Wednesday, February 6, 2013
The blessing of the Rose Queen : a shrine
to the power and Grace of the Blessed Mother;
to the mystery of the angelic realms
and the divine feminine
and the resurrection of the feminine mysteries.
An old legend tells that at the time of the winter solstice, all of those souls, who will incarnate in the coming year, draw close to the Earth.
The Divine Mother then takes a single petal from the Great Rose of Life and
places it in the heart of each of those souls who will be born.
. As that soul then is born and grows throughout its life
and awakens its true self, that single petal will blossom in the heart of the individual,
becoming a living Rose of Life that will bless the world.
You can do the Blessing of the Rose Queen prayers as a way
of calling upon Mary of the Divine Feminine to assist with
a special request. It is not something to be used for ordinary
things, but for those special times in our life when what we are
doing just doesn't seem to be enough - when we really
Perform these prayers for thirty days in a row.
Visualize what it is that you wish in as much clear detail
as possible. Write it down, so that the words are clear
and distinct, with as little room for misinterpretation as possible.
Perform in during a quiet and special time in your day :
Oh most beautiful and gracious Rose Queen,
who came down to Earth to do good and who never
left a request unanswered, grant me the rose
Then follow this with a Hail Mary and repeat
for a total of three times.
Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with thee
Blessed art thou among women
and Blessed is the fruit of thy womb
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
oh Rose Queen
Bestow your Blessing upon us
Now and Forever
Friday, February 1, 2013
A beacon of light in the darkness.
Winds swirling, moving white light blending with white cloth.
A smile, a halo, hair or light?
She is calling, walking ahead, leading, guiding, gently shining
I follow, one foot forward, then another,
tentatively, unsure, until finally,
breaking out in a run,
feet secure, heart pounding,
following Her. - Hettienne - 2004
The year after I found Mary's Well in
Glastonbury, I attended the International Goddess Conference in Glastonbury - the first of many to follow. That year the focus was on Bridie or Brigid and her swan.
If you have been following the story, you will know that Hestea/Vesta led me to St Brigit and Michael's Tower in Glastonbury.
I stayed in the same bed n breakfast as before and this time I shared the space with Sister Mary McAleese, a Brigidine nun from Kildare!
From her I learnt that Brigit is also known as Brede or Mary of the Gael! You may remember my mention of the one book that made such an incredible impact on my life. I read 'In this House of Brede' by Rumer Godden when I was fourteen - I still own that copy. I have given many books away since, but never that one. I could not explain to you why the book was so important, other than that I always felt that there was a story behind the words that only I could 'see'.
When those nuns told me that Brede was St Brigit, the key fitted the door and the following year I travelled to Kildare, Ireland to the sanctuary of St Brigit, Mary of the Gael.
The nuns are Brigidine nuns, living in Kildare in Ireland. They are part of a community known as Solas Brihde, devoted to the all-encompassing Celtic St Brigit : saint, poetess, protector and healer.
They have restored the original Brigit sacred pilgrimage site along with a small publication, guiding pilgrims in the power and symbolism of the pilgrimage to Brigit.
The original site dedicated to Brigit, Celtic Goddess, is still to be seen in the grounds of the Catholic Church
erected on the same site.
This shrine, near Kildare, was located near an ancient Oak that was considered to be sacred by the Druids, so sacred in fact that no one was allowed to bring a weapon there.
The shrine is believed to have been an ancient college of priestesses who were committed to thirty years of service, after which they were free to leave and marry.
During their first ten years they received training, the next ten were spent tending the sacred wells, groves and hills of the goddess Brigid, and the last decade was spent in teaching others.
Nineteen priestesses were assigned to tend the perpetual flame of the sacred fire of Brigid. Each was assigned to keep the flames alive for one day. On the twentieth day, the goddess Brigid herself kept the fire burning brightly.
The goddess Brigid was also revered as the Irish goddess of poetry and song. Known for her hospitality to poets, musicians, and scholars, she is known as the Irish muse of poetry.
The Feast Day of Brigid, known as Imbolc, is celebrated at the start of February, midway through the winter. Like the goddess herself, it is meant to give us hope, to remind us that spring is on its way.
The lessons of this complex and widely beloved goddess are many.
