Keepin’ It Real

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Brigid of the Forge by Lindowyn

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Remember how, a while back, I republished an older blog post on people’s top misconceptions about Odin? One thing the post mentioned is that He can sometimes function as a “gatekeeper” god; in other words, He is liable to show up in your space not to claim you for Himself, necessarily, but to show you around the tradition and the pantheon and introduce you to the People you’re actually going to be working with. In heathen circles He is well known for doing this–or at least He was, back in the day when I was running with heathens.

Well, I don’t know whether or not a similar trope exists concerning the Morrigan among Celtic pagans, but guess what She’s been doing since She reappeared on my radar a couple of weeks ago?

That’s right, She’s been introducing me around–primarily to just two People thus far, though it’s possible there will be others on the horizon.

First, She introduced me to the Dagda, who is big and warm and safe-feeling, and who reminds me a lot of (my version of) Wodan. (And in fact, the latter has been making noises about how He is maybe “also the Dagda.” For years, people have been telling me that my version of Wodan is “too nice,” so this almost figures–though that doesn’t really make it any less annoying.)

And then, She called Brigid in, and right away something clicked. She and Wodan exchanged Significant Glances and began shoving me in Brigid’s general direction. I am now on the Brigid study track, it seems, and will be primarily working with Her (and with the Dagda/Wodan/whoever He actually is) in cobbling together my own personal Celtic-flavored witchcraft practice (with, I’m sure, some Norse/Anglo-Saxon influences).

In case anyone is wondering, I’m not upset about this. In the Keepin’ it Real Department, I have to admit that my attraction to dark, violent, life-changing deities is maybe not the healthiest or most productive thing for me at this point in my life. Back when Wodan first entered my life in 2002, I was not only open to sweeping life changes, I welcomed them. I wasn’t happy and was entirely ready for something new, and Wodan provided that in spades. But now? Other than wanting my shop to bring in more money than it currently does, I’m pretty satisfied with my personal world. (There are lots of things I’d like to see change in the world at large, and especially in the country–but that’s different.) I’m not really in the market for having my life turned upside down–which is a Thing both Odin and the Morrigan are famous for doing.

And from that perspective, Brigid actually suits me and my goals pretty well. Like the Morrigan, She is a sovereignty goddess (as Queen of the half-Fomorian, half-Tuatha De god Bres), but unlike the Morrigan, She is more concerned with creation than destruction. Like me, She is a Maker (Brigid of the forge); She is also a Healer and a Poet, with connections to brewing as well. (She reminds me quite a bit of both Gunnlod and Rosmerta–which I think is no small part of why I’ve been shoved in Her direction.) She works primarily with metal (something I’d like to do more of) while I work in leather and wool (which also matches up well, as two of Her sacred animals are cows and sheep)–but the crafting connection is there, and is a primary pull for me. In the past few months, we’ve been shifting towards eating fewer processed foods (more about that in a future post) and I’ve become something of a kitchen witch, so healing also applies. And I’ve always written–not primarily poetry, but just as with Wodan, I interpret Her bardic connection in a wider sense of creative wordsmithing, encompassing pretty much everything from Emily Dickinson to the reruns of Supernatural I’m currently making my way through as I work

And there’s another reason why I’m not torn up over this: for years I have made almost a second career of tormenting myself about all of the things Serious Odinists do that I have absolutely no inclination towards. I have zero desire to traipse through the woods at night alone (or march through my city wearing a mask and beating a drum, for that matter), pay people to torture me and call it an “ordeal ritual,” or tie myself to a tree for nine hours. (I don’t think any sort of revelation or visions would come to me; I’d be too engaged in not peeing my pants.) For all that my ego would have loved me to pursue these things (as “proof” of how serious I was), there are reasons why, in fifteen years of devotion, they never happened.

Similarly, I have zero desire to learn a martial art form (yes, I know this isn’t really a requirement for all followers of the Morrigan, but it is stressed by some of the more high profile ones), argue with people on the internet about how “it can’t really be the Morrigan because [fill in the reason]”, or be on the front lines of anything. I’m not a warrior, and I’m unashamed of that fact. (That said, if you fuck with me or someone I love, you will really wish you hadn’t.) My preferred mode of resistance is survival, via shoring up my home defenses and working to nourish my household and master my craft–both in a magickal sense, and in the sense of the stuff I make that brings in money. Beyond that, any extra spoons or means I have can go towards encouraging and supporting those who ARE on the front lines. Again, my ego resists these admissions, but if I don’t get clear on this now I’ll be letting myself in for fifteen more years of doing everything the hard way–and when those fifteen years are up, assuming we still have a world by then, I’ll be in early old womanhood, so let’s just not go that route and say we did.

