Exploring Celtic Spirituality

A Series of Classes and Ceremonies Celebrating the Celtic Wheel of the Year

with Edie Stone, MA       
2027 Broadway, Suite H, Boulder, Colorado 80302           The Triple Spiral within the Heart of
          Newgrange
303-415-3755

Exploring Celtic Spirituality is a series of ceremonies, classes, and workshops celebrating the Celtic Wheel of the Year and seasonal traditions in Britain, Ireland, and beyond.

NEXT EVENT:

<<<================================>>>
RECENT EVENTS

All photo credits on this page


Exploring Celtic Spirituality

A Series of Classes and Ceremonies Celebrating the Celtic Wheel of the Year
with Edie Stone, MA

Hollow Hill, Ynys Mon, Wales ©2008 Edie Stone                  The Green Abbey of
        Glastonbury ©2008 Edie Stone

A Hollow Hill on Angelsey                                           The Green Abbey of Glastonbury   

How beautiful they are,                                           

     The lordly ones
Who dwell in the hills,
     The hollow hills.

             Fiona MacLeod, The Immortal Hour, Act 1, Scene 3   
  
                  

About the Exploring Celtic Spirituality series with Edie Stone, MA

An on-going series of monthly classes and ceremonies exploring Celtic worldviews, spiritual traditions, ancestral connections, and mythic imagery.

Celtic spirituality bridges ancient traditions of the British Isles and old Europe, early Celtic Christianity, revivals of written and visionary knowledge, and a living flow of mystical awareness and love of nature.

All classes will include information and time for questions. Each session also will include a participitory or experiential activity such as a shamanic journey or a simple ritual.  Often we will end with a prayer and blessing circle.

I also offer individual sessions to support you in exploring spiritual questions and paths of deeper knowing. Call me at 303-415-3755 or email me.

My background in Celtic Spirituality


Brigid's Well
        in Kildare, Ireland           Celtic Wheel of the Year         

Well of St. Brigid in Kildare, Ireland                                         Celtic Wheel of the Year     

Solstice Sunrise at
        Stonehenge, source Photobucket    

Solstice Sunrise at Stonehenge
All photo credits on this page
Return to top
Edie's main page, www.ediestone.com

My background in Celtic Studies

I have a lifelong interest in mythic imagery, dreams, and Welsh fairy tales. I also have always been drawn to Native American spirituality. I was delighted to discover in 1993 that much of the worldview, practices and elements of Celtic spirituality had a deep resonance and affinity to Native American spirituality.

While at Naropa University from 1994 to 1997, I was a core member of a Celtic spirituality group, with Frank Owen MacEowen and others. We co-created three years of seasonal Celtic ceremonies. This was a very rich and exciting time of research and spiritual development for all of us.

Since then, I have completed an in-depth apprenticeship with a Native American teacher, Kayla Moonwatcher, to become a Certified Shamanic Journey Guide. I also have studied shamanic traditions from South America, especially the Pachakuti Mesa Tradition with Oscar Miro-Quesada.

I continued to study with other Celtic teachers, including Frank, Tom Cowan, Geo Cameron Trevarthan, Mara Freeman, and Caitlín Matthews. I led three years of Celtic shamanic circles in the Boulder area, and gave presentations and workshops in Colorado and Wales, 2000-2008.*

Most recently, I have participated in an extended series of teachings with renowned author and teacher R J Stewart, on many aspects of Celtic spirituality, British mystical traditions and inner work.

If you are interested in an on-going group or a workshop, or if you would like to schedule a presentation, please contact me at 303-415-3755 or EStone@ShamanicJourneys.net

I also offer individual sessions of Soul-Centered Counseling and Heart Vision Shamanic Journeys.
Photo of Edie Stone, MA

Presentations

*I have taught the following seminars and courses in
Wales, England, and Colorado:

For information on the UK tours, see http://www.ediestone.com/PeruvianShamanismCelticTraditionsWales.html
and http://www.shamanstone.co.uk/

If you would like to schedule a presentation on these or other Celtic topics, please contact me at 303-415-3755 or EStone@ShamanicJourneys.net

    Return to top
    Edie's main page, www.ediestone.com

Articles


  LINKS & RESOURCES

Boulder Daily Camera article, January 2010, about Brigid as Goddess and Saint, and interview with Edie - moved to www.ediestone.com/brigid.htm

Or view at http://www.dailycamera.com/archivesearch/ci_14248469

New article from Faith Column, Boulder Daily Camera, February 1, 2014 !

Text at https://plus.google.com/+EdieStone/posts/5uiAA5uuRTa
or http://www.dailycamera.com/lifestyles/ci_25038350/imbolc-celtic-festival-honors-pagan-goddess-st-bridgid

Return to top
Edie's main page, www.ediestone.com




Archive of Celtic Classes and Events - in chronological order 

Extras
        I have given Brigid a whole page for Herself. Click here for details
        I have given Merlin a whole page for Himself. Click here for details.
        Dwynwen, the Welsh Patron Saint of Lovers, also has her own page:
            Dwynwen's Welsh Fest
        Learn about St. David, Welsh history, and the Colorado Welsh Society here       
        Glastonbury and Avalon
-- RJ Stewart events in Colorado,  June 2011

Past Times with Good Company: prior classes and ceremonies from Exploring Celtic Spirituality

..........................................................................................................
Class 1: Evening Introduction with Edie Stone, 2009

This is the first meeting of a series of monthly classes exploring Celtic worldviews, spiritual traditions, ancestral connections, and mythic imagery. Each session will include an experiential activity such as a shamanic journey.  Often we will end with a prayer and blessing circle.

..........................................................................................................

Class 2: Ancestors, Samhain, and All Hallow's Eve, 2009

..........................................................................................................

Class 3: Celtic Solstice Traditions
. 2009

..........................................................................................................

Class 4: Bringing Light & Mirth to the Dark of the Year. 2010

..........................................................................................................

Class 5: Imbolc 2010 -- The Festival of Brigid, Goddess and Saint

Check out the article that appeared in the Boulder Daily Camera, Saturday, January 23, 2010, about our Imbolc celebration! http://www.dailycamera.com/archivesearch/ci_14248469

Complete info on Imbolc 2010: The Festival of Brigid, Goddess and Saint

..........................................................................................................

Class 6: A Green Spring: Celtic Spring and Equinox Traditions, 2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010, 3 pm
Exploring Celtic Spirituality class with Edie Stone, MA           
Alban Eilir

ALSO: Flamekeepers of Brigid meeting at 2 pm. For anyone interested in observing the 20-day cycle keeping the Flame of Brigid. You would tend a candle once every 20 days to honor Brigid and the spirit of peace.

A southerly sun
A full bellyDaffodils for St. David's Day in Wales
Prepare the Spring.
        Cornish saying         

Join us in celebrating the return of green energy, as daylight is rapidly expanding, the Earth is warming, green shoots are emerging, and life energy is stirring beneath the ground.

Some themes and traditions we might explore:

The Equinox class starts at 3 pm. I will meet with people interested in becoming Flamekeepers of Brigid at 2 pm. More information on Flamekeeping to follow.

..........................................................................................................

Class 7: May Day & Bealtaine 2010 - Summer bursts forth in the Glory of Green Man and the Power of the Queen

Organizational meeting Tuesday, April 27, 7 pm.
     • Edie Stone's office, 2027 Broadway, Boulder (below OM Time Yoga)
     • RSVP to Edie: 303-415-3755 or rsvp@shamanicjourneys.net

Celebration: Sunday, May 2, 2010
Private location
         
Some spellings: Bealtane, Beltane, Beltinne, Beltaine, Bealtaine, Beltine, Bhealtaine, Lá Bealtaine, Latha Bealltainn, Calan Mai


..........................................................................................................

Class 8:Summer Solstice Traditions - June 15 and 24, 2010 

Stonehenge
                  Summer Solstice AlignmentLearn about Summer Solstice traditions in the Celtic realm and old Europe.

Similar classes, same location, slightly different themes:

June 15

..........................................................................................................

Class 8B: June 24, 2010 - Summer Solstice Traditions

Solstice Sun Wheel Rolling Down
                Hill           

CONTENT: See above

ADDITIONAL THEMES ON JUNE 24:        
Dancing around the
        Midsummer Bonfire

Why are we celebrating the Solstice on June 24?

Well, historically, most European Midsummer customs are celebrated on the evening of June 23 and the day of June 24. Customs include May Poles and Green Crosses in Scandinavia and Central Europe as well as Britain.

June 24 is the Feast of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist. As usual (thanks to Gregory the Great), the Catholic Church placed a saint's day on top of a traditional seasonal festival. Then the Church spent centuries trying to stamp out the frivolities and festivities, such as:  
     * Rolling wheels of fire
     * Naked midnight swims
     * Battles between the Kings of Winter and Summer
    
Also, learn more about magical ferns, invisibility, and St. John's Wort ... which is of course associated with the happy, sunny days of the Feast of St. John the Baptist.

