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Author Topic: The Nature of Brighid  (Read 12912 times)
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« Reply #15: March 19, 2009, 09:53:53 am »

Finally going to try and reply to this at a little more length...

I think you're saying that we all (those of us with a relationship with Brighid, and using Brighid as an example of a circumstance that could apply equally to other gods) have bits of Brighid in us?  How are your and my Brighid bits the same and/or different?  If you and Brighid are a part of each other, does my relationship with Brighid include the part of Brighid that is also part of you, and vice versa?  IOW, are there actually a bunch of versions of Brighid running around?  Or are all the pieces of Brighid that are parts of various humans and all the pieces of various humans that are parts of Brighid integrated somehow?

I don't think it's a matter of "bits of Brighid" running around, and, like Sunflower said, I don't think it's a literal truth so much as a poetic truth, and, indeed, a Mystery that is perhaps something I need to at least try to pursue.

I've always loved that essay by Shad--"Lines on a Page"--the last link she gave in this thread, because I think it is very close to how I see myself in the greater whole of the universe, and, since we're talking about deity here, how I see myself "within" Brighid, as it were.

One of my other big metaphors for the universe is a forest: individual trees make up a forest, death and life are always in flux, and the overall shape of the forest always changes: individual trees come and go. But together, those trees are both many, and one thing at the same time, and they are more. They not only form a whole ecosystem or an entire "forest," but then there are stories that surround the myth of the forest--the dark, forbidden Fairy forest, or the forest where Ents live or the grove where dryads live. The forest is one and many, and the stories that are told about it, and by it itself, are many that form into one. I think this is where, in terms of stories, archetypes sort of come into things, the collective unconscious, which could be the same thing as the Divine that is the universe and binds it together, or something like it.

I think if you replace the word "forest" here with Brighid, there is still some sense to be made of it. Brighid, to me, is something like a second (or third, or fourth, or something among an infinity of) collective unconsciousness, a force, the Divine, who has stories that are told about her, and who tells stories about herself to us. Those stories that make up her whole, and our experiences of her, are both many and yet impossibly one story.

I really hope that makes some kind of sense.  Huh

Quote
When you say you are Her lantern and She is your light (I love that metaphor, BTW -- it's very poetic and beautiful), does that mean that you contain and amplify Her, as a lantern contains and amplifies the flame?

Essentially, yes. And yet, I not only contain her--I am part of Her.

If a "lantern" contains a "flame," they, two elements that come together, create a single element, a "light" that illuminates the darkness.

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Do you feel that Brighid is also more than the the parts that interact with humans?  IOW, is there sort of a "panentheist" way of looking at this -- Brighid and we are part of each other, AND the the whole is greater than sum of the parts, AND there is a part of Brighid that is more than all that?

I think I kind of covered that in the above, but in short: yes. This is, I suspect, a large part of the heart of what I am trying to discover about my own beliefs. It's difficult for me to think about this stuff right now since I'm going through a kind of crisis of faith myself, but perhaps thinking about it again and trying to explain it to others will reconvince myself of its worth.
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« Reply #16: March 19, 2009, 11:19:58 am »

Hi, Cill-mates, and anyone else interested in this post.

I've been thinking a lot about the nature of Brighid -- that is, *what* She is, as opposed to *who* she is.  I'm not really sure why I've been thinking about this.  I recently had a bit of crisis of faith, but I think I've come through that now.

I've had a couple of insights (for want of a better word) during meditations lately.  Notably, the message from Her that "I *am* you.  And you are me.  And we are so much more."  And a similar concept another time, although I can't quite remember how that was phrased --if it was even phrased in words at all. 

I'm trying to wrap my brain around the idea that Brighid is both within me and part of me AND separate and independent from me. 

Does that mean I have taken an external seed or idea or something and put part of myself into it to create a new Being that is not the same as me or Her?  That sounds a lot like pregnancy and birth.  I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Is the Brighid I experience the same "person" as the Brighid you experience?  Or do we each have our own version?

Is She a force, rather than a "Being"?  If so, what force(s)?

And what do these questions (and their answers  Wink ) mean to how I/we worship Her?

I seem to be particularly uncomfortable with the idea that Brighid might somehow be a part of me/us, but I'm not sure why.  I'm not even sure how to formulate my questions.  Cheesy

But I *am* sure that somebody else has thought about some of this.   Wink

Any thoughts on any of this?
First, I'm really fascinated by this and appreciate everyone's thoughts and views.  Because of this forum I've been thinking about (and reading about) Brighid.

