Imbolc Advent 2017: First Sunday

advent-first-candle

Now the spark of the new year is lit in the twin wombs of the cosmos and our souls, and we enter the Imbolc Advent season, to hold space as the spark grows to a flame, readying itself to light the world, our hearths, and our hearts.  We step now onto the pilgrim’ path of the Turas, the Spirit-Journey, to make our way together to the Blessed Grove of Brighid, wherein is found Her Healing Well and Sacred Flame.  There, and along the way, we will renew our souls and our world.

Please join me here for these four Sundays leading up to Imbolc to open our souls and prepare the way for the return of Brighid at Imbolc, Mother of All Life, who renews the land with Her growing Light.  During these four Sundays, we will honor and engage with four aspects of the goddess Brighid in contemplative meditation, around the four arms of the Brighid’s Cross: Poet, Healer, Smith, and Foster-Mother.  We will arrive then on Imbolc morn at Her Healing Well and encounter there Her Sacred Flame. To participate, prepare in your sacred space a shrine for Brighid (if you don’t keep one already) with an image of Her, four smaller candles in a pleasing arrangement, one larger central candle, a bell, and a small bowl.  Bring some milk for an offering and a lighter for your candles.  When you are ready, please make yourself comfortable there, and begin reading below.

Our feet softly tread the forest path together on trails fragrant with evergreen pine needles, cushioning and quieting our steps and filling the air with their resinous aroma.  This first Sunday we stop at the first wayside shrine and encounter and honor Brighid the Poet.  Poetry in the Irish tradition is received as Imbas, inspiration, a sacred gift from Brighid Herself.  Poetry, ritual, and music, speak the language of the Otherworld, and convey to our souls its perennial and enduring truths.  Our souls recognize this resonance of Fírinne, Cosmic Truth, and will align with it when given space and silence to do so.  When we remember Fírinne through poetry, we realign and harmonize with the Cosmos, and can then walk in Right Relationship with All Life.  At its highest, poetry, whether written or read or heard, reminds us of who we truly are, and the nature of our true belonging.

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Just as this advent season begins in the darkness of womb, land, and cosmos, we envision ourselves now at the bottom of Brighid’s well, sitting in sacred darkness.

Light your first small candle.  Ring your bell, and entone, “BREEEEEE……ZHUHHHHHHHHH.”

Speak aloud the opening attunment prayer:
“Holy goddess Brighid, Mother of all Life,  Kindle They Flame in our hearts.
Grant us, Thy children, Love and Joy, Wisdom and Peace.
We offer Thee our loving care for all Thy children, all our Kin.”

Pour out the milk offerings to Her:
“Holy Brighid, Mother of all Life, as You nourish our souls with your cosmic elixir, we pour out sweet milk to you in honor and gratitude and love.”

Now slowly read aloud the following poem, Bridget’s Well by Richard Kearney, taking a full breath between lines, letting its essence resonate within your being, speaking Truth to your soul:

I will rest now at the bottom of Bridget’s well

I will follow the crow’s way

Footprint by footprint

In the mud down here

I won’t come up

Until I am calmed down

And the earth dries beneath me

And I have paced the caked ground

Until smooth all over

It can echo a deeper voice

Mirror a longer shadow

Then the fire may come again

Beneath me, this time

Rising beyond me

No narcissus-flinted spark

Behind closed eyes

But a burning bush

A fire that always burns away

But never is burnt out

Take a moment to let the poem fully settle and resonate within you.  If you like, journal any insights, truths, or teachings you receive.  As you reflect, also consider, how in touch with you with the Cosmic Truth of Harmony that is Right Relationship with all beings?  How does Brighid inspire you to use sacred words to support all Life?  How might you begin to restore the light of Harmony in the world?  Sit in silence, and invite the in Imbas of  Brighid to illuminate your soul.

Finish your meditation listening to this tune by Damh the Bard called Brighid.  The lyrics are on the site for you to read:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMxeYEhUxYw

If you are able, and have enough candles to replace them as you go through the advent season, let the candle burn down on its own.  Otherwise, extinguish the flame at this time.  As you put out the flame, or walk away as it burns down, take the flame into your heart and bring it with you throughout your day, and recall it each morning as you rise, asking Brighid to guide you this week in listening for Truth, and restoring Harmony to the world.

End the rite with a final ring of the bell, and this prayer:
“Holy Brighid, walk with us and light our way.”

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