Poem: Lights Will Guide You…[Revisited]

20171228 POEM LIGHTS WILL GUIDE REVISITEDWe live in a time when, perhaps, we need guidance more than ever. A map! A way forward! A path to follow. A light?

Guidance is at hand, but sometimes it ‘arrives’ in the mundane, the daily routine of life, in nature, in the elements (and elementals, unseen angels, through other people, a word here or there etc). However we define it, the miraculous is at work in the ‘large’ and the ‘small things of our life, and guidance is at hand.

Ancient sacred texts urges us not to despise the day of small things.  It is easy to do so, in the busy-ness of life. But, when the world was at its darkest, a light shone (and still shines) in the dark streets (of our minds), and the Light(s) will guide you home.

Maybe, sometimes, the guidance we so need can come through song? Why not? What is visible and invisible was called forth by a word, angels sang at the dawn of creation, scientists talk about the ‘music of the spheres’, nature ‘sings’ in the wind and the rain, and our live are like a cosmic dance danced to a tune that we hear deep in our spirit. Yes, I do believe guidance can come to us in a number of ways, and that includes words, song lyrics, poetry, music etc.

Is there something missing,
and you feel that there’s nobody listening?
Could it be that everyone of us is scared,
everyone of us is hurt?

Oh, I think I landed in a world I hadn’t seen,
where a wicked and wild wind blew down the doors to let me in.
Look up, I look up at night, planets are moving at the speed of light.
I hear you come nearer,
I hear you, but I don’t understand.

In your eyes, I drifted away,
and in your arms I just want to sway.
Oh, I think I landed where there are miracles at work.
Time just floated away.

Still I call it magic, a simple plot but I know one day,
good things are coming our way.
Christmas lights, light up the street.
Light up the fireworks in me.

Oh, angel sent from up above.
You know you make my world light up.
Yes, lights will guide you home.

You’re part of the human race,
and, all of the stars and the outer space,
are part of a bigger plan.

If you’d only, if you’d only say yes.
Under this pressure, under this weight we are diamonds taking shape.
Still, I call it magic.
You’re such a precious jewel.

This poem falls within the ‘Found poetry’ genre. According to Wikipedia it ‘is a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them as poetry (a literary equivalent of a collage) by making changes in spacing and lines, or by adding or deleting text, thus imparting new meaning.’ The abovementioned poem uses ‘borrowed’ phrases from Coldplay song lyrics.

Tadhg’s Thoughts: Night Is Now Far Spent [Or, ‘What A ‘Gritty’ Year That Was’]

20171224 NIGHT IS FAR SPENTI wanted to write my thoughts out, to put them down on paper, and promised myself that I wouldn’t undertake endless revisions. So, here’s my ‘end of year’ heart-sharing with you.

Oh, it’s nearly that time. Christmas Day approaches. I admit to being a big kid at heart – my inner child is always dominant, and more so at this time of the year. I love the fairy lights, the brightly lit shop windows, the Christmas trees with tinsel on it, the candles, the carols in the shopping mall.

And yet, issues requiring mature responses have raised heads. At least for me. And, especially this year.

Is it possible to allow ones inner child dominance: to be childlike and yet not be childish? I think so. I hope so.

‘…become like little children…’ Matthew 18:3b, The Book

It is a ‘thin place’ time of the year. For those in the northern hemisphere it is the darkest time of the year – and yet there, in the middle of the darkness, when the night is at its longest, there is an inbuilt hope of the days (now) getting longer. In the middle of winter, the trees are sleeping, and deep roots are dreaming of spring. Change.

When, in our lives things seem darkest, and it is never easy going through emotional and jarring events, there is hope that the light shines brightest in the darkest of settings. One bearevement, a ‘body-blow’ sustained this year by me, and on ongoing ‘judder’ regarding property  – which will be resolved in January – makes the going tough. This isn’t a rant, but an admission that I’m human. And if you’ve had an ‘up and down’ year then you’re human, too. And being human is good.

Oh, but how easily we can be ‘pulled out’ of that liminal, dream-like, spiritual state by jarring events, or sometimes by others…if we allow. But it is the latter that concerns me most, today.

