Summer Solstice Arrives

Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Last Day of the Year...

As usual I had the best of intentions for post more regularly and touch more on music.
Looking back I find I am posting on the first and the last day only.
Dare I make a New Year's Resolution to be a better blogger?

What I do wish to say as the old year fades and the new year comes softly closer, is that I hope peace will be less elusive and that our hearts continue to listen to the voices of those in need, in despair and in search of comfort. And for those who read this, blessings to you of joy,peace and love in your days of the new year.

Happy New Year to one and all!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Lovely December Day

Woke this morning to the nearly full moon setting the west with nary a cloud in the sky, and the temperature had dipped below freezing. The moon was as clear as I have ever seen her, very hard to return indoors, but coffee needed making and it was time to get the recycling out.

The sky in east was already tinged pink with the few clouds above the Cascade Mountains turning a deeper color by the minute.

So December has come around once more and the Gregorian year nears it's close. I think of the universality of cultures and religions finding this time of the year as one to both honor the light in the darkness and to seek hope for the coming Greening of the Spring ahead.

From one of my calendars is the following quote I found when I turned the page into December:
           "It is not how much you do,
         but how much loving you put into the doing
            that matters."
                                        Mother Teresa

I hope you are keeping warm where ever you are and that light will find in the coming dark days of December.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Another Essential Harp Site!

Having gotten a reminder from Dusty Strings about their annual and not to be missed Folk Harp Symposium this coming November 6-8, I realized that I did not have a link to them on my blog....mea culpa!
They are a premier builder of not only Harps, but hammered dulcimers as well and their shop is a magical and wondrous place to visit.
Take your pocket book and be prepared to take out a second mortgage before you leave--but you won't regret it. (In the interest of public disclosure, I do not receive any monetary compensation for this suggest to you--I just know and love these folks for many a year).

Go and surround yourself with harps and harp miscellany.

Harp and be well,


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Another Great Harp Therapy site

I have just added the H.A.R.P. (Help All Reach Peace) blog created by a local Harp Therapist, Christine Magnussen. Please do visit and explore. She also has other links and two sites she maintains that are well worth visiting: and

She teaches via Skype and is a dedicated healer and resource for harps and healing.


Quotes for the New Year...

Ah, how the universe offers hope! After writing of the changes and worries about our jobs at the hospital, I found these two sayings/quotes when I opened two of my calendars for the month of November.
The first comes from the wonderful Celtic Mandala Datebook by Jen Delyth:
As it was,
As it is,
As it shall be
O Thou Triune
of Grace!
With the ebb,
With flow,
O thou Triune
of grace!
With the ebb,
With the flow.

Old Scottish Blessing in the Carmina Gadelica.

The second one comes from the Perennial Grace calendar for November:
There is no better
than the heart
reaching down
and lifting people up.

John Andrew Holmer

So let's remember those in need for the coming year and with hope and grace, exercise our hearts!



Saturday, October 31, 2009

Scary Thoughts....

And sad to say, not Halloween related.

The hospital where I work here in Bellingham has been hit hard by the ongoing ripple effect of the economic meltdown last year (not to mention the horrific amounts of dollars spent on war), and is looking at closing the voluntary psychiatric unit when I work the nightshift.
Our patient census has been way down and while I realize that the hospital cannot keep operating programs that at least do not pay their way, I am deeply sadden that we will be closing our doors to those in the community who are struggling with various mental health issues, especially in these stressful days.
The hospital is currently pledging to find jobs for us in other parts of the hospital, but currently we have no idea exactly where we might be placed, what we might need to be doing and what the re-training process will be.
So, as the Celtic New Year begins tonight (the Celts began their days at the setting of the sun), I will toast the year to come and hope that it will be more hopeful than it now appears

And remember the words of Julian of Norwich, the medieval Mystic: "And all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all shall be well."


Friday, October 23, 2009

A Quote for a Cold and Rainy Friday

"In winter, when the dismal rain comes down in slanting lines,
and wind, that grand old harper,
smote his thunder-harp of pines.'
Alexander Smith.

Aye, "that grand old harper", the wind is with us today, bringing the gusts of Autumn ever more chill and the rain making music on the roof.

