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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Holy Day of Our Lady of Lourdes



11 February is the Holy Day of Our Lady of Lourdes

As though we are Divine

Ancient friend
Our Divine Mother looks at us
as though we are divine

Flinging flower petals onto our path
she worships the very air we breathe

Adoringly she pulls us onto her lap
embracing her beloved children 
with the passion
of one who has waited for eons
for this reunion.

She whispers softly into our ear
'my darling son' my darling daughter'
once and for all shattering any doubt
hat we are the only reason
for her existence

Ethan Walker III


blessings
Hettienne

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Anandamayi Ma



"There comes a time when the Beloved does not leave one anymore;  wherever one may go, He is ever by one's side and His presence constantly felt.  At an earlier stage one perceived Him within all objects; but now He is not seen within the objects anymore, for there is nothing but He alone. Trees, flowers, the water and the land - everything is the Beloved and only He.  Every form, every mode of  being, every expression - whatever exists is He, there is none beside Him.


If everything is the Lord and nothing but He, then one's body must also be He - the One Existence.  In this state, when one is deeply absorbed in dhyana, no physical activity - be it the performance of ritual or acts of service - is possible.  For He alone IS.  One no longer exists apart from Him.  Nevertheless, for some who have attained to this condition, the relationship between the Lord and His servant remains and is felt thus : He is the Whole and I am part of Him, and yet there is only the one Self.  Verily, everything is identical, undivided.  To realise this means to be immersed completely into the ocean of Oneness.


After this has been accomplished, one can again do puja and service, for the relationship between the Master and servant persists.  If, after the One Self has been realised, the relationship of a servant to his Master still continues, why should anyone object?  At first this was the path to one's goal.  After realisation it is He, the One, who serves.  This is real service.



Does then 'to merge into IT' mean to become stone-like?  Not so, indeed!
For form, variety, manifestation are nothing but THAT'

We are THAT

It may be asked why there cannot be one and the same path for all?
Because He reveals Himself in infinite ways and form and verily, the 
One is all of them.  In that State, there is no 'why'. 
Quarrels and disputes exist merely on the way.
With whom is one to quarrel?
Only while still on the way is it possible to have disputes
and differences of opinion



‘At dawn, we went by cycle rickshaws to the railway station. Even at that early hour, pilgrims flocked to the Ganges in a steady stream. Finally, hooting, with a cloud of smoke trailing overhead, the train from Varanasi pulled in, and screeched to a halt. Four young men in spotless white dhotis entered the first class compartment, and carried Ma out on a chair, to which four handles were attached. Ma looked fragile and delicate, wrapped in white cotton cloth. Her black, oiled hair fell over her shoulders. She looked at us with calm eyes. There was no reaction on her face, no sign of recognition of her devotees, many of whom she would have known for decades. She simply looked and her eyes moved slowly around the group. It was pleasant, and I had the strange feeling, that nobody was there behind those eyes. Inexplicably, tears started rolling down my cheeks. “That’s normal when one is touched by a great soul,” someone next to me reassured me. Indeed, I had the feeling that I had been touched by a very pure soul.

While waiting for Ma, we were singing bhajans or reciting the Hanuman Chalisa. Once, a girl of about 10 sat next to me. She sang full-throatedly, though a little out of tune. Listening to her, I liked her more and more. My heart was overflowing with love for her. Then the verandah door opened, and Anandamayi Ma appeared, supported by two women. Even before she reached the cot, she briefly stopped; half turned, and looked somewhat irritated in my direction. When she finally sat down on the cot, her glance settled on me for a long time. Yet this time, Ma’s glance did not strike me or induce any feeling. It seemed as if there was no centre that could have been struck. I simply looked back at her.

Probably Ma’s glance was attracted by the love that I felt for that girl, and probably she really did not perceive us as separate persons. After all, she often declared that it is a mistake to consider one as separate from others. However, almost certainly all of us, as we were sitting there on the verandah during her daily darshan, wished that she appreciated us personally. In addition, if we were honest, we most likely even wished that she appreciated our own person a little more than she appreciated the others.

However, Ma didn’t oblige. She was not consistent in her attention and affection. A genuine guru can see, even if his disciple can’t see it, that the ego is the culprit which makes life difficult. Naturally, he is not interested in flattering the ego and strengthening it – on the contrary. “The association with an enlightened being consists in getting blows to the ego,” Anandamayi Ma once remarked. My ego felt the blows. For example, when she didn’t look at me for long, and it reacted with heavy, resentful thoughts. It wanted to leave. On the other hand, I felt attracted to Ma, because I learnt around her almost effortlessly a new way of life – for example that everything is just right as it is.

“Trust in God. He certainly will look after you and all your affairs, if you really put full trust in Him, and if you dedicate all your energy to realise your self. You then can feel completely light and free,” Ma claimed and it sounded convincing. By ‘God,’ she meant the formless essence in everything. Nevertheless, this essence is not something abstract and cold. It is love, and can be experienced as the beloved. She also said, “You are always in His loving embrace.”

Extracted from www.lifepositive.com/spirit/gurus/the mother supreme



How much more time will you spend at a wayside inn?
Don't you want to go home? How exquisite it all is....
One is, in his own Self, the wanderer, the exile,
the homecoming and the home....oneself is all that
there is...


Do you want deliverance from the bonds of the world? Then weeping profusely, you will have to cry out from the bottom of your heart: Deliver me, Great Mother of the World, deliver me!.... When by the flood of your tears the inner and outer have fused into one, you will find her whom you sought with such anguish, nearer than the nearest, the very breath of life, the very core of every heart....




