Saturday, February 6, 2016

Updates and Lá Fhéile Bríde

As some may notice, I've changed the title of this blog and made some aesthetic changes. I originally created this blog as "Scrawls at the Hearthfire" back in 2009 (maybe 2010...) to log my experiences as a Gaelic Polytheist attending college. Well, college and life on top of it takes a lot of time and it didn't get very far back then...or any other time. I've changed the title, because I am rarely in any one spot for more than a year and have been moving houses for as long as I can remember. I bring my hearth shrine with me wherever I end up and thus, An Teallach Fáin, the Wandering Hearth. And so it will be until a future time when I am living in one place for a time. Another reason I chose An Teallach Fáin as the title of this blog is because of Brigid's connection to the hearth and because of a Manx story called "Manannán and the Shepherd" where Manannán refers to Himself as "King of the Wanderers" (which you can read at Annie's Tairis blog here). I feel my admiration for both gods seem appropriately summed up in the new title.

We celebrated Lá Fhéile Bríde last Monday, February 1st. Usually, I will start things the night before, but my partner's birthday is the day before so we did everything the day after. All seemed to go well overall and we kept it a bit more low-key than previous years. Most of the day was spent cleaning and cooking to Irish music along with many prayers and charms said around the house for protection. I was unable to find any natural materials to make the cros Bríde up here in the mountains, so I made a small one of paper to keep in my pocket as a charm. I may make one later on in the year during the first significant snowmelt should I find materials suitable for the purpose.

Fresh butter!!!

Dinner was beef stew (with parsnips, carrots, leeks, and mushrooms) with soda bread and some home-shaken butter. After starting a fire, I set up the table and then brought my offerings for Brigid and her cow outside to set next to the door in preparation for her visit, which is also when we flung open the door to invite her in. Friends (aka, the extended family) showed up soon after to join us for dinner. I ended the day with smooring the fire and smoothing out the ashes. The next morning there wasn't much in the ash, though a small indentation in the center looked like it could have been a foot-like shape. So, I'll take it.

Neart talamh duit,
Neart mara duit,
Neart neimhe duit,
A Bhríde, an brainse le bláthanna.

 -Prayer as Gaeilge liberally adapted from the Dùrachd or "Good Wish" in Volume III of the Carmina Gadelica, page 230-31.