Stay warm,


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Updated Links.

I have just updated the links for Stella Benson's websites. The first one is now properly titled: International Healing Musician's Program and I have added the lovely second site she maintains which is The Healer's Way.

Please do visit the sites and explore more about how music can heal.

And it's just 11 days until the New Year!  If you follow the ancient Celtic Calendar, that is.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Harps on an Island--Updated

Stella is in this left photo, Tina in the two below.

On Saturday, 10 October, I attended a presentation by Tina Tourin, founder of the International Harp Therapy Program, on Lummi Island. Along with Tina was Stella Benson, founder of the International Musician's Healing program.
Stella opened the afternoon event with some lovely harping and songs, then Tina both played and shared information about the history of the harp, what healing powers it can bring to the bedside of

those who are ill, and some delightful music.
That night, Stella shared her story of becoming enchanted by the harp and becoming both a teacher and a harp therapist. Tina continued with more information about how the harp can be used in a healing modality when she spoke to a group of attendees at the Jern's Chapel in Bellingham.

For me, it was a day to re-connect with friends, listen to harp music, and

most of all-reconnect to my inner soul of being a harper. And to realize that I need to practice, practice, practice...and to connect more regularly with harpers.

May the harp always bring you peace,


Monday, October 12, 2009

Updated some links

Just added a few more links to the Harp Therapy links section, also added a link for the harper Aine Minogue in the Celtic Harps list section.



Saturday, October 10, 2009

A musical quote...

From a favorite poet of mine, Rumi:

"There are many ways leading to God;
I have chosen that of music and dance."

Which of course leads me to comment that Sidney Carter who wrote the "Lord of the Dance" (and those who penned the Pagan versions) also speak to the truth of music leading into the Spirit and the Divine.



Harps on an Island

Off today to Lummi Island (near Bellingham WA), to attend a workshop given by Tina Tourin. Weather was supposed to be calm (helpful as there is a ferry ride involved), but there's a stiff wind blowing this morning, so will see how the ride goes. (It's only a short one after all).

Tina will be discussing Harp Therapy and playing. But wait, there's more: other harpers will be attending and may be playing as well. Hope to have a chance to network and connect with local harpers--I have been missing the Harp/heart connection that is healing.

Will post some photographs in a couple of days, if the camera works.



Thursday, October 1, 2009

The last month of the year

The nights are longer and the pumpkins are brighter in the sun, when it comes and goes through the days of clouds and rains.
From the Old Farmer's Almanac:

Hail, old October, bright and chill,
First freedman from the summer sun! Spice high the bowl, and drink your fill! Thank heaven, at last the summer's done! –Thomas Constable (1812–81)

And time to be making music again!


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A favorite season returns....

A touch of gold in the Autumn night

I walked abroad, And saw the ruddy Moon lean over a hedge Like a red-faced farmer.

–T. E. Hulm

e (1883–1917)

Freely stolen from the Old Farmer's webpage for today...I think sometimes I love Fall the best of all.

And hoping to be a better blogger/poster in the future.

Happy Mabon/Fall to you all!


Sunday, September 6, 2009

So sad to say goodbye.

This morning we found our little white cat having passed away during the night under our bed.
We knew that her time was short, as she was suffering from the F.I.P. disease which is almost always fatal, but of course we had hoped for a few more weeks. Bianca has been worsening for a number of weeks--less energy, less food eaten (with never a loss of appetite), her coat looking less well kept, more skinny than she should be.
We took her into the vet about four weeks ago and were advised that the time was short.
Last night she did not come down for her usual bite of dinner, and when she did not appear this morning, our hearts sank as we began searching for her.
I looked under our bed and saw a tail and touched it lightly, hoping for a response but already knowing the truth. I put my hand under her cool body and we placed her on a towel.
We dug a grave in the raised flower bed which was a favorite spot of hers and buried her just before the rains began.
Such a wee, wee cat, but with the largest purr and heart that one can imagine.

