30 days of Hymns, the Sacred Triad, Brighid #1: Birth

Hail Brighid
Exalted One
Fiery Arrow
foster-mother of Gaeldom
teach to me your secrets
the secrets of birthing
let me know and revel in the pain
and the glory
let me hold within myself
your light, words dancing
upon the page
IMBAS deep within
let me hold your light
until it is ready to burst forth
let me cultivate
in my deepest soul; let it be compost
for what the world needs most
let me set alight
what is within
sending sparks out
at breakneck speed
through my flesh, burning me
but surrounding me in light:
a galaxy of my children
orbiting my being
let me know the truth of birthing
whether it be
of my body
or my mind
let me know the magic
of bringing
a new thing
into a desperate, wanting world
foster-mother of Gaeldom,
Fiery Arrow
Exalted One
Hail to you, Brighid
Keeper of the secrets of birth.

30 Hymns in 30 Days: The Sacred Triad.


Imbolc Advent, second and third Sundays — reflections

I meant to write something up after the second Sunday (first Sunday I participated) but didn’t remember to do so until third Sunday had come and gone, and I was doing third Sunday stuff on Monday anyway, so suffice it to say I am little scattered and out of it right now but then again, when am I ever not?

Anyway. I wanted to talk a bit about my experiences meditating on those Sundays. If you read the Imbolc Advent posts over at Her Eternal Flame you’ll see that part of the ritual includes meditation in which you ask Brighid for guidance, and then it’s suggested you journal about it and share with your Brighidine community.

Well, I’ve journalled, so it’s time to share. This is probably the best place to talk about it because then I can link my post to my fellow Brighidine peeps and they can read it if they want.

So, last week I asked some questions of Brighid, and I got answers that were not in a voice, but often what happens during these meditations is I get my answer and it gets translated into words by my brain or my god-soul or…whatever. So when I write out these answers I’m not saying I heard the words of Brighid on high or anything; it’s just a translation for a collection of feelings and impressions received during meditation. And this goes for pretty much any time I talk about what the gods told me.

Anyway, just clearing that up because I’m going to be writing out the questions and answers in dialogue format right now. My side in italics; hers in bold.

What do you want me to do to bring your light forth into the world?

You already know. You’re doing it.

What if I’m not good enough?

Not for you to decide.

What about healing, or other things that are under your mantle? Shouldn’t I also be doing these?

Stop trying to put your flame out by spreading it too thin. You only have so much oxygen. Devote yourself to this. Dig one deep well, not twenty shallow ones.

Now quit bothering me. You know this stuff. Do it.

So, obviously, I am supposed to know what she wants already, and I do. She’s made herself abundantly clear. I am to concentrate on writing, on the poetic arts, in her service. This doesn’t mean I don’t also dedicate my knitting or cleaning house to her; I do. And it doesn’t mean she has been reduced to one sliver of her glory in my eyes — she hasn’t. I still see her many facets and faces, I feel her many areas of influence.

It just means that when it comes to doing her work in the world, to bringing forth what she wants me to bring forth, she wants me to focus on writing. Writing fiction, writing poetry, writing blog posts about religion or anything else. Writing is my vocation and I am to devote myself to it.

The third Sunday she was much less patient with me and I felt much less of her presence during the meditation. The questions for the third Sunday were about healing and hospitality. I asked her to heal me, and she quite clearly told me to do the work first, which I take to mean not only to focus on my vocation, but also to take care of myself. She won’t heal me if I refuse to care for my health. Self-care is her work.

I feel like I’ve forgotten how to listen.

That’s your problem. Figure it out.

She’s not going to handhold me anymore, it’s become clear. Earlier in our relationship she was more patient, more apt to hold my hand, to help me along. But now she’s not. You might think I find this upsetting but actually, just the opposite. I feel optimistic about not feeling much presence from her; I feel good that my asking her for guidance largely feels like I’m asking her questions I already know the answers to, and that I’m pestering her when I don’t need to be.

It feels like I’m finally adult enough to be left on my own, that she’s trusting me to do the work, to get it done, to take care of myself. She doesn’t need to handhold me anymore like she did at the beginning, so she’s not. The lack of presence isn’t because I fucked up; it’s because I’m doing well.

