Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ode to Brighid

Ode to Brighid

Like the sound of a butterfly's wings she descends upon the snow covered forest. A nebulous presence filled with the essence of a wildflower rising in the early morning sun. Birds begin to sing as they greet her radiant arrival. Her skin glistens like the surface of an ice laden pond whose surface is gently caressed by the rays of the midnight moon.
The violent winter winds become mere wisps of cool breath as she passes by. A lone hawk, circling above high in the sky, gives a thunderous shriek. The gleam emitting from his yellow eyes, reveals an expression of heartfelt joy. For far below, it is Brighid who meanders amongst the silent panorama of this sacred forest.
Herds of deer gather in her wake to absorb the crescendos of heat emitting from her beating heart.
It is the time for our Sacred Mother, Brighid to stroll forth out of the heavenly mists. As she steps out of the dark shroud of the mysteries she casts about the rays of brilliant light that herald the coming of Spring.
For it is Brighid, she who represents the sacred torch, that brings life to bear in a world beset with darkness.
Dark hooded crows line her route as if they were wary sentinels. They are creatures of the netherworld who accompany their queen on her journey through this realm. And such are masters of magick, who bow low before their beloved Goddess.
For they know that it is our mother Brighid, who is the epitome of such ancient wisdom.
Suddenly, in the cold winter morn, the tap, tap, tap of tiny hammers can be heard echoing across the land. Deep within the earth beneath her feet, the woodland dwarfs are hard at work. They are anxiously laboring to create a splendid gift for their beloved matron. Such magnificent artisans give honor to Brighid by way of their superb craftsmanship. For it is the radiant Brighid, who it is that represents the aspect of Blacksmithing and her children who live in the depths of the earth know this well. And so they clamor about with a song in their souls, seeking to create the perfect gift for she who inspires them so.
As she walks along, a gaggle of geese fly by overhead heralding her presence to all far and near. And then from a strand of oaks steps out a gray bearded Druid who begins to recite long forgotten odes.
His words are like living sounds dancing about in the crisp morning chill. For behold, it can be none other then Taliesin himself, he who is the Arch Druid of old. As he serenades his queen, the brown sheathed reeds off to the side of the path begin to sway to and fro.
His eloquent words describe a world of Gods and magick engaged in tremendous battle. His is a sad tale of life and death which for a brief moment, brings a tear to the lovely Brighid's eye.
As she listens to the words of the bard, she relives the passing of her own son, Ruadan. It was from the death of her son which came the first keening, Brighid's own lament, and that was heard across the land.
As Taliesin continues to weave his tale, he recounts the heroic events and the rebirth of life which followed such an epic saga. And Brighid once again begins to smile.
For health and the birth of life are also aspects of our Sacred Mother.
About then a huge horned owl goes gliding by his w ings spread wide in all their glory as he gently lands on Brighid's shoulder.
She stops and after a short pause she begins to speak to the owl.
Go forth my winged friend she says and carry my words to all who would listen.
And these are the words she spoke aloud.
Hope is a seed often borne out of despair. For without the dark there can be no light, for each keeps the other in balance.
From the throes of death come the stirrings of life. And such balance is the essence of true magick.
Know that as the Wheel of Knowledge turns, so shall the Great Mysteries of life reveal themselves to those who seek such ancient wisdom.
And with that the great horned owl took to the skies to spread the word far and wide.
And with that the mists began to rise all about Brighid as she raised her arm and gave her blessings to the world about. An instant later she was gone and a lone sparrow stood singing where she was just a moment before...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Great Escape

