Latest Entries »

Music

 

Advertisements

Essays

Duncan2

What Is Brigidine Paganism?Brighid is one of the most beloved and widely-venerated deities in the entire world, and the worship or veneration of Brighid in one of Her many forms seems to cross all boundaries of culture, language and religious tradition. Goddess of poetry, smithcraft and healing in ancient Ireland, Brighid is adored less for Her specific characteristics than for the energy of endless compassion, gentleness and creativity with which She has always been associated.

The Brig – Divine Energy of Creation Personally, I see the ultimate divine reality as being a power beyond all qualities, attributes or comprehension, a power that spontaneously generates or emanates universes and realities out of itself. This process or energy of spontaneous creative output can be thought of as “Brig,” or the power of creation. Brig is beyond all categories such as gender, but can be thought of as a feminine divine energy due to its quality of giving birth to things. Brig can also manifest as specific goddesses with personalities, characteristics and powers.

The Mysticism of Devotion In Hinduism, bhakti is a mystical path focused on intense love of the divine in the form of one of the gods. Bhakti is radical devotion to a god or goddess in order to achieve spiritual enlightenment through love. In modern paganism, something similar to bhakti has been developing organically through the practice of devotion to the gods of the old pagan pantheons. This wasn’t very common until fairly recently, and it seems to have started spontaneously, outside of any formal neopagan tradition. Worshipers report being chosen to serve and devote themselves to a particular deity, a process that can sometimes be surprising or even upsetting to the chosen devotee.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Invocation of the Graces – A Brigidine Sacred Text Several versions of the “Invocation of the Graces” appear in the Carmina Gadelica, the massive collection of Gaelic prayers and charms collected and edited by folklorist Alexander Carmichael in the late nineteenth century. The “Invocation of the Graces” is a charm or blessing that was recited over young people in the Scottish Highlands to protect them from various potential threats while endowing them with a number of virtues or powers Carmichael’s translation refers to as “graces.”Rather than “Invocation of the Graces,” Ora nam Buadh could more accurately be translated as “Song of the Virtues,” with the understanding that the virtues in this case imply victory and success in life. In ancient times, the word buadh referred to the special powers or excellences of great heroes like Cuchulain, although these powers were understood to derive from the goddesses of the pre-Christian religion. According to the Dindsenchas, the goddess Macha (one of the three Morrigans) “diffused all excellences” and was the “sun of womankind.” So, if the buaidh or “graces” are really virtues, powers or excellences traditionally believed to be granted by goddesses with solar connections like Brighid and Macha, then the “Invocation of the Graces” should be understood as the words of power with which Brighid grants the graces to Her devotees- in other words, a Brigidine sacred text.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Practices- A common concern for modern pagans is the lack of sufficient space or privacy for ritual practice, or the lack of practice partners to perform the sometimes elaborate rituals described in many books. This a series of columns on Brigidine rituals that can be performed without space, privacy, ritual equipment or help of any kind. You can perform any of the rituals in this series when you lie down to go to sleep at night or when you close your eyes and lean back in your chair at a coffee shop, and no one will know if you don’t want them to.

The Circle of Fire

The Fiery Water

The Three Sisters

The Four Treasures

The Manor of Tara

The Seven Elements

The Devotional Moods

Image

Forever’s Fire

 

Alone with the spark of my longing

I lay beside you on the floor,

In the shape of a girl I had just met,

Yet not a girl toward whom I had intentions.

You were kind enough not to mention

The inherent tension of the situation.

For a long time, we only talked.

Then you stretched out your legs

And let them rest on mine,

Making my breath catch

In my chest like a fish caught

Up short on a sharp hook,

Jerked out of the water to blink in terror,

Staring blindly at the blazing sun.

 

“Get some sleep,” you said,

But instead I woke up.

There was a steadily growing

Glow behind my eyelids,

Behind the world.

I saw a madman staring,

His hair disheveled.

He had the fixed, crazed gaze

Of a weird prophet

With matted beard.

He had my father’s madness.

He had my own.

His eyes darted from one thing

To another with a fervent fury

As if in a hurry

To burst out screaming.

 

“You are not simply dreaming,”

Said a voice in my ear.

“She is everywhere.

She is here!

