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February 2nd, 2010

Faoi Bhrat Bhríde Sinn! @ 11:06 am

Current Mood: good good
Current Music: "Rach 3" - Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30 - Sergei Rachmaninoff

A very happy Imbolc to all of you! We celebrated Imbolc with our friends on Saturday the 30th, mixing the practice of observing the festival on the day of the full moon closest to it with “The Day Everybody Can Make It”™. :)

The evening before Imbolc, my wife and I placed outside of our front door the closest approximations of “tools” to receive Brighid’s blessings that we had and were willing to place outside. For me, I don’t really have any tangible tools that I use in my profession aside from my PC at work. Similarly I don’t have an article of clothing I wear everyday to work, like a uniform. However, I do use my id badge every single day to get in and out of the parking garage and the building and I keep it in an id badge reel that I wear on my belt, so it seemed the most practical thing to leave outside to carry Brighid’s blessings in my everyday work.

Selena placed a wooden box that is shaped like a book outside of the front door and in it placed a few prayers and other things to have Brighid bless her writing endeavors.

We left these with an offering of single malt scotch after burning some juniper and asking for Brighid to bless them in her passing. That night, I had a dream in which I had awoken the next morning and went to retrieve the items. The front door of our “house” resembled the front door of my parent’s house and hanging on either side of the door were plastic paper trays, like what I have outside of my office door at work for mail, etc. The offering bowl had been placed inside one of the trays after its contents had been drank and I remember the feeling of elation in the dream that Brighid had indeed stopped and blessed our “tools”.

I woke up smiling. It seems obvious that since I left my id badge outside and that in my dream those plastic paper holders were outside the front door represented blessings for my daily work at my job as well as for the home. I’m just not sure why the front door resembled my parents’ house instead of ours…maybe to signify a blessing on them as well as us?

That next morning we set to cleaning the house and getting it ready for company and ritual that evening. Selena cooked the ham and I made some Irish soda bread using my great grandmother’s (or great-great grandmother’s) recipe. She hailed from County Mayo, Ireland. I was worried, being that it was the first time I’d made it that it wouldn’t turn out very good, but it received several compliments and there was no sign of the loaf I left out as an offering the next morning aside from a scant few crumbs…and this recipe does create quite a bit of those since it’s a “dry” bread.

The ritual itself went very well. Selena lit a taper from the sacred fire I had built in the chiminea and, using the bodhran I purchased in Doolin I beat a processional as she walked the flame in and lit our hearth candle. Afterwards we had everybody take turns lighting some tea lights from the hearth candle. We offered our old Brighid’s cross to the sacred fire and hung the new one Selena had made. I recited a poem I had written to Brighid earlier in the day and Selena did the honors of welcoming Brighid into the house. Our friends took turns saying prayers and offering thanks to Brighid while we faced the direction of Lake Allatoona (one of the main water sources for our county and several other counties).

It was a powerful ritual that seemed to resonate with everybody there, our friend G especially who flattered me by asking for a copy of the poem and thanking me for the focus on Brighid and how it had helped her in a lot of ways. That’s always good to hear…after floundering about spiritually for so long like I have its reaffirming to know that in some small way I had something to do with affecting a person meaningfully. We wound up making the candles after ritual and eating before ritual, as everybody was quite hungry, so while the night didn’t proceed as originally planned, in many ways it worked out better; hospitality after all is more important. I have to laugh when I think about how regimented of a ritualist I was when I was a young pagan.

And of course, the feast was fantastic. Bone-in side of ham, sweet potato soufflé with cinnamon coated walnuts, “healthy” penne pasta mac and cheese, wine-coated pears with whip cream, Irish soda bread, a fantastic handmade salad with yellow roma tomatoes and raisins…needless to say there wasn’t much conversation during dinner! One of the many things I love about our friends is they treat cooking like a religion unto itself and excel at it; always making very tasty dishes for our get-togethers.

In unrelated news, I must’ve pulled or sprained a muscle in my chest because deep breaths and just about any movement hurts like hell, not to mention sleeping on my side. I think it happened when I carried the anvil that used to be on my Father-in-law’s farm into the house to place in front of the fireplace. Of course, I didn’t feel it until later in the day and decided that despite the small inconvenient pain I’d still do my kettlebell workout…stupid, stupid thing to do; now my chest hurts and I smell like Ben-Gay, which makes the people I speak to at work happy to be in my presence, let me tell you!

Here’s hoping your Imbolc is a blessed and meaningful one!
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Date:February 2nd, 2010 08:35 pm (UTC)
Sounds lovely. I'm glad it went well.

Brighid's blessings on your Ben-Gay'd chest. :-)
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Date:February 2nd, 2010 08:51 pm (UTC)
It did, thank you for your assistance with it!

Tapadh leat for the blessings, and on the upside people have left me alone today for the most part, so I've gotten more done! Maybe I'll just keep a jar of uncovered Ben-Gay in my office, hmm :)
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Date:February 3rd, 2010 09:24 am (UTC)
That's wonderful; it really sounds like y'all had a good connection and a great time. Take it easy on the chest for a while, and hope you feel better soon!