Thursday, February 11, 2016

Bernadette and the Waters of Aquarius

Today is the 158th anniversary of the first appearance of the Lady of Lourdes to Bernadette Soubirous, a 14 year old girl from the south of France.

A shining, beautiful lady appeared to Bernadette in a large, rocky, cave-like grotto beside the River Gave de Pau in 1858 on February 11th, a day that would have been the pagan feast of the Goddess Brigid (and the Catholic Candlemas) —which heralded the approach of Spring—by the old calendrical reckoning still used in areas of Europe. From Bernadette’s earliest descriptions of the Lady we learn that she was she dressed in white aside from her blue sash, and that she was very young. Bernadette referred to her as “petito damizela,” which means a petite young lady, and said that she looked to be about 12 years old.

The grotto was on the side of a massive ancient rock formation known as Massabielle, which means “ancient rock.” The word grotto is used because the cave was not very deep.

It should be noted that both caves and rivers are traditionally associated with the Goddess.

Garbed in a white gown with a blue sash and with golden roses on her bare feet, the Lady appeared to Bernadette a total of eighteen times, praying the rosary with her each time, and during one of the apparitions the Lady instructed her drink from the spring. Bernadette did not see a spring, so began to dig in grotto’s dry ground. After a few minutes the ground was muddy, and soon water came bubbling forth. The spring which Bernadette found today provides hundreds of gallons of healing water per day. At the end of the cycle of apparitions, after repeated requests for her name, the Lady said, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”

The Virgin Mary’s appearance in Lourdes was at a place that had previously been sacred to the Roman Underworld Goddess Proserpina, and quite likely to a native Underworld goddess before that. Proserpina is the Roman equivalent of the Greek Persephonethe maiden goddess and daughter of the Great Mother, taken by the Lord of the Underworld to be its queen and his bride; she is the Dark Goddess of the Underworld. In Latin the word Proserpina means something akin to “to emerge, to creep forth,” as germinating plants emerge to the sunny surface of the earth, and as hibernating snakes creep forth from their holes as the weather begins to warm. I am reminded that Proserpina’s Greek counterpart, Persephone, emerged from her Underworld realm in the Spring. 



Interestingly, there’s a Brigid’s Day rhyme from Scotland that says:
Early on Bride's morn
The serpent shall come from the hole,
I will not molest the serpent,
Nor will the serpent molest me.


Was this serpent a reference to the Underworld Goddess who emerged and brought in the warmth of Spring?

In addition, one cannot help but notice the similarity of the Lady of Lourdes to other apparitions recorded in folklore of the  “White Ladies” — young, beautiful, female spirits dressed in white, who often appeared near the caves and caverns of the Pyrenees, especially those near a water source such as a river or spring, and often the spring was known to be a healing spring.  The White Ladies usually sought interaction with passers-by, and it is interesting that the Lady of Lourdes requested the asthmatic, under-nourished Bernadette to drink and wash in the waters of the spring. Her request resulted in the discovery of this spring, perhaps long hidden in the rocky earth of Massabielle, which is now world famous as a healing spring.

The feast of Brigid is also known as Imbolc (“in the belly”) and Oimelc (“ewe’s milk’) and heralds the approach of the season of Spring, a time when a new cycle of life begins. Baby animals are born, and the first of the hardiest plants begin to poke through the cold soil and into the light.  In many of the legends Brigid is known as a milkmaid, and sometimes as the wet nurse and foster mother of the Christ child.

An astrological chart drawn for the day of the apparition shows that the Sun was in Aquarius—the Water Bearer—and the Moon was waning in sign of Capricorn, just a few degrees short of a new moon.

How fitting that the Lady of Lourdes appeared during the sign of Aquarius, by a river, and that by her intercession a spring of healing waters—long lost and buried under rubble—was unearthed. Healing waters, similar to the Waters of Life that Aquarius, the Water Bearer, pours down onto the thirsty-for-healing world.  To me this apparition was one of many signs that heralded the end of one World Age and the start of a new one.

