by Demelza Fox
The Priestesses are Reawakening.
Women are once again taking up the calling of the mystic and are re-imaging the sacred arts, awakening the ways of the ancient Priestesses of Avalon, the Celtic guardians of the feminine otherworld.
The ancient Priestesses of Avalon may or may not have existed in this mundane reality, but their legacy ignites a fire in the spiritual passion of women today.
They were a mythical community of women devoted to the service of the Goddess, who was the land, the earth and the Great Mystery itself.
They spent their lives in the slow rhythms of the Mother, weaving her magic and wisdom in the world, bringing presence and peace and the gifts of the Otherworld with them wherever they went.
Their stories come to us from the legends of the British and Irish Isles in precious slivers and threads from medieval romance traditions and ancient chronicles of Irish lore.
The whisper of communities of holy women was heard on the wind throughout ancient Gaul and Britain, stories of fae ladies and great healers sequestered away on starlit islands, and sisterhoods of sacred women formed a powerful part of the mythology of the Celtic otherworld.
Today, women are feeling the heart-pull to return to Avalon and claim themselves as a Priestess, to walk those ways of devotion and honour, of presence and piety.
For there are Avalonian Priestesses in the world.
We are re-creating the dedication of the holy Old Ways in a modern landscape, bridging the boundaries between the misty Otherworld and this mundane one of fast living, fast food and Facebook scrolling.
However all Avalonian Priestess must have a core knowing of certain things, special wisdoms that tether them specifically to the sacred tradition of Avalon.
All Avalonian Priestesses must:
1. Have a daily practice of devotion to the Great Mystery.
A Priestess by definition is one who works as a servant and in service of the divine.
Now, it is not my place to dictate how the divine manifests for you, because everyone has a different truth making up the whole truth, but a Priestess of Avalon is for sure hopelessly devoted to the pursuit of the Great Mystery, obsessed with the art of union with the divine, and passionate and ecstatic beloved of God Herself.
These women have a spiritual calling of the highest calibre that they cannot ignore: in other lives, they may have been nuns or monks, temple dancers or ardent devotees of the wild gods.
They wish beyond all things to know and commune with Goddess, to relax in Her embrace and know and surrender to Her will for them.
2. Be rooted in the myth and wisdom of the Celtic Otherworld.
Avalon was a Celtic isle. The motif of a sacred otherworldy isle is repeated many times through Celtic, British and Irish mythology, all over western Europe.
An Avalonian Priestess today must have a strong connection to that Celtic spirit, to the misty wisdom of the Celtic isles and the otherworld they represent.
Perhaps they live in the earth of Britain or Ireland and hear the whispers of sacred nature around them.
Perhaps they have had a lifelong love of all things Celtic, devouring mythologies of the Mabinogion, researching the esoteric traditions and alchemists of Britain.
Perhaps their personal practice is informed by Druidry and the ancient wisdom of the Celtic people: perhaps there is a coming home felt when connecting with the energy of this specific celtic otherworld.
However an Avalonian Priestess feels this pull and however it is expressed in their life, their core spirit is rooted in the beauty of the Celtic Otherworld and sacred landscape.
3. Work with the magic and medicine of plants and herbs.
Once, the Priestesses of Avalon were great healers who worked with the medicinal powers of herbs to care for their communities.
They knew the healing properties of all their local plants, how to combine onion and vinegar to cure a cold, and could craft a poultice out of herbs in a hurry.
As the witchy wise women of their communities part of their craft was a form of plant shamanism, where they would be able to connect with the spirit of the plant to know what was needed at any one time.
Herbcraft has always been a powerful part of Avalonian lore: the tales of Arthurian legend are full of the enchanting sorceresses of Avalon crafting ointments, unguents, herbal potions and powders to heal a beloved or ensnare an enemy – the medieval chroniclers called this Natural Magic.
Modern day Avalonian Priestesses turn to the wisdom of nature to heal and care for their families and communities where they can.
They can identify the healing weeds that live in the hedgerows and byways of their town, turn to an infusion of linden, chamomile and lemon balm to cool an anxious mind, and a modern day Avalonian Priestess always carries a bottle of Lavender essential oil with them in case of emergencies.
4. Be skilled at living in Sisterhood
Sisterhood was at the core of Avalon.
In some accounts the mythical isle was ruled by a sacred sisterhood of nine women who worked together to rule their magical land – in others, it was purely a land of women, living abundantly on an island of paradise.
Modern day Avalonian Priestesses love to come together in community to work with and share their journey with other women.
They are passionate about serving women, and often find when they awaken to their calling that they have unconsciously already spent their life gathering women together and supporting them in one way or another.
Perhaps by running dance classes, helping at the PTA, contributing to the Women’s Institute, crafting herb parties or women’s circles or keeping the old guard of college friends in touch with one another.
The craving for sisterhood runs deep in their blood, and they are careful to mind and heal their own sister wounding so they can show up in service for their fellow women in this world.
