“Brigid: History, Mystery, and Magick of The Celtic Goddess” by Courtney Weber

I have to admit then when I first picked up this book my first thoughts were “oh no, not another book about my beloved Brigid” Being from UK and with Irish roots I have a great affinity with the Celtic Goddess and was a little wary of what I may find. Hadn’t it all been written about before in the many books I had on my shelves?

I had not finished chapter one “Who is Brigid?” before I realized that the author Courtney Weber had researched Brigid extremely well and also had a great love for her. She discusses in great detail the different roles that Brigid/Brig/Brid/Brigantia/Brigette has had all over the world. How she was, and still is, “The Exalted One” in Ireland and how she became St Brigit after the Christianization of the emerald isle.

As I read on, captivated by the author’s obvious love for her subject, I discovered associations with the oak – which is my favorite tree – and the raven which for obvious reasons is my favorite bird. There are references to myths and legends as to the origins of Brigid. I appreciated the author’s acknowledgment and honesty when she says that she is not an expert in Iwa Maman Brigitte and the Caribbean culture surrounding this version of the Goddess. But she does refer to her personal experiences in the back streets of New Orleans searching for images of Brigid. For readers interested in this persona the author recommends other books to read. I did not realize that Brigitte is the only Goddess in this culture who is white skinned with red hair.

There are several relevant photos in the book that, although black and white, show sacred wells, rivers, artifacts, rituals, images, statues and crafts. The author has extensive personal knowledge of “Brigid the Healer” and “Brigid the Bard” as she was a guide for several years of the sacred sites of Ireland, and so the photos are mainly from her own camera.

The spells and rituals in the book are simple and creative. There is one for inspiration, one for releasing writer’s block – which I wish I had known about two months ago when my own words stumbled to a halt. The book details different practices and rituals, with photos that help to explain and illustrate the words.

I love that there are some of my favorite quotes and poems in this delightful book. Some of these are worthy of meditation but there are also detailed meditations in the book. My favorite guided meditation is the one called “Journey to the Grove” in chapter six, Goddess of the Oak: The Sacrificial Brigid.

So really all the different personas of Brigid are explored. The roles of healer, smith work, arts and poetry, as the embodiment of spring, patroness of sheep and cattle, Goddess of Fire and of Water, as a Goddess of War, protector of the poor and justice for all. In all these roles across the globe Brigid’s fierce passion erupts to the surface every time.

No book about Brigid would be complete without reference to her holiday/Sabbat Imbolc. Imbolc marked the end of wintertime for the ancient Celts and so it was a time of relief and celebration. Again there is reference to similar rituals around the world. As “The Lady of Springtime,” Brigid’s myths are discussed by using traditional Irish myths and tales. There are prayers and blessings in chapter eight “Imbolc: Brigid the Springtime Goddess, the Mother, and the Midwife.” The rites of spring and the myths associated with them are also found in this chapter.

I mentioned there were photos of various crafts in this book and there are some great pictures explaining how to make a St Brigid’s Cross. The information about Imbolc includes divination, spells, and rites of Imbolc for just one person and another for a group. Again these are simple and creative. There is also a lovely Baby Blessing in this chapter.

Finally there is a chapter is dedicated to “Brigid and Animals” which starts with a beautiful blessing. This traditional charm called “St Bride’s Charm” is accompanied by one of my favorite images of Brigid “Brigid at Imbolc” by Carey A. Moore. This is how I first envisioned Brigid when I was young. All of her associations are in this chapter, including the traditional tales for each animal. It concludes with a creative visualization to help you to discover your Brigid animal or totem.

Throughout the book there is magick, recipes, spells and rites for the reader to try for themselves. The final chapter, chapter ten, called “Brigid Magick” has a lot of these as a conclusion to the book. They are easy to understand, easy to do and effective. I thoroughly recommend that the reader try the home protection spell and rite.

Do I recommend this book? Totally. It gets five broomsticks from me and is a worthy addition to any Pagan bookshelf.

Litha – June 21st

Litha is the Summer Solstice. It occurs on or about the 21st of June, when the Sun enters zero degrees Cancer, thereby marking MidSummer. On this longest day of the year, the Sun God is at the peak of his power. Like Samhain, Litha is a day when the boundaries between the worlds are thin, when mortals have strange experiences, and when otherworlders travel in our plane.