Which is great, because I was worried for a while that I’d fucked up, that I wasn’t doing enough, that I was sucking. But no, I was engaging in self-care; I was going within and contemplating; I was taking a break, and that’s all fine. That doesn’t mean I’m messing up; it means I’m learning how to take care of myself.

Regarding hospitality, which was the second part of this past Sunday’s focus, I did get some guidance about how to better go about it. Having people over isn’t really a Thing for me right now; the house is still a royal shambles from the renovations and I’m still working slowly at putting things back into place and organizing and cleaning. Even if I wanted to have folks over it wouldn’t be possible.

But it occurred to me that my blogs are also homes; they’re my online homes, and I can work on making them more hospitable to people. This means making sure I don’t have any computer-lagging scripts running, the designs are clean and easy to read, and also being more inviting to comments, to fostering a community. I admit I’m really terrible at that but I can try to be better.

I do also need to focus on my physical home, and on getting in enough hours on work so I can pay my rent and have a home. That’s important too.

So that pretty much sums up my experience with the last 2 Sundays of Imbolc Advent. I think for this coming Sunday I might change the asking for guidance part and just sing her praises, or something similar.

Are you participating in Imbolc Advent? What have you experienced so far?

Thank You

When I wrote my post last month, I kept comments off because I didn’t have the energy to deal with potential fallout, and I expected there to be a lot. I was shaking with fear when I shared the post on my Facebook, because I thought for sure I would lose friends.

I didn’t.

What I did get was a lot of support, not only from people I know but from complete strangers. I’ve received tweets and emails in support, and my fiancé spouse (was fiancé when I started writing this post) tells me there’s a thread on Reddit with mostly good comments about my blog post, with some folks saying they wished I’d turned comments on so they could show their support. He showed me a lot of the supportive words, which made me feel less scared, and happy that I’d finally shared what I needed to share. (I don’t Reddit, but he lurks in a lot of subReddits.)

I was honestly surprised by this outcome, and have still sort of been waiting for the other shoe to drop. So far my post hasn’t been picked up by the rabid, violent side of the social justice community, or I expect I would have encountered a heaping of abuse. I’ve been sort of lucky in that, but I’ve also been cautious. I’ve tried not to talk too much in public about my disagreements with vocal big-F feminists and social justice activists, because they often have large and scary followings. If I do disagree with specific points (as I did in a rant on my secular Twitter the other day), I don’t name names. (Yes, subtweeting. It’s passive-aggressive, but it’s also safer.)

Sometimes I feel like a coward. I used to be very “Come at me bro” in all regards, but as time goes on I have less and less energy; anxiety and depression take larger tolls; the fallout from refusing to toe the party line can be devastating. So maybe I’m not a coward; maybe I’m just trying to protect myself with what little armor I have.

Anyway, the point of this post is to say thank you, publicly, to all the folks who have reached out to me. I may not have replied to you directly; this is not because I don’t appreciate your words, it’s just because I’ve been swamped with a million things for several months and they are only starting to abate, I am very tired, and I have anxiety about replying to people in emails and tweets and looking like an idiot because I can’t figure out how to say what I want to say. (and then the longer I wait to reply to something the worse it gets, so…sometimes I never reply. It is a vicious cycle.)

Somehow blog posts are easier to compose, even though more people see them. Go figure.

But even then it can take me a while to have the spoons to post something; I started this post on the 12th; it’s now the 30th. In that time I got married, and some of the million things I was swamped with started to lift, as wedding planning is no longer a Thing that is eating my life and sanity. (Thank you notes, though…yesh.) Today is my 3rd shift since rejoining the cill, and it feels good. I just broke open a new vanilla cinnamon candle for Brighid. I think She likes it.

Still, I’m busy, and stressed, and life takes its toll. I’m committing to try to write more often at my blogs and on my books now that wedding planning is over, because writing gives my life shape, purpose, and joy. And I think I have more to say about my views on social justice and the current fuckery that has taken over the community.

But for now, I’m going to leave this post off and go get ready for my job interview, because rent is a nice thing to have.