erynn: Gaelic merman image (Brigid Healer)
I've posted a new page on my Searching for Imbas blog with a map and photos describing in detail how to find Brigid's Wayside Well in Kildare, Ireland. Given the trouble I initially had finding the place, I thought it would be a service to other pilgrims. You can find the page here.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Airmed)
We went out to Heapstown Cairn today to do the Airmed ritual. The site is near houses, but very secluded from view by a ring of trees and a thick shrubbery of rhododendrons. We found a little clearing on the back side of the cairn where we did our ritual, and I dedicated my moss agate ogam feda as I had wished.

Later that afternoon, most of us climbed Knocknarea and did a ritual up at Maeve's Cairn there at the top. Our bus driver asked if we'd take a stone up for him to leave at her cairn, with his regards, which I did very happily. He's apparently been quite enjoying our company and has been hanging out with us and sharing dinner with us. While we were off at Heapstown, he got invited in by one of the local ladies for a cuppa tea and a scone, and asked her about the local folklore, as he likes to be able to share that kind of thing with his passengers if they are interested. Heapstown Cairn is apparently a central cairn with at least three, possibly more, other smaller satellite cairns around it, according to the woman he talked to. He said that the locals claim there is an actual entrance into the cairn, and that they tell their kids not to go into it or they will drown in the well that's hidden beneath, which confirms the local folklore about the Well of Sláine being hidden beneath it.

We were finally able to find Michael Quirke today in his shop, just after we got into Sligo from Knocknarea. He was charming and did small wood engravings for those of us who were there. I commissioned a Suibhne Geilt from him, not quite certain how I was going to pick it up (it's supposed to be ready on Tuesday), but the very kind folks here at the B&B offered to pick it up for me. I'm really excited. He's going to do a plaque with a narrative sort of illustration on it rather than a sculpture in the round, and I think that will be amazing for the incubation chamber when I get home. I'll have to ship it from here before I head over to the Isle of Man (or ship it from Mann when I get there if I haven't the time beforehand). I certainly can't carry it on the plane from Manchester with me unless I dump a bunch of stuff, because it will weigh a couple of pounds. He showed me a photo of Seamus Heaney with a sculpture of Suibhne that he'd done for him, which did my heart all kinds of good.

Tomorrow we'll be going out to Carrowkeel, with a local gent as our guide. He runs a little company called Celtic Ways and apparently lives in a thatched house that is heated with peat, in the traditional way. We'll be making Brigid's crosses and hearing some harp music. The name of the woman escapes me but she's pretty well known.

It's 10:55pm here, and the light is finally dying away over Lough Arrow, almost into darkness. Most of the group has gone down for a pub night to take in a traditional seissun, but I was too exhausted to go. [livejournal.com profile] ogam is still here was well, along with a couple of the other folks. I just don't have it in me right now to stay out until after 1am in a noisy crowd. I need some quiet time and personal space for a bit. I hope everyone is having a fantastic time. The music wasn't even supposed to start until 10pm.

And now I'm going to go tuck myself into my cabin and curl up in bed with my notebook to record the events of the day.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Airmed)
We went out to Heapstown Cairn today to do the Airmed ritual. The site is near houses, but very secluded from view by a ring of trees and a thick shrubbery of rhododendrons. We found a little clearing on the back side of the cairn where we did our ritual, and I dedicated my moss agate ogam feda as I had wished.

Later that afternoon, most of us climbed Knocknarea and did a ritual up at Maeve's Cairn there at the top. Our bus driver asked if we'd take a stone up for him to leave at her cairn, with his regards, which I did very happily. He's apparently been quite enjoying our company and has been hanging out with us and sharing dinner with us. While we were off at Heapstown, he got invited in by one of the local ladies for a cuppa tea and a scone, and asked her about the local folklore, as he likes to be able to share that kind of thing with his passengers if they are interested. Heapstown Cairn is apparently a central cairn with at least three, possibly more, other smaller satellite cairns around it, according to the woman he talked to. He said that the locals claim there is an actual entrance into the cairn, and that they tell their kids not to go into it or they will drown in the well that's hidden beneath, which confirms the local folklore about the Well of Sláine being hidden beneath it.

We were finally able to find Michael Quirke today in his shop, just after we got into Sligo from Knocknarea. He was charming and did small wood engravings for those of us who were there. I commissioned a Suibhne Geilt from him, not quite certain how I was going to pick it up (it's supposed to be ready on Tuesday), but the very kind folks here at the B&B offered to pick it up for me. I'm really excited. He's going to do a plaque with a narrative sort of illustration on it rather than a sculpture in the round, and I think that will be amazing for the incubation chamber when I get home. I'll have to ship it from here before I head over to the Isle of Man (or ship it from Mann when I get there if I haven't the time beforehand). I certainly can't carry it on the plane from Manchester with me unless I dump a bunch of stuff, because it will weigh a couple of pounds. He showed me a photo of Seamus Heaney with a sculpture of Suibhne that he'd done for him, which did my heart all kinds of good.

