Monday, December 31, 2012

Pre-Order Discount on Brigit: Sun of Womanhood

Brigit: Sun of Womanhood

An anthology edited by Michael McDermott and Patricia Monaghan, scholars and followers of Brigit, featuring writers from Ireland,  Scotland, Canada, and the US.

Publishing date: Imbolc 2013

If you pre-order Brigit: Sun of Womanhood you will receive a special advance purchase price ($15) and free shipping in February 2013.

This of course is the last work of Patricia Monaghan, who died last month.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Anne Ross, Celtic Scholar

I'm a bit late learning of this, but Dr. Anne Ross, who introduced so many of us to Celtic studies and a world very different than our present one, has died. I am grateful to her for her clear, readable style and engaging approach to a subject that was to become a mainstay of my life, partly as a result of her books. She was the author of The Pagan Celts, Pagan Celtic Britain, Everyday Life of the Pagan Celts, Druids: Preachers of Immortality, The Folklore of the Scottish Highlands, and so on.

I will give you some of what I have gleaned from the web, as finding info on her isn't easy online.


This is what had to say, in its note for The Folklore of the Scottish Highlands:

The folklore of the Scottish Highlands is unique and very much alive. Dr Anne Ross is a Gaelic-speaking scholar and archaeologist who has lived and worked in crofting communities. This has enabled her to collect information at first hand and to assess the veracity of material already published. In this substantially revised edition of a classic work first published 30 years ago, she portrays the beliefs and customs of Scottish Gaelic society, including: seasonal customs deriving from Celtic festivals; the famous waulking songs; the Highland tradition of seers and second sight; omens and taboos, both good and bad; and, chilling experiences of witchcraft and the Evil Eye Rituals associated with birth and death. Having taken her MA, MA Hons and PhD at the University of Edinburgh, Anne Ross became Research Fellow in the School of Scottish Studies, Edinburgh. She then rapidly established herself as one of Britain's leading Celtic scholars. Her seminal work is "Pagan Celtic Britain" and she has also published "Druids - Preachers of Immortality" with Tempus Publishing.

From her obituary:

Published in the Media Wales Group on 1st September 2012 (Distributed in Wales)
This notice has had 794 visitors and has one message and 12 candles.

FEACHEM Dr Anne Ross (Celtic Scholar) Peacefully on Aug 29 at her home, Dr Anne Ross of Felin Gyffin, Llandre, Aberystwyth; beloved wife of the late Richard, dear mother of Charles and the late Berenice. Public funeral service at Aberystwyth Crem-atorium on Tuesday Sept 4 at 11.15am. Further inquiries to C Trefor Evans, Brongenau, Llandre, Aberystwyth. Tel 01970 820013


I did find a more personal tribute to Anne from the director of the documentary Heads! (I'm afraid a quick search doesn't bring me any info on the documentary, nor does the blogger/filmaker give either his name or a website, so you're on your own for now.) Follow the first link here to see the original post, with photos:

Anne Ross 1925-2012

It has recently come to my attention that Dr. Anne Ross, one of the central figures of the film Heads!, has died.

I never met Anne. By the time I started making my film, she was sadly suffering from dementia. She appears in archive footage, including a clip of her famous appearance on Nationwide where she spoke of her family’s terrifying experiences after receiving the purportedly cursed “Hexham Heads”. According to her son she could not remember her academic career by this stage. For many British archaeologists, however, it will be unforgettable.

Anne Ross will be best remembered for her book Pagan Celtic Britain, first published in 1967. I have a copy from the 1970s on my shelves, with this gorgeous cover:

It’s a hefty, academic work, and it became a key book in the field of Romano-British studies. But it was also widely read by hippies and freethinkers in the Sixties, who found its portrait of a wild, free, polytheistic Britain resisting the imperial rule of Rome heady despite its measured prose.

Ross was closer in spirit to her unexpected fan base than some of her academic supporters may have liked. She had a firm belief in psychic phenomena, and in her later life she often collaborated with Dr. Don Robins, an inorganic chemist who rose to prominence in the field of earth mysteries. The books she wrote with Robins were criticised by some of her former admirers,

A voluble, erudite woman with a Joanna Lumley-ish accent and a shock of appropriately Celtic red hair, Ross was a natural for television. Here she is in the 1980s BBC documentary series The Celts:

Anne settled down with her husband Richard and their children Richard and Berenice in Wales, where she was living at the time of her passing. She is survived by the junior Richard and, of course, her books, whose impact on the field of Celtic studies is matched only by the fondness with which modern students of the field talk of them.


Sincere condolences to her family and friends. Blessings on your journey, Anne.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Prayer Responses to Massacre of Children

The Daughters of the Flame, as many others, were very shaken by the attack on the teachers and children at school in Newtown. We organized a prayer vigil, and members reached out in many ways to others who were affected by the tragedy. I would like to share two prayers here, one which I wrote for our vigil, and one written by Kathryn Price NicDhàna. Kathryn's prayer is accompanied by a photo taken by her.

