Tag Archive | brighid

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

The Littlest Druid creates

Aisling watched the rain fall outside the stone window and expected that this was going to be a long day. It was a soft rain but steady and since it was just another day in a long line of rainy days. She sighed.

She supposed she could work on the piece she had been trying to write. It was almost La Fheil Brighde and she had been trying to write a new hymn to Brighid. It was the first time in almost a year she had been back to the village since she had been consecrated a Bard.

It had been a wonderful year but a lonely one. She had told all the stories she had learned. Learned some new ones along the way. Sung some songs and walked long distances alone except for sheep and a few wild deer she had been lucky enough to chat with along the way but now she was home for a rest and to celebrate Brighid’s day.

She wondered if Brighid was going to appear at the ritual. Here Aisling was one of many and the newest Bard still so she wouldn’t be part of the ritual unless she could come up with a good enough piece to please the Chief Druid and the Head Bard. The Head Bard had never forgiven her for her raven’s thievery so it was always hard to impress him.

She had a tune that kept circling her brain like her raven drifted in the sky but it wouldn’t settle in or enlighten her with the words that were supposed to go with it. She supposed she could go get one of the smelly sheep skins and wrap herself up in and find it but that had never worked well for her. All she could think about was the poor old sheep it had come from and they stunk. Sheep’s wool was still itchy on or off the sheep. She wondered if sheep itched from their wool but probably not and she couldn’t really ask them and get a good answer.

She decided to take a walk in the rain, maybe that would shake something loose. She grabbed her cloak and her carved staff which had gathered more carvings when she had been away and her bag with her whistle and started on the path out of the village to their standing stones. She could hear the sheep in the fold moving around and knew they would be out on the hills soon and giving birth. She wondered if her favourite ewe was pregnant again, she was an old friend.

It was too wet for the raven to be out and about so she walked alone up the hill. She pulled out the whistle and started to play the tune that was swirling in and out. It was lilting and she could almost hear the words but they were just out of her reach. She reached the circle of stones and sat with her back against one. Somehow these stones were always comforting. She could see the first snowdrops blooming on the hill behind the stones and she started to sing.

Spring comes and brings the lambs
Brighid comes and wakes our land
From darkest night to the coming of day
The light returns after darkest day

I sing of healing
I sing of new life
I sing of love and the return of the light

We are inspired and live to create
We use our hands, wonderous things to make
From nothing they come, to use they go
The coming of spring after winter’s snow

I sing of healing
I sing of new life
I sing of love and the return of the light

I sing of her guidance and the sense of peace
I sing of her patience while I try to create
I sing of inspiration and the raising of hope
I sing of her flame we keep in the grove

Brighid, I welcome you at the start of your day
Please guide me with your flames to light my way
Inspire me, create me a new every day
Forge me and make a flame for a day

I sing of healing
I sing of new life
I sing of love and the return of the light.

“Thank you.” a voice behind Aisling’s stone said and Aisling turned around quickly. Brighid was standing there in her beautiful green cloak and dress.

“You heard it?” Aisling finally squeaked out.

“Every word and note.” Brighid laughed softly. “It’s lovely and you had better share it.” She said with a twinkle. “Aisling, I thank you for honouring me with it. Blessings of the day, dear one” and she was gone.

Aisling shivered to herself. Brighid had liked it! That ought to be enough for the Head Bard but most of all it was enough for her. She settled back against the stone after tugging her hood back down on her curls. It was going to be a wonderous day.

Brighid prayer

Brighid

I light your flame for peace

I light your flame

I light your flame for healing

I light your flame

Brighid of three faces

I light your flame

Brighid of the forge

I light your flame

I light your flame for strength

I light your flame

I light your flame for knowledge

I light your flame

Brighid of the flame of nine tongues

I light your flame

Brighid, goddess of poets

I light your flame

I light your flame for growth

I light your flame

I light your flame in memory

I light your flame

Brighid, Goddess of midwives

I light your flame

Brighid, guardian of the passage into life

I light your flame

I light your flame for calmness

I light your flame

I light your flame for patience

I light your flame

Brighid, guide of lambs

I light your flame

Brighid, Goddess of Sunrise

I light your flame

I light your flame.