Goodbye little one,

May you always have cream and open fields in which to run.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Greenman and Oak Apple Day

Today, May 29th used to be celebrated in England as Oak-Apple Day, to mark the restoration of Charles II to the throne. As the excellent website nicely notes:
Oak Apple Day

This is the day that traditionally people wear oak apples or oak leaves pinned to them to remember that on May 29th King Charles ll returned triumphantly to London after the restoration of the monarchy in 1660.

The reason for the wearing of oak apples or oak leaves was to celebrate the King's narrow escape from capture by Cromwell's soldiers by hiding in an oak tree.

However, as the Wikipedia entry for Oak Apple Day notes:

These ceremonies, which have now largely died out, are perhaps continuations of pre-Christian nature worship. The Garland King who rides through the streets of Castleton,Derbyshire, at the head of a procession, completely disguised in greenery, which is affixed to a pinnacle on the parish church tower, can have little connection with the Restoration.

So, the Greenman, the Oak Apple Tree and return of the King (echoing the myths of Arthur's return to save the land), might, on this day all join in honoring Spring and the Merry Month of May.

The day shines, bright, go and enjoy!


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Brigid and Well Dressing

May 19,  Festival of the Sacred Spring — During this Celtic feast, people adorn sacred healing wells and springs with flowers and greenery to honor Brigid, goddess of fire, poetry, healing, childbirth, and water.

Not only is Brigid honored around the first of February, but this day marks the Spring time of well dressing to thank her for her bounty of life giving water. And as a key Goddess of the arts, including Music and Poetry, Brigid is for me, a true Harper's Goddess.

So go out, find a well, and dress it!



Monday, May 18, 2009

"Take Down Thy Harp"

Yesterday I mentioned the Celtic Psalter I have been reading and thought it both interesting and coincindental that I found the following poem in the excellent Harp Spectrum website (


In the midst of the "darkest hour" of Psalms 42-43: 
"Then will I go unto the altar of God...
yea, upon the harp will I praise thee."

"Take down thy harp,"
Nay, let it hang!
'Twill give but clang
In these dire days when
broods, as once

O'er the abyss,
Dread darkness covering all the earth.
When atom-bomb,
And rays-of-death.
And scourge of plague
May drop from skies, and man
become a fox, a mole --

"Take down thy harp,"
Nay, let it hang!

And yet, and yet --
Take down thy harp!
For darkest hour
It still holds power,
As harp of David once of old
--Harp surely heard
At temple altar's sacred shrine.
Let hope revive
And faith press on!
Go forth, look round;
Behold, the world is fair and skies
are azure blue!

--Take down thy harp!

by Einar Atair Paulanton
St. Paul, Minn.

This poem appeared in the 
Lutheran Companion, Sept. 8, 1948



Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ah Gardening!

A wonderfully warm day and I was out at 6:30am to water the plants which went into the superb raised garden bed containers yesterday. Our friend Kerry who runs the Green Man gardening service (of course) constructed them out of treated Cedar and should last for many years.


Of course, Bianca came out to enjoy the warm sun and explore as cats love to do.

In the North east corner of our yard, I transplanted a couple of red raspberries suckers and put in pumpkins and squash. This area gets a fair amount of sun over the spring/summer months and I hope the pumpkins/squash will do well. I know the raspberries will as they are certainly thriving. 

In spite of the very long and cold winter we had, the raspberries in the wooden tub have shown no sign of harm and some are already starting to show flowers. Plan to plant some more strawberry starts in the garden planters tomorrow. 


I have begun using a Celtic Psalter written by J. Philip Newell (Sounds of the Eternal A Celtic Psalter)which, while following the traditional pattern of Morning and Evening Prayers, illustrates the Celtic Psalter with illuminations from Jewish illuminated manuscripts--a nice blending of two ancient spiritualities which honored the creation and the earth which sustains us. 

On the page for each day of the week for Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession is the wonderful phrase: "Pray for the coming day and for the life of the world."

The world certainly needs our prayers....and our actions to help heal and preserve the life of the world. And a garden is a great place to start.



