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3rd Flamshift of the year

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Every day and every night that I say the genealogy of Brighid
I shall not be killed
I shall not be harmed
I shall not be put into a cell
I shall not be wounded

No fire, no sun, no moon shall burn me
No lake, no water, no sea shall drown me.

For I am the child of Poetry,
Poetry, child of Reflection,
Reflection, child of Meditation,
Meditation, child of Lore,
Lore, child of Research,
Research, child of Great Knowledge,
Great Knowledge, child of Intelligence,
Intelligence, child of Comprehension,
Comprehension, child of Wisdom,
Wisdom, child of Brighid.
Carmina Gaedelica edited by Lunea Weatherstone

May my words be as considered as poetry,
May I reflect on all I do or say,
May I meditate on those things important spiritually
May I seek to know more of the lore
May I research what I am curious about and what will enable me to grow
May I seek to know great knowledge,
May I acknowledge the intelligence of others
May I comprehend what I seek to learn and apply those lessons
May I know that seeking wisdom is not the same as being wise.
May I be a child of Brighid.

SelfBlessing is by me

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Brighid, bean-oirdheirc
Lasrach grad
Fetaim lasrach soillse
Thoir cuireadh sinne
ris a’ bheatha
mhaireannach`

Brighid, Sublime Woman
Quick flame
Long may you burn bright!
You give us the invitation
to life everlasting

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Lullbye time – rest awhile

The Castle of Dromore   
The October winds lament
Around the Castle of Dromore,
Yet peace is in its lofty halls,
My loving treasure store.
Though autumn leaves may droop and die
A bud of spring are you.
Sing hush-a-bye loo, la loo, lo lan,
Sing hush-a-bye loo, la lo.

Bring no ill winds to hinder us,
My helpless babe and me,
Dread spirit of Blackwater banks,
Clan Owen’s wild banshee.
And Holy Mary pitying us
In heav’n for grace doth sue.
Sing hush-a-bye loo, la loo, lo lan,
Sing hush-a-bye loo, la lo.

Take time to thrive, my rose of hope,
In the garden of Dromore.
Take heed, young eagle, till your wings
Are feathered fit to soar.
A little rest and then the world
Is full of work to do
Sing hush-a-bye loo, la loo, lo lan,
Sing hush-a-bye loo, la lo.

A Samhain prayer

On this Samhain Eve

I stand at the head of a long line

The last of my bloodline that there will ever be

I look back at the face of those that came before me

I see my nose and my chin

I see the red of my hair

I see those who went gray and white as I am changing

I see those who walked like me

I see those who loved trees and plants

I see whose who taught me to see the faeries

I see those who taught me to see life

I see those who taught me love

I see the ones who hurt inside so they hurt me

I forgive them

I see the friends that have gone through the veil

Before me

I see those love imprinted on my heart

I see all the shining ones who stand there

It is not my turn to join yet.

This year taught me how close it came to joining you

Some day I will see your shining hearts and faces

I keep you close to me

You taught me so much

I am grateful to have been loved

I am grateful to still have love around me

Hecate, this is your day

You are holding the veil back for us

To send love through

Faerie Queen, you sparkle on the other side

We bow in your honour

And we dance

Brighid, we turn our heads toward winter

And know your quiet strength

Is there for the asking

Elen, your swans pass over

Taking the new souls to Tir Na Nog

And we listen for the sound of wings

This Samhain I honour all those

Whose feet trod the path I walk

Walk with me

Teach me

Tell me stories

Let my ears and eyes be open this night

Let my hands and heart know what is important this night

I wait for the Dark Goddesses

Teach me

Tell me stories

Let my ears and eyes be open this night

Let my hands and heart know what is important this night

I wait for the dead

Teach me

Tell me stories

Let my ears and eyes be open this night

Let my hands and heart know what is important this night

2016

BunniHoTep learns about Samhain

Once upon a time a ship made its way into the harbor at the top of the Nile. It was visiting this harbor for a second time. The first time was after a mighty storm had brought them but this time they weren’t going to make it all the way home for their holiday and decided to visit BunniHoTep and spend it with her.

