Friday, August 26, 2011

The Court of Brighid

I had the privilege of attending a ritual led by Ian Corrigan and Liafal designed to bring us into contact with the spirits in the court of the Goddess, Brighid. The rite, as you can see in the link above, was a typical ADF Core-Order, though the offerings to Brighid were copious and heart-felt.

As the rite progressed, we were led deeper into trance until we finally crossed the threshold into the place where the spirits may make themselves manifest to us. I was approached by a woman who named herself as Tsirona (sa-RON-a). I found it interesting to note that this was one of the spirits I had seen in my mind's eye during the pre-ritual meditation the day before when Ian asked us to visualize Brighid and the three "servants" he planned to call.

Tsirona appeared to me as a woman, timeless and regal in crimson robes with long, black hair and piercing blue eyes. In her right hand, she held a quill. In her left, she cradled the cup of a goblet. The vision was very real to me. She told me her name, Tsirona, though I pronounced it wrong and had to be corrected. She described herself as an agent of Brighid's who deals in the healing power of music. She takes the energy put forth in song and vocalization and manifests the healing.

She gave me a prescribed method for working with her. Begin by burning sweet herbs and focusing on the work at hand, calling her to aid us. Then, we are to use music in whatever form we find most powerful for ourselves in terms of moving energy, and she will transform our energy into healing. When our work is done, she would like a note of thanks to be written and burned for her.

She then set down her things and spoke further. She told me that she has been working between Brighid and me for a long time by my measure. She told me that if I let her heal me that she can work through me better. I nodded, and she touched the middle finger of her right hand to my chest and kissed the palms of both my hands. When Ian and Liafal asked me about the spirit with which I had been speaking, I found that I was shaking and crying.

Since the ritual, I have spoken with her twice. The first time was a wash of emotions as I realized just what work she had done through me. The second was less intense, but still quite new and powerful. I have many questions to ask of her as I get to know her, and I look forward to working with her directly in future endeavors. This was and is an amazing experience!

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Magical Toning Experience

Yesterday, our grove held our sixth night Druid Moon ritual. During this rite, I was asked to lead a toning to create a charged object for a couple of our Grovemates who are undergoing quite a large venture.

MJD handed me a pendant of a crane and asked me to lead a toning. He wanted the object to go around the circle, beginning and ending with me, so that those who were willing could charge it individually. I held the charm in the palm of my right hand as I recentered the folks briefly and began to sing. The first gentleman did not take the pendant from me when I approached him, but rather, he placed his hands such that one was above and one was below the hand holding it, but not actually touching me. I held my other hand above his, and we toned into the pendant. This was how every person added their magic to the mix after that.

I had expected them to take the charm out of my hand, but I am actually glad that they didn't, because about three folks in, I realized that I was more channeling than leading this working. About five folks in, I realized that I was listening to my voice from an objective, external standpoint. I recall thinking,"Wow, is that how my voice always sounds?" My tones were solid, and my vibrato was impressive, usually indicative of a well-trained vocalist. As I approached each of my grovemates, I was hearing the note I was to sing for them before I began to sing, and when I sang before each of them, I felt the change in the air between our hands surrounding the pendant. The two people "last" in line were the two (one by association) for whom this working was being done. I actually held their hands around the pendant, marking the pendant with their touch. Finally, I signalled the end of the working to the folk, and gave the pendant one final "charge" before handing it back.

At the beginning of this rite, I called to Brighid for Bardic Inspiration. Brighid also happens to be my Bardic patron, and I felt her arrive after I called to her. I am quite certain that it was she who was working through me, and I can't wait to see how things pan out from here!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Introduction to Taliesin

Taliesin was the name of a Welsh poet, a druid-bard who sang to Wales the glories of fine art at the courts of at least three Celtic British Kings. In legend and myth, he is often referred to as Taliesin Ben Beirdd which means “Taliesin, Chief of Bards.” Some tales relate that he was adopted as a child by Elffin, son of Gwyddno Garanhir. The later tale of his origins begins with the young lad known by the name Gwion Bach, servant to Cerridwen. Cerridwen had an ugly son, Avagddu, whose appearance no magic could cure. She began brewing a potion that would give him the gift of inspiration (Awen) and wisdom in compensation for his appearance. The first three drops of this potion would grant the one who consumed them the gifts in full and the remainder of the potion would be turned to poison. This brew had to be constantly stirred for a year and a day, so Cerridwen, who had better things to do, set Gwion to this task accompanied by Morda, the blind man who tended the fire.