Friday, May 15, 2009

Honor those who say No to War

With thanks to the website, I want to add my voice to those who honor the men and women who say No to War, on this 15th of May--International Conscientious Objectors Day. 
Although C.O's and war resisters may be dismissed as cowards or unpatriotic, all the many ones I have been lucky enough to know over the years, have been men and women who have struggled to do the right thing by their moral compass, and been willing to face the consequences--often long and painful experiences. 
For some, being opposed to war comes naturally if they have been raised in one of the peace churches, but for many the decision may not come until combat or having served time in the military. 
Some choose to remain in the military and serve as non-combatants, others around the world are punished, sometimes with harsh physical techniques, serve long years in prison and are shunned by their communities. 
All, however have felt that: "unless we put an end to war, war will put an end to mankind."

Let Peace be "Blowing in the Wind" and may our children have a more wise and peaceful world.



Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A quote for May....

May, with alle thy floures and thy grene,
Welcome be thou, faire, fresshe May.

Geoffrey Chaucer

Monday, May 4, 2009

Belated Beltane Post

Between a bit of computer problems and this and that, missed getting this posted in a timely fashion. 

Beltaine is one of my favorite Celtic/Pagan holidays--filled with the hope of renewal, color, scents of the awakening earth and gardens to savor and enjoy. One of the best descriptions I have read recently of Beltaine comes from Kit Berry and her wondeful online pagan community which can be found at: 

The symbol of Beltane is the ancient Green Man, to be found all over the country in the most unlikely of places. Many churches have a green man hidden in ceiling bosses or peering down from a dark corner. When Christianity superceded paganism in Europe, the image of the Green Man was impossible to eradicate as it represented such a powerful force - that of virility and growth. Despite edicts from the authorities, local stonemasons, builders and craftsmen felt it necessary to include the Green Man somewhere in the building, although often tucked away in secret.

And speaking of the Green Man, the lovely image at the beginning of the post was done by Helixtree--Kit Berry's sister. 



Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I will not be attending the Soldier's Retreat this weekend after all. I have been having pain in right leg off and on for four months and night before last at work, it became much worse. 
I have sadness and regret at missing the Soldier's Retreat this weekend since Dr. Ed Tick who has written War and the Soul, is doing such healing work for our veterans. 
Hopefully I will be able to attend another one in the future, but I had so looked forward to being part of this healing experience.
However, life is uncertain and learning that seems to be a continual lesson. (At least for me..). 

For those interested, here again is the link to Soldier's Heart:

I have been informed by those who have had to deal with it, that I might have a bulging disk (or disks) that is causing such pain and occasional "crippling". Will see what the doctor says and go from there. 



Friday, April 24, 2009

New Harp links added

Just added some additional harp links for your perusal. And most of these links have great links themselves.



Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ah Spring...!

Speaking of Spring and the sap rising in my previous post, here are some pictures of our place in the Spring and finally, after such a long and hard winter, the joys of flowers and the mountain in daylight.


A Harp of Olden Times

In a recent post on the Harplist, Jenett writes that in the Anglo-Saxon tale of Beowulf, the name for the harp was "Gleewood". I love the name and it conveys so well what the harp can bring to us-joy, delight, glee. And reading this got me thinking about who the Greenman is and how the harp, in my opinion, would be his natural instrument. 
For of course the original harp is made of wood and the Greenman stands for humanity's "deep kinship with trees and woods",
 irrespressible life, and the cycle of renewal and rebirth. When Spring arrives and the "sap is rising" in both vegetative and erotic delights, the harp truly sings forth in glee. 
And let us not forget the harp has other healing powers in addition to bringing joy and delight. As noted in numerous writings of olden times, the harp was considered to have the power bring three distinct strains or modes of music to those listening: the first was the Geantrai or the Joyous strain which certainly is represented by the Beowulf naming of the harp. The second was the Goltrai or the Lamenting or Sorrowing strain by which the harp was able to help heal those in sorrow or distress. And the third was the Suantrai strain or Sleep strain/Strain of Comfort. To
 quote from the liner notes of the Beneath the Moon CD: "...the most revered was 'Suantrai', the music of repose. In its highest form, this music reached deeply into the heart, bringing the soul to a state of profound stillness and peace."
So it is no surprise to see the harp become such a vital and profound instrument of healing in hospitals, hospice, nursing homes and where ever souls are need of comfort and healing. 