‘The dance between darkness and light will always remain— the stars and the moon will always need the darkness to be seen, the darkness will just not be worth having without the moon and the stars.’ C JoyBell C

However we interpret or understand the Nativity story – it is a story that, when the Earth was at its darkest point, Light appeared. When forces of anger were arrayed, a child was born. And when ‘unlove’ seemed dominant, Love loved. Love can do no more, nor needs to do more, because Love always wins.

It is childlike to accept that Love wins? It is childish to believe that we are immune from hurt? It is a mature response, I believe, to know that Love wins, but that we may, unfortunately, be hurt sometime, somehow, but you, as a spiritual person know that you are not alone, and things change? I think so. I believe so.

‘All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well’. The Lady Julian

And so, at this time of the year, when its darkest on the face of the Earth (physically, maybe emotionally for some, politically for others, for me, for you etc), I will light a candle for peace, for hope, for Love, for you. And would suggest, that if you feel so led, to do the same.

It is a small ritual – and I love ritual for in it we place ourselves in the gaze of the Source of All – to align ourselves with the Light, with Love, with the Source of All, to allow that Power to soak through our very being, and to acknowledge that we are not alone. It as, after all, at this time of the year a time when we remember that the Power-Behind-The-Universe was ‘poured’ into human flesh. We are not alone. You are not alone. And, there is a Light that shines in the darkness.

And, I’m reminded of that Light by every brightly decorated shop window I pass, every Christmas tree with fairy lights on it and every candle I see, and I think of hope. of change, of Love.

And if, like me, you’ve had a tough year, my candle-lighting ritual will also be a prayer for you, to lift you up. You are included. You are not alone.

Into the void
His word went forth.
What was not. Is!
Light and life accompanied His utterances
and in response, nature danced in the song of creation.
He formed the man of clay, and the woman who is the mother of all life.
And they, too, danced in the light of the morning.
Night has now come, and is far spent,
and the man and woman crane their necks and gaze upwards.
And their words go forth into the vacuum, that is space.
‘Is anyone out there? ‘.
Out of the void another sound is heard.
This time, a baby’s cry echoes in some dim and dusty street of old.
And in the darkness of the world, words of hope are once more heard.
‘My children. Did you think I would leave you as orphans to stray in the night?
I am with you, evermore! ‘.

Blessings, Light and love be to you and yours this Christmas-time, Tadhg

 

[PS: In acknowledging that it was an ‘up and down’ year it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge that I have learned a lot – experience is a good teacher – that I have experienced the love of friends (Christian, Druid, Pagan and others), and made some new and wonderful friends – ‘make new friends, but keep the ‘old’ ones, one is silver, the other is gold’ (says a child’s song), and it’s true. I was also deeply moved by my Iona pilgrimage, and am very appreciative of those, you, who read these articles and comment.  I am, and I hope you can look back at 2017 and say that, despite some tough times, we have been journeyed onward and been blessed, too. Love wins.]

 

 

 

Everything You Wanted To Know About Jolabokaflod

161222-jolabokaflodExcerpt from Tadhg’s Journal: I love words, and if you’re anything like me, you might be interested in a new one (to me) that I came across yesterday.

The word is: Jolabokaflod. It’s Icelandic.

Okay, so it may be too late to really honour it this year, but the people of that small, but great nation of Iceland have the right idea, especially from my viewpoint as a book-lover.

‘I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.’  Jorge Luis Borges

They have something they call Jolabokaflod, and it means (Yule or) Christmas book flood!

In the few months before Christmas,  most books are sold in Iceland because of the upcoming event. Books are lovingly selected with family and friends in mind, bought months or weeks in advance (and the commercial side of things will hold events, fairs etc), and the books are then wrapped and stored, ready for Jolabokaflod.

And then on Christmas Eve it happens. Whatever you may have (additionally) bought for family and friends, Jolabokaflod happens, and you give a book to a loved family member or friend. Yes, it’s all about books. It sound wonderful. I know it’s not really rocket-science, and many people already do give books for Christmas gifts to be opened on that day, but the idea of a special day for it, is quite wonderful. Ofcourse, Jolabokflod could be used for us to reward those who served us throughout the year eg corner-shop owners, those who sweep our roads, postal delivery people etc. People we might not want to ‘officially’ buy a Christmas present for, but, nevertheless, want to say ‘thank you’, to.

