Tonight, we enter the Winter Solstice in the sign of Capricorn. To me, this is such a beautiful time when there are unique energies at play from the “Christmas spirits” that can heal the emotional despair and suffering accrued during the previous thirteen moons, and send rejuvenation, fresh hope and inspiration for the coming turn of the calendrical Wheel.
In Earth alchemy and Arthurian legend, the longest night of midwinter, caused by the Sun reaching its furthest point away from the Earth and then returning three days later, on Christmas Day, is symbolised by the death of the Old Wounded Fisher King and the birth of the new King, otherwise known as the Radiant Child. This bursting forth into joyful and victorious rebirth was symbolised by alchemists as the Peacock’s Tail, for which, I think, the aurora borealis is the perfect sky metaphor.
Who was Merlin really? It’s a question I often get asked.
Well, we have to go back to the 12th century, when a school of scribes was appointed by the Norman conquest to win the hearts and minds of the unruly Celts, and they reinvented Merlin from an already-existing native, mythological shaman called Myrddin Wylt.
This wonderful poem by Amara Bronwyn MacEachern Hollow Bones sums up, in a nutshell, everything about the specialised shamanic path that I write and teach about.
We locked up our wisdom into our bones
And swallowed the keys
They sank in our rivers of blood
And we forgot the maps
Because we had to forget the mysteries
To keep them safe.
We wove our hair into brooms
And swept over our paths
And then burned the earth with our rage
We didn’t teach our children
It was the only way to protect them,
But in them we planted seeds, seeds and keys
And told them stories and riddles and songs
With no roots, just tangled threads
That would take years to unwind
Just enough time
For the rains to fall again
and put out the fires
For the dams to break
For the rivers to flood
For the paths
to be walked again
For the soil to breathe
And as the old bones crumble
Deep beneath the rubble
We find we’ve always had the keys
Our stories and our maps
Our paths are revealed to some
And the seeds grow again
The threads are unspun
And woven again.
The Winter Solstice will fall just before dawn breaks over the British Isles after the longest night of the year on Thursday 21st December. To me, this is such a beautiful time when there are unique energies at play that heal the emotional despair and suffering accrued during the previous thirteen moons, and send rejuvenation and fresh hope and inspiration for the coming turn of the calendrical wheel. Continue reading
In the last article, Lesson 3, Forging our own faery sword of truth, we discussed the metaphorical meaning of the Three of Swords, and I used an example from the Fey Tarot in which a male faery is rising from the sea with the dawn breaking just behind him.
Dawn is a major character in my books where she plays the same role as she does in the Tarot, which is to denote the promise or covenant of rebirth after ‘death’ – whether it’s just the end of a cycle in our lives or the final initiation in which we leave this dimension forever. For this reason, the character of Death in most good decks has a red, pink or apricot sunrise behind him. Continue reading
Sometimes people use old myths about faeries, dwarves and wizards to build a cosy, walled cognitive space – in the same way that as children we used to construct camps from blankets and bedspreads in which to hide from the realities of the adult world.
However, the ancient myths were not meant for that purpose, and neither are my books, because these deeply rich allegorical tales contain wisdom keys that provide us with ways of meeting the seeming impossibly difficult challenges of the human condition. These challenges don’t change from generation to generation. The problems that we’re faced with today were also faced by our ancestors thousands of years ago. From the minute we give out that first scream at birth, we’re in a life-and-death struggle between good and evil, whether we realise it or not – and often our adversaries prefer us not to realise it, as they soften us up for the killing blow.
That’s why I chose the archetypal symbol of the sword to begin this series of lessons that make up these mystery teachings, which are based on the stories in my own books and particularly The Grail Mysteries. The last article, Lesson 2, was about the faery woman who raises the sword from beneath the frozen Hart Lake under the stars of Capricorn, and I’ve shown various ways of getting in touch with the faery gold buried within our own frozen emotional pain and forging it into our own Fragarach, the Sword of Truth. Continue reading
If you have followed my guidance in Lesson 1, you will hopefully have begun the process of diving down deep into the frozen lake of your emotions and using the heat of concentration – through visualisation or shamanic journeying – in the alchemic crucible of your own inner space to release them and bring them to the surface in the form of a faery sword.
In this article, Lesson 2, I will be referencing the image in my book The Grail Mysteries where a woman’s sword arm appears from beneath the white, frozen Hart Lake under the stars of Capricorn at the Winter Solstice.