Crone in Corrogue: Wild Wisdom of the Elder Years
Glorying in the elder years, a time of spirituality, service and some serious sacred activism
Brigid as Serpent Goddess
Early on Brigid's morn
Shall the Serpent come from the hole,
I will not harm the serpent,
Nor will the serpent harm me.
The serpent is more often associated with Danu, the matriarch of Brigid, but serpents stand for fertility and new life as spring comes to snake-free Ireland. Brigid, whether the goddess or saint, is the harbinger of spring. We weave Her, sing her, make nice cakes and open our hearths to her. She is welcome! She is welcome. (We will dsicreetly draw the veil on snake - ogynist St. Patrick and his appropriation of all the best holy wells, hag stones on this Féile Bhríde in Ireland.)
I have a dual devotion to the goddesses Brigid, who was my first encounter with the divine feminine, and Danu, whom I consider more of a local deity. That Danu is called the mother, sometimes grandmother, of Brigid, causes me to feel no conflict. Fortunately both have an affinity for poets. Sometimes one wants to claim my undivided attention more than the other. I have been preparing for this Imbolc season with Joanna Colbert Powells "30 Days of Brigid" e-course. So although my mind has been firmly fixed on Brigid, the Serpent Goddess has been stalking my meditations, which first struck a bit of cognitive dissonance. I associate serpents, or adders, with Danu, She who rules the rivers that snake through the land. I also see Danu as the callieach, or crone, aspect of Brigid. While we invoke the maiden Brigid at Imbolc the Cailleach is still voicing her opinions with the weather. As I write on this Feast of Brigid, we have had such high winds that her prayer flags could be frayed to ribbons within the hour. It is snatch away your hat windy, wrap yourself in a headshawl like an Aran Islander wind, several layers of 100% wool wind. Intermittantly, She throws down icy rain like a gauntlet. "Brutal wind," we say to one another as we pass the day in shops. "It would cut ye."
And then...oh, and then, the sun breaks through and you see the greening of the fiddlesticks and hart's tongue ferns. Psychodellic green, the yellow tones of new life pulsing through. And then the clouds blow in from the west again. The hag goddess is huffing and puffing, yet there are clear signs that the maiden is arriving.
We have a hag stone up the lane and as I walked down the lane with the our terrier tethered against lift off, I thought once again about how the Serpent aspect of the goddess keeps cropping up for me. In my mind Danu is a hag goddess, gloriously wild, just as our weather is today. Just as the Serpent Goddess showed herself to me as she shimmied into a drum circle trance many years ago.
Today, at 3pm GMT, Tony and I prayed, chanted and meditated during James Twyford's Synchronised Prayer for Syria. He was being accompanied by clergy from each of the Abrahamic faiths in the Golan Heights on the Syrian border.
Years ago, during a drum circle trance, Serpent Woman came to me and showed me how she is the 'One' of the monotheistic faiths. Whatever Her name, or guise, at heart Serpent Woman is the 'One' focus of worship that was sidelined, then forgotten; as I meditated today, She turned up again. She released three serpents towards the war zones raging in the Abrahamic nations - one from each hand and the last from her vagina. My feeling was that the force of the Divine Feminine was reclaiming Her territory as an invocation for peace and reconciliation.
The Feast of Brigid was well chosen for praying for peace, whether by design or coiincidence. In Ireland, those who celebrate Her as a Christian saint rever St. Brigid as a patroness of peace and reconciliation. Brigid's eternal flame was re-ignited at the end of an AFRI conference over twenty years ago. AFRI is a peace and social justice NGO that has long worked quietly and industriously for peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and elsewhere. Weaving St. Brigid's crosses is one of the chief fund raisers for the organisation each year.
The wind whistles down our chimney. It keens at the house's gable end. Yet, as I look out towards the mountains I can see such blue sky, sky the colour that says summer and sunshine, warmth and growth. I love these liminal times when it is not so much betwixt and between as being both.
May Imbolc open new ways and means to inspire you and enlighten your path. May Brigid's wisdow flow as love to all upon upon the mantle of this earth.
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