Other names:
Lá Fhéile Eoin (Irish), An Fhéill-Eoin (Scottish Gaelic), Gwyl Ifan (Welsh), Golowan or Gol-Jowan (Cornwall), Gouel SAnt-Yann (Breton), Laa l'Ean (Manx)

TIME: 7:00 to 9:30 pm


LOCATION: Edie Stone's office, 2027 Broadway, Suite H, Boulder, 80304. One-half block north of the Pearl Street Mall, below OM Time Yoga.

DIRECTIONS: My office is 1/2 block north of the Pearl Street Mall, between Pearl and Spruce, in downtown Boulder.  After parking, come back to the sidewalk on the west side of Broadway. At street level, look for OM Time Yoga, then come downstairs. Parking is available on the street or in the Spruce Street Garage. The southbound Skip bus stops right in front of my building.

COST: By donation. $10 to $25 appreciated, if you have the ability to give. No one turned away for lack of funds.


St.Johns Fire WheelAnd now for something completely, Celtically obscure and wonderful:
On the Isle of Man, they celebrate Midsummer on July 5. Why? Because the Manx pegged their national holiday, Tynwald Day, and its Midsummer Court Ceremony, to St. John's Day, June 24. But when they converted from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar in 1753, they kept Tynwald on the same natural day, 11 days ahead of the Gregorian date, July 5.

And another bit on July 5th as Midsummer:

FEILL-SHEATHAIN, or MIDSUMMER July 5th is the date of the Old Midsummer [i.e. before the Gregorian calendar change]. Feill-Sheathain means "Swithin's Eve." Swithin is the old form of John, the common form being Iain, Eoin, and Eathin. Many ancient Pagan sites dedicated to Baldur were rededicated, by the Christian Church, to St. John the Baptist. Baldur was, of course, a radiant Sun god.

Throughout Scotland, and the rest of Britain, villagers would make "cartwheels" of straw and dip them in pitch. On Midsummer's Eve these would be set alight and bowled down the hillsides, to give power to the sun god. It the flames went out before the wheel reached the bottom of the hill, it presaged a bad harvest.
Quote from http://www.brenna.co.uk/Seasons.html  

..........................................................................................................

Class 9: Lughnasa - The Festival of Lugh - August 1, 2010

Come co-create and celebrate the Festival of Lugh - The Harvest, the Arts, and the Divine Masculine.
Lughnasa (LOO-nah-sah), August 1st, is a celebration of the first harvest, the beginning of autumn, the season of golden grain and golden sunlight.

In the ancient Celtic calendar, this feast day was dedicated to the young god Lugh, master of all the arts, embodiment of the Divine Masculine. In partnership with the Goddess of Sovereignty, he confirms rightful Kingship and right relationship to power.

In the Church calendar, Lammas Sunday, the first Sunday of August, is celebrated with the Blessing of the Loaves.

We will playfully celebrate the arts and skills in each of us, hear Lugh's tale, then feast on berries, bread, and ale, and other potluck!

Bring: Potluck! Foods of all kinds, including seasonal berries, ripe fruits, local produce, and bread products. Protein and veg dishes also welcome so we don't carb out. Red ale is ritually significant, and other drinks potent and plain to quench our summer thirst.

Bring: Skills! arts, crafts, poetry, song, dance, mime, mumming, padded swordplay, magic spells, jumping, racing hobby horses, joinery, smithcraft, music, storytelling, jokes, festive costumes ... Lugh was skilled in all the arts: builder, smith, champion, harper, warrior, poet, historian, magician, physician, cupbearer, and brazier.


Other names for this festival: Lammas, August Eve, Feast of Bread, Harvest Home, Dozynki, Luhnasa; Lunasda, Lunasdal; Laa Luanys and Luanistyn; Gwl Awst, Thingtide, Garland Sunday, Bilberry Sunday, Fraughan Sunday, Crom Dubh Sunday, Black Stoop Sunday, Lammas, Cornucopia

..........................................................................................................

Class 10, Celtic Equinox and Harvest Traditions - September 22, 2010

The Harvest by Robert Zund

Enjoy the fruits of the maturing year, celebrate the Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine

Bring fruit or something you have baked, brewed, or harvested.

Join us in celebrating the richness of Celtic harvest and autumn traditions on the Autumn Equinox.
We
will break bread together, create a harvest altar, explore seasonal, mythic, and archetypal themes, and do a group journey or simple ceremony.

Actual Equinox time is Sept 22, 2010 at 9:09 PM Mountain Daylight Time or Sept 23, 3:09 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time). So we will be in ceremony on the exact equinox.
A good site for calendar and astronomical info is
    http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/september-equinox.html


Some or most of the themes we will cover are:
A sheaf of
                barley with sickle. The last one harvested would become
                the Harvest Queen (or the Hag of the Harvest).


A. The Celtic Wheel of the Year - Autumn phase
The Celtic
          Sun-God Lugh, from Wilson's AlmanacB. The balance of day and night, of dark and light, and of masculine and feminine:

      Historic image of Lugh as Celtic warrior-king is from Wilson's Almanac, one of the most interesting websites in the world.
www.wilsonsalmanac.com





Bring fruit or something you have baked, brewed, or harvested.


Other names for this time of year:
Autumnal Equinox, Alban Elfed (modern Druid), Festival of Mabon (modern Wiccan)
Harvest Home, 2nd Harvest, Midharvest, Fruit Harvest, Wine Harvest, Gŵyl Ganol yr Hydref (Welsh, Feast of Middle of Autumn), Goeldheys (Cornish, feast of ricks), Foghar (Scots Gaelic, harvest), Feast of the Ingathering (England), Kirn(Scotland), Mell Supper (Northern England)
Michaelmas (Sept. 29), Lá Fhéile Michil (Irish), Gwyl Fihangel (Welsh), Gouel Sant-Mikael (Breton), Goel Myghal (Cornish), Goel Myghal (Manx)

Let us give thanks. Consider the hours of labor it used to take to reap enough grain by hand to keep family and community alive through the winter. Accounts of Irish harvest labourers employed in Scotland, for 5 to 15 shillings per acre, could harvest 300 sheaves a day using a sickle, and eat 10 pounds of porridge, 3 pounds of milk, and "2 gallons of good ale" per day!

Reaping machine from ancient Gaul
How to put the cart before the bull! A reaping machine from 1st Century Celtic Gaul, described by Pliney the Elder.
Harvest info from the 1888 Chambers’s Encyclopedia of Universal Knowledge, excerpts quoted on http://vickipedia.multipledigression.com/ 
Entry on August 9, 2007, Reaping.

The sun enters Cairn T
        Loughcrew on the Equinox
The sun enters Cairn T at Loughcrew at dawn on the Equinoxes. Martin Brennan, who wrote The Stones of Time, gathered volunteers to document the movement of the sun across the figures on the interior stones of many cairns near Newgrange. He suggests that the whole comples of cairns in the Boyne Valley, Newgrange, and Knowth, could have been used as a giant calendar of sun events around the year.

Martin Brennan also wrote The Hidden Maya, a fascinating exploration of Mayan glyphs using his knowledge of  Native sign language.

Martin spoke in Boulder with the Diné Anthropologist Charlie Cambridge and the late Dr. Bob McFarlane about the stone circles next to NIST, which caught the sunset shadow of the neck of Bear Mountain on the Winter Solstice. That area may also have served as a large prehistoric calender site, now it is home to the atomic clock!


Photo credits below.
..........................................................................................................

Class 11A - Samhain - October 29, 2010.

Original ceremony was postponed due to fire in Boulder Canyon, but a small class and ceremony was held in Edie's office.

Event 11B - Lunar Samhain, November 5, 2010.

Lunar Samhain and New Moon Ceremony

The True Celtic Halloween

Samhain and Halloween Traditions

Honoring the Ancestors and the Dark Night of the Year

By donation. $10 to $25 appreciated. No one turned away for lack of funds.
Jack O'Cat,
        ©2009 Edie Stone
Samhain Blessing
        Altar, ©2009 Edie Stone
Photos: A Samhain altar with a blessing bowl, and the Jack O'Cat, carved by Maria Jekic, from our 2009 ceremony.             
Explore Celtic traditions associated with the end of the harvest and the death of the old year, honoring the ancestors, Hallowe'en, All Hallow's Eve, and Samhain (pronounced sow-in).                      Please bring:Samhain Floor Altar,
        ©2009 Edie Stone Many thanks to Maria Jekic, who is helping to plan and co-lead our ceremony. She has led many seasonal and Celtic rituals at The StarHouse, and co-led last years Samhain celebration.
Thanks also to our crew of volunteers.

Background: Why is Halloween called Samhain?

The oldest record we have of this name and tradition is found in the Coligny Calendar, a set of bronze tablets from 1st Century Gaul. There are two groups of months, one headed by Samon (Samonios) and Giamon (Giamonios). On the date Samon xvii is a notation Trinouxtion Samonii sindiu, meaning "the three-night period of Samonios begins today."