She has allowed you to lie

Beside her and have words

With her as you would a friend,

And now she shows you

How it is at the end:

That there is nothing in anything

But a blazing beauty,

That there is nothing in anything

But forever’s fire.

That there is nothing in anything

But Her desire,

Expanding out from herself

Like a splitting atom.

 

“There is no matter

There is no spirit

There is no body

There is no mind.

There is nothing,

No nothing

That you can find.

There is only Her!

There is only Her!

There is only Her!

There is only Her!”

 

Games and Dreams

 

I’ve been dreaming about You

A lot lately,

But I can’t remember the dreams.

Sometimes it seems

I’ve spent the whole night

In Your presence,

Only to lose You upon waking.

I’ve been aching for some kind of

Word from You,

Although I’ve heard from You constantly.

It’s almost as if You’re playing games with me…

 

Macha

 

Have you ever felt

The claws of the raven

In your back

As She lifted you up into the

Black, trackless fathoms

Of the cloudless sky behind your mind?

Is that a gleam in your eye,

Or am I only rambling?

I’ve been gambling that

She wouldn’t just drop me

For so many years now,

You would think I’d be used to it.

But then again, She is infinite.

 

Clear

 

I don’t even care if they’re

Any good anymore.

I mean, what does it matter?

Any ambitions I might have had

About my mission on Earth

Were shattered a long time ago.

So what am I doing here?

 

I’m just trying to be clear.

No longer to find the right word

For the task, or even the unasked-for

Moment of grace that comes and goes

Without a trace

For just a sliced piece of time.

I’m no longer thinking about the perfect rhyme.

 

I’m just trying to be clear.

Clear as the water that runs under the ground

And vibrates to the sound

Of the harp-strings struck

By the fiery, formless fingers

Of the Daughter of the Sun.

 

When I say “be” I mean “run.”

 

Shapeshifting

 

This mysterious task

Must be exactly

What you warned me about,

But it is not what I expected.

And yet I am lying here in your fire.

 

I do not even have the desire

To reject

Your instructions.

I obey Your commands;

I am Your hands,

Or at least I would be.

 

I don’t even want to see

All my other options.

I will shapeshift into

Whatever form You want me to

To understand my true nature:

I would be a wolf, a boar, a fish.

 

My only wish

Is this kiss.

Your lovely fingers on my harp-strings;

My every thought your sweet music.

To be what You are always becoming

Is the sum total of my intention:

To become Your invention.

 

Brigantia

 

“Speak to my sister,” You said.

“She has something to tell you.”

She held the spear of battle

In Her right hand

And a globe in Her left.

“This is the true power,” She said,

“There is no death.

I do not

Create to destroy

Or destroy to create.

There is only life,

And life,

And more life.

That is my natural state.

Life always changes

And never stops.

An endless firestorm of forms.

I do not kill.

I transform.”

 

!Flame!

 

The sun, the moon and the stars.

I climbed Your ladder,

And looked on the silver city.

My bones became

One liquid, flowing expression

Of joy and pain.

 

I screamed out, wordlessly.

I screamed Your name-

Which has no word,

Though some have called You

 

!Flame!

 

I looked on Your city,

I prayed at Your flood, at Your sun-

And then You began to

Run.

 

I screamed,

I ran,

As water runs,

As wine.

I flowered in fire.

As if I was just

 

A wire.

 

I became Your song.

 

I twisted in protest,

In passion.

I resist.

 

I long!

 

Floodwaters

 

The sun, the moon and the stars.

I’ve heard Your laughter

A couple of times,

By now.

I’ve seen You smile.

You said I was Yours,

So I jumped up

And followed after.

But it’s been so long

Since I’ve seen You.

I’ll follow awhile,

And then,

If You still don’t turn,

I’ll stop at a crossroads.

I’ll dig a new well with my fingers.

I’ll cut up the ground.

And so, when Your water

Comes gushing out,

Crazy as I am,

I’ll watch as it floods all the world,

And I’ll say that You’re found.

 

Image

 

Three Sisters

 

Brighid of poetry, bless my heart with poetry, and allow me to see Your poetry in all the things of this world.

 

Brighid of healing, bless my heart with healing, and allow me to extend Your healing to all the beings of this world.

 

Brighid of smithcraft, forge my heart with Your hammer, and allow me to create on this day as You Yourself do each day.