Kat Robb

My favourite holiday – La Fheile Brighide

La Fheile Bride/Là Fhèill Bhrìghde

My favourite holiday/sabbat is coming up. It’s the first hint that spring is coming soon, at least if you live in Southern California, it is. My daffodils are halfway out of the ground and our two camellias have been blooming. It’s not totally dark on my walk to and from the bus the way it was two weeks ago. The mockingbird is now singing to attract a new girlfriend from the four corners of his territory.

It’s Brighid’s time. When we go by the college on the bus, if we are lucky, we can see the first lambs in the field with their mamas. I don’t really have a favourite season because I enjoy them all here most of the time but the Goddess’s time is special and new. I think one of the reasons I love it is that there are no associations with the church calendar for me. Presbyterians don’t celebrate Lent the way Catholics do and there are no days that are special until the week before Easter. At least there weren’t any in the church I grew up in, if there had been there would have been a lot of old Scots raising a ruckus about being Papist. That’s the ultimate dirty word in a Presbyterian/Church of Scotland. The second worst thing is acting like a Baptist because they have no self-control or brains.

So it’s been fun over the last 30 years to research traditions from all over Scotland to use. The most easily accessible old source is “The Silver Bough” by F. Marian McNeill, which I see is now available on Kindle. It took many years to get all the volumes in book form. Every year, pre-internet, I would go to the Highland Games and hoped they would have at least one of the volumes and that it wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg because of the tariffs on imported books. It was only available in hard back and I think I paid over $30 for the first small volume, one was over $40. Now the volumes on Kindle are $9.99. I never paid that little of one volume. Makes this Scot a little peeved about the money I spent now. FYI: cheap and frugal are not synonyms.

Another good source is Carmina Gadelica collected by Alexander Carmichael. The only problem is most of the prayers have to be re-written since she has been made a saint. Somethings are easy to re-write, others not so much.

One thing is sure, she is a being of inspiration, protection and strength still.

The Littlest Druid learns to smith

The littlest Druid had finished her year of roaming and being a Bard. She had found out it had been so much more than she had thought it would be. She had thought it was going to be about just going around and sharing stories and songs and then she would be back in the village but she had wandered farther than she thought she would and that had taken longer than the prescribed year.

She had sung for the king and while she had been told all Bards were the king’s equal, she had found it hard to sing and pretend that she was. She had sat with the dying and soothed their passage to the Summerland. She had sung at festivities big and small and she had wandered over fields and meadows and through forests and over mountains. She had even soothed a couple of angry chieftains down and given them a solution to their problem, all the while being terrified they would think her a fraud because she was just a kid and might never make the rank of Druid. That had made her appreciate all the boring hours of memorizing those never ending laws and decisions but she was home now and the Chief Druid had her learning smithing! Why smithing? What did it have to do with being a Druid? She sighed.

Well, it really wasn’t just smithing, it was silver-smithing. The villlage’s smiths were all getting old and the Chief Druid decided that after all the returning Bards had finished their year they were too excited and not ready for more study quite yet so he decide to have them ease back into the learning mode and ease back into studying.

The silver-smith had been showing her how to make wire out of bigger and thicker pieces of silver, she was hot and sweaty and frustrated. The smith had left her alone in the smithy and went to go relax with the other craftsman in the village and she could hear them in the distance singing something and laughing.

She wiped her dripping forehead and winced when a drop of sweat got into her eyes anyway. Stupid stuff! Why did he need so much wire? Was this all smithing was? Whacking great hunks of metal into ever smaller pieces? She sighed again. This was so much less fun than singing for people or even sheep who wanted to hear her.

“Yes, there is more to it than whacking the metal.” A voice calmly said beside her.

Aisling dropped the heavy tongs she had been using on her foot. “EEEEEEEeeeee, Don’t do that!” she hopped and grabbed her foot and looked up. Brighid was standing there beside her and she was wearing a tunic and trews in green leather and heavy leather gloves and not the dress she had been wearing before. What???

Aisling stared at Brighid, “What are you doing here? And why are you dressed like that? And where were you when I was gone all that time. I never saw you once. ” Aisling spit out while hopping up and down. That had really hurt.

Brighid picked up the tongs and looked at Aisling. “I walked right beside you the whole time but you never needed me and you did just fine. We all are there when you need us and you should know that by now.” Brighid moved toward the draw plate and grabbed the metal point that should have been becoming wire and began to draw it through the plate slowly and surely. She hardly seemed to be working as the silvery metal came through the draw plate in a smooth shiny beautiful and perfect piece of wire. Aisling stared and couldn’t believe it. She had been pulling and yanking trying to get the metal through the plate and had just gotten chunks. She had either pinched it too tight and the metal had broken or she hadn’t pulled hard enough and the metal hadn’t moved at all and the scrap bin was full of ugly short bits of silver. This so wasn’t fair.

