When we first moved into our house in Springfield, MO, it had been empty for over a year. At the time of purchase little did we know there would soon be issues with our septic system. Trees and a half-century old clay pipe do make for interesting bedfellows. With repairs completed we were left with a large pile in the back yard. The good repair people asked me about a half dozen times did I want them to haul the pile away for me. I, being the good upper Midwesterner that I am, resisted telling them no - I had plans. My plans were to use that pile of soil to make some raised beds for a garden in our backyard. That was my first introduction to that infamous Ozarks soil. I tried for most of the day to get that pile of rocks and red clay to move. My results were sore shoulders and a new landscape feature in our back yard soon to be known as “The Pile”. A better choice than “Bahuvrihi’s Folly”. Over time the little mound changed; first grasses, and then I added some mint. We planted a crabapple tree off to the side, and then came the raspberries and more mint. We had some volunteer trees appear one year that just seemed to grow by the foot daily. I added flowers, mostly native echinacea, bee balm and violets. My sister came to visit, and she and I dug up some of the rock, made a flat top on the mound and planted some more flowers. It was developing into a very nice focal point in our back yard.
A handful of years later I started having these extremely vivid dreams about water. Following a river along its path as it flowed into and out of the earth. The dream stayed with me for days; I just couldn't shake the imagery. I would lie down for bed at night, and my mind would be filled with little snapshots from the dream. There was nothing frightening about these images - just an intensity. I was wasting time on Google one afternoon when I stumbled across a small note about the Goddess Danu - one extremely strongly water-focused Goddess. Being a very watery/earthy person, oh did she make my spirit sing. My explorations also led me to another ancient goddess - Nammu, who is also extremely water-focused. It felt as if Danu was leading me back to Nammu. It was an interesting couple of months of self-discovery. I promise to write more about Nammu at another time, for today we are all about Danu.
If you are not familiar with Danu, she can be found in the Celtic mythos as the mother Goddess of the Tuatha Dé Danann. She can also be found in the Vedic traditions as the goddess of the mother river or the Danube. As with most of these old, very powerful primal forces of nature-type deities, there is very little that has survived about Danu. But with the discovery of this name came clarity of understanding to my dreams of water and rivers. I had unknowingly created a Fairy Mound in my backyard.
The Fae are not human; I know that sounds silly to say, but it is important to remember when dealing with Fae. They are being of both light (Seelie) and darkness (Unseelie) and, much like feral cats, they pick us to be their humans more than we pick them. One does not worship them but instead works with them. Working with the energies that Danu has shared with me has informed some of my more challenging magical workings. She offers amazing protection for children but cares little for the daily mundane struggles of life. She is a master at illusion and learning to identify and see though illusion - especially the ones we create within ourselves about our-self. She loves bees, and I sometimes wonder if she isn't the mother goddess of bees as she is the mother goddess of the waters. She can offer amazing insight into healing and herbalism from the waters of creation but only if you want to heal what is truly broken. She will not heal if you wish to remain broken.
Within all that she is still first and foremost Danu of The FAE. She is their creator and has the mindset of a fae. This is key to anyone who works with fae or fairy magic. We must remember that they are not human. Their definition of good and bad is not the same as a human might think of such things. Their view of power and trickery is not the same as most (not all, but most) humans understand. I know that is a huge caveat for anyone curious enough to start to study or learn more about Danu. I would encourage those who feel the pull to give her a try. She is, after all, a mother goddess and, like most mother goddesses, she loves to teach, nurture and educate her children. From Danu we can gain understanding of our own power to be a creator. If the life we desire is within us, we can all find the path to our higher selves and the divine that resides within.
It was very distressing for us to leave our home in Springfield and move to Little Rock, AR. It was especially hard to leave behind my fairy mound. It is under the care of my daughters. I have a couple decades of gardening, kitchen witchery and magical work under my belt, but my daughters will do just fine as caretakers of the old fairy mound. They have Danu to guide them. For now I have a small pot in my back yard full of thyme and Danu’s crystal she gave to me. One day I’ll be able to build her another fairy mound when the time and land are found. I’ve also planted a date tree for Nammu, but her story is for another blog post…