Summer Solstice Arrives

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,