She stared at Brighid. “How did you do that?” she was angry and also guilty, how could you be mad at a goddess?

“Didn’t you learn this year that before you could do a good performance you had to center yourself and find your calm spot” Aisling nodded slowly. It had been better when she had.

“This isn’t any different. I know you have chants you learned to make things like childbirth or dying or even putting the fire to bed every night easier?” Brighid looked at her raising a very red eyebrow.

Aisling nodded slowly again. She was beginning to feel a little stupid.

Brighid looked her in the eye and began to fit another piece of silver into the draw plate and picked up the tongs again after adjusting her leather gloves. Aisling heard her chanting to herself faintly and the silver began to flow smoothly again in that beautiful shiny ribbon.

“All work is easier if you work with it and all work has some magic to it. You just have to find it. Imagine what this silver is going to be when it’s used. Will it make a lovely pattern that will hold the glass enamel in a brooch or a crown? Will it gently clasp a stone to hang around a friend’s neck? Will it be wound around the hilt of a knife or sword?”

“When you make it you can add protection to it, you can add peace to it. You can even add love to it for all people just like you can when you make a poem or a song.”

Aisling listened and was thinking really hard. At first, she was a bit exasperated. Does everything have to have some magic in it? And then she realized that yes, everything should have some magic to it. Aisling looked up at Brighid who had been watching her thinking. She knew her small Druid. She’d get there eventually.

“Now, I want you to try,” Brighid said and handed Aisling back the tongs.

“But I don’t know your chant?” Aisling whined just a tiny bit, she wasn’t someone who normally whined but she was tired, this was really work.

“That’s the second part, this time you have to make your own chants. Every smith has their own. That’s part of what makes the magic. Put your own heart and hands in every piece whether you know who the piece is for or not.”

Aisling looked at Brighid. She could hear a chant starting in the back of her mind. Was that why the smith had left her alone? She grabbed the end of the metal and started to hum and pull and the wire started to flow for the first time. The metal flowed just like it was supposed to and she turned around and Brighid was gone. Aisling smiled and kept pulling, maybe this wasn’t so bad after all.

The Littlest Druid celebrates La Fheile Brighid

Once upon a time, Aisling was sitting on the side of the hill above the flocks of sheep. She was thoroughly wrapped in a sheepskin coat and leggings and she wondered if the sheep cared that she was wearing one of their old friends. It made her feel funny until she remembered how cold she would be if she wasn’t wearing them. She was feeling marooned.

She’d been sent out here to watch for the ewes to start bearing their lambs. She wanted to be back at the village while they got ready for Imbolq but once again she had made herself unwelcome. Everyone was all excited for the feast and ritual. Most of her friends were more excited about the feast than the ritual. It had been a long time since the Winter Solstice festival and the winter had been cold and hard. It was time to celebrate spring’s return.

She had been trying to help out with all the preparations but her teacher and the Chief Druid had finally sent her out here to be with the sheep.

They had told her it was a very important job but sitting here alone in the cold it didn’t seem so important. It seemed like punishment. She lowered her head to her knees and felt a rush of self pity.

She always meant well but things just didn’t seem to ever work out well for her. She had been helping with the beeswax candle making but got distracted making wax build up on her finger. She couldn’t help how nice and warm the wax had felt on her hands and it smelled so good!

Somehow the druidess in charge of the candlemaking hadn’t seen it that way. She’d gone over to hold the wool that a group of women were spinning and some how it ended up in one big knot instead of a ball that they could use to knit.

So now she was here, by herself, while the regular shepherds went in for dinner and a nap. They had told her not to worry. None of the ewes were ready to give birth yet so all she had to do was sit.

So she sat in the dark surrounded by sleepy, stupid sheep even the sheep dogs had gone with the shepherds for their dinner. She gave a heavy sigh.

The Chief Druid had said this was an important job because they couldn’t start the celebration until the ewes gave birth and their milk came in. This usually happened around a full moon and a half after solstice so it was a few days yet. He had said someone had to be here because sheep sometimes got into trouble and the mother died giving birth so someone had to be with her and some one had to make sure the lambs would be alright. Aisling just felt punished and not important at all. The only thing she could see was that if there was extra milk there would be really good cheese and she loved cheese.

