Spirit Dolls are a way of embodying the spirits who wish to work with you. Giving the spirit a physical form enables it to work consciously with you, you bond with the spirit and it with you.
The word Doll comes from the Greek name Dorothy, meaning gift of the gods so the spirit Doll is a gift from you to the gods, the a gift from the gods back to you when enspirited. This workshop, we will make Spirit Dolls and invite the spirit that wishes to work with each of us to come enspirit the Doll.
The workshop is held in Jennie’s vegetarian cafe, lunch, coffee and tea are included. Please bring with you any special things that you would like to include in your doll, otherwise materials will be provided. The workshop will include …
* What are spirit dolls and who uses them
* A journey to meet the spirit of your Doll
* Making the doll
* Ritual embodying the spirit
* Stories, chants, drumming, rattling as part of the ritual and journey
* Both women & men are invited
* Date: 23 Jan 2011
* Cost: £50
* Venue: Hereford
* Time: 10.30am to 5pm
Students often tell me they find applying to the Rainbow Warriors course feels scary. This is good. If you feel something of the size of the change you are making to your life then it sounds like the powers are speaking with you … and you’re listening. The questions in the application are supposed to provoke and to make you think. One student asked me about the Saturn return and why I don’t accept folk before they have gone through this and my answer may be useful to others.
Saturn return – when you’re born the planet Saturn is in a particular position (along with all the others in your astrology chart). Approximately 29 years later it returns to the same place it was when you were born.
Saturn is very much about structure, the skeleton of your life-path, that which enables you to stand up rather than be a blob of jelly J. The Old Man comes around three times in most people’s lives. Each time it is like a form of death/rebirth and usually heralds changes in the person’s life, job, relationships. When the person is ripe for awakening the changes are about their commitment to Life, the Universe and Everything (to quote a delightful sci-fi book, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, LOL). People who haven’t got to this change in their lives are often unsure and unwilling (quite rightly) to make commitments that are not “personal”. The commitments you will be asked for if you wish to awaken to your soul-path will be about what you can do for the Planet, the rest of Creation, rather than for yourself.
It’s a growing up thing. While Rainbow Warriors will grow you personally, to great depths and breadths, that growth comes about from giving your love and commitment to the Earth. And , in due course, all life whether in the solar System, this galaxy or the whole universe. Yup, big stuff ! but no greater than you can handle, with training and support. Otherworld desperately needs more people who are willing to work with them towards the evolution of all.
This is the shaman’s path. It can be a tough decision and a hard path but everyone I know who follows it is filled with joy … not happiness but joy. They feel connected to the Earth, to Life, to all things. They sense, feel, see the threads that link us, through which we transmit and receive life-giving energy. And they know everything as their brother/sister … not as an enemy/stranger to be feared and fought but soul-friends who all help each other.
Dunkery Beacon is one of the places we use for journey and ritual in Rainbow Warriors.
I’m adding to the teaching I do for 2011, this is about some of the new work …
Wye’s Woman is about walking and sitting in the wisdom of the Land.
Most people live in towns and cities nowadays, they are not used to seeing a vast expanse of sky over them but have to peer up between rooftops to get a glimpse of sky. The times we live in do not encourage us to be still and quiet, to do nothing but listen and hear, feel, see, smell, taste, touch. If we go out, we have to be doing something, have a purpose and a goal, be able to tick the box when we get home.
The shaman’s journey is different. S/he goes out into the Land, not to change it but to be changed by it, by Her … the Celtic tradition feels the Earth, the Land, as feminine, as the goddess and calls her Sovereignty.
The goddess is in all things, from the smallest atom of rock to the hugest mountain. She is in tees and plants; animals, insects, birds; the soil and rocks and water; the air, warmth and light. She is within us too – if we will be still long enough to notice. She is in the River Wye, my home and mother-river, flowing around the land in which I live and she asks me to introduce her to others. So … Wye’s Woman.
The work is a lot about stillness, quietness, not talking but just being .. and opening up to hear the Lady, the goddess, speaking to us. This can be quite scary. You feel vulnerable, edgy. On the workshops you are encouraged to sit with these feelings, allow them to pass over and through you. This process washes you clean, makes space for the concepts the goddess wants to show you to come in.
The work is a form of shapeshifting, you let go of the shape-self you knew before and allow a new you to begin to grow. Most people who are interested will find the experience very deep, moving them into a new space. It’s usually a small but significant change that comes about – the goddess never pushes you beyond your limits but she can push you right to the edge.
There are seven quests, between Imbolc and Samhain each year, exploring facets of our relationship to the goddess from the perspective of the seven points of the Celtic World Tree.
They all take place at sacred sites near the river Wye. I lead you into the Land and hold the energy for you but first we talk, I tell about the theme for that day, what we will do, what to expect.