 

Rising

 

Sun of the morning and queen of the daytime, maiden of flowers and hope of the dawn! May you bless me with sunlight and all fruitful blessings; may you bless me with love like the warmth of Your fire.

 

Oh sun of the morning, Your smile is beautiful and the glances from Your eyes are the beams of sunlight; when You step out from the bed of the ocean all the earth smiles in gratitude; when You walk out upon the fields of the heavens, all the earth sighs with joy.

 

You brought me out from the night, oh Brighid, and delivered me safely to the morning. May You shepherd me now through the daytime hours and deliver me again into the night.

 

Oh Brighid of the sunrise, Your face is beautiful, Your eyes are like the fire of heaven and Your kiss is like mead; on this day and on every day may you bless us with poetry; on this day and on every day may You bless us with love.

 

I am bending my head in prayer beneath the eye of Brighid, the rising sun among the white of the clouds, the smiling glory of the day. Pour the honey-sweet milk of Your poetry into the chalice of the morning; allow me to taste Your milk in each passing moment.

 

Daytime

 

Oh gentle Brighid of the golden hair, be like a shining flame before the path I walk on. Preserve me from stumbling and infuse me with love, so that I shine with Your light to aid others.

 

I am bending my head in prayer beneath the eye of the sun, beneath the grace of Brighid, in love and gratitude. Bring us to love where we are wrathful; bring us to beauty though we walk through ugliness. Through every shadow and every light, through every day and every night.

 

Oh Brighid, may Your light descend on me, may Your light shine out through me, from my crown to my soles. Oh Brighid, may Your light ascend through me, may Your light be new in me, from my soles to my crown.

 

Nighttime

 

Hail to You, oh shining mother, radiant mother of stars and worlds. Hail to You, oh shining starsmith, radiant forger of worlds and suns. Hail to You, oh shining ocean, oh river of milk and light, oh queen of time.

 

Oh Brighid of the setting sun, You sleep in the ocean like a bed of flowers; the river of the heavens is the milk of Your cow and the roots of the Tree of Life are like a pillow for Your head.

 

Sun of the evening, Your steps are proud; the clouds of the heavens are the fields of Your wandering. The stars of the heavens are Your sisters and children; the ocean is Your bed and the world is Your garden.

 

Oh Brighid of the starlight, may my prayers rise up to You, may they rise like smoke to You, from the offering of my heart. Oh Brighid of the starlight, be ever near to me, so close that I cannot see where You end and I begin.

 

Guide me, oh Brighid, across the ocean of night, like a star above the deep roaring waters. As you once forged my body in the core of Your star, may the same star now guide me through the darkness.

 

The Seven Elements

 

Brighid of the Earth, bless me with prosperity, bless those I love with prosperity, bless all the world.

 

Brighid of the Waters, bless me with health, bless those I love with health, bless all the world.

 

Brighid of the Sun, bless me with beauty, bless those I love with beauty, bless all the world.

 

Brighid of the Clouds, bless me with wisdom, bless those I love with wisdom, bless all the world.

 

Brighid of the Winds, bless me with vitality, bless those I love with vitality, bless all the world.

 

Brighid of the Stones, bless me with strength, bless those I love with strength, bless all the world.

 

Brighid of the Spirit, bless me with illumination, bless those I love with illumination, bless all the world.

 

Grace

 

Oh Brighid beloved, for my food I thank You. Oh Brighid beloved, for my drink I thank You. Oh Brighid beloved, for my breath I thank You, and for all that the day shall bring my way.

 

Offerings

 

Each thought in my mind for You, each word from my mouth for You, each deed of my hand for You, oh Brighid of the blessings.

 

May I speak each word with the justice of Brighid; may I speak each word with the wisdom of Brighid; may I speak each word with the kindness of Brighid, from this day until the end of my days.

 

In every plant of the flowering earth, in every beast of the forest, in every fish of the blue-green ocean, may I sense Your presence. In every ray of the life-giving sun, in every breath of the wind, in every stirring of my own inner mind, may I sense Your presence.

 

Queen-maiden of the fire and the water, queen-maiden of gentleness, queen-maiden of the boar and the oxen, queen-maiden of tears. Bright goddess of the well of wisdom, bright goddess of healing, bright goddess of the cow of blessings, and of the harp of the bards.

