Imbolc Advent 2017: Second Sunday

advent-second-candle

Welcome to our Second Sunday Imbolc Advent.

Have on hand your advent candles, a means to light them, and your milk offering.

This Sunday, we walk quietly together down the pine-fragrant forest path to the next shrine, to honor Brighid the Healer.

Let us contemplate the meaning of healing as we walk.

We often think of healing as curing physical ailments, and to be sure, this is an important aspect of healing so we maintain our ability to fully engage with the world.  Sometimes we think of healing as resolving a dis-ease of body or mind, physically or psychologically, and event which takes place in a given moment in time, indicating the body or mind is once again ‘at ease.’  Certainly, we function best when our dis-eases are fully resolved.  Other times we think of healing as out of reach, if we are suffering from a chronic physical or mental condition which cannot be cured or resolved at one moment in time.  And sometimes that cure or resolution is a long way out from where we are, and a hard road to walk until it is achieved.  When we do reach these goals, we celebrate.

In the spiritual sense, healing is an action and state which is ongoing, as a cure for the dis-ease of disconnected, unconscious being and living.  Spiritually, we enact and engage in healing when we connect with the cosmic energies of Land and Sky so that they flow through our being, become aware of and begin to cultivate virtues of the heart in our lives, and choose our actions carefully and thoughtfully in order to bring blessings to all Life.  We also experience healing as an integration of whole-ing, when the physical, mental-emotional and spiritual aspects of ourselves reconnect with both Cosmic Land and Sky, as well as each other.  One way we can foster this integrative, whole-ing healing is through Sacred Song and Chant, which invites the body to both actively create and receive resonance, the mind to focus on the numinous beyond itself, the heart to open, and the spirit to center in Presence and drink deeply.  Sacred song and chant provide a kind of subtle energy food for our whole beings which supports ongoing holistic health both spiritually and physically.  Like a tuning fork, the sounds moving through our beings realign us with cosmic forces, and reintegrate our fractured selves to promote vitality throughout us.

Episcopal priest and author Cynthia Bourgeault recounts a tale of monks in a French monastery in her book, The Wisdom Way of Knowing, who were once told to suspend their regular practice of daily Gregorian chant in order that they might have time for more productive pursuits.  Shortly after, one by one, they fell sick with an ongoing, mysterious illness the resident physician could not understand.  Finally a visiting physician learned of their suspension of chanting as the biggest recent change to their routines, and directed the abbot to reinstate it immediately.  As soon as he did, the monks began to recover and heal.  The resonance of sacred sound moving through us as we sing or chant with presence and centeredness fosters integration within us, and cultivates physical as well as spiritual health and well-being, just as does nourishing food, clean water, and fresh air.  Ms. Bourgeault tells us, “What meditation accomplishes in silence, chanting accomplishes in sound: it wakes up the emotional center and sets it vibrating to the frequency of love and adoration while feeding the body with that mysterious higher “being food” of divine life.”  Divine in this case refers to that which encourages us to serve Life rather than our personal egos, that which calls to and fosters our greater selves in connection with all beings.

Seat yourself comfortably now, and light your first and second small candles.  Ring your bell and intone, “BREEEEEEE—-ZHUUUUUHHH.”

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.”

Our walk to the shrine of Brighid the Healer will take us to Brighid’s healing well in Cill Dara, Éire, or Kildare, Ireland, seat of Her Perpetual Flame.  Here is a video of a quiet walk around the grounds there, leading to the Round Well.  Along the way, part-way into it, you will see a straight path of several upright stones in grass leading to this well.  It is traditional to stop and pray at each of these, as in a sacred pilgrimage, on the way to the well.  The film-maker doesn’t pause at them, but does walk slowly.  At each one, you are invited to recite a line from this adapted traditional prayer from Iona, to settle yourself in peace.  Settling into, and abiding in peace also cultivates the holistic healing of integration and whole-ing, by bringing the scattered energies of our selves back to centered Presence.  Recite these five lines at each of the five stones as you see them, or pause the video at each for a longer moment:

Deep peace of the running wave be with us;
Deep peace of the flowing air be with us;
Deep peace of the quiet earth be with us;
Deep peace of the warm sun be with us;
Deep peace of Brighid the Healer be with us.

Upon arrival at the Round Well, as the camera peers down inside it, observe how the Well is the meeting place in this plane of the nourishing underworld and the vitalizing heavens as water rises up, and sunlight shines down.  Similarly, within us, in the framework of the Irish inner Cauldrons, the Cauldron of Vocation in our rib-cage/heart center is the meeting place of the rising bodily/earthly energy of the Cauldron of Warming in our pelvic center, and the shining down of the spiritual/stellar energy of the Cauldron of Knowledge in our cranial center. When cosmically connected and integrated, the soul knows its true vocation is to serve Life, to bring healing everywhere.  Envision taking a cool drink from this well at this moment of the video, and feel it refreshing and integrating your whole being.

Click on this link to take the Well-walk:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4lV7Yr_-NY&feature=youtu.be

brigids-round-well-kildare

Now centered in peaceful Presence, let us share sacred song.  This song, Lady of the Flowing Waters, sings of the goddess of all life, reminding us of both Brighid’s presence in the healing well, and Her return as the growing and strengthening sun to the land at Imbolc to re-vitalize all beings.  Here are the lyrics:

Lady of the shining star
Lady of the moon light
Lady of the dew wet dawn
Lady of the twilight

[Chorus:] The goddess is in everything
In every form of nature
The goddess is in everything
In every form of beauty

Lady of the flowing waters
Lady of the mountain
Lady of the flowering meadows
Lady of the forest

[Chorus:] The goddess is in everything
In every form of nature
The goddess is in everything
In every form of beauty

Follow this link to the song, and focus on the feeling of your voice resonating through your whole being, bringing you integration, wholeness, healing.  Listen and sing as many times as you feel called to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bmf7uIor_MQ

When you finish, abide quietly awhile in the resonance your voice produced, to allow your whole being to luxuriate in, and fully absorb its energy.  Contemplate these questions:

What is true healing?

What does my soul need at this time to bring it to wholeness?

What does the world need at this time to bring it to wholeness?

How does Brighid inspire me to work towards wholeness both within myself and in the world?

How is the power of wholeness healing?

As you finish your meditation, either allow your candles to burn themselves out, or extinguish them.  As you put out the flames, or walk away as they burn down, take them into your heart and bring them with you throughout your day, and recall them each morning as you rise, asking Brighid to guide you this week in seeking, practicing, and fostering integrating/whole-ing/healing in your everyday life, and through your own process of spiritually healing, serving all Life.

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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6 thoughts on “Imbolc Advent 2017: Second Sunday

  1. Hello,Erin, I like to have a practice to be comfortable with details before a guided contemplation and notice that the link to the well walk video connects to a YouTube of Lucy Cavendish speaking at the well instead of a quiet approach to Brighid’s well. Is this the link we should be using: https://youtu.be/e4lV7Yr_-NY ? (Brighid’s Well-Kildare, posted by Tracy Kelly). Looking forward to this ceremony this evening. Blessed Be. Kind Regards, Mary Sent from my iPad

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    • Mary, you are quite right, thank you for catching this oversight, apologies to all my readers! I had been previewing several videos, and managed to select the wrong link. I have made the correction in the post. Brighid Bless!

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    • Julie, I inadvertently posted an incorrect link, thank you for contacting me. The link has now been updated to the correct one. Apologies for the oversight! I do try to be so careful, and feel badly for this slip-up. Hopefully the experience will be much improved now, and as it was intended to be.

      Liked by 1 person

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