It’s my flamekeeping shift again for the Cauldron Cill and I wanted to share a brainstormy list of things to do when it’s time to keep Brighid’s flame. Flamekeeping is, by its nature, already an act separate from everyday life; once every twenty days I light a candle, sing songs, and wear jewelry that remain untouched and unused the other nineteen days of the shift cycle. However, I cannot and don’t wish to spend an entire 24-hour period in deep, spiritual contemplation and communion with Brighid, if for no other reason than life goes on and I don’t want to miss it by literally tending an open flame between sundown and sundown. Also because psychologically and spiritually speaking, my focus doesn’t work that way. I cannot be engaged all the time. I doubt many of us can. After all, I’m not a trained priest(ess) but instead a layperson looking to work more closely with Brighid on my own terms and on my own turf. As much as I am drawing closer to Brighid through the honor of tending Her flame once a cycle, I’m also inviting Brighid to draw closer to me. And my life, such as it is in this very moment, is as much a part of my flamekeeping practice as the literal candle flame to mark Brighid’s presence.
I’ve been inspired by the Puzzle of Life with Religion Worksheet over at Fluid Morality, which encourages practitioners (of any faith tradition) to seek religion in the mundane areas of our lives and to see those same mundane areas as something already sacred. In that spirit I’ve started a list of things to do during a flamekeeping shift. (Obviously not all during one shift. There’s a lot in there!) Some suggestions are more traditionally religiousy, like reciting prayer and reading myths. Others I’ve pulled from my own experience of incorporating Brighid’s Work into my own life. I expect this list to grow – and, perhaps with time, I hope to go into more detail with each item on the list.
Things to Do While Keeping Brighid’s Flame (a list)
- Read myths
- Homework (yes, it can be sacred too)
- Spend time with animals
- Engage in self-care
- Donate time/money/goods to a food pantry
- Get crafty (especially things like knitting, weaving, or quilting)
- Reach out to friends and family
- Write. Write all the things.
- Visit a body of water
- Listen to music
- Memorize and recite poetry
- Create art or music
- Talk with other Brighid kids
- Research your family tree
- Study a social justice issue
Those are just what popped into my head after two minutes of brainstorming. Can you think of anything else? What do you do during a flamekeeping shift?