The Celtic goddess Brigid lends us her creativity and inspiration, but also reminds us to keep our traditions alive and whole. These are gifts that can sustain us through any circumstance.
Her fire is the spark of life. - taken from local literature.
Lighting the Perpetual Flame – A Brief history
A sacred fire burned in Kildare reaching back into pre-Christian times. Scholars suggest that priestesses used to gather on the hill of Kildare to tend their ritual fires while invoking a goddess named Brigid to protect their herds and to provide a fruitful harvest.
When St. Brigid built her monastery and church in Kildare she continued the custom of keeping the fire alight. For her and her nuns the fire represented the new light of Christianity, which reached our shores early in the fifth century.
Gerald of Wales (Giraldus Cambrensis) a Welsh Chronicler, visited Kildare in the twelfth century, he reported that the fire of St. Brigid was still burning in Kildare and that it was being tended by nuns of St. Brigid. Some historians record that a few attempts were made to have the fire extinguished but without success. It survived possibly up to the suppression of the monasteries in the sixteenth century.
The sacred fire/flame was re-lit in 1993, in the Market Square, Kildare, by Mary Teresa Cullen, the then leader of the Brigidine Sisters, at the opening of a justice and peace conference. The conference, entitled “Brigid: Prophetess, Earthwoman, Peacemaker” was organised by Afri, (Action from Ireland), a justice, peace and human rights organisation, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of St. Brigid’s Peace Cross Project. Since then, the Brigidine Sisters in Kildare have tended the flame in their Centre, Solas Bhride.
Kildare County Council commissioned a sculpture to house the flame in Kildare Town Square in 2005. The piece comprises a twisted column, which flourishes at the top into large-scale oak leaves, nestled into which there is a bronze, acorn cup holding the flame. The use of oak leaves symbolises both the Christian beliefs of St. Brigid and the earlier Druidic worship of the trees. Of course, the oak is also the namesake of Kildare, Cill Dara, Church of the Oak.
President Mary McAleese presided at the lighting of the Perpetual Flame in the Town Square on Feb.1st St. Brigid’s Day 2006. The flame was lit from the flame tended by the Brigidine Sisters in Solas Bhride. The flame burns as a beacon of hope, justice and peace for our country and our world. We still tend the flame in Solas Bhride. - extracted from www.solasbrihde.ie
I would like to quote from Riane Eisler's Sacred Pleasure, Sex, Myth and the Politics - New Paths to Power and Love :
From the Sacred Marriage of the Goddess to Male Brides of God. In conformity with male dominator systems' requirements, this tenet that woman is inferior to man pervades many mystical writings, both Eastern and Western. ...inner contradictions also characterize most Judeo-Christian mystical writings. For in these monotheistic religions the female is deprived of all divine power, which is presented exclusively in male form. Yet, even despite such radical remything, there are still in the Bible many traces of both the Goddess and her sacred marriage, confirming the archeological evidence that Goddess worship (and with this sacral sex) continued to flourish in Canaan. For instance, Hebrew prophets are cosntantly exhorting their people against backsliding to the worship of the Queen of Heaven, railing against the 'whore of Babylon' and the sinful 'daughters of Zion'. The Christian veneration of the Virgin Mary is a directly traceable to the ancient worship of the Goddess. And so also are a number of well-known Catholic saints, as it is to the Church's co-option of earlier pagan deities that many Christian saints owe their origins. A well-documented example is the famous Irish Saint Brigit, who owed her great popularity to the fact that she was once the powerful Irish Goddess Brigit.
Bridgit, Mary of the Gael, Goddess and Saint of Poetry, Crafts, Healing and Fire : Inpiration of poets, artists and artisans.
Brighid, excellent woman,
May the fiery, bright sun
Take us to the lasting kingdom.
Song of the Virgins of KildareSt. Brigid's church in Kildare was built on a site sacred to Brigid. Where Her eternal flame had once been tended by 19 priestesses, 19 nuns took it in turn to each tend the flame for a day and a night. On the 20th day, the Goddess (or the saint) tended the flame herself.
February 2 is one of the great cross-quarter days which make up the wheel of the year. In the Northern Hemisphere It falls midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox and in many traditions is considered the beginning of spring and in the Southern Hemisphere it is the beginning of autumn.