"In the modern Gaelic languages the festival is called Samhain (Irish), Samhuinn (Scots Gaelic), and Sauin (Manx).  The night on which it begins (Oíche Shamhna in Irish, Oidhche Shamhna in Scots Gaelic, Oie Houney in Manx) is the primary focus of the celebration.  The Brythonic languages call the feast by a name meaning "first of Winter", borrowing the Latin term calenda which designates the first day of a month (Welsh Calan Gaeaf, Breton Kala-Goañv, Cornish Kalann Gwav), but the beliefs and practices associated with it are consistent with what we find in the Gaelic countries, and will help us discover a pan-Celtic theology of Samhain." (Quote from the late, great scholar of Celtic ritual, Alexei Kondratiev, "Samhain: Season of Death and Renewal"- http://www.imbas.org/articles/samhain.html )

Later,  the Catholic Church tried to suppress the folk traditions of Samhain. Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as All Saints' Day in the 730's, and Pope Gregory IV made it obligatory in 835. (It had previously been celebrated on May 13, the Roman festival of Lemuria or Feast of the Lemures, when the restless souls of the dead were appeased with offerings. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, All Saints' Sunday is still in the spring, the Sunday after Pentecost.)

All Souls' Day, or the Feast of All Souls, a day of prayer for souls who were not quite so saintly, was celebrated on November 2, starting in 998.

In English, the term All Hallows' Day or All Hallowmas was often used instead of All Saints' Day. But the Celtic sense of time continued, with the days starting in the evening. So All Hallows' Even was celebrated starting the night before All Hallows' Day. The Scots dropped the v from Even, creating All Hallows' E'en, which was further shortened to Hallowe'en.

The three celebrations, the Eve of All Saints', All Saints', and All Souls', were commonly referred together as Hallowmas in English.Thus the three-day Christian period of prayer for the departed, Hallowmas, came to be mapped precisely on the pagan period of honoring the departed, Samanios or Samhain.

A dancer from the All Souls' Day Procession, Tucson, AZ, 2008. In the Southwestern culture of the US, Samhain/Hallowe'en is  greatly influenced by El Día de los Muertos. Creative Commons Image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Souls%27_DayAll Soul's Celebration in Tucson,
          AZ - Creative Commons
 Snap
        Apple Night in Ireland, 1832 by Daniel Maclise   
"Snap-Apple Night by Daniel Maclise showing a Halloween party in Blarney, Ireland, in 1832. The young children on the right bob for apples. A couple in the center play a variant, which involves retrieving an apple hanging from a string. The couples at left play divination games." from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween

..........................................................................................................

12 A, 12B & 12C: Three Celtic Midwinter & Solstice Celebrations, Dec. 2010

This Midwinter season, I am offering three Exploring Celtic Spirituality events.

   
#1 is Earth-Centered Celtic spirituality with a shamanic journey -- Dec. 19, 2010
    #2 is seasonal with traditional British mythic themes – part class, part party -- Dec. 26. 2010
    #3 is reflective, inward, esoteric – connecting starlight with the light within -- Jan. 3, 2011


..........................................................................................................

Class 12A: The Solstice and the Cave of the Sun, December 19, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010, 6 pm

Edie's office, 2027 Broadway, Suite H, Boulder. Below OM Time Yoga
Potluck at 6 pm. Exploration and celebration of seasonal themes start at 7 pm.

You are invited to explore Celtic spiritual traditions about the Winter Solstice. Come celebrate the dark night of the year and the rebirth of the light.

Some topics we can explore include:                       
      Winter solstice sunrise floods
      Newgrange with light
       
But it is not all talk. As always, we will have ceremony and our inner journey this session will be to the Cave of the Sun, An Liamh Greine, at Newgrange.

All events are by donation, $10 to $25 range is appreciated, for those able to give.
No one turned away for lack of funds.

Please bring finger food for a potluck before our ceremony, and a bit of greenery for our altar.

A special request: If possible, please bring an unscented natural pillar candle or some natural tea lights. Some folks are sensitive to petroleum-based candles. It would be great to have a stash of natural candles so that we can use them for ceremonies when we are inside. If members of our community can contribute soy or palm or beeswax candles, we can create a healthier atmosphere for our ceremonies. No scented candles, though. Thanks.


I also highly recommend The Winter Solarbration, which is held in Denver, Dec. 18th, 2010. There you can witness the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance live.

.....................................................
.....................................................

Class 12B: The Twelve Days of Christmas: Bringing Light and Mirth to the Dark of the Year. December, 2010

December 26, 2010. (Boxing Day)

Potluck at 6 pm. Exploration and celebration of seasonal themes start at 7 pm. Part class, part party.


  Mari
        Lwyd in silhouette
    •    Yule, Mummers and Guisers.
    •    Old Father Christmas and Santa the Shaman
    •    New Years, Hogmanay and First Footing
    •    Mari Llwyd and other White Horses
    •    Wassailing Traditions and Pagan Carols. Fa, la, la, la, la.
    •    The Feast of Fools
    •    Twelfth Night and Epiphany

Private location. Directions available when you RSVP
  to 303-415-3755 or rsvp@ediestone.com


..........................................................................................................

Class 12C: Stellar Ceremony on the Moon's New Year, January 3, 2011                            Solar Eclipse

January 3, 2011.                        
6 pm potluck, 7 pm Ceremony              
By donation.                             
   
It's the New Moon, a New Sun, and a New Year. Celts marked the start of day at sundown, and the start of a month at the New Moon. The Moon's New Year features a dark New Moon embracing the Sun in a the darkness of a Solar Eclipse, and giving rebirth to the Light of the New Year. It is a potent time for setting new intentions.
   
The dark of the moon is the best time to see the stars. So this will be a Stellar Ceremony. We will connect through guided meditation with the crystalline energy of the stars. We will discover the connections between Avalon, Tiahuanaco, and other Zodiaical sacred sites, as well as Star Relatives and Crystal Cities.
   
We will also explore concepts of the River of Stars (Milky Way) and the involution and evolution of souls. We will re-member the River of Stars floating down the Urubamba as well.

This event is an opportunity for people with interests in either Celtic Spirituality or Peruvian Shamanism to come together in sacred space and enjoy the resonance and beauty of both traditions.

Bring a crystal to place on our altar. Mesa carriers can also bring a misaruni or sacred bundle.

Hopefully, we will have clear weather to do some stargazing after our ceremony in the dark of the moon. We may also catch some of the Quadrantids Meteor Shower. Bring binoculars and warm coats.

A partial solar eclipse on the other side of the world will start at 11:40 pm, Jan. 3, MST (Colorado time), and end at 4:00 am Dec. 4, MST. It will be visible in parts of Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.

The new moon will be at 02:04 am, Mountain Standard Time, on January 4, 2011, just after our ceremony.   

Private location. Directions available when you RSVP to 303-415-3755 or rsvp@shamanicjourneys.net.


..........................................................................................................

Class 13. January 30, 2011 - Imbolc: The Festival Of Brigid, Celtic Goddess and Saint

Come join us in celebration of the beauty, inspiration, and healing energy of Brigid -- Brigid who is an ancient and timeless triune goddess of the Celtic spirit, and Brigid, who is the beloved saint of Ireland and Scotland.

In our ceremony, we will have an opportunity to walk the lovely 11-circuit labyrinth in quiet contemplation. We will also share stories, music, and poetry inspired by Brigid. All participants will have an opportunity to receive a small candle infused with the Flame of Brigid, and a blessing from her healing well.

The qualities and symbolism of goddess and saint overlap and merge in a lovely way, making it difficult to tell where the myth of one ends and the legends of the other begins.

Check out the article that appeared in the Boulder Daily Camera, Saturday, January 23, 2010, about our Imbolc celebration last year! http://www.dailycamera.com/archivesearch/ci_14248469
Text of the article is copied above.

Brigid's Well
        at Kildare, IrelandWell of St. Brigid in Kildare, Ireland

NOTE: Be sure to bring warm socks, or enjoy going barefoot on the Labyrinth. They will have some booties to cover shoes, if you need shoes. (The floor can be slippery in socks.) We must do everything we can to preserve the labyrinth, which is in delicate condition.

The church has an elevator to the basement, and is handicapped accessible.

The parking lot behind the church is available for Sunday (not for weekdays, however).


..........................................................................................................

Class 14 would have been Spring Equinox, but I was sick.

Class 15. May 1, 2011- Beltane Ceremony- May Day 

with Edie Stone and Maria Jekic

May Pole 2010

Beltane Themes and Details

I am delighted to have Maria Jekic join us as our co-facilitator and logistics maven for Beltane!

You are invited to celebrate the joyous juiciness of Spring and the beginning of the Celtic Summer with a Beltane ceremony, followed by a potluck, on Sunday, May 1. Set up and preparations, 1 to 2 pm (set up May Pole, etc.) Please arrive by 1:45. Ceremony starts at 2 pm.

By donation, $10 to $25 is appreciated, no one turned away for lack of funds.

The location will be in North Boulder, and you will receive directions when you RSVP. Because I want and need this to be a co-creation of our growing Celtic Spirituality group, you can participate by bringing certain items, listed below. Be sure to include what you are bringing with your RSVP to 303-415-3755 or rsvp@shamanicjourneys.net

Please bring folding chairs or blankets if you know you need to sit. We will have a few chairs on hand.

