About Jenne Micale

Jenne Micale is a writer, singer, priestess and musician whose endeavors include the ethereal/wyrd music project Kwannon and, in former times, the wyrd folk band Belladonna Bouquet. A member of the Henge of Keltria and Keltrian initiate, she also has had work published in "Talking About the Elephant: An Anthology of Neopagan Perspectives on Cultural Appropriation," "To Fly By Night: The Craft of the Hedgewitch" and "Brighid and Me: Experiences with the Goddess," as well as the forthcoming poetry anthology "Mandragora." You can find out more at www.kwannon.net or read her Druidic musings at whitecatgrove.wordpress.com.

Editor’s Note: Lughnasadh 2014

A Warm Welcome in this Harvest Season!

By Jenne Micale

Photo of Editor Jenne Micale

A blessed Lughnasadh to you all! As the new editor of Henge Happenings, let me introduce myself.

You may have seen my poetry and articles in previous issues, or my occasional postings on Facebook or in the Keltria Yahoo group. Perhaps you've checked out my music at www.kwannon.net, or my sporadic musings at whitecatgrove.wordpress.com. Or, perhaps I am completely unfamiliar to you, a new face in your field of vision. To all of you, I give my greetings.

I've been with the Henge for a number of years and am a Keltrian initiate currently in the Ring of Birch; previously, my spiritual path took me to the Dianic and Reclaiming traditions, and finally to ADF, where I spent a number of years before transitioning to the Henge. A proud Jersey girl, I am now planted in the Southern Tier of New York, where I continue to be fascinated by the natural world.

While I once had a small grove – White Cat – and occasionally do Keltrian rituals with a sister Pagan, I am largely solitary in practice. I know that many of you are, too. And that's what makes Henge Happenings so important: it, along with social media and the Yahoo group, helps create a faith community that we can't always experience in the flesh.

Appropriately enough for Lughnasadh, one of the lessons of the harvest is that communities must work together in order to survive – whether it's bundling John Barleycorn in the field, or putting together a newsletter. In short, Henge Happenings needs you – all of you, solitary and grove member alike – to be successful.

We come out four times a year on the Celtic holidays, and always need articles! Do you have a great idea for Grove's Choice or a craft activity related to the season? A meditation or magical practice? A recipe you love to use on the Feast Days? Share it! Are you interested in ancient Irish law, one of the Gods, Goddesses or heroes, or other aspects of Druidic culture? Consider writing an article! Share your work with ancestors, nature spirits and the Gods, or do a review on that really cool book, enticing music CD or interesting Tarot deck you've just picked up.

More of a visual type? We need artwork: cool photographs, paintings or drawings of nature, your ritual set-up, that interesting tree or stone.

Shy and uncertain about your writing? Don't be! I've worked as a professional writer and editor for 15 years, and before that, as a college writing instructor. I am more than willing to help you achieve your vision and work with you on your wordcraft, if you so desire.

Have a great idea, but one that doesn't fit with the current holiday cycle featured in Henge Happenings? I accept submissions year-round and will happily use it in a future issue, so press that send button!

We Keltrians are a talented people, a people of skill – and we honor our tribe by sharing those skills.

Please send submissions to me at dulcimergoddess@hotmail.com.

P.S.: I am trying to create this newsletter in OpenOffice, and I must say that it's challenging! If the technically minded among you can recommend reasonably-priced or open-source software for easy newsletter creation, please drop me a line! I'll love you to bits.

Lus: a flame, an herb

by Jenne Micale

Lus means both "a flame" and "an herb," and invokes Brighid of the hearth, the locus of everyday healing, sustenance and storytelling.


Tea Brewing (Chi Pot)

Come then. Your hands lace around the
chipped cup framing your eyes with
rising steam. The knots and veins of them thread
a landscape -- mountains, valleys, broad rivers.

Age hones you into the image of Earth.

At your back, the snow catches sound like mice
on a cat's paw. Turn instead to the fire.

Let it delight your eye, let it spark a
story as it heats the tea, as it draws
us to the corners of the hearth. A breath
and again. Begin with prayers to cattle
and to men. Come then, you chant, let me tell
you of times spun of mist and shit and earth.

Let me tell you of the herb you hold in
your cup. Let me tell you, the singing harp
the strings unstruck, of the hiss of fat from
the cooking fish that turns boy into bard.