The ship nosed itself into the dock and a red haired little girl leapt off the dock and went streaking for a small temple at the end of Temple Row. Sesi flew like an arrow launched from one of her father’s bows along the avenue. She ran into the Temple looking around her for her friend. Where was she?

BunniHoTep was in her garden because here in the south they were still growing things in the garden. Her lovely pink lotuses towered over her by the edge of the pond and the papyruses nodded their heads in the slight breeze that was passing through. A late bunch of carrots were showing their shoulders in the garden patch as well as a nice crop of beets and cabbage and some leafy lettuce was starting up in the far bed. All in all it was a lovely big cornucopia of food and she was proud of it. Into this pond of calm came whirlwind Sesi who scooped the tiny goddess up and whirled her around making BunniHoTep quiet dizzy. One does not normally take physical liberties with a goddess even a small rabbit goddess so I guess it can be forgiven that BunniHoTep was confused for a moment.

“Sesi! Put me down.” BunniHoTep yelled.

Sesi dropped the goddess gently by the lotus pool.

“What are you doing here? You’re a long way from your island home, aren’t you?”

Sesi giggled. “Yes, but we couldn’t get back home before our holiday so I asked Mathair and Athair if we could spend it with you! We’ll head home right after!” Sesi was dancing up and down with excitement. She knew BunniHoTep would love it.

BunniHoTep was looking at her quite confused. “What holiday? We don’t have a holiday today”

“No but we do and it’s our New Year and you should spend it with good friends and people you love and you saved me and I missed you so we are here to spend it with you.” Sesi smiled at BunniHoTep but BunniHoTep still didn’t understand.

“We have a festival for Bast tomorrow and I usually watch her latest batch of kittens so she can party with Sekmet but it isn’t New Year’s for us.” BunniHoTep said.

“No, we have a feast for our dead on the days that are halfway between the equinox and winter solstice. It’s called Samhain.” BunniHoTep frowned at the strange word but didn’t interrupt. “That’s our new year and it’s when the dead come visit and we set the table for them and the faeries come and we bring in the last harvest and we eat and tell stories for 3 whole days and, and, and.” The words, as usual were flooding out of Sesi.

“Stop! What’s this about your dead coming to visit? The dead don’t visit us here on the Nile, we like our dead to stay dead in their tombs where we put them so they can prepare for their re-birth.” BunniHoTep looked at the little girl a bit apprehensively by now Sesi’s mother and father and siblings had caught up with the little girl. Sesi’s father picked her up and said. “Maybe we had better explain our holiday to BunniHoTep? She might not like all our customs.” He said raising an eyebrow at his daughter. “Maybe we can talk a bit before we ask her to join us?” and he lead the way over to the bench.

“We don’t treat our dead the way you do here.” He started stopped looking at BunniHoTep for a sign he should continue. BunniHoTep motioned for him to go on. So he did.

“Our dead stay with us and advise us after they are dead. We don’t mummify our dead we cremate them and keep their heads.” BunniHoTep looked a bit upset at this so he hurried on.

“Don’t worry they are at home where they belong in their niches.” He explained. “We’ll do something different this year, normally we invite them to our feast and we tell stories and treat them as if they were still here and let them know that they are still loved and remembered.”

BunniHoTep nodded. “I can understand that. When someone dies you miss them terribly it must be comforting.” And she motioned him to continue.

“We sometimes take them around to places they remember and also to scare any of the Fair Folk away that might have bad intentions.”

“Fair Folk?” BunniHoTep inquired.

“Beings that live in our country who can be mischievous and not always have our best interests at heart and at this time of year,  can lead people away and the people may never be seen again. They can drag you to live under our hills. They like creative humans and it’s best to keep away from them. They don’t always understand the love of families for each other.”

“All right, I’d love to celebrate your holiday with you but no heads traveling around here without their bodies, in fact no spirits at all. Can you honour them without that? I don’t want to be explaining to Ma’at why there are spirits around she hasn’t judged and it would confuse Ammit terribly and I don’t even want to know what Anubis would say.” BunniHoTep shuddered. She thought explaining to Isis would be bad enough but she thought Nepthys would understand.

“So what do we need to do?” BunniHoTep asked. “Get ready for a feast and a night of story telling?”

