Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Some Thoughts About Faery Healing

Faery Healing, art by Margaret Walty, (c) 2003

In 1997 I began a journey that led, in 2003, to the publication of my book, Faery Healing: the Lore and the Legacy. The story of that journey can be found here .

The faeries communicated with me during the writing of the book, often giving me messages – sometimes in images, sometimes in words, and often in my dreams – of things they wanted me to include in the book. I translated these the best I could, and searched for the proper words to convey them.
           
Though there have been many books published on the subject of faeries, Faery Healing was, I believe, only the second book published in recent years that focused specifically on the subject (the first one being by Doreen Virtue in 2001), and the first one to go in detail into the lore and practices of the old Celtic traditions of faery healing, or “faery doctoring” as it is sometimes called.

Other books have been published since then; teachers have sprung up, classes are being given, and I was surprised to find that people are now being ‘certified’ as faery healers / faery doctors, and are setting themselves up in practice.

While the current interest in the traditions and practices of faery healing has heartened me, the commercialization of faery healing has not.

In 2002, as I was writing the 'Conclusion' of Faery Healing, I was guided to write the words below, words that I felt strongly that the faeries wanted me to convey.
                                                                           
 Faery Healing: The Lore and the Legacy, © 2003; pages 353-354

I hope this book has inspired you to seek reunion with your faery kin.

Although many of us may be called to reconnect with our faery kin, not all of us are called to be faery healers. It may be likened to the field of physical health care, where, while it certainly behooves all of us to gain and use basic health-care and health-maintenance knowledge, we are not all called to become doctors.

If you do feel called by Faery to do Faery Healing, you must remember and observe the sensible and honorable rules of conduct by which they practiced, as well as the few rules and guidelines which I strongly feel are important and necessary for our era. If you seek help from a faery healer, please assure yourself that they are observing these rules:

1.    Faery healing uses no particularly shiny, expensive, new agey paraphernalia, but rather, simple and easily available materials, so do not allow yourself be deceived by those who come – calling themselves Faery Healers - bearing glittery wands and expensive potions and crystals.

2.    Faery healers are “just folks,” so do not allow yourself to be deceived by those with fancy titles or robes of glamour.

3.    Faery doctors of the past wouldn’t heal without being asked to do so, as they were aware  that the seeking of healing is part of a person’s healing process, and to interfere with it was inappropriate, and an overstepping of boundaries.

4.    Faery doctors, at least the ones who were not also ordinary herbalists, wouldn’t heal if it wasn’t “any of their business.” This means that these particular faery doctors would only heal faery or spirit-induced diseases, and not ordinary human ills. The rule here is to “mind your own business, “ and to not act beyond your area of knowledge and guidance. Don’t think you can heal anything and everything with your faery healing work, because you can’t. Stay open to your faery guidance while healing.  Be humble and honest, while allowing room for faery surprises.

5.    Faery Healing is a community service, not a money-making operation. It is, like shamanism, a service performed by a qualified person, both for the health of the general community, and the health of individual community members. No money should change hands in the practice of faery healing, although occasional non-monetary gifts are allowed, in order to keep the energy balanced. Occasionally, very minimal fees may be charged if physical objects such as bottles of herbs change hands, but no money must be charged for the energetic part of the healing work. There are no exceptions to this rule.

6.    Faery Healing is a vocation, a Calling of the Heart; it is not a career, as careers are intended to support us financially. 


In an era where New Age thinking and practices are frequently about the spending and making of money by means of the buying and selling of spirit and its technologies, remember that the currency of the Faery Realm is an open-hearted love. Faery healing is not, and has never been, about money. All that glitters is not gold. Learn to discern, lest you be lead astray by faery gold which may later turn to dry leaves and dust....

This book is about opening your connection with the Faery realm, and engaging personally. While it provides structure and guidelines, please remember that the faeries will teach you, and that part of that teaching is the transformation of the self, especially the heart. 


Heartfelt Faery Blessings on your work; may you be blessed and healed!





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Thursday, February 01, 2018

Happy Brigid's Day!





The Wheel of the Year has once again returned to the Festival Day of the Blessed Brigid, goddess and saint. This day was considered to be the beginning of Spring. Here are a few things to help you celebrate this day.

