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Divine Mary Says – the kiss of Light

It is a soft dawn sprinkled with the drops of birdsong.
In the sky the new moon is hanging just above the rising sun.
I ponder my statue of Mary on a pillar and what this symbology
means.  I know that there is a Mary on the Pillar in the cathedral
in Chartres which I am set to visit in September.
Cloaked in the haze of the morning light, intense bliss rises in me,
both tightening and releasing my heart and chest simultaneously
and I hear the voice of Mary. 
You are not who you think you are.  It is not necessary,
and at times quite pointless, to hang on to your weaknesses,
foibles and strengths with such intent and focus.
Your nature may not always please you,
or suit your idea of who you are.
The more you resist what is happening in your life
and the more you resist your nature,
the greater the wall which is blocking the light.
Only the warmth of the Light and its spiritual
qualities of acceptance, compassion, 
understanding and peace, can 
bring life back to the barren wasteland that lies
behind that wall.

Seekers do not realise that it appears to them that they
are indeed making choices, but this is very seldom true.

You are a compilation of impressions, feelings, reactions,
memories, half-felt emotions, fleeting desires and wishes
and unexplored and half-lived dreams.
You carry within you the memories of all time.
At times you may appear to be a book, its pages the
Keeper of all stories ever told and at other times
you may feel like the blank pages, ready to be written onto.
Both of these ideas may drive you to frustration,
and into trying to become either or both or even
to transcend the human experience by side-stepping
the creative dance of creating and destroying.

But you are so much more than
all of the above.  Within you lies the Godseed, dormant,
waiting on the Kiss of Light.  Only the mind, with its
ideas like clouds in the sky, is obscuring the Light
from awakening the Tree of Life within you.

A mind locked down with ideas and concepts and beliefs
of how you should be, is like concrete poured down onto
a pavement.  It is only with the wearing away of time and
weather that cracks can form, through which the tendril
of a soft new plant can grow.  This tiny plant has the 
potential to become the beanstalk 
that will take Jack into the heavens
of the giant.

A mind concretized with set ideas and theories, is the greatest
obstacle to peace and ongoing ‘enlightenment’.
There is so much that you are unaware of.
You can only see through your own lens of perspective
and perception.  You only have a choice between
fear and love.  When fear is the stone buried at the
foot of the tree of life, then all those living tendrils and
branches  will be weakened and twisted by fear.
However, if your Philosopher’s Stone is cast in love,
then the Tree of Life will be rooted in the Real.

Only that which is Unchanging is Real and True.
The mind changes constantly.  Thoughts are blown like
clouds in the winds of the body.

The mind and body absolutely fears and resists change.
on all levels. 
There is a saying, ‘rather the devil you know’
Then there is the great inner Judge thrown into the mix as well.
And the desire for self-improvement.
All of these are fertilised by the idea that who you are is not
good enough and that you and your life should be different.
Your life can look different and your experiences can
be different.  You can achieve goals and have your
desires and wishes fulfilled

But you can also have peace and harmony,
joy and human understanding,
compassion and love for everything and
everyone, right now, without making any
changes and definitely without improving yourself
or your life.

That moment of absolute alignment with the
Spirit within, is the kiss of the Light.
And all you need for that to happen, is to drop everything.
By that I mean that you can let your mind
and its many doors and passages and rooms, drop away.
Over and over.
Every day
Every time

I found this beautiful image on the internet – if you are the photographer please let me
know and I will add your name.

The boundary and limitation
that time creates, is the wall around the garden of Eden
and your willingness to enter naked,
leaving the fear behind, opens the gate
and makes it possible for you to
receive the inner Kiss

The biggest secret is that there is no secret.
Everything in every moment is as it should be.
Actions taken in Time have set the wheel of destiny
in motion and only a Philosopher’s Stone of Love
combined with the Kiss of Light
has the alchemical power to break the bonds of time.
Teaching yourself to live in alignment with the Spiritual Sun
and the Light of God, is a skill.

In order to acquire this skill, you have to tame and master
your mind to accept either fear or love.
That is the only choice you have.
In every moment you can ask yourself :
what would Love do?
One can replace Love with Acceptance or
Surrender to God, or to the Great Spirit,
or the Tao or the Unlimited, Eternal and Unchanging.

Does my action or reaction imply Love or Fear?

When you criticize yourself for getting angry – ask yourself
is that response based in fear or love?
If I root myself in the Real, in Love, would I
judge anger and deem it as a ‘negative’ reaction?
And why would I do that?
Is it because I fear that it will drag me down into
dark emotional depths which I fear?
And is it that I believe that God is not in the
darkness and that I will be separated from
my Creator?

Is it because you fear ‘losing yourself’?
That would imply that yourself is the True Self.
How better to allow the True Self, the one that is
aligned with the Light, the Spiritual Sun within,
to emerge by losing the false self?

The self is a set of ideas and beliefs grounded
in the belief that you are separate from your Creator.
The mind that creates this limited self is intent
on keeping you bound in this belief system and it will
show you many other theories and paths and
systems that support this theory.
As long as you believe that you have been cast
out of the garden and that you are now
begging outside the walls of the castle,
you will try to find the key to the secret door
which does not exist.

You are the Keeper of the Castle and you can only
stay the beggar whilst you allow your mind
to talk you into holding that begging bowl up
to God, begging for that which you have already
been given.

You have the power to put any theory to the test
and to be transformed by your own realisations.
You are standing in the Light and each moment
that you open your heart and you accept yourself
and your nature and the many selves that you have created,
you will receive the kiss of Light.

And I ask you to share your love with everyone,
as we are all the One.’