With the advent of the Roman New Years, certain thoughts have gathered in my mind. Why is it that we as a species constantly seek to alter our state of consciousness? Every single day there are literally billions of folks, who engage in activities which is intended to alter the sense of reality that we are introduced into from birth. What is it that we are trying to escape from? Can it be the behavior that we as humans have introduced into this world, a behavior that we accept as natural? Or is the mystery of life to become cognizant of such activities and to find a higher sense of truth?
We as a species engage in this activity of escape through a wide variety of ways. This may be through alcohol in its many forms and proofs. Or perhaps through the use of a wide variety of drugs which are ingested in every way imaginable. It is interesting to note that though all drugs have the same intended result to some degree, though we as a species have become divided as to which drugs are acceptable into which segment of our many societies. Or through many other forms of consciousness altering such as those associated with spiritual endeavors such as vision quests and Chautauqua's or sexual eroticism with its many avenues of so called "sexual freedom". And so on and so forth. As pagans we proclaim our purpose in this life as seeking out the mysteries of life and yet we have literally hundreds if not thousands of ways to escape the very reality that we claim to seek an
understanding of.
By engaging in such activities; are we not as a species subjugating our very purpose for being in this realm? Is this behavior a means of escaping from our spiritual responsibilities in regards to those lessons that deity, as we individually relate to such a concept, has placed before us?
In short are we simply copping out as a species? And as pagans of many and divergent paths, do we not have an obligation to seek an understanding of such personal behavior?
Are we simply a facsimile of the three Abraham religions, which espouse love and peace on one hand and yet engage in every type of escape known to humankind on the other hand?
As pagans, do we truly seek a greater understanding of self and thus of our spiritual growth? Does our proclamation that we are Pagan translate into tangible actions in regards to our responsibility to self and to those around us?
Or do we simply join in the stampede to find a form of escape from this reality with its panorama of harsh and difficult lessons? And what about those activities that we engage in using mind altering substances that are intended to enable us to connect with spiritual endeavors?
Are such activities actually inclined towards such worthy goals or is it just another means of legitimizing the great escape from our current state of reality? A reality that may well be constructed for this particular realm only. This of course assumes that one believes in reincarnation and thus the possibility that we are re-injected into the human awareness or perhaps a sense of reality that we are totally unaware of from our current state of understanding. If they are constructive means of reaching a spiritual plateau, then what about the billions of folks around the world who employ mind altering techniques simply as an avenue of escape? Are they showing irresponsible insolence to a sacred means of connecting to deity? Why do you suppose that our world is in such a flux?
And more importantly what is our individual responsibility towards such an impasse of misguided actions? Is our responsibility, if any, confined to becoming beacons of personal behavior for others by instilling a greater knowledge of spiritual self within ourselves? Does it involve becoming actively engaged in the pagan community, provided that such a community extols the virtues of learning our life lessons and utilizing the wisdom that comes from such hard earned lessons?
If you are of the mind that mind altering substances are relevant to attaining certain spiritual plateaus, what are your personal responsibilities to yourself and to others that you may be teaching?, Especially in the cases where certain substances may be deemed illegal in your particular swath of society?
Of course your understandings of this subject may well be in the minority when compared to the current mindset of our species: that engaging in the Great Escape is both fashionable and acceptable on a grand consciousness of behavior. If this brief observation is acceptable, then what does this say of the spiritual direction of humankind?
Are Pagans as an alternative society, intended to make a difference in such a casual mindset? Or is paganism better served as a life boat to those who seek a greater understanding of self and life than that which is currently offered by the myriad religions that abound around our planet? Can pagans, who in many cases, came from a former religion and/or spiritual path, find the inner strength to expand their learning curve of life? If the Great Escape turns out to be legitimate tools of the spiritual trade, can pagans bring such an understanding back into perspective?
Or are pagans relegated to failing the self incurred goal of seeking out the rigid and/or flowing lessons of life which may well hold the key to opening the spiritual door for each of us?
Are pagans simply seeking to enjoin the Great Escape by way of indulging the many substances available to humans, just under a different societal label? Our world as it stands today and yes extending back to our roots, leaves a great deal of room for improvement on the spiritual level and as a society as a whole. And yet each of us owns a piece of the responsibility for our existence.
And at the end of the day we each must determine our contribution to that responsibility. Ok, folks, it's time for the old man to get his first cup of java. I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts and comments in a common respect manner. After all, we are pagans!!!

Oh and have a Happy Roman New Year!!!