‘Books are a uniquely portable magic.’ Stephen King

The idea then, is to open the wrapper of the book gift you’ve been given on Christmas Eve, discover the book you’ve been bought, and that evening curl up on the sofa with a cup of hot chocolate and that good, or retire early to bed and yes, take that new book and maybe a box of chocolate with you, and indulge.

‘You want weapons? We’re in a library. Books are the best weapon in the world.’ Dr Who

What a way to celebrate that liminal time – the time when all the Christmas preparations have been made (or of they haven’t, it’s probably too late now, so don’t worry) and Christmas Day isn’t quite here – and now you can relax in some well-deserved ‘me’ time.

‘Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.’ Mark Twain

Ofcourse, it’s really all about giving  books away, and if there’s not enough time this year to do that, I’m sure we’ll be excused just this once, if we buy one special book for ourselves, just to try out a sort of dry-run for next year’s Jolabokaflod. And, if you did that, what book would you treat yourself to?

Winter Solstice: A Liturgy For Alban Arthan 2016 [‘Lighten Our Darkness…’]

161220-alban-2016-celtic-litrugyYes, tomorrow marks, for those in the northern hemisphere, the shortest day, the longest night, the wonderful time of the Winter Solstice; or Alban Arthan as it is known in Wales.

The Winter Solstice is on Wednesday, 21 December 2016 , and many will celebrate as the sun rises  at 8.04am, in London, UK (albeit some 20 minutes later in north Wales).

In the Druidic tradition the name ‘Alban Arthan’, is Welsh for ‘Light of Winter’. And so it is time of merriment around the camp or village fire for  Celts, Druids, Welsh folk of old, a time to light candles in the darkest of times, and a time to acknowledge that deep in the earth the seeds of hope are becoming active, and that Light and spring are on their way. It is seen as a time of rebirth and renewal.

Some Druids believe this light to be the Light of the hero King Arthur Pendragon who  is symbolically reborn as the Sun Child at the time of the Solstice. Others see the Light belonging to the star constellation known as the Great Bear (or the Plough). Others have many varied beliefs. Some, myself included, acknowledge many viewpoints out of respect for others, but focus on this light as being the Light of the Christ-child at this time.

‘There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.’ Leonard Cohen

It is a most wonderful event when you gather a group of people together, who acknowledge that something wonderful happened and symbolically happens again and again, and each respects the other’s view knowing that it differs, but also knowing that the occasion is bigger, much bigger than the individual or even the ‘tribe’ they hail from. Truly, awe takes over.

For Iranian people, many celebrate the night of the winter solstice as, ‘Yalda night’, which known to be the ‘longest and darkest night of the year’. It’s a time when all the family gather together, usually at the house of the oldest family-member, and celebrate it by eating, drinking and reading poems (especially Hafiz). Nuts, pomegranates and watermelons are also served during this festival.

‘I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.’ Hafiz

At this time, The Dōngzhì Festival or Winter Solstice Festival is celebrated, and it is one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese people. Traditional food, such tangyuan are served – these are glutinous balls of rice (equivalent to our dumplings, maybe), and can be served in a savoury or sweet broth.

How will you celebrate it?

You might be part of a Grove, faith-group or ‘tribe’, but if you’re not then the following suggestions can be used in part or adapted as suits your requirements. A simple meditation of gratitude before breakfast, or a lighting of a candle and a few words would suffice.

Here are some ideas (from previous articles) that you might consider using:

The ‘Circle is Turning’ (Winter Solstice version)
A few words have been adapted for the song to be used at the time of the Winter Solstice. It is full of depth and pathos – click here for the tune. It ‘fits’ the tune (with a bit of manoeuvring) and starts at 11 seconds into the video. The poem/song:

The Circle is turning,
we celebrate winter.
The Circle is turning,
we celebrate winter.
The Circle is turning,
we celebrate winter.
And nature sleeps, as the darkness falls.