In Western Europe, this was the time for preparing the fields for the first planting. This was an important day for grain growing communities who depended on the crops of the earth mother. This is the time of year, when the ground is first awakened and the seed placed in the belly of the earth. The fields were purified and offerings were made to the goddess.
This medieval Anglo-Saxon plowing prayer was said by the farmer while cutting the first furrow.
Whole be thou Earth
Mother of men.
In the lap of God,
Be thous as-growing.
Be filled with fodder
For fare-need of men.
The farmer then took a loaf of bread, kneaded it with milk and holy water and laid it under the first furrow, saying:
Acre full fed,
Bring forth fodder for men!
And the God who wrought the ground,
Grant us the gifts of growing,
That the corn, all the corn,
may come unto our need.
February 2 is also Imbolc, and Candlemas, the holy day of Brighid, Goddess and Saint, La Feile Bride. (pronounced Breede)
|The Sacred Well and Shrine at Kildare|
Brighid is a Goddess of many names. In Ireland She is called Brigid, Brigit, Brighid, Brid. In Scotland She is called Bhrighde, Bride Breo-Saighit, Brede. The Welsh call Her Ffraid and the French call her Brigandu.
She is called Brigantia by the Northern English and Bridget in Sweden. Her name is pronounced Brighid or Bree-id. Some have said that Her name may have come from the word Brihati, which means "high" or "exalted one" in Sanskrit. Her name in Gaelic means "fire tipped, exalted one, high one."
Imbolc,also called Oimelc ['ewe's milk'] marked the first stirrings of spring when young sheep were born, and when ewes came into milk. On this day, the first of the Celtic spring, Brigid was said to use her white wand to "breathe life into the mouth of the dead winter", meaning the white fire of the sun awakened the land.
An old poem stated; "Today is the day of Bride, The Serpent shall come from the hole." An effigy of the serpent was often honoured in the ceremonies of this day, making it clear that Brighid had aspects as a serpent goddess. As the serpent sloughed its old skin and was renewed, so the land shook off winter to emerge restored; the snake symbolised the cycle of life. When Brighid's cult was suppressed, then St Patrick had indeed banished the snakes [Pagans] from Ireland. However, Brighid's popularity was so great that the church transformed her into a saint, allegedly the midwife of Christ and the daughter of a Druid who was converted to Christianity by St. Patrick, and who went on to found the Abbey of Kildare.
Her festival became Candlemas when church candles were blessed.
Brighid was invited into the home by the woman of the house, in the form of a doll or corn dolly dressed in maiden white. Oracles were taken from the ashes of the hearth fire, which people examined for a sign that Brighid had visited, i.e. a mark that looked like a swan's footprint. If found, it was considered a lucky omen. The swan was an ancient attribute of the goddess Brighid. Many Irish homes still have a Brighid's cross hung up somewhere. This was originally a solar symbol.
A small community of Brigidine nuns are keeping the sacred light of Brigit burning at Solas Brihde in Kildare. I spent a week in Kildare, walking the pilgrimage of Bridgit, visiting her sacred well
|My painting of Bridgit|
A small community of Brigidine nuns are keeping the sacred light of Brigit burning at Solas Brihde in Kildare. I spent a week in Kildare, walking the pilgrimage of Bridgit, visiting her sacred well
Her favourite oak tree
a candle blessing at one of the stations of the Brigid walk
prayed at the Abbey of Brede
Weaving the St Bridgit cross is traditional on this day.
I found this step be step instruction on the site of the Brigidine sisters :
1. Take the first rush/reed and hold it vertically.
2. Fold a second rush/reed in half at the mid point of the first.
3. Take a third and fold it around the second parallel to the first. This will now form a T-shaped piece, with one arm having one strand, the second having two and the third having three.
4. Fold the fourth around the third to form a cross.
5. Fold a fifth around the fourth, parallel to the single strand. Make sure you hold the centre tight!
6. Continue folding each reed around the previous reeds.
7. Work in a circular way until you have created enough of a woven centre. When your centre is as large as you want, hold in the reeds tightly so that the centre is tight and will hold the cross without any difficulty.