Blessings from the Greenman's Harp,

Sunday, April 19, 2009

New links for Music and Harp therapy.

I have just added some additional links for Music and Harp therapy programs on the right hand side of this blog, along with a Yahoo Group for Music Medicine that Laurie Riley began many years ago and which I read without fail. 

Happy linking and harping. 



Friday, April 10, 2009

Music and the Soul

Several years ago, I attended a day long seminar about the healing power of music and the keynote speaker was Dr. Deforia Lane who was both enchanting and enlightening in her presentation.

As I think about this weekend when the Spirit and Divine are honored and hope is renewed for so many, the following quote from Dr. Lane is worth sharing:

“Music has the power to move a person between different realities: from a broken body into a soaring spirit, from a broken heart into the connection of shared love, from death into the memory and movement of life. Music has the power to touch the heart of a child with God."

Dr. Deforia LaneMusic Therapist

May the joy of Spring and Renewal bring you blessings,


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Harper's Healing Prayer

A couple of years ago, I decided to adapt the well-known Prayer of St. Francis for those of us who play the harp in thereapuetic and healing modalities. I offer it here with the hope that other harpers might find it of worth in their healing professions.

Peace Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me a harper of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.

Where there is distress, harmony.
Where there is discomfort, rest.
Where there is unease, quiet.
Where there is anxiety, calm.

O Divine Spirit, let my music be a blessing,
a comfort, a place of refuge,
And above all, a granting of balm to the spirit and
an easement of bodily distress.

Modified by J. Duncan Saunders
16 April 2007



Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Harp Poem for Spring

I had this poem saved years and then lost it, but found it recently in the Celtic Mandala Desk Calendar by Jan Delyth.

The willow

whose harp sung silent

when it was withered in winter,

Now gives forth its melody---

hush! Listen!

The world is alive.

Thomas Telynog Evans
nineteenth century.

And yes, finally, the world is coming alive again and Spring is starting to show her many colors. Our grape hyacinths are beginning to bloom, the crocuses are lovely, and so many bulbs are just about to burst forth into color. Just a few more days of sun and we will be truly blessed with colors abounding.

Hope Spring is blessing you, where ever you are.



Friday, April 3, 2009

Thank you Dr. Weil!

In the latest issue of Dr. Andrew Weil's Self Healing newsletter, he has a nice article under the Mind and Body section that talks about "The Sound of Healing" of and by therapeutic musicians including the values of harp music. 

I am also reading a book entitled Healthy Living Centres, by Geoffrey Purves. Although the book is focused primarily on using Architecture for healing, there is a nice (albeit short) section on the therapeutic benefits of music. 

May the day come when the arts, especially music become as integral in hospitals as the more expected medical equipment, and that prescriptive music will be seen as essential to the overall healing of the body and the soul. 



Sunday, March 1, 2009

Aye Whuppity Scoorie !

From the website, one of the more obscure March 1st Holidays:

Whuppity Scoorie - 1st March

A rumbustious celebration by the young lads of Lanark. It is a relic of the days when making a lot of noise was believed to frighten away the evil spirits. Pennies supplied by money from the Common Good Fund was thrown and the children scrambled to pick it up. Balls of paper (or bonnets - a lot softer!) tied with string were used by the participants to strike one another.

And of course I just couldn't resist the name of this late Winter/early Spring festival.

Sounds much more rambunctious than the observances of the Crymu folks celebrating St. David's Day--Patron saint of Wales. But then leeks and daffodils are also harbingers of Spring as well.



For those who love Poetry

I stumbled across this inspiring site recently while searching for the author of a poem and want to share it with my readers. Not only wonderful poems, but exquisite photography along with them.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Playing the Harp

I have been playing the harp so much more this last week, and I wonder again why I don't play it all the time. I know sometimes I am tired from work, there's work to be done around the house and so forth. But once I sit down at the harp, the world of stress and strain becomes distant and I lose myself in the music.
I am focusing on some new music and re-working some older pieces of music so that I can bring a bit of variety to the unit at the hospital. And also for the workshop coming up at the end of April/first part of May at Orcas island with Dr. Ed Tick for helping veterans to heal. I plan on bringing the harp, not to perform per se, but since I feel lost without the harp near and it maybe that I can bring some of the healing nature of the harp for those attending.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

As the Rain returns

The mountains at sunrise and before the rains began.