The trees, they slumber.
Deep roots are dreaming.
The trees, they slumber.
Deep roots are dreaming.
The trees, they slumber.
Deep roots are dreaming.
I’m listening to the winter’s sacred rest.

The snow is falling,
the earth is bless-éd.
The snow is falling,
the earth is bless-éd.
The snow is falling,
the earth is bless-éd.
The hope of spring, ye-et to come.

The Circle is turning,
we celebrate winter.
The Circle is turning,
we celebrate winter.
The Circle is turning,
we celebrate winter.
And nature sleeps, as the darkness falls.

– oOo –

Candle-lighting liturgy: Requirement: 5 Candles and a candleholder (Advent-style)

The following is recited, as the first candle is lit:

All: We walked in darkness, but you showed us the light. We pray for those that walk in darkness, that they, too, may see the light that shines in the darkness. (Based on Isaiah 9.2)

The following is recited, as the second candle is lit:

All: The light shines in the darkness, still. And the darkness did not comprehend it. We give thanks for the light that guides us. (Based on John 1:5)

The following is recited, as the third candle is lit:

All: You are the light of the world, and indwell us, so that we become a light in the world. We seek ways to live out that light in our life, in service to all. (Based on Matthew 5:14)

The following is recited, as the fourth candle is lit:

All: There will be no night there, because Your light will illumine us. We praise you for that great promise of light. (Based on Revelation 22:5)

The following is recited, as the fifth candle is lit:

All: Light from Light Eternal, born this happy morning, we greet you. (Based on a carol, based on ancient sacred text)

– oOo –

Prayer For the Winter Solstice sunrise

Standing. Recite, facing south:
In this time when it is darkest,
we offer gratitude for all that was and is,
and for all that is about to be born in secret.

Recite, facing west:
In this season of expectation
we draw near in unity and peace for all,
to offer praise and worship to the Spirit of all.

Recite, facing north:
At this intersection of time and space
when Heaven touches Earth,
we look forward in anticipation and hope
to the year ahead.

Recite, facing east as the sun rises:
Yea, Lord, we greet you,
born this happy morning.
Brother Sun, who brings the day and gives light
testifies to your birth, and re-birth in our hearts.

– oOo –

Meanwhile, however and wherever you celebrate the Winter Solstice this year, please accept my blessing, both to you and those whom you love.. Blessings, Tadhg

May the light of your soul guide you.
May the light of your soul bless the work
You do with the secret love and warmth of your heart.
May you see in what you do the beauty of your own soul.
May the sacredness of your work bring healing, light and renewal…

(John O’Donohue)

The Christmas Star. Views On It, And The Question: ‘Does It Really, Really Matter?’

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I’m guessing there’s not much difference between us, and that at times you’ve been in a situation where you didn’t know the answer. But, there’s more. You’ve probably had a person who, then, expressed loudly their ‘answer’, and you just know that that’s definitely not the answer, but everyone eventually seems to be swayed by it, and you’re left confused by their reaction.

It’s not weak to say you don’t know.

christmas-cometI was on the edge of a conversation the other day about the nativity star! Was it an actual star conjured up by God? Was it a comet that just happened to have a synchronised orbit relevant to that awesome birth? Was it a conjunction of planets? Or, was it an inner light, available only to those who were aware? Everyone it seemed had an opinion, and the one that seemed to be the ‘winner’ in that debate  was the one who was the most passionate about it. But, when they asked me, I had to say, ‘I don’t know.’ I could see it etched painfully onto their faces – they thought this a soppy, weak and unreasonable position to take. But, I didn’t know the answer then, and I still don’t know now.

‘Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.’ Confucius

It’s not weak to say you don’t know.

christmas-ufo-untitledI did remind them that they had spent ninety minutes expressing their various view, but no time, at all, debating the meaning and consequences of the event, and those seem to me altogether more important. They didn’t agree, and then continued the debate that it could have been an alien spaceship! We truly live in a superficial age, and mistake noise for progress.

It’s not weak to say you don’t know.

As they continued to debate, now wondering if the star was a supernova, I was left, inwardly with a glimpse of reality: whatever the star was, it was the Universe’s way of indicating that it had poured the fullness of itself into human form, and a little, innocent bawling baby, at that; and that this had never been done in such a way, ever; and that somehow we (and, that includes you, as you read this article, are invited into experiencing that event in someway, even now).
It’s not weak to say you don’t know.

