The First Bardic Gwers, Among Other Things

So many other things. I have seen a lot of bullet point posts recently, and it seems a good way to get things out of the head without need for prosaic niceties. So, here we go:

  • I have gotten back into meditating recently. I know that it is something that I should be doing daily, and yet, it never seems to work out that way. Meditation for me is like a weekend get away. I tend to wait until I really need it. Not healthy, I know, but here we are.

In my recent spate of meditations there has been a lot of shapeshifting. This may be due to my reading material, but boy is it transformative (see what I did there?). Aside from being a tree, which is fairly usual for me, I have been an earthworm, a wild horse, a spider, and a stag (which I have been before – it’s awesome, I highly recommend it). The earthworm was the most surprising for me because it just kind of happened in the middle of an inner journey.

What I learned from the earthworm is a lesson about keeping on even if I can’t see how far I’ve come or how much I have accomplished. Also, it is so nice and quiet deep in the earth – comforting. I liked it.

  • Next, my introduction package from the OBOD finally arrived. It is kind of awesome, even if it is in desperate need of an updating (they don’t even have their current URL in the handbook material). But that is my inner editor again. She chaffs at such things.

I have read the first Gwers (Welsh for “lesson”). It is all about the history of Druidry as the Order knows/accepts it. It’s very in keeping with my own beliefs and knowledge. I have to say that I kind of love it when historians and scientists find evidence that allows them to adjust their theories with what is already handed down through folk wisdom. In fact, one of my favourite things about science is how fluid it is with its theories. While I don’t like having to give up things that really resonate with me (like the idea that Atlantis was once a real place), I can accept that no, perhaps things that I had previously thought were never historical fact.

Just like the folks who had to learn to accept that Mars was not an inhabited planet so long as humanity has been a thing. But, that doesn’t mean that the stories about the Red Planet that were written during the times that people believed it was possible do not have value. I believe that all stories have value somewhere in them. <- One of the many reasons that I have finally answered the call to study the Bardic arts.

  • Brigid. Another long time call that I think I am finally going to go ahead and answer. I am trying to decide if I should do some manner of formal dedication or not. I don’t really think it is necessary. I am sure that she has watched me twist myself in knots searching and seeking, and then finally coming around and going, “Oh. Well, aren’t I stupid?”

inner_goddess__brigidThis is one of my visions of Her. I have been chasing this image for a lot of years – ever since I first saw it as someone’s avatar back in some forum. The copyright on the art is 2004, so it has been a long search. I think I finally found her original artist only last year.

Click the image, and it will take you to the artist’s DeviantArt page, if you are interested in her or her work. She also does a Guinevere/Morgan Le Fay pairing that I absolutely love. Someday I will own them as bookmarks.

Another of my images of Brigid is here:

This image also links back to the artist’s DeviantArt page, and will become a print on my bedroom wall in the new year. I need to measure and pick up a bookcase before I can order it.

  • A feeling that is coming upon me as I study Druidry and grow closer to Brigid is that my relationship with Christianity may begin to change – specifically with regards to Catholicism. While the idea that the Druids welcomed Christians with open arms is more myth than fact, the fact of the matter is that our ancestors did accept them, and eventually converted. It was Christian monks who set our ancient tales to paper. It was Christian nuns to tended Brigid’s sacred flame and protected her tales.

I think that to truly know Brigid, I will need to, in time, come to know the saint as well as the goddess. And then there is the feeling that scholarly knowledge of a dominant religion is never wasted.

One thing that has really caught my eye (and truly has always been something that I have had an eye for), is the rosary – specifically, the Irish penal rosary (or single decade rosary). I am thinking that I may make one to serve as the prayer beads in my travel altar.

I will need to make some adjustments – I already have a triskel that will replace the crucifix, and I think I will use 9 beads instead of 10, a mixture of moss agate, carnelian, and carved horn, with carved antler as the head bead. Now I just need to decide if I will use a ring at the opposite end or if I will use another medal/charm. I like the idea of the ring because it can be slipped over a finger during meditation, but I haven’t decided yet. I am taking inspiration from this rosary:

  • And along with that, I am giving thoughts to how I can turn my visions of Brigid into something three-dimensional. I have given thoughts to creating my own statuary, but I am finding myself leaning more towards a ball-jointed doll approach. Dolls are more me.

I have already ordered a new strawberry haired Blythe-style doll to make into a Flame Child. But I also want a more adult looking figure. I expect it will take a lot of work to create, and I am willing to put in the hours sculpting and creating – what I am trying to decide is more along the lines of – do I sculpt from scratch or do I take one of my many MANY doll head blanks, and build? Probably the latter, now that I think on it. I will need to see about doing some sketches so that I can figure out what style of body I want and with what sort of clothing options.

I think that once I get going on the bjd devotional doll set, I might fall down a rabbit hole. I have always wanted a Boudicca, and twin Guineveres (one wild, one mild), and a few other characters who have always whispered to me. Focus has never really been my strong suit.

  • It is so very easy to ramble when you can just hit the bullet and change topics. I think I will stop here, and give my fingers a break. There is a lot of thinking and considering to do. And I should probably get the holiday cards out before the holiday arrives.

The World Song – The First Steps

I first came across the concept of the World Song while reading Alison Leigh Lilly’s blog, Holy Wild (I am endlessly jealous of her naming skills, btw – Meadowsweet & Myrrh was perfect, and Holy Wild is even better). In her article ‘What is the Song of the World‘, she describes the Oran Mór (or Great Song) as

“…something like Divine Harmony — it’s not a personal creator god, so much as the on-going creative process of the universe discovering itself, unfolding playfully and joyfully in an endless and infinite variety of ways, all of which are part of an exquisite harmony that is inherent to existence yet always changing and deepening.”

This idea spoke to me in the same way as old stories that feature words that create reality, and the old cautions against speaking carelessly. In the book I am reading now, Eyes Like Leaves, there is a concept known as “taw” that is described as “silence that is like music”.

I’ve been hovering on the edge of the explorations of sacred sound for a few years now, and I think that part of this is what finally drew me to study the Bardic grade of the OBOD. There is something there that is pulling me to it – two of my unfinished novels explore the concepts of magic created through song. I’ve been amongst musicians enough in my life to have felt the energy that can be coaxed from an instrument. And I have felt the energy that can arise from a group chant and a choir. But there is more. I feel the need to follow this path. And I am very excited to begin.

How funny that it should start at Yuletide? Christmas carols were always the songs I played when I had the opportunity to play around with musical instruments as a child. And with all of the musicians and hope we have lost to 2016, I think that maybe this sort of magic is needed now more than ever.

Every day I see more of the damage caused by the new US President-Elect and his machiavellian antics. People are losing hope. There is massive discord, and violence on a massive scale seems inevitable. And I expect that religious practise of all sorts will be on the rise in the coming years. People will turn to familiar comforts.

For me, I feel compelled to draw my family close, and to commune with the sound and harmony behind and beyond everyday life. I feel the need to make a more direct contact with the fabric of the world – the web or strings or whatever you want to call it that binds us all to each other. The Oran Mór is calling. And I am listening.