Aztec Astrology

Aztec Calendar Stone

The Aztecs had their own independent system of Astrology based on a 260 day cycle of 20 signs, unrelated to the starry heavens, but on Aztec Gods. Every 13 days a new Aztec divinity was thought to influence from birth. Each Aztec sign is influenced by a number and a colour.

Discover Your Sign Through Your Date of Birth

The Aztecs associate the days of the year with the 20 signs of the Zodiac. Work out your birth sign by consulting the table below.

1) Select the number that corresponds to the year of your birth:

1900, 1980 : 17
1901, 1981 : 03
1902, 1982 : 08
1903, 1983 : 13
1904, 1984 : 18
1905, 1985 : 04
1906, 1986 : 09
1907, 1987 : 14
1908, 1988 : 19
1909, 1989 : 05
1910, 1990 : 10
1911, 1991 : 15
1912, 1992 : 20
1913, 1993 : 06
1914, 1994 : 11
1915, 1995 : 16
1916, 1996 : 01
1917, 1997 : 07
1918, 1998 : 12
1919, 1999 : 17
1920, 2000 : 02
1921, 2001 : 08
1922, 2002 : 13
1923, 2003 : 18
1924, 2004 : 03
1925, 2005 : 09
1926, 2006 : 14
1927, 2007 : 19
1928, 2008 : 04
1929, 2009 : 10
1930, 2010 : 15
1931, 2011 : 20
1932, 2012 : 05
1933, 2013 : 11
1934, 2014 : 16
1935, 2015 : 01
1936, 2016 : 06
1937, 2017 : 12
1938, 2018 : 17
1939, 2019 : 02
1940, 2020 : 07
1941, 2021 : 13
1942, 2022 : 18
1943, 2023 : 03
1944 : 08
1945 : 14
1946 : 19
1947 : 04
1948 : 09
1949 : 15
1950 : 20
1951 : 05
1952 : 10
1953 : 16
1954 : 01
1955 : 06
1956 : 11
1957 : 07
1958 : 02
1959 : 07
1960 : 12
1961 : 18
1962 : 03
1963 : 08
1964 : 13
1965 : 19
1966 : 04
1967 : 09
1968 : 14
1969 : 20
1970 : 05
1971 : 10
1972 : 15
1973 : 01
1974 : 06
1975 : 11
1976 : 16
1977 : 02
1978 : 07
1979 : 12
1980 : 17
1981 : 03
1982 : 08
1983 : 08
1984 : 18

2) Then to this number, add the figure that corresponds to the month of your birth:

January = 19
February = 10
March = 18
April = 09
May = 19
June = 10
July = 00
August = 11
September = 02
October = 12
November = 03
December = 13

3) Add the total to the day of the month you were born on (18 if you were born on the 18th, for example).

4) If you were born after 29th February during a leap year, you will need to add 1 to the total.

5) If the number is less than 20, go to step 6. If higher than 20, divide by 20, then note the remainder.

6) This number corresponds to your Aztec sign listed below: –

  1. Cayman or Crocodile (Cipactli) bears the number 1 and the colour light green. It symbolises knowledge. This sign likes logic and logical thinking. This sign is strong of will, and good at organising, understanding and analysing. Its planet is Venus and its divinity is Tonacatecuhtli.
  2. Wind (Ehecalt) knows how to overcome obstacles. When a storm blows, this sign always manages to calm itself down in the end. This sign is flexible, and consequently, agile too. These are people who are both physically and morally strong, but very difficult to please! This sign’s planet is Venus, and its divinity Quetzalcóatl.
  3. House (Calli) bears the number 3 and its colour is dark green. The House is generous and welcoming. This sign likes other people, and seeks to find balance with its soul mate. House signs are rarely on their own, and find their place among family and in a routine. This sign’s planet is Saturn and its divinity is Tepeyolohti.
  4. Lizard (Cuetzpallin ) bears the number 4. In Aztec culture, this animal represents vivacity rather than laziness. It handles any situation and is incredibly resistant! People of this sign are very prudent when confronting an obstacle. This sign’s planet is Saturn and its divinity is Huehuecóyotl.
  5. Snake (Coátl) bears the number 5 and the colour orange. Snake signs are spontaneous and often act without reason. Their reactions can often be surprising. In the story of humanity, the snake symbolises reconciliation between Heaven and Earth. This sign also represents laziness! Its planet is Saturn, and its divinity is Chalchiúhtlicue.
  6. Death (Miquiztli) is represented by the number 6 and the colour purple. Death is word given to man; language, law, ethics. People of this sign are often introverts, who are not able to free themselves from the gaze of others. Life with a House sign will make a Death sign happy, and bring them self-confidence. Its planet is the Moon and its divinities are Tecciztécatl and Meztli.
  7. Stag or Deer (Mázatl) This animal represents prestige and rarity because it is difficult to track in the high plateaus of Mexico! It is also synonymous with shyness, tenacity, and being a dreamer. People of this sign are also highly sociable. This sign’s planet is the Moon, and its divinity is Tláloc.
  8. Rabbit (Tochtli) is defined by the number 8 and the colour indigo blue. The Rabbit enjoys life’s pleasures. Delicate and timid, this sign hates conflict. People of this sign make for pleasant company, always smiling and hard-working. They are also prone to anguish and like to have control over their lives. This sign’s planet is the Moon and its divinity is Mayáhuel.
  9. Water (Atl) This sign symbolises rarity, fertility, and need. In Aztec Astrology, it is also a symbol of worry, anguish and instability. Water signs are incredibly sensitive people, whose planet is Mars and divinity Xiuhtecuhtli.
  10. Dog (Itzcuintli) is symbolised by the number 10. People of this sign are generous and ready to do anything to help and feel useful! They are really brave and highly intuitive, but also very shy. Their planet is Mars and divinity Mictlantecuhtli.
  11. Monkey (Ozomatli) is represented by the number 11 and the colour golden yellow. People of this sign are modest, charming, and able to adapt to any situation. They are naturally beautiful and seductive, but who do not do things in their own interest – they are quite simply natural and pleasant. According to Aztec tradition, the Monkey gave man fire out of love and compassion. This sign’s planet is Mars and its divinity Xochipilli.
  12. Grass (Malinalli) is represented by the number 12. It is one of the most mysterious signs in Aztec Astrology. Sometimes, it represents good news, and other times, it represents trials that must be overcome. It is a sign of sensitivity and resistance. Its planet is Jupiter, and its divinity Patécatl.
  13. Reed (Acatl) is a sign that loves life, and bears the number 13. This sign is a symbol of paradise on Earth, since it is in Atlantic surroundings that traditional reeds grow! The reed symbolises gaiety, optimism and life’s most simple pleasures. This sign’s planet is Jupiter and its divinities are Tezcatlipoca and Itzlacoliuhqui.
  14. Ocelot or Jaguar (Océlotl) is represented by the number 14, and its colour is black. The Ocelot is gifted with great strength of character, and can easily become aggressive. People of this sign can be calmed by the presence of a Flower or Monkey sign. The ocelot is a feline creature found in South America, and is very often unfaithful in Love – a sign that just goes for it. Its planet is Jupiter and its divinity Tlazoltéotl.
  15. Eagle (Cuauhtli) bears the number 15, and its colour is silver. It represents strength, virility, and courage. Eagle signs have lucid minds and are blessed with constantly renewed energy. They are capable of making it through the dark and finding their way back to the light. They are strong and brave and know just how to be seductive… be wary! This sign’s planet is the Sun and its divinity Xipe Totec.
  16. Vulture (cozcaquautli) bears the number 16. In Aztec Astrology, this is a positive sign, synonymous with good health, long life, and responsibilities! People of this sign make gifted businessmen and women who move directly and calmly towards their goals. This sign’s planet is the Sun and its divinity Itzpapálotl.
  17. Earthquake (Ollin) bears the number 17, and represents beauty. People of this sign are wise and cautious, with a sense of justice. They are overflowing with imagination, and are daring and highly energetic. This sign’s planet is the Sun and its divinity Xólotl.
  18. Silex (Técpatl) bears the number 18, and its colour is red. People of this sign are thorough, law-abiding, and moral. Clay signs do not like lies; they believe in justice. They are often authoritarian and move through life without ever complaining! This sign’s planet is Mercury, and its divinities are Tezcatlipoca and Chalchiuhtotolin.
  19. Rain (Quiáhuitl) bears the number 19, and its colour is dark red. Rain signs are passionate; they like acting on their whims and let themselves be guided by their impulses. People of this sign are also quite versatile! This sign’s planet is Mercury, and its divinities are Tonatiuh and Chantico.
  20. The Flower (xochiti) bears the number 20, and its colour is white. Flower signs are crazy, tender, artistic, and have a great sensitivity. A Flower sign will be full of life and vigour when paired with an Eagle or a Monkey. This sign’s planet is Venus, and its divinity is Xochiquetzal.
Aztec Astrology Signs

The Wicker Man

In current times, associated with Beltane, how much do we actually know about the Wicker Man? And was animal and human sacrifice a major part of the Celtic religion?

Interestingly, we only have 2 ancient sources about the Wicker Man. Only the Roman general Julius Caesar and the Greek geographer Strabo mention the wicker man as one of many ways the druids of Gaul performed sacrifices.

In the mid-1st century BC, Caesar wrote in his Commentary on the Gallic War that a large wickerwork figure with limbs was filled with living men and set on fire. He says that criminals were the preferred victims, but that innocent people might also be burned if there were no criminals.

Writing slightly later, Strabo says in his Geographica that men and animals were burned in a large figure of wood and straw, although he does not make clear whether the victims were burned alive. He adds that the ashes were believed to help the crops grow.

Also in the 1st century BC, Greek historian Diodorus Siculus wrote in Bibliotheca historica that the Celts sacrificed human and animal captives by burning them on huge pyres along with the first fruits. It is probable that both Diodorus and Strabo got their information from the earlier Greek historian Posidonius, whose work has not survived.

In the 1st century AD, Roman writer Lucan mentioned human sacrifices to the Gaulish gods Esus, Toutatis and Taranis. In a commentary on Lucan—the Commenta Bernensia dating from the 4th century and later—an unnamed author added that sacrifices to Taranis were burned in a wooden container.

Archaeological evidence of human sacrifice among Celtic peoples is rare. Many modern historians and archaeologists state that the ancient Greco-Roman accounts should be viewed with caution. Both Greeks and Romans “had good reason to dislike a long-term enemy” and it may have benefited them to “transmit any bizarre and negative information” about the Celts. Their desire to depict Celtic peoples as “barbarians” may have “led to exaggeration or even fabrications”. (Mary Voight, The Violent Ways of Galatian Gordion)

The Wicker Man, although associated with ancient Britain, was only mentioned in respect of the Gauls, the name given to continental Celts.

