Saturday, May 11, 2013
Thursday, May 09, 2013
Brigid's Way walk will take pilgrims to a number of sacred sites many of which are linked directly to St Brigit.
Led by Delores Whelan and Karen Ward.
Monday, May 06, 2013
I know there are many Brigit Flame-Tending groups out there, of many different stripes. I would love to hear who you are, what your emphasis is, whether you are open to new members, and how to get in touch.
Please leave a comment here or email me at the address mentioned in the About Me write-up to your left, and if you would like to be listed, anonymously or not, I will include you in a follow-up post. (If you don't want to be listed, I would still be interested to hear from you.)
Blessings on your practice.
Saturday, May 04, 2013
The redoubtable Marcella, once of Under the Oak, now of Omnium Sanctorum Hiberniae and Trias Thaumaturga, reminds us that 3 May is the feast day of Brigit's first bishop, Saint Conleth of Kildare. She has drawn together various notes about him on Omnium Sanctorum Hiberniae:
On May 3 we celebrate the feast of Saint Conleth, first Bishop of Kildare. The following account of his life has been distilled from Canon O'Hanlon's Lives of the Irish Saints, Volume 5, pages 69-95. A post on the description by Cogitosus of the tombs of Saint Brigid and Saint Conleth at Kildare can be found at my other blog Trias Thaumaturga here.
ST. CONLETH, OR CONLAID, BISHOP AND PATRON OF KILDARE DIOCESE. [FIFTH AND SIXTH CENTURIES.]
To read the full posting, click here.
Wednesday, May 01, 2013
For Immediate Release
contact: Joan Forest Mage
Brigit: Sun of Womanhood
book launch & arts festival
Saturday, May 11, 2013
6 - 10 pm
Please join us for a festival honoring the goddess Brigit as we celebrate the publication of Brigit: Sun of Womanhood, a new anthology of poetry and essays edited by Patricia Monaghan and Michael McDermott, Saturday, May 11 from 6 - 10 PM at Life Force Arts Center, 1609 W Belmont, Chicago. Admission is free. For more information please contact Joan at Joan@LifeForceArts.orf or 773-327-7224.
Poets, storytellers, singers, dancers, musicians and ritual artists, including some of the contributors to the anthology, will perform in this festival celebrating the creative spirit in honor of Brigit, the Celtic goddess of inspiration, poetry and the arts. As part of the evening, we will remember the late Patricia Monaghan for her many contributions writing and teaching about the Goddess and Divine Feminine.
Brigit: Sun of Womanhood offers a holistic picture of Brigit from her beginnings as a Celtic Goddess to her role as a Christian saint. Readers will be transformed by this inspiring collection. This newest anthology from Goddess Ink publishers is edited by Michael McDermott and Patricia Monaghan and features writers from Ireland, Scotland, Canada and the US including Carol Christ, Sr. Rita Minehan, M. Macha Nightmare, Dolores Whelan, Joan McBreen, Matthew Geden, Szmeralda Shanel and many others, reflecting the widespread influence of Brigit.
Presenters for this event include:
Janet Berres- A tribute to Patricia Monaghan
Amy Christensen- Songs for Brigit
Louise Cloutier- Song dedicated to Brighid
Shauna Aura Knight- Sung poem
Joan Forest Mage - Dance: Water of Life, excerpt from "Myo means revive"
Michael McDermott*- Brigit Prayers & Poems
Kiel Milner – Brigit galdr (name sung in runes)
Eileen Rosensteel*- Poems: Forging & The Bard of Black Earth
Szmeralda Shanel*- My Blood Song (essay)
* = contributing author, Brigit: Sun of Womanhood anthology
"This wonderful collection of essays, poems, reflections, meditations and scholarship brilliantly captures the complexity, richness, and fertility of Brigit’s traditions." --- Mary Condren, author of The Serpent and the Goddess: Women, Religion and Power in Celtic Ireland
"Brigit, Sun of Womanhood, is a comprehensive and compelling collection of fiction, poetry, essays and photographs that celebrate Brigit in all Her many manifestations as ancient Goddess, legendary Catholic abbess and saint, and modern-day archetype of the divine female. The stories shared in this anthology will delight and inform, whether or not one’s ethnicity is rooted in Celtic traditions. This book opens the reader’s eyes and heart to the magical, multi-faceted aspects of this Goddess’s legacy and the potent medicine She offers." ---Mary Saracino co-editor of She Is Everywhere! Volume 3: An Anthology of Writings in Womanist/Feminist Spirituality (iUniverse 2012) and the author of the novel, The Singing of Swans (Pearlsong Press 2006). For more information visit:www.marysaracino.com.
