archives, feminism

Joy Magick and Heathen Delights: The Wilds of the Summer Hags.


Oh, you came! Was my radically hopeful heart pulse-pounding that sacred song you used to hum while we readied ourselves for a night spent wild? Was my aging, animal body calling to you even when my voice was too humble to say your name?

Every stretch-marked inch of my sun-licked and befreckled flesh, every low and creaking moan of these beauteous bones of mine from knees to neck, and every delighted spark from every newborn cell dancing in that crimson plasma surging through my veins has been an epic and embodied invocation she-crafted just for you, my sister in lawlessness, and I’ve built this stone circle in my psychic mists, on my ancestral hallowed ground, in the name of rebellious joy and euphoric memory.

This darkening moon is whispering its wildest secrets to me, you see. That silvery songstress spilled from her ancient mouth all the wisdom I needed to reclaim my Witch’s inheritance of priceless jubilance and hedonistic delight.

The hag-crones left it all to us in their wills, sister, and we’re both mentioned by name. You were left that precious plant medicine and wise woman’s know-how, and I was left these poetic gifts of word-witchery and crow-speak. Those powers of sight, the way you receive the subtlest energies with those black-mirror eyes of yours — the grandmothers left you those too, wrapped in their stained aprons and tied with candy-striped baker’s twine.

Our pyromancy, mud-pie prayers, flower brews, and bone-deep passion for oak, rowan, and willow — these were stocked just for us inside the collective crone-vaults and protected by the ghosts of flame-tending women until this generation of heathen warrioresses could prove themselves worthy.

And here we are! Help me move this last stone into place, and let’s lie quiet on the mossy earth, silent enough to hear those hags moon-croon us lullabies of magick and mayhem. Just for tonight, before that new moon sends us spinning toward fruition, let’s pause and ask those hearth-holding grandmothers to teach us the language of righteous, hard-nippled revelry and ephemeral, belly-wobbling exuberance.

It’s in the blood, you see. Embedded in our double-helix sigils are holy visions of bonfires and bliss, long days of goose-pimpled excitement and warm, too-short nights of celebration, dance, lust, and beneath-the-skin gratitude. Do you remember?

Think hard, sister. Those spiral bones of yours are soul-relics, skeletal pagan statues honoring the mighty dead who knew how to twirl in unison with Mother Time’s spiral dance.

Let’s know this wildness not as some wanderlust-born and so-distant destination to be sought but as a creaturely imprint stamped on our still-glowing skin even now, as our rumps lose their curves and our eyes take on the same spider-webbed, laugh-lined patterns shared by those stalwart women who came before us, who hoped radically for a fruitful harvest and promising hunt, who dreamt of greener futures for their innocent and as yet uncorrupted babes.

I don’t know about you, Witch, but these longer days always make me so weary of ceremony and humorless Craft. Give me that drums-and-mead rhythm my body remembers, that bare-breasted and moonlit celebration of the Holy Wild.

Give me grass-stains on my knees while I ride a grateful and antler-crowned lover straight into oblivion while we see the images of every long-forgotten deity reflected in each other’s eyes, while we howl a two-bodied prayer on the outskirts of our people’s wild celebration, while the rhythm of our slow-tilting hips grooves in time with the beat of the revelers’ heathen hymns.

Am I right, sister? Give me it all.

Tomorrow, let’s remember the future with as much vigor as we remember the past. For today, let’s refuse any thought that’s not a whole-hearted and in-the-now Thank You, and let’s rediscover the joy-magick hidden in our senses. These are the days of swelling grace and slow-blooming art. We are sitting smack dab in the middle of nature’s divine comedy, and we’re inhaling the most brilliant and epic poetry.

How perfect is this, my love? Lying here atop this fertile ground with you, I feel almost ethereal, nearly nauseated with the poetic power wrapping my spine and bidding me sway just slightly from side to side like a sultry and salty water sprite.

Our grandmothers did this too, you know, and those old poetesses are musing me even now, even as I hold the hand of one I love so dearly that the wisdom of my tongue will inevitably fall short of what you deserve. I do feel fearless today though, so I hope you’ll sip this sweetness.

May it be a short but poignant blessing on our afternoon nap, may our dreams be haunted by our grandmothers hedge-witching away beside their cauldrons, and may we wake wild right here between the stones at moonrise surrounded by smiling specters drawn to our living heartbeats like fire-fae to a humble but well-loved hearth.

These summer crows have taught me much
Of gardenias, rose, and seed and such
These maiden moons have sent me dreams
Of jagged runes and death, it seems

And you, my love, your wealth abounds
Below, above, in ancient sounds
I’ve learned to dance from watching you
I’ve earned my chance, and you have too

To hear those old and wise ones speak
To hand-mine gold, the gifts we seek
Yes, these crones have taught us well
It’s in our bones to rise from hell

Then back we go on longer nights
For now, a show of sweet delights
We’ll love so well until it’s done
Where faeries dwell ‘neath bolder sun

Show me bliss and joy and grace
In a kiss and on your face
Let’s drift to sleep between these stones
Ours souls to keep and hold our bones.

All blessings be on these longer, birdsong-lifted and new-buds-gifted days, my love. All blessings be.


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Danielle Dulsky

Danielle Dulsky

Danielle Dulsky is a heathen visionary, Aquarian mischief-maker, and word-witch. Author of 'Seasons of Moon and Flame: The Wild Dreamer’s Epic Journey of Becoming', 'The Holy Wild: A Heathen Bible for the Untamed Woman' and 'Woman Most Wild' (New World Library 2020, 2018, 2017), Danielle teaches internationally and has facilitated embodiment trainings, wild circles, communal spell-work, and seasonal rituals since 2007. She is the founder of The Hag School and the lead teacher for the school’s Flame-Tender Facilitator Training and online coven, The Hag Ways Collective, an E-RYT 500 and YACEP, a Fire-Keeper for Ord Brighideach, and a dedicant to Irish-Celtic spirituality. She believes in the power of wild collectives and sudden circles of curious dreamers, cunning witches, and rebellious artists as well as the importance of ancestral healing, embodiment, and animism in fracturing the longstanding systems supporting environmental unconsciousness and social injustice. Parent to two beloved wildings and partner to a potter, Danielle fills her world with nature, family, art-making, poetry, and intentional awe.
Danielle Dulsky