In modern times, large wickerwork figures were burnt in France during the 18th and 19th centuries. Wilhelm Mannhardt recorded that a wickerwork giant was burnt each Midsummer Eve (not Beltane) in Brie. Until 1743, a large wickerwork figure of a soldier or warrior was burnt every 3 July on the Rue aux Ours in Paris, as the crowd sang “Salve Regina”.

At Luchon in the Pyrenees, snakes were burnt alive in a tall wickerwork column decked with leaves and flowers on Midsummer Eve. Far from being a pagan festival, young male Christians with torches danced around the burning column, whilst the townsfolk and clergy sang hymns. Snakes represented Satan, and this sadistic, barbaric ritual was about the Christian conquest of evil.

In recent times in Britain, neopagan movements have recreated burning of the Wicker Man at various festivals, in particular Beltane. However, the modern practice is more inspired by the 1970’s cult movie than any actual historical evidence.

Universal Laws

What is the origin of the Universal Laws? In science and, in particular, physics Isaac Newton was the first to use the term Universal Laws. These are the natural inescapable laws of the Universe. They have been expanded upon since by scientists like Albert Einstein, who discovered the Law of Relativity.

In Egyptian Greek philosophy, Hermes Trismegistus explains the foundational laws of our reality in his seven hermetic principles. Ho’oponopono was a practice in ancient Hawaii, which now includes a recognition of various Universal Laws and their application in everyday life. Qabalah contains 10 Universal Laws. Hinduism contains 12 Laws of Karma.

So basically, the 12 Universal Laws are pulled together from a variety of both scientific and spiritual sources and are widely accepted today. I prefer to use them as Principles, rather than Laws. Also, the way you apply them is an individual choice. For instance, understanding Law of Divine Oneness often depends on your beliefs and differs between spiritual paths and religions around the world. My desire, as Druid founder of the Order of Celtic Wolves, is to encourage development, and if applying or understanding these laws helps you achieve that, then it is beneficial to you and those you have dealings with.

So let’s look at these Laws one by one: –

1) The Law of Divine Oneness

“I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one…” John 17:23 (KJB) Jesus praying to His heavenly father.

According to the Law of Divine Oneness, the whole universe is interconnected. We are all products of the same energy that created or started the Universe. Whether you call that energy God or spirit or just pure energy, we started off as stardust and energy is in constant flux. It changes, but always exists in one form or another. Some believe that there is an inner spirit within that energy, or a soul.

But here and now, recognising Oneness with everything can benefit us in our lives. If we recognise that we all make mistakes (I hate the word “sin”) and paying more attention to our own mistakes, rather than those of others, stops us judging others harshly.

But it’s more than that. It’s connectivity, empathy and compassion. It’s about supporting those who are attacked because of race, gender, religion, sexuality and disability as an ally. It’s also about caring for our bit of the environment for future offspring, as far as our circumstances allow. It’s also about opposing cruelty to other living creatures. Oneness applies to everything.

When we see a homeless person, or an alcoholic, or someone with a drug addiction, if we think that this could happen to anyone, including ourselves, then we lose judgmentalism.

Being in Oneness is the first of the 12 Universal Laws, but whether you view it as being at Oneness with a personal God, or at Oneness with the Universe, applying it in your own personal life will enrich you.

2. Law of Vibration

From a microscopic level to the entire Cosmos, every thing is moving, even in solid objects, atomic and sub atomic particles are constantly moving. This is physics as Einstein stated.

The Law of Vibration states that everything in the universe is in a constant state of movement. We refer to these movements as vibration, and the speed or rate at which something vibrates is called its frequency. The only difference between one object and another is the rate of its vibration.

The Law of Vibration states that everything in the universe is in a constant state of movement. We refer to these movements as vibration, and the speed or rate at which something vibrates is called its frequency. The only difference between one object and another is the rate of its vibration.

According to existing research, the natural frequency of a human-standing body is about 7.5 Hz, and the frequency of a sitting posture is 4–6 Hz. Vibrations are all around us. We can detect vibrations with sensitive skin mechanoreceptors, but our conscious awareness of the presence of vibrations is often limited.

Human vibrations are composed of everything from physical matter to the way you communicate the thoughts you think. Some molecules vibrate faster and some vibrate slower; there are higher vibrations and lower vibrations.

Spiritually and emotionally, when you are vibrating at a higher level, you feel lighter, happier, and more at ease, whereas lower vibrations feel heavy, dark, and confused.

There are many ways we can increase our vibration level. The first is gratitude. Rather than think about the things you haven’t got, be grateful for the things you have. Have deep seated love for yourself and others. You have to learn to love yourself and spread the love around. Be kind to yourself and be kind to others from the heart. Don’t be self deprecating, but also avoid boastfulness. And don’t unduly criticise others and praise people for the good they do.

Be generous and never be stingy or greedy. Give to charity, whether it’s money or belongings. A simple smile at a stranger improves their vibration too.

Meditation and simply concentrating on your breathing is a great way to rid yourself of low vibrations. This can include prayer too, or talking to those who you have lost in this mortal plane.

Holding onto grudges and blame does far more damage to you, than the one you believe you are punishing. Be forgiving of others, or you will find you are constantly at a lower vibration.

Look after your body as much as you can, including the things you eat and drink. Toxins affect not only our vibrations, but our liver, kidney, heart and other organs.

Think positive thoughts, visit areas of natural beauty, plant beautiful flowers and become at one with nature. Petting animals such as a cat or dog also does much to improve your vibrations.

As you become aware of your vibrations, you will notice the vibrations of others and places you visit. Whatever vibrations surround you can affect your own vibrations, good or bad. So keep the Law of Vibration in mind and you will raise the vibrations of others and of places you visit.

3. Law of Correspondence

“Quod est superius est sicut quod inferius, et quod inferius est sicut quod est superius.”

“That which is above is like to that which is below, and that which is below is like to that which is above.” The second verse from the Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus

This phrase has been used or paraphrased or added too for 3000 years and used in ritual too. It is not limited to esoteric and occult practices though because Jesus in Matthew 18:18 (ESV) says “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” The principle is also found in the Qabalah and other ancient religious writings.

So what does it mean? The Principle embodies the truth that there is always a Correspondence between the laws and phenomena of the various planes of Being and Life. We achieve our greatest success when we recognise the connection and work in harmony and connect with the higher planes of Manifestation, Life and Being. All that is included in the Universe emanates from the same source, and the same laws, principles, and characteristics apply to each plane.

In my own rituals then I include the extended paraphrase it to focus my mind, body and spirit on the higher planes as follows: –

“As above, so below. As within, so without.”

This recognises not only the connection between ourselves and the higher planes but also the connection between the body and inner soul.

4. Law of Attraction

This is probably the most well known of the 12 Universal Laws and also known as the Golden Rule.

It ties in with the Law of Vibration, in that whatever we give out, we get back in return. The Golden Rule is the principle of treating others as one wants to be treated. Various expressions of this rule can be found in the creeds of most religions and paths throughout history. It is an ethic of reciprocity in some religions, although different religions treat it differently.

  • Treat others as you would like others to treat you (positive or directive form)
  • Do not treat others in ways that you would not like to be treated (negative or prohibitive form)
  • What you wish upon others, you wish upon yourself (empathetic or responsive form)

The idea dates at least to the early Confucian times (551–479 BCE). It is a prominent principle in Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, and the rest of the world’s major religions. As part of the 1993 “Declaration Toward a Global Ethic”, 143 leaders of the world’s major faiths endorsed the Golden Rule, but belief in God is not necessary to endorse it.

There is a caveat to this rule. Although it works on a one to one basis, it assumes that people are on the same level as vibration as you. If the recipient is on a low and dark vibration (see earlier post on the Law of Vibration) you are not on an equal footing. So you do not always get an equal return and should not expect such. However, DO NOT let this deter you from applying the Golden Rule. Although you will not get an equal return, you will still lift people to a higher level of Vibration.

If, however, you respond according to the recipients level of return, this will bring down your level of Vibration.

In practice, this could work well in a customer service job. If a customer complains about poor customer service by thinking about how “you” would like to be treated if you experienced poor customer service helps you apply the Golden Rule. When making a complaint a person may be feeling angry, annoyed and upset. If we respond with aggression we will fuel that anger. However, if we lower our tone of voice, the customer will lower theirs and by calmly dealing with the complaint and, hopefully, resolving it if possible (or explaining it, if not) then by the end of the conversation the customer will have had their level of Vibration raised and may even thank you for your support.

The point is, with The Golden Rule, is to apply it whatever the return. The majority of time you will see a return, but if not, at least you have the knowledge that you did what you could. And then, sometimes, it is best to walk away, realising that continued interaction with some people will bring your level of Vibration down.

5. Law of Inspired Action

Some believe that a prayer or meditation and reliance on divine beings or spirit is all that is needed to achieve your goals. That is credulity, or blind faith.

The Law of Inspired Action states that you must take real, actionable, inspired steps in order to achieve your goals and allow your dreams to manifest in your life.

The real and actionable steps seem straightforward, whereas inspired takes a little more effort. Inspiration comes from 2 sources; within you and from outside. You have to listen to your inner self and pay attention to your own instincts. You will also see things in the outside world that inspire you.

If we don’t follow through things that inspire us with action, then we will find something is missing from our lives.

Realistically, we may not achieve all our goals, but sometimes the fulfilment is not in the achievement, but in the quest. However, if we don’t apply Law of Inspired Action we will not achieve any of our goals and dreams.

So don’t sit back, but keep moving forward, and some of your goals and dreams will become a reality.

6. Law of Perpetual Transmutation of Energy

Everything around us and in the Universe is constantly evolving or fluctuating. That includes us.

Every action we take is preceded by our brain, including our immediate reactions. The brains impulses trigger our nervous system into action through complex electro chemical impulses. Our brain is in itself the centre of our Universe and the way we view things.

Discussing vibrations we looked at how high and low vibrations worked in lifting or lowering the vibrations of others, but it all starts with the brain.

Have you ever noticed how a baby looks intently at you or others. It is taking in its surroundings, learning reactions and language. How we develop depends on 2 things; our environment and our inner self.

If it was purely environment, we would be exactly the same as other family members, but there is something inherently individual about each of us. No one knows our inner self apart from us.

