Thursday, November 29, 2012

Patricia Monaghan

I have been hanging on to announce the upcoming release of Brigit: Sun of Womanhood, a Brigit anthology edited by Patricia Monaghan and husband Michael McDermott.

Very sadly, I must announce Patricia's death instead. I will reprint her husband's words here, copied from Agora

I am devastated by the loss of my beloved wife and partner in all things, Patricia.  I am also filled with gratitude and love for all the wonderful things said about Patricia.  She has left our lives and yet she will live long.  There is a huge hollow in me and in the life and all the things that Patricia and I did and will do.
She traveled a journey with cancer these last 2 years.  It was a journey of hope and disappointment. It was a journey that included her work, whether it was finishing the paperback version of Goddesses and Heroines, how to strengthen the Black Earth Institute, the decorating scheme for the Wisconsin house after we moved from Chicago, or how to control the temperature in the new root cellar. She was concerned that we had not yet put away the dried beans from the garden. On Friday evening, we were working on editing a manuscript until 11:30 at night.  She died at home in my arms on Sunday morning at 3:45AM.
She didn’t like to be called brave, though she was.  She didn’t at all like being called a force of nature, but she was. She didn’t like it when people said, “How can you do so much?”, but she “did” from morn ’till night.  We would work hard all day on many things and then say, “Well, at least we got a little bit done.”
Patricia was a scholar, artist, spiritual practitioner, and leader and political activist.  She was a gardener and literally a path creator. One of my favorite memories is of her pulling our large honeysuckle bushes in the wet spring soil to create a path in our woods.  This creation she carried into all things, whether leading us to the goddess, to a land ethic, or to the struggle for a more just society.
There will be an informal get together at Brigit Rest (in southwestern Wisconsin) this Saturday, November 17, from 2PM to 7PM.  More like a potluck where in addition to covered dishes, bring memories or mementos of Patricia.  (Bring the covered dish, deserts and libations as well).
A formal ceremony will be held on Saturday, December 1 at Brigit Rest as well.  There will be a service at the Madison meeting hall of the Society of Friends (Quakers), likely the same day.
Let us all honor Patricia for all the things she was and will be.
You may wish to visit Patricia's obituary at Wild Hunt. For memorial information, go here
Brigit's blessings on your journey, Patricia.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The following post is reprinted from 
Woman Spirit Ireland, the site belonging to The Institute of Feminism and Religion. I reprint it here because it is rare to find instructions on how to actually gather the rushes you use to make Brigit's Cross. See below for the skinny!

Brigit(The Institute for Feminism and Religion aims to explore a prophetic approach to feminism and religion, inclusive of many traditions and emerging consciousness in Ireland. We do this by providing opportunities for women to reclaim religion by engaging theoretically and experientially with the issues or feminist theology, ethics, spirituality and ritual.)

Making Brigit’s Crosses 

Merovee Guerin

Tiny Crosses

The traditional cross is made from either field or lake rushes. Made from field rushes, it loses its freshness as it dries. The lake rushes are more sturdy, and the cross a bit bigger. I also found a way to make a cross which looks from the front exactly like the traditional cross but has the advantage to keep its shape when finished. It comes from the Maori tradition. 

Field Rushes

For the Brigit celebrations the rushes are pulled (not cut). One does not need a lot of rushes never more than 40).  So I think it is worth pulling them with awareness.

Place your hand very low on the stem of the rush and pull steadily.  When the rush does not break it has a beautiful white/cream/yellow part which contrasts nicely with the deep green.  I often use this for effect in a cross.
Field rushes are the rushes one can see in any field.  But in February it is difficult to find beautiful rushes as they are often burnt by the gales.
Sometimes one might be lucky and find rushes tucked in the hedge at the edge of a field, or in a low part away from the wind.

In general I go to the forest.  It needs to be low lands forestry.  There are often big ditches in the forestry and there, are the lush rushes which will be pliable.

Wear wellies and gloves.


Harvesting Lake

Lake rushes must be harvested in June or July.  Do not leave too late as they lose their pliability and get spotted.Find a lake with shallow water.  The rushes grow in 2 feet the water.  Cut the rush as low as possible.

I usually bring a rope which floats on the water and keep the cut rushes together. Dry rushes in a well aired area. Turn them from time to time.  Keep away from direct sun.

Store in a dry place.

Before using the rushes I usually lay them in water for a few minutes and wrap them in  plastic to allow the water to soften the outside fibres and make the rush more pliable.

Go with someone.  Someone stays on the shore.

Wear some kind of foot protection.

Have fun.
Traditional Brigit's Cross
Maori Cross

Friday, November 16, 2012

St. Bridget Spirituality Centre

St. Bridget Spirituality Centre of Sherwood, Wisconsin, is an Anglican ministry inspired by Bridget of Ireland, Celtic Christianity, Hildegarde of Bingen, and other sources. Rev. Dr. Ann Barker and Rev. Chrystal J. Reichard offer weddings, religious education, faith formation, and retreat services. With an emphasis on soul companioning and the mind, body, spirit connection, the reverends have much to offer Protestant seekers of a deep spirituality.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

"The Brídeog" by Casey Wolf

If you peer up at the top of this page you will see, next to the Home button, a link to a second page where you can read the short story "The Brídeog"  by Casey June Wolf. It tells the tale of an Imbolc visitation to a house with one believing, and one very disbelieving, woman.

This story was first published in  Escape Clause: A Speculative Fiction Anthology, edited by Clelie Rich (2009) and is reprinted by permission. To make it simpler to find I will add the link here.

The drawing used with the story is by E.E. Evans, and appeared on the cover of his book Irish Folk Ways (1957).