It is by seeking to know oneself that the Great Mother of all can be found
(Matri Darshan Ananda Mayi Ma).



Aum Sri Anandamayi Ma Namaha

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

La Feile Bride


Bridgit, Mary of the Gael, Goddess and Saint of Poetry, Crafts, Healing and Fire :  Inpiration of poets, artists and artisans.



Brighid, excellent woman,
Sudden flame,
May the fiery, bright sun
Take us to the lasting kingdom.

Song of the Virgins of Kildare

St. Brigid's church in Kildare was built on a site sacred to Brigid. Where Her eternal flame had once been tended by 19 priestesses, 19 nuns took it in turn to each tend the flame for a day and a night. On the 20th day, the Goddess (or the saint) tended the flame herself.


February 2 is one of the great cross-quarter days which make up the wheel of the year. In the Northern Hemisphere It falls midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox and in many traditions is considered the beginning of spring and in the Southern Hemisphere it is the beginning of autumn.

In Western Europe, this was the time for preparing the fields for the first planting. This was an important day for grain growing communities who depended on the crops of the earth mother. This is the time of year, when the ground is first awakened and the seed placed in the belly of the earth. The fields were purified and offerings were made to the goddess.

This medieval Anglo-Saxon plowing prayer was said by the farmer while cutting the first furrow.

Whole be thou Earth 
Mother of men. 
In the lap of God, 
Be thous as-growing. 
Be filled with fodder 
For fare-need of men.


The farmer then took a loaf of bread, kneaded it with milk and holy water and laid it under the first furrow, saying:

Acre full fed, 
Bring forth fodder for men! 
Blossoming brightly, 
Blessed become; 
And the God who wrought the ground, 
Grant us the gifts of growing, 
That the corn, all the corn, 
may come unto our need.


 February 2 is also Imbolc, and Candlemas, the holy day of Brighid, Goddess and Saint, La Feile Bride. (pronounced Breede)  

The Sacred Well and Shrine at Kildare

Brighid is a Goddess of many names. In Ireland She is called Brigid, Brigit, Brighid, Brid. In Scotland She is called Bhrighde, Bride Breo-Saighit, Brede. The Welsh call Her Ffraid and the French call her Brigandu.
She is called Brigantia by the Northern English and Bridget in Sweden. Her name is pronounced Brighid or Bree-id.  Some have said that Her name may have come from the word Brihati, which means "high" or "exalted one" in Sanskrit. Her name in Gaelic means "fire tipped, exalted one, high one."


 Imbolc, also called Oimelc ['ewe's milk'] marked the first stirrings of spring when young sheep were born, and when ewes came into milk. On this day, the first of the Celtic spring, Brigid was said to use her white wand to "breathe life into the mouth of the dead winter", meaning the white fire of the sun awakened the land. 


An old poem stated; "Today is the day of Bride, The Serpent shall come from the hole." An effigy of the serpent was often honoured in the ceremonies of this day, making it clear that Brighid had aspects as a serpent goddess. As the serpent sloughed its old skin and was renewed, so the land shook off winter to emerge restored; the snake symbolised the cycle of life. When Brighid's cult was suppressed, then St Patrick had indeed banished the snakes [Pagans] from Ireland. However, Brighid's popularity was so great that the church transformed her into a saint, allegedly the midwife of Christ and the daughter of a Druid who was converted to Christianity by St. Patrick, and who went on to found the Abbey of Kildare. 

Her festival became Candlemas when church candles were blessed. 


My painting of Bridgit

Brighid was invited into the home by the woman of the house, in the form of a doll or corn dolly dressed in maiden white. Oracles were taken from the ashes of the hearth fire, which people examined for a sign that Brighid had visited, i.e. a mark that looked like a swan's footprint. If found, it was considered a lucky omen. The swan was an ancient attribute of the goddess Brighid. Many Irish homes still have a Brighid's cross hung up somewhere. This was originally a solar symbol.


A small community of Brigidine nuns are keeping the sacred light of Brigit burning at Solas Brihde in Kildare.  I spent a week in Kildare, walking the pilgrimage of Bridgit, visiting her sacred well



Her favourite oak tree


a candle blessing at one of the stations of the Brigid walk





prayed at the Abbey of Brede



Weaving the St Bridgit cross is traditional on this day.


I found this step be step instruction on the site of the Brigidine sisters :

1.     Take the first rush/reed and hold it vertically.
2.     Fold a second rush/reed in half at the mid point of the first.
3.     Take a third and fold it around the second parallel to the first. This will now form a T-shaped piece, with one arm having one strand, the second having two and the third having three.
4.     Fold the fourth around the third to form a cross.
5.     Fold a fifth around the fourth, parallel to the single strand. Make sure you hold the centre tight!
6.     Continue folding each reed around the previous reeds.
7.     Work in a circular way until you have created enough of a woven centre. When your centre is as large as you want, hold in the reeds tightly so that the centre is tight and will hold the cross without any difficulty.
8.     Tie the end of each arm carefully and trim ends.



If you would like to read more about my pilgrimage to Brigid, Mary of the Gael and her presence in Glastonbury, please go here :  http://pathofdivinelove.blogspot.com/2011/04/brigidbrigitbridebrede-mary-of-gael.html
Carving of Bridgit milking a cow - on Tower of Michael,
                                                                                  the Tor, Glastonbury                                                                                  



A blessed La Feile Bride to you!!