DNA research has shown in recent years that many of our traits are inherited, but even so, no two persons are exactly the same. We may find similarities, but we are all completely different.

If we are not careful, though, our environment can gradually remove what makes us individual and replace our brain processes and reactions, so they change us into a hive brain of the masses.

Make no mistake about it, there are powerful people in politics, religion and commerce who influence the masses and turn people into sheep. Some religions even call their followers sheep and the followers blindly accept that. The masses are easily influenced and manipulated. They allow their individuality to be taken over by empty promises, judgmentalism and buying things that they think they need.

Don’t let someone do that to you. No matter how much you may make enemies (just for being your true self) you can become a powerful being by allowing your own reasoning and thought processes to guide you, transmuting the energy inside you and outside you into a thing of beauty.

And you are not alone. We live in a time where both enlightenment and ignorance abound in equal measure. There are many finding enlightenment right now, and recognising and living in accordance with the 12 Universal Laws will help you achieve that.

7. Law of Cause and Effect (also known as Casuality)

In modern physics, the notion of causality is clarified as “the cause must precede the effect”. And depending on the cause, the effect might not happen straight away.

Cause and effect is where one event, process, state, or object (a cause) contributes to the production of another event, process, state, or object (an effect).

An example could be cleaning your teeth. If you don’t clean your teeth regularly (cause) you may not see an immediate effect, but after a while, you may experience tooth decay or gum disease (effect). On the other hand, if you do clean your teeth every day (cause), you are likely to have healthy gums and teeth (effect).

But let’s take it to a level of improving your own life. I won’t tell you the effect, but see if you can work out for yourself what the effect will be from the causes below: –

  1. Shouting and screaming at someone.
  2. Speaking in a calm, relaxing manner.
  3. Giving a compliment.
  4. Being aggressive.
  5. Overindulgence.
  6. Regular exercise.
  7. Studying.

Effects are not the same with everyone. For instance, as in example 1 (above), the effect could be several things depending on the invidual. Possible outcomes are shouting back, being reduced to tears, and storming out. A more positive effect would be the recipient reacting in a calm way and finding out why we are so angry.

So, although every action has a reaction, it may not be immediate and could have several outcomes. Sometimes, we need to think of how we personally react to things to get a full perspective. Some situations need confronting, but sometimes it might be better to just walk away.

Effects also last for different periods depending on the cause. Some can be permanent. Some causes and effect we have absolutely no control of. But we can control how we cope with them.

But don’t see it as a negative thing. Even if something has a negative reaction, we can still react in a positive way, thus reducing the outcome. However, if we keep doing positive things in our lives, we will reap the blessings.

8. Law of Compensation

Similar to the Law of Cause and Effect (Causation), the Law of Compensation is simply harvesting the fruit of your labour. Whereas a small act causes a return, in the Law of Compensation it is more about how you devote your time.

If you want something to happen, you work on that area in your life. It applies to all aspects of your life, too. If you want to be an electrician, for instance, you may need an apprenticeship or college training or a mixture of both. You need to make a commitment and student diligently. You also need supervision whilst you practice and eventually become a qualified electrician.

On a personal level you will get back what you give out. If you spend your life sharing love, love will be returned to you. If you give out judgment and hate, it will also be returned to you.

Spiritually, though, it is a balance between spiritual and material things. We need material things and, depending on our means, it is nice to have some luxuries in our life. However, the danger is that material things can become so important to us that we leave little or no room for spiritual things. Whether you believe in a next life or not, you can’t take material things with you. Materialism can also affect your relationship with others because you will need to concentrate more on secular work and less time with family and friends. It is the Law of Compensation.

9. Law of Relativity

Human nature and competitiveness makes us compare our situation and material possessions with those of others. In reality, though, everything is neutral. The meaning we get is purely due to our perspective and perception.

Applying the law of relativity can help us understand the tougher parts of our lives with greater compassion. Comparing ourselves to others and being ungrateful because they appear to be doing better than ourselves will affect our positivity and level of vibration.

There is the old adage of “keeping up with the Joneses.” However, this is totally at odds with the Law of Relativity. A more positive approach is being grateful for the things you have that others don’t. Be charitable to those in need, and don’t be too proud to accept help yourself too.

Sometimes, though, avoiding or limiting company with the kind of people who brag about their possessions or expensive holidays actually benefits you. People who place so much importance on such things generally lack in other areas, including spirituality.

There will always be people in a seemingly better position than us, just as there are people in a worse situation than us. Every one of us is both unique and connected. Everything is relative, and that’s good.

10. Law of Polarity

Yin and Yang

In life everything has it’s opposite; love/hate, male/female, cold/hot, light/dark. In Eastern philosophy there is the commonly known teaching of Yin-Yang. In Kemetism you have the contrast between Set and Horus in the graphic Contendings of Set and Horus, which even includes different same sex relationship roles.

When it comes to the Law of Polarity , there are 2 sides of the same coin. One can not exist without the other. Love and hate are extreme but opposite emotions. Both tend to be overused today and cause friction. A less intense emotion would be like/dislike. Dark and light need to exist together because they create shade.

What about good and evil? Did you know that the Hebrew G_d is said to create both in Isaiah 45:7; “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I יהוה‎ do all these things.” This is in line with the Law of Divine Oneness. Whether you believe in a deity or not, the energy that was there at the beginning of the Universe created all matter, and we are a product of that ancient energy. We ALL have the capacity for good and evil.

How, then, do we work with the Law of Polarity to our benefit? Just because we have the capacity for evil doesn’t mean we have to do evil. Remember the Law of Cause and Effect and the Law of Compensation. Every action we take will cause a reaction, and evil acts will return on us.

When someone shouts at us (action), the tendency is to shout back (reaction). However, applying the Law of Polarity, if we reply in a soft, gentle manner, we can often neutralise a negative with a positive, and this can diffuse a situation.

Same with hot and cold. If you aim for 20 degrees Celsius (which many consider ideal room temperature), you are then in a neutral area of comfort. Living in the middle zone, rather than extremes, is an area of comfort.

However, there is a danger in staying in the middle zone and becoming too comfortable. If you turn a blind eye to bigotry or evil acts, then you may be seen as apathetic or indifferent. There are situations in life where you have to make a stand. That includes protecting and defending others, including your own family. That will lead to other opposites; you will have enemies, but you will also gain friends.

However, protesting against bigotry (whether it be homophobia, or racism or ableism, or some other form) does eventually lead to neutral ground. It brings these issues to the attention of the public and elected officials. Eventually, things change.

For example, although racism still exists, things like segregation, apartheid and racist hoteliers are slowly disappearing. The polar opposites between a racist/ ally through education and protests will eventually lead to a neutral zone and acceptance.

How you apply the Law of Polarity in your life is entirely your decision, but by consciously applying the 12 Universal Laws in your life can benefit you.

11. Law of Rhythm

The Milky Way

Everything around us is in a cycle and change is constant. The year, the seasons, the human lifespan. These are things we can measure. You may know that the Earth and planets orbit the Sun. But did you know that the Sun is on a spiral arm of the Milky Way Galaxy and that spiral of stars along with the rest of the Galaxy is also moving in a circular direction? Not only that but under the force of gravity, groups of galaxies revolve around each other and perform a dance on a galactic scale, that takes billions of years.

Then we have the micro universe. As long ago as c.400 BC., the Greek philosopher Democritus introduced the idea of the atom as the basic building block matter. Atom particles in all states of matter are in constant motion, which increases with heat and slows at low temperatures. A moving vehicle has atoms moving in the same direction, including the driver and passengers.

How can we improve our own life by recognising the Law of Rhythm?

Biological rhythm (often referred to as bio rhythms) refers to a series of bodily functions regulated by your internal clock. They control cycles like sleep and wakefulness, body temperature, hormone secretion, and more.

Your body maintains its biological rhythms through a variety of chemicals at the molecular level in response to your environment. Your light exposure, eating habits, and other environmental events can maintain or disrupt your biological rhythms. Disrupting your biological rhythms can eventually lead to serious health problems. A balanced life leads to a longer, fulfilled life. Overworking will wear your body out. Likewise, too much rest could turn you into an unhealthy couch potato.

On a spiritual level, our ancient ancestors recognised the importance of circles and rhythm. Stone circles are found in many countries around the world, and spirals are engraved on stones and many caves. Many nature based faith groups meet in a circle, and this is a great leveller. All are equal in a circle but uniquely different, just as the seasons are different. By recognising the cycle of annual rites, we tune ourselves in with the rhythm of the year. Anniversaries, such as marriage and birthdays, help us mark rites of passage.

There is also the cycle of human life – birth, maturity, old age, and death. Some also believe in rebirth of some kind, that the spirit either inhabits a new body, or goes to a different realm, or both. But whatever you believe, living in accordance with the Law of Rhythm will give you an accomplished, healthier life.

12. Law of Gender

Reproductive System of a Plant

In society today there is generally a strict line between masculine and feminine. In some languages, like French, there are different pronouns and everything is one or the other. Is this what the Law of Gender is about?

Absolutely not. To a large extent, the world is still controlled by masculinity. But the Law of Gender shows that everything has the potential to express both masculine and feminine qualities. In order to master this law in our life we have to find a balance between the two.

Of course, in sexual reproduction is an act involving both masculine and feminine roles and what results is fertilisation and new life between the two. In plants, this happens when the masculine pollen at the tip of the plant fuses with the ovum (yes, plants have an ovary), usually located at the bulbous area above the stems. But without male and female parts working in balance, there would be no reproduction.

This entire Universe was brought about by the sudden release of energy known as the Big Bang. But scientists now realise that prior to the Big Bang, the universe underwent a breathtaking cosmic expansion, doubling in size at least 80 times in a fraction of a second. This rapid inflation, fueled by a mysterious form of energy that permeated empty space itself, left the universe desolate and cold. The release and conversion of energy into matter could only happen once the empty space was there to fill.

So, in the Law of Gender, the energy release was like a masculine act, but the empty space created prior was like a feminine womb waiting to be filled. In this empty space, what formed was the result of this masculine/ feminine partnership. All matter created was the result of this combination. Hence, all of us are the result of both masculine and feminine energy.

We are in our own micro universe. What happens within our universe is largely down to us. We all have individual accountability, and by striving to balance masculine and feminine, our lives will be enriched. This is about breaking down internal barriers and conditioning. It does not matter how masculine or feminine you are, but how balanced you are is important.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t okay to be masculine or feminine or identify as such. Neither should we attack or stigmatise those who feel they are genetically different to how they identify (the trans community). It is, however, about appreciation and balance. It is not masculine to treat females as inferior or vice versa.