"This anthology is a deeply intelligent, wise, and alluring immersion into the living presence of Brigit, a creation of ritual space that is both ancient and immediate." ---Charlene Spretnak, author of Lost Goddesses of Early Greece
The mission of Life Force Arts Foundation (LFA) is to advance the field of spiritual art through artistically excellent exhibits, events and publications that explore the art-spirituality connection. We define spiritual art as visual, literary or performing art that flows from spiritual practice, strives to connect the audience with Spirit, and creates spiritual awakening, healing, or evolution. We focus on the arts as a common ground of human expression, where artists and audiences of diverse spiritual traditions can honor each other, and share their personal and collective experiences of the spiritual aspect of life through the arts. LFA's goals are to develop spiritual artists, the spiritual arts audience, and the spiritual arts community. The Foundation operates Life Force Arts Center (LFAC), Chicago's spiritual art gallery and performance space, which presents artistically excellent, spiritually based visual art exhibits, dance, theater and music performances, author book signings and workshops with artists who are experts in spiritual artmaking.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Many of you will know the American theologist Edward C. Sellner through his books on Celtic saints ( eg Wisdom of the Celtic Saints) and on the anam cara (Celtic Soul Friend). Here is a paper by him that you may find of interest: “Brigit of Kildare, Golden Sparkling Flame: A Study in the Liminality of Women's Spiritual Power”.
Posted on Ohio State University's Monastic Matrix (a scholarly resource for the study of women's religious communities from 400 to 1600 CE), it was first published in Vox Benedictina: A Journal of Translations from Monastic Sources 8/2 (1991): 265-296.
"Sometime in the 1180’s, the mediæval churchman, pilgrim, and story–teller Gerald of Wales visited Kildare in Ireland, made famous, he says, by the “glorious Brigid.” There, as he tells us in the controversial book he wrote after his tours of Ireland, he found Brigit’s fire, said to be inextinguishable:
"It is not that it is strictly speaking inextinguishable, but that the nuns and holy women have so carefully and diligently kept and fed it with enough material, that through all the years from the time of the virgin saint it has never been extinguished.
"Gerald of Wales, of course, was not the first pilgrim to visit Kildare, but he has provided us with one of the most vivid accounts of that monastic site and the legends associated with it centuries after the death of its foundress. Judging from his books on Ireland and Wales, he evidently discovered, as many of us do when we travel to foreign shores, that the holy places and the tombs of the saints often provide “a location for the healing, forgiving, and guiding powers of God.”
"Pilgrimage is one of the oldest spiritual traditions, shared by all the great religions of the world. The practice of pilgrimage has been a part of Christian spirituality since the first apostles, after the death of Jesus, returned to those places in Galilee associated with his memory and learned, as they fished and ate meals together on the seashore, that he was still very much alive. While pilgrimages may result in encounters with the Holy One, they can also be painful journeys into the unknown, far from family and friends and all those things that give us a sense of self–worth and identity. This experience of being in the wilderness, of being betwixt and between, is described by Joseph Campbell as characteristic of “liminality,” a state in which the person striving for maturity and wisdom crosses a threshold into the unknown, meets many obstacles as well as helping spirits along the way, and returns home as “master of two worlds” with a “treasure” or “blessing” that is shared with the community. According to Campbell, all the great myths of humankind have these elements describing how a person becomes a hero, which is to say, more fully human (and, from the Christian perspective, more god–like). Victor and Edith Turner, authors of Image and Pilgrimage in Christian Culture, describe pilgrimage in those terms: as a “liminoid phenomenon,” a boundary experience that applies not only to foreign travel and rites of passage, but “to all phases of decisive cultural change.” “It has become clear to us,” they say, “that liminality is not only transition but also potentiality, not only ‘going to be’ but also ‘what may be.’
