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For Our Beloved Dead: Blood Moon Myths, Sacrificia...

For Our Beloved Dead: Blood Moon Myths, Sacrificial Groves, and Harvest Fire Storytelling

blood moon, morrigan, death, verses of the wild witch, danielle dulsky the house of twigs, thot

Sit beside this slow-cracking harvest fire with me, pilgrim. The business of that swelling blood moon is to nudge our nightdreams toward our majestic dead, and I’ll be damned if she hasn’t done just that. I’ve got ancestral stories of woad-painted and long-tongued warrioresses bubbling in my blood, and I can feel those just sharpened blades of motherline anguish carving deeper grooves onto my bones.

Why, just last night, I dreamt of emerald moss beneath my bare back and grey-gold sunlight on my still youthful belly. The land spirits were breathing with me, and I willed myself to stay, to become a milk stain on the ground where the Fae might gather, to gift my bones to ground as a final and eternal currency valued much more than my pagan poetry would ever be.

I cried out to the oldest of gods to strike me with lightning and let me stay. I was learning the language of this place one breath at a time, you see, and then it happened; the sun went dim and the leaves dropped from the branches in a somber death ritual for all things vibrant and warm. My own skin went paper-thin and my storyteller’s tongue dried out. The lushness of the land faded along with my ephemeral beauty, and I hissed in gratitude while the dark-winged raptors descended and pecked at the soft creature I once was, while the worms slipped in and out of those lithe joints that served me so well in all those days of frenzied art-making and fragile dream-chasing.

For just a moment, scarcely as long as that anxious and fleeting space between the last exhale and next inhale, I was a holy nothing. Even so, it seemed I spent an eternity in that warm pink-gold place between death and birth. The just-dead grandmothers bade me laugh more often and stop taking my witchcraft so seriously, but the oldest ancestors handed me fine-pointed blades and marched me to the sacrificial groves where I spilled much blood in the name of healing and hope, where I slashed the throats of the soulless to the rhythm of primitive bodhrans played by vengeful women seething with the same inherited righteous rage that gives shape to my heathen verses.

The sun began to warm me again, and my hair sprouted straight from my fleshless skull. My wet tongue grew heavy behind my teeth, and I began humming hymns to the Morrigan while my heart sparked to life. The forest was a newborn once more, and I knew I had to put apathy to death.

I woke in my bed this morning still surrounded by my beloved dead, and I built this fire just for them. I swear, that blood moon shines stronger on the spectral shapes of our ghosts than it does on our own living and juice-filled skin, and I wonder what stories they took with them to the ground. You might ask why I’m sharing all of this with you, a stranger, but I woke certain if I were to die today I’d be a broken and hungry spirit for not having shared this dream-vision with at least one other soul.

Blessed be this fleeting skin

For all its faults and sacred sin

A harvest fire hot within

Burning for my wildest kin

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Danielle is a heathen visionary, Aquarian mischief-maker, and word-witch. The author of Woman Most Wild and The Holy Wild., she teaches internationally and has facilitated circles, embodiment trainings, communal spell-work, and seasonal rituals since 2007. She is the founder of The Hag School, the lead teacher for the Flame-Tender Teacher Training, and believes in the emerging power of wild collectives and sudden circles of curious dreamers, cunning witches, and rebellious artists in healing our ailing world. As an Irish-American, Danielle’s witchcraft is deeply rooted in Celtic philosophy and Irish mythology. She believes fervently in the role of ancestral healing, embodiment, and animism in fracturing the longstanding systems supporting white-body supremacy and environmental unconsciousness, is committed to centering the voices and teachings of POC and LGBTQIA+ folks in her work as founder of Living Mandala, LLC and The Hag School and supports organizations and initiatives that do the same. Parent to two beloved wildlings and partner to a potter, Danielle fills her world with nature, family, and intentional awe. Find her praying under pine trees, wandering through the haunted places, and whispering to her grandmothers’ ghosts.
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Danielle is a heathen visionary, Aquarian mischief-maker, and word-witch. The author of Woman Most Wild and The Holy Wild., she teaches internationally and has facilitated circles, embodiment trainings, communal spell-work, and seasonal rituals since 2007. She is the founder of The Hag School, the lead teacher for the Flame-Tender Teacher Training, and believes in the emerging power of wild collectives and sudden circles of curious dreamers, cunning witches, and rebellious artists in healing our ailing world. As an Irish-American, Danielle’s witchcraft is deeply rooted in Celtic philosophy and Irish mythology. She believes fervently in the role of ancestral healing, embodiment, and animism in fracturing the longstanding systems supporting white-body supremacy and environmental unconsciousness, is committed to centering the voices and teachings of POC and LGBTQIA+ folks in her work as founder of Living Mandala, LLC and The Hag School and supports organizations and initiatives that do the same. Parent to two beloved wildlings and partner to a potter, Danielle fills her world with nature, family, and intentional awe. Find her praying under pine trees, wandering through the haunted places, and whispering to her grandmothers’ ghosts.

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