We have had some lovely sunny days, but as always the rain has returned this morning and for some reason I am thinking of the poem by W.B Yeats entitled "Into the Twilight", perhaps because of the wonderful images of nature the poem conjures up for me, and most likely a wish for the sun to return. Although I grew up in Washington state and have the proverbially webbed feet (last I checked), I do long for the sun to return in this dark and drear part of the year.

Into the Twilight

Out-worn heart, in a time out-worn,
Come clear of the nets of wrong and right;
Laugh, heart, again in the grey twilight;
Sigh, heart, again in the dew of the morn.

Your mother Eire is always young,
Dew ever shining and twilight grey:
Though hope fall from you and hope decay.
Burning in fires of a slanderous tongue.

Come, heart, where hill is heaped upon hill:
For there the mystical brotherhood
Of sun and moon and hollow and wood
And river and stream work out their will;

And God stands winding His lonely horn,
And time and the world are ever in flight;
And love is less kind than the grey twilight,
And hope is less dear than the dew of the morn.



Monday, February 16, 2009

A Poem for February

From the always delightful book: The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady comes a poem for February that she found in the writings of Hartley Coleridge:

"One month is past, another is begun,
Since merry bells rang out the dying year,
And buds of rarest green begin to peer,
As if inpatient for a warmer sun;
And though the distant hills are bleak and dun,
The virgin snowdrop, like a lambent fire,
Pierces the cold earth with it's green-streaked spire
And in dark woods, the wandering little one
may find a primrose.

Well the distant hills from here this morning are the northern peaks of the Washington Cascades stretching mile upon mile into the Canadian Cascades, all white with brilliant sun touching the peak tops as the day begins again.

I note green sprouts here and there in the garden...rejoicing in yet another sign of Spring.



Sunday, February 8, 2009

A quote for Sunday

Going through my cluttered desk and office (never quite seem to get it as organized as I would like), I came across this this quote that I have treasured:
Non Nobis Solum Sed Toti Mundo Nati
(Not for ourselves, but for the whole world we were born).

From whatever spiritual path you draw from, I believe this world-view would be part of a pilgrim's faith and practice.

Some recent pictures to share:

Chickadees have always been one of my favorite birds and luckily we have a delightful number of them where we live...but they are so quick to land and depart that I sometimes despair of photographing them, but yesterday I was lucky enough to snap several pictures of them.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Peaks aflame

Yesterday morning I was up making coffee, looked out and saw the beginning of the early morning twilight (yes, twilight applies to that "between the worlds" moments at both morning and evening) and ran for the camera.

It's moments like this that remind me of just how sacred our time and space here on the "blue marble" is, and our task to help care for all creatures and all life around us.



Monday, February 2, 2009

A Poem for Candlemas

I have always loved and been challenged by the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke and I think this poem is perfect for the Candlemas and the coming of Spring (echoing the fire imagery of Brighid as well):

Desire Change. Be enthusiastic for that flame
in which a thing escapes your grasp
while it makes a glorious display of transformation.
That designing Spirit, the master mind of all things on earth
loves nothing so much in the sweeping movement of the dance
as the turning point.
SONNETS TO ORPHEOUS: II, 12 (stanza 1)

Translated by Br. David Steindl-Rast.

By the way, Br. David Steindl-Rast has a wonderful website:, that is well worth a visit.

Happy Groundhog Day!


Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Goddess of Harpers and a Blessed Imbolc

As a follower of the Celtic Wheel of the year, I always love the coming of Imbolc as it signals the beginning of Spring. Traditionally Imbolc is celebrated on February 1 to honor the Celtic Goddess Brighid, but the celebration sometimes is noted on February 2, Candlemas in the Christian Calendar.

