We conclude the final 3 days of the Brighid Novena with the shape-shifting Celtic Goddess Morrigan, presented in each of her tri-fold, triple aspects – one for each remaining day of the novena.
Because the Celts kept an oral history, and because much of it has come down to us through the mesh of Catholic monks, there’s a great deal we don’t know about Morrigan. Further exacerbating this lament is that Morrigan herself can only be understood and appreciated when viewed in cyclic time, the way the ancients reckoned time.
The aspects of all Triple Goddesses are mother – maiden – clone. Morrigan, however, is better understood using her aspects of warrior – protectress – prophetess. She is frequently identified as a raven goddess owing to her warrior aspect, but presented in this image (above left) as a protectress. Ravens and the entire gang of corvids – crows, choughs, magpies, jackdaws – are associated with battlefield carnage and Morrigan is seldom pictured without them.
“She who walks the Warrior Path, Great Morrigan, Red Queen! I greet your beauty, your shadowed jewel At the height of your Powers. I greet you with a rite in your honor, Lady of Many Forms. Tri-fold Lady; With your sisters at your side I would honor you, And call you to join us this night.” ~ Sacred Wicca
This unique art presents Morrigan as a bloodied Irish warrior. Today’s Celts are identified with Ireland but they dominated Europe for 1,000 years from their native Anatolia and across Austria, where two famous archaeological digs reveal the beauty of ancient Celtic cultures of Hallstatt and La Tène, and on into Northern Europe. A Celtic torque unearthed at La Tène is pictured below.
O Morrigan, we call your name Across the dusty years. You speak to us, of blood and lust. You show us all our fears. You are a goddess, old and wise. Of holy power you have no dearth. Beneath your wings : Black, Red and White, We learn of death and birth. ~ hymn by Isaac Bonewits
As a prophetess, we call on Morrigan in this novena for clarity as to the true nature of reality and for a framework in which we can comprehend the chaos of today’s world, which I fear may only worsen.
Our reality, our worldview, is rapidly changing – sometimes for better, sometimes for worse; indeed, it is not only changing, but is threatened with false beliefs. We witness a pernicious movement advocating a collectivist worldview at every turn. This is a movement toward big government, power and money, totalitarian in nature, that seeks to control almost every aspect of daily life.
The spiritual battle we fight today is one of individuality vs. globalism. Our country is at the vanguard.
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The title of the beautiful painting on the left by Sophie Anderson speaks volumes:
“Take the Fair Face of Woman, and Gently Suspending, With Butterflies, Flowers, and Jewels Attending, Thus Your Fairy is Made of Most Beautiful Things,” (c. 1869).
Sophie Anderson lived in an affluent artist colony on the Italian island of Capri when she painted this portrait of a fairy. Sir Frederick Leighton was also a member of the colony at that time. You know Lord Leighton’s work, even if you don’t immediately associate his name with them. He was one of the Pre-Raphaelites who resided in London in the mid 1800s. This one is a favorite of mine. It offers a hint of the direction we intend to pursue with this (mostly visual) blog.
The rhyming couplet that introduced the blog is from Titania’s instruction to her fairy train at the conclusion of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. My favorite illustration of that particular scene was created by one of my favorite poets, William Blake. We might mention here that one of Brighid’s many titles is Goddess of Poetry.
Oberon and Titania, King and Queen of the Fairies, are on the left. Puck, the trickster and perplexer of mortals, faces us. The fairies Moth and Peaseblossom are easily identifiable. We’ll guess the third fairy is Mustardseed.
The Queen of Elphame, my original title for this blog, translates as the Queen of Fairyland. She is associated with the Tuatha Dé Danann, the mythological family of supernatural beings in Irish folklore. While Brighid’s family was indeed the Tuatha Dé, she was never, to my knowledge, proclaimed Queen of Fairyland. That is, not until now.
The attributes of the Queen of Ephrame – magic, childbirth, poetry and healing – are attributes commonly associated with Brighid, as well as with several of her counterparts such as the Norse Goddess Freyja. Lush red hair appears to be a common attribute.
I’ve always believed that artists, well, many artists, receive inspiration from a obscure mound of dirt – a fairy mound – tucked neatly away on some mossy knoll of the Celtic Otherworld. After composing this blog, I’m rather convinced of it!