It starts with a hearth, with a cup of tea,
with age in your hands and fire in your eye,
a hearkening ear, and a crackling tongue.⁠

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Tinne / The Ingot

by Jenne Micale

Photo of Jenne Micale

Jenne Micale

Tinne, whose name means "ingot," is all about technical skill and mastery; it invokes Brighid, the smith, in its way. Its initial line is a quote commonly attributed to the Anglo-Irish poet William Butler Yeats.

In dreams begin responsibilities,
the poet hammers, the blows echoing
through the damp halls of a benighted past.

Continue reading

Poetry: Leborcham Lies to Conchobar

Leborcham Lies to Conchobar

by Jenne Micale

Cracks in the mud - geograph.org.uk - 1271501

"Cracks in the Mud" - Ian Paterson [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Her face -- a riverbed
in high summer, webbed with
grief that cracks as mudflats,
and cattails of hair hang

ragged and gold, yet shot
with tarnish. Skin is bark
sloughing on the hard ground
strained by a drought of joy.

The very image of
the Cailleach, blight's white crone --
spring's bud blasted by
the hard wind of regret!

Leave her to her bleak home
in the leaf litter, man --
a warrior should have
a beauty like sunrise.

Such I tell you, old friend.
with my Druid tongue, I give
the unaccustomed lie
to king stag in his hall.

And why? For the twigs in
my crane bag have always
their alphabet of
truth, although twisted, bent

as winter's brow, as my
own hag hand. But here -- here
is what I do not say,
what I deny you, king:

That love's laughter lights her
hair, her green eye, her bird
of a soul -- firing her
brand, a star in the dark

as his arms, circling, sweep
her from the grass's green bond --
a whirl of air and sun,
desire, dream and sunrise.

No hardship can chip it --
no grief can cage a soul
fledged to freedom in the
blue with its mate soaring.

But see -- the words I twist
do not lie so much, king.
They are but a vision
if she had stayed with you.

Originally published in Keltria: Journal of Druidism and Celtic Magick

Cover of Keltria: Journal of Druidism and Celtic Magick -- Issue #42

Keltria: Journal of Druidism and Celtic Magick -- Issue #43

Keltria: Journal of Druidism and Celtic Magick, Issue #43 -- The Heroes Issue. Is available in its entirety from MagCloud.

Music by Kwannon
(Jenne Micale)

 [amazon_enhanced asin="B00GIWHIXG" /][amazon_enhanced asin="B00G5NOKIY" /][amazon_enhanced asin="B003IOS0NE" /]

Just Saying:Satirists as catalysts and (anti) heroes

EXCERPT - From Keltria Journal - #43

Just Saying:
Satirists as catalysts & (anti)heroes

— Jenne Micale

Sugar Loaf Mountain - Glengariff County Cork Ireland

Likely, the assembly at Roi Dedonn, known forever after as Tarbga, swelled with satisfaction at the final battle between Finnbennach Ai and Donn Cuailnge. Not because of the cattle raid's outcome, although Conchobar and Medb likely stood to watch the proceedings, garbed in their tribal finery with their hosts arrayed about them. No, they swelled with satisfaction because one of the last acts of the warring bulls – about so much had been gambled and lost – was to trample Bricriu to death.

Bricriu is one of the anti-heroes of Celtic mythology and one of two cáinti, or satiric poets, to play major roles in the Táin Bó Cuailnge. Cáinti were members of the honored class of fili, or poets, but poets of a particular type: with their words, they wielded the power to destroy, to bring the prideful low, and to literally disfigure those who lied or behaved dishonorably. As Kenneth Hurlstone Jackson notes in A Celtic Miscellany, “in a warrior aristocracy, where a reputation for the princely virtues of generosity and courage was of the highest social importance, this might be a disaster” (195). More than simply the Jon Stewart of their day, cáinti were masters of the hex and, like other fili, possibly members of the druidic class.

Freckles: Ireland's Biggest Jerk

I've got an average house with a nice hardwood floor
My wife and my job, my kids and my car
My feet on my table and a Cuban cigar
But sometimes that just ain't enough
To keep a man like me interested....
No, I've gotta go out and have fun
At someone else's expense

-- comedian Dennis Leary,
in the song “I'm an Asshole”

Ireland's greatest jerk had impeccable taste in mansions, a propensity for sunburn and a great love of backstabbing, which he likely considered more of a practical joke. He and his wife were excellent party planners, and he manages – like many a world-class....