As Brighid was considered a goddess of creativity and poetry, among many other attributes, I have adopted her as my Goddess of Harping. Granted, St. Cecelia is more often considered the Saint or Goddess of music, but I prefer Brighid or Bride any day.
Here are some wonderful images of her, including her Christian persona as St. Brigid.

It was not in the nature of things that a Celtic saint should despise music or poetry. St. Brigid being once on a journey, sought hospitality for herself and her sisters in the lios of a petty king. This king and his chief officers, including his harpers, were absent, but some of his sons did all that religious reverence and a hospitable spirit could for the suitable reception of their honoured guests. After a frugal meal the hosts and guests continued an interesting conversation, during which Brigid, observing the harps suspended on the wall, requested the princes to favour her with some of the ancient melodies of the country. "Alas, honoured lady!" said the eldest, "our father and the bard are absent, as we have mentioned, and neither my brothers nor myself have practised the art. However, bless our fingers, and we will do all in our power to gratify you." She touched their fingers with the tips of her own, saying some prayers in a low voice; and when the young men sat down to the instruments, they drew from them such sweet and powerful melody as never before was heard in that hall. . So enthralling was the music that it seemed as if they never could tire of playing, nor their audience of listening. While the performance was still proceeding the king and his suite entered the large hall, and were amazed at hearing sweet and skilful strains from the untaught fingers of the princes. Recognizing the saint and her daughters, their wonder ceased. The gift was not conferred for the occasion, for the princely performers retained their power over the harp-strings while they lived.

Carer of the earth
The feast of St Brigid on the first of February is a celebration of the wonderful springing back of the earth from its winter sleep. It is the season when we celebrate new beginnings and new life on earth. The sod is turned. The day lengthens. Seeds are sown and sails are hoisted.
Many of the stories about Brigid tell of her milking the cows, churning the milk, making up the firkins of butter, shepherding her flocks of sheep, helping with the harvest and even brewing the ale!
Brigid, in keeping with her Celtic traditions, was wonderfully attuned to the seasons and cycles of nature. She valued the elements of nature: earth, air, fire and water.

Wishing everyone a Merry and Blessed Imbolc,

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Hildegard of Bingen and Spring

As tomorrow brings us the festival of Imbolc and the looking towards Spring in the Celtic Calendar, I was delighted to find the following writing of the German mystic Hildegard of Bingen (tenth century)
I am the breeze that nurtures all things green.
I encourage blossoms to flourish with ripening fruits.
I am the rain coming from the dew
That causes the grasses to laugh
with the joy of life.

The day is clear and cool, but I had another wonderful walk and found some of nature starting to show signs of shaking off Lord Winter...(but I am sure he will visit us again at least once or twice before the Equinox). Herewith some pictures:

Beannachaidhe (Blessings in Gaelic)


Friday, January 30, 2009

A Walk in the Mist

A cold, foggy and misty morning that draws me out for a short walk before I get some sleep.
The birds are out if you keep a close eye for them, and the sun and mist create an otherworld experience.

Here a few of the pictures of the walk before the cold and the mist turned my feet towards home.

The bird in the last picture is a bit out of focus, but I think the sense of cold and the last brown days of winter still come through.


Roman Goddess of Peace

January 30
Festival of Pax (Ancient Rome)

Pax is the Roman goddess of peace, and symbolizes the highest ideals of civilization. Celebrations honoring Pax, the Roman Goddess of Peace, are held . Her temple stood open in Rome during times of peace, but was closed during war. It remained open for over 200 years continuously during the Pax Romana, an achievement unimaginable in modern times. It was locked closed by the Christians who ultimately tore it down. The world has not known a year without war since.

From the wonderful Calendar site at:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A poem for Wednesday

Found this on a Goddess site, and have to share it:

We make our world by the life we lead,
By the friends we have, by the books we read,
By the pity we show in the hour of care,
By the loads we lift and the love we share.
~Alfred Grant Walton
Wise words indeed.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

More Camera Fun

A local Greenman who keeps watch over our garden:

Some pictures of Mount Baker as seen from our back windows

And a Redwing Blackbird has come to visit:

As Heathen Hermit noted to me, digital cameras are addictive.