Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Review by Morgan Daimler of Stepping Into Brigit (A Course by Mael Brigde)


I was delighted to discover this review on my Facebook feed today. Morgan Daimler (Pagan Portals: Brigid, among others) reviews the second of my online Brigit courses. (The first is Discovering Brigit. If you do that one, at the end you will find a coupon for Stepping Into Brigit which essentially reimburses $13 of the $15 you spent to take DB.)

This review is from Living LiminallyReflections on Reconstructionist Polytheism, devotion to the Déithe and an-déithe, and living Paganism in a modern world

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TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2016
  Many people are familiar with my dedication to the Morrigan but what may not be as widely known is my love of Brighid. It is, by its nature, a different sort of love, but it is just as much a presence in my life in its own way. So when I was asked to help Beta test* a new course 'Stepping Into Brigit' designed for people interested in Brighid to learn about and connect to her I jumped at the chance.




The course is set up as an 11 module course, with each module containing multiple lessons, and is meant to be done - ideally - over a month. With roughly 38 overall lessons to complete (course surveys excluded) one would need to either decide to do one or more lessons a day or set aside time every few days to do a full module in order to finish in a month. What I liked about the set up though is the learning is self paced, so that you can choose to it at whatever speed you like and in whatever fashion works best for you. I took the 'chunky' approach myself and did a full module at a go because that was what worked best with my schedule, although other people may find a slower spacing better.


Each lesson is fairly thorough but also brief. At some points I felt perhaps a bit too brief, but the idea was to take time with each one and contemplate it, write down thoughts and reflections on the material, and really process it, rather than rushing through to get to the next one. They often included outside recommended reading or references to follow up, such as the Story Archaeology's entry on discussing her which should take some time to do. With that in mind the size of each lesson is pretty good, and it really was designed to encourage engagement from the student. I also like the use of mixed media throughout the course which used text, images, videos, and audio clips.

The material looks at Brighid in a holistic manner including both the pagan Goddess as well as the Christian saint, and while I didn't feel the same engagement with the material relating to the saint that reflects more of my own bias than any flaw in the course. It certainly was the most well-rounded view I think I've seen and I can't fault it's fairness in giving an equal voice to all sides. the material is generally presented without any favoring of one opinion over another and with clear citation of sources, allowing a student to draw their own conclusions for the most part about the very complex subject of Brighid pagan roots and Christian history.

Speaking of sources, I really did like the way the course offered a lot of quotes directly from source material. I think often this is the best way to let a student contemplate the original material without the filter of an author's opinion. I also like the amount of poetry included and the way that allowed me, as a student, to experience the material without overthinking it and to appreciate the beauty of the ideas presented. I also liked the option of entering feedback after each lesson, to share personal experiences or thoughts. I did feel there was a lack of more directed exercises beyond the journaling being encouraged, but I acknowledge that not all students want to feel like they have written homework to complete. The overall feel of the course was contemplative and engaging without being tedious or excessively 'school-like' in its feel, which I think will have a wide appeal to modern adult spiritual seekers.

There are many people out there interested in Brighid and many seeking classes or courses online to help them better connect to spiritual things of interest. For those looking to learn about and connect to Brighid I think this course would be a good option, if you find that online courses are generally a good option for you. As with any such course it requires a person to be self-motivated to do the lessons, and to incorporate the material in a practical manner. However for someone who has the desire to truly make use of what this course is offering I think a great deal of valuable knowledge can be gained here.


*to be clear - I was asked to Beta test the course by its creator, but this review is being offered by me freely and without any compensation. As far as I am aware I was asked to help test the course in part because of the book I had written on Brighid and my knowledge of Her, and in the interest of transparency my book Pagan Portals Brigid is recommended reading for this course. However I would not and will not endorse nor recommend anything I do not genuinely see value in and my opinions offered here are honest; had I not seen value in the course on its own merits I would simply not have reviewed it. 
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ABOUT Morgan
My name is Morgan Daimler. I have been a witch since 1991, an Irish reconstructionist since about 1994, and heathen since 2006; I also practice seidhr. I love studying other paths and other ways of doing things and I enjoy discussing religion, philosophy and spirituality with people from diverse paths. I am a Druid in the CR Druid group the Order of the White Oak, as well as a member of ADF. I try to stay active in the pagan community and am always interested in hearing about how other people are doing things. I have had my poetry and prose published in different places including eight anthologies, Circle magazine, as well as Witches and Pagans magazine. I am the author of the book By Land, Sea, and Sky, the children's book a Child's Eye View of the Fairy Faith which is published through Spero Publishing, and through Moon Books: Where the Hawthorn Grows, Fairy Witchcraft, Pagan Portals: the Morrigan, Pagan Portals: Irish Paganism, and the forthcoming Pagan Portals: Brigid. I also have a self published urban fantasy/paranormal romance series, Between the Worlds.


