YULe Blessing and Meditation
Yule is a time to reflect and go within, a time to recharge ready for the coming year. In our woodland bard session we started with a Gaelic prayer and a blessing adapted and translated into English:
‘I arise today through the strength of heaven: Light of sun, Radiance of moon, Splendour of fire, Speed of lighting, Swiftness of wind, Depth of sea, Stability of earth, Firmness of rock.’
The Deer's Cry or St Patricks Breastplate – translation Kuno Meyers 1925
Based on a Traditional Gaelic blessing
“We bathe your palms In the showers of wine - the wine ( or a herbal drink if preferred) can be sipped.
In the crook of the kindling, - the kindling can be briefly held.
In the seven elements:
The blessing of air- wave a feather gently around your head to receive the blessing of air.
The blessing of fire- move your hands from the candle/fire to your head as if taking a shower of fire. ( do not touch the flame)
The blessing of water- dip your fingers into a chalice/cauldron and sprinkle the water gently over your head.
The blessing of earth- sprinkle ash or soil lightly on your palms and rub it in as a blessing of the earth.
The blessing of wood- hold a wand in your hands briefly to take the essence of the element.
The blessing of metal- hold a steel/knife in your hands briefly to take the essence of the element.
The blessing of spirit- spend a moment in silence.
In the sap of the tree, -hold fresh bark/ sap or offer to the fire/alter
In the milk of honey, - eat or offer honey to the fire or alter.
We place nine pure, choice gifts upon your clear beloved face: as each gift is spoken a gift of a hazelnut can be offered to the fire representing the nine hazel trees of Nectan's Well which bestows wisdom.
The gift of form, The gift of voice, The gift of fortune,
The gift of goodness, The gift of eminence,
The gift of charity, The gift of integrity,
The gift of true nobility, The gift of apt speech.
Dark is yonder town, Dark are those within.
You are the brown swan, Going within fearlessly. - visualise yourself as the brown swan going within fearlessly.
Their hearts beneath your hand, Their tongues beneath your foot.
No word will they utter to do you ill.
You are a shade in the heat, You are a shelter in the cold, - really imagine embodying these qualities as you speak them individually with awareness.
You are the eyes to the blind, You are a staff to the pilgrim,
You are an island in the sea, You are a stronghold upon land,
You are a well in the wasteland, You are healing to the sick.
You are the luck of every joy, You are the light of the sun's beams,
You are the door of lordly welcome, You are the pole star of guidance,
You are the step of the roe of the height , You are the step of the white-faced mare,
You are the grace of the swimming swan,
You are the jewel in each mystery.”
“You are wind of sea, You are ocean wave, - really visualise and become these aspects.
You are roar of sea, You are bull of seven fights,
You are vulture on cliff, You are dew-drop,
You are fairest of flowers, You are bull for boldest,
You are salmon in pool, You are lake in plain,
You are a mountain in a man, You are a word of skill.”
last paragraph adapted from the book of the invasions of Ireland translation provided by Irish texts society.
After the blessing I told the following tale:
In the garden of a small cottage a young women sat near to her father's well. She knew she mustn't approach it for only her father Nectan and his three cup-bearers were allowed to take the waters. Boann was angered by this for she wondered how these men could know of the waters of life as she did; for she could feel them in her body, in her womb, in her essence.
In defiance she went over the nearby valley to visit a farmer called Dagdha. He was unkept, his clothes never quite fitted and his hair never brushed. He eat vasts amount of porridge and loved the land from which he grew grains, vegetables and roots.
Boann and Dagdha were in love and despite the union not being approved they met in secrecy. On this night they caressed, sung together, recited poetry and made love. Boann knew she had conceived a child and that her father would not approve and so she continued to defy him by approaching the well.
She walked around it widdershins challenging the passage of the sun itself and all creation. She removed the capstone and as she did so the water released so forcibly it removed her eye from its socket. She ran from the waters but it caught up with her removing her thigh and hand with its terrible power.
Then she broke through into our world where she was the river itself which flowed from the source of the well, she flowed over the valley where she saw the Dagdha who was the land itself and materialised into a gigantic oak tree-
Eo Mugna, great was the fair tree,
High its top above the rest,
Thirty cubits it was no trifle,
That was the measure of its girth.
Three hundred cubits was the height of the blameless tree.
Its shadow sheltered a thousand.
In secrecy it remained in the north and east
Until the time of Conn Ceadchathach.
A hundred score of warriors, no empty tale,
Along with ten hundred and forty
Would that tree shelter, it was a fierce struggle,
Until it was overthrown by the poets.
This oak was glorious and Boann as the river Boyne felt such desire for it. The oak stretched out its roots and caressed the river banks and as they met as land and water a great love bonded them in harmony.
Boann lifted the water rolled rocks up onto the banks and the Dagdha formed a tremendous palace with them that they could live in. The sun on this longest night stayed stubbornly below the horizon until finally they were ready.
The first tentative rays of the sun rose from the horizon, lighting up the palace as it penetrated the gaps in rock and stone, caressing the green world and bringing new life in the form of a most beautiful man- Aengus og.
He was the union of land and water, fire and wind and sang more sweetly than the birds, recited poetry that inspired all who heard it and shone like the sun itself.
A divine child was born....
This was the tale of the winter solstice that I told recognising that the divine child comes in many forms at this time of year and in this story he was Aengus Og.
Taking this imagery we called to the energy of the river and the its source, the well of Nectan ( please see sacred well article) and entered into meditation.
As we entered the well we were drawn down into our inner landscape connecting with the waters but then also with the strength of the Dagdha in the form of an oak. The great oak of Celtica is known as Eo Mugna as described above and connecting with that strong male energy is essential to balance the feminine energies of the water whatever gender that you are.
The male energy of the Dagdha through the oak at this time of year calls us to settle under its boughs, to rest and recharge. To resist the urge to respond and react and top up our energies for the coming year .
Meditate deeply with the oak and receive the deep blessings of peace as nature and soul hibernate into the safe caves of the web of life.
If you wish to experience deep meditation and attend our Woodland Bard Evenings, please find more details by clicking on the button below for our 10th January meet@ 6pm.
Poetry of flowers
Join me to explore the flora of the British Isles on this blog. My intention is to attempt to capture the unique quality and beauty of each species of flower, tree or shrub. For every species featured I will be growing many more wildflowers to celebrate the joy of their existence, their intrinsic conservation value and bewildering array of uses. For nearly 30 years I have noted, studied and explored wildflowers in the field much to the patience of the walker beside me. To share this passion is a heartfelt plea to respect, preserve and care for all British Wildflowers no matter how common they seem.