the spirit-keeper, the awenydd. Another way was to go out into the wilds, the mountains, a lonely seashore, the forest, and sit-with the goddess and the gods, with Nature, with the spirits. In America this is known as vision questing. If you’ve ever tried it you’ll know what a scary process it is – to be alone, with nothing but the bare necessities of life.

You are alone firstly with your self and your Self – your personality and your soul. Have you tried this? No distractions, no iPod, phone, radio, TV, no other people around, no-one to help, no-one to comfort you. Only your self and your Self for company.

Arthur's Stone at Moonrise - a barrow used for initiation

The old ones said you come out of such an experience dead, mad or enlightened, often going through some form of death and madness  in order to grow through into the enlightenment. Not everyone made it. the dead were deeply honoured, it was known their spirits had gone into Otherworld and would return again, once refreshed, to try again. The mad were deeply honoured too. It was known that even if their sayings seemed garbled and unclear they would have wisdom hiding in there somewhere, waiting to be found. Those who made it all the way through became as Merlin to their people, the great ones becoming seers known in many lands and for many ages.

It still happens today. If you are willing to sit out in the lap of the Land, with no company … willing to listen to your Elders, the animals, trees, birds, insects, plants, wind, sky, earth and water … then you will find wisdom. If you are able to hold onto the experience then you will be of use to the people, and to the Land and Otherworld itself as well as Thisworld.

This is what Merlin did – battles or no battles. It was a test of initiation, of growing into the seer, the awenydd, the spirit-keeper.

The apple holds all of this for you.

Ceridwen & Pigs

White Sow - suckling her piglings

One of Ceridwen’s totem shapes is that of White Sow. The pigling that Merlin lives with in the Caledonian Forest is one of her children. The pig, like the horse, was integral to the Celtic tradition, customarily it was thought to be the inexhaustible beast that could and would forever feed the people. Recent diggings at Stonehenge have shown that pig-feasts were an integral part of the celebrations there.

Many of the heroes, such as Culhwch, were swineherds – keeping the pigs was a priestly duty. The heroes were also often hidden through their job, kept safe and produced when the time was right for them to come into their inheritance.

Ceridwen fostered them, kept them as her piglings, nurtured them. In a sense she does this with Merlin in Caledon.

Ceridwen’s pig-form is very much a part of Thisworld, of manifestation, rather than of the Upperworld of ideas or the Lowerworld of ancestral wisdom, about making things manifest here and now. Merlin, as awenydd, needed this, needed to be able to help the everyday world of which he was a part – despite his half-fairy parentage. As a half-blood (unlike Harry Potterites!) he was acclaimed, known for one who very directly had a foot in each camp, and so was very valuable. Ceridwen was able to help him walk between worlds. His journey to do so was difficult and dangerous, involving him in losing his everyday mind to replace it with a wiser form that could see Otherworld and Thisworld side by side and work in both. The Lady of the Cauldron fostered him and tested him and provoked him while he made this journey. She did not make it safe … she made it possible.

Avalon

Avalon, from the Welsh word derived from Old Welsh abal “apple” or aball “apple tree” (Middle Welsh aval, avall; Modern Welsh afal, afall), though an Old Cornish or Old Breton origin is also possible – they too being Brythonic languages.

The Isle of Avalon features in the Arthurian mythos and is famous for its beautiful apples. It first appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s 1136 account Historia Regum Britanniae (“The History of the Kings of Britain”) as the place where King Arthur’s sword Caliburn (Excalibur) was forged and later where Arthur is taken to recover from his wounds after the Battle of Camlann. As an “Isle of the Blessed” Avalon has parallels elsewhere in Indo-European mythology, such as Tír na nÓg and the Greek Hesperides, also noted for its apples. It is associated with Morgan le Fay, one of whose titles is “apple woman” and who is goddess of the crossroads, the ways between Thisworld and Otherworld, between life and death.

Trying to locate Avalon as a geographic entity, in what we call the real world, is about as useful as attempting to herd kittens and with a similar lack of results and consequent frustration! There is no point. The concept of Avalon can be located on a physical reference point … anywhere, but that doesn’t help the Seeker to find the apples of wisdom to which s/he aspires. The apple isle is the place of initiation and discovery for the person who is searching for such. The various histories – all written by people, each with their own prejudices and axes to grind – are largely reiterations of the writing of those before them. They remind me of the old adage … “Big fleas have smaller fleas upon their backs to bite ‘me. Little fleas have lesser fleas … and so ad infinitum!”

It is similar to many teachings, they give you “techniques” but nothing of the real thing. They wash out so much colour and fire in order to make the techniques safe one might as well be playing charades. Reality is not safe. Like the apple that Snow white is given it has a red face and a green face, one is poisonous and will transport you across the divide of change, of death, sometimes physical, sometimes the death of old ways and beliefs, throwing you into turmoil, forcing you to change, to grow.

Fairy Horse ...

