St. Brigid’s Day Book Rec

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St. Brigid may be remembered as turning water into beer or the legend that she midwifed Mary in the birth of Jesus, but for those of us hoping for women’s advancement in the church, she preached to her flock, and founded a monastery for men and women, and became abbess there. Several of her images are shown with her holding a Bishop’s crosier. While there is some dispute if she was an actual bishop, she was the leader of both monasteries and the Abbess of Kildare is considered as the superior general of the monasteries in Ireland. Regardless of her official capacity as a pastor, Brigid’s oratory at Kildare became a centre of religion and learning, and developed into a cathedral city. [1]

Personally, I’m disappointed that when I visited Ireland a few years ago that I was so close to Downpatrick and didn’t visit. Her relics aren’t there any longer (not since 1538) but I still would have liked to have visited especially since the relics of Patrick, Brigid, and Columba (Columcille) had been there and all are said to have been buried there.

Imbolc dates back to ancient times and Celtic tradition has it beginning the night of February 1st and continuing through February 2nd. This speaks volumes, to me at least that this tradition was adopted/co-opted by the early Christians in the Celtic world. February 2nd is Candlemas, which commemorates the presentation of Jesus in the church. Imbolc is about halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox and foretells the coming of spring. Groundhog’s Day is February 2nd and he also foretells the coming of spring, whether after six more weeks of winter or right around the corner.

Beginning next year, St. Brigid’s Day will also be a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland.

So many things in our myths, traditions, and religions are interconnected; not all of them by chance or coincidence. Some were intentionally brought forward by the church to include the “pagans” in their conversion to Christianity. This feels almost like a “gentle Crusade” rather than at the point of a sword when they encouraged Jews and Muslims.

I’ve just completed reading a Celtic spirituality book that has nine chapters describing different Celtic ways along with the intertwining of Christianity. The second chapter was focused on St. Brigid and what she brought to Celtic spirituality in this author’s opinion: the Sacred Feminine. Celts had a tremendous respect for the feminine and how it balanced the world they lived, and we live in.

The book is an easy read. I chose to read one chapter a day. That let the information gradually process. There is also prayer and an appendix that would lend itself to daily prayer and meditation in the Celtic tradition.

Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul by J. Philip Newell can be found or ordered from bookstores, national and independent. I read most of my books on my Kindle; this is the link for Amazon Kindle’s version.



[1] Herbermann, Charles. St. Brigid of Ireland, Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913. Public Domain.

[In my interpretations of St. Brigid’s religious life, I would appreciate any corrections from those expert in such things.]

30 Days of Nano – Day 13

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Writing Playlist

My Top Fifteen Writing Playlist; what’s yours?

1. Henry V Soundtrack

2. Non-Stop from the Hamilton Soundtrack

3. Wrote My Way Out from the Hamilton Mix Tape

4. White Blank Page – Mumford & Sons

5. Smash (album) – Offspring

6. Capercaillie – Ailein Duinn

7. Hedwig’s Theme from the Harry Potter soundtrack

8. Carry On – fun

9. Blow Me Away – Breaking Benjamin

10. Flogging Molly (any album)

11. English Curse – Frank Turner

12. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) – Green Day

13. Mr. Brightside – The Killers

14. One Day More – Le Miserable soundtrack

15. Beidh Aonach Amarach – Gaelic Storm

August – Vacation/Staycation – Photo/Art

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A variety of road trips, top to bottom: rental car, Celtic shield pin, Days Inn motel sign, Via Aquarium entrance, pansies on the path, crosswalk, Ballycraigy welcome sign, Erie Canal Cruises. (c)2018

A Few of My Favorite Things – Pins

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After reading Madeleine Albright’s book about her pin collection, and spending the rest of the day on Thursday photographing a few of my pins to post here in the next few weeks, I thought I would share a couple of my favorites. Favorites come and go, and they’re not all here, but these…these are special.

Some of my favorite things: Clockwise: Gold Butterfly with Rainbow Stones. This was my mother’s. I think I probably gave it to her, and then got her entire butterfly pin collection when she died. This one is just bright and beautiful like she was. Blue stone Celtic pin. This was a birthday present from my college roommate when I joined her in England for three weeks of traveling. I think she gave it to me when I first arrived. I believe we were on the shuttle train going from the airport to wherever she was taking me. I remember it came in a bright red envelope. Star Trek 50th Anniversary Pin. One of my Gishwhes friends procured this for me at a convention and sent it after I begged for it to commemorate not only Star Trek, but my 50th birthday as well. Hard Rock Cafe pin from Manilla Philippines. My husband got this when he was in the Philippines for a work trip. It has two butterflies, which I love, and it’s green – my favorite color. It is one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received. Safety pin in pink and purple with a Mom charm made for me for Mother’s Day by my daughter. I think this was in kindergarten. The initial “K” that I received from my class as a student teacher. (c)2017

These are my two most recent pins. On the left is a Christmas tree which I found at Cracker Barrel, and really thought it would look great on my jacket for Christmas. On the right is a family piece that belonged to my mother-in-law’s sister. My daughter was given some of her jewelry to look through and keep, and she thought that I would like this one because green is my favorite color. (c)2017

Celtic Cross

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Long before I was Catholic I was enthralled with Celtic knotwork, including crosses. I didn’t collect crosses but I admired them. Looking intently at the weaving, the criss crossing where two lines meet. Knotwork is a most appropriate description. I look at the twists and the turns and the loops and all I can picture is a knotted rope. Thick, muslin colored, braided rope, fringed and frayed at the ends but the beauty in the center never ending. Never ending, like a circle, but more elaborate, each one different from the other.

Look at any Celtic cross and tell me how it’s not the perfect blending of artistry and spirituality.

It’s a good note to end this week on.