We are all different, and we should not be ashamed of who we are. Neither should we be ashamed of embracing both the masculine and feminine sides of our own individuality. Let’s not polarise Gender, but embrace it as 2 sides of the same coin and realise we are all products of masculine and feminine energies.


I do hope you find this discussion of the 12 Universal Laws interesting. But please feel free to bookmark it, or save it to your favourites and maybe spend a day or two, or a week, or even a month thinking about each of the Laws and how you can apply them to your life.

Blessings to all x

Discovering Your Inner Wolf

The relationship between humans and wolves first occurred approximately 33,000 years ago based on DNA and fossil evidence. Dogs from southern East Asia have significantly higher genetic diversity compared to other populations, and are the most basal group relating to gray wolves, indicating an ancient origin of domestic dogs in southern East Asia 33 000 years ago. Around 15 000 years ago, a subset of ancestral dogs started migrating to the Middle East, Africa and Europe, arriving in Europe at about 10 000 years ago.

So the relationship between humans and wolves is a very ancient one. Suprisingly, domestication happened because wolves came to humans and not the other way around.

Looking for scraps

It’s unlikely that humans took in adult wolves to serve as skilled hunting companions. Wolves are great hunters, but humans were successful hunters on their own, so they wouldn’t have been looking for extra help.

Domestication probably started when wolves learned that groups of hunter-gatherers were a fruitful food source and enjoyed the scraps of food left around their encampments, especially when hunting was difficult. When you eat, notice how longingly your own domestic dogs look at you awaiting scraps. Even well-fed dogs prefer your food to what is in their bowl. And this relationship goes way back into prehistory.

Survival of the Friendliest

We hear about survival of the fittest, but with wolves it is more about survival of the friendliest. Aggressive wolves would be chased off or killed by humans, while those who took a friendlier approach would be tolerated and maybe even welcomed. As time went on, the friendlier wolves would be the ones to survive and carry on the lineage, eventually evolving into domesticated dogs.

In modern times, there really is a genuine love relationship between some humans and domesticated dogs. They look up to you as part of their pack. If you leave them for just 10 minutes or all day, they will give you the same greeting as soon as you walk in. You are their family and they are yours.

What Makes a Pack Successful

Dogs will have a pecking order in their pack, whether it is with other dogs or humans. Children are lower down the pack, but most dogs enjoy playing with children, and this gives children a great start in life. Learning your place in life is an important lesson.

What Makes a Good Alpha?

Yellowstone Alpha Wolf 832F became famous for taking down elk all by herself to feed her pack.

They will also recognise one or two as the leader(s) of the pack, the Alpha(s). There is a societal backwardness as to what an Alpha male is. Alpha male for a start is a misnomer since females and adult couples can be seen as Alphas. There is a stereotype Alpha male, who whilst at home are seen as in total command and outside the home can be snarling and aggressive.

This alpha male stereotype comes from a misunderstanding of the real thing. The male wolf is, in fact, an exemplary male role model. Those who have observed wolves in free-living packs in Yellowstone National Park notice that the leadership of the ranking male is neither forced, domineering, or aggressive to those in his Pack. The same applies to female Alphas.

The main characteristic of an alpha wolf is quiet confidence and self-assurance. You know what you need to do and you know what’s best for your pack. You lead by example and have a calming effect on the pack.

Alphas are not aggressive and don’t need to be. They are emotionally secure and great champions. They have nothing to prove to anyone because it is already proven.

In evolution, survival of the fittest does not necessarily mean survival of the most aggressive or meanest. With both wolves and humans the ones that survive and reproduce are those whose members are more cooperative, sharing and less violent with one another. Compared to the group whose members are constantly fighting and competing with each other.

So whilst an alpha wolf may be a major player in a successful hunt, after the takedown of the prey, they step away until the rest of the pack has eaten and is full. For humans, our hunt is through earning money and shopping to ensure our pack is fed. Those with less, do their best, and often skip meals to ensure their pack are looked after. A successful pack leader (or Alpha) is self-sacrificing.

Veteran Yellowstone Wolf researcher Rick McIntyre he has rarely seen an alpha male act aggressively toward the pack’s other members. They are his family – his mate, offspring, and siblings. They even adopt orphan wolves and treat them as their own offspring.

Your Inner Wolf

It is unlikely that you will have a wolf as a member of your family today, but many of you will have dogs. Observe them and learn from them. Notice how loyal they are. Connect with them on a spiritual level. Try out the following exercise to connect with your pets. Now, this exercise is for cats also, although their relationships with humans are far more complex.


Call your pet to you, whether it is a cat or a dog, and slowly stroke it.

For cats, stroke from the top of the head from the ears to the neck. This imitates their mother licking them. Get the cat to totally relax, and if it is responsive, talk gently to it, staring into its eyes.

If you have a dog, to relax them make circular movements just below their ears. This is an area that calms them. Again, talk to them softly and look into their eyes.

Do this regularly, and your emotional and spiritual connection with your family pets will grow so strong. Love your pets, and they will love you and respect you as the Alpha of their pack.

Cats are accepted as Pack members too

Brighid, Goddess or Saint??

“A match flares to life, and a woman’s voice speaks:

In Brighid’s name, I light my flame …

 Alone at her kitchen table, she tenderly applies match to candle, and the twilight-darkening room is illuminated in a golden glow.

 Brighid is my protector; Brighid is my maker of song …

 Lifting a cup in a ritual gesture, she sips pure sweet milk in grateful communion.

 Brighid is my sword and my shield; Brighid is my guide …”

(Tending Brigids Flame, Lunaea Weatherstone, Llewellyn Publications)

As the time of Imbolg or outside of Éire, Imbolc, draws near it is time to reflect on the seasonal change in the Northern Hemisphere as the land begins to warm and nurture new growth for the upcoming cycle of Nature. Symbolically, the deity Brighid is born under the flame of the rising Sun and is nursed by an Bó Bán (the White Cow) who resides between both worlds. Traditionally, February 1st has been  just a Catholic church holiday in Ireland but after the recent pandemic, it was declared a public holiday in remembrance of those who passed from the virus and complications that arose from the infection ( COVID-19 Deaths and Cases Statistics – CSO – Central Statistics Office ). It is a fitting symbol of healing whether your belief system be Pagan or Christian (maybe even a mix).

Andrew/ Filtiarn will be celebrating Imbolc and more importantly, the deity Brigantia, with his Grove in Northern England and I will be celebrating the deity Lasair at Imbolg in North county Cork at the Tobair Eoighan Naomha. Both are deities that share similar archetypes as Brighid and have the same feast days. I will leave the history and mythologies relating to Brigantia for Filtiarn to discuss as this written piece is a more in-depth exercise of Brighid and her associated mythologies compared to other lesser known Irish goddesses that share similar archetypes. This is also comparable to Patrick who has feats/legends that other lesser-known saints had accomplished but were later attributed to the Irish Catholic Patron saint.

Firstly, I will start with the mythos of Lasair. Tobair Eoighan Naofa is a sacred well found near the summit of Sliabh Mushra in the barony of Duhallow in North county Cork. At the time of the Summer Solstice, a Catholic pattern is held there in honour of St. John and it has a healing ritual done there. This particular John had three sisters as well; Lasair, Inghe Bhuidhe and Latiaran who were nuns. These nuns all have miraculous legends of healing bandages and blacksmith forge incidents associated with them among others. Archaeologists have investigated that the three were agricultural Goddesses associated with the sacred well and the names were associated with seasonal change. Lasair is also Irish Gaelic for ‘flame’ and was associated with the first season of growth. The time for Imbolg is also indicated by some larger liathciorcal (stone circles) such as Dromnagorteen in county Kerry and Drombeg in West Cork. In the following passage from the website where John Tierney hosts a collection of localised folklore you can see a legend based on the healing bandages of a revered local nun or a former local goddess that is similar to Brighid:-

“Saint Latiaran does not appear on our calendar of saints but folklore instead has handed down to us the story of Saint Latiaran and the Blacksmith. Smith’s history of Cork together with other Journals refer to her but of course local tradition by the people of Cullen is very strong. In Cullen this ancient site which is a holy well has a pattern day on the nearest Sunday to her  feast dayon July 25th. Saint Latiaran and the holy well go back as far as the fifth century. She may well have been a member of a community. Tradition has it that Latiaranand her sisters met for prayer or mediation weekly in difficult times environmentally and that on one occasion a group of angels appeared to them and prepared  path for them to follow between Cullen, Dromtarriffe  and Kilmeen. 

We are told that Latiaran went to the local forge  each  morning  to take live coals from the fire in her apron or habit to her cell to start a fire. Because of her great holiness she was able to take these red hot coals in her apron without getting burned in any way. It must be said that other a number of other Irish saints are also credited with this miraculous power. One morning the Blacksmith watching the saint lifting her habit to collect the red hot coals complemented her on having a nice pair of legs. Latiaranwas so much taken in by the Blacksmith’s compliment that she looked down and did agree that she had nice legs.

Next we know her apron was on fire and she completely lost her head and cursed the poor Blacksmith for the compliment he paid her .She prophesied that the sound of a smiths hammer would never again be heard in Cullen. Apparently this is the case. After this incident at the forge folklore tells us that Latiaran disappeared down through the ground and ended up in her cell. This spot is marked by a heart shaped stone where she entered the ground, but others would say that this stone marks her grave. This stone is at the holy well. Nearby ruins show where a church once stood and a tree from which items can be hung to so that their ailments can be taken away. Many cures are recorded as  having  taken place there. Crippled  people  walking away cured leaving behind their crutches and sticks.”

