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In the Cailleach’s Garden: Summer Word-Witchery at...

In the Cailleach’s Garden: Summer Word-Witchery at Moonset

Come, pilgrim. Rest here in my garish summer garden. I’ve just poured fresh moon-blood on rosemary in the name of the Cailleach, and I’ve nothing to do but restlessly wait for Her to give a smirking nod to my unrequited, whole-hearted devotion.

Will you stay? It’s too early for mead, but I’ll pour you some of my spiked breakfast brew; it’s been chilled atop rose quartz and hag stones, slow-stirred, and born from the unholy union of dandelion roots and 13 wild blueberries. I dreamt the recipe on Solstice eve and kept it brewed and waiting, wishing for a visit from such a kind-hearted wanderer as you, knowing that my little bit of hopeful hedgewitching was surely a home-cooked spell at its finest. I do believe I conjured up a kind-eyed, flame-tending woman, and I’ll be damned if it isn’t you, this open-eared, crownless priestess who just happened by at moonset on a particularly fateful morning.

If I’m being honest, I went to bed a Witch but woke up a storyteller, this dawn. On that boney ribcage altar of mine, I’ve kept so many myths hidden and collecting cobwebs, and, if you’ll permit me, I’d like to drag the dustiest one up my gullet and gift it to both you and this garden of mine.

Can I trust you?

Oh, of course, I can. Forgive me, but I’ve been embittered of late by those toting fickle friendship in their anxious, envious hearts, by those who wish to suckle my sweet and shallow magick but care nothing for that potent, sour medicine I have eternally spiraling in my deepest cauldrons. I see nothing but truth in your eyes, though, my love, so sip slowly. Don’t mind the cracks in my voice and have no fear if this land begins filling with the ghosts of our strong-backed grandmothers and lost specters of burned women.

Why wait for Samhain to honor our mightiest dead, am I right?

This story’s for them, truth be told. I’ve untied just a few of those ancestral knots binding my bones over the years, and the words I speak now are banishing spells for the residual rage running thick in my blood.

Humor me, and create your own beginning for this twisted fairy tale. You see, my aging memory is casting my youthful recollections in a faded, sepia tone. I can no longer trace the once-upon-a-times, but I feel you might have your own wounded beginning that suits this story as well as any I could offer you.

Oh, and the middle of this myth, that pivotal climax where the heroine is tested and prevails- I don’t have one of those to give you either, but you can envision any bloody battle you like here, any post-betrayal parting, or any sovereign decision you feel suits your own sense-making.

I do have an ending for you, though, and you’ll want to ready yourself. Breath deep, and no matter what you hear, don’t you dare pray for me. The ending of the tale sees the heroine slaying the god of her childhood with a blade more ancient than any forged in his motherless time and slashing through the cords of soulless religion wrapped ‘round her throat. She sings over his bones Pagan chants and blesses his flesh with the holy water running from between her thighs. She forgives him his countless transgressions and curls against his skin, forming a two-bodied, momentary altar to a rising wildness that calls to the spirits of the land, bidding the faeries rise from the depths of their exile and hold them both in their vine-wrapped, heathen arms until a sacred void swallows them both whole, until only the oldest gods and earthen crone-protectresses remain.

How’s that for a happily-ever-after, pilgrim? Keep drinking and-

Oh, yes. The Cailleach is here, breathing a blessed and cool hiss through our hair. Can you feel Her? She’s like a sea mist in the middle of an over-dry June, like the rattle of bone-and-stone jewelry adorning those women you really want to invite over for tea, like the wild ancestral spirituality that will out-dance and out-pray these golden laws written by broken men, that will lap up the crumbs of crushed systems and digest them in the hot-acid-crucible of Her ancient belly.

Let’s lean against Her frozen body for a bit, my love. It’s too early for a nap, I fear, but story medicine is a heady intoxicant. It’s Her turn. Let’s sit in silence and wait for Her to share her secrets with us, to grant us a dream-vision of rowan trees, moss, and womby caves.

Blessed be our spoken rituals, our unpeaceable stories of blasphemous restoration for the wild soul.

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Danielle believes in the power of the wild feminine and human-to-nature intimacy. She is the author of The Holy Wild: A Heathen Bible for the Untamed Woman (Coming September 2018, New World Library) and Woman Most Wild: Three Keys to Liberating the Witch Within. She translates the wild feminine into motherhood, magick, multimedia art, and teachings of embodied spirituality, writing, and movement alchemy. Danielle is a Celtic free-style Witch, a lover of Irish Paganism, an E-RYT500 and YACEP through Yoga Alliance, a mist-dweller, and a shadow-walker. May all beings come home to the wilds.

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Danielle believes in the power of the wild feminine and human-to-nature intimacy. She is the author of The Holy Wild: A Heathen Bible for the Untamed Woman (Coming September 2018, New World Library) and Woman Most Wild: Three Keys to Liberating the Witch Within. She translates the wild feminine into motherhood, magick, multimedia art, and teachings of embodied spirituality, writing, and movement alchemy. Danielle is a Celtic free-style Witch, a lover of Irish Paganism, an E-RYT500 and YACEP through Yoga Alliance, a mist-dweller, and a shadow-walker. May all beings come home to the wilds.

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