Ave Maria
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The Sacred in the Ordinary

You and your ordinary life is sacred and it contains 
everything that you have been searching for.
All the sages and mystics over time have always pointed this out with stories
and poetry.  But very few ever believe them.
Often one seeks the sacred and the glorious in places other than
the present, ordinary humdrum of daily living. 
Often the seeking is driven by a longing to escape the humdrum
of ordinary living;  or one seeks in order to prevent disaster
from striking again or to prevent the feelings of loss, betrayal, humiliation and
But the truth of the matter is that discomfort, unhappiness, boredom, death,
dying, pain, cruelty, injustice and more is an intrinsic part of life.
The so-called spiritual life does not exempt you from this.  Enlightenment
does not mean that you no longer feel the pain of the world.  It is probably
true to say that  that the less self-centred you are, 
the less self-absorbed and the less occupied with
your own self , the greater the sensitivity, the greater
the empathy and the deeper you feel the pain in the broken heart of the Mother.
But then it is also true that he deeper and more intense you feel, 
the greater the call to add to the world in some way or another;  
not for glory and fame, nor power and money, 
but to add beauty and wisdom in some form to this world.
And herein lies the crux of the matter.
As the selfish heart is crucified, it flowers with Love and Mercy.
Once again quoting Thomas Merton :  It is precisely anguish and 
inner crises that compel us to seek the truth, because it is
these things that make clear to us that we are sunk in the hell of our
own untruth.
Moments of absolute bliss and joy are the golden children of a sacred marriage. When the heart truly
feels, the heavens open.
When the flesh and Spirit meet, a transformation takes place
 and the profane is no longer ordinary, but sublime!
The sacred and the profane affect one another – the two circles intersect – two worlds meet
and join
or sometimes shown as the triple
and we see the
mendorla of the Mother

The world is the very ground for our experience of the sacred.
But in order for the ordinary to become luminous and to have
meaning, we have to infuse it with meaning.
Thomas Merton writes about the loss of symbolism as follows :
All classic shapes have vanished
from alien heavens
where there are no fabled beasts
no friendly histories
and passion has no heraldry
I have nothing to translate
into the figures of night
or the pale geometry
of the fire-birds
If I once had a wagon of lights to ride in
the axle is broken
the horses are shot
As we spiral inwards into ourselves, to find the Immanent God, we 
simultaneously spiral outwards to meet the Divine in the world. As we
clean the glass that is darkly veiled with the ideas of being an individual,
focusing only on me, myself and my own suffering, 
believing ourselves to be unconnected to everyone and everything else, 
the seed is watered and fed and we grow into that
tree that gives shelter and food to an entire village.
In order to find the sacred in the ordinary, to spiral inwards
to meet the immanent Self, two seemingly separate and opposing
worlds have to collide in order to meet
In order to enter into the Nothingness within,
a death has to be embraced as the egocentric life
dies in the Void
As we strip the layers and layers of self-absorption
and self-delusion
and we come alive to the ordinary, the small profane
acts of living and ordinary life
as we become poor in spirit, 
and humble in mind,
we meet the Sacred in the Ordinary.
And here, from this place,
your every act is an act of devotion and worship
here you live your passion
without expectation of an appreciative audience,
you sing your song for nobody.
Let my every word be a prayer to Thee
Every movement of my hands a ritual gesture to Thee
Every step I take a circumambulation of Thy image
Every morsel I eat a rite of sacrifice to Thee
Every time I lay down a prostration at Thy feet;
Every act of personal pleasure and all else that I do,
Let it all be a form of worshipping Thee.
From verse 27 of Shri Aadi Shankara’s Saundaryalahari
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From the Underworld to the Next

an exciting new blog from one of the members of The Temple of Mary …….

The Journey Begins
This blog crept up to you from the vast echelons of the collective we like to call the internet. This is how it starts. They ask me to give you descriptions of what it is that is happening here, but who am I to try? I can’t, wait…No, it has nothing to do with what I believe I am capable of: I won’t, I will it not. However, I am not so stupid as to believe that this entry will evade being forced to represent the greater whole it forms part of, so I will allow that and maybe even embrace it, a little, for a while.

Great men are seldom spoken of and I do not wish to change that truth. In fact, what you will find offered here is always, probably, mystifying and sometimes maybe even disenchanting. This disenchantment will not be my fault, as you will see: here, I indulge in the moral frivolity of guilt not because I wish to apologise but rather because I would like to allude to, what I believe right now, is imminent.

I, here, believe that the words found in this entry will be demanded of to represent what is and what will be. I don’t actually care if it does or does not. I cannot express this better than a man we are best to be cautious of, if we trust what they say is best, but as you will see, I believe, I have little regard for what they say must be considered “best”.

What I am saying here is this: the reader of my blog is expecting a wall which does not want to be climbed to be constructed here. This is what we expect from any being which takes itself to be an authority or, in other words, human. They tell you that you are ruled by what they call nature and its “laws”. You must accept these laws to live well, live good. You must not fret at the insurmountable walls posed by its laws, there is no point in this, you are better off accepting it. Just accept it. Just accept that you are descended from apes and are ruled by the same, normal, natural, desires. Accept that two times two is four, it is the law of mathematics, do not bother challenging it.

But, we may ask, and here we encounter one of the men I would like to speak of against all good reason, what if…what if “I don’t happen to like those laws and that twice twice two is four?” Here, we encounter the “lazy devil” and he is not the laughing kind. A brooding, miserable, being who has very little consideration for what is “best” for him. We will encounter more of these men here, you can be sure, one may even say that this organisation you are, here, encountered with aspires to the heights of these type of men (and be sure that I, as do they, shed no regard for the “gender” here). However, caution to those who trust my words: what do I know? Indeed, I have caught myself listening to Nietzsche’s, another man we are best not to speak of, “malicious bird” who twitters: “What do you matter? What do you matter?”. Now, I hope you see, this wall does not care if you will to climb it or not, whether you will to believe that you may or not. If you will: do, be dared!