“Exactly.” said Sesi’s dad and they went into the Temple. BunniHoTep calling for her priestesses and sending the running to harvest the vegetables and start one of their lovely soups for dinner. Other priestesses were sent to set tables in the big temple chamber. They were airing the linens and beating the carpets that all would sit on. The Temple became beehive of activity. The smells of honeycakes and rich, warm cooking smells were found throughout the Temple and BunniHoTep couldn’t take it anymore so she took them for a tour of Temple Row and to see the eternal flame they had taught her about last time that resided in Isis’ Temple.

She was also trying to think of a way for them to honour their dead with out those nasty skulls. The very thought made BunniHoTep tremble but she was starting to have an idea that might work. Sesi’s family had contributed some vegetables to the feast from the place they came from and she has seen something that gave her an idea.

They walked around a long time and BunniHoTep suggested they all take a nap before dinner in the cool chambers of the Temple. They just weren’t used to the heat of an Egyptian day.

So while her guests were napping BunniHoTep went to work. She selected what she needed from what they had brought and took it to her workroom and set about it. She tried several different ways until she found one she liked and she was very pleased with it. She just hoped they would like it too.

Soon it was nightfall and time for the feast. After the gods and goddesses had been thanked for their presence and they had given prayers of thanks for the food, BunniHoTep brought out her creation from under the low table and placed it carefully at a place setting she had made. “I know you don’t have your family here to have a meal with us but I was hoping this might do.” She unveiled her creation. The family stared and then started to cheer and laugh and BunniHoTep relaxed. This was going to work after all.

BunniHoTep had taken a vegetable they called a turnip and had hollowed it out and carefully carved a face in it that looked a lot like Sesi’s father. She had carefully placed a tiny candle and put the top back on. It sat at its place glowing with a pleasant smile like it was bestowing a blessing on all that were at the feast.

Sesi’s family thought this was an admirable solution to what had seemed a big problem. The feast went on and when the celebration was over they family headed back to their ship in the harbor. Sesi clutching the turnip carefully so that it shown their way home.

Sesi’s parents thanked BunniHoTep immensely. It was a kind gesture to a family missing their loved ones and quite frankly, a lot cheerier than having Uncle Hamish at the table.

And so the Jack O’ Lantern was born in a land far away. Bet you didn’t know it came from a bunny.

I feel the need for an extra Flameshift

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Brighid watch over us

May your flame light our way

Through the night

Through the storms

Through our tears

May your waters sooth and heal

Heal our hearts,

Heal our bodies,

Heal our minds.

May your forge make us strong

Strong enough to fight what needs to be fought

Strong enough to accept what can’t be

Strong enough to stand under the burdens we accept

Brighid, we burn your flame

We drink from your well

We are strong when we are weak because we have your blessing

We drink from your well to be healed

We walk in the mist following your footsteps.

We carry your flame with us and give to all who need it.

Brighid, we are your flames in the world.

Kat

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Brighid Playlist

Bridget – Ruth Barrett & Cyntia Smith
Brighid – Damh the Bard
Brighid’s Flame – Kellianna
Don
Don Oiche UD im Beithil (feat Ruth Barrett)
Holy Water, Scared Flame – Anne Hill
Imbolc – Lisa Thiel
Invocation to Brigid – Ruth Barrett
Brighid’s Kiss – La Lugh
Oiche fa Fheill’ Bride – La Lugh
Brighid of the Sacred Flame – Angela Little
On St Brighid’s Day – Ha’Penny Bridge
Mary of the Gaels – Maire Brennan
Brighid’s Flame – Jon Richards

Tales told at Yule – The Littlest Druid and the Reindeer

Aisling sat staring out into the sheep pasture. She’d volunteered to stay behind while almost everyone went over to Si an Bhru’ (Newgrange) to watch the Sun return. She knew that the sun would return after her night with the Chief Druid. Her teacher was due to give birth soon and she was in no condition to walk to the barrow so a few healers and Aisling had volunteered to stay behind and have their own quiet Solstice celebration.

Aisling looked up at the stars. The night was dark and calm. The stars twinkled over head like a million tiny gems and thought of the watch taking place not so very far away. She was going to keep watch this night for all that were left here in the village.