Now it came that one day, Gwion was splashed with three drops as a bubble from the pot burst. The hot liquid caused Gwion to instinctively place his thumb in his mouth, instantly granting him great powers of wisdom and creativity. His first wise thought was to run, for Cerridwen would certainly murder him for this! It was not long before Cerridwen’s fury echoed through the land. Gwion turned himself into a hare to run faster, but Cerridwen turned herself into a greyhound and gave chase. He turned himself into a fish and leapt into a river, but Cerridwen turned herself into an otter and swam after him still. Gwion jumped from the water and turned himself into a bird, but Cerridwen turned herself into a hawk and was right on his tail feathers. Finally, exhausted from the newfound art of shapeshifting and the pace of the chase, Gwion turned himself into a grain of corn and rested peacefully on the ground. Cerridwen, who misses not, turned herself into a hen and ingested the corn, thinking she had rid herself of the evil boy who stole her potion.

Soon after, Cerridwen found she was pregnant, and once she realized it was Gwion, she resolved to kill the boy once and for all upon his birth. However, when the child was born, he was so beautiful that she could not follow through with the task. Still wishing to be rid of him, she tied him in a leather satchel and threw him into the sea.

It is said he was discovered by Elffin while fishing for salmon. When Elffin uncovered the babe, he was shocked at the whiteness of the boy’s brow and cried, “Dyma Dal lesin!” which means, “This is a radiant brow!” He was further shocked to learn the boy could already speak as his voice burst forth in poetic form. Elffin took the child into his care.

At the age of thirteen while visiting King Maelgwn Gwynedd at court, Elffin proclaimed his Taliesin to be a far better bard than anyone the king had at court. Maelgwn imprisoned Elffin for his insolence and demanded Taliesin be brought forth to prove this claim, and when he arrived, his words were unmatchable for they rendered the king’s bards to speaking in only babbling tones as those of a baby. Elffin was released from prison.

Over time, many tales exist regarding the verbal prowess of the magnificent Taliesin, and a myriad of works refer to him for his great skill. He is called today in our Druidic rites that he may grant us the powers of Wise Words and Awen that Cerridwen had granted to him—though with a little more “direct action” and none of the angry chase scenes!


Ford, Patrick K. The Mabinogi and Other Medieval Welsh Tales. Berkeley, CA, University of California Press: 1977. Print.

Koch, John and John Carey. The Celtic Heroic Age 3rd ed. Malden, Mass, Celtic Studies Publishing: 2003. Print.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Lugh as a Deity for Inspiration

Happy Lughnasadh, Everyone!

Lugh is the God of All Arts and is often hailed for his mastery of all crafts. His name, Lu, has been linked with Apollo (Apaliunas) and indirectly with the unnamed Gaulish God Julius Caesar refers to as the Gaulish Mercury, Inventor of All Arts. Lugh possessed a magic hound that was said to turn a spring into mead or wine by bathing in the waters. This association with mead and the battle strategy and wit he shows in such tales as the First and Second Battles of Magh Tuireadh have led many to associate him with Odin and Wodan, Gods of both Warcraft and Poetry through mead-inspiration. It is particularly useful for musicians to call on him to aid them in mastery of their skill.

Invocation to Lugh as Bardic Inspiration

Lugh of the Long Hand, known master of the spear,
Hailed Warrior and Battle Leader,
We call on you today as Ildánach, Master of all arts and crafts.
Skilled Smith, we call you to guide our hands.
Skilled Harper, we call you to guide our music.
Skilled Poet, we call you to guide our words.
Skilled Historian, we call you to restore our memories.
Skilled Sorcerer, we call you to guide our magic.
Grant strength to our talents and skill to our words.
Bring Light and Worth into this rite and into our lives!
Lugh! We honor you!