Brigit and the Rainbow Dragon:
The Divine Feminine and the Elements

Saint Brigit

Ireland, April - May, 2008

No matter where you go, and how you put it, we keep going back to the Sacred Flame with the paths joining at the female principle and primeval energy (dragon) calling throughout the UK and Ireland.

This year four women started the pilgrimage that was to be completed by a fifth. Nancy, Brenda, Eliza and Emma traveled in a circle.

We started from Tara and New Grange area, traveled up through Donegal and Yeats Country, land of Maeve, the famous Benbulben, and the most ancient tombs of Ireland.

TaraTara mound entranceHoly Well at Tara
Above: Tara. Below left and centre: New Grange. Below right: Benbulben.

Bem Bulbin

Battle of Moytura, SligoWe went along the coast to the Connemara Hills, the Arran Islands and Dingle, and got back to the Dublin area south of where we started.

Kildare was included in our pilgrimage because Brigit was our guide as Keeper of Light, through her role as the protection of the land, the arts, healing, the wells and the fire.

Right: St. Brigit's Garden
Below: Brigit's Flame, Brigit's Kitchen, Brigit's Well.

The 5 pilgrimsWe completed our journey with the arrival of Zoe, at the Centre for Peace and Reconciliation* which is outside of Dublin in the Wicklow Mountains. Those mountains provided the original quartz for New Grange and was carried by the ancient people that built the tombs and complexes in the area where we began our pilgrimage north of Dublin.

Sacred Heart Celtic Cross at TaraWe chose to travel during the Beltane season because of the thinning of the veils between the worlds and because of the myths and legends that joined us to the Celtic culture. We held the four-element, four-directions circle to morph into the sacred geometry of the 5-pointed star treasured by many traditions as the pentacle. The vision and the quest came together at the Centre for Peace.

Brenda, Nancy, DermotCeltic shaman Dermot O’Hara [*see footnote] poured at a Rainbow sweat on site on May Day where his students prepared the sacred sweat fire and welcomed us in. We were surrounded by the spirits of the past and welcomed by Dermot’s Rainbow students who live in Ireland. Dermot asked me to pour.  To gather in a meaningful shamanic ceremony is a privilege and a healing blessing. It gave rise to creating friends for future gatherings of spirit and soul.
Our pilgrimage and sweat lodge containers embraced whatever intentions that we were personally and collectively creating for the future of the planet. The five of us had overcome personal and collective obstacles of time, funds, beliefs, attitudes and other persistent human issues to allow ourselves to meet in the spring muck and dirt of our beautiful Earth Mother womb, the sweat lodge. We physically and spiritually got in touch with her body, reminding us of the body consciousness of ourselves and the earth.

at Maeveat MaeveNancy as Cailleach

Our journey was filled with visceral experiences like this. Did I say we spent a whole afternoon at the Paps of Anu, did I mention that we found holy wells both famous and obscure? Our intuition kept leading us to old pilgrimage stopping places such as those for travelers going to Santiago de Compostello in Spain, or for the faithful climbing Cnoc Patrick. We found ourselves in places of solace, the spirit tracks of those gone before us. We stopped on the side of a mountain in Dingle, to offer service to the vision of another circle in Canada. [**see footnote]

Paps of AnuMaking ritual at the Paps of AnuFairy wand
Above left: the Paps of Anu, near Killarney

We saw Killarney’s lakes, castles and ruins of the past to break your heart. We followed the footsteps of those who have gone before us, in graveyards, in Brigid’s sanctuary, in dells where the faeries still wait for those who ask to experience them.

Shamanic art by ElizaDrawing, writing constantly, creating poetry and song, we were inspired by our surroundings and each other.  We danced and played spontaneously to live music provided by Michael Herlihy, an owner of Dingle Music Shop and a caretaker of Irish culture.  We danced to invisible musicians on the slopes of tombs, receiving support and guidance for this life from the ancestors who loved their land, and who left their legacy on the winds.

Stone of Destiny, TaraWe spent time with people such as Joan at Seamrog B & B at Tara Hill, who remembers when “everyone” had cows, and one of us spent time with folks rallying in opposition to the highway through the Boyne Valley. We gathered with our small but mighty group to ask for Unity and aligned our personal and collective energies with ancient principles of stewardship and cooperation, in order that they can bear fruit if practiced in the world today.

We also saw the ravages of war and famine, and understand there is much more healing to do and that we cannot ignore that our human legacy is shadowed with loss and grief.  We made space in our rituals to reweave the future taken from the lessons of the past and to mend the holes in the Web of Light where the lineage of Peace had been broken. We did ceremony to help all beings remember their wholeness and to plant intentions for Unity and Peace in the future.

We cannot thank the spirits of all the beings and the land enough for sharing so generously with us. Ireland was hospitable even during formidable storms of nature which occasionally brought terrifying waves and lightening with them. Vast rainbows appeared and reappeared throughout our journey. These “displays” of the weather spirits helped us to return with deeper commitment to our planet, in Canada, in Wales, and in England.

The photos speak of the places we visited and how we related to the landscape and people.

Journey to the “Navel” of Ireland; Hill of Uisneach

Cat Sone at UisneachHill of Uisneach, IrelandAs a postscript to the circle journey, it was my intention to go further into the ancient center, or navel of Ireland.  Zoe and I went to the town of Mullingar where we could easily access the Hill of Uisneach by walking from a country bus stop.

The Hill of Uisneach is one of the oldest sites of druid hill fires and was the center of the four ancient provinces and mandala of Ireland. It was the central power point before Tara rose to prominence as a new “center”. This completion was also a beginning again, and so the circle is never broken.

Stone of Destiny, TaraFootnotes:

* Dermot O’Hara, Celtic shaman, holds courses, ceremonies and retreats in Dublin at Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation .

** John Overton and Helen Chandler are guardians of the Christal Temple vision, which was conceived in Ireland.