New Brighid Devotional Available!

Cauldron Cill Brighid Devotional Cover

 

Dear Reader,

I’m very excited to announce the publication of The Cauldron Cill Brighid Devotional!  

This compilation of essays, poems, prayers, art, and photography in honor of the Goddess Brighid was collected from members of The Cauldron Cill, a Brigidine flame-tending group based at The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum.  I’m proud to be a founding member of The Cauldron Cill, and a contributor to and editor of the Brighid Devotional.

The Brighid Devotional is available from Lulu.com in three formats:

(These prices are set at cost.  The Cill is not making any money from this project.)

I hope you’ll check it out and let me know what you think!

~ Aster

Clann Bhride FAQ

We’ve just posted an FAQ to the Clann Bhride site. Many thanks to the kind folks who brought questions to out attention! Let us know if you have a question about Clann Bhride that isn’t answered here.

~ Aster

Clann Bhride logo, color, full

Clann Bhride

What is Clann Bhride?

 

Clann Bhride, or the Children of Brighid, is a small group of people who have come together to build a religious structure and practice devoted to the Celtic goddess Brighid and Her Mysteries.

 

What does Clann Bhride do?

 

Members of Clann Bhride offer service to Brighid through personal spiritual practice and acts of devotion. We work together to create research, prayers and other tools for people who want to explore a closer relationship with Brighid. Over time, we hope to build a community of Brigidine devotion.

 

Who can join?

 

Anyone with a serious interest in pursuing a deeper relationship with Brighid through devotional practice.

 

What’s required to be a member?

 

General agreement with the Nine Elements of Clann Bhride, serious interest in incorporating the Nine Elements into your daily life and the willingness to work with the other members…

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Introducing Clann Bhride: Children of Bhride — a Brighid-centered path

Dear Reader,

Happy Imbolc!

Please accept my heartfelt apologies for having forsaken you for so long. It’s been a rough — and also, in some ways, wonderful — few months in AsterLand.

O'ahu = Paradise

O’ahu = Paradise

Since I last wrote, my husband and I were hired for a short-term job in Honolulu, so we spent a blissful 2 1/2  weeks in Hawai’i, where I discovered what it feels like to be migraine-free.  I did NOT want to come home.  Hawai’i truly is Paradise!  It’s unbelievably beautiful.  We’re now hoping planning to move there.  Someday.

I also had the opportunity to spend a month working as a stage manager on a beautiful ballet.  Stage management is something I’ve been doing for a very long time, and I love it and am actually pretty good at it.  Hmmmm…  Maybe I should consider going back to work as a stage manager…? In Hawai’i.

But the most important thing I’ve done since I last posted here was working on Clann Bhride.  This is the Brighid-centered spiritual path that I think I might have mentioned once or twice.  I’ve been thinking about this — independently and with a few friends who share a similar perspective — for a number of years.  Thanks to some major heavy lifting by my partners-in-crime Gilbride and Sage, and wih deepest thanks to Finn (without whom I probably would have given up on this project years ago), Clann Bhride is now ready to go public. And so, in celebration of Imbolc 2014, and with boundless gratitude to Brighid Herself, I am extremely happy to introduce you to Clann Bhride!

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Clann Bhride is proud to establish an internet presence with the launch of our website. Clann Bhride, also known as the Children of Brighid, is a spiritual path of devotion drawing from old traditions and new inspiration of our patron goddess Brighid.

Along with the website we’re also proud to offer our Book of Hours, an informational and devotional text for those interested in a life dedicated to Brighid in Her many guises. This text is available from Lulu, both as a free PDF download and as a paperback for a small fee to cover printing costs. The Book includes:

– An introduction to the basic elements of Clann Bhride

– Daily devotions including morning, midday, and evening prayers

– Prayers for special occasions including dedications, births, and deaths

– A basic liturgical calendar

– Articles on the academic and spiritual nature of Brighid

In the future we hope to offer a resource list and occasional blog posts on Brighid and the path of Clann Bhride. We offer this site to any fellow religionists as a greater offering to Brighid, our guide and friend. You can find us at http://clannbhride.wordpress.com/. We invite those interested to subscribe to our blog and read our Book of Hours.

Over the next year, we hope to develop an active community of people who are committed to incorporating the Nine Elements of Clann Bhride into their lives. If you are interested in such a community, please contact us at clannbhride@gmail.com or subscribe to our blog, where we will post updates as appropriate.

Clann Bhride logo, color, full

D is for “Desperation” and “Duty”

Dear Reader,

Thanks to the crappy things happening in my life, I’ve fallen way behind on my Pagan Blog Project posts.  The group is currently on “J”, but I haven’t done “D” yet.  Unfortunately, I just received some inspiration for a “D” post.

A couple of weeks ago, I told you about a friend of mine, Kelly, whose family is in a desperate situation.  Kelly, her SO, and her young son are currently homeless and have been living in their small pickup truck.  They do not have money for shelter, or even for regular meals.

And now, the family’s circumstances have worsened.  They need immediate assistance.

Here’s part of a message she sent me last night, after I asked her how things are going:

We were offered a crap trailer for 75/month and thought, ok, we can do this until the end of the school year. We were there for two days when [my SO, a combat veteran who suffers from severe PTSD] cracked, and damn near broke, from all the stress, no sleep and not eating. Here’s the clincher: as soon as we paid our rent, the [landlady] started yanking us around and finally kicked us out on Friday.

Then, to cap these last two weeks off, my Boston terrier, Susu, decided to jump out my truck window, even tho she was short-leashed to my gearshift and, I hope to God, broke her neck.

How much more do we have to take before we’re able to get off the streets?!

