Cerridwen of the Land

Cerridwen of the Land

Newly-initiated Priestess Jules shares her love of the land of her ancestors and the ceremony she and her Cerridwen sisters created to honour Cerridwen of the Land. 


As part of our Cerridwen Priestess training, we need to create and lead three ceremonies.  I love to walk the land so I decided to create a ceremony of the land.

As part of an international group of aspiring Priestesses, I was privileged to see the lands of the Priestesses through their eyes. The original intention was to simply find a way to share the experience of Cerridwen in our lands together in circle.

As we prepared, alongside the beauty, there emerged stories of loss, destruction and devastation. UK, Estonia, Australia, America, Canada. And so many more. Mining, logging, development of infrastructure – roads, airports, seaways. So we transformed the ceremony to cover deeper and wider issues, not only a celebration of our lands, but also a call to healing.

On Sunday 23 October we held a ceremony to share experience and to reflect. In this gathering we set our intent. Our intent was to celebrate our connection with our lands. As ever, we did this by sharing stories, songs and spells. We shared the sacred, the energy, the power. We shared some powerful offerings from our inspirational Sisters. And we also took the time to reflect on how. The ceremony was beautiful and inspired us to create more. We are going to make the Ceremony of the Land a regular offering with contributions from our international Priestesses.

How Cerridwen appears to me in the land

Cerridwen of the Land 2I live on the edge of West Yorkshire, on the border with the Peak District. The view from my window is one of wild moorlands, windswept hills, woodland, springs and wildlife — owls, foxes, hawks, robins, hares, deer. It is a magical place.

Since joining the Cerridwen training the land has come alive to me. I have found nettles and instead of stinging, singing. I now see the masses of cleavers that I never knew existed.  I think about making elderflower tinctures and blackberry jam. The trees have taken on a life of their own, whispering to me of their past, present and the potential future.

Cerridwen of the Land 3To me Cerridwen breathes across this land, and her dragons sit alongside her. I see a large Earth Dragon wrapped around my local hills; joined occasionally by her allies, the Dragons of Water, Air and Fire. They are not always happy, sometimes they are roaring.

The three Hawthorn trees that sit together, clustered and careful have always talked to me but now, I hear their chanting and calling. They asked to be witnessed and heard. In this way I can support them with my sacred listening.

Sometimes when I step out to walk my dogs I pause for a moment, especially early morning when the day is starting and everything is still and I remember the past, the ancient past. I remember a land full of plants, woods and animals. A place of ritual and honour.

Cycles and transformation of the landscape

However, our history is one of cycles. The land was cleared for farming, the land scorched during wars, the population decreased due to famine as the climate changed and the plague. During times of prosperity, industry gained prominence, in the 18th century the wool industry flourished. Alongside the textiles were coal and steel. The landscape that I see now as rural and wild was, not so long ago, in living memory an industrialised and toxic place to be. 

Conditions in the towns and factories were poor. There was recognition of the importance of nature as workers demanded the right to roam, culminating in the mass trespass of Kinder Downfall, in the Peak District. This resulted in National Parks and rights of way and the right to roam in certain parts of England. And the land changed again with the closure of the mines, the woollen mills and the steel works. What I look at today is a land returned to wilderness.

For me, this reflects the resilience of Cerridwen, her cycles and her ultimate transformation — that things can change in ways we cannot predict, but we can ask for in our rituals, ceremony and circling.

My family has been shaped by this history and landscape. All my family worked in textiles and I was the first to work in the service industry, not a factory. We didn’t have a lot of money and during our long school holidays in the summer my grandma would take us to IIkley Moor and Otley Glen, places of moorland, nature and adventure.

The woollen mill where my grandmas worked has been turned into a museum. They would sew, knit and gossip, tell stories. They would bake, cook and create. My grandmas were wild, strong, wonderful women. They introduced me to the land and the stories of the land. In this way for me Cerridwen comes alive, she sits alongside my ancestors and our stories. She was in them as she comes alive in me.

I recognise and have to respect cycles and the different ways the land is used — it cannot always be pristine. I connect to our vision of how land should be — but these trees, plants and life have established themselves,, and it feels like we need to protect them.

During the training I was introduced to Starhawk. I am sure many of you will already know her and be familiar with her work. ‘The Earth Path’ is a book that resonated deeply. To quote her, ‘When a system is whole and healthy, when it is based on relationships of interdependence and co-operation that further resilience, diversity, abundance, sustainability, creativity and freedom, it exhibits that balance we humans call justice.’

In writing this she asks, as do others, what can we do to impact the flow of energy for our future? Currently, as many of us have witnessed, much of our land is under threat it is being poisoned, its resources exploited and its very structure destabilised. The life which this land sustains plant, animal and human is consequently also under threat. As priestesses of Cerridwen, the Dark Mother, the Wise Woman who gathers herbs for healing and understands the importance of loving and respecting our natural environment, we will be using our skills and holding ceremonies and rituals to protect our lands. We will let you know where and when and invite you to join us.


Jules, Priestess of Cerridwen

West Yorkshire, UK

Jules completed the Priestess of Cerridwen training in October 2022. She is a leader in business and is working out how to combine these different pathways. In the meantime Jules is continuing her learning with her Sisters and Goddess with love, joy and endless curiosity. Jules has learnt that the world is a magical place once we open ourselves to it and the possibilities.  

Images by Jules

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