Tomorrow we'll be going out to Carrowkeel, with a local gent as our guide. He runs a little company called Celtic Ways and apparently lives in a thatched house that is heated with peat, in the traditional way. We'll be making Brigid's crosses and hearing some harp music. The name of the woman escapes me but she's pretty well known.

It's 10:55pm here, and the light is finally dying away over Lough Arrow, almost into darkness. Most of the group has gone down for a pub night to take in a traditional seissun, but I was too exhausted to go. [livejournal.com profile] ogam is still here was well, along with a couple of the other folks. I just don't have it in me right now to stay out until after 1am in a noisy crowd. I need some quiet time and personal space for a bit. I hope everyone is having a fantastic time. The music wasn't even supposed to start until 10pm.

And now I'm going to go tuck myself into my cabin and curl up in bed with my notebook to record the events of the day.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Brighid's cross)
Seeking Brigid: Sacred Well, Holy Flame
Pilgrimage to Ireland, 2012
July 11-18, 2012

Join author and poet Erynn Rowan Laurie and the Sisterhood of Avalon for a seven day pilgrimage to Ireland, exploring our connections with the Goddess Brigid, patron of poetry, smith craft, and healing. With the breathtaking landscape of Ireland as our backdrop, our time together will be spent engaged in conscious sight-seeing, scholastic inquiry, and spiritual exploration inspired by Gaelic tradition. For pricing and the full brochure, click here. All over 18 are welcome. Only 12 openings are available.

I hope you'll join me as we explore Ireland and our relationships with Brigid this summer!

The link will download a PDF file of the information packet.

Please spread the info far and wide!
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Default)
I had [livejournal.com profile] alfrecht here today and we talked for a few hours about this and that, but also about what I might be able to do that would be a short but useful book on practice in the CR community. After a bit of batting things around, my thoughts went back to some poetic work I'd been doing on Brigid and flamekeeping.

Rather than doing a book of Brigidine poetry, though, what I wanted to do was a short book on flamekeeping that also incorporated some of the poetry I'd written. With that in mind, I went to the [livejournal.com profile] brig_irreg community, a CR Brigidine group where one of the focal practices is flamekeeping. We have a liturgy that we share and that seems to be pretty well-liked by the members. The group has been locked pretty much since its conception to keep any potential problems to a minimum, but the idea was never that the group itself was in any sense "oathbound" or secret. Given that I had written most of the liturgy, I posted a note to the group today to see what folks felt about having the liturgy published and opening up the Irregulars for a larger, CR-oriented (but not CR-exclusive) membership. Not everyone has responded as yet, but everyone has so far been quite positive about the idea and seems to want to spread the light, as it were.

I will, naturally, be giving credit to everyone who has had a hand in the development and writing of the ritual, and notes on where each individual part originated will be a part of the book so that everyone can understand the sources and its various transformations. I'll also be writing about my personal experiences as a flamekeeper for all these years. There will likely also be a resource section with links to other flamekeeping groups, like the Daughters of the Flame and Ord Brighideach. Obviously, not everyone interested in flamekeeping will be particularly interested in a CR approach, but with these links and other info in the book, they can find other groups that might suit them better.

We are also nosing about the idea of putting up a website for Brigid's Irregulars so that LJ won't be a necessity for participatory membership, particularly once the liturgy is let out into the wild. I'm sure there will be people who will either want to join or who will want more information, and a website would be a natural place to start.

I'll need to find or commission some artwork for things like the cover and a few other bits and bobs, but that's largely something I'll worry about once the text is together. The book will deal in part with some of the material I'm working on for the Queering the Flame essay, dealing with gender and the various ways in which Brigid has been approached. I suspect this could be under 150 pages and easily accessible for people who want to find a CR practice that has both individual and group-oriented aspects, even if they are isolated geographically; flamekeeping orders have been serving people in these situations since they were begun in the early 90s, with fellowship and a sense of group ritual for people even if they can't be in the same physical space together.

Don't be looking for this in the next couple of months. I have to get Queering the Flame out of the way first, but given that the flamekeeping book will probably be a short one, I do think I can get it together by the middle of next year. We'll see what happens.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Mercurius from Harmonia Macrocosmica)
In a private entry on a friend's LJ a week or two ago, she asked about how others deal with the idea of synchronicity in magic, commenting as well about her views of deity, and I responded:

I tend to believe in deity as external to "us" but not to the universe itself. I don't think anything is outside the universe, really. That said, when it comes to synchronicity, I try to just surf that synchronic wave and let things take their course. In that sense I suppose that some of my practice is deeply influenced by Taoism and the concept of wu-wei -- doing by not doing, or just letting things be once a particular magical act is set in motion. I've found that the less I interfere, the better things will tend to go for me.

She asked in response:

Yes, I suppose nothing would really be external to the universe, would it?

You work with deity quite a bit, though, yes? How do you conceive of them and your relationship to them? No small question there.


Incipit scéala Erynn anseo. )

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