Avalon Priestesses know that know that coming together and sharing with others is their greatest strength and they choose to follow a power-with structure, knowing that they do not have to fight to prove themselves in a patriarchy that only values individual lone-wolf excellence.
They fiercely support and show up for of all their sisters, knowing that they never need to do this thing called life alone.
5. Be connected to the cycles of the seasons.
The spirituality of the Avalonian Priestesses was rooted in the change of the seasons, the rhythmic transformation of Mother Earth before their very eyes.
This is partly because the ancient sisters had no choice but to live in close connection with the land.
They didn’t have the convenience of supermarkets and radiators, of ready-made fashion and out of season produce, and so the rhythms of their lives was deeply tied to the heartbeat of the seasons, the agricultural planting and harvesting cycles, and the turn of the sun in the sky.
But as a part of this connection, the Avalonian Priestesses felt immersed in the living web of their Mother Earth each day through seeing themselves as a part of the landscape they lived in, a sister to the trees and animals around them.
They were a part of the earth, and felt that deep communion with Her daily as they tended their sheep, harvested and spun flax to make their linen dresses and made their homes from the boughs and earth found in their local area.
Modern Priestesses are usually much removed from the slow cyclical pace of our ancestors.
We no longer spend spring time with arched backs over the tilled soil, or suffer through a storm in a leaky thatched hut with our herds of smelly livestock snuggled in beside us, but we do seek to remain connected with the earth in our own ways.
Modern Avalonian Priestesses take time to walk the land where they live and honour the seasons of the Wheel of the Year, noticing the small changes in their neighbourhood: the arrival of the goldfinches, the fruiting of the blackberry bushes, the yearly abundance of yarrow in the sunny hedgerows.
They try honour nature, purchasing eco-friendly cleaning products and spending as much time breathing in the wisdom of Nature as possible.
6. Know the art of Magic
Long ago, the art of Magic was sacred.
Priestesses were taught by their elders how to craft charms out of herb and root, to sow seeds with their thoughts and intentions, to enchant the rains to come and the fruits to bloom.
They were called Fey by the common folk – a term given to women who were skilled in enchantments, touched by the Faery realm.
They practiced things we would recognise as magic today: protection spells, fertility charms, little bundles of lavender and rose to attract lovers and pots filled with old iron nails to repell bad spirits.
But their Magic was much more than simple spellcraft – they knew Magic was a part of all life.
The way they soothed a baby with soft words was a kind of magic in itself. The way their grounded, peaceful presence brought relief to the people they visited was another.
Their charisma and spark of life was yet another kind of enchantment, their powers of persuasion a glamour, their warmth a soft sorcery to delight and and charm those they met.
These priestesses were magic, in their breath and bones, and modern Avalonian Priestesses reclaim this Fey power today, awake to how their presence can create ripples of magic in the world.
7. Know how to read the sacred signs and omens.
The Priestesses of Avalon were known as great oracles.
They could scry to see the future in a bowl of bracken water.
They knew how to watch the skies for omens, find the command of the Gods in the call of a blackbird, and throw the bones to divine the correct course of action.
They read the stars, and were skilled in astronomy.
Today, Avalonian Priestesses do not tend to live under a handy blackbird’s nest, or far away from the city enough to read the cold skies with clarity.
But they are awake to the wider wisdom of the world.
They see the ways in which all paths are intertwined, and their eyes are open to the sacred acts of synchronicity that bless those who are open enough to see them.
Perhaps the modern Avalonian Priestess carries a well worn deck of cards in her handbag, or she watches the movements of the planets keenly through Google alerts, checking her drama in periods of Venus Retrograde and acting with gusto when Jupiter passes through Sagittarius.
She knows and trusts in her relationship with the universe.
She asks for signs and symbols… and trusts that they will come at the right time, according to the rules of Divine Timing.
She expands her grasp of what is known and lets the Gods fill her in.
As the Priestesses awaken again in this modern age, as women re-member and piece together the forgotten sacred ways of the holy isle of Avalon, they use these seven skills to live their truth as a Priestess of Avalon: to be a devoted vessel of the divine, blessed with magic and oracular power, living in relationship with the land and plants about her together with her sisters.
Are you a re-awakening Priestess of Avalon?
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About the Author:
Demelza Fox is a Venusian Devotee and a Priestess of Morgan le Fey. By day, she runs Rockstar Priestess, a priestess- and goddess spirituality-training site for wild witches and mystic priestesses, and by night she lights up stages across the land as a magnetic dancer and award winning burlesque seductress. She runs the Morgan le Fey Mystery School, dedicated to teaching the ways and secrets of Morgan le Fey through both online courses and retreats in the heart of the landscape of Avalon in Glastonbury UK. If you would like to learn more about Morgan le Fey, be a part of free online moon ceremonies and join Demi for more badass priestessery and venusian magic, you can join her Sisterhood of the Morgen Rose on Facebook, or sign up to her Email List to receive a free Modern Day Priestess Manual and weekly articles and love notes. You can learn more about Avalon by signing up for Demi’s free three day course, Journey to Avalon, by clicking here.
featured image via Pixabay