Know that everyone, including the beings of the Dragonfae, is delighted and happy to know of your ability to delight in your own self. Celebrate, and we celebrate with you. Hail, joyful kindred spirit and be welcome to the feast! ~ Titania, as channeled by Lucy Cavendish in Oracle of the Dragonfae.
“Dragonfae are powerful and bring deeper understanding and clarity to all things…they tend to come into our lives to remind us who we really are and to active aspects of ourselves that we may have forgotten…Dragonfae help us to access knowledge from deep within.” – from the Dragonfae companion book.
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We mentioned in our Day 2 blog that Brighid – Pagan goddess and Catholic saint – is titled, “Daughter of the Dagda.” The Dagda is the supreme deity of the Tuatha Dé Danann, the tribe or people of the Goddess Danu in Irish mythology.
The Tuatha Dé, like all the old gods and the new, were considered supernatural beings who inhabited the Otherworld. There they interacted with humans. This 4,000 year old profession of faith effectively correlates the unseen Otherworld with Collective Unconscious archetypes, a spiritual awareness rarely found in today’s worldview dominated by scientific materialism.
While this novena’s primary intention is to seek clarity as to the true nature of reality, it offers thoughts and prayers for a rapid end to today’s antiquated, discredited and narcissistic worldview that insists physical reality is all that truly exists.
The Chrysalis Tarot card chosen to represent this plight of ours is Celtic Owl, a card fitting for a novena invoking a Celtic goddess and Catholic saint.
These are the most important symbols found in the Celtic Owl image:
1. The endless knot symbolizes connectivity of everything – Individual consciousness to the Collective Unconsciousness (Otherworld); Individual consciousness to Cosmic Mind, and the present to past and future.
2. Owl symbolizes both the Otherworld and keen sight (and insight), even in darkness. Owl also is a symbol of spiritual growth, wisdom and psychic ability, particularly clairvoyance.
3. The crown chakra, a symbol of higher consciousness, is a dominant feature in Holly’s Celtic Owl artwork. Pranic energy enters the crown or seventh chakra portal and proceeds to flow through the other energy meridians before returning to the eternal aether. Pranic energy, the energy of pure consciousness, is the life force that changes desire into reality.
I am Owl,
Swift creature of the dark night
Guardian of the Spirit’s flight
Herald of new direction
Ancient wisdom in reflection
Nature’s shy and silent one
Who sees beyond the setting sun.
Spiritual awareness begins not when we blindly pledge allegiance to arcane religious dogma but when we finally are led to utter the words, “I Am.”
I Am responsible for my own spirituality and my own spiritual growth.
I Am is a declaration of spiritual freedom. Only with spiritual freedom are we, as individuals, able to achieve our full potential and chart the course of destiny.
Carl G. Jung, the founder of analytical psychology, coined the oblique term individuation to describe the spiritual quest allegorized by the tarot. Jung taught that birth is analogous to a photographic negative. The fullness of life must be developed over the years, as well as lived.
As the psychic process of individuation advances, as the photographic negative is developed, the Self assumes form, intelligence and personality. Color and detail is added, as symbolized (above) by the Divine Child’s palette. The frog and butterflies are universal symbols of transformation; the candle, of the essence of being.
In the final analysis, how we develop has as much if not more to do with physics than with religion, although religious metaphor plays an important if intermediate role. Individuation is a completely natural process, although not one we are able to accomplish on our own. We require divine assistance! We require divine assistance to keep us from exiting the train named Destiny at the whistle-stop named religion, as so many do.
The traditional name for this particular tarot card, as noted above, is The Hierophant. Before that, in the Tarot of Marseilles, the card’s title was Le Pape – “The Pope.” In other words, in traditional tarot this archetype always has bowed to the authority of institutionalized dogma and appealed to religious absolutism. A change was necessary and overdue!
The Divine Child refers to that inner voice we all know and recognize as a phenomenon fundamental to our own unique being. This inner voice was once called a homunculus – a “little person” inside the brain. (I added the link just for fun. It’s not particularly relevant.)
Anyway, a more accurate term for this inner voice is clairaudience, meaning inspiration from the spirit world and divine assistance in the form of spirit guides, animal totems, ancestors, nature and the Higher Self.
Chrysalis defines the Higher Self as something exterior, existing predominantly in the Otherworld (as beautifully depicted on the left). The Otherworld, however, is not supernatural, it is an unseen part of this world, as we shall see, so to speak. They are quantumly entangled.