This is what the apple does in stories all around the world. It gives wisdom … but wisdom is not safe, it’s wild and huge and free. It will set you on its back as the Kelpie does, and run away with you …

From Wiki – Its hide was supposed to be black (though in some stories it was white), and will appear to be a lost pony, but can be identified by its constantly dripping mane. Its skin is like that of a seal, smooth, but is as cold as death when touched. The horse’s appearance is strong, powerful, and breathtaking. Water horses are also known to transform into beautiful women in order to lure men into their traps.

The apple is the fruit of wisdom … all wisdom seekers would do well to work with this tree, and its fruit.

Spirit-Keeping – Awenydd

Awen is a Welsh word for poetic inspiration. It is historically used to describe the divine inspiration of bards in the Welsh poetic tradition. Someone who is inspired, as a poet or a soothsayer, is awenydd.

Apple Pentacle

The apple is the fruit of Apollo, the Greek god of the arts and poetry – poets are keepers of farsight, wisdom, song, and many other things, wisdom, awenydd, spirit-keepers. Cut an apple in half, crosswise, as opposed to from stem to base, and you will see the five seeds make the pentacle-pattern of many initiation-cults.

To be spirit-keeper is to hold the gateway to spirit for the people and, even more so, for the Land. This involves learning to know, and be befriended by, the Spirit of Place where you live and work. This can be as small as your village or as great as your land, your country. In either case this includes all that live and moves and has its being therein … not just humans but all the other kingdoms of Nature including rocks, soil and mineral, atoms, bacteria, molecules from the most infinitesimal to the hugest.

The pentacle at the centre of the apple signifies the four element and spirit, encompassing all things, seen and unseen.

Ponder on all the above and watch it change the way you relate to all Life.

writer artist gardener shaman
Wye’s Woman Rainbow Warrior
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Celtic shaman – Elen Sentier Wye’s Woman at Madley Pool

Seeking Wisdom

After nine years of hard journeying,

Scouring the secret ways,

Following the threads of old clues

To unravel the mystery

He comes at last to a pool

Where nine hazel trees grow

And drinks the water.

Beneath the surface, salmon swim,

Legendary wise, their flesh miraculous

He has come a long way

For the sake of them.

He drinks the water, cool, sweet.

The salmon do not get out to piss

But he no longer cares, he has found,

The source of the tale, the tail of a fish.

All the wisdom in the world will be his

If he catches and eats one.

Nine years. Nine hazels.

He watches a nut fall, a fish take it.

How long might a man sit here,

Seeking to snare a wisdom rich life?

How many swimmers remain in the pool?

Who else will come to kill and eat?

To take what they have slowly gleaned.

A nut fall sends ripples to him.

The trees are heavy with them.

They will fruit again next year.

Scales sparkle in sunlit beauty.

Having found the wonder, must he destroy?

A nut falls into his lap, he takes the offering,

Breaks open, eats, knows the wood flesh taste,

Sweet and good.

There are enough here to feed

All who hunger for insight.

A taste of possibility, an inspiration seed

On a journey to knowledge won,

Not stolen.

Nine years of soul-pressed questing

He will not kill the fish,

But leaves lightly, leaves well.

Knows he is blessed,

Seeks a new road

With a peaceful heart.

More peotry from me availble here

39 Days of Prayer – Day 26

Day 26 – For the World Leaders


I pray for the governments of this world,

that those we have chosen as leaders will be enriched with the wisdom and compassion of Spirit

so that they may lead our countries with honesty and integrity.

May our presidents, our kings, and our queens

be reminded of the needs of the people, and may their need to serve and heal

outweigh the desire for power and riches.

Grant our world leaders the power of discernment, Goddess/God

May their hearts be empathetic and strong, so that their actions reflect

what is best for all living things on this planet.

Teach our leaders to love the truth,

and supply them with intelligent advisors and competent staff who do the same.

I thank you Spirit, for supporting humanity in this.

Blessed be.

39 Days of Prayer – Day 22

Day 22 – Connection

I enter into this day with the intention of self evolution

That I may grow and change into the healthy, whole person I am meant to be

Keep me mindful, Goddess

of your light that lives within me

I know you whisper to my mind, heart, and spirit

Prepare me to hear your voice as loud and clear as my own.

Help me to trust my intuition without fear, and to embrace my insights without embarrassment.

Teach me to sit still, and to wait on your instruction in all situations.

Remind me that no answer is my answer.

And please impart these lessons Goddess, with gentleness and love.

Thank you, Lady.

Blessed Be.

39 Days of Prayer – Day 16

Day 16 – Making Sound Decisions

Hekate – Witch Goddess of Greece.  Hekate is the Crone aspect of the Triple Goddess, forming the triad with Persephone and Demeter; though She also appears as having three faces unto Herself.  She has power over heaven, earth and the Underworld, and is often referred to as the Queen of Ghosts.  As the guardian of the spiritworld, She protects ghosts from harm and from causing mischief.  Originally a goddess of the wilderness and childbirth, Hecate is most often associated with the crossroads, a place of spiritual wisdom and dark intuitive magick. The ultimate sorceress and diviner, Hecate teaches Her followers the path of the witch, and guides the seeker to the depths of the unconscious mind.