8. Tie the end of each arm carefully and trim ends.
If you would like to read more about my pilgrimage to Brigid, Mary of the Gael and her presence in Glastonbury, please go here : http://pathofdivinelove.blogspot.com/2011/04/brigidbrigitbridebrede-mary-of-gael.html
|Carving of Bridgit milking a cow - on Tower of Michael,|
the Tor, Glastonbury
A blessed La Feile Bride to you!!
Life Itself taught me that there is no separation between human and divine; that there is no separation between within and without, above and below.
It is only our minds and our belief systems (which we have been conditioned into over the ages) that make us believe otherwise. And our minds are incredibly powerful and we will see what we believe to be there. Thus, it can be very challenging and confusing at times, when this exact statement is used against you and you are taught that this also applies to the spiritual life and journey.
There is only one way to really Know and that is through personal direct experience. Until you experience directly, you will always follow the mind and its many theories and concepts. And even then, even after a direct experience, it still takes time and many changes to embody That which you have come to know. So all in all, it requires patience and commitment - every second of every day - and even your deepest Knowing will continually be challenged and opposed in order for you to expand and to embrace evolution of yourself.
Many other amazing incidents happened in Italy. All of those served to create my foundation in my own personal truth and from that trip onwards, life did change drastically. However, the challenges also became bigger and more subtle and the Trickster became much more devious!
I quickly learned that spirituality does not mean angels floating on clouds in heaven and nor does inner peace mean stagnant waters within. Being awake in your life is truly an awesome thing, in other words, something that inspires awe and therefore breaks down the status quo.
On my return I entered my sabbatical - my self-made entry into a life of contemplation. And then the depression assailed me. A deep dank darkness that I could not get rid of. I used a strict routine to help me cope with these unspoken and unspeakable feelings. My dreams were filled with visions and images, symbols and beings. I wrote these down and I journalled and painted the unfolding. I wrote poems and for each of my paintings, but it was as if everything conspired to drag me down into the depths of my own unconscious.
I started Jungian therapy and this led me to explore many other avenues, other than the alternative modalities and therapies. Eventually I found myself in the embrace of a small Roman Catholic community of healers - ex-nuns and ex-monks - who had embraced the alternative into their tradition. During this time I also experienced the old paralysis of my lower back and hip (more about this later). Also during this time, I experienced incredible dizziness and vertigo, even nausea at times and I became aware of an insistent sound in my ear. There was nothing wrong with my ear - I would at times sit and listen to the interesting sounds in my ear - they changed without warning and I noticed that when I meditated, I could focus on the sound to take me deeper into the vastness of the inner world.
All these physical and emotional changes and challenges are indeed part of the awakening and unfolding of the kundalini. And as I said previously, that which I knew about kundalini was not enough to explain this to me. Nor was I ever attracted to find out more about kundalini. At that stage I had not connected the dots yet!
Through the loving healing and support of this community, I started the practise of contemplation and meditation contained in the Cloud of Unknowing. The Book of Wisdom in the Catholic Bible became my mainstay: 'wisdom is brilliant, she never fades, by those who love her, she is readily seen, by those who seek her, she is readily found, She anticipates those who desire her by making herself known first, meditating on her is understanding in its perfect form, and anyone keeping awake for her will soon be free from care'.
I studied Sophian Theology and the many meanings of Mary. Raised as a Calvinist Protestant, this feminine approach, however slight as it is in the patriarchal religion, was like a breath of fresh air to me. I read every book ever written by Marion Woodman and the Jungian approach to individuation and the patriarchal just made so much sense to me. Very soon it became obvious to me that I suffered from the wound of the repressed feminine. You will see in my early writings, how strongly I felt about the patriarchal culture and the mechanisation of the feminine and how this has impacted and still continues to impact the lives of our souls.
During this time I was looking for something in an old storage cupboard and a calendar fell out. I perused through it and found an image and article on Vesta and Bridgid. I was mainly interested in the fire element and the beautiful images contained in the pages.
