Renewal with the Bone Mother


"You must bury your old bones!"

Do you step forward with renewed life force and a fresh outlook? Or does your life become defined by your painful old bones? You must bury your old bones! 
— The Cailleagh - The Bone Mother

The Cailleach, the Old Bone Mother of winter, has given me an powerful shamanic ceremony to bury our old bones and nurture our new life. On Oct 30, 2017  you can experience the extraordinary gift of renewal the Bone Mother shared with me.

She gave me this knowledge over three visitation. The first was in Ireland August 2017, when I was doing a session for a client. I met her again the next day, journeying insider her cairn. The third time was during a shamanic workshop on elderhood and illness, with Claude Poncelet. 

The Cailleach was worshipped by the Celts as the sacred Earth Mother in her bare winter form. And she is not just a dark and evil hag who arbitrarily decides how long winter will be. The Cailleach is also the Bone Mother who collects the bones of the animals that die in the winter. The Bone Mother is said to sing or pray or sleep over the bones all winter long. She does this out of love, so that the animals will cross over and can return as new life in the spring.

The healing session was for a woman who was grieving the loss of her father and brother. She had been the caregiver and lost her her sense of purpose. Along with this, she has chronic pain from old back injuries. In my journey, a hooded Druid entered Grandmother Sunflower's sacred circle. Grandmother greeted her warmly. The druid removed her hood, revealing her cragged ancient face. She looked at me with vivid eyes, and her face morphed into the gorgeous Irish landscape. Her words were powerful:

 "You must bury your old bones!"  

She explained that to be born anew we must allow our old obligations, and our identities formed around those obligations, to be buried with the ones who have crossed. Our commitment to them goes with them, in a way that shows complete love, and leaves us un-obliged. In this way we become free to live the rest of our lives, with fresh shoots and bright new green leaves. This is so important for those who are grieving love ones. But it is also true for our everyday lives. We must rethink our roles and obligations, and let things go. Which is why people have annual ceremonies for shedding their regrets and their suffering, usually at this time of the year. 

She also had a stern warning - especially for those of us who are entering elderhood:

"This is your moment of choice."

Do you step forward with renewed life force? Or does your life become defined by your decline? The Bone Mother is known to be of death. This is a real choice - a real right of passage. This matters. 

The Cailleach's Cairn T at loughcrew

The Cailleach's Cairn T at loughcrew

Cailleach .... the Goddess of Winter ... Her time begins on Samhain, when she leaves the mountains and begins her walk across the lands bringing the winter storms, snow, and death. ... the Cailleach can transform herself from a terrifying hag in the winter half of the year and into to a beautiful young maiden in the summer half. [The summer goddess aspect is Bridget]

The next day our Sacred Sites of Ireland tour visited Loughcrew, on Slieve na Calliagh, the Bone Mother's mountain and cairn. It was a delightful surprise for me, because I was purposefully ignoring the tour itinerary and just going with the flow. My idea was that I would be more open to Spirit's voice if I didn't have any preconceptions, and in this case it worked. The landscape with her sacred mountain mirrored how I saw her in the journey. 

Inside the Cailleachs Cairn

Inside the Cailleachs Cairn

You can enter the internal chamber of her Cairn. Inside I journeyed to her, planning to ask for more help for my client. She said, "No, this is for you", and proceeded to give me a sacred and personal initiation with her iconic staff, which I am still processing. 

My third visitation came as I was journeying in a workshop with Claude Poncelet (next blog post!) Claude gave us an intention for the  journey, but the Cailleach immediately took over gave me a initiation ceremony to share with the world. She took me through it, step by step, explaining the entire thing in detail, and allowing me to experience it directly. She set up the sacred circle with three elements: a crossroads, her mountain, and a sacred well. (I believe this is Bridget's well, and that the three aspects are related to the shape of the cairns' inner transepts.) I melted into the earth, beginning with my face, just like she transfigured when I first met her. Then I rolled back and melted my body into the mountain, burying my bones. She poured water from the the sacred well onto the place in my body where I feel my core wound, transfiguring it into a seed for my new way of being. The seed sprouted and I grew up and out of the hillside, as a tree. When the drumming called us back I was still merged with that tree, and I was left with the mystery of how being merged with the tree is important in my new life. I think this ceremony was meant to be open ended. Each of us will find the expansion in our lives.

I know this is important to share, and I have set up two opportunities for you to experience it on October 30th - a time close to Samhain, when The Cailleach resumers her rule over the world.

This ceremony is a profound gift from Spirit

It is one of the most important things I have every been shown.  I look forward to sharing it with you. 

PS -  I will be talking about the Cailleach and the Sidhe and my personal experiences in a talk with the Guardian Gateway Faery Allies Telesummit on October 20th. Join us!