The Bean Tighe (pronounced ban tig) is a helpful spirit that is likely one of the inspirations for the "fairy godmother" type donor/patron from faerie and folk tales. She is the one who makes it possible for others to achieve their potential ... whether it be helping with the maintenance of one's home, one's finances, or the ability to make one's dreams come true.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

PBP: Week 13 - Garden

I have wanted a garden so very badly since the first summer after I moved to Calgary. Sadly, neither the climate of southern Alberta nor any of the locations I found lodging in made it possible. To be very honest, the place I am residing at now doesn't really make it possible either but, there IS a small space of unused gravel between the concrete pad that is my "porch" and the steep drop-off leading to the truck yard below us. And, in that unused space, I have decided to create a container garden.

Being that I am now working my way through Book 2 of my 3 book Chartered Herbalist course material and am experimenting more and more, under the guidance of the energy signature I have come to recognize as M'Lady Airmid, I will be putting a small group of those plants I use most in my herbal practices.

I already have successfully picked up one Elder shrub (Sambucus nigra var Black Beauty) and will be looking to secure at least one more so that I will have one plant as a source of flowers and another as a source for the berries. The only location in this little gravel plot where I can place my beloved medicinal Elder is the very back corner to ensure that it receives sufficient light to grow well.

This presents a known challenge as, on the other side of the retaining wall is an infestation of Japanese Knotweed (an invasive plant species that propagates via rhizome or root pieces). I remember this dratted thing having grown up the height of the wall and beyond in an attempt to claim the backyard. It is unlikely that I will be able to eradicate the Knotweed (you MUST remove every last bit of root or it WILL return) but I am hoping I can knock it back sufficiently by bushwhacking my way down there with a pair of pruning shears to prevent it from taking over the gravel plot like it had last year when I moved here in June.

At the same time that I picked up the Elder, I managed to secure some of last years herbs that had managed to survive the winter at the nursery. I picked up 2 Lemon Balm, 1 Oregano, 1 Sage, 1 Rosemary and 1 Lavender for 30% off last year's sale price and a "herb garden" planter box which has chives, oregano, curry, and goodness knows what else might have survived. As for those which didn't, it's a small matter of swapping out the dead herbs for some live ones.

I also have managed to gather some seed packets for planting: calendula, basil, thyme, purple coneflower, and lobelia thus far.

Being that our last frost should have been past by the time this piece finally is posted on Friday, I will move from Garden to Gardening for the following week ... as I put, or begin to put, my little container garden together. Whee! I'll get to post pictures


Also of note will be my crafting blog on Saturday, as the first of my tinctures will be ready for decanting and bottling. Anyone interested in how it's done, may want to "tune in"


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

PBP: Week 12 - Flame-keeping.

One of the very few of my spiritual practices that didn't fall to the wayside during my stay in Calgary and descent into depression, was my custom of Flame Keeping one night from dusk to dawn every 20 days.

I do not do this alone, rather I am part of the Ord Brighideach International as one of many persons who honour the Flame of Kildare and the Lady for whom said Flame burns. Whether she is called St. Brigit or, as I do, the Keeper hearkens back to an earlier time before the introduction of christianity to the Ilse of Eire and honour the Goddess Brìd, this one task draws us together.

One night in 20, we have tasked ourselves to stand vigil and care for that little portion of the Kildare Flame that each of us has received ... usually in the form of a candle that has been lit and pinched out so that the wick resonates with the energy of the parent source. On the 20th Night, it is believed that the Goddess/Saint herself tends the Flame. 

I tend to take this Flame Keeping a step further, taking the time to marry my charged candle's flame with any available pilot lights (furnaces, hot water tanks, gas stoves/ovens, barbecues, gas fireplaces, etc.) in any place I reside. I do this to ensure that the home I am making is blessed and guarded by the power of the Lady of the Flame. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

PBP: Week 11 - Face

For anyone who has taken the time to read some of my previous posts in this Blog, it will come as little surprise to read that my very first actual spiritual experience (of the sort that my normally analytical/rational/skeptical mind couldn't find a way to "explain" away as fancy or fantasy) was with the Chinese goddess Quan Yin. Although I had been courting the spiritual since I was 13 years old, it was not until my 32nd year that I finally felt the unmistakable touch of a power greater than what I could comprehend rationally. And even then, it took a while before I could truly accept what I'd experienced. I spent near to four years following her guidance before she introduced me to Medb of Connaught and my path diverged back towards that of my ancestry and cultural heritage ... back towards the Isles and Ireland in particular.

