So, one of the things that the local grove leader told me about ADF was that it was a very experiential group. The idea is that you don’t have to 100% believe before you start. It’s a matter of trying, and seeing if you feel something. During my first meeting with the grove leader, she told me the story of someone who was attracted to a particular goddess and performed rituals for half a year before she gave up, because she didn’t feel anything coming back.
Then, when I went to the monthly meeting, I mentioned that I was having a hard time getting started. A lot of possible prayers were suggested, and even more posted to the grove’s Facebook community. For the past several days, I’ve been performing two.
Morning Devotions to Brighid
Something that seems especially important to me is the idea of starting the day with a ritual moment of prayer or praise. I just didn’t know how. Brighid is considered to be a very accepting goddess (there’s not much liklihood I won’t be heard, or so the group thought) and I figured I’d start with her.
The prayer I’ve been using has been my own modification of what was suggested.
The prayer that was suggested was lighting a candle and, warming my fingers over the flame, then bringing the still-warm fingers to my eyes and saying “Brighid, bless everything I see today” Then repeating the same for the nose (“Brighid, bless everything I smell today”), the mouth (“…everything I taste today”) and the ears (“…everything I hear today”).
When I tried the prayer as suggested, it didn’t feel right to me. First, I’m not comfortable with the ‘command’ form of the sentences and, second, I’m more drawn to the idea that something changes in me — the way I see, hear, smell, taste — rather than that the things I interact with are blessed. So, using the same idea of warming my fingers over the candle before bringing the warmth to a certain part of my body, I’ve been using the following:
Brighid, please bless my eyes that, seeing, I might percieve
[fingers to eyes]
Brighid, please bless my ears that, hearing, I might understand
[fingers to ears]
Brighid, please bless my thoughts, that, thinking, I might be made wise
[fingers to temples]
Brighid, please bless my hear, that, feeling, I might be made more human
[fingers to hear]
Brighid, please bless my mouth, that my words might reflect perception, understanding, wisdom and humanity to all who hear them.
Brighid, exalted goddess, I thank you for all you have done for me, and offer you my praise and this token offering.
Because I’m generally on the balcony when I do this, I tend to pour out some water for Brighid when I mention the token offering. Sometimes, I simply say that I’m offering her water.
There are two points that have been important to me in performing this devotional. The first is that simply saying it out loud and moving my hands feels somehow more than a prayer whispered in my thoughts and I like that. The other is that, when I ask for my mouth to be blessed, I tend to focus on the idea that my words are simply one obvious manifestation of my actions, and that I’m asking to be able to reflect those qualities in all of my actions, not simply my words. I think Brighid understands that. (And, really, what part of my body would I warm when speaking of my actions.)
It’s been less than a week that I’ve performed this, and only three days or so with the devotional in this form, so I’m not too upset that I haven’t yet felt Brighid’s presence when I do this. Nonetheless, I get a very strong feeling that the time I invest in this is, in fact, special in some way. And, right now, that’s reward or motivation enough.
Brighid’s Devotional Cross
A German version of the following devotional was posted to the grove’s Facebook community. From there, there was a link to the following, English, original (let’s be honest — when I’m trying to be more grateful, I should be glad that so much of the Internet is in English) here.
By Brighid’s Eternal Flame I am inspired and find courage
By Brighid’s Warming Hearth I am warmed and made gentle
By Brighid’s Deep Well I find wisdom and vision
[touch both shoulders with the hands and bring around front, as if putting on cloak]
By Brighid’s Green Mantle I am healed and protected
Thanks be to you, Brighid
Exalted Goddess, Beloved Saint
For your many blessings
I copied it in the original, but when I say this I tend to not say the bit about her being a ‘beloved saint’ as I never went in for the saints and what not.
First, I want to say that I’m very frustrated at how long it’s taking me to memorize this. I’ve kept the page open in my phone and dug it out before reciting it.
Second, it’s nice to find something that includes movement with the prayer. I’ve said this in quiet moments, when I’ve wanted to feel closer to Brighid. I don’t know that I’ve been closer, but it has been nice to have something specific to do in those moments.
I’m fortunate that, until now, I haven’t needed a prayer before going into a specific situation. (Starting new lessons, confronting a difficult person, or a fear.) Nonetheless, I think that this is a good prayer to have ready for when I do need to ground myself before confronting something that makes me uncomfortable.
I’ll keep you posted on how these work for me.