During the afternoon, we will weave together several themes from Celtic and British seasonal myths, folklore, and rituals, into a playful, co-created ceremony. Themes include:

1. The transition out of the dark half of the year, giamos, which has been with us from October 31, Samhain/Hallowe'en -- into the light half of the year, samos, which starts on May 1 with the Feast of Bealtinne.

3. This transition is sometimes symbolized by a battle between Green Man and Brown Man, or conflict between the Young God and an Old, Dark, or Giant God. (The energy of Youth is found in Mabon, Lleu, Culhwch, or Gawain/Gwalchmai in Welsh traditions, Cúchulainn, Lugh, and Angus Og in Irish -- while the aging Cernunnos, the Hawthorne Giant, and Cú Roí Mac Dáire are the old or defeated energy.) In parts of Wales, the battle of the King of Summer against the King of Winter for the hand of the May Queen was acted out by teams of boys. In the Middle Ages,
Robin Hood or Jack-in-the-Green embodied the young energy, battling against Dark and Evil. In many traditional May Day revels, the triumphant youth is crowned as the King of the May.

2. The coming forth of the Flower Maiden (Blodeuwedd and Olwen in Welsh legend, Bláthnat in Irish). She is the Goddess of the Land in her youthful, lovely aspect. Sometimes the old Hag has to be vanquished, much as the Old God is defeated. Maid Marian, whom some see as a version of the ancient White Lady of the wildwood, accompanies Robin Hood. We find the Flower Maiden embodied in the Queen of the May in many Bealtaine festivities.

3. Symbols of fertility and the Greenwood Marriage. Fertility symbols include the phallic May Pole (a Germanic/Saxon influence), which is crowned, by a yoni-like wreath of flowers. Other fertility symbols include ritualized "marriages" or the King and Queen of the May, and the joining of Chalice and Blade. Hobby horses are often to be found in May Day festivities, and they cavort and dance, teasing the girls, and sometimes "capture" a maiden.

4. Another important figure is the Fool, who often appears in mummers plays or Morris Dance groups as a male cross-dressed in women's clothing. This is an apt symbol of the limnal, neither-here-nor-there energy of transformation, of the thinness of the veils between the worlds, and of the
marriage of opposites. By breaking patterns of expected behavior and crossing boundaries, the Fool makes greater change possible.

5. Fires of transformation and purification. The first Bealtaine fire was lit at Uisnech, the center of Druidic power in Ireland. Other fires would be relit from the central fire. Until the 1800's in Scotland and Wales, the fires of Bealtaine or Calan Mai were lit to purify cattle as they were driven from stale winter containment into the fresh freedom of the green pastures in the hills, called sheilings. The young people of the village would spend the summer in the sheilings, which might have led to a bit of mischief.
 
6. The blessing of water. Dew collected at dawn on Bealtaine was especially potent, as it had absorbed the fire of the sun, and thus became "sun in water." This could be saved and used for healing during the rest of the year for healing. In some places, communities would make a pilgrimage to a sacred well at dawn on May Day, to collect the potent "sun in water," which was sprinkled on them as a blessing. In Cornwall, May 1 was Dipping Day, and boys would splash water on anyone they met who was not wearing hawthorne. In southern Ireland, a procession of mummers included a clown who would anoint the shrieking crowds with water from a home-made mop. (Thanks to Mara Freeman for most of the water traditions, and Alexei Kondratiev for the sun-in-water image.)

7. Bringing in the May, and May Bushes. It was customary in all the Celtic lands to rise early on May Day, go out in the countryside, and bring back in flowers and flowering branches, especially hawthorne branches. May Bushes are a more authentically Celtic version of the May Pole. Flowering branches were gathered together and decorated to make the bush, or a living tree was decorated with flowers, ribbons, bright scraps of material, colored eggshells, bits of shiny metal, or a golden ball to symbolize the sun. Boys and girls with branches and flowers would dance around the May Bush, in a serpentine or spiral pattern.

How do you spell Beltane, any way?

Any of these ways:

Belltaine, Bealtaine, Beltain, Beltane, Beltine, Bealteine, Bealltuinn (Scottish Gaelic), Boaldyn (Manx)
Or try Welsh: Calan Mai, or Cornish: Cala' Mē, or Breton: Kala-Hañv

..........................................................................................................

Class 16. June 22, 2011 - Exploring Celtic Spirituality - Summer Solstice & Midsummer traditions

Learn about Summer Solstice and Midsummer traditions in the Celtic realm and old Europe.

Captive Robin by
          John Fitzgerald

     * Why is the solstice festival called Midsummer when it is the beginning of summer?    
          ~ The Celtic cross-quarter seasons vs. the solar calendar
          ~ Sunrise over Stonehenge, dancing the stones in Calanish
     * The sun god and the hero of fire - Belenus, Apollo, Mithra, Prometheus
          ~ The hidden history of Mother Sun
     * Fire festivals, wheels of fire, bone fires, need fires, and the fire of St. John
          ~ Jack be nimble, Jack be quick
     * Midsummer Night
          ~ Parting the veil between the worlds, seeing the faery realm
          ~ Fairies, great and small, hobgoblins, Queen Mab, Robin Goodfellow and Puck
     * The Lord and Lady of Summer, The Green Man, and the Lord of Misrule
          ~ Streaking at 3 am in Latvia, the Cerne Abbas Giant, and other fertility symbols
          ~ Parades, pageants, and parties

DETAILS:
     * Wednesday, June 22, 2011, 7 to 9:30 pm
     * LOCATION: Edie Stone's office, 2027 Broadway, Suite H, Boulder, CO 80302
          ~ 1/2 block north of the Pearl Street Mall, below OM Time Yoga
          ~ Cool, comfortable office
     * RSVP if possible: rsvp@ediestone.com by June 21
          ~ Call 303-415-3755 by June 22
     * Donations appreciated ($10-$25), but no one turned away    

Solstice Sun Wheel Rolling Down
                  Hill


Hey, I know it is not the solar Solstice. Historically, most European Midsummer customs are celebrated on the evening of June 23 and the day of June 24. So we have one more day to party!

Midsummer customs include May Poles and Green Crosses in Scandinavia and Central Europe as well as Britain.

June 24 is also the Feast of Saint John the Baptist. As usual (thanks to Gregory the Great), the Catholic Church placed a saint's day on top of a traditional seasonal festival.
Then the Church spent centuries trying to stamp out the frivolities and festivities, such as:

     * Rolling wheels of fire
     * Naked midnight swims
     * Battles between the Kings of Winter and Summer
    
Also, learn more about magical ferns, invisibility, and St. John's Wort ... which is of course associated with the happy, sunny days of the Feast of St. John the Baptist.

After this feast of images and symbolism, we will do a little Midsummer Night's Dreaming, and journey to our own inner solstice energies.

Dancing
          around the Midsummer Bonfire

Also June 20, 2011 - Midsummer Nights Dreaming Group -  A Solstice Open House

For more information:
http://www.ediestone.com/midsummerdreams.html

..........................................................................................................

Class 17 - Celtic Equinox and Harvest Traditions - September 23, 2011

The Harvest by Robert Zund

Enjoy the fruits of the maturing year, celebrate the Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine

Bring fruit or something you have baked, brewed, or harvested for the potluck.

Bring autumn leaves, branches, grasses to decorate our "harvest home" and altar.

Join us in celebrating the richness of Celtic harvest and autumn traditions on the Autumn Equinox.
We
will break bread together, create a harvest altar, explore seasonal, mythic, and archetypal themes, and do a group journey or simple ceremony.

Actual Equinox time is Sept 23, 2010 at 3:04 AM Mountain Daylight Time or Sept 23, 9:04 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time). So we will be in ceremony just after the equinox.
A good site for calendar and astronomical info is
    http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/september-equinox.html



Some or most of the themes we will cover are:
A sheaf of
              barley with sickle. The last one harvested would become
              the Harvest Queen (or the Hag of the Harvest).


A. The Celtic Wheel of the Year - Autumn phase
The
            Celtic Sun-God Lugh, from Wilson's AlmanacB. The balance of day and night, of dark and light, and of masculine and feminine:



Irish Harvest

Sliabh na
          Cailli, Hill of the Hag, at Loughcrew

A modern
          Harvest Maiden or Corn DollyBring fruit or something you have baked, brewed, or harvested for the potluck.

Bring autumn leaves, branches, grasses to decorate our "harvest home" and altar.

Other names for this time of year:
Autumnal Equinox, Alban Elfed (modern Druid), Festival of Mabon (modern Wiccan)
Harvest Home, 2nd Harvest, Midharvest, Fruit Harvest, Wine Harvest, Gŵyl Ganol yr Hydref (Welsh, Feast of Middle of Autumn), Goeldheys (Cornish, feast of ricks), Foghar (Scots Gaelic, harvest), Feast of the Ingathering (England), Kirn(Scotland), Mell Supper (Northern England)
Michaelmas (Sept. 29), Lá Fhéile Michil (Irish), Gwyl Fihangel (Welsh), Gouel Sant-Mikael (Breton), Goel Myghal (Cornish), Goel Myghal (Manx)

Let us give thanks. Consider the hours of labor it used to take to reap enough grain by hand to keep family and community alive through the winter. Accounts of Irish harvest labourers employed in Scotland, for 5 to 15 shillings per acre, could harvest 300 sheaves a day using a sickle, and eat 10 pounds of porridge, 3 pounds of milk, and "2 gallons of good ale" per day!


