The Order of the White Moon Goddess Gallery Presents
A Level II final Project for the Sacred Three Goddess School
~ Aethyia ~
Level II Adept and Member of the Order of the White Moon
(© 2011. All original material in this site is under copyright protection and is the intellectual property of the author.)
Not far from where my mother was born in County Kerry, Ireland, there is a beautiful natural expression of the Great Mother: the Paps of Anu (or breasts of Ana). They are two mountains...no, they are two breasts, manifesting the presence of the Goddess. Ancient people built cairns (stone houses) on top of each breast, resembling nipples, for they yearned for her nurturance.
Figure 1 used with permission of
For me, it is impossible to know Anu intellectually. I can only know her with my heart. She is the rich earth from which my mother's people were born. She is the primal memory of the Fairy Race; the Wise Woman's knowledge of the Healing Herbs and the Whispering Stones. Within her two breasts lies the sacred door to the Otherworld; the land of Mystery and Wisdom and Joy. I close my eyes and chant her name..and sense the magnetism of ecstatic dancing , the rhythm of the bodhran, wild laughter, and the passionate embrace of life's own yearning to create, to manifest. A barely remembered scent comes to mind and my hands yearn to touch the soil.
I yearn for you!
You who are the very earth
from which my mother's people were born!
I yearn to stand in the valley between your breasts
and breathe in the scent of you.
I yearn to run my fingers through your grassy hair,
and lay dreaming upon your body.
Let me hide in that wee craig,
drawing in the sweetness of your nurturance.
Bird song, Bees hum, Your voice whispers in the wind.
My body rocks in rhythm to your breathing
My fingers draw spirals upon your body
Sweet Ana, my yearning.
Sweet Ana, my flesh.
There are those that say She is the Creatrix: "..whose mythical name is the first Sound on the outward human breath - Aaaaa...In time She became known as Aaaaa...na, Ana. Anu, Anna, Amma, An and Ann. She is the Great Grand Mother Ancestor of us all, who gave birth from Her Cosmic Womb to a daughter - Planet Earth and to the Primal Ancestors - the great energy beings who underlie the natural elements and the forces of nature." (1)
I sit before Your Altar, Mother
Eyes closed breathing deeply
chanting Your name
I turn within, to the center of myself.
In the deep peace of consciousness
I find a spiral trail of stars that leads me
to the Genesis of All that Is.
I find myself
In the time before time,
In the place before space began.
I find You slumbering
in the primordial nothingness.
I am awed
by Your brilliant dreams of
blue worlds and golden suns and
the ever evolving patterns of life.
I feel Your awakening,
within every cell of my being.
I feel the shuddering of
Your great yearning to create.
Deeply You breathe in
and with one mighty exhalation of breath...
...the energies of creation are released.
Thus is the beginning of time and space.
Thus is the Beginning of All that Is.
Primarily, Anu (or Ana) is recognized as an Irish Goddess. Many say she is most likely the same Goddess as Danu, The Mother of the magickal race: the Tuatha de Danann (or D'Annan, meaning, some say, 'of Anna'). Tuatha - the clan of -De Danann is pronounced too-hay day dah-nan.
Ritual to Honor the Mother of the Tuatha de Danann
She is such an ancient Goddess that there is very little information regarding Anu herself, and there are countless theories that Anu is also Ana...that Ana is also Danu..and Aine..and Black Annis. And maybe she is also Sin-ann, Bo-ann and perhaps, she is related to the continental Goddesses: Tyana and/or Diana. Many say she is also an aspect of the Morrigan... or her sister or her mother or her child...
It seemed to me the best way to know the Mother, is to know the Children, the race of Gods who are her progeny: the Tuatha de Danann. I set out on my quest with books on my shelves, in the library and several more downloaded on my kindle. I found a wealth of information on a variety of websites. Finally, having gathered volumes of contradictory data, I found clarity in the inner journey within myself.
- Drumming tape to play in the background
- One candle
- One oil burner
- One cup of water
Having cast the circle, light the candle:
Holy Anu, Bless my journey for I yearn to know You.
Light the Oil Burner
Ana, You are the Vital Spark of Life in All that Is.
Anoint inner eye with water
You are the Sacred Well of all Knowing.
Blessed One, Grant me your guidance!
May I hear your wise counsel and understand your voice!
Teach me that I may discern the lessons you inspire!
Play the Tape and Journey
This journey helped me to sort out the information I had learned. It enabled me to see patterns in the many stories of the Goddesses of the Tuatha de Danann. From that understanding I was able to develop the structure for a ritual to honor Ana.
The Power of Three
For the Celts, sacredness expresses itself in threes.
