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Posts Tagged ‘Brighid’

Brighid mirnda gray
 Image by Miranda Gray

Imbolc is just a few weeks away and many use this Sabbat as a celebration of Brighid, the Goddess of Flame and Creativity. This turning of the Greater Wheel moves us towards a place of newness and the quickening of what was brought to light at Yule, the Winter Solstice. We stand at the mid-mark between the act of revealing (Winter Solstice) the fertility that lay dormant from the triple harvest and the action of sowing and planting (Spring Equinox) what we hope will prove viable and grow to its fullest potential. This is the time of quickening and enlivening the hidden seeds of transition and preparation of what will wither and die and what will germinate a become viable product.

Our coven, Oak and Willow of the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel Tradition, uses Imbolc to focus on the Celtic Goddess, Brighid. We craft candles, infusing them with her healing properties. We make oath and re-dedicate to our Coven and Tradition that the quickening of our minds and hearts awaken what can blossom in the months ahead. And, we call upon her creativity to inspire us as we move forward towards the next turn of the Wheel. This year we will call forth the Goddess as Warrior and wielder of the healing sword. The pathworking below is excerpted from:

A Year and a Day on the Wiccan Path
Sabbats- Imbolc

 The Smith’s Blade

Take a few deep breaths and allow your consciousness to settle at the space of the third eye. Turn your attention within and see on this inner landscape a blank screen and allow yourself to be drawn towards it. As you focus on this space you become aware of a small mist of indigo blue energy forming in front and around you. The particles are very small and the energy is both uplifting and relaxing as it encircles you. Take a few deep breaths and step through this veil.

As you emerge, you find yourself standing outside what appears to be a blacksmith’s shoppe. You can hear the rhythmic clanging of a hammer and smell the fires from the forge. It is evening and all is dark around you save for the light glowing from within and shimmering through slats of a wooden building. You step forward towards the open entryway and stand quietly observing a wiry built man bent over and working deftly as the glimmer of unpolished metal flashes.

Repetitively and with great precision, he places the unshaped metal into the forge, heating it and then pulling it out to the edge of the table, gently hammering it into the desired shape or at times simply allowing the red glow to cool before it is placed once again in the hot flames. This occurs for several times and with each heating and hammering, the metal takes on more of the shape of the blade.

He looks carefully at what has been crafted and satisfied that this process is finished, he gently wraps the blade and places it aside allowing it to cool completely. He pulls from the space in which he placed the cooling blade another wrapped item and as he unwraps it you see that this is a blade that had been crafted a day earlier.

He steps over to the grinder and begins to sharpen and finely hone the edges and point of the blade. You notice that this blade seems to glow and has a certain shine to it already, although it is not polished. You feel drawn to it, but remain standing in the doorway, hoping that you will remain unnoticed. He looks carefully at the edges and then plunges the sword into the heat of the flaming forge. Quickly the glowing red blade is retrieved and plunged into a water bath to speed the cooling and hardening process. Again the blade is tempered by heat and water and you think on the process of emotion and will and the need for the correct balance of each to be in place to make for supple yet strong action and purposeful will.

You see the Smith smiling as he lifts the blade upwards, knowingly and assured that it will have a certain amount of flexibility yet still retain its sharp edge. Now the sword is ready for completion. He selects the necessary parts of pommel, guard and hilt and with skill assembles all precisely and artistically. The sword is now complete and he lifts his gaze, staring directly at you, beckoning you to come towards him.

You are ready to speak, but he lifts a finger to his lips indicating for you to be silent and to follow behind him as he brushes past you. He steps outside and you turn towards him, both of you facing a sky that is now colored with the rising of the morning sun. He lifts the blade upward and it shines brightly as the first fiery rays of sunlight stream across it. The brilliance of its reflection expands and for a moment you close your eyes, the intensity is so great. You open them and see that the blacksmith is gone and hovering mid-air the sword glows red and pulses with heat that seems to course through you. The flaming glow fills the space and from its center the blade elongates and transforms into a woman of great beauty and flaming red hair. Her eyes glow like sunlit embers of flame and you bow in homage to the Goddess, Brighid. As she approaches you feel the power and strength of Her presence. You see that she carries the sword that you witnessed being crafted and you feel a gentleness about Her that offers you comfort as to how this Divine sword might be used. She has come as the healing sword to offer her many gifts if you ready for her transformative energy.