An Invocation for Brigid

Brigid of the East – Air 
Breath of life, you are Inspiration, the beloved goddess-saint-muse of bards and poets! You are the first breath of Spring, and  first breath of life. We celebrate the breath of new life at your festival, Imbolc, when the snowdrop tells us the life on the earth is returning. 
Brigid, you are welcome among us!

Brigid of the South – Fire 
Flame of life, you are the warming and illuminating Hearthfire of life. You are the fiery energy of expansion and growth, the fire in our head, heart, hearth, sun, stars, and earth, the spark of divine life in all that lives.  
Brigid, you are welcome among us!

Brigid of the West – Water
Water of life, you are the Flow of life. You are the coursing flow of rivers, streams, and the deep underground rivers of life that feed the wells of the earth. You are the flow of thoughts, emotions, and of our very life’s blood. 
Brigid, you are welcome among us!

Brigid of the North – Earth
Structure and substance of life, you are the web upon which we are woven, the structure that holds us together. Your mantle is the earth upon which we live. The daily tasks of life, the sublime reality of birth and death, the milk of the cow, the grass and grain in the field. 
Brigid, you are welcome among us!

Brigid of the Center
You are Breath, Flame, Flow, and Substance, and all of them woven together, the very Fabric of Life! Refresh us as we move into the new cycle of life in this new year. Grant us inspiration; rekindle our inner flame, stir and strengthen our inner waters, and ground our efforts to bring positive change to the world. 
Dear Brigid, you are welcome among us!
(c) Margie McArthur, 2017

* * *

Words of St Brigid
“I would like the angels of Heaven to be among us. I would like an abundance of peace. I would like full vessels of charity. I would like rich treasures of mercy. I would like cheerfulness to preside over all. I would like Jesus to be present. I would like the three Marys of illustrious renown to be with us. I would like the friends of Heaven to be gathered around us from all parts. I would like myself to be a rent payer to the Lord; that I should suffer distress, that he would bestow a good blessing upon me. I would like a great lake of beer for the King of Kings. I would like to be watching Heaven’s family drinking it through all eternity.”
~ St. Brigid of Ireland

* * * 

And here is a lovely song about Brigid
  
Lá Fhéile Bríde — The Festival Day of Bríd



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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Happy Earth Day!

In honor of Earth Day, I offer this lovely prayer by the ancient Greek poet, Homer.

Hymn to Earth the Mother of All

O Universal Mother,
who dost keep from everlasting thy foundations deep,
Eldest of things, Great Earth, I sing of thee!
All shapes that have their dwelling in the sea,
All things that fly, or on ground divine live, move, and there are nourished ~
These are thine ~ These from thy wealth thou dost sustain;
From thee fair babes are born, and fruits on every tree hang ripe and large,
Revered Divinity!


The life of mortal men beneath thy sway
Is held; thy power both gives and takes away!
Happy are they whom thy mild favours nourish;
All things unstinted round them grow and flourish.
For them, endures the life-sustaining field
Its load of harvest, and their cattle yield
Large increase, and their house with wealth is filled.

Such honoured dwell in cities fair and free,
The homes of lovely women, prosperously;
Their sons exult in youth's new budding gladness,
And their fresh daughters free from care or sadness,
With bloom-inwoven dance and happy song,
On the soft flowers the meadow-grass among,
Leap round them sporting—such delights by thee
Are given, rich Power, revered Divinity.

Mother of gods, thou Wife of starry Heaven,
Farewell! be thou propitious, and be given
A happy life for this brief melody,
Nor thou nor other songs shall unremembered be.

(Hymn to the Earth: Mother of All; Homer; Published by Mrs. Shelley, "Poetical Works", 1839, 2nd edition, 1818)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Bernadette and the Waters of Aquarius

Today is the 158th anniversary of the first appearance of the Lady of Lourdes to Bernadette Soubirous, a 14 year old girl from the south of France.

A shining, beautiful lady appeared to Bernadette in a large, rocky, cave-like grotto beside the River Gave de Pau in 1858 on February 11th, a day that would have been the pagan feast of the Goddess Brigid (and the Catholic Candlemas) —which heralded the approach of Spring—by the old calendrical reckoning still used in areas of Europe. From Bernadette’s earliest descriptions of the Lady we learn that she was she dressed in white aside from her blue sash, and that she was very young. Bernadette referred to her as “petito damizela,” which means a petite young lady, and said that she looked to be about 12 years old.