We are all psychic (clairvoyant) and we are all clairaudient to some varying degree whether we realize it or not, just as we are all intuitive. Everyone possesses a Sixth Sense or Third Eye. As the individuation process evolves toward higher consciousness and enlightenment, our spiritual abilities come sharply into focus.
I mentioned that physics (quantum not classical) explains the thoroughly natural characteristics of these and other spiritual abilities. In metaphysics, we no longer refer to them as paranormal rather as anomalistic psychology.
Let’s draw an analogy between, for example, a material self (little s) on one hand and its spiritual Higher Self on the other to two quantum particles, say protons. Once entangled, they cannot be properly understood independently. They forever remain entangled as a composite whole. The Self, by analogy, becomes an emergent property of Higher Self. Emergence implies that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
Amazingly, should you create some vast distance between two entangled protons, which have intrinsic spin – either clockwise or counterclockwise – by placing one proton in your pocket and the other on the opposite side of the universe, and then spin your proton clockwise, the other one will spin counterclockwise. Instantaneously! Accordingly, quantum mechanics can easily account for the “little man in your brain” and assures us that we are, indeed, connected to everything and not alone in the universe.
To our list of intentions in this Novena to Brighid, let us now add “clarity as to the true nature of reality.” And please add your own intentions.
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Papa Legba is one of Chrysalis Tarot’s most popular cards and personalities. One loyal fan even had Legba’s art tattooed on his arm!
Papa, consciously or unconsciously, facilitates the user’s connection and conversation with the Otherworld. Tarot works best when this connection is a conscious one; too many tarot readers believe they’re decoding a message since tarot cards have fixed meanings. They do not.
A tarot card’s meaning is derived from the contents of the user’s unconscious mind and the resonance engendered with one or more archetypes, in this case Papa Legba, Brighid and, as we shall see, Janus.
Papa is an archetype that always runs in the background like an app on a computer. That’s because Papa represents what is known as a Gatekeeper between worlds. He is always present to assist your creative imagination and raise your level of consciousness.
All mythologies feature a gatekeeper, although he or she may be more readily recognized by other attributes. Hecate, a gatekeeper, is perhaps best known for her magical attributes. Gatekeepers are the deities of transitions, passages, thresholds, change, crossroads, beginnings and endings, to mention a few. Papa is depicted seated at a crossroads; the telephone poles in the distance symbolize communication with the Otherworld.
For our Brighid novena, perhaps another gatekeeper worth mentioning is Janus, the Roman god with two faces; one which looks toward the future, the other askance at the past.
Once your consciousness enters the threshold of liminal space, past, present and future dissolve into an Eternal Now – the state of pure possibility that exists (metaphorically) betwixt and between the two faces of Janus.
Liminality is one reason dreams should be interpreted subjectively, just like tarot cards; transitional experiences are deeply personal and timeless. You have to be there.
Invocation to Janus via Papa Legba
Hail, Lord Who Looks Both Ways! Hail, face of the past Turned towards memory! You see all that has been, Not only our beginnings, But our past deeds Which have brought us to this day. May we learn to take responsibility for them.
Hail, face of the future Turned towards possibility! You see all that might be, A multitude of choices, Yet that multitude is pruned Back to a likely few By the deeds of the past.
Hail, Lord who stands at the boundary Of then and now, of there and here. We stand also at that boundary. Teach us to see how the past Shapes the future in its hands, That we may not be blind to our own divinity.
Papa Legba, open the gates for me so I might go through.
This invocation to Janus from the Pagan Book of Hours is particularly relevant to our novena since tomorrow’s card will be Divine Child, a card unique to Chrysalis. Divine Child symbolizes a lesson we infrequently hear and often resist: that we indeed can become “blind to our own divinity.”
The Chrysalis Moon card is an appropriate symbol for the Celtic goddess Brighid. Here’s the reason why.
The ancient Indo-Europeans and Proto-Celts knew the goddess as The Great Mother. Since those days she has been known by many other names. The Israelites call her The Shekinah, the feminine presence of God. The Celtic tribes that left Anatolia in Eastern Turkey to migrate throughout Europe and beyond knew her as the Goddess Danu. They named the River Danube for her.
The names of other Celtic tribes are similarly recognizable by place names on modern maps such as the Parisii (Paris), the Belgae (Belgium) and the Britannia, Galatians, Gauls and the Hibernians (Ireland), who today still celebrate both the Old Gods and the New. Brighid, pagan goddess and Christian saint, belongs to both camps.
