Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Book Review: Pagan Portals – The Dagda: Meeting the Good God of Ireland by Morgan Daimler


Pagan Portals – The Dagda: Meeting the Good God of Ireland
Morgan Daimler (2018)

 It’s strange to feel so excited to read a book that has actually been waiting in my bedside cabinet for nearly two years. But that’s how it is. And now that I have now finally read The Dagda, I can’t stop raving about it. It is a jewel on my bookshelf.

 Pagan Portals – The Dagda is far from the first book I’ve read by Morgan Daimler, nor will it be the last. They have become one of my favourite authors for a few simple reasons: their research is meticulous, they draw together the important myths, gleaned from early and modern texts – they even taught themself how to read old Irish because they wanted more than the translations they had on hand were offering. Daimler has a wonderful way of looking at things from a new angle, and this book continues in that tradition.

 I was looking forward to this book in particular because I was drawn to The Dagda, personally. He drew me initially by his own personality and his actions in the tales, particularly of his building single-handed a fort for Bres, and carving out twelve plains in a one day. But more important was his being father to the sisters Brigit. Because Brigit is so important to me, I wanted to cultivate an acquaintance, at least, with someone who helped shape these sisters as they grew.1

 The Pagan Portals series is devoted to short books up to around a hundred pages long that are meant to introduce the key elements of a deity or topic. In this case the book is nearly eighty pages, and they have divided the material up well. In chapter one, “Who is The Dagda?” they begin by giving his names and the epithets that describe him, and address how a sense of his nature can be drawn from them. This necessarily takes us into the myths themselves, so although they don’t tell them exhaustively, they reveal enough that we can understand why he might be called Eochaid Ollathair, and that “The Dagda” means “The Good God.” But what does that mean? Does it mean he’s a nice guy? Well, no. It means he is good at all things. So just the definition of this one name, and he has many, tells us something important about him. This initial chapter grounds us not only in his names, but in how he’s been described physically in the tales, and gives a glimpse of his relationships with others. (This is a complicated kettle of fish as he has many lovers, many children, and his children, like himself, have run into real difficulties because of some of those lovers).

 One thing that Morgan always does which I greatly appreciate, is they provide useful end notes to each chapter, and provide a good bibliography. I can see where they’re getting their information from; I don’t have to just trust them. I can then decide whether I agree with their take on things, and that is important to me, especially in something so essential as the nature of the deities.

 The second chapter is “The Dagda in Mythology.” Here they explore where The Dagda figures most prominently in the different texts. As they work through these, his personality and what he may represent to the devotee become more and more clearly defined, leading to an overall sense of what we know of him. This chapter also has an interesting reassessment of the Samhain sex tryst between The Dagda and The Morrigan.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Brigit as a Constant Companion - Video Available


I have just uploaded the full video of a guided contemplation I led in September as a belated part of Land, Sea, Sky Travel's Brigid: A Friend for Our Times conference. It took three attempts and several months but we finally managed it, and with one wee glitch it went off fine this time. (I left my mic off for a while, but luckily it was in the transition into the contemplation proper, so no harm done. 

Unfortunately, Blogger wouldn't accept it as it was too long, but I was able to upload it on my Facebook Page, Brigit's Portal. Here is the direct link to Brigit as a Constant Companion. It is an immersion, nearly eighty minutes long, so set some time aside to really allow yourself to move into that quiet, contemplative space.

Blessings of Brigit on you.


Image: "Moštanica Monastery, chapel for lighting candles. Municipality of Kozarska Dubica, Republika Srpska" by Petar Milošević. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

The Accidental Cover Reveal - A Brigit of Ireland Devotional - Sun Among Stars

I inadvertently revealed the cover of my upcoming book on Facebook a few days ago, so I may as well include you blogsters in the premature revelation. (I had planned to leave it until pre-ordering was secure. At the moment you can sometimes pre-order and sometimes not.)


Wednesday, November 04, 2020

New Header After Sixteen Years!

I have been learning Canva recently, and decided to take on designing a new header. I was happy enough with the old one, except that there was no way to format the title in the way I wanted it. It was always glued annoyingly close to the edge of the image. Well, here is a brand new one, which employed a lot of patience as I tried to find the right photo, and as I fiddled with colour until I was satisfied. The image is one of mine, of my shift candle in front of a Saint Brigit holy card. It's a pretty simple design, but the more complicated one I made first just felt a touch uncomfortable with the busy blog wallpaper.

So, voila! I hope you enjoy it.