Monday, December 24, 2012

Dealing with Winter

              The grey of morning fills the view outside the window from my child hood bedroom as I write this.  I have come to my childhood home to spend the holidays with my children and my parents.  The fog is thick and heady and an owl who's ring through the woods near by.  Before I left my home the weather was miserable along I-5.  Ice and snow on most the passes I was going to have to travel over to get here.  The going was dangerous.  I decided it was time to see if some spirit art could help me out.  I chose to do some work calling on the spirit of winter itself as the Irish and Scottish Celts saw her, the Cailleach.  Basing the working off the formats that Rev. Corrigan put together, I opened the gates called my allies among the kindred and then called to the Cailleach, giving offerings.  I then entered into a trance state.  In this state I saw with my inner sight, Stag come through the gate and indicate for me to climb on his back.  It would seem I was going to go to her, instead of her coming to me.  I climbed up and through the gate we went to the spirit world.  The stag took me to a part of the spirit world I have never been to.  Several mountain tops away from my usual area of visitation.  There I met with the Cailleach.  I saw her much as she is described in the lore.  Grayish blueish skin, long white hair. I had expected her personality to be harsh and cold as winter can be, but instead found her to be friendly and kind.  I talked with her and explained my situation and my request for a Solstice Celebration free of rain (the weather report called for an 80% chance of rain) and clear passage to Oregon. In exchange she requested a temporary shrine and daily offerings of pine incense till Imbolc. 

                  The Solstice rite was a huge success and we had about 25 attendees.  We got only the slightest amount of trickle on us at the end of the rite and it quickly let up, causing no ill effects.  The next day on my drive up to Oregon, we did get some rain and stormy weather, but all of it in the low lands where it didn't slow us down at all.  Just as we got to the first major pass, the mandatory chain check was taken away, and we had clear roads all the way to my parents home in Oregon.  Even had some sunshine at the normally coldest and most dangerous sections!

           Was it luck?  Was it the Cailleach?  There really is no way to know for sure, but I trust my heart.  You can bet your last dollar that when I get home from this trip, the first thing I am going to do is build a shrine and light some incense, every day till Imbolc. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

tri Cumhachtai Brid

The plop of a wet large leaf hitting the cement of the patio outside my back door was a good indication why I choose to take my working indoors.  We need the rain here, never get enough of it so I try not to begrudge the weather too much.  This is one of the few times I have had to do a working indoors, and the first time I have done a spirit art of this level of complication indoors.  I had been tumbling the idea of summoning the Tri Cumhachtai Brig (the three queens of the court of Brigit) like a stone tumbling in the surf of the ocean.  It wasn’t till after sun down that I decided for sure to do it.  I did have all the supplies after all, and this break from school will be short, and the winter solstice ritual is fast approaching.  I rearranged my alter and shrine to accomadate this working, and well, it just need a good cleaning up after a couple years of use.  The beginning of the rite flowed smoothly from my lips as it has been practiced for two years now.  However, I discovered as I picked up my staff sized Slat Draoi that I was long on stick and short on room.  The words of my old martial arts instructor rang in my head “you can’t use a staff in a phone booth.  The right tool for the situation.”  I realized I didn’t have any other sized Slat Draoi.  I made a mental note to remedy that in the near future, and refocused on what I was doing, making careful use of the space and tool I had.  The offerings were given, the words spoken with confidence and power.  I then sat before the alter and now shrine to Brigid, and let myself slide deeper into a trance state, in the hopes that Tri Cumhachtai would be there.   I was having trouble getting into it.  My mind was not focused as I would have liked.  Maybe it was the presence of my wife and step-daughter in the family room, two closed doors away, that was distracting me. Or perhaps it was the outside dog moving against the house, or the sudden sadness and depression I had struggled with all day that came on for no apparent reason, or any number of things, I am not sure, I just know I was struggling.  Not wanting the work and offerings to go to waste, I buckled down mentally and started to chant the Ogham name of Beith, followed by Dair, and Lus. I then I began to recite the Gailic charm “Brid thuas linn, Brid thios linn, Brid maidir linn; Brid inar gcroi”.  Soon I found my inner sight and saw the three queens standing before me.   I thanked them for coming, for their patience, and then we got to work.  We made pacts of friendship and assistance.  I was informed of some of their realms of influence.  I was shown the ways that they have already been involved in my life and development as a Druid. I received further instructions on the type of magical work they (and Brigit) would have me develop.  I have been told to develop a system of magical work using the Ogham.   This will be both work for inner development and outer magical works.  I was instructed on one way of spell casting making use of Ogham letters on a staff of wood.  The last instructions were to practice this system and when ready more instruction would come.  As the meeting came to an end, the three queens wanted to go, but I came to understand without their explicit say so that they could not till I chose to allow them too.  This was a significantly different feeling then during my audience with Brigid herself.  I gave a bit more offering of incense, thanked them, and the rite was brought to a close.

 * as I am writing this I am getting word of the tragic murders of children in Conneticet by a gunman at a school.  Perhaps my sudden sadness and depression was some sort of premonition of something very sad and wrong about to happen. 