A few days later I was struck by an image on the counter of a book store. It was the front cover of a box of The Glastonbury Tarot. It had a striking painting on the box of the Tor and a structure on top. On the same day, I walked past another bookstore and a book in the window called me in. It was Glastonbury : Avalon of the Heart by Dion Fortune, which mainly called to me because of the cover of the book : a beautiful painting of the Tor and Tower seen through the walls of Glastonbury Abby. I bought the book, literally ran back to the first bookstore and bought the Glastonbury Tarot Deck as well.
And thus a magical part of my journey started. I discovered that the structure on top of the Tor (a man made mound) is the St Michael Tower. And I discovered that there are two images on either side of the arch of the Tower : one of St Michael and one of St Bridgid. Many other synchronicities followed and I felt called to travel to Glastonbury. During my last therapy session, the therapist said to me, 'may you in Glastonbury find the well that you are looking for'.
I will never forget my first sighting of the Tor - it took my breath away. The entire Tor had a very vivid but yet gentle pink aura. Great big balls of energy was clearly visible around Glastonbury and the energy radiated from the Tower. For the first few nights in Glastonbury I could not sleep at all and wheverever I walked in the landscape my mind was assailed with vivid memories. It also seemed as though the high energy in the area, kept the imprint of times past.
Glastonbury on its own is filled with wondrous tales and magic and it is a wonderful melting pot of all religions and traditions.
I spent hours and hours in the grounds of the old Abbey, lying on my back gazing at the incredible energy radiating from the Tor and Tower. In the town posters was up everywhere about a public performance that night forming part of the Goddess Conference. At this stage my knowledge of the goddess traditions was limited to myths and archetypes. I went to the musical performance and sat next to a very wise and experienced local dowser. He told me about the Michael and Mary leylines and this conversation made my hair stand on end.
The owner of the bed and breakfast at which we stayed was and still is a Priestess of the Lady of Avalon! So the bread crumbs was once again left for me all over the globe. Koko became my very good friend and was a co-presenter at the Goddess celebrations at my own Goddess Temple in 2008! (www.hertemple.co.za).
It was indeed exciting times for me - almost like reading a brand new book as a child, filled with magical characters and wondrous events that pop out at you! My one song to myself was, 'it is true, it is true'. That was the most eloquent way I could verbalise to myself the knowledge that my first and deepest knowing as a child, was indeed true, despite all that 'they', (the grown-ups I suppose) said. I never really stopped to analyse these thoughts; I treasured them to myself till they had seeded and became strong trees under which I could shelter.
Koko arranged a tour for myself of the local Michael and Mary sites as they appeared on the leylines in Glastonbury and Avebury.
Outside a tiny church dedicated to Mary I had my first truly numinous experience with Her. I stood outside the church, near the old well. The Mary leyline always followed the water and the wells and healers in ancient days lived on this line. Churches were later erected on these spots to harness the powerful energies. At this specific spot, the line flowed through two hillocks that looked exactly like two breasts, the breasts of Mary, according to the Avalon Temple priest that was our tour guide.
As I stood there, the wind, the hillocks and the light, all became one sound and one voice and one presence. It blew through me and I was the sound and the presence. Although I say 'voice' no words were spoken; it was more as though a knowing woke up in my brain which I afterwards interpreted as a voice. I knew this numinous experience to be the Presence of Mary, the divine Mother of All.
I felt very shaken after this experience and virtually out of my body. After this I lost interest in the rest of the tour including Stonehenge. I was no longer 'myself' and I just wanted to bask in this absolute feeling of infinity.
I had one day left in Glastonbury and I felt guided to a certain place in the ancient Abby. It was in a corner that I did not explore previously - I think there were too many people there at my previous visit and I preferred the lawns in the far off corners. And in this corner I found Mary's Well.
A meeting at the Well
Parched, dried out, desert
Stone on stone
Arid winds, white skeleton bones,
bleached by the sun
Her body shrunk,
Skin pulled tight,
Waiting by the well
Like Mary of old
She stares down the dark pit
Leaning forward, craning her neck
She smells the air
Hoping, yearning, longing
I need water
The cry sears through her heart
Burns her dry throat
The Siren Song of the Soul
Echoes and shakes
‘Pour Your eternal waters into me
Fill up my well
Oh my Lord
What have I done?
Hear my call
Echoing in my hollowed out bones’
She falls on her knees
Bone on stone
To meet at the Well.
A reposting from 2010