Sunday, 31 January 2016

Brighid returns from the Otherworld.

Tomorrow is Lá Fhéile Bríde, Brighid’s Day and tonight after sunset she will emerge to walk the land.
There are many folk traditions associated with Brighid’s Eve in Ireland which welcome her return, one such is the Brát Bhrid, a piece of cloth, put outside the home on 31st January, at sunset. 

The Brát Bhrid was placed on a nearby bush, often a whitethorn, 
on a window sill or tied to the handle of the front door.



It was believed that Brighid would touch the brát and bestow it with healing which remained in the cloth, becoming more potent over time. 


Hands on the door of Saint Brigid's Parish Church, Kildare.

The brát is left over night and at sunrise the dew damp cloth was brought indoors and kept. 
It was laid on people to heal various ailments, to cure infertility in women and ease childbirth. Wearing the Brát Bhrid also saved young children from abduction by the Good People. 

The cloth was often of a specific colour; on the islands off Donegal, 
in Mayo and on Inishmurray, Sligo it was red, in Tipperary, black & in other areas white. 
The Brát usually consisted of a ribbon, a piece of linen or a garment.

According to author Fr Seán Ó Duinn Brighid is the only saint to return annually and her appearance on the eve of the fire festival, Imbolc, is one indication that her roots go back to the ancient goddess who is associated with healing, poetry and smith craft.

It is not only Brighid who returns tonight. 

The Good People will also emerge from the hills as the gates to the Otherworld open. 
A remnant of this belief was recorded in Donegal when a sheaf of corn and an oat cake were left outside on Brighid’s Eve to thank them for the harvest and to ensure good luck. 

On the old date for Imbolc, 4th February this year, sunlight enters several Neolithic mounds 
including the Mound of the Hostages at Tara above.

Celebrations at Imbolc, the first day of Spring and Lá Fhéile Bríde, traditionally take place around the home and unlike the other annual fire festivals there are no references to bonfires being lit on hill tops. 
Perhaps it was too cold to venture forth? 

Or perhaps the sacred fire was the goddess Brighid herself who dwelt in the Otherworld and would return annually to walk the land bestowing protection, fertility and health on people and animals.


In Christian iconography Brigid is often depicted with fire.
 Here she stands with her soulmate, the young woman St. Darlughdacha.

Not too far from my home is Cruachán Bríg Eile, Croghan Hill in Co. Offaly.
Known as the most isolated hill in Ireland, Croghan stands like an island in the surrounding bog and according to John Feehan it can be seen from 12 counties. 

The breast like Croghan Hill with its’ Neolithic passage grave on the summit 
provides a panoramic view.

Excavations in the area have revealed the presence of iron ore, stone hearths, 
ritual lake deposits & the bog body of  Old Croghan Man.

The Hill itself is an extinct volcano and folklore explains that its’ fire can be reached by entering the burial mound.


Locally it is believed that St. Brighid was born near Croghan and that Brigit Begoibne, Brigid the Smith, has her workshop beneath the hill. It is here, using skill, strength and fire that she works metal to create her beautiful cauldrons.




The Holy Well on Croghan is now dedicated to St. Patrick but the fiery goddess Brighid 
is still remembered with offerings of a Brigid’s Eye, red tinsel and yellow flowers.


As the sun sets this evening Brighid will emerge, flame bright, from the mound on Croghan Hill 
to travel the dark landscape blessing her people.

This is the traditional Manx 'Invocation to Bridget' by Emma Christian.

Translation:
"Bridget, Bridget, come to my house, 
come to my house tonight.
Open the door to Bridget, 
and let Bridget come in.
Bridget, Bridget, come to my house, 
come to my house tonight."




To read more about Brighid I thoroughly recommend 
‘Brigid - Meeting the Celtic Goddess of Poetry, Forge and Healing Well’ by Morgan Daimler 
which can be found HERE.



Sunday, 17 January 2016

Æ, artist & mystic - “And the old enchantment lingers in the honey-heart of earth.”

‘The Spirit of the Pool via the Beauty of Art’

I first saw the work of the Irish visionary, George William Russell some twenty years ago and have been fascinated by his life ever since.  

Self portrait as a young man and an older Æ, described as having eyes 
“like well-springs in a wildwood of hair and beard.” 