It was during that four years that I was introduced to the concept of Face ... a vital combination of reputation, social standing, manners, honour, respect, and esteem (as in the esteem you gain from others, not that which ego grants the self) all rolled together into a living code that directs not only one's personal behaviour but how one interacts with society and the world. It is a very difficult concept to define ... not only for an individual like myself who has developed an instinctual understanding of it in adulthood, but also for those who are raised to it if called upon to explain it to someone who was not.

Like so very many youngsters, in my early years I could not grasp the significance of the lessons my parents attempted to impart to me about personal responsibility, honour, and reputation. I was a troubled child who chose (and it was a conscious choice) not to care what others might believe of me while I attempted to ignore my complete lack of self respect in favour of surviving the troubles my choices brought to me. If I had a dollar for every time my Father attempted to remind me of the importance of those nebulous qualities by quoting me the motto from his family's heraldic device: "Spectemur Agendo" in Latin or "Go dtugtar breith orainn dá réir ár ngníomhartha." in Irish Gaelic ... and translating to "Let us, by our actions, be judged". I'm certain he believed that it all fell on deaf ears as I did not feel the need to change my ways until after he had passed beyond the veil in 1997. 

To tell the truth, his passing and the other events of the year immediately prior to it ... not the least of which being that, after 10 years of estrangement from my parents, my decision to end my abusive marriage allowed me to reconnect with them and have that last year with him ... was the wake-up call that I needed to spur me to embrace that motto and present to the world the Face I wished to have identify me.  

The older I become, the more important my Face becomes to me not only in my mundane, day-to-day life but in my spiritual interactions ... mainly because I have been dealing, since 2000, with deific archetypes who demand it. Gaels have looong memories, I have said as much and provided examples in previous posts, and it is true ... as a result, those who wish to live as one and work for and with the Gaelic gods of old, must needs behave in a manner which will not cause a loss of Face to their children's children's children. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

PBP: Week 10 - Education

Yes, I'm late ... I have no one to blame but myself for it so I offer no excuses and here I am getting caught back up before I have two posts to write.

When I was a teenager, there was too much going on in my head for me to be able to be focused at all on the concept of education. I was simply unable to grasp how important it would later turn out to be in my life, and I admit to being guilty of the "it's just a piece of paper" mentality.

I was also a mother by seventeen ... striving to deal with a husband who had some serious mental and emotional issues. I spent 10 years with that man; an individual who's mental imbalances and internal insecurities and selfishness resulted in physical and emotional abuse to my children and mental/emotional/sexual abuse of myself. The vast majority of those 10 years were spent within the walls of my house, as to go out (to look for work or friends) usually resulted in some serious accusations of infidelity and such behaviour on his part as it quickly became (early on) easier to acquiesce that argue.

All in all, I consider myself the poster child for how NOT to do things if you want to be successful. And, before anyone decides they need to chide me for being too harsh on myself, I assure you that I am not ... I am pragmatic about my own failings, particularly where my early years are concerned. I did the very best I could, considering my situation and the internal deamons I had to contend with BUT, the fact remains, I was young and stupid and I made some blindingly bad choices that took decades to dig myself out from under. It is by going through everything I went through (unpleasant tho it often was) is what has gone into making me the person I am today ... and I quite like myself now.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

PBP: Week 9 ... the EM-path

It's likely no surprise to anyone who has read my post on depression to find out that I walk the em-path. As an INFP  (Introversion/iNtuition/Feeling/Perception) ... Idealist/Advocate/Healer ...  personality type, I really had no choice but to do so.

As common as the term empath has become to explain those hypersensitive/hyper-observant individuals who resonate to the vibrations of the people that surround them, back when I was growing up in the early 1970's no word existed to label persons who could "know" how a person felt just by being in proximity to them. Besides, when one had a psychiatrist for a Father, one learned early in life what not to say. To draw unwanted attention was to end up on medication and/or in therapy.

Imagine, if you would dear readers, that you are once again 6 years old and are facing a classroom full of strange faces for the first time in your life. Imagine the rows of little wooden desks with their occupants all turned towards you with a wide mixture of expressions ranging from mild disinterest to curiosity and all points in between. Never before in your life have you been around this many people at one time, except perhaps on a park playground where excited and active euphoria tends to reign supreme in the little bodies that hurtle around and past you in play. You blink as a wave of ... something you have no name for ... surges towards you and slams into your solar plexus before surging around you, invading every sensory perception you possess. You feel everything ... every raw emotion from every one of those still mostly feral little people facing you all at once. 

I know that there will be those among you, reading the above paragraph, who will work their way through the scenario I have laid out visualizing each element I have brought to it ... there will be those who can only read the words and try to understand ... and there will be those who will emotionally enter the scene and experience it as I did on my first day of school ... the day I learned that people can hurt you without ever touching you. And those persons, who can put themselves there and feel that surge as I did in recollection while writing it as clearly as I did the day I experienced it, will be the empaths among you.