(Some of the above is excerpted from my book, “Lady of the Sea: The Goddess Who Birth the New Age” Chapter 10)





Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Feast of Brigid

Artwork (c) Miranda Gray
 
The winter rains have come at last to the parched lands of California, and the earth is glad again.

Everything that was grey and brown has greened up. Dandelions are springing up everywhere and seem an especially vibrant green right now.

Dandelions are one of Brigid’s flowers, so this reminds me that her feast day is near at hand. The Midwinter-born light has increased; now is the time of the emergence of a new cycle of life — lambs are born and ewe’s milk flows; snopdrop flowers push through the snow and herald the Spring that is to come. Life is renewed, and it's time for a new start. And like groundhogs, badgers, and bears, it’s time for us to wake up, crawl out of the cave and look around — to see what the future might hold!

Here is a prayer to Brigid that I wrote many years ago.

Blessed Brigid
Blessed Brigid, Flame of Delight in the many worlds,
May the fires of your Sacred Hearth be rekindled.
May they burn brightly, their flames bridging the many worlds,
Bringing the star-power of the Heavens down to enliven
The stars that live deep within the heart of Mother Earth.

Grant us the gift of your brightness and warmth:
The fire that is inspiration.
Let us draw sustenance from your Well of Deep Peace,
That nourishes all of Life.

Enfold us in your mantle of protection and healing.
Guide us as we heal, and in our creative endeavors.
Grant us the inspiration that enables
The creation of True Beauty and Harmony.

Blessed One, Fair One,
This do we ask of you,
As we offer you the Inextinguishable Light
Of our love and homage.


Here is a lovely video to help you celebrate the day  —  La Fheile Brid

Blessings of Brigid to all! 
   


Labels:

Friday, May 01, 2015

The First of May




 





Guinevere a-Maying
   ~John Collier, artist








And now for some music of the season!

Sumer is Icumin in
    ( and a more modern rendition )


Now is the Month of Maying


Halantow


Padstow Day Song
   ( and more )

The Fiddler

The Lusty Month of May


A Happy and Blessed Beltane to all!







Labels:

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Blessed Brigid - the Golden Sparkling Flame



Today is the feast of the Brigid, the Holy Woman, whose name means High One, or Exalted One. She was said to be a protector of women in childbirth, and was associated with the welfare of livestock. Her festival, February 1st, is associated with the lambing season.
In the insular Celtic countries Spring began on this day, which was also referred to as Oimelc (ewe’s milk). The very next day, February 2nd, was the Christian feast of Candlemas, which was really the church’s observance of the much older feast of Imbolc/ Oimelc/Brigid—a feast of fire and light at a time when the dark of winter is giving way to the light of spring. The baby lambs were born around this time. It was, therefore, a time of new light, new life, new milk, new nourishment. Interestingly, February 3rd is the feast of a saint with the interesting name of “Blaise,” and is a day when candles are blessed for the liturgical year, and the congregation comes forward to have their throats blessed (for protection against choking) by a priest, who used two candles in an X shape—exactly the shape of Brigid’s Cross—to do this.
Brigid has been honored at this time of year for a very long time, first as Goddess and later as Saint. She was particularly honored by women, whose rituals at this time of year—recorded by folklorists—involved inviting Brigid back to the world to bring her light, warmth, fertility and prosperity. A special bed was prepared for her, and omens of future life and prosperity were taken from the evidence of whether or not she was seen to have arrived and slept in her bed.
There is much fire symbolism in the stories of St. Brigid, and many of these stories are thought to derive from the older, pagan stories of the Goddess Brigid, who was sometimes addressed as the golden, sparkling flame.