Sunday, November 13, 2016

“Là Fhèill Brìghde”, by Annie Loughlin


Tairis

Check out Annie Loughlin's article “Là Fhèill Brìghde” on her site Tairis: A Gaelic Polytheist Website.

Annie is a careful researcher and clear writer, who, bless her heart, graces her site with footnotes. She is also writing from a Scottish perspective, though of course she covers the Irish material as well.

I'll tantalize you with her opening:

Throughout the Gaelic world Brìde is one of the most popular saints, and is commonly known as the foster-mother of Christ and midwife of Mary. An apocryphal tale tells of how Brìde was in Bethlehem at the time of Christ’s birth. She answered a knock on the door and found Mary and Joseph looking for a place to stay, but was forced to turn them away. Before they left, however, she gave them water and some of her own bannock, seeing that they had had a long journey. Once they had left, Brìde turned round to find the bannock miraculously whole and the stoup of water full again. Knowing something out of the ordinary was happening, Brìde went looking for the couple and, seeing a strange star in the sky, followed it and found them in the stable, where Mary was about to give birth. Full of compassion, Brìde went to Mary’s aid and helped deliver her child.1
It is because of the events in this tale that Brìde is given the day before Candlemas as her own festival. Candlemas celebrates the ritual purification of Mary after giving birth, since Mary was said to be so grateful to her for her help. In parts of Ireland, it is said that Brìde helped distract the crowd present when Mary brought Jesus to the temple by parading ahead of Mary wearing a headdress of lighted candles, and it was because of this that Mary decreed that Bride should have a festival dedicated to her on the day before Mary’s own.2
There is often some confusion over the dating of Là Fhèill Brìghde, which is often given the same date as the Christian festival of Candlemas, on February 2. However, bearing in mind the tradition of Brìde being Mary’s midwife, Là Fhèill Brìghde actually falls on February 1 (or February 13, Old Style) the day before Candlemas. Candlemas and Là Fhèill Brìghde are therefore not the same festivals.
Now! Off with you to her website to read the full text.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Fund-Raiser for Brigit Music Research by Amy Panetta



Back in 2006, I was completely inspired by the story of Brigid, who is a pre-Christian goddess and saint, and a remarkable figure important to Irish culture and Celtic heritage.  I was going through a time in my life when it seemed that Brigid revealed herself to me through a very interesting series of synchronicities.  I was so taken by her that I read as much as I could about her, and ended up going to Ireland in 2008 for my own pilgrimage.  I was still enraptured by her story long after I returned to the US.  Brigid and the beautiful emerald Isle of Ireland was calling to me, so much so that I took a year-long break from teaching music to study ethnomusicology at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick in Ireland.  My masters thesis was entitled: The Feminine Face of God: Spiritual Vocal Music Dedicated to the Pre-Christian Celtic Goddess and Irish Saint, which discussed the phenomenon since the early 1990s, of songs being written dedicated to Brigid.  I was able to go to her week-long festival around her feast day on February 1st 2010 called the Féile Bríde, to participate and sing songs in the candlelit ritual on Brigid's Eve and attend all of the events dedicated to her that week, including lectures, concerts, and a peace and justice conference.  Since graduating with my masters degree, I have been giving classes to a variety of different types of groups, such as adults, fellow faculty members, and students, about who Brigid is and the songs written about her.  I continue to do academic research and have submitted proposals to speak at conferences.     

I am running this indiegogo campaign, starting on All Souls' Day, November 1, 2016 and ending on Winter Solstice, December 21, 2016, because I intend to raise funds for a research trip to Ireland for the 2017 Féile Bríde festival in Kildare, Ireland.  

By going to this festival, it will help me to continue to do research about songwriters and the songs they write about Brigid.  In addition, this trip will help me to continue to share the beautiful story of Brigid as pre-Christian Goddess and Saint that has already touched the lives, captured the imagination of so many people, and is so important to Irish and Celtic culture and heritage.   

How will my trip benefit others?

  • I will provide information through articles I publish to my own research blog that can be accessible by all people with internet access, as well as in future academic journal articles.  
  • The information gained will be used in the classes and professional lectures that I give about Brigid.
  • This trip will help inspire me to compose my own songs dedicated to Brigid in a songbook that will be due out by February 1st, 2018!  I want to provide others with songs dedicated to Brigid to provide music for individuals and groups to use in their own spiritual practices. 
  • Some proceeds from this campaign will be given directly to the Brigidine order of sisters in Kildare to continue to support the hermitage that they just built and finished, as well as their great work of hosting pilgrimages, events, and promoting peace, justice, generosity, and compassion, as well as Irish and Celtic heritage.  
 I thank you so much for your help in this project!  It is my dear intention that this project will inspire a new connection for both you and I!  I am excited to announce that there are several donation levels and rewards that are currently offered that will provide something of value to you, such as classes, academic lectures, and other things!  Check back often to see new rewards offered.  If you are interested in a class, they can be arranged for February or another month that works for both of our schedules.  