This working felt very different then the audience with Brigid.  With the audience the sense of power and majesty was palpable, visceral.  Here with this working it wasn’t like that.  It could be that some of this is from my mental struggles to get into a trance state. It also makes sense to me though that working with the queens would have a much different feel then working with the goddess herself.  One thing is I felt that I had much more of their focus and attention.  They were more present with me then the goddess was.  I received more specific instructions about things.  This all in turn made the work seem much more “real”.  In my conversation with the queens I asked for a prediction of the weather today (I like confirmation that I am not making things up), and well, it’s spot on.  Overcast with no rain and a bit of sunshine now and then.  Another interesting note to that question is that when I asked it, I felt the queen delve into my own mind.  It was not an unpleasant sensation, just different, I got the sense she was seeking information she needed from my mind or memories to make the prediction.  After all the weather is not something normally associated with Brigit. 

A keening for those killed in Connecticut this day,
too young too young, this evil hath done
families torn asunder
Brigid wept like the rolls of thunder
as the Morrigan made her choices,
forever silencing their little voices.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Cup, the Harp, and the Hammer #7--audience with the high one

I stood and took a deep breath.  In slow and out slow, letting my mind settle to a quiet state.  All was in readiness for the work.  The fire was lit, the well was filled.  My offerings laid out in order of need and use on the white cloth laid upon the ground.  The sky was clear and the stars twinkled brightly in the mild winter night.  Slat draoi in hand I began the ritual that would bring me into audience with the Brigid the high one.  The practiced words spilled fourth smoothly  and I felt myself begin the change in mental state that would take me to a light trance.  The fire and well were blessed, the Nemeton made whole and holy.  Manannan was offered too and the gates were opened.  I took a moment and again took a long deep breath letting my thoughts and focus gather, then, from my soul I called to my allies among the dead, the sidhe and the gods to aid me in this working.  I felt them draw near.  Taking up the book I began the chant that would draw Brigid’s attention to my fire.  At this point the initial rush of the fire had died down to hot embers.  Not wanting to lose my trance I left it as it was and choose not to try to stoke it.  I placed each of the offerings in the hot coals and repeated the sacred chant with each.  When all was given, I keep up the chant and felt the goddess draw nearer, or perhaps it was just her attention, whatever it was, I knew she was “with” me.  The fire suddenly sprang back to open flame.  I chose to take this as confirmation that she took the offerings, and was indeed present.  I then invoked her purification of water, and the blessing of fire.  This left me feeling as if my spirit had just had a breath-mint.  I felt tingly, clean, and yet empowered.  I felt much of the psychic “gunk” I had acquired over the past few months flushed away.  I felt clean and renewed.  I also felt empowered again as her flame took in my head, heart, and loins. 

                We spoke of many things.  We spoke of inspiration, and magic, of matronage, and instructions of where she would have me take my magical style.  Agreements were made, and she granted me her blessing in convoking the spirits of her court, and yet that it was not to be my main focus of magic.  She told me a guide would be sent to me.  The meeting was then over on her word, and in that ending somehow she gave me a sense of her vast power. 

                Coming out of what had become a very deep trance state I closed the ritual with offerings of thanks to Brigit and to all my allies. I had trouble standing at first as all the feeling had escaped from my left leg, as is apt to happen when I sit cross legged for prolong periods of time. The fact that I had not noticed it going numb, and had no sense of how much time had passed was a good indication of just how deep my trance had been.  The ritual was then ended in the usual way.  When all was packed up I stood a while just staring into the now healthy fire, letting the magical and psychic repercussions slowly settle in.  When I was ready, I picked up my supplies, turned, and walked into the house. 

                In the night as I slept I had many dreams of a magical nature.  Some I remember some I don’t. This morning while doing my usual meditation and two powers exercise, I found the energy turned up, dare I say, amped up…way up.  I felt as if I was humming with power. I did not find it frightening nor painful.  I simple was able to hold and deal with more of it than ever before.   Step one is complete, now I will prepare for the second rite, convoking the three queens. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

...I am ready

I have all the offerings.  The tools are prepaired and gathered.  Tonight I call on Brigid the high one for an audience and a blessing. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Cup, the Harp, and the Hammer #6

As of today I have finished the nine days of devotionals to Bridgit in preparation for convocations.  I am currently preparing for the first of three rites.  This first one is about meeting with the Goddess herself and gaining her blessing.  My plan was to do the ritual tomorrow night, however, I am still waiting for some of the offerings needed to arrive in the mail.  Specifically the pieces of bronze I ordered.  I also need some iron and silver, but these are generally easier to come by.  Since my last post I haven’t noticed any changes within me, and my meditations have been uneventful, but satisfactory. 
                Also as of today I have finished my 3rd semester of nursing school.  This frees up time that will now put to use on my clergy training, Winter solstice ritual crafting, and of course on the Convocation of the court of Bridgit.  In Mid January I will begin my 4th and final semester of nursing school.