I’m watching The Wicker Man again because it’s the only pagan-themed movie that I have access to right now. I’m also trying to get back in the mood to work on my Wicker Man sequel. If ever a movie was deserving of a proper sequel, it’s this one, and I’d love to be part of introducing the late Edward Woodward to a new generation of fans via a sequel featuring a relative arriving on Summerisle in search of a missing person: Neil Howie.
Recently, I purchased a set of prayer beads from an Etsy seller who makes beautiful full and pocket “rosaries” devoted to pagan deities, the moon, sun, and all aspects of the earth. The prayer beads that I bought almost jumped off the screen at me. The beads are green and fashioned in the style of a pocket rosary. Instead of a cross, they feature a rectangular pendant with a tree. I was attracted to those beads because I love trees, especially private groves of trees. After I received the beads, I searched my books for a Celtic tree goddess and found her. Nemetona, the goddess of sacred groves and sacred spaces, had made her way into my life.
Sacred space and private space outdoors and inside the house are important to me because I didn’t have my own secure space until I was in my late thirties. My siblings regularly rifled through my room. My former husband considered privacy in a marriage a violation of trust. I’ve never lived in a place where I could find a private outdoor space. I’m only beginning to know Nemetona, but when I hold those faceted green beads, I see a woman slender as a sapling, with long, pale green hair, disappearing behind a tree in a grove.
The majority of images of Nemetona are the typical digital fantasy art portraits of interchangeable sex goddesses in ridiculous clingy rags. Too many artists portray every goddess and fairy the same way. There’s nothing to distinguish them but their names and perhaps a certain animal associated with that goddess. I wish that I had the artistic talent to get my vision of Nemetona, and the Morrigan, down on paper.
This Midsummer Eve, I did a small ritual for happiness, peace, prosperity, and abundance for my household.
We’ve had an awful year so far . . . actually, it started in December. Every night for the last week, I’ve been burning a candle and asking Rhiannon (whose newborn son was stolen and returned after two years) to aid the mothers whose children were kidnapped by our government. Disgust does not begin to describe my feelings towards every single member of the ruling regime.
I have four goddesses in my life that I revere. The Morrigan I consider my patron goddess. Almost everywhere I go, I hear or see crows and ravens, and I’m not in the farming area of the county.
Rhiannon was the first goddess in my personal pantheon. She introduced herself to me via goddess oracle cards. I was drawn to the Morrigan because I felt in need of a protector. After reading about Her, I realized that She could help me grow stronger and help me learn to control my OCD and panic disorder. Cerridwen came next. I fell in love with a little gray statue of Her sitting cross-legged, stirring her cauldron. I’ve felt her inspiration while I was writing. And now, Nemetona, the only one traditionally associated with a male deity, but not always considered part of a couple. I have no representation of a male deity on my altar or in any of my shrines except for a small china boy who I’ve designated Rhiannon’s son. All my goddesses are sovereign goddesses. I’m weary of being forced to venerate/obey/look up to men in religion and in my personal life. The abusive conservative/entitled male culture that permeates society is exhausting. I have to be able to escape it.
To me, the summer solstice marks the maturity of the Goddess.
She’s fully grown as a woman, fertile like my garden, like the earth. Now she will age day by day as the daylight hours shorten until she becomes the Crone. I’m forty-five and a half. I’m exactly middle-aged by 21st century standards and beginning my journey to become the Crone.
And it’s a relief. I know myself, my values, and I’ve become my mother’s caregiver.
My goals in life are established: to hone my books as much as I can alone and eventually see them published, to continue studying my religion, to read as much as possible, and to stand up for the people most in need in my country. Today, tomorrow, the next day, those people are parents and children separated by greed and pure evil. Part of my task as I grow older is to pass on knowledge and the absolute imperative of civic responsibility. Quite simply, care for the children, the sick, the poor, the abused by claiming my right to be a part of the governance of this country. Claiming my sovereignty.