Now you know why I do not apologise and why I do not, here or anywhere, matter. I do not wish to place upon you the curse of law. This you may question, this you may vehemently disagree with: you demand this curse! “Well, so much the better”.Here, you are presented with an entry as a disgusting agreement with the man who wishes to dismiss nature and its laws as becoming “too human” becoming a calculable, necessary, path. We will find nothing as light as what they consider to be “best” here, we will not find humanity here. Instead, we will find wanderers such as the great Zarathustra who knew that: “There are a thousand paths that have never yet been trodden—a thousand healths and hidden isles of life. Even now, man and man’s earth are unexhausted and undiscovered.” Then, there is walking to do, then: let us walk!

I commit myself to the inhumanity of these dangerous men and in this you witness my siding with the promises of lovers. Here, you find me straying from The Path. Come one, come all, this is a sight appreciable to anyone: if you dare. This my journey from the underworld to the next! I start my journey with a parable, read it…my friends. Will love and be willed love:

“Wake and listen, you that are lonely! From the future come winds with secret wing-beats; and good tidings are proclaimed to delicate ears. You that are lonely today, you that are withdrawing, you shall one day be the people: out of you, who have chosen yourselves, there shall grow a chosen people and out of them, the overman. Verily, the earth shall yet become a site of recovery. And even now a new fragrance surrounds it, bringing salvation—and a new hope.” By: Friedrich Nietzsche. From: Thus Spoke Zarathustra: On The Gift-Giving Virtue: 2. – you can subscribe by email

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The true meaning of a Narcissistic One

Om Prem

Today I share this rendition of the myth of Narcissus, as told by Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes with you.

Dear Brave Souls: I’d like to retrieve a far more indepth meaning to the ancient Greek mythos of Narcissus and what the word narcissism actually means aside from the debased way it is often used in much of modern culture. 

The rote idea often expressed is that Narcissus, a man, fell in love with himself. The pop psychology idea is that a narcissistic person is a person who is self-centered, ‘in love’ with oneself.

But, those are pale and often hackneyed wisps of the actual meaning of the word and the myth. Sometimes stories are murdered over time, by our accepting more and more vapid versions of what were once far deeper and far more mysterious, often anguishing and redemptive pathways that teach the way through. Once the ancient stories have been stripped of their numen, so are we also stripped of a certain way of seeing and knowing that is important to the life of the soul on Earth.

One of the oldest stories of Narcissus I heard long ago, was from old Greek babushka women living in my childhood neighborhood of post-WWII immigrants and refugees from many war torn nations. Unlike the vapid modern stories we sometimes hear in which Narcissus is a conceited man… The old women said that Narcissus was a beautiful young boy-man, a warrior who began with a heart of kindness, a spirit like an eagle, and a gentle and healing touch. He was caught in wars wherein enemies were made. He came to the river to wash the pain and blood of battle from his soul.

Eros, the God of Love (you see a debased form of Eros in our times, in the images of little chubby cherubs on greeting cards during Valentine’s Day.) whom I understand as both scruffy and homeless often, for mere humans would not always open their doors to the God of Love… Eros wished to give Narcissus a mate who would be the opposite of adversarial, one who would be helpful and faithful to him… and Eros had in mind a certain young female who had led her life in exactly that way, not flitting from one thing or person to another, but rather remaining near and loyal. 

So, as Narcissus was washing his tired and wounded body in the river, and the young nymph was near the river also, gazing at Narcissus with kind regard… Eros quickly dispatched two of his arrows faster than the speed of light… to strike both the young woman and the young man at the same time… for that was Eros’ only requirement from Olympus… that in order to cause people to fall into deepest related love with one another… at the moment the arrows pierced their hearts, the two souls had to be looking at one another. In that way, the troth would be fit. 

But in the midst of the two arrows flying through the air in a blur no human eye could track, suddenly young Narcissus bowed his head to pull up one more scoop of water in his hands to wash his face just more time … and thus when struck by Eros’ arrow, Narcissus had just glanced into the water of the river where his own war-worn face was reflected. 

This caused the young woman gazing at Narcissus to fall so deeply in love with him. But caused Narcissus to not recognize his reflection of himself in the water as being the same as he himself. 

And thus, as the old women told the story to me, Narcissus is not in love with himself… he is in love with one who can never find, who is watery –and wounded– and who rushes away and is invisible when sky is overcast, and which shatters each time he sees this image and reaches through the water for it. He cannot bring it close nor into wholeness again. 

And this is the torment of Narcissus who does not realize there are not two separate selves, but rather only one self reflected both in the inner world and in the outer world. The anguish is augmented by being unable to gather the selves into one.

Understand too, this story which comes through my own autobiography and the autobiographies of the old women, is one that came at a time when most all who were the old womens’ ages had lost their daughters and sons, husbands and parents to a bloody decade of murderous war. The story of Narcissus was not a fantasy, not a legend. For us who lived with what remained of human souls who had managed to survive war, yet who often were stunned into a form of not believing any longer in many treasured things… the story of Narcissus was a living story, not a dead dry old tale.

Too, the ancient story, which is a tragedy, tells then of the young woman who now so deeply in love with Narcissus will not leave his side, and remains and remains with him, nearly sick with love for him… and as Narcissus, with Eros’s arrow through his heart keeps saying to the watery image, I love you, I love you… so does the young woman repeat what Narcissus is saying. She says to him, I love you, I love you. 

The old women were silent then. I was much older before I understood they were remembering something… I think times of their lives when loving and being loyal to someone, perhaps more than one someone, walking with a clear arrow of love through the heart… but that great love did not come to fruition, was not reciprocal, was not returned. Most souls hardly would need to be past age ten to have experienced such already. 

Thus, the rest of the ancient story, was as poignant. It was that the young woman began to disappear, day by day there was less and less of her to be seen, until one day, it was said, all that was left of her, was her beautiful loving voice, telling her heart to Narcissus, I love you, I love you… as he himself said same to the watery image. 

Thus, the young woman who once was flesh and blood and now only a voice, was named Echo, in this case reflecting over and over in her own watery way, the intention of love… but without it being able to bring that love down to earth. Thus, repeating over and over, the best of whatever she heard of love in all her surrounds. 

