Saturday, January 28, 2017

“What the Goddess Brigit Means for Women and Men Today” (Excerpt from Course)

Genevieve of Goddess Ink excerpted a lesson from my course Discovering Brigit for her blog post last week. Here's the link, and here's a quote:

Why has the Goddess Brigit become so popular, and with so many different kinds of people?
Apart from a lull in her popularity in the last century*, Brigit has always been beloved, especially among the Irish and Scots—and where they have migrated churches bearing the name “Saint Brigit’s” or “Saint Bride’s” have popped up with great regularity. So many Irish girls were baptized with her name that its diminutive—Biddy—came to apply to Irish women generally (not in the most flattering way, at all times, but that’s another story), just as their men became known as Paddies, after Saint Patrick.
Brigit’s fortune seems ever on the rise... 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Friends of Bride's Mound: Gathering, Archaeology, Hedge-Laying

C/O Glastonbury Opportunities, Unit 7 Abbey Mews, BA6 9DY.

January 2017 Newsletter

IMBOLC – Wednesday 1st February 2017 
The Friends of Brides Mound invite you to join us for the day, the feast day of St. Brigid. 

9.30am White Spring opens (tbc)
 10am Ceremony at the White Spring (tbc)
12 noon Meditation at the Well Head at Chalice Well
10.00 – 1.00pm Refreshments available at Chalice Well

1pm Walk to Bride's Mound with Serena Roney-Dougal; 
Meet outside the White Spring, where the White and the Red springs join.
Wear clothing and footwear suitable for wet and muddy conditions! 
2.30pm Gathering around the fire on Bride's Mound.

AGM.  The Library of Avalon, Glastonbury 22nd March from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.  All welcome.

Archaeology on the Mound 
Somerset skeletons are oldest evidence of monks found in UK

As you might have seen on the national news, Richard Brunning of Southwest Heritage Trust led a team doing the first archaeological dig on the mound since Philip Rahtz’s dig in the 1960s. All very exciting!

An ADF Imbolc Ritual

I realized today that I have not offered here any actual ritual for Imbolc, or indeed for flame-keeping, and that doing so might be of help to some readers. After poking around in my computer I further realized that it has been so long since I have felt the need to write out my rituals ahead of time (I've found over time I'm happier keeping it direct and simple), I don't have any to hand.

So I went noodling around on the internet and found this. It has many interesting ideas and although I would make changes if I were using it (such as not using the word invoke, as I don't feel I have the power or the cheek to summon a deity--invite, maybe), I think it is a great jumping off place. Kudoes to Rob and Kami for their work here.

A Solitary Imbolc Ritual

by Rob Henderson and Kami Landy
written March 31st, 1999
Adapted from the Shining Lakes Grove 1999 Imbolc Rite, written by the SLG Liturgists
with sections shamelessly stolen from the StoneCreed Grove Solitary Liturgy
(This is my first attempt at writing a solitary ADF ritual. Well, perhaps "writing" isn't the right word, more like "assembling". Our Grove's Imbolc Rite this year was more scripted than our usual fare, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to do a solitary ritual. I'm adding some running commentary in the parentheses, so you can understand not only what you're doing, but why you're doing it. -- Rob)
[Kami's commentary will be in brackets, like so.]
(If you've got your Dedicant's shrine set up, you should use that for this ritual. If you don't have such a shrine, you can make do with representations for the well (a bowl of water) with a piece of silver for the Well offering (a coin is fine), the fire (a candle - three candles, or a three-wicked candle, would be best), and the tree (a branch placed in a pot of soil is good). You'll also need:
  • a separate bowl of water and a candle (to receive the blessings of Brigit)
  • offerings for Brigit (see below for suggestions)
  • offerings for the Outsiders (food or drink)
  • For purifications: mud or red ochre; salt water; incense or smudge stick
  • a straw "dolly" or rowan stick to represent Brigit, and a straw bed for her (optional)
  • For the return blessing: red, white, and black ribbons attached to the frame of a doorway (optional)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

St. Brigid's LGBTQ-Affirmative Christian Community

I was strolling down Burrard in downtown Vancouver a couple of weeks ago and as I passed Christchurch Cathedral I glanced at the schedule of events. To my great surprise there was a thing called "St. Brigid's Eucharist" on Sundays at 5:30 PM. Curious, I went online to find out more.

Here's what the St. Brigid's people say about themselves.


Welcome to St. Brigids, a community of Christ-followers in downtown Vancouver. We are an emerging LGBTQ-affirming Christian congregation of Christ Church Cathedral where questions are honoured, faith is nurtured, and discipleship pursued.

St. Brigids is a community that loves to sing, laugh, eat, serve and worship God together in ways that send us refreshed and renewed into our daily lives – wherever that may take us.

If you are new to Vancouver, or are newly seeking a spiritual home, we invite you to join us for Sunday worship. We are a growing, newly formed congregation that welcomes people from diverse backgrounds.

Our hope is that you’ll be able to get to know us through the website and in person so you’ll have what you need in order to decide whether St. Brigids is a community where you can plant roots. You’re invited to get to know us in a way that makes the most sense to you:

We look forward to welcoming you to St. Brigids!

(So how cool is that? say I.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Hymn to Saint Brigid

Philomena Breslin

I've found a lovely rendition (if you like "High Voice", which I do) of a hymn sung by many Irish schoolchildren in earlier times--twentieth century, and if I read things right, nineteenth century as well. (I wonder if it is ever sung in schools there now.) 

It is sung by Philomena Breslin on her album My Wild Irish Rose, and can be purchased on iTunes for $0.99 CDN (or similar in your local monetary dialect). You can preview the song to get the tune and see if you like it. This is (I blush to say) my very first purchase on iTunes. For a more folky version, turn to Michael Connolly on YouTube.

Called here "Hymn to Saint Brigid", the song is also known as "Far Above Enthroned in Glory", and was written by Brigidine Mother Cecilia Sinnott of Goresbridge, a village in County Kilkenny in northern Leinster. The Australian Sisters have the words on their site:

Hymn to St. Brigid

Words by Mother Cecilia, Brigidine Convent, Goresbridge. Circa 1911.
Music by Sinnott (1863-1902)
Music by M.S.
Far above enthroned in glory
Sweetest Saint of Erin’s Isle
See thy children kneel before thee
Turn on us a Mother’s smile.
Sancta Mater, hear our pleading
Faith and hope and holy love
Sweet St. Brigid, Spouse of Jesus,
Sent to us from Heaven above.
Sweet St. Brigid, Erin’s children,
Far and near o’er land and sea
In the world and in the cloister
Fondly turn with love to thee.
Sancta Mater, sooth the mourner
Shield the weary tempted soul
Sweet St. Brigid, guide thy children
To thy bright and happy home.

Marcella, of Trias Thaumaturga, offers the Irish language version of the text, collected by Douglas Hyde. She says of it, " I much prefer the Irish version as the lyrics don't convey the rather twee Victorian-parlour sentimentality of the English."

Twee or not, Philomena's singing and the familiar-sounding melody are pleasant to my old-fashioned ears. 

I am a tad puzzled by the dates given on the Sisters' site, though. If Mother Cecilia died in 1902, I am unsure how she could have written this in 1911. But Saint Brigit is known for her miracles. Maybe this is another such.