June 2020
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Prayers from Stonehenge

Stone Henge

Posted by Molly on Monday, 4 May 2020 at her blog "Woodspriestess: Exploring the intersection between Nature, the Goddess, art, and poetry." in SageWoman Blogs.

Stonehenge, when you are lucky enough to visit it in a small respectful group and actually go inside the circle, is an amazing experience. It can allow us a connection to its special presence which is overlooked usually…this may or may not be how it felt thousands of years ago, but in the quiet pre-dawn light, or in the gathering dusk, outside of tourist opening hours, when it is only you and your fellow ceremonialists, there is a feeling that is like no other. As you circle its massive trilithons, or walk between them to enter its sacred centre, a hush will always descend. The sense of the immanence of spirit is almost a physical force. Some people say Stonehenge is a strange place, where they feel uncomfortable, others say they feel it’s been ‘touristed out’. That may be so; it sees a stunning million or more visitors each yea... but while its unique spirit may retreat at those times, it very much remains for those few who are lucky enough to visit in a more sacred manner.

I remember several key times when I have sat within the stones, leant my back against the bluestones or one of the giant trilithons, and have had the opportunity to really sink in and listen and feel what the place was prepared to show me. I won’t pretend that my experiences top anyone else’s or that my feelings or visions are more accurate to its uses and history than any others, but to me its feels like the place of a fierce proud people, who used it for wild ecstatic ceremonies to honour both the land and the heavens; who gave voice to the ancestors and deep spirits of the earth and the skies, who placed their leaders ashes in its sacred soil so that they could continue to guide the people as they had in life, positioned in the axis mundi, the sacred centre of the world which transcends time and space.  In this powerful, ancient centre, magic may spread out across the land; healing, bringing change, blessing, responding to the needs of the people. 

This year access at the summer solstice to Stonehenge is cancelled, but such a great presence in the psychic landscape of this nation can be contacted in spirit at any time, especially if it serves the good of all. English heritage now has a 24 live stream broadcast from within the stones, to allow people to explore the site or just be with the place from afar, and I encourage everyone to go take a look.

To explore the livestream of Stonehenge within the stones, to explore the site as well as see the stellar and solar alignments visit  https://www.stonehengeskyscape.co.uk/  

When you have familiarised yourself with the centre of this sacred place,  you might like to try to see yourself standing there in your inner vision, and call to the powers of place for aid. Call out to the stones and to the land itself to bring a blessing upon the people. All the people, near and far. Use your own words, but perhaps ask for healing and health for the people, ask for our collective prosperity and freedom, ask for peace, ask that our needs are met in body and soul. Ask for justice and good leadership, ask to sooth the hearts of those who are grieving, ask for care for the elders and good futures for the young. 

Ask that we may as a species navigate these challenging times with grace and resilience and find our way to safe harbour. Let your heart guide your prayers, but ask always, that they be for the good of all. All the people, in all the world. When you are finished, remember to be grateful and respectful and thank the spirits of this sacred centre, that your prayers, and all our prayers, be heard, and know a better future lies ahead, for all of us!

May it be so!

Danu Forest is a wisewoman in the Celtic Bean Feasa tradition of her ancestors. You could call her many things- witch, seer, walker between the worlds, healer, druid, priestess, teacher, writer, gardener, herbwife, stargazer, faery friend, tree planter, poet, and wild woman. Danu lives in a cottage near Glastonbury Tor in the midst of the Avalon lakes, in the southwest of England. Exploring the Celtic mysteries for over 25 years, and noted for her quality research, practical experience, as well as her deep love of the land, Danu writes for numerous national and international magazines and is the author of several books including Nature Spirits, The Druid Shaman, Celtic Tree Magic, Gwyn ap Nudd and The Magical Year'. She teaches regular workshops and online courses and is available for consultations, including healings readings and other ceremonies. www.danuforest.co.uk

From the Editor: Witches&Pagans 38
Now Available on Pre-Order (out in August)

Available in either paper or digital editions.Magic of the People
Folk Magic & Conjure
Folk magic is simply the magic of the people: down-to-earth, pragmatic practices that address everyday human needs. In this issue of Witches&Pagans we share the experiences of all kinds of Pagans & Heathens: witches, conjure practitioners, artists, writers, artisans, and others, making magic with what they have to benefit themselves, their friends & families, and their communities. Join us!

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This special issue features the stories of Pagans who find their spiritual center in Nature.

"I never ask myself — as I sit at my altar to pray and offer and worship — if my gods are really real. Because my gods speak through the wind, and the rain, and the night sky, and the colors at dusk, and those little cracks that open up in time when I stand still in the sun and hear bird-song and leaves rustling. In those moments, I feel the earth move. And I move with it." (Aine Orga, "Gods of the Earth, Gods of My Heart", W&P #35).

People, Place, & Practice
It’s All About the Water. I stand shirtless and barefoot on the dry ground. Everything is desperate for water. Then I feel a change in the air and my skin begins to prickle. Article and Photos by Bryan Hewitt.

Trees as Otherkin: Minoan Crete, Biblical Religion, and Paganism Today. The religion of prehistoric or “Minoan” Crete involved the cultivation of an intimate relationship with a literally living, numinous, landscape. Article and Photos by Caroline Tully.

The Path of the Godless. John Halstead interviews T J Fox on the place of a card-carrying skeptical rationalist in modern Paganism.

Focus on Nature-Based Paganism
So You Think You Can Dance? How, exactly, do you go about becoming an animist? Walk with Alison Leigh Lilly on a journey into connecting with all beings. With original artwork by Dan Goodfellow.

From Soil to Sky: Genius Loci in Pagan Practice. In paganism we often call on the genius loci — the spirit of a place — in our rituals. But how much time do we really spend with these spirits outside of that sacred space? Lupa describes how we can respectfully interact with these beings both in the wilderness and at home. With original artwork by Bob Cuneo.

Nature, Thou Art My Goddess. Druid Nimue Brown muses “Nature is what I hold sacred. Life is where I find my sense of the divine — not something stood behind life pulling the strings, but the moment-to-moment experience, with no more meaning to it than the glorious fact that it’s all there.”

Wisdom from Our Columnists
Introducing our newest columnist: Ivo Dominguez, Jr. has been active in Wicca and the Pagan community since 1978 and has been teaching since 1982. He serves as one of the Elders of the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel and is the author of many books, including most recently Keys to Perception: A Practical Guide to Psychic Development (Weiser, 2017.) His new column, “Second Star to the Right,” begins in this issue.

Also In this issue:
Raven Grimassi the sentient Spirits of the Land; Archer on Awe at the Edges: Touching the Numinous, Hecate Demetersdatter finding natural magic in the city; and Jamie Della on the magic of rosemary. Jason Mankey asks, "Are you looking for a coven?”; Diotima Mantineia offers an astrologer's perspective on Pagan holidays; H Byron Ballard proclaims herself a “dirt-hugging dirt worshipper,” Shirl Sazynski shares Heathen Workings to Honor the Land Spirits; Christopher Penczak asks us to find our inner Sovereignty, and our irreverent “Two Many Witches" advice column answers your question: "Should I Take Witchcraft classes?"

Plus there's more: Pagan poetry; Pagan short fiction “River Women” by Patrick Butler with original art by Tanya Stewart ; reviews, your letters in the Feedback Loop (including short articles on Heathery and celebrating Candlemas in Celtic countries) and Mark Green closes out this issue with a meditation on the path of an Pagan atheist. 88 pages, published in February, 2018.

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