Continued in Issue #43 of Keltria Journal.

Cover of Keltria: Journal of Druidism and Celtic Magick -- Issue #42

Keltria: Journal of Druidism and Celtic Magick -- Issue #42

Keltria: Journal of Druidism and Celtic Magick, Issue #43 -- The Heroes Issue. Is available in its entirety from MagCloud.

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Keltria Journal – In the House of No Stories

EXCERPT: In the House of No Stories:

Finding the tales of my ancestors

by Jenne Micale

Photo of Jenne Micale

Jenne Micale

In the elementary school classroom, the teacher pushed primary-color tacks onto the map of the world, one for each of our ancestors. Specks of plastic dotted the usual places: Italy, Ireland, sometimes Africa. Our assignment, she said: Find out where your family is from for a book report and, of course, the ceremony that was thumbtacks-on-the-map.

On the way home, my next door neighbor glowed and crowed of her European mutt heritage: English and Danish and French, and whatever else she remembered to say that day. She chanted the names of her line and recounted her family's history as I kicked leaves on the sidewalk. The neighborhood used to be her family's farm, even though it had since been reduced to one green and white farmhouse in disrepair.

At home, I turned to my parents, who shifted their feet and turned to busy themselves with some mundane task: “Where do I put my thumbtacks on the map?”


[This excerpt is from a three-page article was published in Keltria: Journal of Druidism and Celtic Magick, Issue #42.  It is available in its entirety to members of the Henge of Keltria via the Members Home page.  It is available to non-members of the Henge and in print form via Mag Cloud.]

[amazon_image id="190571324X" link="true" target="_blank" size="medium" ]Talking About the Elephant[/amazon_image] [amazon_image id="0982726376" link="true" target="_blank" size="medium" ]To Fly By Night: Craft of the Hedgewitch[/amazon_image] [amazon_image id="B003IOS0NE" link="true" target="_blank" size="medium" ]The Twisted Book[/amazon_image]

Keltria Journal – Birds of Ill Repute

EXCERPT: Birds of Ill Repute:
Grackles and Omens

By Jenne Micale

Jenne Micale

The horde comes in the gray of the dusk, their feathers so black that the light fractures into blue on their heads. Keen eyes gleam yellow as they land under the oaks – one iridescent shadow after another, carpeting the ground in a mass of seething black.

I note the direction: South. Bad news from the South? I think of my ill mother, my harried father who live in that direction, and I ready an arsenal of prayers.

But then I stop. With a determined look, the grackles – almost on cue – start grabbing and flipping up the dead leaves, looking a bit like a high school color guard team. I laugh, remembering the time I had put moth balls under my garden shed to deter groundhogs, only to have the grackles steal them all – and toss them around like balls on the lawn, thinking they were eggs.

Common Grackle

Suddenly, they didn't seem like such bad luck after all – just animals, thinking critters looking for their next meal, as we all are.

The ill-omened Icteridae

When it comes to augury and zoomancy – divination by birds and by animals, respectively.... Continued...

[This excerpt is from a three-page article was published in Keltria: Journal of Druidism and Celtic Magick, Issue #41.  It is available in its entirety to members of the Henge of Keltria via the Members Home page.  It is available to non-members of the Henge via Mag Cloud.]

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Solitary practice: A full moon rite to Manannan

Solitary practice: A full moon rite to Manannan

by Jenne Micale

Photo of Jenne Micale

Jenne Micale

Connecting with your Gods – whether it be your matron or patron, the Gods of the season or whomever you wish to work with at the time – is an important part of Druidic practice. And as a special blessing for solitaries, much of this connection must be made on your own time, rather than with a grove. Grove rituals augment your personal practice but cannot replace it; solitary work provides the spiritual depth and skill development that group ritual draws on.

In my experience, one of the best ways to foster such connection is to have a designated time and ritual to connect with your matron or patron. I have a vigil ritual I perform every 20 days in honor of my matron Brighid, as part of Ord Brighideach. For Manannan, my patron, I do a divination and/or trance-themed rite on the full moon.