Reaping machine from ancient Gaul
How to put the cart before the bull! A reaping machine from 1st Century Celtic Gaul, described by Pliney the Elder.
Harvest info from the 1888 Chambers’s Encyclopedia of Universal Knowledge, excerpts quoted on http://vickipedia.multipledigression.com/ 
Entry on August 9, 2007, Reaping.


The sun enters Cairn T Loughcrew
          on the Equinox

The sun enters Cairn T at Loughcrew at dawn on the Equinoxes. Martin Brennan, who wrote The Stones of Time, gathered volunteers to document the movement of the sun across the figures on the interior stones of many cairns near Newgrange. He suggests that the whole comples of cairns in the Boyne Valley, Newgrange, and Knowth, could have been used as a giant calendar of sun events around the year.

Martin Brennan also wrote The Hidden Maya, a fascinating exploration of Mayan glyphs using his knowledge of  Native sign language.

Martin spoke in Boulder with the Diné Anthropologist Charlie Cambridge and the late Dr. Bob McFarlane about the stone circles next to NIST, which caught the sunset shadow of the neck of Bear Mountain on the Winter Solstice. That area may also have served as a large prehistoric calender site, now it is home to the atomic clock!


..........................................................................................................

JackOCat by Maria Jekic

Class 18 - A Celtic Hallowe'en: Samhain Ancestor Ceremony & Merlin's 2012 Vision with Edie Stone & Maria Jekic

Join us for Samhain on the Eve of 2012!

The veil between the worlds is thinning. We have gathered in our harvest. The old year is fading into night and the new year is yet to be born. This is a ripe season for letting go of the old and welcoming transformation.

Owl on Lunar
      Samhain Altar 2010
Sunday, October 30, 2011 -  6:30 pm
    6:30 pm  Introduction
    7:00 to 9:00 pm, Ceremony
    Potluck follows, 9-10 pm or so
    Doors will be locked once we start ceremony about 7 pm

Location: Edie Stone's office, and later in Om Time's Downstairs Studio
    2027 Broadway, Suite H, Boulder, 80302
    1/2 block north of the Pearl St. Mall in downtown Boulder

   

Suggested donation: $10 to $25. No one turned away.

PLEASE RSVP as space is limited:
estone@ediestone.com by Saturday, or call 303-415-3755 on Sunday (if space is left)

 
Photos: Samhain altars, Jack O'Cat, and Mr. Snow Bones, ©2009 Edie Stone
Jack O'Cat Pumpkin, carved by Maria Jekic, 2009.

Join with us to celebrate Samhain/Hallowe'en with a ceremony and shamanic ancestor journey.
This event is co-hosted by Edie Stone and Maria Jekic.
Exploring Celtic Spirituality is a series of classes and ceremonies celebrating the Celtic Wheel of the Year and seasonal traditions.

Suggested donation $10 to $25.
PLEASE RSVP as space is limited:
estone@ediestone.com by Saturday, or call 303-415-3755 on Sunday (if space is left)


JackOCat by Maria Jekic

O  ,  O         O  ,  O         O  ,  O         O  ,  O            
\/\/\/\/\/         \/\/\/\/\/         \/\/\/\/\/         \/\/\/\/\/  

Samhain 2011: Background information & mythic themes:  

Jack O'Cat Pumpkin, carved by Maria Jekic, 2009. 

Samhain 


Within the ancient Celtic rhythm of the seasons of the land and the turning of the Wheel of the Year, we are now approaching Samhain (pronounced Sow-un, sounds like sow, a female pig).

Samhain is the most sacred ceremony and the most potent time of the year. At this time, the veils between the worlds of matter and spirit are the most thin, and the mists part to reveal the most magical visions. The ancestors are the most available, and our hearts are the most open to those who have passed over.
Gleaning by Arthur
        Hughes
Samhain means "End of Summer." The remnants of the harvest were first available to be gleaned by the poor. But anything left in the field by Samhain Eve was to be left for the Faery Folk or Spirits. We will honor this tradition by offering a Spirit Plate on our altar, and you can also put one outside your house on Hallow's Eve (Oct. 31).
Mari Lwyd goes
        Trickster Treating
In some areas, there were Pookas or other trickster spirits, who knocked down your gate or soured your milk if you left nothing out for them. Trickster or treats! You can see the ancient echoes of this folk tradition in the little ghosts and goblins that show up at your door on Hallowe'en.

The traditional name for dressing up in costume and entertaining or begging at your rich neighbor's door is guising. It was practiced throughout the British Isles during Winter months, including going wassailing and caroling at Christmas, mummers plays featuring the death and rebirth of the hero, and the odd Welsh custom of traipsing through town with Mari Lwyd, a decorated horse skull and white sheet, at New Years. Stay tuned for December and January events for more guising.

The Wheel of the Year

The Celtic day started at sundown, and the Celtic year started at the year's sundown, the time after Autumn Equinox when the sunlight is rapidly fading, and winter is starting to set in. So Samhain is not only the end of Summer, it is the end of the year, the death of the old year. On Samhain, we open the door to the darkness of Winter.

Wheel of the Year from Gaia's Garden

Wheel of the year image from http://www.gaias-garden.co.uk/articles/woty.html
Visit their site for a lovely tour of seasonal flowers in England, and order calendars for 2012.
This is my favorite graphic of the Wheel of the Year, for it's complete simplicity.

Hallowe'en, the start of Winter? Oh, no!

We in America mark the seasons in the rhythms of the sky. We think of Winter as starting with the Winter Solstice.

The Celts and ancient Britons, however, experienced and celebrated the seasons more in the rhythms of the land than of the sky. The agricultural seasons followed the cycles of the plants and animals: the plant cycle in the rhythms of sowing, tending, and reaping – and the cycles of the animals in the rhythms of the lactation of ewes at the birth of Spring, of driving the cattle to summer pastures at the beginning of Bealtinne/Beltane, and of the sacrifice of cattle at Samhain for survival through Winter.

This is still true in much of Britain and the Celtic lands. There, the time around December 21-23 is still called Midwinter. And the the fairies in Midsummer Night's Dream were out making mischief on the 23rd of June, not in July or August.

The tribal and community gatherings of the Celts also followed these rhythms of the land. The major Celtic fire festivals are held on the Cross-Quarter dates, in between the Solstices and Equinoxes: Samhain (start of Winter, November 1), Imbolc (start of Spring, February 1), Beltane/Bealtinne (start of Summer, May 1), and Lughnasa (start of Harvest/Autumn, August 1). See Wheel of the Year, above.

It may feel a bit dreary and depressing to think that we are on the verge of winter already. But we will have the festivities of lights and feasts and carols and mistletoe to keep us merry at Midwinter and through the Twelve Days of Christmas that follow, up to Twelfth Night. Then only a few more weeks of January, and we will be celebrating Spring already on February 1, with Blessed Brigit and those lactating ewes of Imbolc. (I plan to host Midwinter/Solstice and Twelve Days events, and certainly another Imbolc, so stay tuned.)

Samhain, Hallowe'en, All Hallows Eve, All Saints' Day, All Souls' Day

Coligny
        Calendar showing Mid SamoniosWhen the Roman Catholic Church showed up in Ireland, and other places in northern Europe, they had a really, really hard time stopping the people from celebrating their connection with their ancestors at this time of year. So they moved All Saints' Day to November 1 (it was originally in May, one week after Pentecost), and added All Souls' Day on November 2.

All Saints' Day was also known as All Hallows or Hallowmas, and with the Celtic emphasis on the day starting at evening, October 31st became All Hallows Eve, better known as Hallowe'en.

Samhain was a three-day holiday, including an annual assembly. That three-day aspect persists from the Coligny calendar (from Gaul, 2nd century), through to the modern Church calendar of All Hallows Eve, All Saints' Day, and All Souls' Day.

This is all a simplification of course, and scholars squabble over every point. But the point for us is to take the imagery, and weave that into ceremony, and go deeper, then come back out and have some fun celebrating, and then go home and  dream between the worlds.
 
Image from Coligny Calendar, Mid Samonios, by Nantonos Aedui, an expert on Gaulish divinities.
All photo credits below.

Voyage to the West: The Blessed Isles & The Isles of the Dead

In the mythic landscapes of Ireland and Britain, the waters of the West hold the path of the souls beyond death.

