This is a Disabled Pagan Voices Project Submission
In the days and weeks following the death of the Old Shaman, there was much speculation regarding not only who would take his place as the Head Shaman, but also who would now take their position of Shaman or Shamaness at Anoc-Par. All of the Pictish Shamans and Shamanesses met at Croich, the village that was central and at the heart of Ireland’s Pictish Clans. There were around twenty people in attendance, including the Apprentices, and it befell on them all to make these important decisions.
No-one there present had to decide on a Head Shaman before, because the Old Shaman had lived for so long that there was no-one in living memory that knew the procedure for appointing a Head Shaman. They all discussed what should be done, and they quickly realised how much they had relied and depended on their Old Shaman, and he was sorely missed for his guidance at this significant time in their history.
After much discussion and debate among all present, a vote was taken, and a new Head Shaman was appointed, a man who had been the Shaman of Croich for the last ten years. This man could be called Ego Shaman, because he was the complete opposite in every way to the Old Shaman, and Ego Shaman was now the Head Shaman to all of the Pictish people in Ireland, a position of great power. Ego Shaman was a greedy man who used his position to have others be servants to him, and he lived a lavish lifestyle,
while he delegated his duties to his Apprentice. As Head Shaman he assigned a Shamaness friend of his to be the new Shamaness of Anoc-Par, which was considered to be one of the more wealthy and privileged of the Pictish villages.
This new Shamaness was mean spirited and very lazy, and Deenagh was her in-waiting Apprentice as soon as this woman arrived in Anoc-Par. Deenagh had the task of gathering healing plants, which she didn’t mind because it meant she had a valid reason for her ramblings in the woodlands and mountains. Deenagh loved being among the trees where she could learn about the plants and their magical qualities, and it was the Dryad of the Wizened Hawthorn Tree that taught her all she knew. Deenagh was hesitant about formally starting her Apprenticeship which involved a Magical Initiation Ceremony, and she wanted to be certain before undertaking such an important role in village life, while the Shamaness of
Anoc-Par was in no hurry to accept Deenagh as her Apprentice, so Deenagh was not pressed into the role, and at least had some time on her side.
The new Shamaness had observed this child Deenagh when she first arrived in Anoc-Par. She was aware of what the clans folk had said of Deenagh, that she was a child blessed by the Goddess and she could
speak with the Spirits, and that it was naturally assumed that Deenagh would be Apprentice to the Shamaness. Of course the Shamaness didn’t like this prospect, because she just didn’t like Deenagh, possibly simply because everyone else seemed to like her so much, and the Shamaness would not admit it, but she felt threatened by Deenagh. The Shamaness was also jealous that Deenagh was afforded so much freedom to roam her environment, and yet there was not much the Shamaness could do about
it. However, Deenagh was unaware of the extent of hatred the Shamaness had felt for her, but her Tree Mother had warned Deenagh to be wary and cautious around this new Shamaness. Deenagh herself knew instinctively that she could not trust this woman, but she had to be careful as to how she would deal with her, and to make sure she would not give the Shamaness a reason to hate her. The Dryad explained to Deenagh that so long as the rest of her village clans folk were behind her, then the Shamaness would be on her own, and would have no choice to at least be civil to Deenagh in front of
everyone else. The Shamaness was only too aware that she was a newcomer, and that she firstly would have to start making friends and to get people on her side, those that she could manipulate and control,
There was an evil at work here, and it’s aim was to destroy the Pictish way of life, which was in harmony with their Earth Mother, and it’s people who were good natured at their core. The Pictish clans folk were a noble people, and they held great honour and respect for nature and the environment they inhabited. They believed that they were surrounded by the Spirits of trees, rocks, lakes and seas, Spirits of the elementals of Air, Fire, Water and Earth. Spirits were talked to and about, and included as part of the community, to be consulted on important matters of protection and defence. But there were changes on the way, slowly and with subtlety, the influence of good was losing to the forces of evil, and the death of the Old Shaman was the beginning of the end of the Pictish people in Ireland.
The truth always finds a way to come out, and the truth was that the Old Shaman was murdered, poisoned by the Ego Shaman at the Samhain Clan Gathering on The Sacred Mountain, a poison that took three days to claim his life. The new Shamaness of Anoc-Par was involved in the murder, because she was the one who gave the Old Shaman the drink with the poison in it, which had been prepared by the Ego Shaman. They were as guilty as each other of the murder of the Old Shaman, the greatest
Shaman of the Pictish people, and yet they had no remorse for what they had done. However, they had to keep this a secret so they could remain in their now elevated positions of power. If the Pictish people ever found out the truth, they would’ve taken the Ego Shaman and the Shamaness, and have them stoned to death for this terrible crime against their own people, to have deprived them of their Old Shaman for their own selfish greed. So the Ego Shaman and the Shamaness had to work together to ensure that no-one would ever know of their crime. But they didn’t particularly like each other much, and so they had power over each other if it was ever needed, and they both knew it, because the truth also is that evil really doesn’t have any friends, so of course they could not trust each other.
Deenagh remained her care free self and she loved to learn all she could, to have new experiences and adventures, because to Deenagh the world was full of goodness and wonder, the joy of living and she was truly happy. She had so many people who cared for her and loved her, yet she was unaware that people noticed her much, because for a lot of the time Deenagh enjoyed her own company, where she could be free to be in nature and speak openly with the Spirits of trees and rocks, and delight at seeing a deer or a fox, as well as marvelling at the birds. At aged twelve years, Deenagh was beginning to be a headache for the Chief of the Anoc-Par, because she refused to have a mate, saying she hadn’t chosen anyone, despite the many offers at the recent Clan Gatherings. Deenagh wasn’t ready for that either,
regardless of the girls her age who had Handfasted with mates and were starting families of their own. It was only because as a Shamaness in training that she didn’t have to have a mate that Deenagh was left to her own devices in the hope that she would soon come round to clan life in the village, and find her place. But Deenagh was restless as she roamed the mountains and woodlands near her village. She was independent and stubborn, but so much of a joy to be around that the clans folk accepted her as she was, but they didn’t understand her restless mind and assumed it was a Shamaness thing.
Deenagh yearned to continue learning, her thirst for knowledge, it seemed could not be satisfied and she was like a sponge, soaking it all up only to want to learn more. But she was also a part of her Pictish clan, and she was trying to find her place in it. She was deep in thought on a beautiful Summer day, rambling the woodland, when she heard an almighty roar of pain and anguish, which seemed to have come from the clearing a short distance away. She had never heard such a mournful sound, and her
instinct to help and heal took over and she made her way to where she thought the sound had come from.
My name is Deenagh Jackson and the process of my writing has helped me understand my own Pagan beliefs in this modern day, while also helping me to connect with my Ancestors of old.
The Deenagh series of books which I started writing almost 2 years ago are about the main character Deenagh who can remember her past lives and each book tells the story of the lifetimes she has lived and the lessons learned, with her Spiritual beliefs at the heart which are important to Deenagh.
This is the first time I have shared my stories outside my close circle of friends, but as a wise man once told me “a stranger is a friend yet to be”, so feel free to contact me by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Brightest Blessings, Deenagh