Born in County Armagh in 1867, his family moved to Dublin when he was a child and it was here that Russell remained throughout his life. 


Plaque outside 84 Merrion Square, Dublin where Æ once worked.
You can read more about his life HERE

It was on a visit to his aunt in Drumgor, Co. Antrim when he was 16, that Russell experienced his first vision:

‘The Stolen Child’

"there broke in on me an almost intolerable lustre of light - pure and shining faces, 
dazzling processions of figures - most ancient, ancient places 
and peoples and landscapes lovely as the lost Eden"



‘Deirdre at the door of her Dun’

After hearing a voice whispering “AEON” to him as he painted, Russell used the pseudonym Æ to sign his work from then on.

Æ’s signature on the Autograph Tree next to that of WB Yeats at Coole Park.

Although known primarily as a poet, he was a painter, a committed worker for the Co-Operative Society, an editor and co-founder of the famous Abbey Theatre in Dublin as well as a mystic.


Æ’s visions of the ‘many-coloured land’ and the Tuatha Dé Danann inspired many of his early paintings and he continued to paint the Otherworld throughout his life.

‘Spirit of the Sea’

His spirits and fairies were not the small, winged creatures of Victorian fantasy but huge, dominating presences, the ‘Shining Ones’, their heads crowned with ‘flames’ of energy. 

They were Warriors, 

‘The Crusade’

‘Wood chopper and Tree Spirit’

Spirits of wood, water and cave

‘Aeon’


‘Lissadell fairies cavern’

and the Tuatha Dé Danann of Ireland who demanded respect.

‘Petition’

‘Tired’

Russell, known as the ‘myriad-minded man’, died aged 68. 


He is buried in Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin.

Many of his paintings are held in public collections throughout Ireland and others have emerged 
since his death.


Lying concealed beneath wallpaper at 3 Ely Place in Dublin are more of Æ’s visions. 
Two murals have been uncovered in the building which was once the headquarters of the Theosophical Society in Ireland. Others may surface in the future.

Æ’s visions continue to inspire.

“And the old enchantment lingers in the honey-heart of earth.”


Russell's poem ‘A Dream of Angus Oge’ and Winter Solstice at Newgrange.  
A video by Mythical Ireland.

More about Russell and the Theosophical Society can be found HERE













Saturday, 9 January 2016

SALE of original paintings!

I have been hibernating and dreaming of new paintings during the dark evenings.

Darkness falls at the end of the garden.


In preparation to begin a fresh year I was cleaning the studio when I rediscovered some of my earlier work. It struck me that I always meant for these images to be shown and enjoyed rather than hidden away in a portfolio.

So I have decided to begin 2016 with a sale of some of these paintings, which were inspired by the cycles of nature and mythology. I would love these early works to find good homes.



The Green Woman for SALE.
Please note my name & © do not appear on the original painting.



The Oak King and The Holly King for SALE.
Please note my name & © do not appear on the original painting.


Several paintings in this series have appeared in various pagan magazines such as Pagan Dawn and Pentacle and they were first exhibited at one of the early Glastonbury Goddess Conferences as well as at Féile Draíochta in Dublin.



The Horned God for SALE.
SOLD
Please note my name & © do not appear on the original painting.


Seed Woman and Hedgerow Crone for SALE.
Please note my name & © do not appear on the original painting.


PRICES

GREEN WOMAN, HEDGEROW CRONE, SEED WOMAN, 
HOLLY KING, OAK KING & HORNED GOD.
Large paintings size 11.70 x16.50 ins / 297 x 420 mm 

PRICE -  300 Euro + P&P each.
£220.00 Sterling / $330.00 US / $452.00 CAN + P&P


Corn Maiden and Green Man for SALE.
Please note my name & © do not appear on the original painting.

GREEN MAN & CORN MAIDEN.
Smaller paintings: size 8.30 x 1170 ins / 210 x 297 mm

BOTH SOLD


All paintings are un-framed.

To purchase an original painting or for more info 
please use the contact form at the foot of my home page HERE  
or visit my Facebook SHOP Page HERE and leave a message.



Friday, 1 January 2016

A new year, a new adventure.


Many thanks to you, my readers & followers, 
for taking the time to read, comment and share my posts.
May 2016 see many new adventures for us both!