In Irish mythology, Donn, or the Dark One, is the Lord of the Dead. He was the chief and father-figure of the Milesian tribe of the heroic era. He slighted the Goddess of the Land, Ériu or Éire, and was drowned off the SW coast of Erin/Ireland. The House of Donn (Tech nDuinn) was a small, rocky island of the Beare Peninsula which served as the assembly place for the dead on their way to the Otherworld in the Western Sea.
     The location of this Celtic "Otherworld," like the location of an electron in a cloud of possibility, shimmers between the Blessed Isles across the Western Sea, underground in the light-filled Hollow Hills or Sídhe mounds, or invisible but right alongside the land of the living, as close to you as your garden.
Island of the Dead
        #3, by Arnold Boecklin, 1883
"There are many islands of the dead both actual and mythical, although by their very nature, the former overlap with the latter: they have an otherworldly nature by design. They are meant to serve as an interface between the quick and the dead: a terminal to life’s journey; an entreport to the deadlands. Here we’ll look at a few examples, scattered around the British Isles and beyond; with the awareness that we enter treacherous waters: for where one ends and the other begins is hard to gauge. Real funerary islands have a mythic atmosphere, and mythical isles of the dead blur into islands of the ever-living: mortality becomes immortality."
       quote from a great essay by Kevan Manwaring,  http://www.kevanmanwaring.co.uk/article.html
           Painting: Island of the Dead, version 3, by Arnold Böcklin, 1883

St Michaels Mount,
      Cornwall, by Mark Twyning









St. Michaels Mount, Cornwall.
Photo "MountSunRays" by Mark Twyning, 2006, Creative Commons


There are many western islands which have this quality of the Blessed Isles and the Isles of the Dead:

Britain itself, home of the Hyperboreans, and destination of the souls of the Gauls and Bretons
Ireland itself, which is completely magical
Bardsey Island, off the tip of the Llyn Peninsula in NW Wales, graves of saints and kings
Anglesy or Ynys Mons, to the NW of Wales, covered with ancient cairns, sacred College of the Druids
Island of Gwales off the SW coast of Wales, where the men of the Welsh Bran listened to his living head 80 years after his death
The Isles of Scilly, SW of the tip of Cornwall, 83 Bronze Age ancestral burial cairns
St. Michaels Mount, near the SW tip of Cornwall is the the intersection of the Michael & Mary leyline that runs across England form SW to NE, with the Michael axis (and its Apollo and Athena currents) that runs from Skellig Michael Island off Ireland, through Mont St. Michel, through Delphi and Athens, to the "end of the world" Megiddo/Armegeddon in Israel.
Skellig Michael Island off the SW of Ireland, sacred island of St. Michael
• The House of Donn (Tech nDuinn), a rocky island off the Beare Peninsula in SW Ireland, home of the Irish Lord of Death
Iona off western Scotland, more graves of saints and kings
• In the Irish legends of the Voyage of Bran, he and his crew sail to various islands, including the Isle of Women. "Silver-cloud Plain. Plain of Sports, Bountiful Land, Gentle Land, were some of the names that these islands bore." Hy-Brasil was out there somewhere in the Atlantic, too.
• St. Brandon of Ireland and Prince Madoc of Wales both sailed west and may have made it to the big "island" of North America.
• The Islands of the Dead blur quite easily into the Land of the Ever-living. The classic location is Tir nan Og (Tír na nÓg), the "Land of the Young" in the Western Sea.
Glastonbury Tor
        showing ridges or old labyrinth
• The most famous mythic island in British myth and legend is, of course, Avalon, usually associated with Glastonbury, in SW England. Avalon in Welsh is Ynys Afallach which means Island of Apples. Two thousand years ago, Glastonbury Tor was an island in a shallow sea, near a Roman port for the tin trade.

Avalon. In the most ancient Welsh legends of Arthur, recorded by Geoffrey of Monmouth, the wounded Arthur is taken by Merlin and the poet Taliesin on a boat steered by Barinthus to "the island of apples which men call The Fortunate Isle." There Arthur is treated by Morgen, the eldest of nine sisters, who excels in the arts of healing and shapeshifting. (This is not the later, ambivalent figure of the sorceress and seductive opponent of Arthur, Morgan La Fay, but a healer and goddess-like figure, who according to RJ Stewart, is the regenerative power of the Otherworld.)

Emigration from the Old Countries and Cultural Soul-Loss

All of us with European roots are heir to a similar journey westward by our ancestors. Some left their homes with a spirit of excitement and exploration, but many others were forced to leave their homes and communities by poverty, war, or oppression. Some victims of the Irish famine were place in coffin ships, in a literal journey to the waters of death in the West. Survivors stood on the docks, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free, wrenched from their roots, waiting for the ships to sail westward to what they hoped was a new land of the blessed.

Although not as horrifying as the journey of enslaved Africans, many of the Celtic and other European emigrants did suffer a collective soul-loss, which may still echo in the shadow of America. Being wrenched from our roots and the lands of our ancestors may have contributed to our collective disconnect from the Earth, our cultural loss of seeing and sensing the spirits of the land, our paving over Paradise to put up so many parking lots. For some people, the ancestor journey work that we do on Samhain can be an antidote to this cultural soul-loss.

Merlin and Visions of 2012

We will invite the Young Merlin of prophecy, and the Old Merlin of wisdom, to help us mark the Directions and the turning of the Wheel of the Year, as we enter into 2012.

Young Merlin embodies the power of visionary experience, and the courage of speaking truth to power. Old Merlin embodies the madness of war, the cleansing of grief, the healing power of nature, kinship with animals, and the wisdom of cosmic knowledge.

Preview: You can read my article on Merlin's Prophecies at
http://www.shamanstone.org/ArticleMerlinVisions.html


Finding Your Own Vision:

Traditionally, Samhain was a potent time for divinations and dreams of the future.

You may wish to prepare for Samhain on the Eve of 2012 by thinking of old patterns you want to release, and by asking for guidance and vision in preparing for personal and planetary transformation in the coming year.

WEAVING THE THREADS OF CEREMONY

As Maria Jekic and I have done in the past, we will weave the various themes of Hallowe'en, Samhain, and the mythic images mentioned above into visual reminders and ritual movements in our ceremony.
Samhain Blessing
        Bowl Altar 2010
In this Samhain celebration, we will start on the crowded docks of the old country (Edie's office), then go on a voyage down a long hall to the Om Time Otherworld. There we will be able to offer and receive blessings of our ancestors and loved ones. Bring photos, pieces of cloth, or other small objects which connect you to your ancestors or loved ones who have passed over. You can place them on an altar, or keep them close to your heart, but please remember to take them home at the end of your journey. (Ancestors can be your blood line; your milk line, those who nurtured you; or your spirit line, those who inspired or guided you.)

In old Irish houses, there was a Western Room (it may have only been a niche in the wall of most cottages), which was the place where the ancestors were honored. We will have an altar area in the niche of the West, where you can honor your loved ones.

We will connect with the central altar and the energies of the Wheel of the Year, learn about Merlin and his visions, and share poetry and inspiration.

We will do an embodied journey to the ancestors, which is a form developed by our friend Frank MacEowen Owen, inspired by a dream of his ancestors. We will reflect on and share some of our experiences and visions.

And then, for all who choose to linger, we will eat, toast the New Year, and be merry.

O  ,  O         O  ,  O         O  ,  O       O  ,  O        O  ,  O        
\/\/\/\/\/         \/\/\/\/\/         \/\/\/\/\/        \/\/\/\/\/        \/\/\/\/\/
    
..........................................................................................................

Class 19 - Winter Labyrinth Walk with Brigid

Walking the
              Labyrinth at St. Brigit's church

Photo credit: http://www.stbrigit.org

Walking the Labyrinth, with Diane Gansauer and Edie Stone

12/18/11 – UPDATE on our labyrinth walk which was Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Midwinter Preview of Imbolc, by Edie Stone


Labyrinth
          Center in SnowWe had planned to meet inside with a canvas labyrinth because of the snow, but ... lo, the children were practicing their Christmas pageant inside the church ... so we had to meet outside. The site at St. Brigit's is an old farm, and folks had to drive across an acre of snow to reach the labyrinth. When I arrived, Diane, Sue, and some church parents and teens had just finished shoveling and sweeping a large volume of snow so we could see and walk the paths. Thank you!

The day was warm, bright, and beautiful – the first really clear blue sky in a long time. Brick Cross of St.
            Brigit

The center of this Chartres-style labyrinth is a six-petaled rose (see diagram below). At the very center,  I was delighted to find a simple Brigid's cross, created from the brick pavers that also formed the lines of the 11 circuits. 

As we set up, I chose three candles that depict aspects of Brigid: one in the North with a collage of Irish images, including a red-headed colleen and spirals of Newgrange; one in the East with a reed Brigid's Cross, that had an image of Brigid as nun on one side, and
Brigid either as maiden or goddess on the other; and the third, in the South, the image of a woman (Brigid? the artist? the viewer? any one of us?) receiving the light of the sun which then spirals into her heart. This last image is by Irish artist and writer Susanne Iles (www.susanneiles.com/imbolc.html). One of the miracles of that day is that the candles stayed lit through the whole ceremony ... on the plains of Colorado where the wind always blows.

In my experience, ceremonies have to include spontaneous experience as well as a planned structure. The labyrinth itself provides an archetypal structure of enter/deepen/return, a gentle version of the hero's journey. Diane's role was to provide an overview of these phases of interacting with the labyrinth. My role was to open our ceremony with an acknowledgment of the sacred space surrounding us, and an invocation from the Carmina Gadelica.
Receiving the
            Light of Brigid - Art by Susanne Iles, Irish artist


Then I received an inspiration directly from Brigid. The sun was shining in the south, on this beautiful
clear day. The south candle showed the woman receiving the light, her hands open, the light spirialing into her heart. So I said, "Let's turn to the sun, and receive the light. And allow it to flow into your body, into your heart or belly." So we stood, each receiving in our own way the warm golden sunlight. Truly, a warm blessing of Brigid in the white winter landscape.

