The Goddess in the Well


Yesterday was a special day for me!

The beautiful, ethereal mountain that is Ben Bulben will give you a clue…

DSC09886I travelled to Sligo, passing along the shores of Lough Gill, to collect a very special ring, that was made for me by gifted Silversmith, Mirjam Schiller at


My daughter, Cara, was driving, so we stopped by the shores of the Lough, made famous by W.B.Yeats in his poetry.

DSC09883DSC09884Birthdays come and go and I have enjoyed sixty of them, all in the month of October, near Samhain…so this, along with a second ring as yet unfinished, marked my sixty Summers on this precious, beautiful Earth.

DSC09885DSC09888I had deliberated for some time over what I should spend my birthday money on…have always loved silver and, very importantly, dearly wanted to place a much maligned symbol of the Goddess where I would always see it! 


The story of the snakes being banished from Ireland represents a dark place in the history of this land…for it was the Goddess who was banned, to be replaced with an image dominated by Patriarchy… that of Virgin Mother Mary.13240026_1157744440942236_3639364493354802613_nThe Great Goddess often had snakes as her symbol—sometimes twining around her sacred staff, as in ancient Crete—and they were worshiped as guardians of her mysteries of birth and regeneration.

DSC09893Bealtaine Cottage encapsulates those two energies…birth and regeneration…of Mother Earth herself, in all her wild, unstoppable beauty.

DSC09889Wildheart was the place I had to go… 

DSC09891DSC09890The journey back was auspicious, in that we got lost. 

DSC09897And so, driving along a quiet road, we were led to an ancient Holy Well…much older than any religion…

DSC09898Tobernalt Holy Well is a place of reflection and nurturing serenity. 

DSC09896It predates the advent of Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century. 

DSC09895Its importance as a meeting place and a sustainer of life predates even our Celtic ancestors.

DSC09894Tobernalt is a natural spring well that established itself in a primeval forest. 

It is situated at the South West corner of Lough Gill in the North Sligo Barony of Carbury. 

DSC09899This was where I blessed my ring, submerging it in the Spring Water that flowed from the hill, away into the mystical depths of Lough Gill and the Lake Isle of Inishfree. 



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  1. What a sublime and powerful day, Collette! Thank you for sharing your blessings with us, both near and afar. May your birthday journey be a microcosm of all that awaits you on the serpentine path as it unfolds in your own personal new year ahead.

  2. Such an image of beauty touches the soul. How blessed you are to live near by these ancients sites and wondrous springs. We truly are so blessed to live in an age where they mysteries of ancient tales are revealed. Where fear and dark superstition is replaced by the understanding of spiritual realities. Many Blessings to you on your birthday Colette. May the well of happiness over flow for you for the rest of your days. A line from a poem by George William Russel comes to mind:

    And when the sun sets dimmed in eve, and purple fills the air,
    I think the sacred hazel-tree is dropping berries there,
    From starry fruitage, waved aloft where Connla’s Well o’erflows;
    For sure, the immortal waters run through every wind that blows.

  3. What an enchanted journey. Such a beautiful natural spring. Whole Earth rising. Nature speaks to us and the world is finally listening. Thank you for these wonderful photos and thoughts. Blessings always.

  4. We see a lot of snakes on our property here in Australia. Growing up in England I had never seen a snake and on one of my return journeys with my Australian husband, I saw an adder, the first and only snake I have ever seen in England. I don’t mind snakes and even though we have Eastern brown snakes (one of the most venomous in the world) and red bellied black snakes, I just try to let them go on their journey and stay out of their way, not always possible. But your story sent shivers down my spine as I felt that something is returning to this land, and as you say it must be the
    Goddess rising, feminine energy rising in this world that needs our nurturing. I also love silver and wear a silver necklace that features an outline of a seated woman meditating with the seven chakras depicted with semi-precious stones. I love it and never take it off. Thanks once again Colette. Blessings to you as well.

    • Thanks for sharing that with us Janet, but most of all for acknowledging your “feelings” as they are often the only reality in, what is as the patriarchy dissolves, a very mad world!