As you can see, Kelly and her family are going through hell.  I honestly don’t think I’d be able to cope with that.  Would you?

To try to ease the situation, I helped Kelly set up a personal fundraiser.  The original goal was $3000.  So far, donations total $865, which Kelly has used for food, truck payments, gas, and a couple of nights in a motel room.  But it’s not enough to survive on.

Another $900 would be sufficient for one month in the cheapest motel room — which would get Kelly’s son almost to the end of the school year.  After that, the weather will be warmer, and they should be able to camp outside.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, if you can, donate to Kelly’s fundraiser.  If you prefer to donate via PayPal, you can send funds directly to williambarnes26@gmail.com.  (That’s Kelly’s SO.)

If you are one of the 30 people who have already contributed to Kelly’s family, THANK YOU!  Please consider making a second donation. 

If you have not yet chipped in, please try to — even if it’s only a small amount.  A few dollars can make the difference between getting breakfast for Kelly’s son, and going to school hungry.

Every little bit truly does help.

So, how does this relate to a “D” post about pagan spirituality?  It’s simple.  D is for “desperation” and “duty”.

Traditional Brighid's Cross woven Irish rushes

Traditional Brighid’s Cross
woven Irish rushes

I follow the Goddess Brighid, who is widely known as a goddess of healing, poetry, and smithcraft.  Although this is less well known, She is also a goddess of social justice, particularly of those who are disenfranchised by society:  the poor, the homeless, the people who are living in their cars because they have nowhere else to go.  As a lawgiver, Brighid spoke for the “cowless ones”, that is, the people on the outside, who had no money or social status.  And later, as a saint, She worked tirelessly to provide food and shelter for those who needed it.

As a follower of Brighid, it’s my duty to at least try to follow Her example.  Many pagans who worship Brighid do so through creative arts and healing.  Those are wonderful ways to honor Her.  But sometimes it’s equally important to honor Her by helping our friends in need.

Whether you personally follow Brighid or not, Dear Reader, please take a minute to think about how grateful for a helping hand you would be, if you were hungry, cold, and afraid.  Think about spending night after night in your car, about not having regular access to running water, and about teaching your children to search though dumpsters and trashcans for recyclables to trade in for enough money to buy their one small meal for the day.  Think about how you would feel to have to explain to your children’s teachers that their grades are slipping and their clothes are dirty because they’re hungry, exhausted, scared, and homeless.

Now, please think about doing something about all that.  PLEASE DONATE NOW!

You don’t have to be religious at all to understand the value of practice the Golden Rule or to reach out to someone who desperately needs your help to simply stay alive.

D is for “Do unto others as you want others to do unto you.”

D is for “donation”.

Thank you.

~ Aster

P.S.  Whether you can make a donation or not, please help to spread the word about this fundraiser.  If you blog, tweet, or email, feel free to use some or all of my posts about this horrible situation.  If you know of a group that might consider making a donation (a church group, civic organization, scouting troop, etc.), please tell them about Kelly’s family.

pbp4

Can You Help a Family in Desperate Need?

Dear Reader,

A friend of mine, Kelly, and her family are in desperate need.  They have lost their home, thanks to some bureaucratic crap. They’re currently living out of their small pickup truck. Literally.  Three people and a dog.

Imagine your family living in your car!

We’ve set up a fundraiser for Kelly’s family, to try to help get them through this unbelievably difficult time. All donations (except for the small processing fees charged by the host website and the payment processing company) go directly into an account that only Kelly can access.  Alternatively, donations can be made directly through Paypal (which the fundraising site does not accept), by sending funds to williambarnes26@gmail.com.  (That’s Kelly’s SO.)

They have tapped out all the public resources in their area (central Washington state) are now relying on private food banks and dumpster diving for recyclables.

The goal of $3,000 is enough to secure the truck and basic temporary housing for the next 2 months — enough time to get Kelly’s son through the rest of the school year and to give the family time to find a better solution.

This is not a scam or a random stranger on the internet.  This is a personal friend of mine.  I’ve known her for many years, and I helped her set up the fundraiser.  She’s good people, and she’s in trouble.

PLEASE, Dear Reader, go to KELLY’S FUNDRAISING PAGE and donate whatever you can. It might be a cliche, but every little bit really does help.

Thank you!

~ Aster

Take My Week. Please!

 April 8 – 18, 2013

(OK, that’s more than a week.  I’ve got personal crap, too.)

April 8:  Begin death vigil for beloved family cat, Buzz, 13 years old.

April 10:  End death vigil for Buzz.  Bury him in the backyard.

April 10:  Beloved family cat, Lola, enters health crisis.  Rush to the vet, then the emergency vet clinic.  Learn that Lola’s kidneys are failing, her diabetes is no longer controlled by daily insulin shots, and she has Cushing’s disease – each of which is likely to be fatal to a 14-year-old cat.

April 11:  Begin hospicing Lola.

April 15:  Boston Marathon bombing.  3 killed; 180 wounded, many seriously.  (Also, Tax Day.  Enough said.)

April 17:  Ricin found in letters sent to President Obama and Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker.  (Point of interest: “Elvis” did it.)  [4/23/13 UPDATE:  Charges dropped against that suspect.  So, Elvis didn’t do it.  Not this “Elvis”, anyway.]

April 17:  Senate blocks gun control measures.  Unbelievable.

April 17:  Huge explosion at a fertilizer plant in Waco, Texas.  Current reports: 15 killed, 160 injured, lots of property damage.

April 18:  U.S. citizens unite to tell the universe:  “ENOUGH ALREADY!”

The Onion logo

Or, as The Onion so eloquently put it:  “Jesus, this week!”

I hope your week is looking up, Dear Reader.

~ Aster