The Goddesses are frequently seen as three fold. For example, when the Milesians arrive in Ireland they are met by three Goddesses of the Tuatha de Danann, who represent the sovereignty of Ireland: Eriu and her sisters, Banba, and Fodla. There are also three Goddesses of War, aspects of the Morrigan: Badb, Macha and Nemain (some say her name is also Anu). The Goddess Brighid (or Brigit) is Herself a Threefold Goddess of Healing, Poetic Inspiration and Smith craft.
In examining the ritual structures found in Celtic spiritual traditions (Celtic Wicca and Druidry) we also find the threefold patterns which are invoked to bless the circle, the ritual and its participants. I have incorporated these ideas into my own ritual, seen below.
- First, there are three realms of material reality: the Sea, the Land, and the Air.
- Then there are three magickal worlds: The Dark and Mysterious Underworld, The Verdant Middle World, and the Heavenly Upper World of Light Beings.
- Finally, there are three types of Otherworldly Beings. There are the elemental beings (the fey spirits of the natural world); the ancestors; and the Gods and Goddesses.
Five Common Themes
Tales of the Tuatha
NORTH - CONFLICT
From mythic times to the evening news, the North of Ireland has been wrought with conflict. Perhaps it was always so, but we know that many woes began in the time of Macha, a woman of the fairy race, wed to a mortal man. He bragged of her great speed, proclaiming that Macha could outrun the King's horses! The king demanded proof, ordering Macha to race against his fastest horses. Macha asked that the race be postponed for she was in the final days of her pregnancy. The King, more concerned with his ego than his heart, was insistent. He ordered her to run and run she did, and win she did. She made it to the finish line and then gave birth in great agony and rage. With her dying breath, she cursed the men of Ulster, declaring that when a time of danger should come to them, they would know the pain of labor.
Not long after, danger arrived! Queen Maeve invaded Ulster and the men of Ulster, stricken with labor pains, were unable to defend themselves. Only Cuchulain, innocent of the crime against Macha, was able to fight. The Mighty Morrigan, Great Queen of War and Death, aroused by the battle fury - and by the warrior, Cuchulain - became engaged in the drama. She challenged Cuchulain repeatedly, by seductive and cunning means. Yet with each challenge, his commitment, fortitude and skill increased. In the end, he achieved greatness as a Warrior and passed from this material world into the arms of the Morrigan.
In Celtic tradition, we find many teachers who challenge their students. The greatest of all Magicians - Taliesin - received a terrifying training from Cerridwen. (In Ireland, she is known as Cailleach Bheara.)
This challenging influence of the Goddess persists in modern Irish folklore. For example, it is said, that an infant cannot walk because Cailleach Bheara touches the back of every newborn, leaving the curve at the bottom of the spine. It is for this reason, we are told, that humans must learn to walk with difficulty and do not walk instinctively at birth, as do many other animals. (2)
We are left with a great many questions! Why does the Goddess push us into battle? Why does the Goddess force us to crawl before we can walk? Why in the place of the North, the realm of the Earth element, do heroes face the Goddess of Death? Why must any of us face death? The answer may be that it is the nature of life to achieve greatness by mastering forbearance, courage, and strength. We might also consider that it is in overcoming the difficulties in our lives, that we become our own heroes.
SOUTH - THE VITAL SPARK
In the South, North's opposite realm, we find the strength to counteract and heal from Conflict. In the sun-filled South, we find the Goddess Aine, Queen of the Munster Fairies, Goddess of Love and Passion. She is the Goddess of the Summer Solstice. Having many lovers of her own choosing, she is the Leanne Sidhe, the Fairy Lover.
It is said that she is the Vital Spark that exists in every living thing. This is the life force that nurtures all humans, animals and plants. This Vital Spark fertilizes the soil, providing sustenance to us all. (3)
There are many healers in the Celtic tradition. Airmid, for one, is mistress of Herb craft. Moreover, it is said, that she possesses the healing touch, for the spark of healing - the Vital Spark - can be transmitted through the hands.
The Vital Spark is associated with Fire and with other Fire Goddesses. Brigit, for example, is recognized by most Celtic practitioners as the Matron Goddess of Healers. Her transmission of the Vital Spark, however, bestows not only physical healing, but also IMBAS: the fire of inspiration. The blessing of IMBAS inspires the beauty of the written word, the arts of the forge and the hearth; and all the many creative expressions that improve the quality of our lives!
The Vital Spark is the Life force that exists in All That Is and it is what grants us the nurturance, beauty and vision that restores our spirits and heals us. It is with these blessings associated with the South, that we are replenished and once again ready to contend with the challenges of the Northern realm.
