The Year of the Hag
Welcome to Hag School, wild heart. First, a quiet invocation, spoken soft into the solemn glow of an oil lamp left to burn low and late on New Year’s Eve:
Welcome wild, ye potent year of hooded hag and knowing crone
We’ve waited long to sing your songs of mist and standing stone
May we, the wild-hearted, share a secret we’ve always known;
This prophecy, this poetry, ‘tis the marrow in the bone.
And now, a shrouded-in-shadow dream vision of the mischievous mayhaps-to-come:
Swift as a clever-eyed crow riding the western wind, this Year of the Hag will come for us, blowing open even our most tightly locked doors and spilling shadow and grace all over our unwelcoming, spit-shined floors, seeping into the darkest crevices in our pagan storyteller’s soul and beckoning those bitter tales come forth. Surely, we shall find ourselves more than once curled into the lap of the Cailleach under a waning winter moon. Surely, as sure as these ice-kissed nights are long, by this time next year, we will have unleashed our most resonant voices and become the rebel-witch-mythmakers dreamt into being by our foremothers.
The Hag School Is, The Hag School Isn’t
This is a slightly long-winded birth-story, but, alas, some tales do not lend themselves to the caption-snippet-brevity loved by the internet. If you feel called to The Hag School, I invite you to take the five minutes to read about the school’s young foundations; the roots are where the most potent medicine lives, after all. I’ll begin here, with a bit of philosophy from the mist-lands:
The Celts are masters at bridging the mystical with the practical, creating matter-of-fact lenses through which what is essentially liminal and fluid, the stuff of story, can be discussed with lithe philosophers’ tongues without limiting soulful concepts that defy any and all boring, intellectual boundaries. The three cauldrons are one of these such lenses, a non-system of sorts for exploring the merit of our lived experience, our art, and our kinship with the sacred wild. As we live, as we pursue whatever we might conceive our always-shifting purpose to be, as we heal our many inherited wounds and integrate the hard-mined knowledge of our ancestors into our lived-out-loud craft, as we ourselves move through those human-animal joys and aches that seem both inevitable and unexpected, slowly but surely we fill our “cauldron of warming,” our most primal energetic center where we brew our best art out of love and loss, medicine and wound. To me, tending that lower cauldron is an eternal practice for the meaning-seeking soul, for the creatrix-witch, and to stir that pot well means to, eventually, become a maker of healing art, a teller of tales, and a tender of the wild flame burning at the heart of it all, beneath even that most primitive cauldron of our creaturely experience.
I like to think we are all in the business of becoming our grandmothers’ grandmothers most joyous daydream, and I like to think that we all harbor the red, raw heart of an artist-teacher beneath our ribs. The Hag School has been simmering in my cauldron for years, a long-cooked meal of story, witchery, wild feminine communion, and slow living. With an open heart I say now that you are invited to this table, but, before you sit, I wish to be as transparent as possible about the ingredients I use and the merit, or in some ways lack thereof, of my wisdom.
While everything swells and thins, transforms and transmutes, and I expect The Hag School to be no exception, the offerings at our humble table are simple and four-fold. For all of them, the undergirding beliefs are these: Story is medicine, witchcraft is art, the body is a prayer, and to live in rhythm with the wilds is to live as the holy hag lives, with a rebellious heart, fierce will, and curious spirit. In The Hag School, there are no masters, no experts, and no mystery-keepers. We are all flame-tenders, seekers, and mystics, and our wild innocence is our greatest resource.
The hag archetype is one that has been shunned, cast out, and long-feared for her outspoken nature and hard-won wisdom. She is a wise-elder who remembers what our time-impoverished society has hoped we’d forget; that there is a particular beauty to the dark and the shadow, to the death ritual, and to our epic stories of love and loss. She believes fervently that wild knowledge should be shared and shared often, for we have all been magick-hungry souls searching for a meal that might satisfy, and that humility is an essential ingredient to teaching warmly and well. The Hag School has been born in the great grandmother’s lap, by extension, and, at its heart, is a bone-and-pine altar to the wilds within us all.
Hag Ways Witchery Apprenticeship
Completely Online + Two Optional In-Person Immersions at The Moon House
A year-long journey into the wilds of story, spellcraft, and living in rhythm with the solar and lunar seasons, the Witchery Apprenticeship is essentially a conscious exploration of your “living Craft,” supported by Danielle in a non-hierarchical partnership. This is an intentionally humble offering, a weaving of your own experience with what wisdom Danielle has to share about word-witchery, embodied magick and spellcraft, and what it means to have a “living Craft” in a wounded world. Consider the apprenticeship as a hearty meal prepared with much love; you are invited to taste all of it, to eat as much as you like, but there’s absolutely no pressure to devour every little bite that’s been prepared for you. If there is a component of the work that does not suit your life and ways, we will adjust accordingly. This is not static and immutable work, after all, and Danielle claims absolutely no mastery over the Craft. She will share what she knows and aims to be as transparent as possible about the apprenticeship’s structure and expectations.
