Thursday, 1 February 2007

Archive: Là Fhèill Bhrìghde 2007

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything about the spiritual side of life, mainly because I’ve had a few other things consuming my time and thoughts, but also partly because there’s a few things I’m having a hard time formulating in my head, let alone in words. But I feel it’s time to try and articulate a few things if I can even find a place to start.

My Bride’s day celebrations were very successful, I think. I never managed to get out and do the garden (in fact it’s still a mess) but I did pretty much everything else I’d planned. We had the haggis with the buttery mash for dinner but the bread and butter didn’t last beyond breakfast thanks to my craving. The haggis seemed more appropriate since pork never seems to have been popular in Scotland in relatively modern times.

I made the dealbh Bride - I kept it pretty basic for a first attempt because I didn’t want to spend more time worrying about doing it right instead of doing it as a focus for the day, so I just used straw that I got from an art shop, folded it in half and tied off the appropriate bits to make the head, arms and skirt with a straw that had been dyed red. A little more of the red straw augmented it all and I found it a really good way of meditating on the festival and Bride and what it all means to me. Unfortunately it’s been packed somewhere safe for next year when I’ll probably burn it, so I can’t post any pictures (and it’s really not worth showing of anyway :) ).

By the time I took it to the door to invite her in, with all the candles burning, my house felt warm and homey (for the first time in a long time). Tom was asleep by this time, so I had to creep into his room to put the doll in the Moses basket. It seemed appropriate to keep the basket in his room, so she’d be with him for the night. I also put a t-shirt out for blessing, which I wore while I was in labour.

I made the bannocks the next morning and none of them broke, which is supposed to be a good sign (and so far so good), and left some as an offering at my pond which I used as an outdoor shrine. The bannocks are definitely better if you use oatmeal rather than oats.

Anyway, I was thinking of doing something for Lady Day (March 25th) which traditionally marked the equinox in the calendar, and is supposed to be the day that Brigid finally defeats the Cailleach and sees off the cold and ice so spring can get underway in earnest. I wasn’t planning on anything big seeing as it’s not an ‘official’ holiday, but didn’t even get around to doing some bannocks because I was hoping to be a mother of two by that time and hadn’t had a chance to get the ingredients. And to be honest, I haven’t really felt all that connected to Brigid recently, so it’s been hard to focus on her. It wasn’t as if the ice had been defeated by that point either, so it was difficult to find the spirit of it as well.

Since moving up here I’ve been feeling a pull much more towards the Dagda and Manannan (Manannan being the deity I’ve had a relationship with the longest). Every day, weather permitting, I take a walk up to the top of my street where there’s a farm, a small playground, a bloody great cliff and views of the Firth of Forth and the hills beyond. It’s a stunning view, in spite of the naval dockyard plonked almost opposite. As I look out and meditate, I always feel them, Manannan ahead of me in the water and the Dagda behind…somewhere. It’s not usual for me to feel anything like that so strongly or consistently. As I look at the view, I always feel grateful at how lucky I am. It’s not often dreams come true, and yet everything I’ve ever desperately wanted in life has always pretty much fallen into my lap.

So I’m still not quite sure what I’m trying to say. I think I’m having a hard time with labels at the moment. I don’t feel I fit entirely comfortably with the recon community because I’m not sure what I’m doing is strictly reconstructionist. If anything I’d say it was more traditionalist, but from the traditionalist stuff I’ve read I don’t seem to fit in that community either…And in either case I don’t really agree with a lot of the material that’s been posted about what either path stands for. I don’t think anyone ever agrees with everything a religious path has to offer, but I think I have some rather fundamental disagreements about them.

I kind of like the more general term ‘Gaelic Polytheist’ (which I think I stole off Morag), but then again my Gaelic is abominable, so that’s not entirely accurate either…The Reformed Celtic Polytheism group over at The Cauldron seems intriguing but I disagree with a pan-Celtic approach so I don’t think I can get on board with it.

With all that said, I don’t feel having a label I can stick on myself is all that important. But it does come in handy when talking to other people.