This is local folklore, and you can find the same, if not similar, story with a lot of localised nuns/ female saints. It’s important to note that a lot of these “nuns” are not officially recognised by the Vatican as with Brighid. A lot is recorded in Annals by monastics from the 10th Century CE onwards. Other lesser known would be Cranat of Fermoy, North Cork who shares a similar story of self-mutilation to Brighid as described in the medieval works Bethu Brigte ( The Life of Brighid {old Irish/ seangaeilge}) and Vitae Prima Sanctae Brigitae (Scared Life of Brighid). The story of Cranat rejecting the 6th Century Munster king, Capre Crom, was monastically recorded in Betha Cranatan  as:-

“… ro chinn ina menmain na raghadh go fer 7 nach millfedh a hoige… Ocus ro bhen a dí súil asa cinn 7 dosfucc i llaimh na dí chailleach battar ina farradh .i. Maelbracha 7 Laithche. …she made up her mind that she would not go to a man and that she would not ruin her virginity…. And she struck her two eyes out of her head and she put them into the hands of the two nuns, Máel Bracha and Laithche, who were in her company”

(I need to point out that in early Irish medieval script, 7 was the shorthand symbol used for “and”)

Travelling up to Sligo, we recount another 5th Century CE female saint, Attracta of Killaraght. Her legend was first written by the Cistercians in the 12th Century CE. The 17th Century CE book Acta Sanctorum Hiberniae (The Acts of Irish saints) compiled by John Colgan has a more detailed account of Araght of Killaraght. He writes :-

“On learning that her parents did not approve of her decision to lead the monastic life and wanted her to marry (the girl was beautiful and had several suitors), the young Attracta left her parents’ home, taking two companions with her. First the saint moved to south Connacht. Then she lived as an anchoress in Killaraght in south-east Sligo, on Lough (Lake) Gara, and later—at Drum (subsequently renamed Drumconnel because her brother, Bishop Conel, also worked there) not far from Boyle in what is now County Roscommon. The holy woman founded communities for nuns in these places, which grew into famous convents; although according to tradition, the convent at Killaraght was purposely built by St. Patrick who made her abbess there. (It was written that when St. Patrick tonsured Attracta a veil fell on his breast from heaven. Patrick gave it to Attracta and told her to wear it as a special blessing of God till her death. Feeling unworthy of this, she reluctantly agreed only after much persuasion).

The venerable mother also established a number of churches and monastic communities on the territory of the modern Irish counties of Sligo and Galway (on the west coast in the province of Connacht). St. Attracta may also have served as abbess of the convents she had founded there. Notably, the ascetic chose crossroads (“where seven roads met”) as the places to build her convents, because many wayfarers and strangers would pass by them. In all her convents special attention was devoted to care for the sick, and hospitality was extended to everybody. There is ample evidence that numerous healing miracles were performed in these monastic settlements through St. Attracta’s prayers. There were many accounts of cases of healing of paralytics, and in one case the holy abbess raised a drowned man from the dead by her fervent prayer. According to another popular story, St. Attracta by the sign of the cross and a touch of her staff destroyed a “monstrous beast” that used to steal the livestock of rural residents of the Lugna district and terrorize the population.”

In the above passage, we read that Araght possesses a sacred veil and has healing powers similar to Brighid as well as her origins being of 5th Century CE. Similar to Lasair and Cranat, she is a part of a trio. Again, these stories have been passed in the oral tradition up until an account had been written by the medieval monastics.

Going north into Ulster we have Saint Cinnia, a former daughter of a prominent chieftain, Eochaidh, during the 5th Century CE and as well as having similar legends of healing, she even shares her feast day with Brighid  on the 1st of February. Very little is mentioned of her but there is a legend of her surviving in the book Orthodox Saints of the British Isles, John Hutchinson-Hall, Eadfirth Press. It mentions that to avoid marriage, it was agreed that she was to be given the veil by Patrick upon receiving her holy orders.

Before we go to the Lagan or the old territory of Leinster, I want to take you to Mide which was the fifth provence of old Ireland and was home to the seat of the Ard Rí. This is the county of Meath and Tara. Ireland has no shortage of Tobair Naofa and it has been discussed numerous times that these were dedicated to Irish goddesses before the advent of Christianity. There is one that is of particular interest and this is Tobar Damhata.

“In the seventh century Dympna, Damhnait in Irish, was the daughter of an Irish chieftain. Some stories state that her father was a pagan and her mother was a Christian. Her mother died when Dympna was young and the little girl was raised by a nurse. Dympna grew up to be a beautiful girl and a rich chieftain sought her hand in marriage. Her father favoured the advantageous match. Dympna regused the offer of marriage as she wanted to dedicate her life to the service of God and so fled her home. Accompanied by her teacher, St Gerebernus, Dympna and her little band came to Kildalkey before fleeing to the continent. At Gheel, in what is now Belgium, they set up an altar to worship God and began to work with the sick and the poor. Her father followed the group to the continent and searched until he had found them. St Gerebernus was seized and instantly beheaded. The king tried to persuade his daughter to come back to Ireland but she refused and so was beheaded by her own father as his soldiers refused to carry out the deed.”

This narrative differs slightly as it is based in the 7th Century and instead of self-imposed mutilation to avoid marriage, the ‘nun/saint’ is martyred because of refusing to marry a chosen suitor (another chieftain more than likely). In the Annals of the Four Masters, it is recorded that a great plague had ravaged the island of Ireland and called the year 664, Buidhe Connail (Yellow fever of 664-666 CE) and a large number of monastics and chieftains had died as a result (Concise History of Ireland, S Duffy, Gill and MacMillan ). It can be argued that the legend of Damhnait is a narrative with a hidden meaning (which the romantic monastics of the 11th Century onwards held poetic licence to doing) which describes the failure of the marriage between the Ard Rí and local Goddess of Nature. This ancient custom also relates the highest ranking chieftains of  the next territories such as Connachta, Muin, Lagan and Ulaid. In the Ulaid Cycle and in particular the saga The Intoxication of the Ulaid, Concubhar asks the local chieftains (Cu Chulainn is one) for their vote for his succession as the Rí of Ulaid. He is given their vote but Cu Chulainn warns his old friend that should the crops fail, Concubhar’s head would join his trophy room in the Red House. This is also the century of the last Ard Fhéis of the region of Tara where St. Adomnán proclaimed that women were ‘freed’ from military service and he made illegal for them to accompany to the battlefields on a national level ( Adomnán of Iona: Life of St Columba, Richard Sharpe, London Press).

If I was to make a full list of local Goddesses/ venerated nuns, this essay would become a book. It can be argued that a lot of these ‘saints’ are not officially recognised by the Vatican and never existed as a lot of Wiccan and neo-Pagan narratives are pointing out in the past few years on saint Brighid herself. The few of the earliest written texts in relation to Irish gods and goddess are found in the 11th Century CE Irish medieval manuscripts onwards and one of the earliest of these is the Lebor Gabala Erenn. This famous text on the pseudo logical and biblical legend of the different races who had conquered the island has been rewritten and added to, up until the epic 14th Century CE version. Copies of the original manuscript can be found in the Celtic Heroic Age, John T Koch and J Carey, Celtic Studies Publications. The Lebor Gabla Erenn which itself is only an 11th Century CE manuscript written by the Four Masters (monastics themselves who painted a Christian narrative) based on the Historia Brittonum written in the 9th Century (828 CE) by the Welsh monastic Nennius. Up until the end of the 10th Century CE monastic manuscript work mainly consisted of poetry praising the lineage of the chieftain depending on which tuatha the cleric lived in as well as gospels for the monastary. In a previous 6 part series of essays, Irish Pseudohistory and Lore of the Master Poets Part 1 – Home | Order of Celtic Wolves ( , I explored this.

It is worth mentioning that Brighid does not turn up in the lineage and sagas of the Tuatha Dé Danann in the original 11th Century CE text but does in the later manuscripts such as the 14th Century CE Leabhar Buidhe Leacáin (Yellow Book of Lecan) and Book of Ballymote. However, She is described in Sanas Cormaic (Cormac’s Glossary) by the 10th Century CE Cormac mac Cuilennán, Ard Rí of Munster(some claim him to be a bishop but this has been disproved historically), as such in his many footnotes:

“Brigid, that is, the female poet, daughter of the Dagda. This is Brigit the female seer, or woman of insight, i.e., the goddess whom poets used to worship, for her cult was very great and very splendid. It is for this reason that they call her the goddess of poets by this title, and her sisters were Brigid the woman of leechcraft and Brigit, the woman of smithcraft, i.e., goddesses, i.e., three daughters of the Dagda are they. By their names the goddess Brigid was called by all the Irish.”

 Saint Brighid of Kildare has a manuscript dedicated to her life in a 9th Century text named Vita Prima Sanctae Brigidae. It is also just as important to mention that this was first penned in Germany not Ireland. Also a more detailed tome was compiled by the same Order of Benedictine monks called Vita beate Brigitte virginibus in the 14th Century BCE. This is easily explained as second hand information or tales from travelling monks coming from Ireland as missionaries would have been passed on to the various Orders around Europe.

Brighid, one legend of the Saint:

“There is much debate over her birthparents, but it is widely believed her mother was Brocca, a Christian baptized by Saint Patrick, and her father was Dubthach, a Leinster chieftain. Brocca was a slave, therefore Brigid was born into slavery.

When Dubthach’s wife discovered Brocca was pregnant, she was sold to a Druid landowner. It is not clear if Brocca was unable to produce milk or was not present to care for Brigid, but legend states Brigid vomited any food the druid attempted to feed her, as he was impure, so a white cow with red ears sustained her instead.

Many stories of Brigid’s purity followed her childhood. She was unable to keep from feeding the poor and healing them.

One story says Brigid once gave her mother’s entire store of butter, that was later replenished after Brigid prayed.

When she was about ten-years-old, Brigid was returned to her father’s home, as he was her legal master. Her charity did not end when she left her mother, and she donated his possessions to anyone who asked.

Eventually, Dubthach became tired of her charitably nature and took her to the king of Leinster, with the intention of selling her. As he spoke to the king, Brigid gave his jeweled sword to a beggar so he could barter it for food for his family. When the king, who was a Christian, saw this, he recognized her heart and convinced Dubthach to grant her freedom by saying, “Her merit before God is greater than ours.”

After being freed, Brigid returned to the Druid and her mother, who was in charge of the Druid’s dairy. Brigid took over and often gave away milk, but the dairy prospered despite the charitable practice, and the Druid eventually freed Brocca.

Brigid then returned to Dubthach, who had arranged for her to marry a bard. She refused and made a vow to always be chaste.

Legend has it Brigid prayed that her beauty be taken so no one would want to marry her, and the prayer was granted. It was not until after she made her final vows that her beauty was restored.

Another tale says that when Saint Patrick heard her final vows, he accidentally used the form for ordaining priests. When the error was brought to his attention, he simply replied, “So be it, my son, she is destined for great things.”

Little is known about Saint Brigid’s life after she entered the Church, but in 40 she founded a monastery in Kildare, called the Church of the Oak. It was built above a pagan shrine to the Celtic goddess Brigid, which was beneath a large oak tree.

Brigid and seven friends organized communal consecrated religious life for women in Ireland and she founded two monastic institutions, one for men and one for women. Brigid invited a hermit called Conleth to help her in Kildare as a spiritual pastor.