She could hear the soft breathing of her teacher as she slept inside. She could see the candles in the windows of the healer’s cottage down the path. She knew it was very late because all was so still. The sheep were bedded down near their fold. The cattle were in their barn drowsing and it felt like she was the last person left in the world. And so she was the only one who kept watch.

She vowed she would not fall asleep like last year. She was a year older now and not the baby who was always in trouble. She thought of all the interesting things that had happened this year. She put her head on her knees and wrapped the sheepskin tighter around her. It was getting cold and she wondered how much colder it was going to get before morning and whether it was time for a warm drink.

She looked in the direction of the barrow and it seemed like the there was a light coming over the ground from that direction. It lit the way as if someone had drawn a path in light. She had never seen that before and she wondered what or who was causing the lighted path. She wished she could follow the path but her duty was here tonight watching to see is the baby would come.

As she was watching the lighted path deer started to appear and walk confidently down the path and through the village. Aisling watched in awe. She had never seen so many reindeer and never in the village and she wondered where they had come from and where they were going. Following the reindeer was a woman in a dress made of the reindeer’s hides and she wore a cowl with horns from the reindeer. The woman left the herd and walked over to Aisling.

“Blessings to you this Solstice night.” The woman said to Aisling. “Come with me, Aisling.”

“Blessed Solstice to you as well.” replied Aisling, a little startled that the woman had even seen her sitting here in the dark. “Where have you journeyed from and would you like something hot to eat or drink?” Aisling offered.

“I wouldn’t mind a cup of warm cider that is on the hearth.” The woman said.

AIsling suddenly knew that this was not an ordinary meeting if the woman knew what was inside and shivered a little as she got up to get a cup for the woman. She hurried back out and handed the cup to the woman.

“I have come from far and I have farther still to go tonight but thank you for the warmth of the drink.” The woman said and drank slowly from her cup. Aisling watched her shyly and wondered if she could ask what she was doing when the woman spoke.

The woman smiled as she said. “I’m Elen of the Ways and tonight I walk the leys and you need to come with me tonight.”

“The Leys?” asked AIsling.

“Yes,” replied Elen. “The paths on which energy travels easiest on the earth. I walk to connect them so you can use them in your workings.”

Aisling thought a bit. She knew her teachers had said it was easier in some places than others to work magic or create poetry. And she knew that the village had been sited along one of those paths as was the barrow where everyone else in the village was keeping watch.

“Did you just come from the barrows?” Asked Aisling.

“Yes, and the Chief Druid said you could come with me tonight. Now please, grab a cloak and come. Nothing will happen while we are gone.”

“You’re sure?” Aisling said anxiously.

“I’m sure.” Elen said emphatically and helped Aisling get astride the reindeer that was patiently standing.

The woman started walking directly east and she walked faster that any normal human being could.

Aisling asked Elen where they were going. “Your Chief Druid thought you might like to help me open the way for the sun’s return in the east.”

“We’re opening a way for the sun?” Aisling was trying to understand but she couldn’t quite get there.

“Yes, I open the ways and that includes the paths of the sun energies to flow.”

They rode and walked until they reached the edge of the sea. It was just before dawn and the light was starting to turn a bit greenish in front of them. Elen stood with her staff on the edge of the cliff and motioned for Aisling to join her. The reindeer gathered round them keeping them warm in the chilly night.

“Stand here next to me, Aisling.” Aisling moved to stand next to Elen.

“What do we do?” Asked Aisling a little worried. Could she really have stopped the sun last year? Was the Chief Druid wrong? Aisling was getting even more worried. What happened if she did this wrong? Would the sun not return?

Elen looked at Aisling. “Don’t worry. The sun will always come back. We just open the way for the energy to flow across the land. It’s like opening a damn so the energy will flow. It slows down in the dark times and now will speed up again and you want it to bring health to the land.”

Aisling thought and then nodded, that made sense. “So what do we do?”

“We stand right here where the sun will hit our land first and then we open our hearts to the new sun reborn. Can you do that?”

Aisling thought she could do that but wasn’t sure exactly how because the sun appeared as a tiny light in the east and Elen flung out her arms and Aisling did the same facing the sun as it peeped over the edge and started to rise. Aisling needn’t have worried. The sight of the sun filled her with joy. She felt full to bursting with love and happiness and Elen gave a loud laugh and cry and Aisling felt the energy rush away.

