I am very pleased to share a guest blog with you from the lovely Mael Brigde...
Brigit, Calming Troubled Waters
One of the most joyful sacred acts I perform is writing poetry to, for, and about Brigit. Reading the poems again can bring me back to those moments of creative union, times when I feel closest to her, and completely calm. Remembering, I draw close to her again, I recover some of that calm-filled joy.
I had a Brigit-related project a while back that took me well outside of my comfort zone. To complete it, I had to teach myself how to use various digital tools (not my natural hunting grounds) and ask for both help and attention in ways that are quite uncomfortable for me. As a result, I had an ongoing low-grade anxiety about the project that made it difficult to sit down and actually work on it. I would do it, but I had to arrange things just so in order to keep the anxiety low enough that I could get anything done.
One day I was physically unwell, in addition to my pre-existing anxiety, and was in a fair amount of pain. But I needed to do this work. The day was slipping by and my stress was mounting. Altogether, it was a poor set-up for focussing on work, and I was starting to despair. With a deadline on the horizon, I had to be able to keep going with this. So I turned to Brigit.
I went to my main Brigit altar. I knew I had to balance what might help calm me with what might make me more anxious: spending time with her is very quieting, and my perspective when I leave the altar after a good sit is always improved. But if I spent too long there it would backfire, leaving me nervous about the passing time. So I cut my daily devotions down to the first two prayers, and then I opened the advance reading copy of my book and read her a poem. It was “Divine Cow.”
Usually, I just read the day’s poem once, but the worry was making it hard to concentrate. So I read it again, really trying to pay attention. Better, but there were still patches of the moment missing from my memory. I read it one more time. This time, I could begin to feel connected to the poem, to the question I was asking her in it and the atmosphere the words evoked. A small feeling of relief began to steal over me.
Afterward, I pressed play on an app I had set up to sound a meditation bell every two minutes. With each sound of the bell, I would gather my wandering thoughts to the sound and to my breathing, and to the presence of Brigit, to whom my efforts were dedicated, watching over me. I found myself feeling gradually more grounded. After a few sounds of the bell, I was calm enough to try working. I put my flame-tending candle on a cabinet a metre or so to my right; it gave just enough flickering light to keep me unconsciously aware that she was there with me, and I with her. I left the app running for three hours as I worked. No longer aware of my anxiety, I had my share of difficulties as I went ahead. Physical pain and discomfort. Problems with the software. Lapses in memory as I went from one thing to another on the computer screen. But those things weren’t insurmountable obstacles. I was working, and I was honouring her, and she was aiding me.
luminous white the cow who nursed you
when taken from your mother’s breast
ears of silken red eyes of warm pitch
called from the Land of Youth
by the clear-sighted druid
the sweet cow’s milk the only food
you could endure
was the land below his dwelling
alive with crying mists
as she trod the hillside’s quickened flanks
had the sidhe-mound quivered with new light
when you dropped to the druid’s threshold
your mother’s knees resounding
one on rush-strewn floor
one on naked earth without
did the cow then lift her large
and thoughtful ears
so far away and listen for your cry
Go raibh céad míle maith agat, a Bhríde!
Blessings of Brigit on us all.
Mael Brigde is the founder of the Brigidine flame-tending group, Daughters of the Flame. She publishes two Brigit blogs, Brigit’s Sparkling Flame (general interest) and Stone on the Belly (poetry). Her Brigit classes are available through the Mystery School of the Goddess, and her book A Brigit of Ireland Devotional – Sun Among Stars will be released by Moon Books on 1 September 2021.
Note: The link to “Divine Cow” on my Brigit poetry blog: https://stonebelly.blogspot.com/2017/11/divine-cow-by-mael-brigde.html