EAST - ALCHEMY
What would Irish mythology be without magick? Every tale delights us with its rich alchemy of enchantments, incantations and glamours. Fairy castles come and go with the wave of a wand. Wizened crones reveal themselves to be young maidens. Goddesses shift their shapes and become birds and animals.
The Goddess Eire utilized magic to fight the invading Milesians. As she threw mud balls at them, the mud balls exploded and became hundreds of warriors. Eire's people, the Tuatha De Danann, lost the war, but the Milesians had gained such respect for Eire that they named the island for her. With the defeat of her people, she retreated into the very earth itself and remains a part of the vibrant energies of Erin...her final and greatest transformation.
One might say that Eire was a great Goddess of Alchemy: the magick of transformation. Throughout history, many magicians have worked tirelessly to master the art of alchemy. Some, for example, have hoped to master the ability to transform clay to gold and achieve wealth and material power. Wise magicians, however, follow Eire's example, understanding that the most powerful alchemy is the ability to transform oneself and manifest goodness in one's life.
To succeed in our magickal and mundane pursuits we must not only acquire knowledge, but we must also transform ourselves, developing strength of mind and will. Such development may lead us to great spiritual power, but what shall we do with such power? Shall we purse the vain longings of the ego or shall we seek to serve the Greater Good? By balancing the power of Mind with the Wisdom of the Heart, we shall hopefully choose correctly.
WEST - THE WATERS OF WISDOM
Danu is clearly associated with water. She is the mountain spring that flows into the river. She is the river that nurtures the community. She is the water that runs deep in the earth, nurturing and fertilizing everything from deep within. Her underground waters nurture the roots of her lover, Bile, the Great World Tree.
Wells, which connect us to Her, are honored in Ireland, not only for their sustenance but for their connection to the Goddess of Wisdom. Sinann was a mortal woman who yearned for the Wisdom of the Well of Sagais. The Well is surrounded by hazel trees, whose nuts nurture the inhabitants of the well: Salmon, that are as old and wise as the world.
Sinann was warned that she was not ready to approach the sacred well. Stubbornly, she invoked the power of the well, single-handedly, without the necessary caution and preparation. She became completely over-whelmed and lost herself in the great depths of the Well. The Well then, embracing her, overflowed and became the Shannon (Sinann) River.
It is a cautionary tale instructing us in the necessity of balancing knowledge and wisdom.
The journey to Wisdom is not achieved in a day and requires the ability to connect to the deep waters of the emotions within ourselves. This can be a perilous and painful journey. Allowing ourselves the guidance of mentors, who have tread the path before us, offers great benefit and comfort.
A balance of East and West, mind and heart, will help us achieve our life goals. By applying the lessons of East, we utilize our minds and will, and put effort into the acquisition of knowledge that will support our quest. In receiving the nurturance of the Wisdom of the West, we come to understand our deep emotions without losing ourselves. Over time, we combine the processing of experience with mind and heart and develop the ability to discern, to judge, and to intuit. We discover the Wells of Wisdom within ourselves.
In olden times the ancient kings would stand upon the Stone of Fal, at Tara, the heart of Ireland and be crowned High King. As we achieve the balance of the four directions we also stand at the center of our lives and achieve sovereignty. We are the Queens of our own lives.
Finding balance between North and South, we achieve forbearance and courage as we withstand life's many challenges and are meanwhile restored by the healing energies that repair our bodies and provide us with the things that make life grand: love and community, creativity and beauty!
By joining the powers of the East and West, we balance our intellectual strengths and the acquisition of knowledge with emotional intelligence and understanding. We gain mastery over our lives and make wise and informed choices.
Standing at the Center, the power of balance and ownership of our lives is established.
TOOLS for the RITUAL
This ritual utilizes the following tools:
- An athame’ or wand to cast the circle.
- Irish soda bread, jam, butter in a large platter and a chalice of stout (an Irish beer) are used as the feast and offering to Anu. A little plate of nuts and berries (for the fairies) and another of chocolates (for the ancestors) are also placed on the platter.
- A Crown, personally made, to celebrate sovereignty.
- Symbols for each direction are created: for the North the Cauldron; for the South, the sun rising over the hills of Munster; for the East, a wand and for the West: a sacred well. In the center, is a triskele, a symbol of the Goddess.
- Another common device in Celtic ritual is the use of a "hearth" and a "well" situated within the sacred space of the circle or upon the altar. I have used an oil burner (with some carrier oil in the bowl) for my hearth and a bowl of water for my well.