 

You are a grove of apple trees and a branch of peace; You are a cup of kindness and a drink of mirth; You are a beam of the power of Imbas upon the waters of the Boyne.

 

Flame-Keeping

 

I will light my candle as Brighid lights it; Her candle is the sun and Her altar the earth. And as this little candle lights my room, may Her great candle light the universe.

 

Hail to you, oh foster-mother! Your love is a flame. Give me the strength to bear Your tenderness; give me the power to bear Your light. Let my heart become like a perpetual fire tended by the priestesses of all my thoughts.

 

Hail to you, oh woman-comrade! Hail to you, oh trusted friend! I will share my confidences with You today for I know You will comfort me; I will kindle my heart with Your light until I glow like gold.

 

Well-Tending

 

I dip my cup into Your cold clear water and raise it to my lips with a solemn prayer: heal all that is ill in me till I am clear like You are, till I am shining as You are shining, till I am blessed like Your waters.

 

Goddess of the moon and goddess of the sun, goddess of the earth and goddess of the stars, goddess of the Sea, the Land and the Sky.

 

Oh queen of the well of wisdom, You know our needs; You know the secret wishes of the hidden heart. Be with us in the evening and in the hours of the night; be with us in our hopes and our yearning.

 

Saining

 

Saining is performed with fire-blessed water. A traditional way to sain yourself is to stand in place, extend your arm, and pivot around in a clockwise circle while invoking Brighid’s fiery sword to protect you. This is called the caim, which means encircling, encompassing or looping. You can also perform the caim on another person. Finally, you can sain an area or sacred space by praying at the east, south, west and north, followed by a prayer directed at the heaven above you and the earth below you. The traditional position for this sort of prayer is “orans”- with your arms raised at the shoulder, elbows at right angles and palms open.

 

Bless every sight that You place in front of me; bless every sound and every taste; bless every scent that You place in front of me, and bless what I touch with Your own blessing.

 

May Brighid wrap me in Her mantle and surround me with Her flame; may She raise the cup of Her Imbas to my lips so that my veins run with fire.

 

Oh Brighid of poetry, fill my day with beauty. Be like the sun in the sky to light the path in front of me, and cast a blessing on all I see.

 

I am placing my mind and my body in Your hands, oh Brighid, from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet. Kindle my mind and my thoughts with the spark of Your poetry; light my body from head to toe with Your eternal flame.

 

Foster-mother of the depths of my heart, be like the sunrise in my inner nighttime. Cast a sunbeam of rose and gold across the surface of my ocean; spring forth above the depths of the water as all the world joins in song.

 

Behold the foster-mother in the morning sky and praise Her with harp-strings as She nurses the earth; Her smile is soft and gentle and Her eyes are tender; let the day be a song to Her, and every day of the world.

 

Healing

 

Her skin is soft, Her hair is soft, Her eyes are soft, Her smile is soft; Her hands are gentle and Her voice is warm; She blesses the well and She heals the ill. May Brighid be with me in the hours of the day, and may Brighid be with me in the descent toward evening.

 

She is as She always was; She is as She is; She is as She shall ever be, the ebb and the flow. May Brighid be with me in the flowing of the tide, and may Brighid be with me as it ebbs from the shore.

 

May Brighid surround me, may Brighid enclose me, like the warmth of a mantle on a day of fine rain. May Brighid protect me, may Brighid preserve me, may bright Brighid heal me and bring me to Her.

 

The sister of healing is above and below me; the sister of healing is around me and near me; the sister of healing is in the great roaring sea; the sister of healing is in the green fertile land; the sister of healing is in the blue open sky.

 

Brighid is my friend and my companion; She has composed a song for me; She has helped me and healed me each day and it is She whom I love.

 

You are like a smooth path before my feet, oh Brighid,; You are the sun in the sky; You are the guiding star in the depths of night, a healing balm for my heart.

 

Oh Brighid of the earth, heal this body. Oh Brighid of the sea, heal this blood. Oh Brighid of the sun, heal this face. Oh Brighid of the clouds, heal this mind. Oh Brighid of the wind, heal this breath. Oh Brighid of the stones, heal these bones. Oh Brighid of the spirit, heal this spirit.