The sun rose and Elen turned to Aisling. “Time to go until next year”, and she touched Aisling with her staff. Aisling shook her head. She looked around and she was back on the doorway of the cottage. She looked to the East and the newborn sun was rising above the meadows. She looked to the west and saw a herd of deer and a small figure wave and she was gone.

Just then behind her, she heard her teacher give a gasp. “Aisling, go get the healers.”

Aisling ran across the way. Time for a new son or daughter to be born here. Aisling smiled. This was a good day.

Kat Robb
2014

Hecate

The rattling bones sound from the Golden Rain tree seedpods follows me as I walk

The low tok tok tok of the ravens in the tree as he looks at me with cocked head

The low fog disappearing as I walk through the morning

I thank the Hecate for mornings that remind me of her

I walk in the between times of autumn

Leaves of flame from the liquidamber

Leaves of dust from the guardian sycamore

Leaves of green from the oaks I pass

Breezes that stir the leaves on the walk

Winds that clatter the fronds in the palm trees

Gusts that push you in front of them like sail

Colours of gourds in shining piles

Pumpkins with toothy grins and leers lurking on walkways

Sheaves of wheat and corn piled in doorways guarding, always guarding.

Hecate, guard the crossroads that I walk each day,

Show me what is to be feared and respected

And what needs no fear.

I see you in the eyes of the raven

Or the eyes of the shy cat hiding just under the bush

I hear you on the wind and in the leaves

I smell the dry dust of fallen leaves and in the crush of rosemary

I touch the brittle softness of leaves fallen and about to fall

Hecate, I know you are here now

This is your time of year and I listen.

We are bringing Summer in – traditional Gaelic words

THUGAMAR FÉIN AN SAMHRADH LINN (WE BROUGHT THE SUMMER WITH US)

Véarsa 1:

Babóg na Bealtaine, Maighdean an tSamhraidh,

(BA-bohg nuh BAL-tin-yeh, MY-jen uh TOW-ree)

Suas gach cnoc is síos gach gleann,

(SOO-uss gakh cruk iss SHEE-uss gakh glyan)

Cailíní maisithe, bán-ghéala gléasta,

(KAL-yee-nee MASH-ih-heh, bahn YAL-uh GLAY-sstuh)

Thugamar féin an samhradh linn

(HUG-uh-mar hayn un SOW-roo lin)

Curfá (Chorus):

Samhradh, samhradh, bainne na ngamhna,

(SOW-roo, SOW-roo, BA-nyeh nuh NGOW-nuh)

Thugamar féin an samhradh linn.

(HUG-uh-mar hayn un SOW-roo lin)

Samhradh buí ná nóinín gléigeal,

(SOW-roo bwee nah NOH-ih-neen GLAY-gyal)

Thugamar féin an samhradh linn.

(HUG-uh-mar hayn un SOW-roo lin)

Véarsa 2

Tá an fhuiseog ag seinm ‘s ag luascadh sna spéartha,

(Tahn ISH-yohg egg SHEN-yim segg lOOS-koo snuh SPAYR-huh)

Thugamar féin an samhradh linn.

(HUG-uh-mar hayn un SOW-roo lin)

Tá an chuach is na héanlaith ag seinm le pléisiúr,

(Tahn KHOO-ukh snuh HAYN-lee egg SHEN-yim leh PLAY-shoor)

Thugamar féin an samhradh linn.

(HUG-uh-mar hayn un SOW-roo lin)

TRANSLATION

WE BROUGHT THE SUMMER WITH US

Verse 1

Doll* of May, Maiden of Summer,

Up every hill and down every glen,

Beautiful girls, radiantly dressed,

We brought the summer with us.

Chorus

Summer, summer, milk of the calves,

We brought the summer with us,

Summer yellow as the glistening daisy,

We brought the summer with us.

Verse 2

The lark is singing and soaring in the skies,

We brought the summer with us,

The cuckoo and the birds are singing with pleasure,

We brought the summer with us.

* The “doll” in this case probably refers to the May garland.