- As part of the ritual, a candle is lit to honor the Deities of each direction. In addition, a different oil is used to honor the Deities of each direction. Three drops of oil are poured into the oil burner (the hearth) as an offering. A stone is also offered to the well as an offering.
Stone Blood Stone
Oil Dragon's Blood
Symbol The Sun rising over the Hills
Stone Golden Obsidian
Symbol Snake and Wand
Symbol Sacred Well
Candle Multi-colored candle
Stone Clear Quartz
Symbol Triskele (the Great Mother)
Ritual to Honor Anu
Dedication of the Rite
Blessed is this Sacred Space; dedicated to the Ancient Ones: Anu & the Tuatha!
Casting the circle
Blessed is this sacred space
Whose boundaries are as strong as the ancient stone circles;
Whose energies are as vibrant as the sacred groves;
Whose safety is provided by the holy guardians!
Blessing of the spirits of Sea and Land and Air
I invoke the Spirits of Sea and Land and Air!
May the Spirits of the Sea bless us:
Blessings of Purification, Healing and Love!
May the Spirits of the Land bless us:
Blessings of Nurturance, Strength and Beauty!
May the Spirits of the Sky bless us:
Blessings of Prophecy, Freedom and Wisdom!
Receive these offerings, fruits and nuts, the gifts of nature!
Invocation of the ancestors
I invoke the blessings of my ancestors
I call upon my mother, Eileen!
I call upon my grandmother, Hanna!
I call upon my great grandmother, Maire!
I call upon you who bless and guide me with your Love!
Bless this circle with your presence,
That I may know you and understand our ancient ways.
Receive this offering of chocolates!
Invocation of the Goddesses
May the Holy Goddesses bless and guide my way.
(Light the Black Candle in the North)
I call upon the Great Queen of the Dark Night,
Cailleach Bheara, Goddess of the North, I honor you!
(place three drops of Yew oil on the hearth and the Bloodstone in the well)
You who rule over the Land of Challenge and Conflict:
Realm of Death and Transition,
You are the Wise Crone!
You offer us challenge, that we shall gain skill.
You throw us off balance, that we may find balance within.
You reveal the Shadows within ourselves that we shall grow in goodness.
Grant me your blessings...for I am your child.
(Light the Red Candle in the South)
I call upon the Fairy Queen of the South,
Beautiful Aine, Vibrant as the Hawthorn, Brilliant as the Sun, I honor you!
(place three drops of Dragon's Blood on the Hearth, an Amber stone in the Well)
You who are The Fairy Lover!
You who rule over the Lands of Summer!
You who are Guardian of the Fires of Life and Passion!
You are the Vital Spark that Heals us.
You are the Imbas that Inspires our Creativity.
You are the Passion that fills our days with Vitality and our nights with Joy.
Grant me your Blessings...for I am your child.
(Light the Yellow Candle in the East)
I call upon Eiru, Lovely Sovereign of the Emerald Isle,
Radiant Queen of the East, Mistress of Enchantment!
(place three drops of Honeysuckle on the Hearth and the Golden Obsidian in the Well)
Blessed Eiru, Mother and Consort of Kings!
Whose great magick fostered the fertility of her land,
Yet, confounded the enemy.
Your lessons teach us to choose when to act and when to accept,
For in courage, you faced the invader and in serenity,
You turned defeat into the alchemy of immortality.
Grant me your Blessings...for I am your child.
(Light the Blue Candle in the West)
I call upon Danu, Radiant Mother of the Tuatha
You who are the Sacred Waters of the West, I invoke you!
(place three drops of Poppy/Hemp on the Hearth and an Aquamarine in the Well).
You are the Sacred Spring, The Well of Wisdom ever flowing!
You are the Radiant River which carries forth
the knowledge and wisdom of the nations!
Your deep Underworld Waters, nurture us in body and soul.
You are the Still Waters that flow through our consciousness.
Rivers of Wisdom flow forth from Your Sacred Spring.
Grant me your Blessings...for I am your child.
Invocation of Anu
(Light the central Candle)
I call upon you Anu!
I call upon you: Creatrix, Ancestress, Mother of All!
(place three drops of Snowdrop on the Hearth and the Quartz Crystal in the Well)
Goddess of the Tuatha!
You are the Sacred Land of our ancestors,
The Cauldron of Transition and Rebirth.
You are the Vital Spark that grants us Life.
You are the Imbas that enlightens our world.
All-knowing Queen of Enchantment,
You are the Deep Waters of Consciousness,
The Wellspring of Wisdom that nurtures our souls.
You are the Sacred Breath, Source of Being: Aaaannnaaa!