I should mention to you too, that in curanderismo, the ancient healing ways found throughout the Americas, the Caribbean and across the world… the narcissus plant, grows from a bulb, its food source carried underground in the dark, and it is related also to the daffodil and the amaryllus. 

The actual word narcissus, comes from the Greek ‘narkissos,’ which does not mean self-centered… it means ‘numbness’ … for the narcissus has in certain infusions a narcotic effect. 

In this way, more properly, in the sense of “narcissism’ despite Freud’s and Rank’s and Jung’s and H. Ellis’ and other 19th century shrinks’ points of view, it may be that rather than self-centeredness being the point of psychological narcissism, it is being numb to true self and to others’ pain, that is the larger issue… an odd and consistent disinterest, a discounting of the predicaments, peace, and sufferings of vulnerable others. Numbness may in fact be the far more poignant insight. 

This comes with love and with peace, as we contemplate the strange ways of the world and our human conditions, and that there often is imbedded in stories from ancient times, if not pathways through, then critical insights into that will help us through, nonetheless. 


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Holy Day of Our Lady of Lourdes

11 February is the Holy Day of Our Lady of Lourdes
As though we are Divine
Ancient friend
Our Divine Mother looks at us
as though we are divine
Flinging flower petals onto our path
she worships the very air we breathe
Adoringly she pulls us onto her lap
embracing her beloved children 
with the passion
of one who has waited for eons
for this reunion.
She whispers softly into our ear
‘my darling son’ my darling daughter’
once and for all shattering any doubt
hat we are the only reason
for her existence
Ethan Walker III
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Anandamayi Ma

“There comes a time when the Beloved does not leave one anymore;  wherever one may go, He is ever by one’s side and His presence constantly felt.  At an earlier stage one perceived Him within all objects; but now He is not seen within the objects anymore, for there is nothing but He alone. Trees, flowers, the water and the land – everything is the Beloved and only He.  Every form, every mode of  being, every expression – whatever exists is He, there is none beside Him.
If everything is the Lord and nothing but He, then one’s body must also be He – the One Existence.  In this state, when one is deeply absorbed in dhyana, no physical activity – be it the performance of ritual or acts of service – is possible.  For He alone IS.  One no longer exists apart from Him.  Nevertheless, for some who have attained to this condition, the relationship between the Lord and His servant remains and is felt thus : He is the Whole and I am part of Him, and yet there is only the one Self.  Verily, everything is identical, undivided.  To realise this means to be immersed completely into the ocean of Oneness.
After this has been accomplished, one can again do puja and service, for the relationship between the Master and servant persists.  If, after the One Self has been realised, the relationship of a servant to his Master still continues, why should anyone object?  At first this was the path to one’s goal.  After realisation it is He, the One, who serves.  This is real service.
Does then ‘to merge into IT’ mean to become stone-like?  Not so, indeed!
For form, variety, manifestation are nothing but THAT’
We are THAT
It may be asked why there cannot be one and the same path for all?
Because He reveals Himself in infinite ways and form and verily, the 
One is all of them.  In that State, there is no ‘why’. 
Quarrels and disputes exist merely on the way.
With whom is one to quarrel?
Only while still on the way is it possible to have disputes
and differences of opinion

‘At dawn, we went by cycle rickshaws to the railway station. Even at that early hour, pilgrims flocked to the Ganges in a steady stream. Finally, hooting, with a cloud of smoke trailing overhead, the train from Varanasi pulled in, and screeched to a halt. Four young men in spotless white dhotis entered the first class compartment, and carried Ma out on a chair, to which four handles were attached. Ma looked fragile and delicate, wrapped in white cotton cloth. Her black, oiled hair fell over her shoulders. She looked at us with calm eyes. There was no reaction on her face, no sign of recognition of her devotees, many of whom she would have known for decades. She simply looked and her eyes moved slowly around the group. It was pleasant, and I had the strange feeling, that nobody was there behind those eyes. Inexplicably, tears started rolling down my cheeks. “That’s normal when one is touched by a great soul,” someone next to me reassured me. Indeed, I had the feeling that I had been touched by a very pure soul.

While waiting for Ma, we were singing bhajans or reciting the Hanuman Chalisa. Once, a girl of about 10 sat next to me. She sang full-throatedly, though a little out of tune. Listening to her, I liked her more and more. My heart was overflowing with love for her. Then the verandah door opened, and Anandamayi Ma appeared, supported by two women. Even before she reached the cot, she briefly stopped; half turned, and looked somewhat irritated in my direction. When she finally sat down on the cot, her glance settled on me for a long time. Yet this time, Ma’s glance did not strike me or induce any feeling. It seemed as if there was no centre that could have been struck. I simply looked back at her.

Probably Ma’s glance was attracted by the love that I felt for that girl, and probably she really did not perceive us as separate persons. After all, she often declared that it is a mistake to consider one as separate from others. However, almost certainly all of us, as we were sitting there on the verandah during her daily darshan, wished that she appreciated us personally. In addition, if we were honest, we most likely even wished that she appreciated our own person a little more than she appreciated the others.

However, Ma didn’t oblige. She was not consistent in her attention and affection. A genuine guru can see, even if his disciple can’t see it, that the ego is the culprit which makes life difficult. Naturally, he is not interested in flattering the ego and strengthening it – on the contrary. “The association with an enlightened being consists in getting blows to the ego,” Anandamayi Ma once remarked. My ego felt the blows. For example, when she didn’t look at me for long, and it reacted with heavy, resentful thoughts. It wanted to leave. On the other hand, I felt attracted to Ma, because I learnt around her almost effortlessly a new way of life – for example that everything is just right as it is.

“Trust in God. He certainly will look after you and all your affairs, if you really put full trust in Him, and if you dedicate all your energy to realise your self. You then can feel completely light and free,” Ma claimed and it sounded convincing. By ‘God,’ she meant the formless essence in everything. Nevertheless, this essence is not something abstract and cold. It is love, and can be experienced as the beloved. She also said, “You are always in His loving embrace.”