Brigid's Fire Temple, Kildare, (c) Abigail Jones
According to legend, a perpetual fire burned in her precinct at a place later known as Kildare, the Church of the Oak. This fire was tended by 19 priestesses—similar to the Roman national hearth tended by the Vestal Virgins. Like many other holy fires of legend, it was said to burn without producing ash. The 19 priestesses cared for the fire for 19 nights, but it was thought that Brigid herself tended the flame on the 20th night. When Christianity came to be the religion of the land, it was St. Brigid who was honored and Christian nuns who tended the flame.
Brigid was a triple goddess: she was sometimes said to have two sisters also named Brigid. They they were matron goddesses of healing, of poetry—with which seership was connected—and of crafts, particularly those associated with fire, such as metal-smithing and perhaps pottery. In addition, the legends show Brigid to be associated with that borderlands/ liminality/threshold state that clearly links her to the Otherworlds, including the world of Faery. Her association with these liminal states is shown in her St. Brigid legends by the fact that she was born at sunrise and while her mother was straddling a threshold. It is shown in her Goddess legends by the fact that she was of the Tuatha De Danann, yet married to a Fomorian. Perhaps it is also illustrated by the fact that her cult also straddled two religious traditions, and made an easy transition from Paganism to Christianity.

Brigid statue and arch by Brigid's Well, Kildare, (c) Abigail Jones


Brigid's Well, Kildare (c) Abigail Jones
Brigid is associated with water as well as fire, and many healing wells are sacred to her throughout the British Isles. Places where water emerges from the Earth are always considered thresholds between the worlds—the Underworld and Middleworld in this case. As a goddess of healing associated with seership and liminal states of being, she is uniquely suited to be the especial Matron Goddess of Faery Healing
from
Faery Healing: The Lore and the Legacy, Chapter 15

Labels:

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Tomten




"It is the dead of night. The old farm lies fast asleep and everyone inside is sleeping too . .

Here is a lonely old farm where everyone is sleeping. All but one .
. .


The Tomten is awake. He lives in a corner of the hayloft and comes out at night when human beings are asleep. He is an old, old Tomten who has seen the snow of many hundreds of winters. No one knows when he came to the farm. No one has ever seen him, but they know he is there. Sometimes when they wake up they see the prints of his feet in the snow. But no one has seen the Tomten."
 Add Video
So begins The Tomten, a lovely children's book by Astrid Lindgren. I discovered it when my children were small and it has been a favorite ever since. Recently I discovered that a short video, featuring with Harald Wiberg's gentle but evocative artwork, has been made available on youtube.

In the spirit of this Midwinter season, I share it with you:

The Tomten 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Lady of the Sea: The Goddess Who Births the New Age

A New Book! 

 I am pleased to announce the publication of my latest book. 


"Lady of the Sea" is a book about the Divine Mother — her place in the religious history of the western world, our relationship to her through the centuries, and her re-emergence and return to us in this era, as evidenced by dreams, visions, prophecies, and earth changes.

As we move through the threshold of the Age of Pisces and into the Age of Aquarius, the Lady of the Sea — “the woman clothed in the sun, crowned with stars, and with the moon under her feet" — calls to us to recognize her presence and importance in our lives and in our world; she offers hope, healing, and balance as we seek to meet the challenges that confront us in this turbulent time of change. 

You can find this book at Amazon

And CreateSpace
Signed copies may be obtained by ordering the book through my website. My shipment of books has not yet arrived, so please note that it will be a few weeks before I can ship your order.
Also, please be aware that as of now, the book is available only through Amazon, CreateSpace, and my website. Any other sellers who are listing it on Amazon or elsewhere do not possess copies.


Thursday, May 01, 2014

Faery Healing Journey for Beltaine




Happy Beltaine

The season of faeries and flowers has officially arrived! Here is an earth healing meditation that may be done for the Beltaine season. This meditation is appropriate now and may be repeated weekly till the approach of Lughnasahd.

Create a small altar and place a candle in the center, with matches nearby. This altar is your Faery Hearth, and the candle is your Faery Hearthfire; it represents the flame of being as it burns in the faery realm.

Set your intention: That you would like to be of assistance to the earth's health and healing during this Beltaine season.

Now settle yourself comfortably before your Faery Altar and light the Faery Hearth candle which is in the center of the altar.... As you gaze at this center flame, breathing slowly in and out, you find that you are becoming more relaxed, calm and serene with each breath. You focus your attention on the candle, then close your eyes, seeing the candle with your inner vision. As you do this, you feel yourself sinking down into the Earth, passing down through the surface layers of soil, sand and clay, and going down, deep, and deeper, ever deeper, into the Earth.