Hekate, Goddess with Infinite Wisdom of worlds known and unknown

Hear my prayer.

In this cycle of life I will stand before many crossroads

Decisions will need to be made with a sound mind and a balanced heart

I call to you to as Mistress of the Path

And ask that you aide me in these times of need.

Guide me to the hidden parts of my consciousness

Teach me to access the knowledge I need without fear of what I may learn

And my each of my decisions lead me to wholeness and work towards the benefit of all.

You have my eternal gratitude Hekate, and my word that

I will honor my choices as a true child of yours.

Blessed be.

Poetry Korner by Raven Starr

Hi, I’m Raven Starr some folks know me as an interracial romance author but I’m also a poet and pagan. Today I wanted to share a few poems I’ve written over the years.
I started writing poetry as a lost teenager wondering about my identity, my sorrow and my confusion. Some poems contain the grief of when I lost my mother and then my father s few years afterward.
Poetry has helped to me express all the emotions I had to hide from the world. Now, as an adult I am glad to have overcame the darkness and to be able to share my poems with you.
The first one is called Invisible. Have you ever loved someone who never saw the real you? Read on then…

Invisible

You look at only her
And right through me
It is like men are blind
And can not see anything but my behind
Invisible me
Trying to be
Seen by you

But it doesn’t matter what I do
A big heart, beautiful smile.
Nothing is all worth while.
My heart hurts but I will just let it be
I am invisible
Just invisible me

I wrote this next one for my parents:
Remembering…
Each passing day is just like another
all blending in with each other.
But on these special days I remember.
I remember my pain
my family under so much strain, so much to handle I feel like I suddenly went insane.
I remember I was lost in my worst fear.
I remember wishing and wanting my parents to be here.
But I can remember their smiles
and the laughs we had once in a while. I knew that I loved you both, the same but different from one another.
On this day and everyday I will remember them.
Feel the love that they do send, from heaven above.
I love and miss my father and my mother.
Rest in peace.

The next few poems I’m going to leave ya with are just different ones contemplating the uncertainty of life and what our true purpose on this planet is really about. I hope you enjoyed the poetry today. Leave me a comment and I’ll hit ya back.

Cry of the Empath by Raven Starr
lonely and ashamed
playing the same ole game
feeling the pressure of being unwanted
visions in my brain and always being haunted
fleeting feelings of happiness
growing out of feathery earthen nests of
dreary sadness sinking upon me
can not swim no longer have the will
heart that beats the sounds of defeat but my eyes still seek a vision that is unclear
year after year of giving of myself
is it worth it but I have no one else
plodding thru this life of mine
wondering when it is going to be my time
will it come or will I still have this feeling of being unwanted
constantly haunted by the demons in my head
visions of Christmas angels that I know are dead
happiness is something out of reach
since I can not feel it maybe I am just to teach
That shit is unfair for I have feelings too
Where is my hero? My rock? What am I to do?
Standing tall for everyone else but me
falling apart so endlessly
Strength is my weakness sensitivity my crutch
maybe I care a little too much
I take pain from others who can not bear it. They give it over to me so willingly. But it is killing me, why cant they see.
I hate feeling this way the pain in my heart never truly goes away
music in my ears drowning out my eternal fears
wanted to be left alone but not really
Deserted by my family and even friends
but I am to smile until the end
shouting inside for my soul is torn
a light of happiness can be reborn
but the empath feels the weight of the world
A world not of my choosing a world full of pain
The cry of the empath
is the cry of the insane.

Romance by Raven Starr
Romantic is
is what romantic does
I dream of fairies flying on white silken doves
I spill my heart to you right now
in hope that you will know my vow
to stand right here with open arms
always awaiting your precious charms
even though a ocean keeps us apart
I willing to give you my heart
Don’t forsake it just tell me are you willing to take it?

Last but not least,
Translation of the soul by Raven Star

Translation of the soul
from young to old
does not weaken or so the story is told
Find your path that is right for you
Follow it clearly no matter what you do
your faith may strain, your ego maybe drained
but who you are as a person will always remain.

Strive to love someone besides yourself
take wisdom from the elderly
apply the knowledge to all you see
What kind of heart is truly in your chest?
Something that makes you think that you are better than the rest
Try not to criticize open your heart and empathize
then you may realize that we are all human beings.
No one race is better than the other
each has suffered losses from father, sisters, brother and mothers.
End this hatred you will understand

The goal of your soul is to live in love
not die in hate or in a war mongers oil’s debate
Stop this now and turn over a new leaf
stop hating someone for their beliefs
Understand to love is to grow and that
is what your soul already knows.
This is the translation of the soul.
Be Blessed, my friends,
Raven