In some Scottish legends, is is said that there is a fierce competition between the Cailleach (Hag of the Harvest, the Winter Storm Goddess) and Brigid, in her aspect as bringer of Spring. In some versions, the old Cailleach imprisons the young Bride in a cave. In Ireland, there is also the theme from
O Mother Sun by Patricia Monahan, which is the alternating feminine identity of the sun between the old winter sun Grian and the bright summer sun Aine (in Irish, the word for sun,
grian or greine,
is feminine).

Imbolc image © by Susanne Iles, Irish symbolist artist and writer      
www.susanneiles.com
   

Well, on this day, Bright Brigid escaped from the icy hands of winter, scattered the grey clouds, and reminded us that spring will soon return.

Our walk was wonderful and warm. Two amazing things at the end: All the candles stayed lit.  (outdoors! on the plains!) And two large flocks of Canadian geese flew overhead in the crystal blue sky.
 
Augury of Geese
          at St. Brigit's Labyrinth - Photo by Larry Eson








     Photo by Larry Eson, 2011.
     Yes, there is a flock of geese there. Enlarge your screen view if you need to
.

Afterwards, we went to the church house and had hot cider and cookies, and pleasant talk.

Here is the original description of this event:


Find your sacred path this season, and explore the peaceful effects of walking a labyrinth. This is an opportunity to set aside the rush of the holidays and move into sacred space-time.

We will meet at the labyrinth near the new little church of St. Brigit in Frederick, a few miles north of Denver. It is a 11-circuit labyrinth in the Chartres style, which has just been created by volunteers.


..........................................................................................................
Class 20 -
December 21, 2011

Midwinter Solstice: Journey from Darkness into LightWinter solstice
        sunrise floods Newgrange with light, with Edie Stone

Explore Celtic and British traditions of the Midwinter season as the Wheel of the Year turns through its deepest, darkest hour. Experience an imaginal journey into the Cave of the Sun (Newgrange or Brú na Bóinne) and the rebirth of the Solstice light. Find ways we can individually and collectively turn our dark shadows into light.

Bring a small stone & sprig of greenery for our altar and fingerfood for potluck after the ceremony.


DETAILS FOR MIDWINTER SOLSTICE EVENT:

Please RSVP as space is limited and past events have filled up.
estone@ediestone.com by 10 pm, Dec. 20 or 303-415-3755 by Dec. 21. Note: I can't access my emails on Dec. 21 so only a phone call/voice message will work on Dec. 21 if you need information or to see if there is still space or to change your reservation on that date.

Date & Time: December 21, 2011
       6:30 to 9:30 pm

Location
: Edie Stone's Office, 2027 Broadway, Suite H, Boulder, CO 80304

Directions: 1/2 block north of the Pearl Street Mall, downstairs, below OM Time Yoga
    Detailed directions, parking, bus routes, and office photos at
       http://www.ediestone.com/directions.html

Donations appreciated
($10 to $25 suggested range). No one turned away for lack of funds.
 

RSVP: estone@ediestone.com by 10 pm Dec 20, or 303-415-3755 by Dec. 21
   

Some topics we may cover include:
Newgrange Cross
      Section by W. F. Wakeman, 1903 edition
Interior of Newgrange, the long passage is 63 ft.
Drawing from Wakeman's Handbook of Irish Antiquities, 1903


The Wheel of the Year ... approaching Midwinter

The Celtic day started at sundown, and the Celtic year started at the year's sundown, the time after Autumn Equinox when the sunlight is rapidly fading, and winter is starting to set in. Samhain/All Hallows' Eve was not only the end of Summer, it was the end of the year, the death of the old year. On Samhain, we opened the door to the darkness of Winter, as the wheel turns toward 2012.

Now as we approach the Winter Solstice, and the shortest day, we are well into winter weather, and we  are  experiencing increasing darkness. We are approaching "midwinter."


Wheel of the Year
      from Gaia's Gardens

Wheel of the year image from http://www.gaias-garden.co.uk/articles/woty.html
Visit their site for a lovely tour of seasonal flowers in England, and order calendars for 2012.
This is my favorite graphic of the Wheel of the Year, for it's complete simplicity.


We in America mark the seasons in the rhythms of the sky. We think of Winter as starting with the Winter Solstice.

The Celts and ancient Britons, however, experienced and celebrated the seasons more in the rhythms of the land than of the sky. The agricultural seasons followed the cycles of the plants and animals: the
plant cycle in the rhythms of sowing, tending, and reaping – and the cycles of the animals in the rhythms of the lactation of ewes at the birth of Spring, of driving the cattle to summer pastures at the beginning of Bealtinne/Beltane, and of the sacrifice of cattle at Samhain for survival through Winter.

This is still true in much of Britain and the Celtic lands. There, the time around December 21-23 is still called
Midwinter. And the the fairies in Midsummer Night's Dream were out making mischief on the 23rd of June, not in July or August.

The tribal and community gatherings of the Celts also followed these rhythms of the land. The major Celtic fire festivals are held on the Cross-Quarter dates,
in between the Solstices and Equinoxes: Samhain (start of Winter, November 1), Imbolc (start of Spring, February 1), Beltane/Bealtinne (start of Summer, May 1), and Lughnasa (start of Harvest/Autumn, August 1). See Wheel of the Year, above.

It may feel a bit dreary and depressing to think that we are in winter already in November and December. But look outside, it has been cold and snowy, finally. And when you realize that we are
almost half way through winter, something may shift in your inner sense of the seasons, and then you can truly look forward to the Solstice as Midwinter.

We have the festivities of lights and feasts and carols and mistletoe to keep us merry at
Midwinter and through the Twelve Days of Christmas that follow, up to Twelfth Night. Then only a few more weeks of January, and we will be celebrating Spring already on February 1, with Blessed Brigit and those lactating ewes of Imbolc. Yes! (I plan to host another Imbolc ceremony in the Labyrinth at First United Methodist Church, on Sunday, January 20, 2011, so stay tuned.)

..........................................................................................................

Class 21 - Imbolc, the Festival of Brigid
January 29, 2012
details at http://www.ediestone.com/brigid.html

..........................................................................................................
 
Class 22 - Merlin's Prophecies and 2012: Tools to Transform the Future
February 24, 2012
details at http://www.ediestone.com/merlin.html


Feb 24-25, 2012 - Merlin's Prophecies and 2012
    Metaphysical Society of Denver

Merlin and Visions of 2012

On Samhain, we worked with the Young Merlin of prophecy, and the Old Merlin of wisdom, to help us mark the Directions and the turning of the Wheel of the Year.

Young Merlin embodies the power of visionary experience, and the courage of speaking truth to power. Old Merlin embodies the madness of war, the cleansing of grief, the healing power of nature, kinship with animals, and the wisdom of cosmic knowledge.

This is the Welsh Merlin, the first images of Merlin that we see in ancient Welsh poetry and the early medieval text, Vita Merlini. This is not the Merlin of later Grail Quest legends in Europe. He is not the sorcerer sealed in cave, tree, or glass by the seductive Vivien or Nimue, and he is not the silly wizard with a pointy hat of film and comics. Rather, he is a visionary prophet, poet, king, madman, and philosopher of the stars, with deep relevance to our times.

I am planning to offer a workshop in February, 2012, to explore the Prophecies of Merlin. Please let me know if you are interested by sending me an email at estone@ediestone.com with "Interested in Merlin workshop" or something like that in the subject line. That will help me plan for the size of the workshop, thanks.

Preview: You can read my article on Merlin's Prophecies at
http://www.shamanstone.org/ArticleMerlinVisions.html

..........................................................................................................

Class 23 - Celtic Equinox and Harvest Traditions - September 23, 2012

Enjoy the fruits of the maturing year, celebrate the Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine

Join us in celebrating the richness of Celtic harvest and autumn traditions on the Autumn Equinox.

We will break bread together, create a harvest altar, explore seasonal, mythic, and archetypal themes, and do a group journey or simple ceremony.
A sheaf of barley with sickle. The last
                  one harvested would become the Harvest Queen (or the
                  Hag of the Harvest).
Some or most of the themes we will cover are:

A. The Celtic Wheel of the Year - Autumn phase

B. The balance of day and night, of dark and light, and of masculine and feminine:
..........................................................................................................

Class 24: Samhain: The Soulful Side of Hallowe'en

Autumn leaves bring richness to the nightNEW DATE:
Sunday, NOVEMBER 4, 6:00 to 8:30 pm

The Solstice Center, 302 Pearl Street
, Boulder, CO 80302
      SE Corner of Pearl Street and 3rd Street
      Enter thru Front Door, on Pearl Street
Suggested donation: $15 to $25
. Thank you.
PLEASE RSVP
to 303-415-3755 by day of event
    OR to email Edie by day before event 

The veil between the worlds is thinning. The moon is waning. We have gathered in our harvest. The old year is fading into night and the new year is yet to be born. This is a ripe season for letting go of the old and welcoming transformation.

