My performance of I Guard Your Death at the 8th European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism - ESSWE conference
"This then shall be thy lot," said she, "...in the shape of an eel I will come beneath thy feet in the ford; so shalt thou fall." -the words of The Morrigan, Tain Bo Cuailnge,
translated by Joseph Dunn, 1914. (Fadas omitted due to formatting limitation)
A bit from my performance I Guard Your Death at ESSWE8 at @universitycollegecork. The event was organized by Dr. Jenny Butler @spiral_eyed_grrl
More about the performance
You'll please forgive the monitor! The theatre is generally used for academic presentations so it was adapted.
Music: Salt Point by Julia Kent
I'll be performing at the 8th Biannual Conference of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism, July 7 at 3pm at University College Cork.
I Guard Your Death.
Sorcery, Prophecy, Otherworld.
A medial, ritual performance of dance and poetry.
Via dance and chanted poetry Aepril will give testimony to her communications and devotional workings with The Morrigan, her sorcerous magicks, her poems and prophecies, as well as interactions with the Sídhe, necromantic encounters, and initiations via the landscape. She will draw on Irish source texts such as the Cath Maige Tuired, documented folklore, charms and spells, approaching them with night-perception and weaving them into an embodied, oracular dream of invoked and shifting presences.
Aepril is an Irish-American diaspora descendant; she is also an immigrant living in Sligo, Ireland. This performance speaks to the recalibration of her energetic body as a Witch via engagement with the land and spirits, ancestral connections remembered, shifting cultural perspectives, a quest for sovereignty and belonging, and increasing feelings of urgency and outrage concerning ecology and kinship with our non-human relations. She draws on her lived experience dancing in stone circles and forests of Ireland.
I've uploaded my dance-poetry performance of "Intimate" to YouTube.
It's a private link for now, but you can share it if you like.
This was performed a few years ago. What a wonderful night with amazing curators and a really receptive and involved audience! After the performance there is a Q & A session included which has some very insightful comments made by the audience. You'll have to excuse my inarticulateness however, as I was coming down from the trance was not quite grounded yet!
Even though its a few years old, I wanted to include it here to share with you as I update things on this site. My marriage, the pandemic and assorted other things have of course caused a pause in my performance career. (But I'm writing a hell of a lot!)
You can always see my most up to date workings on my Instagram @aeprilraven
𝑰 𝒎𝒆𝒕 𝒎𝒚𝒔𝒆𝒍𝒇 𝒃𝒆𝒕𝒘𝒆𝒆𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑫𝒂𝒚
& 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑵𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕
𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑰 𝒘𝒓𝒐𝒕𝒆 𝒎𝒚𝒔𝒆𝒍𝒇 𝒊𝒏 𝒎𝒖𝒔𝒊𝒄--
My Instagram @aeprilraven
My poem ᚎ Straif is published in The Druid's Cauldron, an online journal of Irish and Celtic folklore based writings!
I wrote this poem as a personification of Blackthorn. I drew from Irish folklore about the tree, my own relationship and magickal experiences with it, the Ogham few ᚎ.
All that said, it's not a didactic lesson on folklore: it's an artistic and mystical interpretation and expression.
It's more than that, too. It's the voice of the Dark Goddess; as she speaks to me and at times through me. It's a plant that I feel a strong kinship with, and which, though vilified as "dangerous", I have found to be very healing as well as challenging.
Read the poem
Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame!
--William Butler Yeats
It's been a while since I've posted here...and that's because I've been busy moving country!
It's taken me the past year to move and settle in, with Gwyddie in tow! Yes, he went on a plane. Yes, he was ok. :) I almost had a heart attack, but he was fine.
And why Ireland?
I am here for love. What else is there?
That, and Art. And Magick. And Nature. And so many things I love, and that I have been connecting with in new ways since my arrival. I feel that my whole energetic system is recalibrating, adjusting to and taking in the land and its history and wonders.
