Candle for Brigid

 I decorated and dedicated this candle in fulfillment of a vow to Brigid, as thanks for Her healing graces.  I’ve posted before about my struggles to understand Brigid and to discover if I had a relationship with her.

About a day after I requested Brigid’s healing help, I read a blog post somewhere on the web about how it’s a bit misguided for people to ask Brigid for healing help when there are better Celtic gods to call upon for healing. This was very depressing to read! Brigid is very well known in popular culture as a healing goddess though, and I’m not sure that I can move my understanding of Her away from that. Where does scholarship end and faith begin? When is popular understanding inappropriate? The world isn’t flat, after all, no matter how many people believe it or wish it so.  But reality is to a certain extent what we make it and so maybe the Bride does bring healing today, even if it wasn’t one of her first functions in ancient times.

In any case, I did make a vow and I did receive healing, so even if I had just asked the telephone repair person to hem my dress for me metaphorically speaking,  I had my end of the deal to fulfill. Initially I was going to repour a red candle that I have and decorate it, but this earthy candle with its warm, wonderful scent seemed much more “Brigid” to me. So I made it a collar of pretty sparklies and now it’s on our already over-crowded family altar. I hope She likes it. I think She does.

That was about a week ago, and last night I dreamed of Brigid for the first time ever. A lot of people have wonderful, profound dreams full of portents and messages from their Gods. I tend to have my subconscious freaking out and babbling at me in ways that are a bit labyrinthine to navigate. When things are particularly convoluted, I revert to dream journaling, never fear. Anyhow, I’m very happy for those of you who regularly get dream visits from the divine world. For me it’s a very rare occurrence.  The last time was years ago, and it was Anubis stopping by to tell me that I was being slightly silly. He was very kind about it and it was awesome of Him to make a house call to someone who doesn’t even worship in His culture or pantheon. It was much appreciated, and as I said, a very rare occurrence for me.

Inside Brigid's Well by IrishFireside, Flickr Commons

In my dream last night though, Brigid was heartily approving of some things I have in the works, even going so far as to show that if I followed through, I would be able to do some other things that have been lifetime dreams and goals of mine.  She also showed me a bunch of stuff about my relatives that I don’t yet understand, and gave me a very clear message about my deceased maternal aunt and why she had behaved the ways she had at various points in her relationship with me and my mother.  My relationship with my maternal aunt is relevant to my relationship with Brigid because my relationship with my aunt is one of the many reasons why I have always felt without family and adrift in the world. Brigid has enough compassion for both of us, it seems, and I think She’s encouraging me to follow suit.

So I guess I have work to do, both in work for financial prosperity and spiritual work of understanding and acceptance of my family background. Yes, a lot of people have turned their backs on me to one degree or another at times when I needed family most. But I am coming to accept that  some of that has more to do with the troubles in their heart and their prejudices than it ever had to do with me. I have always taken the blame, never felt worthy of anyone’s love, and have felt very alone in matters of  “family” since my parents died all those years ago. I have my own little family now, and as fate would have it, I’m married to someone who has a lot of similar “family” issues of acceptance. Perhaps we are together in part because of that.

I thank Brigid again for Her healing, for Her visit, for Her insights, and for Her patience with me. And thanks to whomever’s reading this for putting up with me in a much more “woo-woo” mood than I usually indulge in public.

Lughnassadh Planning

Kornmark

Kornmark, via Wikipedia

So far my planning for an Opiconsivia ritual for Lughnassadh is going fairly well. I’ve been pillaging the Roman ritual template by Jenni Hunt on the ADF site as well as looking at historic Opiconsivia information to see what I might use from there. I’m not going too far into the historic material though, because my goal here is to make an ADF style ritual, not a Roman re creationist one.

I want to use a lot of music, so I’m trying to think of some good harvest music to use. Someone on the “Celtic Lore” group on Paganspace posted a ten song playlist. Some of it I liked, some of it is a bit too Wiccan for me. She decided to include my suggestion of John Barleycorn even though she initially said it was too violent. Now I’m not sure I want to use it for my purposes, not because I think it’s too violent (I have nothing against some good old fashioned grain-murdering) but because it also seems kind of Wiccan to me. It very much fits with that feral myth of the Death and Rebirth of the Corn King, which I guess we now know is Completely Wrong, but not such a good fit for thanking the Goddess of the grain and her consort for a good harvest. Not that a grain murdering theme doesn’t necessarily go with that. . .

I still have a bit to figure this out, luckily for me!

A First Year Report with ADF & Merging Blogs

Grain

Image by peter pearson via Flickr

It’s about time for me to renew my membership with the ADF. This first year has included a lot of study as I’ve worked on the Dedicant Path coursework. Even so I don’t think I’ve yet given it the attention it deserves. Partly that’s because I’ve been distracted by my hearth culture studies. This coming year I hope to finish the Dedicant Path work and work at some syncretism between my ADF work and my Roman work. To that end, I’m considering merging this blog and my other, Tita Rufia Prisca’s House, into a single blog.

I don’t know if it’s the best idea, since there hasn’t been a lot of overlap between the two, but then again that’s part of the issue. I don’t want my Roman studies to be one thing and my ADF studies to be another. I’d like to blend them and not be so much living in some kind of pagan Separate Lives remake.

