Writing Brigit


Writing Brigit

Many years ago I wrote my first Brigit prayer. Poem. Blessing... I have been writing them ever since, but seldom publish them. Some are carefully researched and crafted, some are simple and straight from the heart.

The prayers and blessings of my sisters in the Daughters of the Flame and other Brigit-loving women and men, living and long-dead, fill me with surprise and delight, as well.

I would like to share some of these writings with you.

Following is the one that signs off each of my emails, a reminder to guide my words and intentions with care when I write to anyone. It's as good a place to start as any.


Flame Offering

In the name of the three Brigits

I light the candle of my heart

May I offer it to everyone

gentle and steady

warm and bright



24 January 2021

"An Offer to Brigid: for Imbolg" by Madelyn Burnhope

 


An Offer to Brigid: for Imbolg

Goddess of this festival,

for whom a constant flame is tended,

daughter of the Dagda, seen aslant

by the Morrigan in the pocked

copper of His cauldron,

we need a word about

what’s meant by ‘birth.’

We have been reborn so many times,

laboured through so many phases,

and still this void, inside whose hearth

flames crackle, spit and hiss,

inviting family only so close.

Felt dandelions bud inside us, but none

has grown. How to navigate this?

What is meant by terms such as ‘to term’

and who may use them? Is it the compass

and radar of the seed which carries it

or the power of the wind around her?

Is it the meat-hands of Market Street

which bring children streaming into Spring

or the long light-gone gestation of Winter?

If you would turn your face

from the table, anvil, furnace, all

the various tools you’re forging –

blowing, bending, sending sparks

up into the workshop air –

and answer us, we would prepare

offerings from the bellies of our pantries:

honey, herbs, corn bread, dollies.

We have carried and come to terms.

Your misty-eyed, mystified daughters,

some of us misidentified as sons.

Name the way you wish us

in our barrenness to engage with you,

knowing not just any medium will do.

In the name of circling pool and flame,

and the bright bodies who birthed you.

 



 

Note: Madelyn Burnhope is devoted to Brigid, as well as the Dagda and the Morrigan, who revealed herself to her as Brigid’s mother, a UPG (unverified personal gnosis) referenced in this poem.

 

Image: Photo by Mateus Campos Felipe on Unsplash

16 January 2021

“Why I Tend Your Flame” by Mael Brigde


Why I Tend Your Flame

 

why return always

to this endless ritual

of nineteen days plus one

 

(on the twentieth day of the cycle

when each sister has had her turn

you keep your flame alive

 

(in the evening of the following day

you offer me the glowing coal

to kindle

my own small fire)

 

I am so forgetful

I strike the match

and before the wick is blackened

I am a thousand miles away

planning   worrying   angry   wishful

hurrying to accomplish this and that

 

if I am so very forgetful

why return

 

in that moment

when I take a breath

place the candle in its lantern

lantern in its cauldron

pour water clean and fresh

around its base

when I add the blue juniper

whisper words of honouring

of sharing   and of blessing

of request

when I open my hands to receive

your eye-bright coal

my heart opens with them

I glimpse this wider land

this wider life

come closer

for one fraction of a second

awake

 

this is your gift to me

 

mine to you

is to return

again and again

to this moment of ignition

in my soul

 

 


 

 Image: "Flametending candle" by Mael Brigde

11 January 2021

"Songs of the Oystercatcher - Honouring Brihde through the Wheel of the Year" by Heather Upfield

 


Bridie sailed up the west coast of Scotland and walked these lands that I walk.
She's still here in the many chapels and features of the landscape.
But she's not remote, but warm, domestic, a much-loved aunt...
the Oystercatchers call her name, and I join them in their calling 
��

Several years ago Heather Upfield generously allowed me to upload her poetry chapbook, "Songs of the Oystercatcher," for the use of visitors to Stone on the Belly. When we were chatting the other day she wrote the above words, which resounded greatly within me. Particularly the idea of Brigit as an aunt. That identity sits well with me.

I wanted to share her words with you, and to draw your attention to the many words she already has here. Please feel free to have a look at Heather's heartfelt words to Brigit by following this link.




Image: Uncredited.

09 January 2021

"Waking Charm" Redacted & Refracted by Chris Godwin

                                     

WAKING CHARM

 

THANKS be to You, Brighid,

Who brought me up from last night,

To the gladsome light of this day,

To win wholeness for my soul,

Through my birth You didst tend for me.

Praise be to You, A Bhandia, for ever,

For the blessings You didst bestow on me--

My food, my speech, my work, my health,

And I beseech You

To shield me from blight,

To shield me from ill,

To sain me this night,

And I lowly but mighty,

O Goddess of the mighty!

O Brighid of the hearth!

Give me wisdom along with your grace.

May the High One claim me,

And protect me on sea and on land,

And lead me on from step to step,

To the people of peace of the Everlasting Pasture,

The people of peace of the Everlasting Pasture!

