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Author Topic: Questions to Ponder  (Read 2185 times)
Áine
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« Topic Start: March 17, 2009, 02:46:00 pm »

I have been examining my path, mainly to deepen the connection I have, and I came across all of these questions.  Some of these are newbie questions, but I would really like to read everyone's input.

1.  What does it mean for you to tend the flame?
2.  What mindset should one be in while tending the flame?
3.  What does it mean to serve Brighid?  What does this entail?
4.  What are Brighid's tasks for you?  Do they change over time?
5.  Do love and sex play a role in the symbolism of the "Flame"?  Does the symbolism refer to "Creativity, Forge, and Hearth" only?
6.  How does your spouse (or whatever) fit into your role as a Flame Tender?  Can a husband and wife (or domestic partners) tend flame together?
7.  Do you feel that Flame tending should be reserved for women only?
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« Reply #1: March 17, 2009, 07:35:18 pm »

1.  What does it mean for you to tend the flame?
2.  What mindset should one be in while tending the flame?
3.  What does it mean to serve Brighid?  What does this entail?
4.  What are Brighid's tasks for you?  Do they change over time?
5.  Do love and sex play a role in the symbolism of the "Flame"?  Does the symbolism refer to "Creativity, Forge, and Hearth" only?
6.  How does your spouse (or whatever) fit into your role as a Flame Tender?  Can a husband and wife (or domestic partners) tend flame together?
7.  Do you feel that Flame tending should be reserved for women only?

(Just FYI, we have had threads about some of these same questions.  It might be interesting and/or useful for you to go back into the Cill threads -- and there might be some in the Gods and Goddesses board --  and take a look.  Which is absolutely NOT to say that we shouldn't discuss them now, too.)

My answers, FWIW:

1.  For me, tending the flame is all about being mindful of my connection with Brighid, my spirituality, and the work I am/should be doing for Her.  In practice, I have an actual flame for at least part of my shift (but I do that every evening anyway).  I don't leave it burning overnight, though, for safety reasons, but I *do* have an LED candle that burns at all times.  During my shift, I add something to myself to keep me mindful -- usually a piece of special jewelry.  F'ex, I have a shift starting right now for a different Cill (with Ord Brighideach), and my oil lamp and LED candle are burning, I'll light several tea lights when it gets dark, and I'm wearing a particular bracelet that I reserve for Cill time.  It's a brass cuff bracelet with a sun design.

I *try* to spend a good chunk of my shift doing something related to my spirituality and my work with/for Brighid.  In the past, I've spent most shifts reading.  I have a really huge collection of relevant books (Celtic mythology, history, art, archeology, etc., as well as some related fiction) that I've been collecting for years.  Even though I've read the pertinent sections of each book, there are so many that it never hurts to re-read.  I'm currently working on The Serpent and the Goddess, by Mary Condren.  Lately, however, since I suffered a severe concussion last August, I haven't been able to read more than a couple of paragraphs at a time -- especially it it's academic material.  It's really frustrating.  If not reading, I try to work on a creative project or something like that.

As for what flame tending *means to me*...  It's the foundation of my practice.  Since I'm dedicated to Brighid and only to Brighid, my entire practice is all about Brighid.  So flame tending is the most basic and essential element of what I *do* spiritually.

2.  Mindset:  I have no idea.   Tongue  Seriously, I can't sustain one mindset for an entire shift.  I just approach each shift by thinking about what I'm physically and mentally able to do that night/day, and I go from there.

3.  Serving Brighid:  I think this varies widely from person to person.  For me, a chunk of my service to Her is doing what I'm doing right now -- supporting other people in developing their relationships with Brighid.  So posts like this are part of that.  Another piece is creative work.  I'm not a good artist or writer (other than technical writing), but I do have other creative outlets, such as lighting design for a dance ensemble, embroidery, candle making, beading.  And another piece has to do with social justice.  My interpretation of Brighid's areas of influence is that the traditional 3 -- smithcraft, healing, and poetry/wisdom -- are important individually, but also add up to social justice work.  My entire career has been in that area. 

4.  Brighid's tasks for me:  Hmmmm.  I think my answer to #3 covers that.  Yes, they do change over time.  Not the overarching areas, but the specific tasks within them.

5.  Love and sex:  I definitely do think there is room in the traditional spheres of Brighid's influence for love and sex.  As I said above, though, I think the specific applications vary widely from person to person.

6.  Spouses/partners:  I think partners can certainly tend together, if they are both working on relationships of some kind with Brighid.  In my case, my husband has not expressed a specific desire to tend with me, although he does help me with the actual flame tending sometimes.  F'ex, I've asked him to light my flames a few times and he often blows my lamp out for the night if he comes to bed after I'm asleep.