"With that understanding in mind, let us take a pilgrimage to Celtic lands and to the home of Brigit, who was considered the patron saint of travelers and pilgrims during the Middle Ages. As a soul friend with whom that ancient tradition of spiritual guidance is very much identified, she has something to teach us about women’s leadership as it emerged in the early Celtic Church. Her legends and stories also reveal much about the actuality and potentiality of women’s spiritual power in our own churches today. Brigit, the powerful Christian saint associated with a Celtic goddess, is a study in liminality, for she lives on the boundary between pagan mythology and Christian spirituality, between what was and what will be. Described in one of the most ancient Christian Celtic hymns as “ever excellent woman, golden sparkling flame,” and by the Irish poet Padraic Colum as “she who had the flaming heart,” Brigit will show us that not only is her monastery associated with flames of fire, but her life and ministry as well—a flame of holiness that continues to blaze and give us light even though the fires at Kildare of which Gerald of Wales wrote have now been extinguished."
For those who have the original version of Wisdom of the Saints and would like the updated introduction, this is available through Northumbria Community for four pounds. For an online article by Sellner on soul friendship (anam cara) visit the site of Aisling magazine.
Monday, April 08, 2013
St. Brigid's skull has done some travelling, apparently. This may be appropriate for a woman who travelled widely when she was alive, visiting many areas in Ireland and, according to legend, establishing a number of religious communities.
Say the writers at Orthodoxwiki:
"She died at Kildare around 525 and was buried in a tomb before the high altar of her abbey church. After some time her remains were exhumed and translated to Downpatrick to rest with the two other patron saints of Ireland, St. Patrick of Ireland and St. Columba of Iona. Her skull was extracted and brought to Lisbon, Portugal, by two Irish noblemen, where it remains."
But in fact, if this is indeed her skull, not all of it remains there. Wikipedia informs us that a "fragment of this skull was brought to St Bridget’s Church, Kilcurry in 1905 by Sister Mary Agnes of the Dundalk Convent of Mercy." The website of St. Brigid's Parish of Killester, Dublin tells of a portion of St. Brigid's cheekbone that is housed there:
"In 1929 a small portion of St. Brigid’s skull was brought back to Ireland and placed here for the veneration of the people. At the time it came as a great surprise to the majority of Irish people that this relic existed, and that it had been carefully preserved in Portugal, where for hundreds of years the Portuguese had almost made St. Brigid their own.
"The Holy Relic is preserved in an unpretentious church in Lumiar, a small town outside Lisbon. King Dinis had a small convent of Cistercians founded there during his reign, at a place called Odivelas, a few miles outside Lisbon and quite near Luimar.
"In 1276 the Bishop of Lisbon decided to build a church at Luimar and he placed it under the patronage of the nuns at Odivilelas. When King Dinis heard that three Irish knights were bringing St. Brigid’s head to Portugal, he wanted to have it preserved in the convent of Odivelas, but Divine Will decreed otherwise; it was placed in the church at Lumiar, where it remains to this day.
"The three faithful knights remained with the Holy Relic for the rest of their days, and when they died they were interred in tombs let into the wall of St. Brigid’s chapel.
The inscription reads:
In January 2012 the relic was removed from the reliquary, which was undergoing maintenance, and locked away in preparation for St. Brigid's Day ceremonies. The reliquary was subsequently stolen; it is only by chance that the relic itself remained at Killester for the faithful.