Please visit http://worldspiritmusic.wordpress.com for more information.

Click here to get to Amy's fundraising page.

What is Generosity? 
Read our mission statement.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Two New Brigit Courses (with Mael Brigde)


I can't believe I forgot to post these here! I have launched two courses on Brigit with Goddess Ink and the Mystery School of the Goddess. The first is a brief introduction which lays the groundwork for the second, a thirty day activation course. Next year I plan to launch a longer immersion course as well.

Something you might want to know before signing up: Discovering Brigit (the intro) is $15 US, but if you follow the link at the end of the course to sign up for Stepping Into Brigit you will receive a discount of $13. Not a bad deal.




It was very rewarding putting these courses together, despite this being a difficult year in other ways. Returning over and over to Brigit and her lore and traditions in the midst of loss gave me sustenance and joy. Now I get to share those efforts with others; a real blessing.

Mael Brigde

(Click below for more details on the courses.)


Monday, October 31, 2016

Oh, Dear. Sacred Beer.


Everybody loves the prayer attributed to Saint Brigit about serving ale to Jesus and his crew. I love it. But maybe this new product is going a tad too far. (AND it is an odd "translation". Although, who knows, maybe they had a different original than the one I'm familiar with. To be fair.) But I bet I will be in the minority on this one. Even sober I can't help cracking a bit of a smile at it.



That is:

I’d like to give
A lake of beer to God.
I’d love the Heavenly
Host to be tippling there
For all eternity.
I’d sit with the men,
The women of God
There by the lake of beer.
We’d be drinking
Good health forever
And every drop
Would be a prayer.


And now the "real" translation. (Of course, I have not read the Old Irish, myself, so what do I know?)


Aengus Cèile Dè

I should like a great lake of ale
For the king of kings;
I should like the family of heaven
To be drinking it through time eternal.”


                             (8th century)



Translation found in Beith, M., (1995) Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Thanks to Morgan Daimler, Pagan Portals: Brighid for this.


***

If you would like to purchase, or simply gawp at, this plaque, go to The Catholic Company site:


Product Description

  •     Creative tin sign themed for Ireland's faith and drink of choice 
  •     Original gift idea
  •     Easy to feature in a den or office 
  •     Features poem by St. Brigid, Patroness of Ireland 
  •     Exclusive to The Catholic Company
  •    Item #: 9850126
  •    Price: $16.95

Details

How about an aluminum sign that instantly enhances the character of a room? This one rouses authentic faith and good spirits.
Saint Brigid's timeless words are captured on a Guinness-inspired pint, and set against a map that traces the geography of Ireland's roving hills.
The size makes it easy to feature in home or office, and has layers of rich meaning and substance every bit as cool as St. Brigid herself.

Dimensions & Specifications


  •     8" (W) x 12" (L)
  •     2 side holes for easy hanging 
  •     Material: Aluminum



Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Review: Legacy of Druids - Conversations with Druid leaders of Britain, the USA and Canada, past and present by Ellen Evert Hopman



Review of Legacy ofDruids: Conversations with Druid leaders of Britain, the USA and Canada, pastand present by Ellen Evert Hopman (2016) Moon Books.

  • Paperback £14.99 || $25.95Apr 29, 2016
    978-1-78535-135-8

  • e-book £6.99 || $9.99Apr 29, 2016
    978-1-78535-136-5





Full disclosure: I was, to my amazement then and now, interviewed for this book. That is not why I like it, though I confess it is why I wanted to read it in the first place.

Why Review Legacy of Druids on Brigit’s Sparkling Flame?
I wouldn’t normally review a book like this on BSF as it isn’t actually about Brigit. However, there are two reasons to:

1) it contains an early interview of me (September 3, 1996) which discusses my own spiritual path, and of course that involves the origin of the Daughters of the Flame in 1993 and its workings till 1996 (pp 29-39).

2) More generally, it is fascinating from a historical perspective for Neo-Pagans generally, particularly but not exclusively those who identify as Druids or follow a Celtic-based path. Many Brigidines of course are in that number.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Cartimandua and Brigit


The key paragraph here, where Koch and Carey suggest that Brigit and Briganti are correspondents, and that Brigit arose from Brigantes in the Kildare area, and even that she had a "mortal high priestess" there is all speculation, unproven and as far as I know unsupported, but this does help explain why so many people assume it to be true.

from The Celtic Heroic Age by Koch and Carey, 4th edition, 2003.