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.
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.
Today was the harvesting of Duir from my ogham stave, a couple of days late following the New Moon because of being away on a therapy course.
Duir, sacred to the druids, is a tree of immense strength. It is also a gateway tree, gateway to inner truth, inner knowledge. After attuning with the Celtic Reiki essence Schumann for rebalancing, I asked permission to harvest the essence of the Duir which gave my ogham being.
Immediately I sensed great heat from the ogham stave, and felt drawn to press it into my hara/dantien. It rested there for some time, a fire burning brightly but steadily.
Drawn into the fire, I passed through this oak fire and found myself at the sacred fire of Brighid – a warm welcome from Her, welcoming me home to Her. Resting a while, I sensed when it was time to leave. Her fire came back with me, a fire in my hara. Strength. Courage for the journey ahead.
Now I send this essence out to any who need. It is an essence of warm strength, of welcome from Brighid.
Yesterday I shared a powerful healing Sacred Meal with an Interfaith Minister friend of mine.
It was largely to share within ritual space some of my journey with emerging memories of MDSA as a child. To share healing. To place this trauma in the hands of the One who is my Source, the One to whom I will return, and the One who is my Light along the way.
We blessed each others bodies with salt water. Blessed my lovely Brighid statue, which I surrounded with my Northern Tamarisk beads and gems sacred to Brighid.
I shared my emerging memories in the form of a litany of grief: grief for the girl raped by her adoptive mother; grief for the girl who was made to experience oral sex at such a young age; grief for the girl who nearly died at her mothers hands; grief as well for a father unwittingly coerced into more covert sexual abuse.
These memories, written on a piece of paper, were placed along with my vows made into the hands of Brighid at Imbolc under her statue.
I am grateful for the sacred friendship offered. For a true Anam Cara. For the possibility of healing.