I tend to analyze things in a visual way and in reading the discussion a part of the movie Phenomenon comes to mind.  There's a part where John Tivolta takes a bit of an apple and hands it to a young boy and he takes a bite.  Then he says something like "Now this apple is part of both of us forever".  I'm seeing Brighid this way, that if we open ourselves up to her, she can become a part of us. 
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« Reply #17: March 20, 2009, 12:46:52 am »

If a "lantern" contains a "flame," they, two elements that come together, create a single element, a "light" that illuminates the darkness.

This metaphor makes sense for me.  At least, it does today.  I can't promise that it will tomorrow.   Cheesy  Not that there's anything wrong with the metaphor -- there isn't!  It's just that I can't seem to nail down my thoughts about this.

I can get behind the idea of the flame and the lantern working together to create a bright, useful light.  But I'm still stuck on the idea of somehow being some part of each other.  The flame is not the lantern, and the lantern is not the flame.  Together they create something that is more powerful than either is alone.  The flame is essential to the lantern -- without a flame, the lantern is dark and useless (except as a paperweight or something like that).  And the lantern is essential to the flame -- without a lantern, the flame can only illuminate a tine area; but with the lantern, the flame is focused and much brighter.  But they are still separate things.  The flame can exist without the lantern, and vice versa.

I keep replaying in my mind that part of the meditation where She said, "I *am you.  And you are me.  And we are so much more."  I wonder how something like this would have been interpreted by the ancient Celts...?

In some ways, the more I try to untwist this, the more tangled it gets for me.  I've been talking to my husband about it, and one of our observations was that it's interesting that my subconscious would present me with a concept that confuses me so much.

I do very much appreciate everyone's comments.  This is helping me try to think this all through.
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« Reply #18: March 20, 2009, 08:48:00 am »

I can get behind the idea of the flame and the lantern working together to create a bright, useful light.  But I'm still stuck on the idea of somehow being some part of each other.  The flame is not the lantern, and the lantern is not the flame.  Together they create something that is more powerful than either is alone.  The flame is essential to the lantern -- without a flame, the lantern is dark and useless (except as a paperweight or something like that).  And the lantern is essential to the flame -- without a lantern, the flame can only illuminate a tine area; but with the lantern, the flame is focused and much brighter.  But they are still separate things.  The flame can exist without the lantern, and vice versa.

Bolding mine.

Basically: yep.  Cheesy 

They are one and they are separate, impossibly, at the same time.

Like I said, it's a Mystery, possibly a Mystery that has to be trusted rather than directly experienced and verified (unless you induce a raised consciousness and awareness). It's incredibly difficult for me to wrap my own thoughts around it.
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« Reply #19: March 20, 2009, 01:16:13 pm »

And the lantern is essential to the flame -- without a lantern, the flame can only illuminate a tine area; but with the lantern, the flame is focused and much brighter.

There is also the idea that without the lantern the flame is wild and uncontained, potentially more destructive than useful.  The lantern gives the flame a framework in human terms, the wildness is, not so much 'tame' as 'disciplined, so it can be focused on specific tasks.  Strength and power funneled into a useful container, buffered so that human hands can apply it without getting burned.

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« Reply #20: March 20, 2009, 02:18:38 pm »

There is also the idea that without the lantern the flame is wild and uncontained, potentially more destructive than useful.  The lantern gives the flame a framework in human terms, the wildness is, not so much 'tame' as 'disciplined, so it can be focused on specific tasks.  Strength and power funneled into a useful container, buffered so that human hands can apply it without getting burned.

Yes, exactly, though I've never really thought about it in those terms before. Thank you!
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« Reply #21: March 20, 2009, 02:36:34 pm »

One of my other big metaphors for the universe is a forest: individual trees make up a forest, death and life are always in flux, and the overall shape of the forest always changes: individual trees come and go. But together, those trees are both many, and one thing at the same time, and they are more. They not only form a whole ecosystem or an entire "forest," but then there are stories that surround the myth of the forest--the dark, forbidden Fairy forest, or the forest where Ents live or the grove where dryads live. The forest is one and many, and the stories that are told about it, and by it itself, are many that form into one. I think this is where, in terms of stories, archetypes sort of come into things, the collective unconscious, which could be the same thing as the Divine that is the universe and binds it together, or something like it.

