WINTER SOLSTICE FESTIVAL - FOUNDATION CENTRE - IRELAND
14th December 2019
By: Stella Dana
A chilly sunny morning opened before us as we made our procession down into the Castle Gardens, the pathways strewn with Palm Leaves – evidence of the previous stormy days. Yet, now the trees looked even taller with the absence of their foliage and stood still, majestically peaceful.
As we entered the gate, we were met by a proud momma Peacock, bringing her three baby offspring for their morning stroll – a wonderful reminder of the hope of new beginnings. The message from Peacock asks us to look into our lives and see where we need to forgive ourselves; then learn from the experience so that we can be free from that burden. This seemed to have wafted into the psyche of The Priestess as she invoked the Heart of the Fellowship —the Rosa Mundi— to enliven the heart within us all, to awaken equality with all and the truth of our Being. This done we will see the difference it can make when we release the burdens in our lives – we are free to enjoy the beauty of the day. Thus we see and hear Nature at work – combining its gifts for our mutual benefit.
Proceeding to the Grove, carried by the chanting of "O Mother carry me", there too the little Peacocks were making their way in the same direction. Nearing the sacred opening, a breeze came and seemed to arise just along that particular path and the sun shone warmly upon our faces.
A Priestess welcomed us to the Grove of Dana, planted by Olivia’s father. A reminder that Nature and the Planet will endure. The trees are a continuation of Life. The Priestess encouraged us to stay with hope, rather than fall into despair, finishing with a blessing that we may continue to have New Beginnings. Before completing our circle, another Priestess reminded us of the importance of Grounding. Connecting with the earth is important. It’s not in our head. It is strong, not weak.
At the Ancient Temple, a Priestess invoked the Goddess Maeve who roams the Hill of Tara to protect it. So may we. This is the work of the Noble Order of Tara.
At the Temple door, the Goddess Persephone was invoked to grant us entry. A Bell rang out and called us to have a Clear Intent for all as we filed in to proceed to the Sacred Well of Brigid. Again, we were welcomed and had a short time of refection upon the quietness around as the Light is about to return. Bareness is also beautiful, as seen by the trees. It was a poignant moment too as we remembered a very dear friend and Priestess who has just passed. She too had stood in this very place beside the Well.
Appropriately then, The Sacred Reading was of The Sun Goddess of Japan —AMATERASU-OMIKAMI— when one considers the meaning of "Omikami", that is, Shining in Heaven.
Only the humble will find Her. Those who demand power for their own use will perish. She ignores the liturgy of the cold minded, but will rise in glory in the gentle minded. Not through science, but through inner goodness.
Some Priestesses then mingled amongst those present, with Chalices of water, to offer Blessings from The Goddess Brigid. With thanks given and the Well closed, we went towards The High Altar where there was a Priestess waiting in trance.
Following the Calling in of the Four Corners, The Star Brothers and Sisters, The Tuatha Dé Danann, honour was given to Goddess Isis and honour to The Return of The Light. Blessed are we.
Through The Priestess shrouded in veil, the Goddess ASTARTE came forth:
"The Queen of Heaven, Thundering Dreams and Beckoning Light... I come to you today to speak of Hope, Joy. I flip through time even from your future, but you my children, remain the same, Beings of Reality, made from dust and of Star. You, My children, your life is short and bountiful. There is sorrow too, but I ask you now to strip away the cloak you have spun in this life. Come dance with Me. We dance and rejoice in the starry night. "
"Allow the heart to open. Allow the Light to brighten your hearts. The Light is eternal. It is different for every being - The Light and Love of The Heavenly Beings. Live this life in Light even in the darkest night. Even surrounded together in the deepest woes, this Light shines in you. It is alive in you now and always."
"Do not allow the Light to be dimmed. Look at the glory of Nature and to the companionship of all living beings – all living entities – no matter how small! Recognise this in yourselves. Now in the depth of winter, let the stillness speak to you. Even for a little while. Be still, a short time. Allow this Seed of Light to swell within you, so when the time of year comes, when it awakens after the darkest day, let it be allowed to awaken all the mind, body and soul. Let the Light burn away all that is false and of fear. Let Light overcome the darkness of pain and suffering. Be your True Self. Be the Beautiful Self that you were made – now and always."
Then to contemplate The Oracle, a Priestess played for us on her Harp, so beautifully that it brought softness into one’s very being, so sweet, so gentle. It brought to us the stillness inside and outside of us that The Oracle became The Notes – The Notes the Oracle..... Perfect Peace.
Afterwards, a Priestess of Brigid read to us some "Reflections" of her own writings:
"What we are waiting for is a moment of Peace. Without Peace there is no wisdom, there is no space to walk within. Food for the Soul is denied by the busy life. The smile of the Mother is communicated through the heart and ripples out. A gentle word can be placed into a neighbouring breast and spreads out into the world itself. Peace once established in the heart can be a King-pin of action in our hour of need."
Following this a "Meditative Story", co-written with two significant others, was read by our Harpist Priestess. The piece was named:
"EYES OF DARKNESS"
......."Autumn had fallen.....out walking in a forest, colours all around, falling leaves as they cling precariously from the branches. I could identify with the leaves – time to move on. All still and peaceful. Suddenly, a gust of wind. Then I saw Her....An Cailleach!.....Ancient bones, I looked into the ancient eyes carrying pain, doorways to the Soul. They call to me through my bones. I am terrified as I feel the pull. Feel the self being pulled up into a deep cavern. Still, silent. I am dead.....Is this it?! Oh no! ... Is this really death?!......This....nothingness! All I have lived and lived for. I want to kick and scream ....can’t....no voice...no body. I stay still in this silence. All I have left... is my thoughts.
"I surrender. I release all my hurts. I release all my dreams. All that which was before. I become my nothingness of this moment of Eternity. I become aware of Serenity. I bathe in this bliss. I have a sense of being held. All is as it should be.
"...... Then I notice a tiny bit of light. I am moving towards it. The light continues to grow brighter and brighter. I feel a force drawing me towards it. I do not want to go. I want to stay in this place of bliss. I hear a voice calling me, a sense of fear of this light. With one final push I feel my body drawn into the light once more. Yet, there is a feeling I have been here before. I become aware of something in my arms. I am looking down and see a baby, full of wisdom of the past. As I look into her eyes I see the past. We become one, back into the wisdom of my soul."
The Author Priestess then asked if we would like to share any comments .... but not a one spoke... we had "no voice"... we were still within the womb of our own thoughts, within the womb of the castle Temple, within the womb of silence, within ... the Peace. It was amongst us.
As in true Lady Olivia style, three Players were called upon from our "silent" ensemble!.... and two Priestesses and one Priest obliged and through these three, came Boann of the Underworld, The Child of Light and The Dagda.
Boann had come to welcome the Light. She encouraged us to get away from consuming, buying and eating. This is not reality.
The Child of Light, asked us to remember the time when there was no electricity, no cars, no excess noise and to think of the light of Newgrange entering the tomb. Think of what heralded to our Ancestors. The Ancient space. They were aware of being reborn - to step into the new. They didn’t do this alone. They did it as a Tribe and Community. Each light is needed. You are "individual" light. Hold tight to that "knowing" we have come here to Love. BE, this guiding Light.
The Dagda came in bold and strong! ... Yet, His message was to the point – forget about the sadness – have a Ball! Keep hearts warm! We will live on. We will go on!!
With the resurrected energy delivered by the Dagda, we drew ourselves up and began to pray for those who had passed and all those mentioned within the Sacred Space in all directions of time, asking that the energy be held as we go out across our Lands and the Whole Earth. And So It Is.
Blessings to you all,