Bless me, Mother, that I may achieve the
Balance of Darkness and Light, Knowledge and Wisdom
Bless me, That I shall be Sovereign of My Life
(Place crown upon head)
(Sitting; place both hands in front of your chest, facing each other, focusing energy to develop between the hands, while chanting)
Aaa-nnn-aaa! Aaa-nnn-aaa! Aaa-nnn-aaa!
(chant until a ball of energy is felt between hands, bathe each chakra with the ball of energy)
Bless me Mother for I am your child (crown chakra)
Bless me with the balance of knowing and understanding (inner eye)
Bless me with Imbas to express myself with beauty (voice)
Bless me that I shall give and receive love freely (heart)
Bless me with the strength to face life's challenges (solar plexus)
Bless me that the Vital Spark shall heal me in all ways (womb)
Bless me that I shall always be grounded in you (root)
Bless my hands that I shall manifest goodness in my life (hands)
Bless my feet that I shall be balanced in union with you (feet)
(Place hands in what is called the Universal Posture in Usui Reiki, right hand on heart and left hand on belly. Breathe deeply and ground).
Offering of soda bread, butter, honey and stout
Holy Anu, I present you with this simple feast,
Offered to you with Gratitude.
Infuse these gifts with your Nurturance and Strength
(Bless the offering and take a bit of the bread and stout)
What I have received, I shall freely give
(enjoy the grounding effect of the feast)
I offer my thanks, to you: Great Goddess, Anu and to Your manifestations and descendents: Cailleach Bheara, Aine, Danu, Eire!
I offer my thanks to my ancestors, especially to you,
My mother, Eileen; my grandmother, Hanna; my great-grandmother, Maire.
I offer my thanks to the spirits of blessing:
Spirits of Sea and Land and Air!
Raising the Athame, release the circle
I release the Protection of the Holy Guardians.
I release the Blessing of the Sacred Grove
I release the Power of the Standing Stones
The ritual is ended.
As stated, the photograph of the Paps of Anu, in the beginning of this paper was used with the generous permission of Cheryl Straffon of www.goddess-tours-international.com.
There is also a photograph I took of a statue of Danu on my altar at home. The statue was purchased from www.sacredsource.com.
All the other illustrations and decorative touches are clipart!
1. Jones, Kathy, Spinning the Wheel of Ana: A Spiritual Quest to Find The British Primal Ancestors, (Ariadne Publications: Glastonbury, UK, 1994), p. 6.
2. O'Crualaoich, Gearoid, The Book of the Cailleach: Stories of the Wise-Woman Healer, (Cork University Press: Cork, Ireland, 2004) p. 112.
3. Skye, Michelle, Goddess Alive! Inviting Celtic and Norse Goddesses into Your Life, (Llewellyn Worldwide: Woodbury, MN, 2007).
Clark, Katharine, An Irish Book of Shadows: Tuatha De Danann, (Glade Press: Lakeville, MN, 2010).
Corrigan, Ian, Sacred Fire, Holy Well: A Druid's Grimoire of Lore, Worship and Magic, (ADF Publishing: Tucson, AZ, 2005).
Green, Miranda, Celtic Goddesses: Warriors, Virgins and Mothers, (George Brazziller: New York, NY, 1996).
Hopman, Ellen Evert, A Druid's Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year, (Destiny Books: Rochester, VT., 1995).
Jones, Kathy, Spinning the Wheel of Ana: A Spiritual Quest to Find the British Primal Ancestors, (Ariadne Publications: Glastonbury, UK, 1994).
McCoy, Edain, Celtic Myth & Magick: Harnessing to Power of the Gods and Goddesses, (Llewellyn Publications: Woodbury, MN, 2010).
McGarry, Gina, Brighid's Healing: Ireland's Celtic Medicine Traditions, (Green Magic: Long Barn, UK, 2005).
Monaghan, Patricia, The New Book of Goddesses & Heroines, (Llewellyn Publications: St. Paul, MN, 2000).
O'Crualaoich, Gearoid, The Book of the Cailleach: Stories of the Wise-Woman Healer, (Cork University Press: Cork, Ireland, 2004).
Raeburn, Jane, Celtic Wicca: Ancient Wisdom for the 21 Century, (Citadel Press: New York, NY, 2001).
Skye, Michelle, Goddess Alive! Inviting Celtic and Norse Goddesses into Your Life, (Llewellyn Worldwide: Woodbury, MN, 2007).
Skye, Michelle, Goddess Afoot! Practicing Magic with Celtic & Norse Goddesses, (Llewellyn International, Woodbury, MN, 2008).
Stewart, R.J., Celtic Gods, Celtic Goddesses, (Blandford Press: London, UK, 1996).
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