Winter Solstice and Moon Medicine - a monthly mystery gathering for wild women
“At any time you can ask yourself: At which threshold am I now standing? At this time in my life, what am I leaving? Where am I about to enter? What is preventing me from crossing my next threshold? What gift would enable me to do it? A threshold is not a simple boundary; it is a frontier that divides two different territories, rhythms and atmospheres.”
John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us,
Today as we cross a threshold and enter into still point of the Winter Solstice, I find myself contemplating a few thresholds of my own. Living on the side of a mountain on the magical Beara Pennisula in the south-west of Ireland has re-wilded me. I feel a strong connection to the power of this place steeped in the mythology of the Cailleach Bhéarra. The Hag of Béara is said to be one of the most ancient of mythological beings. She is the wild old woman of Gaelic mythology, the Queen of Winter and she wields incredible power over life and death.
The Beara landscape is imbued with a potent sense of genius loci that inspires the mythic imagination. The terrain is fierce, exposed and mountainous. The forests are home to the oldest oak trees in Ireland. The peninsula hosts many streams, rivers and waterfalls and is enveloped by stormy seas. Wandering sheep with neon markings roam around ancient standing stones and burial sites. My days are filled with minding animals and braving the elements. The evenings are shrouded in darkness revealing more stars then you can count. I am aware as we approach the solstice that we need this darkness in order to see the light. I have faith in the night…..
You darkness from which I come,
I love you more than all the fires
that fence out the world,
for the fire makes a circle
so that no one sees you anymore.
But darkness holds it all:
the shape and the flame,
the animal and myself,
how it holds them,
all powers, all sight —
and it is possible: its great strength
is breaking into my body.
I have faith in the night.
Original poem by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated here by David Whyte
The darkness is a time of waiting. Solstice means ‘standstill,’ and refers to the three days around December 21st when the sun appears to ‘stand still,’ the still point of the turning world. This day has deep roots in nature-based faiths and many of the traditions now associated with Christmas originated as winter solstice celebrations - including the Christmas tree. Here in Ireland the winter solstice tradition dates back over 5,000 years, when a single ray of dawn sunlight has pierced the ancient passage tomb at Newgrange on the shortest days of the year, marking the end of winter and the start of new life. This is a time when a new light is born out of the womb of winter.
I have been thinking about crossing a new threshold for some time now. Beara is a new territory for me with a new rhythm and atmosphere and even though this stay is temporary I feel at home in many ways. I have been re-wilding and my time here has inspired me to answer a calling of sorts and share some moon medicine. I want to shine a light on the numinous power of the lunar cycle as a portal into female empowerment. According to the Farmers Almanac who have been tracking heavenly events and seasonal changes since 1793, the Moon's twenty-eight day cycle influences the oceans' tides, the weather, crop growth, animal and human fertility and the way we feel and behave. It’s time to conjure up some Full Moon magic….
Moon Medicine is a monthly mystery gathering for women that illuminates the magical gifts of the Moon. This is a special invitation for women who are ready to harness their inner power and reclaim their wild feminine nature. In a world where women can feel increasingly disconnected from their inner selves and the world around them, Moon Medicine offers a path to reconnection. Guided by the natural rhythm of the Moon you will learn how to activate the creative life force of the empowered feminine and shape your destiny.
Wishing a mystical Winter Solstice and nourishing Christmas Season to you from the wilds of Beara.
Thank you to all who travelled with us this year, we look forward to blazing bright and beautiful trails with you in the near future.
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