  5. Wise is She, Colette, who guided you (both) on this journey. A beautiful story and breathtaking communion with Nature. A fitting gift…. Blessings and joy! Joanna

      • Indeed! She has guided my own life’s journey. It has always been a wonder to me how disconnected the “world” is and yet the Mother continues to restore and renew devastation. If one does not have land to plant, get a pot and put it in your window or plant cuttings outside– anywhere and everywhere, folks and stand back and be amazed! As a social historian, I am well aware of the circle of all life and the return of the “Old Ways” that truthfully, never left lol. As Her (adult) child, I am humbled by Her touch and in awe of Her indomitable spirit. She is in the wind in my hair and the sunshine on my face. Your work is indeed blessed… xx

  6. eerie, mystical, and an obviously Goddess inspired detour to the well. most appropriate

  7. I lingered long over these photos. They are completely breath-taking. It takes a deep stillness of spirit to be able to take such photos. And snakes… Although my parents were from Europe, one grandmother I never knew, irish, I was born in Borneo, one of the planet’s last great wellsprings of life. There were so many snakes, large and small, so many different colours, some vibrant, some subdued, always with such delicate and intricate patterning. Sometimes i would find a snake skin on the grass, that deepest symbol of life’s need for continual renewal. It is the phase we are going through now as a species, i think, the discomfort as the skin becomes just too tight and needs to split and be shrugged off with great convulsions so that the ever-new can replace it. These thoughts bring up deep sadness. I returned to Borneo in 2004 and flying in through gigantic cumulus clouds could see the network of logging roads criss-crossing primeval jungle. Borneo is one of the cradles of earliest humanity, of the mysterious Denisovans who travelled as far as Siberia and of whom we know so little. Now the forest is being cleared so that palms can be planted to satisfy the developed world’s hunger for palm sugar. When i was a child the waters were pristine. Now the seas are polluted. North Borneo used to be known as “the land below the wind” because the great typhoons never touched it, swinging more to the north. But all that has changed. The seas used to be so calm that tiny islands would form around floating coconuts and other detritus, the plants germinating over time, and at high tide sometimes a tiny island, complete with little palms, would come floating in to the little cove below the small cliff on which our house perched. I dreamed of having an island of my own that I could tether in this tiny harbour… Such sadness

    • You write with such obvious passion and love for Borneo. It is a great sadness that mankind has destroyed so much…but, take heart, for the Goddess is rising.

  8. What a beautiful ring Colette, and such a tranquil place to bless it. I have had a wonderful grass snake in my pond for the last two years. What superb scenery we are so lucky to be blessed with Mother Earth. Yesterday will be a day you will always remember. Blessings xxxx

  9. BEAUTIFUL ring and post! I did NOT realize the true story behind the removal of Ireland’s snakes! I just always thought it was a nice little St. Patrick myth! I, too, love silver, and ordered a St. Brigid’s cross for myself last year but have conflicting thoughts about it. Brigid was a pagan Goddess and later became a Christian saint and there are many great stories (myths) about her-both as a goddess and as a Christian. But the cross looks a little like a swastika and I recently saw that an Irish white supremacy group is using it as their symbol? I do NOT want to wear something that is linked with racism and hate but I love Brigid! What are your thoughts on this? (My father’s side of the family were Scotch and Irish, so I also feel an ethnic connection.)

    • I agree with Colette. The symbol that has become besmirched with the name swastika is, like the snake, very ancient. It appears in many Tibetan mandalas where it is a representation of wholeness. It should be reclaimed, cleansed of all the negative associations we have heaped on it.

  10. Thank you so much for sharing that with us Colette, I had been brought up to believe that snakes represented evil. Reflecting on this I believe it had originated from old religious teachings from adults and school. It is so wonderful to learn the truth about this myth. much love and blessings to you Colette Alana xx

  11. You put into words what I have always wondered about the st Patrick story. Its the goddesses time again 😊🐝🐍☀🌙

  12. Having a fear of snakes, we have many here and need to take care when gardening,I have always envied Irelands lack of them ! But I share your love of silver and it is a beautiful ring ,a wonderful way to celebrate your 60 years. What a scenic drive to collect it and your serendipitous detour on the way home.Life is full of surprises .

  13. Gorgeous ring – I love snakes – and the scenery along your route is awe-inspiring. The Holy Well is exquisite, one can feel the atmosphere even from a distance of many miles.

  14. Beautiful ring Colette, so special u found the sacred spring well to bless ur ring 🙂

Your comments are welcome!