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This Fellowship of Isis website has been authorized by the FOI Foundation Center: Clonegal Castle, Enniscorthy, Eire
2nd February 2019
By: Olwen Pendred
As we gathered in the courtyard of Huntington castle we were blessed by streaming sunlight. Highly indicative of the time that was in it, the gravel underfoot was almost frozen and holding together as the spring sunshine eagerly graced our presence like a new dawn. The frost glimmered on the grass as we processed to the rose garden, echoing that whilst winters cloak was receding it still held reign as the hopeful sunbeams will strengthen and grow. The procession around the grounds felt like an excursion to an enchanted garden as the light danced upon the frost glistening and creating optical rainbows.
In the rose garden the spirit of Rosa Mundi was invoked, and we were asked to consider the quality of light we pour forth into the world and reminded how the love we instil always finds a way to return to us abundantly. Fallen oak leaves around the roses were covered in frost and it felt like drifting into the liminal space between the seasons of frost and fire.
The air was still, and the voices singing in the procession were carried and joined by bustling birdsong, as we turned from the Yew walk, we were greeted on the left by newly emerging snowdrops and the right, the holly, who hands over his mantle as winter king as his strength dwindles. In the Grove were invited to breathe in the stillness and take the time to just be part of the great creation, mindful of how blessed we were to have such a day to allow this feast of our senses. A Priestess spoke of the courage of the snowdrop to endeavour, hope and push through despite the still frosty conditions. We took some time here to reflect of the power of courage and hope when facing hardships in our own lives, even when we have faced the darkness and can’t yet feel the new dawn.
At the Abbey members of the Noble Order of Tara discussed their commitment to environmental projects and reminded us all that every little action we can undertake supports the planet especially at this time when so many of our ecosystems are in peril.
At Brigid’s well, we were treated to some of Olivia’s words from an oracle of Danú, she spoke about the balance of light and darkness, and how sometimes rather than rejecting what we perceive as darkness, coming to understand, know and love it, as all is an emanation of the great work. Echoing the earlier sentiments of the snowdrop, Danú’s words commended all her children’s great bravery for the act of simply incarnating and choosing to be here. At the High Altar, a Priestess channelled an oracle from the Goddess Brigid. She spoke as midwife, as guardian of the thresholds. She called to be heard, she called on all of us to claim of sovereignty, our culture, our heritage, to protect this land, to use our voices to speak up and speak out. Her name, translated as fiery arrow, she said, can be employed as a call to action, as a means of manifesting creativity to co create with the Divine. She reminded us of her use of her cloak in claiming the land for what became her great work and asked of us to use this mantle as a means of reconnecting, invoking her presence and listening to her call. Part of the oracle was beautifully related in our native tongue.
We were than allowed time to reflect on Brigid’s words whilst the melodious strains of Mná na hÉireann were played for us, by our beautiful resident harpist. Our guided journey brought us to a sacred well where we again encountered Brigid, though this time in her child aspect. We were allowed time here to play and reconnect with our inner child, as it is here within us that the seeds of hope and potential lie. Emerging from the journey a Priestess sun the hauntingly beautiful Gabhaim molta Bríghde.
On this occasion in the temple instead of a mystery play a Priestess recounted her personal experiences and interactions with the Goddess Brigid. It served as an important reminder that it is the little and everyday things within our daily lives and how we manifest our spiritual practice in very real action and consequence. In this case, against surmounting odds, this Priestess was supported in clearing land of years of accumulated rubbish dumping by help coming from unexpected sources, one being the timely arrival of a helpful neighbour with a JCB tractor, which was named none other than Brigid!
The Priesthood then handed out brat Bríde’s to all present. A brat Bríde, translating as Brigid’s cloak, is a piece of fabric or Ribbon that is left outside on Brigid’s eve, as the Goddess transverses the land, is said to imbue her healing powers within the fabric. This brat can then be used for healing and protection throughout the year.
A healing cauldron was prepared, and thoughts and intentions were sent to fellowship members at home and abroad, and many name people, places and situations they felt in need of prayer.
We concluded our Imbolc ceremony with a beautiful poem written by a Priestess, called Brigid of the Mara, which spoke of awakening the beauty within and without and igniting the Flame of Brigid. She also guided us in a song she had written and as we left the temple the words still rang in our ears.
“Over and under and over again, we are braiding the flame of Brigid.”*
Notice from Cáit Branigan, Editor of 'Isian News, Isian Voices': The submissions deadline for the next issue has been extended to the 28th of February. See this page for details: INIV submissions
*Braiding the Flame of Brigid lyrics, © Minette Quick.
photo © Minette Quick
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(Many thanks to Olwen for her report!)
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