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Posts Tagged ‘Brighid’

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared any of my arts and crafts.  Creativity is a large part of my Druidism, especially as a devotee of Brighid.  Constantly improving my skills, and making items to help my family and friends, gives me a very fulfilled feeling. As I learn old arts, especially, it helps me feel closer to my ancestors.

I recently finished knitting my first pair of socks.  This is a huge achievement for me.  I’ve been working towards this for years.  I started and stopped many times. (Perseverance is a virtue, after all!) Double-pointed needles felt intimidating and complicated, so I tried other options…  Nothing was working for me.  Finally, I found a good youtube video about making simple socks with double-pointed needles.  It wasn’t that bad at all!  Everything, including that evasive heel-turning, suddenly makes sense.  I’m definitely the type of learner who needs demonstrations.

The finished socks aren’t much to look at.  I didn’t use any fancy stitches, and I could improve the toes… They’re bulky, and more accurately called “slipper socks.”  But by gosh, they are socks with cuffs and actual heels! I can’t wait to get smaller needles and finer yarn to make socks I can actually wear with my shoes.

My first pair of knitted socks. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2015.

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As part of my devotional, I meditated. I started with a Two Powers, visualizing myself at my inner grove. I felt at peace, and enjoyed feeling the sun on my face. Eventually, images of myself making candles appeared. I’ve been feeling compelled to try that recently.

My mind moved to something that has been bothering me recently – a few days ago my words failed me. It’s like my mind fell into a puddle for a moment, and the wrong words came out. I felt so stupid, especially as this was at a work meeting and I’m supposed to be well spoken in my field. Nobody said anything, but I stressed about it – and continue to. I hate the possibility that others might think I’m stupid, or might question my abilities. Mostly, I hate feeling that eloquence failed me. It’s as if I let Brighid down in some way, as she is a Goddess who favors the bards. I usually pray to her before rituals or public speaking situations, and usually, as my husband puts it, my tongue “drips with honey.” However, situations like this often overshadow any successes I may have experienced. I find myself wishing I didn’t stumble over my words, that I were wittier, that I were more intelligent. I guess I’m having a moment of inadequacy.

During my meditation, as I dwelled on these worries, Brighid appeared to me. She reminded me that I’m still young, that people make mistakes, and that I need to learn from it but move on. She gave me a wooden disk with the ogham luis – rowan – on it. After I finished my meditation and devotional, I delved into information on luis to verify and add to my understanding of it. It’s association with fire and Brighid seem incredibly specific to the situation. I need to work more with that energy, and allow myself to shine as the symbol encourages. There is also the obvious protective element of rowan. Brighid has my back, and perhaps I shouldn’t allow myself to feel so vulnerable due to a little verbal misstep. Those things happen. I need to pick myself up, learn from my mistakes, and allow my inner flame to shine on!

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Small Brighid Doll by Grey Catsidhe, 2015.

Although I don’t have much time to craft these days, I gleefully signed up for the ADF Artisan Guild Imbolc exchange. The group decided that everyone should make something small, and we decided on the amount of time it should take and the general cost.  I was excited enough to participate and do a little sewing, but was absolutely over the moon when I saw that my partner was my dear friend, R!  She and I got back to my Utica days, when I was first exploring Paganism.  We bonded over an interest in ADF, and she encouraged me to make the drive to Muin Mound in Syracuse.  Life took us to different corners of NY, and we don’t get to see each other as often as we used to, but we still bond over our shared interests and meet up whenever we can.

R indicated that, despite her Norse hearth culture, she has an interest in Brighid.  I decided to make her a small Brighid doll, since the exchange was for Imbolc.  I repurposed a blue wool sweater by felting it, and used a little for Brighid’s body. Folk art inspired me to leave the face blank.  I usually love painting faces on my dolls, but I really think my decision works for this small doll.  It gives her a very solemn look, and the individual regarding the doll will inherently known how they feel she should look.

R’s Fairy Cottage, 2015

In exchange, R surprised me with this adorable fairy cottage made with polymer clay and a repurposed jar.  I love all the whimsical details – right down to the woodgrain on the door! There are even little windows on each side, and Bee loves to peer in.  It has be excited for spring with all the pink flowers!

Funnily enough, we actually were able to meet up a couple weeks after receiving our gifts.  Her girlfriend happened to have a hockey tournament in the area, so we met for lunch.  It felt wonderful to reconnect.  Hoping to do more of that come the warmer weather!

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Gratitude Towards the Sun

While I do a lot of solar-related reflection around the Winter and Summer Solstices, there’s nothing like a painfully cold day to bring the sun’s presence to our attention.  Although we were in the negatives today, there were very few clouds.  The sun shined brightly, adding a spring to my insulated step.  Every time I walked by or looked out a window at work, I was struck by the intense warmth the sun was projecting through the glass. Each time I passed through that warmth and light felt like a moment of deep communion with the Kindreds.  I often found myself taking the time to stop and say a short prayer of gratitude in whispered tones or in my head.