Extracted from mother supreme

How much more time will you spend at a wayside inn?

Don’t you want to go home? How exquisite it all is….
One is, in his own Self, the wanderer, the exile,
the homecoming and the home….oneself is all that
there is…

Do you want deliverance from the bonds of the world? Then weeping profusely, you will have to cry out from the bottom of your heart: Deliver me, Great Mother of the World, deliver me!…. When by the flood of your tears the inner and outer have fused into one, you will find her whom you sought with such anguish, nearer than the nearest, the very breath of life, the very core of every heart….

It is by seeking to know oneself that the Great Mother of all can be found
(Matri Darshan Ananda Mayi Ma).

Aum Sri Anandamayi Ma Namaha
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La Feile Bride

Bridgit, Mary of the Gael, Goddess and Saint of Poetry, Crafts, Healing and Fire :  Inpiration of poets, artists and artisans.
Brighid, excellent woman,
Sudden flame,
May the fiery, bright sun
Take us to the lasting kingdom.

Song of the Virgins of Kildare

St. Brigid’s church in Kildare was built on a site sacred to Brigid. Where Her eternal flame had once been tended by 19 priestesses, 19 nuns took it in turn to each tend the flame for a day and a night. On the 20th day, the Goddess (or the saint) tended the flame herself.

February 2 is one of the great cross-quarter days which make up the wheel of the year. In the Northern Hemisphere It falls midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox and in many traditions is considered the beginning of spring and in the Southern Hemisphere it is the beginning of autumn.

In Western Europe, this was the time for preparing the fields for the first planting. This was an important day for grain growing communities who depended on the crops of the earth mother. This is the time of year, when the ground is first awakened and the seed placed in the belly of the earth. The fields were purified and offerings were made to the goddess.

This medieval Anglo-Saxon plowing prayer was said by the farmer while cutting the first furrow.

Whole be thou Earth 
Mother of men. 
In the lap of God, 
Be thous as-growing. 
Be filled with fodder 
For fare-need of men.

The farmer then took a loaf of bread, kneaded it with milk and holy water and laid it under the first furrow, saying:

Acre full fed, 
Bring forth fodder for men! 
Blossoming brightly, 
Blessed become; 
And the God who wrought the ground, 
Grant us the gifts of growing, 
That the corn, all the corn, 
may come unto our need.

 February 2 is also Imbolc, and Candlemas, the holy day of Brighid, Goddess and Saint, La Feile Bride. (pronounced Breede)  

The Sacred Well and Shrine at Kildare

Brighid is a Goddess of many names. In Ireland She is called Brigid, Brigit, Brighid, Brid. In Scotland She is called Bhrighde, Bride Breo-Saighit, Brede. The Welsh call Her Ffraid and the French call her Brigandu.
She is called Brigantia by the Northern English and Bridget in Sweden. Her name is pronounced Brighid or Bree-id.  Some have said that Her name may have come from the word Brihati, which means “high” or “exalted one” in Sanskrit. Her name in Gaelic means “fire tipped, exalted one, high one.”

 Imbolc, also called Oimelc [‘ewe’s milk’] marked the first stirrings of spring when young sheep were born, and when ewes came into milk. On this day, the first of the Celtic spring, Brigid was said to use her white wand to “breathe life into the mouth of the dead winter”, meaning the white fire of the sun awakened the land. 

An old poem stated; “Today is the day of Bride, The Serpent shall come from the hole.” An effigy of the serpent was often honoured in the ceremonies of this day, making it clear that Brighid had aspects as a serpent goddess. As the serpent sloughed its old skin and was renewed, so the land shook off winter to emerge restored; the snake symbolised the cycle of life. When Brighid’s cult was suppressed, then St Patrick had indeed banished the snakes [Pagans] from Ireland. However, Brighid’s popularity was so great that the church transformed her into a saint, allegedly the midwife of Christ and the daughter of a Druid who was converted to Christianity by St. Patrick, and who went on to found the Abbey of Kildare. 

Her festival became Candlemas when church candles were blessed. 

My painting of Bridgit

Brighid was invited into the home by the woman of the house, in the form of a doll or corn dolly dressed in maiden white. Oracles were taken from the ashes of the hearth fire, which people examined for a sign that Brighid had visited, i.e. a mark that looked like a swan’s footprint. If found, it was considered a lucky omen. The swan was an ancient attribute of the goddess Brighid. Many Irish homes still have a Brighid’s cross hung up somewhere. This was originally a solar symbol.

A small community of Brigidine nuns are keeping the sacred light of Brigit burning at Solas Brihde in Kildare.  I spent a week in Kildare, walking the pilgrimage of Bridgit, visiting her sacred well

Her favourite oak tree
a candle blessing at one of the stations of the Brigid walk
prayed at the Abbey of Brede
Weaving the St Bridgit cross is traditional on this day.

I found this step be step instruction on the site of the Brigidine sisters :
1.     Take the first rush/reed and hold it vertically.
2.     Fold a second rush/reed in half at the mid point of the first.
3.     Take a third and fold it around the second parallel to the first. This will now form a T-shaped piece, with one arm having one strand, the second having two and the third having three.
4.     Fold the fourth around the third to form a cross.
5.     Fold a fifth around the fourth, parallel to the single strand. Make sure you hold the centre tight!
6.     Continue folding each reed around the previous reeds.
7.     Work in a circular way until you have created enough of a woven centre. When your centre is as large as you want, hold in the reeds tightly so that the centre is tight and will hold the cross without any difficulty.
8.     Tie the end of each arm carefully and trim ends.