The grotto was on the side of a massive ancient rock formation known as Massabielle, which means “ancient rock.” The word grotto is used because the cave was not very deep.

It should be noted that both caves and rivers are traditionally associated with the Goddess.

Garbed in a white gown with a blue sash and with golden roses on her bare feet, the Lady appeared to Bernadette a total of eighteen times, praying the rosary with her each time, and during one of the apparitions the Lady instructed her drink from the spring. Bernadette did not see a spring, so began to dig in grotto’s dry ground. After a few minutes the ground was muddy, and soon water came bubbling forth. The spring which Bernadette found today provides hundreds of gallons of healing water per day. At the end of the cycle of apparitions, after repeated requests for her name, the Lady said, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”

The Virgin Mary’s appearance in Lourdes was at a place that had previously been sacred to the Roman Underworld Goddess Proserpina, and quite likely to a native Underworld goddess before that. Proserpina is the Roman equivalent of the Greek Persephonethe maiden goddess and daughter of the Great Mother, taken by the Lord of the Underworld to be its queen and his bride; she is the Dark Goddess of the Underworld. In Latin the word Proserpina means something akin to “to emerge, to creep forth,” as germinating plants emerge to the sunny surface of the earth, and as hibernating snakes creep forth from their holes as the weather begins to warm. I am reminded that Proserpina’s Greek counterpart, Persephone, emerged from her Underworld realm in the Spring.

Interestingly, there’s a Brigid’s Day rhyme from Scotland that says:
Early on Bride's morn
The serpent shall come from the hole,
I will not molest the serpent,
Nor will the serpent molest me.


Was this serpent a reference to the Underworld Goddess who emerged and brought in the warmth of Spring?

In addition, one cannot help but notice the similarity of the Lady of Lourdes to other apparitions recorded in folklore of the  “White Ladies” — young, beautiful, female spirits dressed in white, who often appeared near the caves and caverns of the Pyrenees, especially those near a water source such as a river or spring, and often the spring was known to be a healing spring.  The White Ladies usually sought interaction with passers-by, and it is interesting that the Lady of Lourdes requested the asthmatic, under-nourished Bernadette to drink and wash in the waters of the spring. Her request resulted in the discovery of this spring, perhaps long hidden in the rocky earth of Massabielle, which is now world famous as a healing spring.

The feast of Brigid is also known as Imbolc (“in the belly”) and Oimelc (“ewe’s milk’) and heralds the approach of the season of Spring, a time when a new cycle of life begins. Baby animals are born, and the first of the hardiest plants begin to poke through the cold soil and into the light.  In many of the legends Brigid is known as a milkmaid, and sometimes as the wet nurse and foster mother of the Christ child.

An astrological chart drawn for the day of the apparition shows that the Sun was in Aquarius—the Water Bearer—and the Moon was waning in sign of Capricorn, just a few degrees short of a new moon.

How fitting that the Lady of Lourdes appeared during the sign of Aquarius, by a river, and that by her intercession a spring of healing waters—long lost and buried under rubble—was unearthed. Healing waters, similar to the Waters of Life that Aquarius, the Water Bearer, pours down onto the thirsty-for-healing world.  To me this apparition was one of many signs that heralded the end of one World Age and the start of a new one.

(Some of the above is excerpted from my book, “Lady of the Sea: The Goddess Who Birth the New Age” Chapter 10)





Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Feast of Brigid

Artwork (c) Miranda Gray
 
The winter rains have come at last to the parched lands of California, and the earth is glad again.

Everything that was grey and brown has greened up. Dandelions are springing up everywhere and seem an especially vibrant green right now.

Dandelions are one of Brigid’s flowers, so this reminds me that her feast day is near at hand. The Midwinter-born light has increased; now is the time of the emergence of a new cycle of life — lambs are born and ewe’s milk flows; snopdrop flowers push through the snow and herald the Spring that is to come. Life is renewed, and it's time for a new start. And like groundhogs, badgers, and bears, it’s time for us to wake up, crawl out of the cave and look around — to see what the future might hold!

Here is a prayer to Brigid that I wrote many years ago.

Blessed Brigid
Blessed Brigid, Flame of Delight in the many worlds,
May the fires of your Sacred Hearth be rekindled.
May they burn brightly, their flames bridging the many worlds,
Bringing the star-power of the Heavens down to enliven
The stars that live deep within the heart of Mother Earth.