As we approach Imbolc, it seems like an appropriate time to contemplate the blessings of light and warmth.  My own UPG has brought me to view the sun as a symbol for Brighid’s warmth.  It is like her sacred fire, but glowing in the sky.  The promise of the sun’s renewed vigor is coming to fruition, and now we enjoy the increasing light and pray for more days like today – when warmth gives us comfort and hope.

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My dragon pumpkin. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2014.

I had a wonderful Samhain with loved ones. My husband and I carved pumpkins, with the help of Bee (who enjoyed scooping out seeds and guts). I used some of the insides to make pumpkin orzo for dinner the day of. My sister and niece visited and, since the little ones can walk, we took them trick-or-treating to a few nearby homes in my neighborhood. I don’t think indulging in a few sweets from time to time is a bad thing, so I let Bee nibble some chocolate. We returned to our own home to hand out treats to other children – candy, pretzels, and stickers. I was really happy to share this old tradition with my daughter.

Before dinner, I said a prayer to our Ancestors and made an offering of food to them, placing it on our shrine. We shared stories of the Ancestors and enjoyed each other’s company.

I felt bad that I completely forgot about keeping my flame to Brighid… I was really distracted by entertaining my family and preparing for our Samhain ritual the next day. I did make an offering to Brighid at the ritual, though… It’s always difficult when my flamekeeping shift falls on a High Day.  I haven’t felt any anger from Brighid; she’s pretty forgiving and I do make offerings to her frequently.  I’m trying my best, after all!  I’m sure she’s aware of my resolve to do a better job next time.

The ritual with Northern Rivers went really well. It was cold and even a little rainy, but we went outside and circled a cozy bonfire.  I enjoyed time with my grovies, making new friends, and honoring our Ancestors.  Our bonds grow stronger and stronger!  We’re hoping to work on our bylaws and turn into a fully-fledged grove soon!

Weretoad’s dapper skull jack-o-lantern. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2014.

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Prayer to Brighid over Tea

I’ve written before about how I often give Brighid an offering of tea at some point during the day.  This has become especially common for me to do when engaging in an artistic pursuit.  Lately, I’ve been offering spicy herbs infused in fresh brewed hot water.  As I drop the herbs in her teacup, I say the following prayer I wrote:

Lady Brighid,
Goddess of the sacred fire, well, and oak,
I give this offering to you in thanks for your many blessings.
In the name of the sacred fire, I thank you for your inspiration.
In the name of the sacred well, I thank you for your healing.
In the name of the sacred oak, I thank you for your protection.
Lady Brighid, may you know my love, my gratitude, and my reverence.
May I bring honor to you in all I say and do.
Lady Brighid, I thank you!

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Brighid crosses and mini mantles made by Northern Rivers Protogrove at our recent Imbolc ritual. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2014.

As a pre-ritual workshop this Imbolc, Northern Rivers Protogrove made Brighid crosses and, also, mini Brighid mantles.  In Ireland, it’s traditional to put out a bit of cloth (the brat or Brighid’s mantle), on Imbolc eve for it is believed that Brighid is visiting.  She imbues her blessings upon the cloth and thus it becomes a healing tool.  I thought it would be fun to make some “mini mantles” as a pre-ritual craft along with the crosses.  Furthermore, although we didn’t have any children besides Bee at this celebration, I came up with the activity specifically with kids in mind.

Materials:

fabric (we used a poly-cotton blend because that’s what I had, but pure cotton or linen would work well too)
fabric markers (preferably of a non-toxic nature for the kiddos involved)*
scissors or a rotary cutter
an iron
cutting board (optional)
a square ruler (optional)

I decided that white fabric would be best since people would be drawing on them with a variety of colors.  Ahead of time, I ironed the fabric so that it would be flat and ready for cutting.  Then I dug out my handy quilting tools.  I used a 1×5″ omnigrid ruler to make perfect little squares, but you needn’t be a perfectionist or create such small pieces.  I thought the size would be nice for little hands, but the completely adult group was just as happy with them!

Everyone shared fabric markers and drew whatever they felt was appropriate for Brighid, Imbolc, their spiritual path, and healing in general.  There were many flames and representations of water.  Several people tried their hand at triquetras too. The workshop went well and everyone seemed to enjoy it.  Best of all, it’s an activity young and old can engage in with minimal mess!

Holda working on her mini mantle. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2014.

* Prior to putting outside, treat the fabric according to the directions of your fabric markers. Most suggest ironing and washing to set. When I put my mantles out, I tie them to tough plants who give me permission, or under a rock.

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