If you would like to read more about my pilgrimage to Brigid, Mary of the Gael and her presence in Glastonbury, please go here :

Carving of Bridgit milking a cow – on Tower of Michael,
                                                                                  the Tor, Glastonbury                                                                                  

A blessed La Feile Bride to you!!
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Lakshmi’s gilded basket spills over with wealth
But it is Saraswati’s humble mat on which sits wisdom.
Bengali Proverb

Saraswati is the Goddess of learning, knowledge, and wisdom. Her name derives from the Sanskrit words  sara meaning “essence” and swa meaning “self.” She is the wife of Brahma, the creator of the universe. Saraswati is worshipped by students, teachers, schoolchildren, scientists, academics and anyone interested in learning.

She has many titles including Goddess of Speech, Dwelling in the Front of the Tongue, She who Dwells on the Tongues of Poets, the Power of Memory, and She who is Intelligence.

She is usually depicted wearing a white sari, representing purity, sitting on a white lotus which symbolises supreme knowledge. Sometimes she is shown with four arms, and sometimes with two. Her rear left hand holds a book, which betokens that knowledge should be used to better humankind. Her rear right hands holds a rosary, which signifies that knowledge must be based in spiritual truth and not the ego, since knowledge dominated by ego can be destructive. She is accompanied by a swan, a symbol of transcendence and perfection. Saraswati is shown playing a veena, a type of lute, which denotes that the seeker after learning must learn to live in harmony with the world.

One aspect of Saraswati is the early goddess Vac [‘Speech’] who played a major part in creation: the god Prajapati’s mind produced Vac, who then wished to multiply and extend herself. It is said that the world was created through sound; the syllable Om is said to contain the whole process of creation.
In later myth, Saraswati also played a part in creation as the god Brahma divided his body into two parts, male and female. The female half was Sarasvati. She and Brahma mated and produced Manu who went on to make the world.

In a similar legend Krishna divided himself into male and female, purusa and prakriti [spirit and matter]. The female half had five shaktis or dynamic powers; Sarasvati was the shakti whose task was to provide insight, knowledge and learning.

Her feast day is celebrated in early spring, in January or February. on this day, pictures and statues of her are displayed in schools and universities and books, pens and musical instruments are blessed. It is considered auspicious if children speak their first words on this day.
Sarasvati is the inspiration behind all learning, culture, science and the arts, music and dance. She gave the gift of writing to humankind so that her songs could be written down and preserved. She is also the goddess of the spoken word, and eloquence, and words are said to pour from her like a sweetly flowing river’.
She is not a domestic goddess, and would rather give birth to works of art and learning than children, her essence is entirely spiritual, unlike most of the other Hindu goddesses, who are concerned with fertility and motherhood. 

Saraswati is the goddess of learning and acquired knowledge, rather than innate knowledge, whether in the arts, sciences, or spiritual thought. She is the patroness of students and academics, as well as musicians, poets and dancers. As the patron of rhetoricians and writers, she aids in the flow of words and eloquence.Saraswati is invoked to overcome the frailties of mind and poor memory. Above all, she is entreated to bestow the power of conveying knowledge to one’s students. It is said that she is a jealous rival of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and that pursuing wealth alone will assure that Sarasvati’s gifts will desert you.

This beautiful piece was written by Anna Franklin. With thanks to :
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The Goddess

The feminine aspect of the divine has had many faces – goddesses of love and hatred, war and peace, birth and death, summer and winter, night and day, amongst thousands of others. It is time for us to reclaim the Goddess, to reclaim a balanced, harmonious spirituality, and to recognise the Oneness of being within all of creation – Anna Franklin

The Goddess has been known to every race and in every corner of the world. She has had many names and many faces. She is chaste virgin and passionate lover, fruitful mother and barren crone, creator of life and bringer of death. In many places, the feminine side of the divine has continued to be acknowledged, though in the western world, goddesses have been banished and demonised for centuries. ‘God’ is viewed as exclusively male.

However, our earliest deity was the Great Mother who gave birth to and nourished the cosmos. The first images of her appeared from the Pyrenees to Siberia over twenty thousand years ago as the Ice Age receded and people began to follow the herds of bison, horses and cattle across the emerging grasslands. These were figures of goddesses carved in bone, ivory and stone, with large breasts and heavy, pregnant, motherly bodies. The breasts were large enough to nurture many; an image of love and trust. The figures were often daubed in blood-coloured red ochre, and some held horned crescents representing the moon, making the connection between the waxing moon and the waxing womb.

The moon was a powerful image for the Stone Age peoples and embodied a central mystery, changeless but ever changing, constantly renewed. The moon was the first method used to calculate time, marked by its waxing and waning periods. The root word for moon still gives us our words for month, measurement, and menstruation. The moon has four phases (represented on Neolithic pots as a four-armed cross), three visible – waxing, full and waning – then three days in darkness. It seems to have been imagined that the dark phase was the invisible dimension where life gestated; the place where renewal and rebirth occurred. Life begins in darkness; the seed entering the earth emerges from it as a tender plant in the spring. Likewise, the seed of life enters a woman and her baby grows in the shelter of her womb. In the darkness of the tomb, the soul moves towards rebirth.

From 30,000 to 10,000 BCE the cave seems to have been the ultimate sacred place, a sanctuary of the Goddess and a physical representation of her womb- the source of her regenerative power which brought forth the living and took back the dead. On the exterior walls of the cave, images of the Goddess were sculpted; on the inside of the cave, stones were placed representing the souls of the dead who would be reborn there. Animals were painted on the walls so that the spirits of hunted beasts would be placated and renewed. This idea persisted into the Megalithic period.  Among many other such structures, the passage grave at Gavrinis, Brittany, is aligned to the rising sun at the winter solstice, and to the rising moon. Spirals, swirls and other energy patterns are cut on some of the upright stones. Possibly the stones were believed to be the dwelling places of the ancestor spirits, who could be contacted through the stones when summoned. New Grange in Ireland is also aligned to the rising winter solstice sun, and the sun’s rays which flood the chamber at this time fertilises the sleeping earth, and the sleeping dead.