“Why the full moon?” you may ask. “Isn't that Wiccan?” The reason I honor Manannan on the full moon is two-fold; first, and most importantly, He requested it. The second concerns his role as sea god; the moon is the puller of the tides, both oceanic and spiritual. Traditionally – and yes, the Wiccans are right about this part – it's an opportune time for magic and divination. Unlike Wicca, however, my full moon rite does not center around a moon/mother goddess, but on the god of the sea and liminality. Granted, one could conceivably honor Manannan on the dark moon as well, but the ritual would have a far different tenor; whereas the full moon is the time of peak flood-tide, the dark moon marks the deepest ebb.

The ritual below can be inserted into the typical Keltrian ritual structure, with the honoring of direction, opening of the Gates and honoring of the Gods, Nature Spirits and Ancestors. Much of the language is co-opted and occasionally reformulated from Alexander Carmichael’s [amazon_link id="0940262509" target="_blank" ]Carmina Gadelica[/amazon_link], that indispensable book of Scottish lore. I did use some from Kenneth Hurlstone Jackson’s compendium [amazon_link id="0140442472" target="_blank" ]A Celtic Miscellany: Translations from the Celtic Literature (Penguin Classics)[/amazon_link]. If I marked it, it’s borrowed from elsewhere. The working/trance invocation — the one that mentions the crane bag — is my own. The salt-water and sage purifications aren’t all that different from other Pagan traditions, probably; feel free to substitute whatever form of purification you feel comfortable with. Feel free to share with whoever is interested; it’s for public use.

Invocation (combination of 11th and 9th century Irish verse from A Celtic Miscellany):

The ocean is full, the sea is in flood, lovely is the home of the ships. The sandy wind has made eddies. The rudder is swift upon the wide sea…. Look before you at the glorious sea, home of creatures, dwelling of seals; wanton and splendid, it has taken of flood tide. Manannan, Lord of the Sea, of wave and of magic, of travel and journeys, of wisdom and truth, I honor you on this night.

Salt water blessing:

I cleanse myself with the salt and the water, with the waters of the sea, the realm of Mac Lir.

Anoint and sing, from the Carmina Gadelica:

A wavelet for thy form
A wavelet for thy voice
A wavelet for thy sweet speech
A wavelet for thy luck
A wavelet for thy good
A wavelet for thy health
A wavelet for thy throat
A wavelet for thy pluck
A wavelet for thy graciousness
Nine waves for thy graciousness.
May the spirit satisfy me with the water of grace.

Cleanse with smoke:

I cleanse myself with the flame and the herb, so that all that is ill is washed from me.

Waft and sing, from the Carmina Gadelica:

Ward from me every distress and danger
Encompass my course over the ocean of truth
I pray thee, place thy pure light before me
O Mananann on this very night
O Mananann on this very night
Be thyself the guiding star above me
May you light every reef and shoal
Pilot my boat on the crest of the wave
To the restful haven of the waveless sea
To the restful haven of the waveless sea

The working; use divination, scrying or trance. Sing:

May Manannan grant me
A glimpse of the crane bag
A glimpse of the mysteries
In the bag of secrets.
A glimpse of the Apple Isle
And its cup of truth
The isles of the Otherworld
And the swine at its feast.
Rattle the silver bough
To laugh, cry or sleep
To lead me on my journey
And to bring me home.

The divination/trance follows; use whatever you’re called to.

The return.

Ground and sing (from the Carmina Gadelica):

Bless to me, O Manannan
The earth beneath my foot,
Bless to me, O Manannan
The path whereon I go;
Bless to me, O Manannan
The thing of my desire
Bless to me, O Manannan
Bless me to my rest.
Bless to me the thing
Whereon is set my mind
Bless to me the thing
Whereon is set my love
Bless to me the thing
Whereon is set my hope
O Thou Lord of the Wave
May I be blessed in your eye.

Close with the standard Keltrian ritual format.

Celtic knotwork bar

Poem: Summer’s End

Summer’s End

by Jenne Micale

Photo of Jenne Micale

Jenne Micale

The cold wind comes, embracing.
The lover of frost

the harbinger of fall.
It hides beneath the old green leaves
Skin prickles at its embrace
as the poplars shed their rags.
Herald of the yellow light,
the sun waning -- like the moon
with the creak of wagon wheels
headed down the rutted road
westering as it melds
with the blue horizon

[amazon_enhanced asin="190571324X" /]  features an essay by Jenne Micale