The Catholic Church, as we all know, sought to stamp out paganism wherever it was found. They built churches on top of pagan holy sites and made saints out of goddesses that were particularly difficult to get rid of. The goddess and the saint were, as we say, syncretized.
The supernatural family of the Celtic Danu was known as the Tuatha Dé Danann – the People (or tribe) of the Goddess Danu. The Tuatha were highly skilled in the magical arts and were banished from Heaven because, well, they knew too much. Among the deities that came down from Heaven on a cloud of mist was Brighid who, like many other goddesses, is akin to The Great Mother – the Shekinah or Divine Feminine.
The principle attribute of all Great Mother goddesses is the Moon just as the Sun is the principle attribute or symbol of their male consorts. The return of the Divine Feminine to share dominion with the masculine are central themes of the New Paradigm – not to replace the patriarchy, mind you, but simply to restore proper yin-yang ☯ balance. You can easily anticipate how much turmoil such “balance” might create in the corridors of patriarchal power, most notably The Vatican.
Brighid is the Goddess of Home and Hearth. In olden days she along with her 19 priestesses tended Brighid’s Flame, a tradition that lives on. Today Brighid’s Flame burns bright in a town square in County Kildare (left).
Throughout the British Isles and Ireland you will come across Holy Wells and other monuments dedicated to Brighid. Many wells are decorated with “clooties” like the ones on the Chrysalis Six of Spirals card. The clooties represent the intentions of the faithful.
My personal favorite Brighid tradition is her Cauldron of Rebirth, which is actually a Welsh tradition. Like Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany, Scotland the Isle of Man were once Celtic countries.
We celebrate Brighid in February because according to the Celtic lunar calendar Feb. 2, 2019, is Imbolc, one of the major festivals of the year. From the link:
“It is time to let go of the past and to look to the future, clearing out the old, making both outer and inner space for new beginnings. This can be done in numerous ways, from spring cleaning your home to clearing the mind and heart to allow inspiration to enter for the new cycle. It’s a good time for wish-making or making a dedication.” Or a novena!
A novena is a 9-day mindful supplication made on behalf of a particular intention, grace or favor. Among religious types, it’s a 9-day prayer frequently bedeviled with sin, sacrifice and a general sense of unworthiness. Among spiritual types, on the other hand, it enlivens the beautiful image of Chrysalis’ Lovers card (left) – airy, worthy and free.
In either instance a novena carries a sense of urgency and focus. The supplicant wants answers! Personally, I’ve found that novenas always produce answers and quite often in less than 9-days. So please add your own intentions to this novena.
Over the next 9 days our blogs will feature Chrysalis cards whose specific intention is clarity. We seek clarity of understanding about what’s really going on in our turbulent world.
Tarot is especially useful in attaining such clarity and, of course, so is prayer, meditation active imagination and lucid dreaming. Tarot is especially useful because it is a dialog – indeed a union – between the supplicant and the Otherworld.
The depiction in the lovers card, rich with nature’s symbolism (Tree of Life, Sun and Moon), is of a marriage – a union. On the microcosmic profane level, this card can be interpreted as the apotheosis of Arthur and Brighid, whose special day was February 1. (Tomorrow’s novena will center on Brighid.) Merlin performs the microcosmic ceremony as High Priest.
On the macrocosmic sacred level, the lovers’ wedding feast depicts the union of Heaven and Earth, of the seen and the unseen. It’s known as the Hieros Gamos. This is important because unless we as taroists recognize that our discipline necessitates mindful dialog across the threshold and into the unseen world to engender ascension or Higher Consciousness, then destiny becomes simply a 7-letter skeleton holding a deck of tarot cards – a mere chrysalis of potentiality frozen in time.
Higher consciousness is the fulfillment of destiny. It allows us to burst forth from the chrysalis into eternal time.
Please pay particular attention to the Music of the Spheres during this novena. By that I allude to synchronicities, symbols, oddities, dreams, etc. This novena is composed to reveal not only clarity for the here and now, but also to glimpse forward into the next 9 years.
It is during these coming 9 years that a new paradigm will replace the old. The thoroughly refuted scientific materialism worldview – the notion that if you can’t measure it, then it must not exist – will give way to a holistic worldview that integrates, rather than separates, consciousness and matter. This new paradigm will herald the most exciting evolution of consciousness in human history!
Please do add your own personal intentions for clarity on any matter to this novena. You can have novena blogs emailed directly to you by punching the Follow button below.