We work through journeying, visioning, questing, poetry, song, dance and storytelling but most of all through listening in various forms of stillness. You can be still while walking, dancing, singing even …
The workshops cost £75/day, email Elen Sentier to find out more.
walk in the worlds of the Goddess
between the two lights
the twilight of sun and moon
I live by the river Wye, Afon Gwy, one of the mother rivers of Britain. she rises on one side of the Plynlimon mountain and flows down to join with her sister, Hafren, better known as the Severn. The Afon Hafren, the longest river in Great Britain and rises at around 2000ft on the other side of the mountain of Plynlimon and flows for 220 miles eventually joining with sea, and the Wye, at the Bristol Channel.
The Wye is the fifth longest river in Britain and forms much of the boundary between Wales and England … the Shadowlands, Twilight lands between the worlds where I live. Journeys have shown me I have deep links to this part of the Land, Clas Myrddyn, Merlin’s country that go back over 4000 years – it’s a humbling thought :-).
The Wye is a mighty river and in full spate can be quite overwhelming … as can all goddesses, especially Mother Goddesses. I love her dearly and she is asking for people to come and work with her … hence this page.
Wye’s Woman comes from her – I am her woman, as are many who work hereabouts. I sit at her banks and climb her hills, walk beside her. The workshops are about that. It’s a form of vision quest that’s very Celtic, we don’t just sit in one place but walk the Land, asking the Land to feed us with vision and inspiration, ideas and teachings. For the Celts, the goddess is in the Land itself as well as everywhere throughout the cosmos, not either/or but and/and, inclusive.
The workshops come out of my walking and working. I’ll take you to 8 places along the part of the Wye valley where I live, sacred places, used for thuosands of years by folk who know the Land and know the River – Earth and Water that supports us and enables us to live.
Exploring the Goddess
We’ll explore the goddess’ relationship with her Guardian, the god, how he serves her and cares for her … and we’ll learn our own relationship to her and our own way of serving and guarding her by connecting into her sacred places and listening to her. We’ll also celebrate her with ritual and bring her gifts.
The workshops are 1-day, Saturdays, close to the eight Celtic festivals of the year … Samhain, Midwinter, Imbolc, Spring, Beltane, Midsummer, Lammas and Autumn. Some of them will last through the night when we, or you individually, “sit-out” and will include Staff Singing, a method of inducing a receptive state for the Goddess to speak to us and for us to be able to hear her.
We will also be making spirit dolls and houses, dressing trees, making a group totem pole and other ritual talismans from the things around us in the Land where we work. The Goddess always gives what we need … the trick is learning to see it :-).
Cost £600 (£75/day) if booked all together
or £85/day if you book individual days.
… behind every gifted woman there’s usually a rather talented cat … writer artistgardenershaman
There’s one place left if anyone else would like to come.
It looks like being a very deep and exciting weekend. On the Friday night we go to Arthur’s Stone for the Nigredo, the death and rebirth, lying within the chamber, taking the journey the goddess and the god give us. We will be going into the dark of the Moon, the darkness of the womb. This is likely to bring us deep visions and insights as we spend time in the chrysalis becoming Butterfly Soup.
On the Saturday morning we rise up into the Albedo, through the Peacock’s Tail, and visit the Lord and Lady where their statues till uphold the rood-screen in Vowchurch church. this part of the process is about the bringing together of the pairs of opposites, exampled for us by the Lord and Lady. Re-membering ourselves, putting ourselves back together, is vital to becoming whole.
Saturday afternoon we walk the Troy Town,the ancient British labyrinth that symbolises the journey within and the journey out into service in the outer world. The Lord and Lady figure again here and we will sing the Fith Fath song and tell the tale of Shining Brow … reminding ourselves of how the goddess tests and tries the god to make sure he is up to the task of guarding her.
Sunday morning we go up to Dinedor, the place of the ancient serpent-mound and serpent path down to the river Wye … the name “Wye” refers to the mother-water, the mother-river. There, we plait the red-white-black cord, the triplicity of the Celtic tradition that symbolises the
3 faces of the goddess – smith/healer/poet
3 cauldrons that empower the life within us
3 phases of change – death/life/birth
And we make our promise to Otherworld, to help, to live with and alongside all the realms, so making the Alchemical Wedding …
Contact me if you’d like to come.
Elen Sentier … behind every gifted woman there’s usually a rather talented cat … writer artistgardenershaman
Fferyllt in Brythonic (the old British language) is the alchemy of the druid-shamans of Britain. It’s about the wedding of the Lady/Goddess to her Guardian-Lord. The Lady is the goddess of the Land, the Earth, Gaia if you like and with all the attributes James Lovelock assigned her. The Lord is her Guardian and Protector. Another way of seeing them is as the Green Woman and the Green Man, but the Lady and the Lord are common in British craft practice. In the British shamanic tradition the Lady is often called Sovereignty as this expresses the essence of what she is.