At length, you find that you have come to rest in a clearing surrounded by trees. In the Center of this Grove is an enormous tree.

From its base, a mass of gnarled roots sprawl thickly over and into the ground; its wide-spreading branches form a canopy high overhead. There is an opening in the trunk which leads inside the tree’s trunk. You walk into this opening, and find that you are in a small cave, which is suffused with green golden light. The light seems to radiate from the rough wooden walls of the tree-cave. As you observe this, the light seems to swirl towards you, and around you, and it begins to move you, whirling you, spiraling you downward into the ground, through the surface soil, and into the land itself. You pass easily through the many layers of soil and rock, moving downward with the green-golden light, which whirls you around and around as it carries you downward. At last you land upon what feels to be soft earth....

You open your eyes and look around. Directly before you burns a fire within a hearth. The hearth is a beautiful large bowl of burnished copper, which rests upon an emerald studded stand. The flame within it reaches upward as far as the eye can see. You gaze around and see the gently rounded walls which rise around you, sparkling with many-colored stones and crystals, which glow and gleam with light, now rosy, now ruby red, now shot with sparkles of emerald.

You realize that you are within the heart-shaped Glen of Precious Stones, which lies at the heart-center of the Faery Realm, standing before the fire of the Faery Hearth. From this Glen, four gateways—formed by the intertwined, arching growth of two slender trees—lead out into the Four Faery Convocations of Finias, Gorias, Murias and Falias. You turn to look at each of them briefly, and through each arched tree gateway you can see a different landscape ... You turn back to the Hearth and gaze into the flames.

You call now upon your Faery Allies, and ask that they be with you here, and assist you. Immediately, they come to you.....

Now you move to the Eastern Tree Gateway (or Southern, Western, Northern), and as you do so, you feel the presence of the Faery hosts of the Shining Ones, the Tuatha De Danaan, and the King, Queen and Sage of that Convocation, on the other side of the gate.

You stand at the Threshold of the Gateway, and ask them to come in. When you say this, they begin to march through it and into the Glen of Precious Stones, assembling themselves around the Faery Hearth. 

Moving to the Southern Gateway -- and the Western and Northern in turn -- you repeat this invitation, and feel the faery beings march through their Gateways and into the Glen, assembling themselves around the Faery Hearth.

When they have all gathered there, you speak to them, telling them what you want to do, and you ask for their assistance. They may have suggestions to offer you, so listen carefully to the answers you are receiving.

Now bring your attention to the Faery Hearth and the flame that burns within. Watch and feel as the flame expands outward, encompassing you and all the beings who stand with you at the hearth. You feel your own inner flame blend with this larger flame, and you feel the inner flame of the other beings do likewise, until you aware of One Flame, which burns in many colors. You feel this flame burning in your heart, and radiating out of you at the same time. Your awareness expands and you allow yourself to be aware of the Land around you and above you. As you do this, you feel the One Flame leap outward to encompass the Land. You envision all the features of the landscape, and notice how their inner flames are touched and enlivened by the One Flame. You realize that the One Flame carries the energy and imprint of the primal and pristine land of the Faery Convocation within it, and these energies are now being planted and impressed into the Land....

You sense when this is accomplished, and simultaneously, you become aware that the Faery hosts are moving back through the Gateway, returning to their own realm. The gates grow misty and seem to fade from view. You return your attention to the Fire that burns within the Faery Hearth, and as you gaze within it, you see the land above, below, and around you suffused with Spirit, and glowing with life and vitality. You find that the green gold light has begun to swirl around you again. It lifts you up, and swirls around and around, upward; you find yourself passing from the Glen of Precious Stones, and upward through layers of soil and pebbles, till finally you emerge once again upon the surface of the land, finding yourself in the place from which you had begun......

Take a deep breath, and allow yourself a few moments to return yourself to normal waking consciousness, and then you open your eyes. You are back.
 * * * 
It's a good idea to follow up this vision in the days that follow by some physical actions that are helpful to the earth, such as recycling, planting an organic garden (even a tiny one!), cleaning the litter from a local public space, and the like.

Labels: ,