Grant us the gift of your brightness and warmth:
The fire that is inspiration.
Let us draw sustenance from your Well of Deep Peace,
That nourishes all of Life.

Enfold us in your mantle of protection and healing.
Guide us as we heal, and in our creative endeavors.
Grant us the inspiration that enables
The creation of True Beauty and Harmony.

Blessed One, Fair One,
This do we ask of you,
As we offer you the Inextinguishable Light
Of our love and homage.


Here is a lovely video to help you celebrate the day  —  La Fheile Brid

Blessings of Brigid to all! 
   


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Friday, May 01, 2015

The First of May




 





Guinevere a-Maying
   ~John Collier, artist








And now for some music of the season!

Sumer is Icumin in
    ( and a more modern rendition )


Now is the Month of Maying


Halantow


Padstow Day Song
   ( and more )

The Fiddler

The Lusty Month of May


A Happy and Blessed Beltane to all!







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Sunday, February 01, 2015

Blessed Brigid - the Golden Sparkling Flame



Today is the feast of the Brigid, the Holy Woman, whose name means High One, or Exalted One. She was said to be a protector of women in childbirth, and was associated with the welfare of livestock. Her festival, February 1st, is associated with the lambing season.
In the insular Celtic countries Spring began on this day, which was also referred to as Oimelc (ewe’s milk). The very next day, February 2nd, was the Christian feast of Candlemas, which was really the church’s observance of the much older feast of Imbolc/ Oimelc/Brigid—a feast of fire and light at a time when the dark of winter is giving way to the light of spring. The baby lambs were born around this time. It was, therefore, a time of new light, new life, new milk, new nourishment. Interestingly, February 3rd is the feast of a saint with the interesting name of “Blaise,” and is a day when candles are blessed for the liturgical year, and the congregation comes forward to have their throats blessed (for protection against choking) by a priest, who used two candles in an X shape—exactly the shape of Brigid’s Cross—to do this.
Brigid has been honored at this time of year for a very long time, first as Goddess and later as Saint. She was particularly honored by women, whose rituals at this time of year—recorded by folklorists—involved inviting Brigid back to the world to bring her light, warmth, fertility and prosperity. A special bed was prepared for her, and omens of future life and prosperity were taken from the evidence of whether or not she was seen to have arrived and slept in her bed.
There is much fire symbolism in the stories of St. Brigid, and many of these stories are thought to derive from the older, pagan stories of the Goddess Brigid, who was sometimes addressed as the golden, sparkling flame.

Brigid's Fire Temple, Kildare, (c) Abigail Jones
According to legend, a perpetual fire burned in her precinct at a place later known as Kildare, the Church of the Oak. This fire was tended by 19 priestesses—similar to the Roman national hearth tended by the Vestal Virgins. Like many other holy fires of legend, it was said to burn without producing ash. The 19 priestesses cared for the fire for 19 nights, but it was thought that Brigid herself tended the flame on the 20th night. When Christianity came to be the religion of the land, it was St. Brigid who was honored and Christian nuns who tended the flame.
Brigid was a triple goddess: she was sometimes said to have two sisters also named Brigid. They they were matron goddesses of healing, of poetry—with which seership was connected—and of crafts, particularly those associated with fire, such as metal-smithing and perhaps pottery. In addition, the legends show Brigid to be associated with that borderlands/ liminality/threshold state that clearly links her to the Otherworlds, including the world of Faery. Her association with these liminal states is shown in her St. Brigid legends by the fact that she was born at sunrise and while her mother was straddling a threshold. It is shown in her Goddess legends by the fact that she was of the Tuatha De Danann, yet married to a Fomorian. Perhaps it is also illustrated by the fact that her cult also straddled two religious traditions, and made an easy transition from Paganism to Christianity.

Brigid statue and arch by Brigid's Well, Kildare, (c) Abigail Jones


Brigid's Well, Kildare (c) Abigail Jones
Brigid is associated with water as well as fire, and many healing wells are sacred to her throughout the British Isles. Places where water emerges from the Earth are always considered thresholds between the worlds—the Underworld and Middleworld in this case. As a goddess of healing associated with seership and liminal states of being, she is uniquely suited to be the especial Matron Goddess of Faery Healing
from
Faery Healing: The Lore and the Legacy, Chapter 15

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