In the interest of such transparency, here are some details: There are 13 spots open in the apprenticeship, with registration opening on Imbolc (February 2nd of 2019). Registration will stay open until all 13 spots have been filled, and the apprenticeship will begin on September 2nd, 2018, under the new Harvest Moon. The apprenticeship is offered completely online, with optional participation in two, four day immersions at Danielle’s home studio in Phoenixville, PA included in the cost of tuition. Participation in the immersions is encouraged but not necessary. You do not need to attend the in-person immersions in order to complete the apprenticeship; you can come to one, both, or neither of them. At each of the seasonal portals- Autumn, Winter, Spring, and Summer, that is- you will receive a (somewhat lengthy) packet of information including introductory tidbits, a (reasonable) materials list, and practices for ceremony, ritual, daily practices, and spell-craft; these are all highly dependent on the lunar cycle and Wheel of the Year’s turning. Apprentices can expect to spend a minimum of 2 hours per week on the work, and there is an optional online meeting near most full moons that is an additional hour; these meetings will often be rituals, pathworking experiences with Danielle, guest teachings from other faculty members, informal lecture, and Q&A sessions. The final component of the apprenticeship is a quarterly (or seasonal) one-on-one session with Danielle that is approximately 90 minutes in length, the rhythm and content of which will depend on the season.
Undergirding the apprenticeship is the value of conceiving of each lunar cycle as a season in and of itself, of integrating “Witchcraft” into the everyday, and of permitting these practices to ebb and flow as they will. Danielle believes that Witchcraft is a way of being in and seeing the world as well as an art, and no one will “live” their Craft in precisely the same way. By extension, the curriculum is not universal and will be tailored to each apprentice, and articulating the exact details of the apprenticeship is difficult, but Danielle’s methodology honors the following:
Ancestral Work: We source strength and power from the grandmothers and will continually honor the particular magick that runs in the apprentice’s blood in order to engage in ancestral healing and ground the Craft in the bones.
Daily Practice: In additional to longer ceremonies and rituals that mark seasonal transitions, apprentices will be encouraged to develop micro-rituals that are shorter in duration and adaptable to various schedules and the specific, lived circumstances of the apprentice.
Story and Myth: We will use story and myth in multiple ways, with personal myth-writing becoming a practice of sense-making and reflection. Story will be used in our ritual work, ancestral healing, and for divination and oracular purposes.
Altar-Building: Apprentices will create (and recreate) altars to serve as a structural heart, of sorts, for our work together.
Art-Making: Depending on the apprentices’ relationship to art-making, we will potentially integrate such creative work into our spell-craft, daily practices, and ceremony.
Feeling, Movement, and Embodiment: Apprentices will be invited to create prayers of the body through dance, fluid movement, and breathwork to be used as daily practices and in spell-work.
Pathworking: At least once per season, apprentices will be led through a pathworking experience by Danielle (Most often, these will be audio files. Sometimes, these will occur during the seasonal session); such experiences are designed to gain clarity, to commune with ancestors, and for other such purposes.
Self-Designed and Co-Created Ceremony: In many ways, the apprenticeship is shaped according to the seasonal- both solar and lunar- transitions, and apprentices will be guided to create their own ceremonies and rituals, to be carried out either solitarily or in-circle.
Book of Shadows and Light: All apprentices will work with two journal-type books; one is a typical space for note-taking, writing, and such scribbles, and the other is a Book of Shadows and Light that will become a more permanent reflection of the apprentices’ “living Craft,” within which the self-designed rituals, spells, body prayers, daily practices, poetry, invocations, and many, many other pertinent aspects of the apprentice’s experience will be written.
General Overview of Seasonal Topics
Witching Moons (Autumn): The Hag-Crone Archetype, Shadow Exploration and Integration, Banishing and Protection Magick, the Feminine Dark, Death Ritual, Myths of Wild Release and Redemption, Rituals for Fallow Times, Samhain Cross-Quarter Ceremonies, Word-Witchery for the Longing Heart
Bone Moons (Winter): The Crone-Mother Archetype, Myths of Creation, Hunger and Reflection, Early Manifestation Magick, Deep Rest, Yule Ceremonies, Imbolc and Rituals for the Quickening, Stillness and Honoring the Dark
Healing Moons (Spring): The Maiden-Huntress Archetype, Healing Magick and Ancestral Pathworking, Story Medicine for Wounded Hearts, Ostara and Beltane Rituals, Word-Witchery for Motherline Healing, Conscious Movement
Optional Immersion 1: The Power of the Wild Altar-Keepers: A Four-Day Deep Immersion in Ancestral Healing, Witchcraft, and Story. Spring 2020 dates TBA. Hag Witchery Apprentices Only.
Heathen Moons (Summer): The Mother Archetype, Myths for Ignition, Fire and Gratitude Magick, Litha and Lughnassadh Ceremonies, Preparing for the Great Harvest, Midwifing the Mother-to-Crone transition.
Optional Immersion 2: Gathering the Lightening Women: A Four-Day Deep Immersion in Circle-Craft, Myth-Work, and Blessing Magick. Summer 2020 dates TBA. Hag Witchery Apprentices Only.
Apprenticeship Tuition Options
1 payment of 3900 or
4 payments of 1100 (4400) or
1 (non-refundable) deposit of 400 then 12 monthly payments of 350 due on the 1st of each month beginning 6/1/2019 and ending 5/1/2020 (4600)
Policies and frequently asked questions are detailed in the registration packet. To apply, please email Info@DanielleDulsky.Com and request the Hag Ways registration packet. Registration for the apprenticeship opens 2/2 and will close once 13 people have been accepted into the program.