These pictures are of the Lady and the Lord from the screen in Vowchurch church. Unfortunately, their genitals have been cut off and obscured with new wood by worried christians. The Lady, from the position of her hands, would have been a Sheela-na-gig and the Lord would have had an errect phallos. The link give a picture of the Kilpeck Sheela, about 10 miles from me here.
For us, individually, to make our relationship to the Lady and the Lord is for us to find our selves … our soul-self who connects us to the goddess and our personality-self who connects us to the god.
In old British tradition the king – the god/Lord’s representative – was chosen by various tests from the queen. These are exampled in folksongs like the Fith Fath Song and The Blacksmith as well as tales like Taliesin. A new king was chosen every 100 lunations, every 100 moon-months which is approximately 7 years. At the end of his term he was sacrificed and ploughed into the land, giving his goodness and fertility back to the goddess, perhaps the ultimate consummation. The folksong John Barleycorn tells the story. This tradition is found in other places in the world, the best known is probably the Eleusinian tradition of Greece but it’s possible the Osiris “murder” is another form of this. In the British tradition one story-form of this is the Llew Llaw Gyffes story, another is the Dream of Macsen Wledig. The Llew story has been badly mangled by Victorian storytellers who have turned it into a “faithless wife”drama, losing most of the points that the old Awenydd (Brythonic for vision-keeper) used to make when telling it at hearthsides long ago.
The concept of the queen testing the king to see if he is up to the job underlies much of the British Celtic shamanic ritual. Like everything Celtic, there are always the macrocosm/microcosm, the as above so below, aspects. The inner always reflects the outer as is shown in the Troy Town labyrinth – this picture is from Rocky Valley in Cornwall, the rock-carving is over 4000 years old.It’s on the cover of my book on Numerology.
And this drawing of reversible heads (Lord and Lady) from an ancient Celtic coin. turn the picture upsidedown and you still have the Lord on the left and the Lady on the right! Each is the other – a principle of the Celtic tradition.
The queen/goddess/Lady relates to our soul-self, the part of us that continues beyond each incarnation. The king/god/Lord relates to our personal-self, the personality into which the soul incarnates. This, of course, is different every time … different gender, race, colour, background, orientation, outlooks, ability to remember the soul, etc. It is, however, the part of ourselves we often know best and identify with. It’s also the part that will, undoubtedly, die and come to an end at the end of each incarnation! If /while we believe this is the “real me”, who we truly are, then we will be terrified by the idea of death, quite understandably.
In eso-speak it’s said the soul sleeps in meditation deep until the personality begins to awaken and knocks on the door of the soul – it has to be this way round, the soul will never push awareness onto the personality! This knocking on the door precipitates the rebirth. The personality comes to know who and what it is, what its job is. Once this happens the personality usually wants to do its job right, be a good vehicle for the soul to work through. Our word personality comes from the Greek word persona which was the mask Greek actors wore and of which they said it was “the mask through which the gods spoke”. For gods read our own souls. The personality’s job is also to guard the soul. One example of this that has come down to us through folklore is the Morris Men[link to Joh Matthews’ excellent book] and Morris Dancing. Morris is likely derived from “Mary’s Men”. The name Mary comes from various words going back to Sanskrit meaning sea and has always been one of the words/names/concepts for the goddess, the flowing waters that give life, and indeed the sea was the soup of the beginning of Life on Earth. The Morris dances have much in common with various unarmed combat exercises and were likely practiced through dance both as ritual to the goddess and, later, as a way of continuing the old ways after the Christian invasions. So the personality is the Guardian of the soul as the king is the guardian of the queen.
The superiority of the king and the concept of “birthright” are quite new to Britain being heavily enforced by William the Conqueror! Before that kings were elected – Harold was – and women held land, led armies and governed. The job of ruling was taken on by the combined representatives of the goddess and the god, of the feminine and the masculine, of the representatives of the pairs of opposites.
The Fferyllt alchemy holds these principles and helps us to find them within ourselves, to become the microcosm of the macrocosm, to live here below as it is above. This workshop initiates the process of awakening in the participants and offers, tools, journeys, exercises and ritual to facilitate the rebirth along with follow-up support after. If you find the path suits you then you may well want to join the 3 year shamanic training, Rainbow Warriors, to come to know the process at a deeper level.
This workshop runs from 1700 on Friday 11th June to 1400 on Sunday 13th June 2010. If you would like to join us apply here – there is also an outline of the workshop here along with cost. Places are limited. The workshop is non-residential and held in the ancient countryside just outside of Hereford in the UK – a place steeped in Celtic legend. We use local sacred sites as part of the journeying work.
Elen Sentier … behind every gifted woman there’s usually a rather talented cat … writer artistgardenershaman