Biography

Christine Cleere is a practitioner of the traditional spirituality of the islands of Britain and Ireland, a Mistdancer, Spirit Weaver, celebrant, ritualist and ceremonialist working with the sacred circle of the seasons and the wild spirits of nature. An initiated Priestess of the native British Druid tradition, she chooses to no longer use that name as it contains so much baggage and preconceptions but now calls herself a Spirit Weaver, working with the spirits of the land and of nature as well as those of the Otherworld.

She considers herself to be ageing less than gracefully, with a veneer of conventional respectability; scratch the surface and who knows what you may discover. She is a lover of myth and story, especially the ancient Irish and Welsh tales, seeking the secrets and wisdom held in the riddles and mysteries encoded within.

She is a teacher of the native spiritual traditions of these islands using the soul deep practice of animism, the old stories of these islands, and of journeying to the Otherworld. She is a celebrant and ceremonialist, highly experienced in the planning and facilitating of seasonal celebrations and rites, handfastings, namings, rites of passing and all significant life events. She offers compassionate healing for those in need.

She trained with and is a member of the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids, is a member of the British Druid Order, and The Druid Network. She is a Practitioner Member of the Sacred Circle of Great Mystery Society, Priestess and activist for Honouring the Ancient Dead, and was organiser and Lead Priest for the Gorsedd of Cor Gawr at Stonehenge from 2005 to 2016. A ‘green fuse’ trained funeral celebrant, and former Resources Coordinator and Sacred Sites Coordinator for The Druid Network, she is active in many aspects of the shamanic, pagan and the wider spiritual community.

As an astrology student, a professional tarot reader and owner of a vast number tarot decks, ogham staves, runes of yew, two crystal balls, an astrological ephemeris, Mongolian sheep’s knuckles, some used tea leaves, as well as various other esoteric magical paraphernalia, including a rather druidic looking cloak and a Yew staff, she believes she may be a relatively proficient seer allowing her some small connection to spirit.

Background

I follow forest pathways, meandering rivers and ancient tracks through bright sunlit days, dark moonless nights and the blurred liminal edges and mists of recognition and understanding. I know I am following the Mazy Dance and the enchanted music of the spirits of the lands I love. Mostly I simply follow the old byways, experiencing the sights, sounds and smells with heartfelt gratitude and wonder.  I tread ancient tracks and muddy footpaths, rooting into the land with each footstep, connecting with all that surrounds me; not just exploring the landscapes I discover, but becoming part of it; and dancing as I go.

I am of Irish ancestry on my father’s side and an English maternal line deeply rooted in the landscape of the Ridgeway, the Vale of the White Horse, and the Thames Valley where it forms the current boundary between Berkshire and Oxfordshire. Born in Berkshire, close to where the Thames flows, raised in Dorset where the wild heaths stir the soul and where limestone, chalk, clay, and shale are shaped by the ebb and flow of the seas, I later moved to Oxfordshire where the limestone that becomes the Cotswolds rises up through the clay of the Vale of Aylesbury. Today I live in Wiltshire, with Avebury nearby, though I am closer to Uffington White Horse and Waylands Smithy (both once within the ancient County of Berkshire, both now in Oxfordshire) . The chalk path of the Ridgeway is a place that sings deeply to my soul.

Throughout my life, I have experienced a deep recognition that all of nature was alive and animate, and for a great many years I worked in solitary personal relationship with those spirits.  I was always searching for a deeper understanding of spirituality and of place, and so I have explored a number of traditions from Christianity to Shinto, Buddhism to Wicca, before finding a ‘home’ in Celtic spirituality and Druidry in the late 1990s. I first studied with the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids before spending a number of years in face to face teachings with Emma Restall Orr (Bobcat), former Joint Head of the British Druid Order and founder of The Druid Network. The teachings of Emma remain hugely influential in my continuing spiritual practice.

As my exploration of Druidry deepened I began exploring ever more passionately the sacred animistic traditions encoded in the old stories of these islands, working with my own spirit guides as well as taking courses with various teachers. Later I became interested in the practice of Michael Harner’s core shamanism as described in ‘The Way of the Shaman’, and soon afterwards profoundly influenced by the unbroken shamanic cultures of Mongolia, Tuva, and the Sami.  I was deeply blessed to have been given one to one training and to have undergone in-depth Shamanic Practitioners training in Shamanism with Sarah Howcroft, who sadly passed into spirit early in 2017.

I must also offer special thanks to the following, who have taught me so much that I use in my practice today:

  • Susan Greenwood, with her course on Magical (Shamanic) Consciousness at the University of Sussex for showing me that scholarship and intuitive practice need not be mutually exclusive
  • Tira Brandon Evans on Faery (Celtic) Shamanism for giving me insights on the ancient myths of Ireland and fostering a deeper connection to my own spirit guides
  • Patrick MacManawey for his wonderful and perceptive teachings on Practical Geomancy and Earth Energies

My spiritual and animistic practice is heavily influenced by the traditions, myths, and stories of both Britain and Ireland; and by my own spirit guides, to whom I give deep and humble thanks. Within those old stories, hidden away like pathways in the mist, are encoded magical understandings waiting to be uncovered. Working with them, and with the gods and spirits of these islands breathes life, vitality and heart into the work I do. My practice is  deeply inspired by my relationship with nature and the guiding spirits of nature. It is through this work, this tradition, that I believe we can find solutions to the disconnection and discontent that our western society is suffering; and it begins with ourselves, recognising and working with our own baggage and our own blockages.

I continue to deepen my personal practice through constantly seeking new understandings, and challenges. Our learning never stops.  To all those who have shared, and continue to share, their knowledge and wisdom with me, whether as student or as teacher, I am deeply and humbly grateful.

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