Her biographer reported that Brigid chose Saint Conleth “to govern the church along with herself.”

She later founded a school of art that included metalwork and illumination, which Conleth led as well. It was at this school that the Book of Kildare, which the Gerald of Wales praised as “the work of angelic, and not human skill,” was beautifully illuminated, but was lost three centuries ago.

There is evidence that Brigid was a good friend of Saint Patrick’s and that the Trias Thaumaturga claimed, “Between St. Patrick and Brigid, the pillars of the Irish people, there was so great a friendship of charity that they had but one heart and one mind. Through him and through her Christ performed many great works.”

Saint Brigid helped many people in her lifetime, but on February 1 525, she passed away of natural causes. Her body was initially kept to the right of the high altar of Kildare Cathedral, with a tomb “adorned with gems and precious stones and crowns of gold and silver,” but in 878, during the Scandinavian raids, her relics were moved to the tomb of Patrick and Columba.”

Brighid the Goddess;

According to the various translations of Sanas Cormaic and Lebor Gabála Érann , the three goddesses, Brighid were born under the fiery sunrise at Brú na Bóinne who suckled the white cow that exists between both worlds.  Their parents were the Tuatha Dé Danann, an Dagda, the good God and Boann/Boind ( Bó ind is also seangaeilge for ‘white cow’) of Ségais and learned the art of the filid, the art of smithingand the art of the healer at their feet. She bore the smith Ruadán while married to Brés of the Fomorans. He fell at the hands of the smith Goibnú of the Tuatha Dé at the second Caith Maige Tuiread. There She keened a lament for her fallen son.

There isn’t a lot of actual written data in relation to Brighid as a Goddess found in the early manuscripts. What is intriguing is that Cormac mac Cuilenán writes about 3 separate Bríg’s; the poet/seer, the healer and the smith. In seangaeilge or old Irish, bríg literally means ‘force’ or ‘power’ and from this we have three separate titles; bríg filidacht (power/force of poetry/insight), bríg liacht (power/force of healing), and bríg gabhacht (power/force of smithing). Cormac isn’t writing about one named person here but three separate entities or deities in his Glossary (Sanas Cormaic is one of four known ‘Glossaries’ written by medieval scholars). There is no actual name used. Usually in these texts a title would have a name to accompany it such as an Dagda whose name is Eochaid . Boind I described in the previous paragraph is a title also. There are some manuscripts that claim the Goddess Macha to be the mother of Brighid as well but it is important that the sagas were recorded by different monastics over the medieval time period in Ireland.

From the evidence gathered, it would be safe to assume that Brighid is just a title of a sovereign goddess of Nature herself. She has also been called Mhuire na nGael or ‘Our Lady of the Gaels’. A lot of Scared Wells are named after various saints and their apparent sisters but the ones not given a male patronage are named Tobair Mhuire Naofa and these have always been associated the Earth Mother in the preChristian era. You could argue until the stars fell out of alignment about who Brighid is, is She Pagan or Christian in origin, etc., etc. Does it really matter? From the above research, Brighid is, to me personally, an honoury title for the Goddess of Nature of my/ your Tuatha. She is the Goddess of Nature whom I choose to honour on Imbolg this coming Bank Holiday Weekend on 4-6th February in Éire.

“Seo é an t-am Imbolg,

Tá tú lasair na filidacht,

Tá tú lasair na liacht,

Tá tú lasair na gabhacht.

Tá tú an brig i mo ceann,

I mo corp agus i mo chroí.”

Le meas,

Seán Ó Tuama.

Learn from the Young

“Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12, New Living Translation

The Order of Celtic Wolves is proud to have a variety of ages of all sexualities and genders support it. Sometimes, though, even in pagan circles, some sadly delude themselves that age gives them greatness. We are fellow travellers, and I am always greatly impressed by the unique insight of younger people today, including my own son. They have been raised in a different world to the one I grew up in, and whilst we were taught respect, they seem a far more enlightened generation.

They are brought up with more inclusivity and diversity than my generation. There is less segregation, and a lot genuinely do care about the world and environment. We can learn from each other, and I am grateful for a mixture of ages in my own Druid Grove, the Wolves of Brigantia.

The Colloquy of the Two Sages from The Book of Leinster, a medieval Irish manuscript, recalls the tale of a confrontation between an older Bardic Druid called Ferchertne and a younger Bardic Druid called Nede: –

Ferchertne an older Bardic Druid was angry, and on seeing Nede, a much younger Bardic Druid, he said:

“Who is this poet, wrapped in a splendid robe
Who shows himself before he has chanted poetry?
According to what I see, he is only a pupil,
His beard but an arrangement of grasses.
Who is this contentious poet?
I never heard any wisdom from Adne’s son!
I never heard him ready with knowledge!
A mistake it is, his sitting in this seat.”

And Nede answered Ferchertne honourably:

“O ancient one, every sage tries to correct another!
Any sage may reproach an ignorant man,
But before he does so, he should see what evil is present.
Welcome is the piercing dart of wisdom,
Slight is the blemish to a youth until his art is questioned.
Step with care, O chieftain –
You belittle me with knowledge,
Though I have sucked the teat of a wise man.”

Nede the Bardic Druid by Heartinator

Ferchertne obviously has no or little regard for Nede, questioning his wisdom or knowledge. Despite his disparaging comments, though, notice how Nede sees through the jealousy and warns Ferchertne of his own evil within and of belittling to assert himself as superior.

No matter how wise or aged we are, we should never stop learning. We should also listen to the young, including children. As the Proverb says, “Out of the mouths of babes comes truth and wisdom.” That is because children don’t have the same filters that adults have, and they say things how they see them. Whereas adults are more restrained.

So whatever your age, benefit from wisdom and knowledge of all around you and let no one look down upon your youth.

Finding Your Path

It is better to be great at just one thing, than try and fit too many things into your life. I have found this to be true personally. So for 2023 I am deciding what I will personally focus on. The Old Religion is of particular interest to me.

Witches raise hailstorms (15th century woodcut)

A Druid is a title of a particular role, but Druidry and Druidism are modern terms to describe a religion that didn’t need a name at the time. Julius Caesar equated the Druids to the Mages of what is now Northern Iran. From which term we get magick or magician. Sadly, many miss the magical connection with Druids and somehow separate them from witches. But both have much in common. A Druid was very much a Celtic witch (with sub divisions of Bards and Vates), with witch deriving itself from Anglo Saxon. Some, though, have used the term DruidCraft to re-establish the link.

DruidCraft by Philip Carr-Gomm

The religion of the Tribe, or group of Tribes was nameless and just part of everyday life, whether they go by modern day names of Celtic, Norse, Heathenry, etc. It was the religion that united Shamans worldwide with their connections to the unseen supernatural forces. Even the Abrahamic religions believe in supernatural forces and the Bible actually contains much magick, especially the Old Testament.

The unseen forces or spirits are all around us, but if we simply live by being part of the concrete jungle, we lose our connection to the unseen forces. These forces can help us by calling upon them in ritual or prayer (which in itself is a form of ritual). We can draw power from them, and they can give us insight. Whilst not denying science and physics, I acknowledge a higher science or magick, which mortals can tap into, but not fully understand because our spirits are inside a physical body. We must also not neglect the physical since we are here to have a physical experience. Balance is needed.

Order and Chaos – Kobay

We must also ground ourselves because the universe is a balance of chaos and order. I do not use the words good and evil because these do not describe a being, or person, but the acts they do. All are capable of both, but chaos and order aptly describes the constant changes in ourselves and in the universe. One thing about the ancient Gods is that they learn and progress. Gods such as Odin (Woden in Heathenry). Odin discovered the runes when he hung himself from the world tree Yggdrasil in order to learn wisdom. He learned the magical art of prophecy from Freyja.

Kemetism reconstruction

Kemetic (ancient Egyptians) recognised their Gods and Goddesses as elemental forces. Followers of Kemetism generally worship a few gods (Maat, Bastet, Anubis, Sekhmet, or Thoth, among others), but recognize the existence of every god. This worship generally takes the form of prayer and setting up altars, but there are no set guidelines for worship. Similarly, when you are part of a Coven or Grove, you might use commonly accepted protocol, such as casting a circle of protection and calling the quarters, but intent is the most important thing. And you must do whatever works for you. Experiment and see what works and what doesn’t. Ritual is a means of connecting with the unseen forces around us.

If you believe that one God is omnipotent and all powerful, then you must accept that this diety is responsible for both good and evil. Otherwise, bad things wouldn’t happen. This is brought out in Isaiah 45:7 – “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD (YHWH) do all these things.”

I am very fortunate to be part of a Grove, but each of us must consider our strengths. What attracts us most? Necromancy, Alchemy, Astrology, Crystology, Divination, or are we musical or a story teller, or do we just feel a connection with animals, trees, plants, and nature. All these things were practised as part of the Old Religion. Find your path and practice it. The effort is worth it. Even if you never settle on a path, the search in itself is enlightening. The ultimate goal is enlightenment.

Bean Sídhe Abhainn an Laoi

This is originally a short story written by Michael Scott and found in his 1991 book “The River Gods: Irish River Legends”. It is fiction based on folk legends of the main rivers of Ireland. I made a few changes in the narrative as some of the fiction got a tad outlandish. It is based on the river Lee which flows though my native county Cork.

Le meas,

Seán Ó Tuama.

This river gives me life. Its waters sustain me. While it flows, I live. I feed not on flesh and water, but memories and emotions.

I was once human, now I am legend.

I am the Bean Sídhe.”

“My people were the Tuatha Dé Danann, the people of the Goddess. I was with them when we sailed from the Dé Danann Isle in the Western Ocean. In our ships of gold and silver we fled across the sea in search of a new homeland. Some of my people settled on Lyonesse… but Lyonesse is no more, sunk beneath the waves for that same reason the Dé Danann Isle sank. Perhaps those who settled there were just especially stupid, or perhaps the arrogance that had destroyed our own race still drove them to believe that they were invincible. It matters little now: what matters is they had not learned the lesson of our own land. On Lyonesse, they used their magick to raise buildings, palaces, observatories and theatres in a day and a night. The wild uncontrolled magick stripped the earth of much of its power and allowed the sea to encroach. It was the tragedy of our own land all over again, but it had taken centuries to overwhelm the Dé Danann Isle – though the end came in a day and a night – with Lyonesse it was only a matter of decades and the end, when it came, was sudden and cataclysmic. Now only the water-folk inhabit its watery depths and swim through the once proud towers.

