So far over winter break I’ve taken some long, hard looks at my spiritual life and the choices I have in front of me. In the previous post I mentioned returning to Brighid, setting up a small shrine for Her at the top of a bookcase. I have offered Her candles, incense, and prayers, doing something small every day to affirm Her presence in my life again, and the keyword here is ‘small’. I’ve found myself particularly susceptible to emotional burnout in the past, and it seems that the more fervently I dedicate myself to a practice during my ‘up’ periods, the worse the crash is during my ‘down’ periods (or what SatSekhem of Mystical Bewilderment on the Spiritual Turnpike* calls the Fallow Times). Instead of using up all my energy as soon as I have it, I’m trying to spread it out and plant seeds that will help carry me through less energetic times.
I’d previous thought that part of my work with Brighid would be encompassed through Druidry, particularly through ADF and the Dedicant Path – and that’s still an avenue I very much want to explore. Even if I can’t call myself an actively practicing Druid, modern Druidry in all its many forms fascinates me, and Celtic religion in general strikes a deep chord in my heart that even I don’t understand. One of the problems I’ve run into with ADF’s theology at least is a lack of connection with most of the Celtic deities. Brighid is there, of course, and I’ve spoken in previous posts about feeling a pull from Manannan mac Lír. There’s also a faint connection with Danu, though She seems like a force of wilderness and non-human nature, Someone Who is more wild and free energy than a readily-understandable personality. While I have a host of other divine interests from many different Irish cultures – the Morríghan, Arianrhod, Rhiannon, Branwen, the whole damn Arthurian cycle – I haven’t been able to sense similar interest in return. This has been the case for most pantheons I’ve worked with (with the exception of the Kemetic Netjer and the voodoo lwa – and I’ll go into more detail with the sudden Egyptian dimension to my spirituality in another post) so while I’m disappointed in my past experiences, I can’t say I’m entirely surprised.
So while I’ll continue researching and studying Druidry as I can, I’m faced with several questions: how do I best understand my connection to Brighid? What paths are the most complementary to Her worship? What practices seem to mesh well within a Brighidine framework? And the never ending question in my mind – exactly where does the Lady of the Stars fit into all this?
For some time I’ve had an interest in the rustic crafts like hearth, hedge, green, kitchen, and cottage witchcraft. I’m still learning the exact difference between them all (and from what I can tell so far, most blend readily into each other). When I contemplate this range of crafts, I think simplicity and practicality. I think of keeping a spiritually and physically clean household, to take care of myself and others; I think of embracing cooking as a sacred activity that distributes nourishment to my family; I think of carefully cultivating a garden and getting to know the wild plants on our property to use later in herb magic; I think of spells that are worked in the garden or kitchen or bathroom with reagents I’ve gathered or made myself and without much ceremony. I see Brighid as a patron of the home, protecting and healing those gathered around Her hearth and empowering those who are willing to study and do Her work. Additionally, Brighid has always seemed like a no-muss, no-fuss kind of gal – mysterious at some times and not particularly chatty, but Someone Who values finding the sacred in the everyday and valuing even the most mundane of activities.
More musings on this to come – right now I’m off for more holiday visitations with my relatives. Stay warm and safe, everyone!
* later edit – realized I put in the wrong link for SatSekhem’s blog. All fixed now!