Sunday, January 31, 2016


Imbolc already? Holy smoke!...which is appropiate as this is the feast of Brigit, Goddess of the flame. And where there's smoke...

In prior February blogs, I talked about the Brigit's cross, the Candlemas rituals, the coming of the ewes into milk. Blah blah blah (or baah, baah, baah. Ewes? Sheep? Never mind.) But this time, I just want to focus of the lady of the hour, Brigit herself. To that end, I found a wonderful posting at, under Paganism, which captured all the things I wanted to discuss. Here, then, is what they had to say:

   born 451 AD - died 525 AD
Brigit is a goddess who survived the onslaught of catholic Christopaganism. She wasn't turned into a devil like so many other goddesses. So great was the love of the Irish Celtic people for this deity, that they retained all her characteristics as a pagan-catholic saint! They would not have had anything to do with catholicism (pagan christianity) if they couldn't keep Brigit. So the catholic church had no choice but to make her a nun and a saint. She is a triple goddess. This triple aspect of the goddess is where catholics got the idea of exploiting the Trinity concept. The three-leaf shamrock was originally of "The Three Mothers", as well as the three phases of the moon being her symbols. She shares some attributes with the ancient Greek triple goddess Hecate.
There is a Swedish St Bridget also. Brigit's fame has been far and wide. Even as far as Africa, having come to Haiti in the hearts of deported Irish and Scottish indentured servants. However she went through a radical transformation, and her distant relative Maman Brigitte bears little resemblance, being rather a goddess of vengence. She, did, however, retain the healing aspects, being called on to cure those at death's door.
Brigit is known by various names, Brigit being the most ancient form. The name variations are: Brighid, Bride (Scottish), Brid, Brigit, Bridget, Brigantia (English), Brigan, Brigindo (Gaul) and Brigandu. Her name derives from her worship by the pre-christian Brigantes, who honored her as identical with Juno, Queen of Heaven. Into the 18th Century, her sacred flame was tended, at first, by priestesses, who later became catholic nuns, when the pagan shrine became a convent, at Kildare, Ireland. These nineteen virgin priestesses (called nuns by the catholic church) were called 'Daughters of the Flame'. No man was ever allowed near. In fact, these women had other women in the village bring them their necessary supplies so they wouldn't have to deal with men. This no-men policy infuriated the catholic church. Because they would not submit themselves to inspection by a priest, the bishop ordered the sacred flame to be extinguished. Even so, Brigit remained Ireland's most popular saints, and in 1993, the Brigidine sisters of Ireland rekindled her flame at Kildare.
Brigit's triple aspects are of  Inspiration, Smithcraft, and of Healing.
As the Godess of Inspiration, she blesses poetry, creativity, prophecy and the arts. She was even esteemed as the patron diety of language, having inspired the alphabet.
As the Goddess of Smithcraft, she blesses blacksmiths, goldsmiths, and other crafters of the household.
As    Goddess of Healing, she blesses physical and spiritual healing, fertility of crop and livestock and mid-wifery.
Imbolc (Candlemass and Groundhog Day), the Celtic spring festival, honors Brigit. The Druids called this sacred holiday Oimelc, meaning "ewe's milk". Held on February 1st or 2nd, it celebrated the birthing and freshening of sheep and goats. The catholic version of Imbolc (Candlemas), also, involves much elaborate rituals and feasting, and to this very day, many Irish homes have a St Brigit's cross for protection, still made from rushes as in days of old.

Here are pictures of Bridget's well as it looks today.
Yeah, nothing Pagan about this. There is a cathedral as well as a center in Kildare. This is the center's logo:

And this is the Saint Bridget's window in the cathedral:

I've realized, over the past few years when mobility became a challenge, that you needn't do anything elaborate to honor this Goddess turned Saint. Have a glass of milk. Hang a Brigit's cross on your door ( it also protects against fires in the home). Light a candle and think about life stirring under the snow. Breath in the flame. Take into yourself Inspiration, Courage, and Healing. Celebrate the turning of the year, also symbolized by a simple pinwheel of rushes.

Good Imbolc, one and all.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


With the arrival of the new year, I've decided to periodically focus this blog on aspects of behavior that might stand in the way of improving ourselves and our magical path. I think the first step should be about who we really are, under all the costumes, masks, and paste jewels.

Once upon a time...I had a friend. We grew up together. I always wanted to be a writer. She always wanted to sing.

We went to different schools, both elementary and secondary. I focused on college prep and English. She did Drama. I pushed for good grades; she pushed to be noticed. Upon graduation, I went to University. She went to acting school in New York.

