Cover stories – She who knits the world’s green cloth

As a knitter myself, I just love this story.

Katherine Soutar

The story behind the cover art for Ruth Marshall’s Limerick Folk tales

‘A great queen, at other times Áine seems to be a young girl or an old woman. She is a lover, a rape survivor, a mermaid, mother of a poet, the woman who knits, the cailleach. She is a true goddess, and her presence can still be felt in the landscape, in the air, in the names given to landscape features’

When I came across this passage in the Limerick folk tales text I knew she had to be the subject of my cover illustration. She is every woman. She is also for me an image of my mother, who I remember knitting in the evenings when i was small, her long dark hair in bunches and her feet folded neatly underneath her in an armchair. That subtle but continuous clicking of the needles as she knitted for…

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Musings on the Equinox by A Druid’s Progress.

A Druid's Progress


There is an ogham called “Tinne” that is associated with the Holly tree in the Colin Murray system. This ogham is located right in the middle of the fifteen ogham consonants: B-L-F-S-N-H-D-T-C-Q-M-G-nG-Z-R. For this reason, I always tend to associate Tinne with a balance point, a place right in the middle, a location in between.

The equinoxes are a “Tinne” type of event for me. The days and nights are balance across the equator, and I like to believe that there is this fine line, this separate moment at which point all is in balance and then the world either moves towards longer days or longer nights. Wait! It happens at the same time! In addition, as one side moves to greater light and one side moves to greater night, it is done so in balance.

The concept of the Wheel of the Year, while valid for a given location…

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Glam Dicenn on the Fascists in Power

A beautiful example of bardic satire!


in years to come
our demons
will have orange masks
with white, hollow eyes
they will shriek and howl
and gibber
all hands
tiny fingered

the filidh must sing the glam dicenn
to curse the powers that would harm
the land
the people
and the honor of the people
to call down destruction on the oathbreakers
who would harm
the weak and the frail
to call down destruction on the oathbreakers
who would close the doors
of the hostel that shelters every stranger

the glam dicenn is sung
by seven filidh
of seven grades
each singing the metre of their skill
at night
on the hill
before dawn
their backs to the harsh north wind

they stab at clay
in the shape of the cursed
with thorns of sceach gheal
sharp as needles
singing their metres
cying out their incantations
of destruction

I do not have seven filidh

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Dark Moon Wisdom

Wishing you all a blessed dark moon.

Down the Forest Path

Dark Moon Wisdom

You don’t have to shine to be powerful.


Release into the darkness, allow the night to fill your soul.

Find your sovereignty in the darkness.

Face the shadows, name the fears.

Then allow the dark moon to guide you further, deeper within, towards utter integration.

Feel the deep magnetic pull.

You don’t have to shine to be powerful.


© Joanna van der Hoeven

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The Druid and the Mystic

This describes my own path very closely. Thank you Joanna.

Down the Forest Path

p1080469-768x1024For me, Druidry is mostly a solitary path, though I do belong to some Druid Orders and networks, and celebrate the seasons with a small group of friends.  But the everyday Druidry, the currents of intention that flow through me and my home, through the landscape where I live, is my main focus.  Like learning, I always preferred to do so on my own, rather than working with a group, for I found that my concentration was higher, and I could have a deeper level of experience than I could with the influence of others upon my work. Indeed, personal and private ritual is always more profound than most shared ritual, though there have been a few occasions where, such as at the White Spring in Glastonbury, there has been a mix of private ritual and group celebration with my best friends deep within the cavernous walls that house those…

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Why be a tree activist?

This is so true. I especially “love” comments like “you have been very busy again on Facebook recently…” when I meet somebody in real life and I know they are actually part of the problem.

Druid Life

If you’ve ever tried activism, you will know how good the odds are of being hassled over your choices. Worried about refugees? Why aren’t you looking out for the homeless in this country? Worried about poverty in the UK? Didn’t you hear about the poor people facing famine? Helping animals? Why aren’t you protecting abused children instead? Helping local children? Think of all the advantages they have compared to animals who can’t speak for themselves. So yes, why be a tree activist rather than saving elephants, fighting for world peace, or some other cause?

It’s important to me to flag up just how fraudulent the whole line of questioning is. Anyone who tries to help in any way is likely to be hit by one of these. It very seldom comes from other campaigners. It usually comes from people who aren’t doing anything but want to derail you. This is…

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Beltaine Impressions

I have always loved Beltaine, one of the Celtic fire festivals – it has the same energies and liminal feeling as Samhain and it marks the start of Summer in South Africa. It is getting light earlier in the mornings, it is generally much warmer and the smell of Imphepho penetrates the air.


“Summer is here!”

The weekend before Beltaine started with a bang! I had to officiate a spiritual wedding for a lovely couple on the Saturday. The carbon paper went up in flames when the wind blew it onto the Cedar incense I like to light when I complete the official documentation. I barely managed to throw it into the sink before everything else caught fire and then the Gazebo was blown away just before we got started with the ceremony.


“Only the clouds bear testimony of the gale force wind!”

The Sunday was spent “well tending” and collecting Imphepho. I am a member of a Brighidine Order and we do beach clean ups or tend to rivers and lakes during every Celtic Fire Festival in Brighde’s name. “Only” two bags of plastic, fishing gut and other stuff was found, but I am sure there will be much more when the wind and the tides change again.



“Well tending = beach clean up”

I am so glad that the Imphepho in my area recovered from last year’s bull dozing.  After having to stretch my dried plants for almost two years, it is growing now all around me in abundance and I have started to gather plants. I use it a lot as an offering during my workings. For me personally, it embodies the genius loci and the ancestors.


“Imphepho is the Zulu and Xhosa name given to a number of herbs in the Helichrysum genus: Helichrysum odoratissimum; H. petiolare; H. nudifolium; H. pedunculatum”

At sunset on Beltaine eve, I lit my Brighde candle for my 24 hours candle vigil and my bonfire. I made offerings to Belenos and Brighde in the form of whiskey and herbs:

“Hail summer, season of light and of life. Blessed are those who stand here today, witness to the ancient rite. To everyone who passes between the flames, whether human or beast, may health and prosperity come!

May the fires bring us fields of ripe corn and fruit in abundance. May the fires bring us streams of white milk, freedom from conquest, fair justice and righteous law, comfort and abundance in every home.

May the fires bring us rivers of fish, forests filled with strong woods, great abundance of clean water, ornaments of silver and gold, rich soil, sheep with fine fleece, fat pigs and healthy cattle. May every disease and unhappiness be purged from those who walk here, in the name of Belenos and Belisama!”

Copyright 1999, Ellen Evert Hopman


“Beltaine Bonfire”

There is nothing better than sitting next to a massive bonfire and play the frame drum. The wind died down to almost nothing after another day of gale force wind just in time for the fire. The ritual left me with being utterly at peace with myself and the world and the very exciting feeling of great and new things to come.

This was confirmed by the Ogham card I drew that night:


“Uillend (Honeysuckle)” is the third Forfeda and the twenty-third letter of the Ogham. It is usually ascribed to the Honeysuckle which is also known as the Woodbine. Liz and Colin Murray said that the Honeysuckle represented hidden secrets. “Whereas the ivy is concerned with the search for self, the Honeysuckle shows the way in which to achieve this – the special dance or step that leads into the labyrinth of inner knowledge”. The Celtic Tree Oracle.