‘Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.’ George Bernard Shaw

christmas-telescope-937871_960_720After, two hours, the conversation changed, and they were none the wiser, but, sadly, they had also missed an opportunity to encounter the Incarnation in that small inner-London café in a real way, had they not been so loud, so busy, so ‘cerebral’, so superficial, and so dismissive of the ultimate meaning of that star.

It’s not weak to say you don’t know. Infact, I think in some cases it’s a position of being strong. For with that frame of mind, we’re open to all sorts of wisdom presenting itself, all sorts of encounters that we might have otherwise missed, and maybe even overlooked an Encounter (of being alone with the Alone).

‘Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere’ Psalm 84:10a, The Book

I can’t tell you what that star was. I would be telling an untruth if I appeared that definite. Whatever that star was, it’s meaning was significant to humble shepherds and mighty magi, sometimes called ‘wise men’ -and they’re usually represented as coming from several continents so the earth is represented. And, so I like to think they may even have been Druids (the root word of that being ‘wise’). No, it’s the meaning, and the meaning today that was, and is, important!

christmas-night-839807_960_720So, as you gaze into the sky as the winter solstice – be you Christian or Druid (or both!) – and as Christmas approaches, pick out the brightest star and ponder: whatever the Christmas star was, it meant that a one-off, unique and holy event had taken place, that light had shone in the darkness, and that light is never dimmed; and that we can be partakers of that event, even today.

It’s not weak to say you don’t know. I would suggest you allow this ‘not-knowingness’ to penetrate deep into your soul. Enjoy the mystery recounted and relived this month. It is a soul-adventure that is shy: it recedes when analysed. Maybe, the question never really was, ‘how?’, but rather, ‘why?’.

‘Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love divine;
Love was born at Christmas;
Star and angels gave the sign.’
(Christina Rossetti)

 

Tadhg’s Journal: Christmas Shopping, Me, Mike Tyson, And Meditation.

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Journal: Over the last few days I’ve discovered several things: I am really a mystery shopper, and Christmas shopping is a wrestling-match or boxing-match with the god of commercialism, and I realise, even more so for me now, the deep benefits of meditation.

How did this happen?

I bought something from eBay and it didn’t arrive, even though delivery was expected exactly seven days earlier. I complained. If you know me, I’m not the complaining sort. I’m quite Buddhist in my approach to life, infact….but I mean, I waited a week beyond the delivery due date! I emailed the company and said they scored one out of ten in my books (and I think that’s quite generous, as I hadn’t received the goods) and they said they’ll send the order again as they didn’t want it to affect their rating. I replied and said I’d be happier if they sent a duplicate order to keep me, the customer, happy, rather than only worry about their rating. The finer point that I was making was, I think, somehow lost. Afterwards, meditation  helped me. I’m calm.

The Master said, ‘If your conduct is determined solely by considerations of profit you will arouse great resentment.’ Confucius

I need hearing aids. I know people look at me at say, ‘Surely, you don’t need hearing aids at your age, aged 25’. That was Brit humour there. But, if I don’t have hearing aids I’d never be able to understand what’s going on when I watch the X-Files on tv. More Brit humour. Nor, would I be able to understand the machinations of UK central government policy and statements these days without my hearing aids. Umm, on that occasion I was being serious, sadly.

And, so I bought a set of hearing aids about five weeks ago – if anyone is interested, they were twice as expensive as Theresa May’s leather trousers! Very expensive! Now, one hearing aids went ‘kaput’. They promised to fix it within a week, and so I waited an extra week…but, nothing. So, I phoned them today and explained it was now two weeks after the event, and they said the audiologist was busy, but would ‘phone back. He didn’t. I phoned again, and was told the same thing. I confess, I increased my voice, but only by one decibel, to infer dissatisfaction, and said, ‘We’re all busy, and I paid a quadrillion pounds for these hearing aids’. Okay, that was hyperbole on my part. The audiologist eventually ‘phoned back. Afterwards, meditation  helped me. I’m calm.