I think if you replace the word "forest" here with Brighid, there is still some sense to be made of it. Brighid, to me, is something like a second (or third, or fourth, or something among an infinity of) collective unconsciousness, a force, the Divine, who has stories that are told about her, and who tells stories about herself to us. Those stories that make up her whole, and our experiences of her, are both many and yet impossibly one story.
Very interesting and thought-provoking metaphor.  As I indicated in my earlier post in this thread, I do have the sense that the gods exist as individual and distinct beings.  Yet the question of the nature of their existence, and whether there is a common source or essence of the gods is still cause for much deliberation on my part.
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« Reply #22: March 22, 2009, 05:45:13 pm »

Any thoughts on any of this?

I believe that humans (along with everything else) have a spark of the divine in them, that connects them to the divine in everything else.  I hadn't thought of this spark being connected to specific deities before, though.  I agree with Matrinka that some people are more in harmony with certain gods than others, because of their own nature.
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« Reply #23: March 24, 2009, 10:23:16 pm »

I seem to be particularly uncomfortable with the idea that Brighid might somehow be a part of me/us, but I'm not sure why.  I'm not even sure how to formulate my questions.  Cheesy

I rather think that the Gods exist on an entirely different dimension from us mere mortals. So they can probably be anything they want.

On a less vague note... my Wiccan tradition has a ceremony when a teacher names a student. We are the only group I've run across so far that does this, and I'm not entirely sure how the process started. I need to find out. At any rate, part of that ceremony involves a binding between teacher and student so that we are each part of the other. It isn't something we do lightly.

That's what your post reminded me of. And it makes sense on that level... that Brigit is the teacher and we are her students. But like all student/teacher relationships, the teacher also learns from the student. I have to believe that the Gods derive some pleasure and growth from relating to the Priests and Priestesses they call, otherwise what's the real purpose?

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« Reply #24: March 24, 2009, 10:46:38 pm »

I rather think that the Gods exist on an entirely different dimension from us mere mortals. So they can probably be anything they want.

On a less vague note... my Wiccan tradition has a ceremony when a teacher names a student. We are the only group I've run across so far that does this, and I'm not entirely sure how the process started. I need to find out. At any rate, part of that ceremony involves a binding between teacher and student so that we are each part of the other. It isn't something we do lightly.

Thanks, Karen.  This perspective really clicks for me.

I think you're probably absolutely correct -- They can be whatever they want, regardless of whether we understand.  Cheesy
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« Reply #25: March 24, 2009, 10:56:18 pm »

Thanks, Karen.  This perspective really clicks for me.

I think you're probably absolutely correct -- They can be whatever they want, regardless of whether we understand.  Cheesy

Heh... I try not to get too abstract when I think about the gods. One thing I did want to add about the naming ceremony: the language is almost identical. We say "Now I am of you, and you are of me" as a part of the bonding. It's very much a symbiotic relationship, and my relationship to Brigit has always felt the same way... we're not equals, per se, but I'm not entirely subservient, either.

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« Reply #26: March 29, 2009, 03:29:16 pm »

At any rate, part of that ceremony involves a binding between teacher and student so that we are each part of the other. It isn't something we do lightly.

That's what your post reminded me of. And it makes sense on that level... that Brigit is the teacher and we are her students. But like all student/teacher relationships, the teacher also learns from the student. I have to believe that the Gods derive some pleasure and growth from relating to the Priests and Priestesses they call, otherwise what's the real purpose?

That...really resonates with my path, especially Departmentally.  Nice to know I'm not the only one who approaches some things similarly.

And to bring it back on topic, I think lobbing lightbulbs by writing is something Brighid would approve of. Smiley
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« Reply #27: March 30, 2009, 03:33:01 pm »

That...really resonates with my path, especially Departmentally.  Nice to know I'm not the only one who approaches some things similarly.

And to bring it back on topic, I think lobbing lightbulbs by writing is something Brighid would approve of. Smiley

Why is it I can imagine her saying afterwards, "Just remember to clean up the glass afterwards, please!" ?  Cheesy
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« Reply #28: March 31, 2009, 01:53:50 am »

Why is it I can imagine her saying afterwards, "Just remember to clean up the glass afterwards, please!" ?  Cheesy

Well, She *is* a healer.  She wouldn't want anyone getting cut.   Wink
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« Reply #29: March 31, 2009, 09:56:22 am »

Well, She *is* a healer.  She wouldn't want anyone getting cut.   Wink

And she's the motherly sort, too.  If you make a mess, clean it up!
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