Imbolc Advent 2017: Fourth Sunday

advent-fourth-day

Welcome to the Fourth Sunday of Imbolc Advent.  We resume our forest walk together now to the final shrine on the path to the Well, the shrine of Brighid the Smith.

Brighid the Smith , the third of the triad of sister goddesses glossed by Cormac in 10th century Ireland, along with Brighid the Poet and Brighid the Healer, is honored today variably as the fire of the transforming forge, the smith who fashions and creates, She who shapes our souls, and the Starsmith of the Heavens.  The Irish film about Brighid which I shared in the first week’s addendum post talked about Brighid the Smith as a kenning for the creative Earth, which forges and shapes all life. She was also discussed as a bringer of civilization by way of one of Her first forge creations– the cauldron.  Forged from metals mined from deep within the land, they are transformed by fire into a vessel which itself affects transformation, that of raw food to cooked, fresh herbs into healing brews.  In this way, there is a mirroring of the patterns of creation and transformation, from the original cauldron of the Earth which transforms the seed into plants for consumption, to the forge’s fire which transforms raw ore into the cauldron, to the cauldron itself which then transforms the harvested grains and vegetables into nourishment.

cauldron-on-hearth

The transforming fire of the forge itself mirrors the transforming fire of the Cosmos in the form of stars, many of which go through cycles of formation, growth, and explosion, thus creating fresh gas clouds from which new stars are formed.  The Cosmic forge has its twin in the Earthly forge of its fiery core.  The forge of the smith mirrors both Cosmic and Earthly forges, all three being forces of Creation.  It is this great power which Brighid the Smith puts us in touch with.  As Life is forged and created anew within the cauldron of the land, we are all brought close to this energy, which can move and manifest through each of us as well.  As we dance with this great power, we may then channel its creativity in unique ways which can bring nourishment to all Life, as does Brighid Herself.

brighid-smith

(Art by Joanna Powell Colbert)

Seat yourself comfortably now, and light all four of your 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.”

Slowly, and with full presence, read aloud this prayer-poem:

Forging Finer Metal
Barbara Ardinger

Bright Blessed Lady,  source of the craftsman’s fire–
shoot your holy flame into my hands
into my heart
into my eyes and ears.
Bless me with your light.
I want to work in your forge,
I want to dance and sing for you,
and so I pray to you.
I want to forge finer metal to shine like you.
I want to bear my opening heart into a world that must be healed,
a word whose light, like yours, has been put out.
I want to find the flames of your wisdom
in myself.
Bright Blessed Lady, assign me to work in your forge
so that every bit of gold and good in me
rises up
to the magic.
Make me taller. stronger, keener,
make me a finer metal
so that I can defend you from those who would put out your light
again.

This week, I’d like to invite you to engage the rising creative energies of the awakening land by getting out onto it yourself, and letting it move you through building earth mandalas on the land.  These may be simple offerings:

earth-mandala-brigids-cross

or more involved, which might even include your advent candles:

earth-mandala-brigids-cross-in-circle

The challenge will of course be to use what your seasonal and regional landscape provides you with, and listen for their whispers to inspire you to shape them into an offering of sacred art.

For those unable to get out or create such art in their landscapes, climates, or weather, you are invited to print out and color this Celtic mandala featuring Brighid’s solar cross and Her Fire of Creativity:
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/15/0e/7c/150e7c09ba989a28133210ce78c10eec.jpg

mandala-brigids-cross-coloring

This contemplative playlist on youtube called “When Spring returns,” featuring music of the harp, can accompany your sacred creative work:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_21MhFIP9k

As you listen and create, contemplate what sacred creations you might offer to nourish Life throughout the coming year…

How does the power of creativity manifest in me?
How are our souls close to the power and point of universal creativity?
What is Brighid inspiring me to create at this time?
How does the power of creativity nourish the world?
How does what I am inspired to create nourish Life?

As we edge closer to Brighid’s return to the land, we come closer to Her vast creative power, ever-present in the Cosmos, and awakening again in the Earth and our souls.

brigid-cauldron-flame-us-wu77090a4-a

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

In a few days, I will share a contemplative Imbolc ceremony for welcoming Brighid back to the land, and inviting Her into your hearth and heart.

Sources:

Prayer-poem, Forging Finer Metal from Goddess Ink’s anthology, Brigit: Sun of Womanhood

Brigid statue from Goddessgift.net, will be available for purchase early February (and I want one!):
https://www.goddessgift.net/page48.html

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