Valentina at Goddess Conference 2007

The Goddess was the goddess of the heavens, the earth, and the underworld of her womb. There are many images of the Goddess as a snake, or depicted with snake patterns over her womb. The snake symbolises the waters of the dimension beyond, the fourth phase of the moon, the powers of regeneration. The umbilical cord connecting the child to the mother has the form of double snakes, and this may lie behind the concept of the double maze connecting this world to the next. The snake was observed to hibernate in the earth, and emerge to shed its skin and regenerate itself, thus it became a symbol of renewal and rebirth. As the Goddess of the Heavens, the Great Mother was depicted as a bird, which travels the sky and roosts on the waters or the earth, and thus can journey through all the realms. Sometimes the body of Goddess statues was egg shaped or carried eggs, or the womb was depicted as an egg.

Just as the breaking of the waters of the womb heralds the life to come, the Goddess was also believed to be the source of the water that fell from the heavens as rain and which welled up from the earth – her body – as springs and rivers. This ancient association persevered for millennia. Wells and springs were named after goddesses such as Anu, Elen, Brigid, and Danu, later to be Christianized as St Anne, St Helen, St Bridget, or preserved in the names of rivers like the Danube.

The development of agriculture freed people from the uncertainties of a hunter gatherer lifestyle; they could settle in one place, cultivate the soil, breed cattle and develop crafts. More than ever, the Mother Goddess presided over the whole cycle of planting, growth, and harvest: the bringer of life, death, and rebirth. Agriculture was probably discovered and developed by women; the harvest season was presided over by Virgo, the virgin mother of the corn.  She was visualized as a maiden holding an ear of wheat marked by the bright star Spica. It is possible that the cultivation of grain dates back to c.15, 000 BCE in the Age of Virgo- earlier than is usually thought- since grindstones, grinders and grain-cutting sickles have been found in Egypt dating from c. 15-16,000 BCE.  The constellation of Virgo is associated with many harvest goddesses including Isis, Ceres, Ishtar, Baalita, Inanna (meaning ‘Queen of Heaven’) and Demeter.

Sometimes the ancient Goddess was portrayed as one being with two heads, an image of the source and its manifestation as one and the same: mother and daughter. This ancient pattern is seen in the story of Demeter, the Greek corn and harvest goddess, and her daughter Persephone (or Kore); the first written reference to the Demeter was in the thirteenth century BCE. The version of her myth that we have today has had male personalities added, but the thread of the original tale can be discerned.

Kore (or Persephone) was picking poppies when Hades, king of the underworld, abducted her. She was taken down to his realm and forced to stay there as his bride. Demeter sought her all over the length and breath of the world, while the earth became barren and sterile as she neglected it. Winter ruled. Then at last, overcome with weariness, she sat down for nine days and nights while the gods caused poppies to spring all around her feet. Breathing in the soporific perfume she fell asleep and rested. The gods took pity on Demeter and decreed that Persephone could return to her mother providing she had not eaten anything while in the underworld. Unfortunately she had eaten six seeds from a pomegranate: she would have to stay in the underworld for six months of the year, and this is why we have winter. When she returns to earth her mother rejoices and the earth blossoms.

The name Kore or Cer for a grain/earth goddess is echoed in many parts of the world. She is Ker, Kern, Kur, Kar, Kan, Kali, Kami-Musumi, Kanya, Kaya-Nu-Hime, Kedesh, Kenemet, Keres, Khamadhenu, Core, Kele, Ceres, Ca, Cabiro, Cailleach, Cel, Cer, Ceridwen, Car, Carman, Cor, and Cybele. She gives us our word ‘corn’ and her name is remembered in the Northern English/Scottish Border custom of making a ‘kern-baby’ or ‘kernababy’, a corn dolly bound from the last sheaf of the harvest. We find her name in the kernel (kern-el) of the grain. According to Robert Graves, cer derives from a Cretan word to do with bees, as cerinthos is bee-bread,cērinos is waxen and so on.  The name multiplied into the name of the Roman corn and harvest goddess, Ceres, meaning ‘spites, plagues or unseen ills’ and this aspect of the Goddess has to be placated- she can blight as well as give. The harvest goddess is also a goddess of death- she kills the spirit of the corn.

The oldest harvest cult is that of the earth goddess. References to it are almost completely obscured in later myths, but occasionally can be seen shining through. In Norse myth Loki steals the golden hair of Sif (the corn). In Ireland, Macha was similarly described as golden haired and was honoured at Lughnasa, the start of the harvest.
Sometime during the 5th millennium BCE, people began to raise stones to form circles, alignments, and burial chambers. Chambers could be built to recreate the womb of the Goddess, activated by a shaft of sunlight entering it at certain times of year. At Midsummer, the shadows of a tall phallic stone crept into the stone circle womb to fertilize it. For megalithic people the earth was not an ‘it’ or a commodity, but a living being.
In some places, the Goddess was believed to have emerged out of the primeval waters as a hill or mound, often seen as the centre of the Earth, its navel or omphalos. The place was often marked by an obelisk or stone, such as the one at Delphi. A similar stone was placed at the druid sanctuary at Uisnech in Ireland and believed to be its navel. From the mound rose the first tree, the cosmic axis which connects the realms. The mound raised over the planted seed is an ancient image of regeneration, reflected in the idea of the burial mound raised over the Megalithic dead, and the pyramid raised over the body of the pharaoh.
In the Kennet Valley (Wiltshire, England) lies the massive man-made Silbury Hill, 130 feet high, built in Neolithic times nearly 4,600 years ago. For years archaeologists thought it must be a burial mound, but investigations have disproved this. Turves were used to construct the inner part of the hill in the Stone Age and remain within, with the grass and insects preserved. They were cut at the beginning of the harvest. Then over a period of about fifty years blocks of chalk covered the turf. It is a harvest mound, representing the womb of the Goddess. Originally, a water filled trench surrounded it, carefully constructed. The full moon in late July or early August (Lughnasa) would be reflected in the waters, so that it appeared a child’s head was emerging from the womb. As the moon moved up through the sky, it appeared reflected at the breast of the image, as though suckling. As the moon moved higher, the ‘milk’ was released from the breast as the moat reflected the lunar light. With the cutting of the umbilical cord (when the moon appears to detach itself from the hill), the signal was given to begin the harvest. Throughout the ancient world a mound of earth was symbolic of the Goddess, sometimes magnified into a mountain of the gods.