From there, I worked, wrote, and taught. From acting school she basically quit going to auditions after one or two. She bemoaned the fact that what I wrote was sustainable and able to be viewed after the fact. Yet a stage performance was fleeting, past tense. Unless filmed, it was ethereal, a mere memory. Why bother? So, she married her high school sweetheart. He did electrical work in theaters while she found what work she could. Despite that, she always wore the mask of “Actor”.

Later, after her husband died of a work related illness and she won a large law suit, she no longer needed to work. She could focus on a singing career, and now wore the mask of “Jazz Singer”. She was always preparing for a career, but never really worked to make it happen. She'd buy books, sheet music, a keyboard so she could teach herself to play... but she didn't. She had “no time” to take lessons, get a vocal coach, look for venues where she could sing. In fact, all she had was time. She never seemed to put herself “out there” to face rejection or success.

Both our fathers were local businessmen. My family had been one of the founders of our little town, and my Dad was well known. So was her father, in his own community. They worked hard for their recognition. My friend began to wear another mask, that of “So-and-So's Daughter”. I remember her saying things like, “Why is that waitress so slow with my 3 minute egg? Doesn't she know who I am? I'm So-and-So's Daughter!” I would point out that even if she were Queen, a 3 minute egg would still take 3 minutes. My words had no effect.

Time went by and her money ebbed away. For a while, she wore a “victim” mask and either had – or acted – a breakdown. She drank and got high, and had various romances. Eventually she sold the family home, went West to get “cured”, and ended up down south with her widowed mother.

When I last had news of her, she had joined a church. Now the mask was that of “Church Lady”. Or is it a mask? Is this her authentic self? Doe she even know who she truly is? I hope this last turn of events gives her peace, but I don't think she even stopped and asked herself, “Wait..what do I really want? Deep inside, who am I? Does what I do reflect the real me?” I have known this person all my life. I have never known her at all, and I mourn that, but there were too many masks in the way.

I recall yet another friend. The mask she chose to wear seemed to! She decided to like what I liked, started using my vocabulary, even claimed to have the same dreams... It was very disorienting, and disturbing. I think I saw the authentic person when we first met. I liked her. She was slightly darker than I, motivated by different urges and needs, and that was fine. Dealing with a caricature of myself was not.

Lately, I've seen a lot of people playing masquerade. There are a wide variety of masks: “Victim”, “Griever”, “Glory Whore”, “Judge”, “Avenger”. Grabbing a particular mask might be stimulated by excess emotions, sudden changes in Fate, loss, or just a constant craving to be seen in a particular light...or noticed at all.

What I'm NOT seeing are folks following that old adage: “Know thyself”. What is beneath the mask you wear? (And I include myself in that question). Are we so concerned with the “facade” that we neglect the internal nature of our own hearts? The masks I see around me seem to be worn to achieve a purpose, and it's never “contentment” or “inner peace”. Very few choose to stand emotionally bare before others and say, “This is who I am. Love me or hate me, embrace me or beat me, but this is my truth.”

It's an immensely difficult, courageous thing to do. It can't honestly be done as an act of anger. (“Here I am! Take it or leave it, ya berk!”) It can't be done as a plea for affection. (“This is me! The real me! I'm showing myself to you. Please love me!”) It can't be done as a bid for power. (“Here I am! See me? Even stripped of my adornments I'm still better than you, so bring it!”) It has to be an act of love and honor.. an acknowledgment of the pure light within you. If we can't do this in front of others, we should (at least) strive to do it for ourselves alone.

When we were all younger, my friends and I would sing folk tunes at local events. We were pretty good! One of the songs we did, in the round, was a simple chant: May the long time sun shine upon you, may all love surround you, and the pure light within you, guide you all the way on. Here's a newer rendition (same words set to a new tune) which I really like:

If we take time and focus on this, or a similar mantra, perhaps we can send out positive energy to others, and reap some of it for ourselves. Then, in a calmer frame of mind, we can ask ourselves who we really are, what would make us happy. If we weren't busy wearings masks and acting a role, what would we feel free to do? To what use would we put our Magic? Our creativity? Our intelligence?

Our world would be an incredibly changed place.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

162? NO S**T, SHERLOCK!!!

Happy 162nd birthday, William Sherlock Scott Holmes! January 6 is the traditional date we celebrate the birth of our favorite consulting detective. (Dr. Watson's is August 7.) I've been ill of late, or I would have baked a cake.

OK! OK! Here ya go...

All that aside, Baker Street Irregulars will be meeting in various glittering cities in order to toast the health – or durability – of our man of the hour, or ... possibly ... the decade!


Even if not given to social settings, Sherlock most assuringly enjoys his special day.

Here is a little tribute I found on YouTube::


So, many happy returns, dear Sherlock. How do you manage your incredible, methuselahan existence?

Ahh... I thought so!

Have a magical day. May you go on forever.