              “I was amongst the group which came to the land which one day be known as Erin. This was a wild and mysterious land then….nor was it unaccustomed to magick. When the world was young, the Old High Magick from the land of the Egyptians had been used to make the island grow from little more than a rock to something approaching its present size. That same magick had permeated the very rocks and lakes possessed a consciousness. Here was a land in harmony with the peoples and the beasts who walked its fields, here was a country sensitive to the moods of its people.

              “We too used our magick to make the land grow, but what we drew from the earth, we returned to the earth….even the beasts replenish the fields which nourish them, though they were fierce and fearsome warriors and cost us dearly in warriors and leaders. But once we had defeated our estranged kin, the Fir Bolg, we set out about making the land of Erin something like our magickal homeland.

              “For generations, we ruled this place, until the Sons of Mil came in their ships of wood and leather. We laughed at them. What could they do to us?

              “Our laughter was short-lived when we discovered that the Milesians had brought with them a fearsome weapon, something we could not hold, could not bear to look upon: the metal, iron.

              “We resisted the invaders for many seasons, but the end was envitable. The Milesians’ iron tools and artifacts slowly poisoned the land, the rivers, the very air we breathed, and so the Tuatha Dé began to retreat from the world of mortals. And by the time a new invader had entered our world. These were the brown-robed followers of the blood thirsty White Christ. And these were even more dangerous than the Milesians, because they turned the people away from us, gave them a false god to believe in, a new magick to worship. There were few of us left by that time though; most had already gone, even before the last of the Tuatha Dé had leftErin, the new people were beginning to called us the Sídhe, the faery-folk, magickal folk.

              “We finally left the land of Erin on the morning when the world turned and the seasons changed. Some went into glens that were hidden from human sight by rite of spells of magick; others retreated beneath the ground into the hills and mounds, Still more went to the magickal islands – Tir na nÓg, Tir Tairnigiri, Hy Brasil, Magh Míl – or the land beneath the waves, the Tir Faoi Thuinn.

              “I came to this river.”

“I had lived in a rath close to its source, in the Shehy mountains. It’s metallic tinkling had wakened me each morning, lulled me to sleep in the evenings. I had drunk its sweet waters, bathed in its icy chilliness. It had become such a part of my life that I saw no reason to leave it. But in accordance with the decision with the Ard Nasad – and through necessity too – I moved apart from the world of mortals, slipping slightly into the Otherworld.

              “And so now, existing partly in the Otherworld, partly in this realm, I wander the banks of the river that had been such a friend in life. This is not life as the humankind know life, nor is it death: but something between, I have no need to eat, no desire to drink. Now the emotions of the humans sustain me, keep me alive. I share their pain and passion, their fear and loathing.

              “I find death the hardest emotion of all to bear. Perhaps it is that humankind fear death so much. There is always much pain then, so much agony. There are times that I fear it will overwhelm me. Emotions are always so acute at the time of death.

              “And I am cursed with a little of the Sight. I know when one of them has been marked for death. I can see dark Macha spread her invisible crow-like wings and enwrap her next victim. Once death has claimed them, they are doomed……….and sometimes I cry aloud, venting my despair and agony.

              “And those unfortunate enough to hear me, those with a little of the Sídhe blood in them, will stop and whisper, Banshee…bean sídhe….faery woman.

              “My cry has become a portent of death.

              “Some of the human kind – those with a drop of the old blood in their veins- have seen me too. Occasionally they chance upon me as I sit on the riverbank combing my hair. When I am at ease that spell that cloaks me sometimes slips, rendering me visible. Others have stumbled upon me as I wash my robes in the river’s pure water. Sometimes they see meas a young maid, or a matron and sometimes a crone. They are not seeing me, they are seeing a reflection of their own desires. But they have all come to fear me…and without cause too. The Bean Sídhe heralds a death, she does not cause it.

“The human-kind have nothing to fear from the last remnants of a once-proud race.

              “Even now my power wanes. I wander the banks of this mighty river seeking, searching. Waiting…for one of the human kind to spare me a kindly word. I have been waiting from centuries. I doubt it will happen now. Soon I will be gone, but the legend will remain.

              “Bean Sídhe…..Banshee…….Baaaaansheeeeeeeeeeee……….”

Ag bealach isteach na beatha. Ag iarraidh banDia an Tobair Naofa

A Return to the Source. Searching for the Mother Goddess at the Well

Recently, I set out to find an Ogham stone that is northward of Midleton in north-east county Cork. Funnily, it’s a 40 minute drive both from my home in Cork city and my family home in Mogeely . The townland is called Rathcobane and is a few kilometres from the village of Bartemly.  The drive ended with a slow drive up a very narrow boreen/botharín (or one of those narrow roads that hints that it once had tarmacadem millennia ago) back in the which ended in a farmyard. Google Maps was saying that it was in a field that was full of cattle and there was no sign of a public access point (nor was there an OPW heritage signpost for it). I went up to the farmhouse and rang the bell. There was no answer and there was no sign of anyone around the farmyard. I waited for a bit in case that someone would eventually show but had to chalk it down for another time to visit. The 3D image and a small history of it’s discovery is found here Rathcobane ogham stone – Download Free 3D model by oghamin3d (@oghamin3d) [a20b515] ( . But the journey was not an entire waste of time.

I came across an old grotto which was used by Catholics during the Penal Regime. After the time of Cromwell, there were laws passed that were anti-Catholic in both Ireland and Britain which one was that any kind of Catholic religious service was illegal and punishable (sympathetic protestant landowners turned a blind eye to this a lot of the time and let Catholics hold their rites in rural locations away from the public eye on their land). Nearly 500m down the road, there is a parking area for two cars and a small pathway with a sign reading St. Bartholomews Well. You follow a path through a field, over a small footbridge and then to a clearing with wooden benches that surround a natural spring well. The stone structure and steps are from the early 1900’s made by a local builder and there is a recess on the left of the entrance going down to the water which has a plastic jug. At the bottom of the well are plenty of coins left by modern day pilgrims (all Euro coins). The townsland is called Garrynataggart or , as gaeilge, Garraidh an tSagairt ( garden of the priest). This is not the only ‘Holy’ Well named after Bartholomew as there is another in Kinsalebeg, west county Waterford close to the Blackwater river and this one isn’t that far from that river either. According to Christian lore, Bartholomew was one of Christ’s apostles who brought Christianity to Armenia. Apparently, he was martyred by being flayed alive and then crucified as punishment for converting the Armenian king. His feast day is August 24th and the medieval pilgrimage to both sites (there are probably others).

‘Holy’ Wells are natural springs and have Goddesses usually associated with them. The most famous of Irish Tobair Naofa is the Well of Segais. According to medieval texts, this is the site of the death of the mother Goddess Boann which gave birth to the life giving river Boyne of the Lagan or Leinster area. Another is John’s Well up in Mushra mountain in north west Cork which I have written about quite a lot. It is originally the Well of Lasair, Inge Bhuidhe and Latharian who are associated with the harvest cycle or nature cycle which brings us to the characteristics of the mother Goddess archetype. The medieval pilgrimage here is at the Summer solstice. All of these Wells have legends of miraculous cures of afflicted pilgrims. A pilgrims reply to a blog linked below describing Bartholomews Well:-

“Your original blog post provided the knowledge and impetus. This evening, I travelled from Cork for my first ever visit to Bartlemy and to St. Bartholomew’s Well.

It was wet – both overhead and underfoot. When I first arrived, there were only four and I was told that one drank from the well but one should take the water from the flow of water over the rocks having left the well enclosure as it is there that the blind man is reputed to have stumbled and wiped his eyes with the water and regained his sight.

By seven, there were 25 – 30 present. Most appeared to know many present so I expect that the majority were local. The five joyful mysteries were recited followed by a man from the locality thanking all for attending and giving some history of the well.

The weather did not permit note taking so please forgive the missing bits but:

The well is located on private lands (Mr John Arnold who campaigned against the post office closure and regularly writes in the Evening Echo). The bridge was constructed about twenty years previously. Prior to that those visiting the well travelled down an old mass path from the main road up by the adjoining cross. The mass path would have been used historically by locals to attend the local church but would have fallen into disuse with the construction of the roads. One man present, who was resident in the locality for 40 years, recalled clearing the overgrowth from the path to access the well on the pattern day.

There was some thought as to whether the celebration at the well was carried out on seven (or maybe nine) days as a ‘rogation’.

There is a poem/song which includes reference in the first verse to the blind man who gained sight at the well.

The well is understood to come from a deep spring as the height and temperature of water tends not to vary much with the seasons. The well enclosure was constructed in around 1900 upon the direction of Fr. Barry – a priest who is buried in the grounds of the local church and is apparently well known for his deeds. A mason’s name is on a plaque at a nearby well (I cannot recall the mason’s name but it may have been Greaney or similar) and it is assumed that he also constructed the enclosure.”

There is no known explanation as to why the well is called after St Bartholomew – he being one of the apostles, then known as Nathaniel. He headed east to Armenia where he was burned alive and so martyred. He is the patron saint of butchers and so his image generally has a butcher’s knife.
The date of celebration of St. Bartholomew was 4th September but was brought back to 24th August with the Gregorian Calendar.

I was unsure as to which came first – whether the well was named in honour of St. Bartholomew after the name of the village or whether the village (and associated horse fair) were named after the saint.

The well is located in a glen. It is thought to possibly have pre-christian origins as many such traditions were encouraged, adopted and Christianised by the church.

It was an evening where I learnt much but also realised that there is very much more to learn

Here is a link to Medieval Pilgrimage Ireland detailing Bartholomew’s Well both at Bartemly and Kinsalebeg St Bartholomew’s Holy Well « Pilgrimage In Medieval Ireland (

What is interesting to note is that the Christian pattern was originally in September or Mean Fomhair (mid harvest is the direct translation for the month in Irish). Was the Well originally associated with the autumnal equinox? There are some passage tombs dotted around the country which were constructed to herald both equinoxes at sunset as were some larger stone circles (the Dromagorteen stone circle that I visited in Bonane, county Kerry is one such example). The autumnal equinox is also the Irish mid-harvest celebration before the end of harvest celebration of Samhain. I am not claiming that Bartholomew’s Well is traditionally associated with this celebration but local folklore does often hold hidden clues to the past of that particular area. It’s best to look at the river Blackwater. It is 168km long and originates in the Kerry mountains of Mullaghareirk. It travels along north Cork and exits into the Celtic Sea by Youghal town on the Cork/Waterford border. The Blackwater or  An Ábhainn Mhór, has a legend associated with it:-

“The ancient kingdom of Caoille covers approximately 250 sq miles of the Blackwater Valley. In the 3rd century AD, High King Cormac mac Airt decided to raise taxes from Fiacha, King of Munster. Fiacha felt that he paid enough tax, and so inevitably, they went to war. Cormac’s Druids made the river and springs run dry, thus depriving the people of Munster access to water. Fiacha called upon Mogh Ruith, a powerful blind magician, for help. Mogh Ruith restored the water and conjured up terrible magical hounds that devoured Cormac’s Druids. His breath turned into storms which blew devastatingly over Cormac’s warriors, turning them to stone. Cormac was defeated, and Fiacha gave the lands of Caoille to Mogh Ruith in reward.”