I’m still very much interested in Roman hearth culture and I don’t see that changing. I also don’t think I’m ever going to be rigorously Roman enough to fit into the Roman re-creationist scene. I had that problem with the Celtic recons too, which is how I eventually ended up at ADF. I think at ADF I can be mostly Roman with some Celtic in my practice without anyone’s heads exploding with stress over my syncretism, or my lack of desire to do it just like they did in the Golden Age of Man.

It’s been a good year. I’ve met a lot of people online who have been very generous with their knowledge and opinions. I’ve read a lot, learned a lot and enjoyed posting about it and applying things to my daily life. My first task for my coming year, which starts on Lammas for me because of when I joined ADF, will be to make my own Roman ritual for the “Lammas” spot on the ADF calendar. I’m planning an Opiconsivia ritual. The historical Opiconsivia happened later in August. I think it will make a really good fit in terms of intention and tone, and hopefully Opis and Consus won’t be too annoyed by having their day celebrated a early.

Darkness

William Blake: Night

Today I found a wonderful post, Befriending the Night, by Souldipper.  I’ve never been afraid of the dark, though I know it’s very challenging for a lot of people. I’m more afraid of the burning brightness of the mid-day sun, which does terrible damage to my skin and eyes.  I say this with all seriousness. The cloaking aspects of the dark have always been a comfort to me. Yes, one has to be more cautious in the dark but I am hidden too. My dad taught me how to move very quietly when I was quite small, and walking gently in the moonlight is one of my favorite things.

I also am quite fond of caves, but one thing I don’t like about any commercial cave tour is that moment when inevitably they decide to plunge you into total, blinding darkness. That’s a kind of dark I don’t like. It’s not a natural part of a seeing person’s experience. It is interesting from the perspective of getting a tiny taste of a non-sighted person’s world, though I’m not silly enough to think that me in a dark cave = the true experience of a non-sighted person. But otherwise, it’s a few moments of disorientation that are never long enough to truly settle into and experience the cave without the distractions of sight. Then the lights come back and everyone is relieved and restless and louder. So a lose/lose all the way around for me.

I see enjoying darkness less as a huge spiritual quest and more as a matter of expanding one’s natural awareness and self-confidence, so part of our Nature Awareness exercises. Usually people who are afraid of the dark are afraid that something in the dark is going to get them, instead of being actually afraid of the dark. Or they’re not confident in their ability to handle themselves in the dark without falling over things or getting lost. I think it would be a very interesting exercise to go to our nature spots in the dark and see how the experience is different. Different animals, different smells, different spiritual presence perhaps. If anybody tries this, please let me know. I’m definitely going to try it sometime soon!

eta: a wonderful link courtesy of souldipper, about a woman’s solo nature campout. See Memory: Seduction below!

Meditation

The orange

Image via Wikipedia

Here’s a mindfulness meditation exercise that I learned a long time ago. I’m posting it because one of my favorite ADF blogging people was talking about struggling with meditation and others have mentioned struggling with mediation too. I’ve been doing formal meditation since I was fourteen. I’ve done a lot of different forms of meditation over the years. I wouldn’t say I’m any sort of expert, but I am very experienced! I enjoy meditation in its various forms a lot, but it’s not easy for most people to get started. This is an excellent exercise that doesn’t seem like meditation to a lot of people, so it’s a good beginning technique.

Be Here Now Meditation: Know Your Orange

Get some food item. Doesn’t matter what food, though many times if you do this in a group it will be an orange or a single raisin or a single peanut M&M.  It does need to be something you’re willing to eat!

Sit down with it and examine it closely, as though you were taking notes to tell us blog readers all about that particular orange or raisin or M&M or piece of toast. Talk up a script to yourself, either out loud or silently, about the food item. Observe how it looks, how it smells, its weight and texture, Explore everything you can learn from observing it before you eat it. Look at it up close and far away, hold it up to the light. Really know it before moving on to eat it.

If it’s an orange or something else that you peel or cut before you eat it, observe and describe that process as well.

Take a bite and observe and describe the flavor. Pay careful, intimate attention to the flavor, the feel of the food in your mouth, the emotions and thoughts the experience of eating the food brings up.

You can turn all the info into a journal entry after you’re done. If you’re a writer, (and if you’re reading this, you probably are!) approaching the exercise as though you were preparing info for an essay or blog entry can really help you keep focused and observing. Even if you don’t want to write about the experience, behaving as though you were going to write about it or explain your orange to someone else helps your focus.

A lot of people try to force some kind of meaning on this sort of meditation– that you’re learning to appreciate life or love your food or spiritually bond with the Universe through your orange or raisin. That’s all nice and everything, but it’s not the point. If you don’t feel instantly spiritually evolved or bonded with the Great Circle of Life, that’s fine. Don’t panic; nothing’s gone wrong! The point is to Be Here Now. As the guy in the video link on meditation says, it’s all about paying attention. Be present in that moment, really participating in what you’re doing, and observing it with a non-critical mind. This is the core of all meditation, and the slipperiest, hardest part to get.

Hope this helps someone with their meditation practice!

Word to the wise: Never bring your UPG to an academic argument. 😉

Happy Imbolc

Previous Older Entries