Initially the Goddess reigned alone. She had no son or lover. For many thousands of years the Goddess was seen as the single source which was capable of constantly generating and regenerating by her own power- the original meaning of the word ‘virgin’. There are many myths of virgin goddesses giving birth since the power of life was hers alone. Sometime during the seventh millennium BCE came the first recognition of the part males played in the act of creation. Images of the God appeared as horned animals, such as the ram, the bull, or the goat, and the phallic shaped serpent. Images of the sacred marriage of the God and the Goddess began to appear around 4,500 BCE. The god was the fertilizing rain or the light and heat of the sun.

During the Bronze Age the vision of the oneness of creation and the power of the Goddess became fractured and diversified. The Goddess retained the power of life and death, but she now had brothers and sisters, daughters and sons. She acquired many names and there were a variety of mythologies attached to her, but one was held in common: the Goddess acquired a lover who died and was reborn. The pattern of their relationship followed the seasons- they married in spring and their love caused the earth to flower and blossom. With the autumn her lover, the spirit of summer vegetation, died and descended to the underworld realm of the dead. She followed him there and released him again when spring came, and the cycle began anew. This story is reflected in the tales of Osiris, Tammuz, Adonis, Dumuzi, Baal, Jesus and many more.

The Goddess was sometimes visualized as the land itself and called the Sovereign Goddess because everything that happened upon it had to have her approval or it was doomed to failure. In many cultures the earthly king was deemed to rule only through with divine authority. His investiture included a symbolic marriage to the Sovereign Goddess or a real marriage to the queen who represented her. In Irish myth Niall and his brothers were out riding and came to a well with a very ugly hag guarding it. They asked her for a drink, but she demanded a kiss from each in return. All the brothers refused but Niall said that not only would he kiss her, but that he would lay with her as well. He embraced her earnestly and found that instead of an old crone a lovely woman was in his arms. She told him that she was Sovereignty, and he was confirmed as king of Tara. The goddess of the land often has the dual form of maiden and hag (summer and winter).

Towards the end of the Bronze Age the settled Goddess worshippers were overrun by tribes of Aryan and Semitic descent. These warriors worshipped sky and thunder gods, gods of battle, fire and storm, a mythology which developed in the later Palaeolithic Age amongst these nomads who had to contend with a much harsher environment. The invasions had a dramatic impact on the Goddess cultures from Europe to India. The invaders were patriarchal, rode horses, herded cattle and prohibited writing. They appeared as Hittites in Anatolia, as Hurrians and Kassites in Mesopotamia, Achaeans and Dorians in Greece, and Aryans in the Indus valley. Wherever they penetrated they established themselves as the ruling caste. They introduced the idea of the opposition of light and darkness, rather than the totality of the older view. They introduced the idea that man was separate from the deity, and the deity was separate from creation. All that was good and noble was attributed to the master Gods, all that was the native nurture power of the older religion of the Goddess was related to the darkness, which became a negative concept.

In early Sumeria, Egypt and Crete, women played a public role, owning property and transacting business. Sisters and brothers inherited equally. After 2,300 BCE their status deteriorated. The Semitic tribes regarded women merely as the property of men. Brothers, husbands and fathers had the right of life or death over them. Daughters could be sold into slavery or exposed to die. Sons inherited all property. The Aryan peoples had no priestesses and regarded women as chattels.

The concept of the single male deity, a father needing no mother, gradually took hold. The role of the Goddess was denied, and in consequence the status of women was lowered. Christianity, Judaism and Islam converted the Goddess mythology into stories of evil, building churches over sacred sites, and declaring the old gods and goddesses to be demons, or where this was difficult, changing them to Christian saints, as the goddess Brighid became St Brigit in Ireland. Women became less than second class citizens in religion, some theologians even denying them souls. Even today, many deny that women can become priests – a vocation, intelligence, faith and dedication meaning nothing alongside the fact of possessing the wrong set of genitalia. This is a world view that has women as an adjunct to creation, a view that keeps her in her place. All that is male is glorified; all that is female is denigrated as unclean and unfit – too earthly for participation in the worship of a glorious, exclusively male deity who lives apart from his sinful creation. Of course, many Christians, Moslems and Jews are far more enlightened than this, but it remains a lop-sided view of spirituality. The English occultist Dion Fortune said that any religion without a goddess is half atheist.

The deep seated need for a female aspect to deity has persisted throughout the centuries. Denied a goddess who understood the patterns of their lives, their sorrows and their joys, women met this need through cults of various saints, particularly the veneration of the Virgin Mary. However, these saints are never whole women and only holy because they deny their female natures. Mary’s womanhood is repudiated by the church – her son was conceived without sexual intercourse, she gave birth with no pain and without rupturing her hymen; she lived with her husband as a celebrate. The message is clear – holiness is only achievable by denying normal human love.

In the twentieth century, men and women began to realise that female spirituality and the role of the goddess had been denied. Feminists and modern Pagans alike have striven to restore this balance, most recognising male and female spirituality in equilibrium, two halves of an harmonious whole. This world view regards humans as part of nature, children of the Great Mother, along with the Earth, plants and animals, all related in a single whole. The Goddess is revealed in manifest nature, part of it and part of us.

The feminine aspect of the divine has had many faces – goddesses of love and hatred, war and peace, birth and death, summer and winter, night and day, amongst thousands of others. It is time for us to reclaim the Goddess, to reclaim a balanced, harmonious spirituality, and to recognise the Oneness of being within all of creation.

This is the writing of Anna Franklin of