If we look at this legend, Mogh Ruith’s daughter is Tlachtga, who is a famous and powerful druid who gave birth to three sons and died on the hill in county Meath which is named after her but that is too far from the south of Ireland and rules her out as the associated Divinity.

Fermoy town has a medieval history associated with it and has a historical link with monastic orders such as the Cistercians and neighbouring Carmilites. Viking raids were frequent via the Blackwater from the Youghal Viking port. Fermoy has two female saints associated with it, Cranat and Canir. Both are holy virgins which hints at a Christianisation of Goddesses of Nature such as the famous Brighid and also the three nuns of Mushra, sisters of St. John as well as many others in Ireland. Both of these ‘saints’ defy the typical submissive female role of medieval Irish writings.

“Cranat, a saint of only local importance, was affiliated to Fir Maige Féne, a mid-ranking Munster people who have given their name to Fermoy. The saint, who seems to have flourished in the sixth century, is not mentioned in the annals and was probably little known outside Fir Maige. Her two major church dedications, Kilcranatan (Cell Cranatan) and Hermitage (Dísert Cranatan), are in that people’s territory. Indeed, the link between saint and Fir Maige is underlined by the claim that Cranat was the uterine sister of their king. It is possible, although unlikely, that she is the same as the Cráebnat commemorated on July 17 in the Martyrology of Donegal. Meagre details can be supplemented by a short later medieval Life of Cranat that draws on early medieval traditions and is certainly indebted, as will become apparent, to the Lives of Brigit. There is no reason to think it is anything other than a male product. The question remains as to whether it records female aspirations. The Life is no more than an anecdote which purports to describe the defining moment in Cranat’s career, a moment when she successfully opposes Cairpre Crom († 579/80), King of Munster, and asserts her autonomy. Cairpre attempts to marry the saint against her will, with the full approval of Fínán, her half-brother and king of Fir Maige Féne. Cranat, being a woman, would have been legally at the mercy of her male kindred, but she is more than a woman and, as a saint, adopts miraculous strategies. She decides to preserve her virginity through the tried and trusted ascetic method of self-mutilation. Cranat’s mutilation is arresting—she plucks out both her eyes. This is described in the following scene: … ro chinn ina menmain na raghadh go fer 7 nach millfedh a hoige… Ocus ro bhen a dí súil asa cinn 7 dosfucc i llaimh na dí chailleach battar ina farradh .i. Maelbracha 7 Laithche. …she made up her mind that she would not go to a man and that she would not ruin her virginity…. And she struck her two eyes out of her head and she put them into the hands of the two nuns, Máel Bracha and Laithche, who were in her company.

Canir was a little known saint of Benntraige in south Munster and, if her association with Senán is anything to go by, she flourished in the sixth century. Senán was a major saint and his monastery, Inis Cathaig on Scattery Island in the Shannon Estuary, was a major church. Canir appears in an episode towards the end of his medieval vernacular Life. It bears the hallmarks of being an originally independent anecdote, particularly as Senán is not portrayed in the normal heroic light. The episode describes how Canir, a holy virgin, is praying in her Benntraige hermitage when she has a vision of all the churches in Ireland. A pillar of fire rises from each, but the highest blazes from Inis Cathaig and Canir decides that she wishes to die and be buried there. The saint travels north until she reaches the Shannon Estuary. This is no obstacle and she walks across water, only to be accosted just before landfall by an unwelcoming Senán. He refuses to allow Canir ashore, simply because she is a woman. Senán’s overt misogyny is overturned by Canir in the following dialogue: ‘Ni thiagat mna a n-indsi-sea’, ol Senán. ‘Cid dia ta latsa sin?’ ol Canir. ‘Ni messa Crist, ar ni lugha thainic do thathcreic ban inás do thathcreic fher. Ni lugha roces ardaigh ban inás ardaigh fher. Robhatar mná oc umaloid 7 oc timterecht do Crist 7 dia aps[t]alaib. Ní lugha, dano, thiaghuit mna isin bhflaith nemhdha inait fir. Cidh, dano, arna gebhtha-sa mná cucat at indsi?’ ‘Is talchar atai’, ar Senán. ‘Women do not come to this island’, said Senán. ‘Where did you get that arrangement?’ said Canir. ‘Christ is no worse than you, for he came to redeem women no less than to redeem men. He did not suffer less for the sake of women than for the sake of men. Women have given humble service and ministration to Christ and to his apostles. Women then, no less than men enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Why, then, would you not take women to you onto your island?’ ‘You are stubborn’, said Senán. Senán acquieses. Canir steps ashore, receives the sacrament from him, dies and is buried. One of the most noteworthy aspects of this episode is the way Senán ignores Canir’s walk across water, a miracle that marks her out as a saint and imitator of Christ. Instead it is her verbal abilities that convince the male saint and leave him, for all practical purposes, speechless.”

The above is taken from the published work of Elva Johnston, Dept. of Early Irish History, University College Dublin and her paper “Powerful Women or Patriarchal Weapons?”.

These are local folklore of the township Fermoy or the thuath Fir Maige Féne. The two saints described above do bear striking similarities to the christianised aspects of the mother Goddess archetype. There are two aspects that stand out. First with Cranat and that is she had two other nuns with her which gives us the 3 aspects of Nature( as with Lasair, Inge Bhuidhe and Latharian of Mushra). The second is with Canir and that is that she was walking on the surface of the water(even though that is not what impressed Senán but her verbal eloquence which was more valued by the medieval monastics. It would be my guess from the above that the Wells of Bartholomew are associated with one of these as an Irish Goddess of Nature.

Le meas,

Seán Ó Tuama

Ancient Celebrations – Part 14 – Lughnasadh vs Lammas

Example of Wheel of the Year

Whenever you see the Wheel of the Year, Samhain, Imbolc and Beltane are clearly marked. However, for some peculiar reason the ancient Irish celebration of Lughnasadh is usurped with Lammas.

Lughnasadh is established in Celtic Mythology and our article on Áenach Tailteann and Lughnasadh establishes that it was set up by Lugh to honour his foster mother, who died after cultivating the fields of ancient Ireland as a celebration. The word “Lammas” on the other hand is from Old English and means “loaf mass”. In early Christianity, the first loaves of the season were blessed by the church during mass, hence the name.

Why then, would any pagan want to substitute a name honouring a Celtic deity, with one from a Christian celebration? Some of this comes from the Druid renaissance of the late 1700’s. Druids of that era aligned themselves with Christianity. Even Iolo Morgannwg’s Druid Prayer originally said “Lord” not “Great Spirit”, “Goddess” or specific deity. Granted there are Christian Druids, so understandably they could use Lammas. However, they don’t use Candlemass for Imbolc, or May Day for Beltane or Halloween for Samhain, so the inconsistencies with Lammas are astounding.

What is even more astounding, though, is that Wiccans and other pagans also refer to Lughnasadh by its Christian counterpart. So a plea, please to my pagan brothers and sisters. Can we start honouring the ancients and call Lughnasadh by its original name.

What is Lughnasadh?

Lughnasadh or Lughnasa (pronounced Loo-na-sa) is a Gaelic festival marking the beginning of the harvest season. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. In Modern Irish it is called Lúnasa, in Scottish Gaelic: Lùnastal, and in Manx: Luanistyn. Traditionally it is held on 1 August, or about halfway between the summer solstice and autumn equinox.

It corresponds to other European harvest festivals such as the Welsh Gŵyl Awst and (as previously mentioned) the English Lammas. The festival itself is named after the god Lugh. It inspired great gatherings that included religious ceremonies, ritual athletic contests (most notably the Tailteann Games), feasting, matchmaking, and trading.

Talteann Games

Ancient religious rites included an offering of the First Fruits, a feast of the new food and of bilberries, the sacrifice of a bull, and a ritual dance-play in which Lugh seizes the harvest for mankind and defeats the powers of blight. Many of the activities would have taken place on top of hills and mountains.

Lughnasadh customs persisted widely until the 20th century, with the event being variously named ‘Garland Sunday’, ‘Bilberry Sunday’, ‘Mountain Sunday’ and ‘Crom Dubh Sunday’. The custom of climbing hills and mountains at Lughnasadh has survived in some areas, although it has become a Christian pilgrimage. A number of fairs are also believed to be survivals of Lughnasadh, for example, the Puck Fair.

Modern pagans usually celebrate Lughnasadh on 1 August in the Northern Hemisphere and 1 February in the Southern Hemisphere, often beginning their festivities at sunset the evening before. Some pagans celebrate it at the astronomical midpoint between the summer solstice and autumn equinox, or the full moon nearest this point. In 2022, this astronomical midpoint falls on 7 August (Northern hemisphere) or 4 February (Southern hemisphere).

Evidence about ancient Celtic calendars, seems to concur, that they followed a Lunisolar calendar, with intercalary months added. So it is likely that Lughnasadh is more of a lunar, than solar festival, with the Celtic month starting at the first quarter (according to Caesar).

For the Order of Celtic Wolves, Lughnasadh is seen as a time to give thanks to the spirits and deities for the beginning of the harvest season, and to propitiate them with offerings and prayers not to harm the still-ripening crops. The god Lugh is honoured by many at this time, and gentle rain on the day of the festival is seen as his presence and his bestowing of blessings. Many also honour the goddess Tailtiu at Lughnasadh, and may seek to keep the Cailleach from damaging the crops, much in the way appeals are made to Lugh.


Handfasting Ceremony

During Lughnasadh, it was popular to celebrate Handfastings. This included trial marriages, that lasted one year and one day. If the couple was still happy after that period, it could be made permanent, otherwise, it could be broken, without any consequences and each would be free to remarry. Others would make their bonds from the previous year permanent.

So, however you celebrate Lughnasadh may your harvest be bountiful and whatever deities you follow (or don’t follow) may you have a blessed time. May you eat well, drink well and maintain good health.