Crafting, healing, and poetry–these are the things that feed my soul, the cornerstones of the path I’ve always been walking without knowing it (or wanting to admit it), the things I need to nourish in return. They are what I need more of in my own life, and what I would like to spend my remaining years on earth bringing to others. Some of this falls within Wodan’s purview, to be sure. But it doesn’t always fit neatly, or as well as I’d like, or without explanations attached for the benefit of skeptical pagans who can’t find better things to do than tell others what they’re doing wrong. Brigid simply and beautifully fills in some of those gaps and files away some of those jagged edges. Her influence in my life is welcome, and very likely past due.

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11 Comments Add yours

  1. aoibheall52 says:

    I think that it’s wonderful that you’ve been introduced to a deity that fits you so well. She suits you more than Wodan or the Morrigan at this point and I think She’ll be a positive influence on your shop as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She does suit me more than the Morrigan–but only because, pretty much everything the Morrigan represents, I am already getting with Wodan. I have really been badly in need of a counterbalancing influence, and I never really hit it off with Frigga.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Brighid has been a part of my life for over 20 years; she’s very patient, except when she’s not. I don’t know how to explain that very well, but I’m pretty bullheaded and so sometimes I need a kick, not a nudge. I’ve never been inclined towards leatherworking or metalworking after all these years, but she works with my sewing, my music, my homemaking. I am looking forward to reading your posts as you experience her. And I will also say that lessons in sovereignty have been difficult for me, but I’m finally understanding some of them, and embracing them. I should perhaps write more on my blog, but I have trouble baring it all on paper, even more so on digital paper.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sovereignty is hard. When I first started interacting with (my version of) Wodan, I had been in an emotionally abusive relationship and felt as though I was continually fighting for just the right to exist. Going from that to recognizing myself as a sovereign being was a long haul–but I guess it worked, because at this point I’m very clear on what I’m willing to give the gods and what I’m not.

      I am very much looking forward to working with Her! I can be stubborn too and occasionally need a kick in the pants, lol.

      Like

  3. Varian says:

    This post resonates with me *so much.*

    I got caught up in the Real Serious Spiritworkers/Godspouses Do [insert painful sacrifice here] way of thinking, and that *really* messed up my relationships, both with my two Husbands, and with their Family and Allies.

    I’m slowly (finally) relaxing into knowing that I *don’t* have harsh gods for Spouses, and that that really is okay.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. This is just one of the many ways in which the “godspouse community” has messed with our heads. Although my Beloved is known for being harsh, He hasn’t ever been that way with me. Somehow that got twisted up in my head as my not being good enough for the Serious Stuff, when it was just that He wasn’t asking those things of me, because He knows that’s not who I am. Now, whether He really IS Wodan or not is another story altogether (I’m sure there are many who would pipe up that my experiences prove He isn’t)–but at this point, that doesn’t really matter to me.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Redfaery says:

    Congratulations! I’ve never worked with Brighid in depth, but I did have some experiences with her at the Pagan circle I used to go to. She would shield me from the excessive energy the rituals would generate, so I wouldn’t get migraines. I think there’s so much emphasis in many polytheist circles on being (if you will), the biggest badass, that people forget the value of things like compassion and caring…and healing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree! Although there is some badass in Her lore as well, it seems. Because that’s just how it goes with Celtic goddesses. *g*

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Limnaia says:

    Based on my few interactions with Brigid, I’m amazed you’ve not crossed paths sooner.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wodan tried to push me in Her direction a number of years ago (not to foist me off, but to provide a complementary influence to Himself), but–as in so many other things–I was too stubborn to cooperation

      Like

  6. Soli says:

    “And there’s another reason why I’m not torn up over this: for years I have made almost a second career of tormenting myself about all of the things Serious Odinists do that I have absolutely no inclination towards. I have zero desire to traipse through the woods at night alone (or march through my city wearing a mask and beating a drum, for that matter), pay people to torture me and call it an “ordeal ritual,” or tie myself to a tree for nine hours. (I don’t think any sort of revelation or visions would come to me; I’d be too engaged in not peeing my pants.) For all that my ego would have loved me to pursue these things (as “proof” of how serious I was), there are reasons why, in fifteen years of devotion, they never happened.”

    Oh preach on preach on! Not that I need to say it but I am anyway.

    on a related subject, when I am back to my usual work schedule next week I have a little story to tell you.

    Liked by 1 person

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