Interestingly, I have very recently been getting pronounced nudges from Brighid that She wants to communicate with my husband.  I was told to give him my small Brighid's cross pendant charm thingy (which I *really* didn't want to part with  Tongue ) and to give him the message that my charm is an invitation for him reach out to Her and/or to be open to communication from Her.  I've told him, but I don't know if he has felt anything yet.  He feels things pretty differently from how I do, so it will be interesting... Cheesy

7.  Women-only tending:  No.  I think flame tending is open to all genders.  I know the stories about men not being allowed near the flame in Kildare, but I think the world has changed since then.  I would not presume to tell anyone that s/he shouldn't practice his/her faith in the way that s/he feels is right (barring harm to others, like human sacrifice and such).

Good set of questions!  I'm looking forward to reading other responses.
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« Reply #2: March 24, 2009, 10:12:54 pm »

1.  What does it mean for you to tend the flame?

For me, it's being mindful that I am Her Priestess and have dedicated myself to Her work. Some shifts, she lets me off pretty lucky. Other times, she's really got work for me to do. I don't have the luxury of being able to take an entire 24 hours to devote to devotional work, unfortunately, so I've got to make it fit within my "normal" routine.

Quote
2.  What mindset should one be in while tending the flame?

My mindset is, unfortunately, often no different from a normal day. I do try to be more mindful of my obligations as Her Priestess. I got a little battery-powered votive that I can have on my desk at work to remind me of my shift, and I try to wear my Brigit's Cross pendant that day, as another reminder. But when my religious life has to fit around my job and other responsibilities, it's often the religious work that gets shunted to the side. This is a lesson I'm working on.

Quote
3.  What does it mean to serve Brighid?  What does this entail?

I do what She tells me. I understand she has plans for me to be a writer, and to use that talent to teach Wicca, and teach Her lore. She's also encouraged my practical study of herbs as healing medicine, and I dedicate my musical practice to her.

Quote
4.  What are Brighid's tasks for you?  Do they change over time?

I often have a feeling that what She's revealed to me is only the tip of the iceberg. I would not be surprised to find myself, in 20 more years, running my own coven with a pack of students.

Quote
5.  Do love and sex play a role in the symbolism of the "Flame"?  Does the symbolism refer to "Creativity, Forge, and Hearth" only?

Not in my practice, no. Though I don't feel as though She disapproves of my husband and the time we spend together, even if it happens to be during a shift. My love keeps me grounded, and together he and I compliment each other quite nicely.

Quote
6.  How does your spouse (or whatever) fit into your role as a Flame Tender?  Can a husband and wife (or domestic partners) tend flame together?

I'm sure domestic partners could tend the flame if they both felt drawn to it. My husband is called by Egyptian gods. He has absolutely no interest in my Celtic studies beyond being interested in hearing me talk about it from time to time (as I indulge his interest in the Egyptian stuff). We have separate altars.

Quote
7.  Do you feel that Flame tending should be reserved for women only?

The Gods call whom they choose. If a man feels called to work with Brigit, so be it. Or a person of non-Irish descent. Or a cat or a penguin.... it's the Gods who decide, really, not us.

Karen
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« Reply #3: March 29, 2009, 03:27:35 pm »

1.  What does it mean for you to tend the flame?
2.  What mindset should one be in while tending the flame?
3.  What does it mean to serve Brighid?  What does this entail?
4.  What are Brighid's tasks for you?  Do they change over time?
5.  Do love and sex play a role in the symbolism of the "Flame"?  Does the symbolism refer to "Creativity, Forge, and Hearth" only?
6.  How does your spouse (or whatever) fit into your role as a Flame Tender?  Can a husband and wife (or domestic partners) tend flame together?
7.  Do you feel that Flame tending should be reserved for women only?

1. It's a time for me to honor Brighid and be mindful of Her.  I'm devoted to a fairly large personal pantheon, so occasionally Someone gets left out, which I don't like.  It's a regular time for me to reconnect with Brighid.  Also, I like to do creative work during the time.

2. Like Moon Ivy, I don't think I can stay in one mindset for a 24 hour period.  For one thing, I've got to sleep. Wink  But seriously, I've noticed I try to integrate my life even more than usual during my shifts.  So I'm aware of Brighid and spirituality while I'm at work, for example.

3. I'm guessing it's different for everyone.  For me it involves creative work, including writing, jewelry, and graphic design.  I get the sense She likes my crocheting too.  I also have done volunteer work with Fair Trade in Her honor.

4. She hasn't had tasks for me so far, but I do work in her honor.  See #3. Smiley

5. In my experience, she's definitely not against love and sex, and I've found that along with physical healing, she can help with emotional healing and readiness related to them.

6. My beloved (who I live with) has helped me tend the flame sometimes - my shrine is between our desks.  He doesn't Keep every shift, though.

7. No.
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« Reply #4: April 02, 2009, 07:43:18 pm »

3. I'm guessing it's different for everyone.  For me it involves creative work, including writing, jewelry, and graphic design.  I get the sense She likes my crocheting too.  I also have done volunteer work with Fair Trade in Her honor.

Ah... that might explain my recent impulse to learn how to knit, then...

Karen
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