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It makes me sad to acknowledge it has been over a year since I have updated this site. To those who have continued to follow and await more posts – my sincere apologies. I have been absent due to several complicated issues, including dislocation and illness. 

In fact, I have a few half-written posts that I have yet to publish, and photos from my trip to Scotland to upload. I will do my best to get to these soon. 

I have been considering broadening the scope of this blog to incorporate other related subjects such as practical and theoretical polytheism, issues surrounding syncretism, Gaelic inspired folk magic and general thoughts on religious experience. 

While this blog was founded initially to share research and experience regarding Bride herself, due to the limited nature of sources I often feel restricted as to what I can legitimately post. Likewise, my personal experiences are often too private to share here.

Alternatively I could start a secondary blog for mixed musings, and leave this one solely devoted to Bride. Any opinions or comments are appreciated.

Kilmeny

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.

To-day is the Day of Bride,
The serpent shall come from his hole,
I will not molest the serpent,
And the serpent will not molest me.

The serpent will come from the hole
On the brown day of Bride,
Though there should be three feet of snow
On the flat surface of the ground.

Moonlight shining on the Quickening Tree, the heat and wax of sacred candles, the milk of ewes, Brigid’s blackberry, the sting of keening wind, and the last flutter of the Cailleach’s winter snow.

Black Pheonix Alchemy Lab, makers of esoteric perfumes, have released a special perfume oil in honour of Bride. Although I have no affiliation with the company, I can recommend their products from experience, and mention also that as they are all natural oils, can be burnt in a diffuser as an offering or a room scent.

It is always interesting to decipher their descriptions for the notes used. The Quickening tree is Rowan, popularly held to be Bride’s wood (although I’ve not found any original sources) and certainly sacred to the Gaelic Scots. Beeswax candles were blessed for Candlemas, and ewes milk is the possible origin of the term ‘Imbolc.’ Blackberry though? I wonder where they got that one from. I have never heard of Bride being associated with Blackberries, even in neo-pagan sources. The wind and snow sounds lovely, and almost hinting at Latha na Caillich.

Artwork belongs to Julie Dillon. You can find the perfume oil here.

Reul-iuil is the Gàidhlig (Scots Gaelic) name for the North Star, Polaris, which for centuries has guided sailors and travellers abroad and home again.  Reul-iuil Bride is the star worn by the Goddess or Saint Bride, over her heart.  When the Brideog (Bride-doll) is made, a small ornament, shell or rock crystal is put in this place, and is called the star of little Bride.

The image of Bride as the guiding star, who lights the darkness and shows us the way with her eternal flame is an image which has become so dear to me that I decided it a fitting name for this small shrine-journal, which I hope to fill with little tributes to her, pieces of lore and poetry.

My personal connection to Bride has quite recently begun, but I feel so strongly about her that I wanted to find a way to contribute something to others who have also felt her call and the warmth of her flame. There are already some wonderful sites available, with well researched and referenced articles, on Bride (also called; Brigid, Brigit, Brighid.. I use the Scottish variant by personal preference) and I have placed links to a few of these in the side bar to the left.

What this site will be, I can not yet say, but I hope to express a more personal story of my own connection to Bride. My religious path is Polytheistic/Animistic, with an inclination towards Scottish folk practice. I have a great respect for proper historical research and referencing and the attempts of Celtic Reconstructionism, and something of an allergy to Neopagan and Wiccan themes. That said, much of what is found on this site is likely to be UPG, which I value equally without expecting others to recognise.

As Bride presides over the hearth and the heart-flame of the house, may she welcome you to mine, where I hope you will find even a glimpse of the light and warmth she offers.

References:  Carmina Gadelica,

Kilmeny

Bonnie Kilmeny gaed up the glen;
But it wasna to meet Duneira's men,
Nor the rosy monk of the isle to see,
For Kilmeny was pure as pure could be.
It was only to hear the yorlin sing,
And pu' the cress-flower round the spring;
The scarlet hypp and the hindberrye,
And the nut that hung frae the hazel tree;

Kilmeny, James Hogg