Tonight I begin my first shift as a flamekeeper with Ord Brighideach, an international Brigidene order dedicated to serving Brighid. For me, it is a deepening path of devotion. She continues to call me as goddess, yet in my Christian fringes she is still there as saint. She is Healing, Fire, and Awen. She is not a cosy goddess, but burns us into the authentic being we are created to be. I have walked with her since my baptism in St Ffraid’s Church, Treaddur Bay (Ffraid is the Welsh for Brighid), through my Carmelite profession at Imbolc many years ago, and she calls me in my inner journeying.
I dedicate myself anew to her this sundown, the beginning of the Celtic day.
May I carry Her Healing into the world. May I carry her Flame out into the world. May I carry her Inspiration, her Awen, out into the world. May I serve Her in whatever ways she calls me to.
For those interested in the path of the flamekeeper, the Ord can be found here online http://www.ordbrighideach.org/raven/
My spirituality and religious allegiances have wavered and evolved through the decades. Often this has bothered me. I feel as though I should settle for one path, whether broadly Pagan, Christian, or any other path. Yet I cant.
Christ calls me. Brighid calls me. The path of the Sufi, the mystical paths of Islam, call me. The way of the Druid calls me. Other Gods and Goddesses call to me.
Now I have a different light on this. It is the light shed by a deeper understanding of the various parts within, parts previously completely dissociated by trauma who are now emerging from the shadows. They have their trauma stories to tell. They also have their own religious/spiritual paths.
To force myself into one path is to deny the myriad paths formed within at different times. To deny those parts of me their own unique voice, their own unique relationship with the Divine. In a sense, to follow one path, worship one deity, is to deny the other parts of me their existence. They have been ignored by me for decades. A way of survival maybe, but to the detriment of the whole.
Dissociation is a brilliant survival tool. A survival tool of the whole being, body, mind and soul. When those parts come together a beautiful – albeit highly complex – mosaic is formed. I will honour myself. I will honour the mosaic of deities that have made themselves known to me.
My harvesting of this essence tonight was blessed with two strong images.
Firstly the Cailleach came to me, broom in hand. Broom to cleanse, to sweep away all that no longer serves me. All that is no longer helpful in my life. You do not argue with Her. She is strong, dark, powerful – yet not to be feared if you are brave enough to embrace her. In the darkest depths of winter she will cleanse with her power, sweep away all that stagnates within. In the spring, when Brighid returns, broom will be there in all her lightness to carry us forward into spring.
The second sensing I had was that the broom she showed me was made up of all the individual reeds of my dissociated parts, fragmented through trauma, yet integrated by the power of the Cailleach. United they serve a purpose. Right now I do not know what she has planned, but there is true hope in this image.
As we are pulled forwards into the depths of winter, may the strength of the Cailleach and the cleansing of Ngetal bring you blessings of hope.
Harvesting the essence from my Muin Ogham ahead of the New Moon tonight I was overwhelmed by her complexity.
Muin can be Vine or Bramble/Blackberry. In Celtic Reiki she is Bramble, and that is how I met her as she rambled at great speed through me. Bramble weaves connections, aids learning.
She is also a great Protector. Muin offers her sweet berries to those you meet who are benign. To less benign people around you, she offers her thorns as protection. My harvesting today felt chaotic. I sense she may take her time in coming through with clarity.
To all who need her protection yet also her sweetness, I send Ogham-Muin out to you now.
Discarded, the Jack Sticks of my youth
Amidst cobwebs of my mind
Glimpsed dimply through the mist
They lie broken
Waiting to be seen, acknowledged
Splinters of who I am
They reach out from the depths
Ever clearer through the lifting fog
Quert – Apple. The gentle, graceful loving energy harvested at the last New Moon. Living with her since then she has challenged me, not quite settled with me. She is too gentle.
Brighid stepped in the other day. She too is love. Not always graceful – but she showed me love is strong. Love is not sentimental slosh. Love can be deeply fiery, as is her love. Not a love that pussy-foots around us, but a love which challenges, digs out new spaces for Her within.
Fire is also Light, blazing its way through our darkeness. As Brighid gives way to the Cailleach Her Light will still shine on through the winter.
The Cailleach has been calling me these past few days.
Her time is approaching. The Hag of the Hills, the Highlands.
She is a Dark Goddess, the one who rules the winter. We meet her at Samhain, not far away now.
She is the ruler of winter, and her sister Brighid the ruler of the lighter spring and summer days, yet they come to me as two faces of the One.
Brighid came to me first in a deeply personal way as the Scar-Faced One, showing me first Her ugly, scarred side before transforming into a light, beautiful faced Goddess. The Dark Scarred One, whether we call her Cailleach or Brighid, is not to be feared. She will lead us through the darkening days of autumn and on through winter, before showing us her Light in the spring.
Quert (Apple) is traditionally about love, healing, cleansing, the underworld. Some of these came through as I harvested the essence from my Quert Ogham stave tonight. She came to me with a beautiful lightness and grace, dancing through my body. I could smell her, sense her sweet juice washing me inside and out.
Rather than taking me to the underworld, she took me back in time to younger me – a me in shame, feeeling defiled by years of sexual abuse. Her cleansing reached back in time – unprocessed trauma memories continue to live within us until they are processed, placed in the past where they belong. She is a gentle yet powerful ally.
I send her out now as a blessing to all who particularly need her cleansing from shame.