As it happens, my ancestry (as I understand it so far) originates in part from this place. My ancestors left Sligo during the potato famine; indeed, the homes left behind are littered throughout the Irish landscape as "famine cottages", often roofless stone structures, sometimes with trees growing out of the tops. They are eerily beautiful and seem to have many stories to tell.
I also just recently had my DNA test done, and I am 80% Irish (and related isles). Now these tests reflect complex histories of migations of people throughout Europe, and can't be counted on to be extremely specific geographically, but still it was interesting to me. (That, and 5% North African....hello bellydance! haha ;))
I have been developing a new relationship to plants and witchcraft here, and to the Goddess Morrigan in specific. Those of you who have followed my work through the years are aware that I have a long relationship expressing Her energies through my dance and performance art. Irish people brought Her over to America in their DNA and collective unconscious, and She exists there as a diety. Think American Gods.
But now I am experiencing Her in a whole different way. Here She is truly The Great Queen...the Big fuckin' Mahoff. Do not play.
I was honored to have Samantha Bryan and the Scarlet Tongue Project come from the US to film me as part of their documentary on women and anger (as expressed through female artists). I danced as the Morrigan and was interviewed. There will be more about that this coming spring/summer.
I've had a profound Samhain season beginning with a visit to the Morrigan's Cave, aka Oweynagat, aka Hells Gate. It's an underground passage located within the ancient royal complex site of Ráth Crúachan, seat of the great warrior Queen Medb. (It is written in Ogham inside the cave entrance: ‘of Fraech, son of Medb’.) The Morrigan is said to come out of the opening each Samhain; going into the cave---and coming out--was a moving and transformative experience, bonding me further to the land. It was meaningful, too, to have my partner David (who had experienced the Cave himself on a Samhain a few years prior) on the outside with a warm coat and a loving embrace after crawling out covered in mud.
Within the dark chthonic holy place the Phantom Queen spoke to me (as she has several times now) in Irish--whether modern or ancient I do not yet know--and told me of my ancestors and my purpose for being here. As I don't understand Irish, it is a mystery that will be reveleaed to me over time. Lucky for me She also had some other things to say in English that I was able to take home and digest.
I was honored to also invoke the Dark Goddess as The Morrigan with dance and a new poem at the Samhain ritual with the Irish Order of Thelema in Belfast.
And, I was priviedged to afterward explore and climb Sliabh Crúb in the Mountains of Mourne, sacred to The Callieach (Winter hag goddess) and visit Legannay Dolmen, sacred to the goddess Áine.
This past summer, I visited Glastonbury, England, to priestess. I also went to hisrorical reenactments here in Ireland with David who is active in that community. One was at Shane's Castle which was pretty great.
I have a new piano (keyboard), I have been working on beautifying my studio (shout out to Sam for helping us paint when she was here!), and I've been writing poetry. I've been keeping my astrology business up and running. I had an injury last Aug (unfortunately due to negligance during an OTO ritual in England), so dancing has been happening again slowly and I'm just about healed. I've been getting acquaited with the plants here and learning about their traditions and lore...
There's been so much to adjust to...its been challenging and overwhelming!
Aaaaand...there is much more to tell you, but I will leave you with an excerpt from my poem, and some photos I took.
...I am lust for blood; nourished
by its emptying of every drop
into My reddened Mouth
raining into My belly
with each ecstatic strike--
spilled into this battleground
of ancient earth
that is Me.
Every clash of steel,
every fiber of fighting flesh
belongs to Me.
Your cries multiply My passion
Your bones decorate My vanity
Your giving decides your Victory...
Excited to be performing in Belfast this Saturday! I'll be with a lot of other wonderful people at the The Irish Order of Thelema's Three Days Celebration as part of the The Candle of Vision Exhibition.
In the Lucid Dream Room at the University of Northampton, UK. At Trans-States : The Art of Crossing Over