Join with us to celebrate Samhain / Hallowe'en  All Hallows / All Souls Season with a ceremony and ajourney to the Deep Wisdom of the Trees and Ancestors.


* Honor your ancestors and loved ones who have passed over this year. Ancestors include your milk line (nurturing figures) and spirit line (inspirational figures), as well as your blood lines.

* Receive the wisdom of the trees, the wisdom their roots bring from deep in the Earth.
* Reconnect with your own roots and receive the gifts of the Ancestors.
* Release old patterns which no longer serve you, and welcome new energy and the seeds of new life.
* Experience the transformational alchemy of fire and water.
* Commune with the sacred plants of the Celtic realm.


PLEASE BRING:

* Photos, cloth, or small items that connect you with your ancestors or departed dear ones.

* Ceremony is deep play, so bring your imagination and sense of delight.
* Warm socks or wrap/blankie if it is a very cold night.
* Dress code: Ceremonial or mythic or ancestral or artistic or casual. Kilts are OK!
* Please be prompt. Doors will close at 6:16 pm.

PLEASE RSVP to 303-415-3755 or email Edie

Halloween
          celebrationUnlike past years, we won't be able to have a potluck at this location. So eat some dinner before you come.

This event is co-facilitated by Edie Stone and Maria Jekic.

Exploring Celtic Spirituality is a series of classes and ceremonies celebrating the Celtic Wheel of the Year.

Suggested donation $15 to $25. No one turned away for lack of funds.


We are also looking for a few volunteers who want to assist at the ceremony. 
Call Edie if you want to volunteer.



..........................................................................................................


Event 25: Midwinter Solstice - 2012
See Meetup Group
..........................................................................................................

Event 26: Twelfth Night with Mari Lwyd and the Horses - 2013
See Meetup Group
..........................................................................................................

Event 27: Dwynwen's Welsh Fest - 2013Mari Lwyd begs
          for food at a Colorado Welsh Society Christmas party
Dwynwen's Welsh Fest
Saturday, January 26, 2013.  6 to 10 pm. Denver.
A Colorado Welsh Society event that Edie helps organize.
See www.ediestone.com/dwynwen.html for details


..........................................................................................................

Event 28: Imbolc

Imbolc on the Labyrinth

Celebrate Brigid, timeless Celtic goddess and beloved Irish saint.11-circuit Chartres style
              labyrinth
Saturday, February 2, 2013.  2 to 4 pm.

Celebrate the beauty, inspiration, and healing energy of Brigid
Receive a small candle infused with the Flame of Brigid, and a blessing from her well
Walk the lovely 11-circuit labyrinth in quiet contemplation
Celebrate the Rebirth of Spring in the Celtic calendar!
By donation
$10 to $25 appreciated (no one turned away for lack of funds)
LOCATION: First United Methodist Church of Boulder


..........................................................................................................
Event 29: Spring Equinox - 2013
Reconnect to Your Inner Sun at the Rebirth of the Year - Ostara and Sacred Geometry with Janet Peart

See also our Meetup group, http://www.meetup.com/Celtic-Spirituality-in-Colorado

Friday, March 29 7-9 pm
Edie's office

Explore Stonehenge, and it's foundation in sacred geometry. Ostara is the Spring Festival, celebrating the dawn light and the Earth's New Year. The dawn and the new fire of Aries give birth to the beautiful green of Spring. We will explore mythic and astrological themes. Then in a journey and ceremony we will align with Heaven and Earth, and kindle our Inner Sun.

My co-host is Janet Peart, British Mystic and Artist, who works with the Grail Mysteries and the energies of Stonehenge and to reconnect with our ancient heritage and to communicate with the Higher Self.

..........................................................................................................
Event 30: Celebrate Beltane, the Greening of the Land, and the Great Horse Goddess
    May 4, 2013
    at Gateways to Transformation Horse Therapy Farm
    see http://www.meetup.com/Celtic-Spirituality-in-Colorado


..........................................................................................................


Event 31: Summer Solstice with the Horses
-2013
    June 21, 2013
    at Gateways to Transformation Horse Therapy Farm
    see http://www.meetup.com/Celtic-Spirituality-in-Colorado
 

..........................................................................................................

Event 33:
Autumn Equinox Celebration - The Mystery of Avalon - 2013
..........................................................................................................

Event 33: Samhain: The Sacred Side of Hallowe'en - 2013

        with Edie Stone and Maria Jekic
Celebrate the close of harvest season and the turning of the Wheel of the Year as we enter into the dark, indwelling season of Samhain (pronounced "sow-in"). In the Celtic calendar, this is the end of the summer season of light, and the start of winter, as darkness descends on the land.

The end of harvest is a time to honor and bless the Earth and the Spirits of Nature. The Earth needs to rest, after record snowfall in the spring, and the recent monsoon rain and floods.

This is also the time of year when the veils between the worlds are the thinnest, and Samhain Water Altar - created by
        Maria Jekic and Edie Stonewe can most directly witness and communicate with the other side. In our ceremony, we will honor loved ones and ancestors.

In the ancient traditions of rural Ireland, time was marked by the cycles of the moon, and the months were named for trees. The day started at sundown, the month started in the dark of the moon, and the year started at this time, at Samhain, when the light is fading and the dark is rising. (Samhain was taken into the Church calendar as All Hallows Day, and its eve, Hallows-eve or Hallowe'en.)

In our Western solar calendar, Samhain (Hallowe'en) falls on the eve of October 31st and the day of November 1st. But on a lunar calendar, it falls on the New Moon, which this year is November 3.

So this year, we are able to celebrate on a potent and sacred day, Lunar Samhain. It is the New Moon of Scorpio, which brings an added air of mystery, extra energy for intuition, deeper connection with the subconscious, communication with other realms, and themes of death and transformation.

We will also be in the wake of a solar eclipse, which will cross central Africa and the Atlantic Ocean.

This is a potent time for visioning, for releasing old patterns and setting seeds of intentions to be incubated over the winter, which will then flourish in the spring. This is a time of dreaming, of turning inward to nourish your soul in the fertile darkness.

We welcome you to come celebrate with us -- bring your grief and your joy, your curiosity and your memories, and find your way of releasing the old and welcoming the new.

Please RSVP as space is limited: RSVP@ediestone.com or 303-415-3755.

Donations requested, please share if you are able.

Please call Edie if you want to volunteer.

NEWS! See the interview by Mirav Levy with Edie on the roots of Halloween in the Colorado Daily, October 30, 2013:
http://www.coloradodaily.com/body-soul/ci_24421536/samhain-halloweens-ancient-roots


Samhain LINKS:
Samhain 2010
Samhain 2011 and Merlin
Samhain 2012
The Wheel of the Year
Samhain and Hallowe'en
Samhain and the Blessed Isles-The Isles of the Dead


..........................................................................................................

Event 35: Mysteries of Midwinter: A Celtic Solstice Celebration - 2013
    December 22, 2013
    Held at Gateways to Transformation Equine Therapy Farm
    Brief summary ... connection with the horses ... equinox sunset ... potluck ... seasonal altar ... Celtic and British Mid-winter traditions ... the 12 Days following Christmas and Green Grow the Rushes O! Who were those 3 Rivals anyway? ...
   ... a Journey/Meditation on the transformations of Santa - the white Santa, St. Nicolas -  the Jolly Red Santa of New Amsterdam - when Santa was a shaman with flying reindeer - the green nature spirit of Father Christmas Past - and finally, Santa as the Light Bearer of Incarnation ...
    ... and finally, we danced the Abotts Bromley Horn Dance to the horses! they woke up and frolicked in the barn!
    Gratitude to Alisha and her healing horses
    http://www.meetup.com/Celtic-Spirituality-in-Colorado/events/154309242/

..........................................................................................................

Event 36: Dwynwens Welsh Fest

..........................................................................................................

Event 37: Imbolc 2014

..........................................................................................................

Colorado Welsh Society Events
2014 events

Saturday, January 25, 2014 - Dwynwen's Day Welsh Fest
    A fun evening of Welsh folk dance, music and seasonal traditions, including Mari Lwyd. In honor of the Welsh patron saint of lovers! Presented by the Colorado Welsh Society, organized by Edie Stone.
    At the Kirk of Bonnie Brae, SE Denver. Details: Dwynwen's Day Welsh Fest, January 25, 2014
   
Info on the Colorado Welsh Society: http://www.coloradowelshsociety.org/


     
Dwynwen's Day Welsh Fest, January 25, 2014
    
 Saint David's Day, March 2, 2014


Welsh Hero's Day is coming in Sept. Check http://www.coloradowelshsociety.org

.....................................................
.....................................................

LINKS
Check out the article that appeared in the Boulder Daily Camera, Saturday, January 23, 2010, about our 2010 Imbolc celebration! http://www.dailycamera.com/archivesearch/ci_14248469
Text of the article is copied Here


..........................................................................................................
Photo Credits:
  I hope you have enjoyed Exploring Celtic Spirituality!

Return to top
Edie's main page, www.ediestone.com