You approach and kneeling before her you speak of what needs healing and transformation. Each word spiraling up and out like wisps of smoke heated and released by her power. You surrender to her all your doubts and fears and one by one each is dissected and removed from your being leaving you feeling light and unencumbered. When you have finished offering all that has troubled you, she bids you to look upwards and as she lifts her fiery blade warm droplets of healing water shower down about you. Compassion and warmth envelope you and you are held in the embrace of the Goddess as she quickens and enlivens you. Rest in this state for as long as is needed.

When you have received all that is needed at this time, you gently rise and offer up gratitude to the Goddess for the blessings she has given. As these thankful thoughts quicken in your mind and move easily from your lips, you begin to step backwards, as flames begin to rise where Brighid was standing. They reach upwards like strands of red hair caught in a breeze and give the appearance of flickering with shades of emerald green and flashes of silvery metal. You stand taking in the beauty of the sight and the warmth of its heat and the knowledge that you have been transformed by the Goddess, Herself.

The flames gently dwindle and fade and in their place is the smith holding the sword of the Goddess. He walks towards you and gently places it in your hand, softly telling you that it had been crafted for you. He tells you that the gift of the healing sword is given to those who will use it wisely and courageously. And, that the Goddess who offers this gift is always near at hand, ready to inspire and offer her healing so that you may thrive and grow as Her Divine Child.

You take a deep breath in and close your eyes, holding the sword tightly to your breast and as you exhale and open your eyes, you see that your awareness has returned to that of observing the blank inner screen of your consciousness. You take a few deep breaths in and with each exhalation your awareness settles back into the space of your physical being and space surrounding you. You gently flutter your eyes open and look around at your surroundings with keener sight and the knowledge that you carry the healing blade within.

So Mote It Be!

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Xochiquetzal

The post for this week prompted me to look beyond the pantheons that I normally work with and brought me to a Deity of the Aztecs. Xochiquetzal is a Goddess of love, beauty, sex, fertility and protector of women and mothers, pregnancy and the crafts of women such as weaving. Unlike many ofthe Aztec Goddesses who are assigned to the agricultural responsibilities only, she embodies life itself and all of the pleasures, excesses and enjoyment of physical expression. Her archetypal energy is echoed in the more familiar goddesses of Hathor, Brighid, Aphrodite and Parvati.

Xochiquetzal’s  name itself is a composite of two words – xochitl (flower) and quetzalli (feather or precious feather) and when combined means precious flower feather or maiden. She is closely tied to vegetation and butterflies and flowers follow her in honor.  A festival that was held every eight years in honor of Xochiquetzal was highlighted by the maidens wearing animal and flower masks.

She is depicted as a youthful and attractive woman, fully aware of her power of seduction and the potential of that power to be prone to excess. It is for this reason that unlike many of the deities she is depicted wearing fine garments and adorned with luxurious regalia as symbol of the sexual power of youth.

377px-Lombards_Museum_163

Her twin brother is the flower prince,  Xochipilli. Similarly his kingdom was one of painting, dance and music and the beauty of the natural world. Together, they are the masculine and feminine energies that flowed through the Aztec people embracing their human qualities fully and aligning them with the beauty of their natural world devoid of the worries and concerns normally befalling an ancient society. These Deities and celebrations of them offered respite from the hard work that typified their existence. 

I always find it interesting to learn more about another Deity from a lesser known pantheon. The treasure hunt continues on making the connections to those deities and pantheons I do know and comparing the cultural and societal differences that arise.  In meditating on Xochiquetzal’s energies the raw experience of that energy and the strong currents of the feminine polarity and gender were quite profound in their simplicity.

The raw power was that of dipping deeply into that well spring of first aroused sexuality; the first experience that seems to validate your place in this cycle of living creative power and the opening of youthful eyes to the beauty and fertility of life that surrounds you at every turn.  You see every thing from a different perspective and experience the pleasures of day to day living with heightened awareness and sensitivity.

I would imagine that this is the same flow of energetic current that sustained and upheld the hard work ad at times harsh conditions of the ancient peoples. This spring of youthful pleasure and the affirmation of their place in a greater cycle of continuum that was life itself.  Every so often its good to take a side trip down a road you’ve not been and open to the experience of another pantheon or another way of experiencing the Gods and Goddesses. What you may find is a reawakening to the vibrancy you once felt when coming upon what currently sustains your practice.

Pictures:
Xochiquetzal: From the Codex Borgia
Xochipilli. Statue from the Lombards Museum

Resources:
The Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia Mythica

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