I have been working on some new articles for this blog, and researching the animals in Brigidine lore but have been unable to do a great deal of typing lately due to an injury. Today I just want to share something emotional, rather than academic.

In our culture we often expect instant gratification. We expect to see immediate results, and I think one of the hardest things to adjust to when approaching a new faith or a new spirit is that it takes time for you to really develop a connection with them, just as a friendship or relationship with another human takes time, or at least it should.

When I first found myself called to Bride, it was through a story. I am a writer, so stories are my bread and butter. Once I made this discovery and found myself fascinated with Her, I immediately set out to learn as much as I could, and to set up the most beautiful shrine I could make. I gave offerings and made Her central to my daily rituals. I currently say four to six prayers a day to Bride. Some mornings I wake up and the silly little part of me wants to turn on my computer and check my emails first, rather than taking the time to light Her candle and say my morning prayers, but I still do it, before anything else, even opening the curtains.

Gradually, over the past year and a quarter, I have been able to sense Her presence more and more. Certain things become clear to me, that no book could have told me, like the way she seems to prefer me to sing her praise than speak it. That I should invite her to bless my food whenever I light the stove, and thank her when I turn it off. That when I don’t bring her fresh flowers, or go a long time between offerings – it is noticed.

Around the beginning of February I joined a flame keeping order. It took me a year to get to that point, partially because I needed to find an order with a CR/Gaelic Polytheist focus, and partially because I take such a commitment very seriously. I did not intend to promise to do this, dedicate one day in twenty to Her, if didn’t feel I could keep it up. I’m glad I did because it has been amazingly rewarding and I’ve met some lovely dedicated people, but I’m also glad I waited because if I’d jumped right in and then failed, I would have felt the consequences.

Now, when I stand in front of my little hearth shrine, light the candle, say the words I’ve memorised from repetition, I do feel something. I feel a light and a warmth that can bring tears to my eyes if I am particularly sensitive that day. I stand in darkness, in the little circle of brightness cast by her flame and feel as if a mantle of pure light is wrapped around me. I’m not meditating or visualising this, It is a presence that I feel because I am there, and I have invited Bride in to my home with the best hospitality I can offer, and it is real. It has taken me a year to get to this point, and I know I still have so much to learn.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is; don’t jump in and expect to suddenly have miracles occur. Don’t lose heart when you try to connect with a Deity or your Ancestors and feel nothing. Don’t give up flame keeping because you had a dull shift or didn’t get what you’d hoped for from it. The most precious things in our spiritual life are those we work for, not those which are handed to us with an instruction booklet. You do not need to make big gestures or dedication rituals or buy expensive shrines to prove yourself to the Gods. What you need to do is turn up, again and again. Offer what you can, over and over. Say your prayers when you’re tired. Do your rituals when you can’t be bothered. Make your offerings when it feels pointless. Pay attention, and in time you will begin to really understand and experience their presence in your life. It takes time, but it’s worth it.

Advertisements