 

 

Redacted and refracted from - Carmina Gadelica (1.41) by Chris Godwin:

Original prayer:

     

      URNUIGH MADUINN [41]

  

       TAING dhut   Iosda Criosda,

   Thug mis a nios o 'n oidhche 'n raoir

   Chon solas soillse an la 'n diugh,

   Chon sonas siorruidh a chosnadh dha m' anam,

   An cion na fal a dhoirt thu dhomh.

 

Cliu dhut fein   a Dhe gu brath,

   An sgath gach agh a bhairig thu orm--

   Mo bhiadh, mo bhriathar, mo ghniomh, mo chail,


   *        *        *        *        *        *

 

'S tha mi   griosad ort

   Mo dhion bho'n olc,

   Mo dhion bho lochd,

   Mo shian an nochd

   'S mi iosal bochd,

   O Dhia nam bochd!

   O Chriosd nan lot!

   Thoir ciall dhomh 'n cois do ghrais.

 

Gun coraich an   Ti Naomha mi,

   Gun comhnaich air muir 's air tir mi,

   'S gun treoraich o ir gu ir mi

   Chon sith na Cathair Shiorruiche,

          Sith na Cathair Shiorruiche.

 

 

        MORNING PRAYER

  

       THANKS be to   Thee, Jesus Christ,

   Who brought'st me up from last night,

   To the gladsome light of this day,

   To win everlasting life for my soul,

   Through the blood Thou didst shed for me.

 

Praise be to   Thee, O God, for ever,

   For the blessings Thou didst bestow on me--

   My food, my speech, my work, my health,


   *        *        *        *        *        *

 

And I beseech   Thee

   To shield me from sin,

   To shield me from ill,

   To sain me this night,

   And I low and poor,

   O God of the poor!

   O Christ of the wounds!

   Give me wisdom along with Thy grace.

 

May the Holy   One claim me,

   And protect me on sea and on land,

   And lead me on from step to step,

   To the peace of the Everlasting City,

          The peace of the Everlasting City!

     

      

Carmina Gadelica, Volume 1, by Alexander Carmichael, [1900], p. 96 -97, at sacred-texts.com

 Chris posted on Facebook this lovely Brigidine redaction of Uirnuigh Maduinn (Morning Prayer) from Vol. 1 of the Carmina Gadelica. 

Image: by Etty Fidele 

05 January 2021

“Hungry” by Mael Brigde


Hungry

there is another side to you

goddess   saint   of our inspiration

your mouth that blew battle pipes

your earth that parted to swallow

the offered black-fringed fowl

smother her at the place

where three streams meet

 

we have ways to ken such things

dark forces of death   of letting go

smear of decay

from which new life unfurls

recognition of what our wills

cannot escape

or even

our own grim aspects taking root

 

regardless  

don’t think I haven’t seen

this bruise-blue visage   Brigit

these hungry teeth ready to snap in two

our pretty dreams of you

 


 

 


NoteThe sacrifice of a fowl was sometimes practised if a family believed they had not received Saint Brigit’s blessing on Óiche Fhéile Bhríde (Carmichael Carmina Gadelica I, pg. 169).

Image: "A honest look at the pain of mental illness." Photo by Kat J on Unsplash.

03 January 2021

Win a Copy of A Brigit of Ireland Devotional

 

Pardon this interruption: I want to let you know about a chance to win a copy of my upcoming book. Please go over to my sister blog, Brigit's Sparkling Flame, to find out more.

Note: I finally remembered to make it possible to subscribe to Stone on the Belly. If you would like to receive poems as they are posted, please subscribe just below the poems visible on this page, and just above the archive and post list.

22 December 2020

“Dawn at Bridget’s Well” by Patricia Monaghan



“Dawn at Bridget’s Well” by Patricia Monaghan

 

In hope, in pain, in song we passed the night.

We have kept watch – kept faith – each in our way.

Our long dark vigil ends in spring’s mild light.

 

We ended winter with this ancient rite.

Strangers until we joined our hands to pray.

In hope, in pain, in song we passed the night.

 

Beside the guttering candles, a single white

Snowdrop nods to greet St. Bridget’s Day.

A long dark vigil ends in spring’s mild light.

 

So much is wrong, across the world: we fight

Each other, blight the land, betray

Our hopes. In plaintive song we passed the night.

 

Yet we believe and pray, acolytes

In service to a change too long delayed.

Our long dark vigil ends in spring’s mild light.

 

And we rise, renewed. Such ritual ignites

The fire in our souls. It’s a new day.

In hope, in pain, in song we passed the night.

The long dark vigil ends in spring’s mild light.

 

 

 

First published in Brigit: Sun of Womanhood, ed. Patricia Monaghan and Michael McDermott (2013). Permission by Michael McDermott.