Litha is also the traditional time of year to harvest your herbs and flowers, especially St. John’s wort, either to hang in your home as protection or to tie onto the wicker man as a symbol of a wish that you want carried into the next world. Ideally, you should cut your herbs with a scythe or boline, by moonlight, and chant the appropriate purpose for which each plant will be used. Leave an offering for the rest of the plant, don’t harvest more than a third of the plant – the rest will remain healthy and vigorous.

Beltane was the festival of union between the God and Goddess, and so it was seen as unlucky to marry in May. But often as a result of the Beltane festivities, many young maidens found they weren’t maidens any more, and indeed were on their way to becoming mothers! Because of this, June became a popular month for marriage. The Full moon in June is called the ‘Honey Moon’, because it as this time that honey is harvested from bee hives. The night after marriage thus became the ‘Honeymoon’.

Made from Honey, Mead is the traditional drink for Summer Solstice, and an excellent recipe for making mead can be found here.

If you don’t want to make mead, here is a simpler recipe for

Honey Apple iced tea:
4 black tea bags

  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 3 cups unsweetened apple juice
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • lemon slicesMakes 6 to 8 servings
    In a 2 quart pot, brew tea bags in boiling water. Remove bags, add
    honey and apple juice. Stir well. Pour over ice.

Review of Rupert’s Tales : Learning Magick

When I was first approached about reviewing Rupert’s Tales : Learning Magick by accomplished author Kyrja, I jumped at the chance. My family loves Rupert the Rabbit, and follow some of his adventures on the Friends of Rupert facebook page. Our family is a mixture of ever evolving beliefs so finding a series that everyone liked was a huge plus. The kids can relate to the children in the books, often surprised that others have the same questions and emotions as themselves. As early readers, making connections is a big deal and Kyrja facilitates this so well. Tonia Bennington Osborn is such a talented artist and lends her extraordinary talent to Rupert bringing his world into the imaginations of children of many ages.

In the first half of Rupert’s Tales: Learning Magick, Rupert learns about the tools of the craft when he happens upon a interesting group of people. What little Rupert hears and sees intrigues him so much as the youngsters in the group talk about these tools. A few of the tools kids will learn about with Rupert include the Athame, Candles, Wands and the Bell. We learn about the elemental association of the elements and are introduced to Intention. A theme carried over in the second half of the book as well. I truly enjoyed the emphasis on what’s inside each of us being the most important part of any ritual or magickal practice.

Written by Kyrja Illustrated by Tonia Bennington Osborn
Written by Kyrja
Illustrated by Tonia Bennington Osborn

In the second half, we follow Rupert as he listens to a pair of friends and learns about the importance of intention and imagination in magick. A young boy questions his ability to perform magick, in this case, in the form of casting a circle or Bubble. Kids learn about insecurities and how to overcome those fears. He learns to trust not only himself but also his friend. She learns how to be a good mentor which is very important in circles with children of varying ages. It teaches leadership skills and compassion for others. Rupert also finds his own boundaries such as not being ready experience being inside a Sacred Circle. All while doing a bit of sympathetic magick himself.

My trio of witchlets absolutely love Rupert and his adventures . They are 8, 6 and 2 years old and each one had their favorite part. My youngest, loved the pictures of Rupert, who he called Bun Bun; and the baby in the sling, who he had to give kisses to while we read! My girls were so happy to read a book about kids learning magick; seeing other kids ask questions they’ve had, while enticing the to think about the same things from a different perspective. What they saw was a family and close friends hold a learning circle, just like they have. My eldest says that book was fun to read because it was it is easy to read to her brother and sister and Rupert is so cute.

Personally, Rupert won my heart over with his gentle curiosity. I really love and appreciate the flow of both stories. Kyrja is so good at conveying imagery through wands , which is amplified by Tonia Bennington Osborn’s beautiful illustrations. Together they created magick with charming addition to the library of any magickal child. We have already chosen our next adventure with Rupert. I highly recommend Rupert’s Tales for childrens circle reading material, it is very informative and of course.. Rupert is the best!

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