Prayer for the Grieving

Dear Mother Goddess Brigit
whose own son turned
in murderous treachery
against his mother’s people
and died

You know the grieving of our hearts

Bless us Brigit
in our anger and our shock
in our broken hearted sorrow
Bring healing to those who live
and peace to those who died

Build us whole again
Sing our rebirth
that we may live
in awareness and compassion
on this beautiful
troubled Earth

Mael Brigde

Prayer for Grieving Mothers

Kathryn Price NicDhàna

Monday, December 17, 2012

Moving Out from Under the Oak (& Brigida Thaumaturga)

A very interesting blog on Irish saints has recently been deleted: Under the Oak, by Brigit, "an Irishwoman interested in the history of the early Irish church and the lives of our native saints". It is not findable by the Internet Archive Way Back Machine. It is gone.

Brigid has begun two new blogs, where some of the old material will be revised and represented, and new material will arrive as well. The new blogs are: Omnium Sanctorum Hiberniae, where she will "carry on blogging about the Irish saints", and Trias Thaumaturga, "dedicated to the three patron saints of Ireland. There you will find most of the posts on Saint Patrick, Saint Brigid and Saint Colum Cille which were published" at Under the Oak.

Shortly before the deletion, I happened to do a search of the site and kept a few of her Brigit posts open in a tab to eventually share with you. Here is a little of what she had there: (Note: if you read the comment section below you'll see that the Brigit posts have been largely reposted. The link on the title of the article will take you to its position on the new site.)

A 17th-Century View of Saint Brigid: Brigida Thaumaturga

Brigida Thaumaturga, Brigid the Wonderworker, is the title of a 17th-century treatise on Saint Brigid written by David Rothe, Bishop of Ossory (1568-1650) and published in Paris in 1620. The full title is Brigida Thaumaturga sive Dissertatio partim encomiastica in laudem ipsius sanctae, partim archaica, ex sacra et antiqua historia ecclesiastica, partim etiam parenetica ad alumnos Collegiorum, in qua elucidatur prodigium ligni aridi reviriscantis ex attractu B. Brigidae Virginis, et symbolico sensu accommodatur ad antiquam quod intercesserat commercium inter Galliam et Hiberniam in rebus sacris, literariis, et civilibus, habita in Collegio Hibernorum Parisiense, Kalendis Februarii, die festo ejusdem sanctae. Parisiis apud Sebastianum Cramois sub ciconiis, via Jacobaea. M.D.C.XX.', Brigid the wonder-worker; or a dissertation partly laudatory, in praise of the Saint, partly archaeological drawn from sacred and from ecclesiastical history, and partly also hortatory, addressed to the students of the (Irish) Colleges. In it the miracle of the wood growing green again at the touch of the Virgin Brigid is explained; and symbolically applied to the ancient inter-course between France and Ireland, in things sacred, literary and civil. Delivered in the Irish College in Paris on February I, Feast of the Saint. Published by Sebastian Cramois, under the Sign of the Storks. Rue Saint-Jacques, 1620.' Now, that's what I call a title! Jason Harris of the Centre for Neo-Latin Studies, University College Cork, has made an online edition of the Latin text available here. I don't know of any English translation, but the 1911 paper below, written by Father Patrick Boyle (1849-1933), offers a summary of its contents and a biography of its author. Note that the title contains a reference to the miracle of the wood growing green again at Saint Brigid's touch, this miracle is noted in one of the lessons for the saint's office in the Roman Breviary as well in the Sarum-rite office. Also worth looking out for in the paper is the hymn which Bishop Rothe wrote in praise of Saint Brigid when her intercession delivered him from shipwreck. I have transferred the translation of this from the footnotes into the main text beneath the Latin original. It is most interesting to read of this 17th-century view of Saint Brigid, one which appears to be grounded in hagiographical tradition, for the Bishop sees his patroness as the wonderworking head of Irish nuns, distinguished for her faith and charity, a figure far removed from the goddess, social worker or environmental activist of our own times.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Charm for difficulty in breathing

Charm for difficulty in breathing

“A person who had difficulty breathing might be relieved by ortha an tachtaidh: ‘Seven of the prayers of the Son of God. And seven of the prayers of the two holy women and the angel. And the creed in honour of holy Brighid. O Brighid, come to the help of this poor person!’ At these last words the person saying the charm breathed into the mouth of the sufferer and then said seven Paters, seven Aves and the Credo.”

from Irish Country People by Kevin Danaher, 1966.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Listening Once More to "Welcome Brigid"

Welcome Brigid: mystical and celtic chant and song to the divine feminine, by Katy Taylor, with Amy Fradon and Lynn Margileth.

I mentioned this CD three years ago, with a link to the CD Baby site where you can preview it. But I have just spent a quiet hour listening to it, not as background music as I bop through my day, but really listening to every word. (Though not understanding all--Taylor sings in Irish and Latin as well as in English.)

I just want to tell you again--it is beautiful, prayerful, joyful, wonderful. Both Mary and Brigid are honoured here, with a mixture of traditional and original lyrics, rhythmic chant and high voice. If you haven't encountered it, please follow this link and you will soon learn more.