She was trying to stay awake by counting falling stars and watching the Aurora shift and move across the sky. One of the boys had said it was Brighid’s green skirt moving across the sky and she wondered if she tried hard enough she could see the rest of Brighid.

She was starting to get really drowsy when a ram hit her from behind and rolled her forward into the grass. “Hey!” The ram stood looking at her and then turned to run across the field. He stopped to see if she was following so she did.

He turned around and started running again toward the far eastern part of the field. She struggled to catch up. He was moving really fast. She had no idea a sheep could go that fast. She fell twice and each time he stopped and waited for her to get up.

What was happening here? The shepherds had promised nothing would be exciting in the least but she had a feeling they were wrong.  At the edge of the field was a dip and in that dip was a very pregnant ewe. She was bleating softly at the ram and she looked like she was trying to give birth. She was on her side and Aisling knew that wasn’t good. Sheep give birth lying down but she didn’t look right.

The ram butted Aisling again. Aisling knew she was in real trouble. The sheep’s side was heaving as she strained. Something was very wrong and Aisling was very scared. They had promised nothing would happen and as usual they were wrong! She had never even watched let alone help a sheep give birth and there was no one else around.

Aisling started praying to Brighid because she couldn’t think of anything else to do while she patted the sheep and tried to remember to breathe.

What was she going to do? If the sheep or the lambs died she’d be in real trouble then and it would mean a bad celebration and year.

She was too far away to call for help. She just kept stroking the sheep’s head and felt a tear down her cheek. She’d really done it this time. They had promised it wasn’t time yet!

She felt a hand on her shoulder and looked up. There was a woman in green kneeling next to the sheep. The woman smiled at her and began to touch the sheep gently to find out what was wrong.

She motioned to Aisling to hold the sheep’s upper body and rolled up her sleeves and reached into the sheep’s birth canal to straighten the lamb that came sliding out. The sheep gave a jerk and turned to lick her lamb while the lamb tried to stand. The woman gently pushed the lamb toward the mother’s teat and wiped her hands on the grass.

She watched the lamb and ewe for a moment and smiled. She stood up and gave Aisling a hug.

“You did well and now you better go tell the shepherds and the Chief Druid what has happened. It’s time for the feast.”

Aisling looked at the woman. She was dressed all in green with embroidery of red, black and white around her dress. The woman had red hair worn in braids like a crown and had warm blue eyes. Aisling wanted to ask her name but she had a feeling she knew who she was. She had asked her to come after all.

“Yes, I am who you think I am. You asked with all your heart and I came to help. Prayers are always answered when you ask. You just may not like the answer.”

Aisling looked at her with doubt. She looked at the Goddess and she looked at the ewe and her lamb. The ram had sat down with his legs folded under them and just looked at the two of them. She decided they were the most beautiful thing she had ever seen.

Brighid gave Aisling’s hair one final stroke. “You’d better go and tell them the news.” She said again and gave Aisling a slight push. “But don’t tell them I was here. Let it be our secret. They don’t need to know. Well, maybe the Chief Druid.”

She laughed and walked away over her shoulder she said, “Keep trying Aisling, just keep trying.”

Aisling took off running back across the field. The boys were right. The Aurora did look like Brighid’s skirt she thought as she ran.

Offerings to Brighid

Offerings to Brighid can be a bit hairy traditionally because the tradition offering at a well was a clootie or piece of cloth with a plea for healing or help and it’s hairy because is the plea to the well or is it to Brighid? That being said when some wells or water sites sacred to Brighid are filled with coins and jewelry and other things that past supplicants have tossed in asking for help.

I suppose the corn dolly left out at La Fheile Brighde is a sort of offering also as well as making Brighid’s crosses. It was traditional to leave an oat cake or bannock, a small sheaf of oats, porridge, a cup of milk and or honey which also happen to be offerings left for the fae. And cloth was left out in the hopes that Brighid would touch it on her way by.

But really, the offerings to the goddess, Brighid are the many poems and songs that have been offered about her both in the past as recorded in the Carmina Gadelica by Alexander Carmichael and those being written today. For what better offering is there than the fruit of our heads and our hearts and hands? Everything I smith, everything I write, everything I sing can and often is an offering to the Goddess. She really has never asked for more.

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 changed

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