‘To live fully, we must learn to use things and love people, and not love things and use people.’ John Powell

Serious point: And, now I know why some people are upset. True, we don’t know the difficult life circumstances they’ve been through or are going through, but neither do we know the trouble they’ve had in doing their Christmas shopping this year – it does seem more problematic than last year don’t you think? Everyone seems eager to sell, but maybe not-so-hot on delivery and after-sales service. Meditation  helped me. I’m calm.

But, please have pity on grumpy people this Christmas. Have pity on me if you see me – I might have had the (Christmas) commercial equivalent of three rounds with Mike Tyson! Meditation  helped me. I’m calm.

‘Meditation is a way for nourishing and blossoming the divinity within you.’ Amit Ray

I know you can’t rest, and need to know the conclusion of the two accounts, above. Yes, after waiting an extra week and complaining via eBay, and the company emailing me back, the item was delivered an hour later! And, after waiting an extra week, the audiologist said it had been awaiting collection in the store for a week, and apologised that no one had contacted me, as promised. Meditation, then  helped me a lot today. I’m calm. How are you faring?

 

Ephemera: Full Moon, 13 December 2016 & More.

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Oh, winter draws on as we move further into Advent. We’re about half way through the month of the Elder (tree), and speeding towards the winter solstice. And, for this month, the associated element is: earth; and the associated plants/trees etc is the holly, ivy, and mistletoe.

Tomorrow is a full moon. However, if you consult some other almanacs then you could be led to believe it is tonight. However, it’s a case that the moon maybe 98% full tonight and waxing (getting ‘bigger’, towards full moon status), but tomorrow it may be 98% and waning (growing ‘smaller’, starting to reduce toward that new moon, ‘unlit’ status). Either night to celebrate the full moon is good. I have a preference for tomorrow, the 14 December 2016.

To the ancient and latter-day Celt’s this full moon is known as the Cold Moon. Others may call it the Oak Moon.

As the Sun goes down
And the Moon rises,
And the Golden Pond turns to silver,
Blessed is the One who creates us,
Blessed is the One who makes us,
Blessed is the One who fashions us.

(Derived from Authorised Daily Prayer Book of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, 1998)

There are a number of ancient and modern ideas about the (full) moon which I think are quite interesting to ponder upon.

pixabay-moon-229889_960_720Idea #1: The Moon changes size. The Inuit people that live in Greenland named their Moon god Anningan. They believed, according to their ancient story that Annigan chased his sister Malina, the Sun goddess, around the sky. This tiring work, paired with a lack of food, caused Annigan to get much thinner as the month went by.

This myth was a wonderful attempt to explain the phases of the moon as it recedes from a full moon to a crescent.

Idea #2: A full moon can cause lunacy. Some police and hospital workers still claim that people are wilder on a full moon. Some have laughed at the idea. However, do bear in mind a newspaper report which quoted Inspector Andy Parr, of Sussex Police, who made a crime-connection while analysing crime statistics for the Brighton and Hove area’s “night-time economy”. He said: ‘I thought, we have a limited amount of men and money to spend, so let’s look at the crime figures. I compared a graph of full moons and a graph of last year’s violent crimes.’ and there was a correlation.

His findings have been backed up by personal experience on patrol. Inspector Parr added: ‘When you try to reason with people on a full moon they become more aggressive and less rational during full moon. When you try to reason with them on a full moon they become more argumentative.’ As a result of his findings, the force plans to put extra officers on the streets for “key days” including the next full moon.

dec-ephemera-daily-mirror-13-12-06Idea #3: The Moon brings love. In Chinese folklore, Yue-Laou is an old man in the moon who unites predestined couples together. I wonder if the John Lewis company had this story in mind when they ‘screened’ their ‘man in the moon’ tv Christmas advertisement last year? British women as well, who hoped to receive a dream about their true love would recite the following verse under a New moon: “New moon, new moon, I hail thee! By all the virtue in thy body, grant this night that I may see he who my true love is to be.” The Moon has also traditionally been appealed to in order to bring fertility.

dec-ephemera-lucia-common-licence-13-12-06Meanwhile, don’t forget: Today, 13 December, is Saint Lucy’s Day. She was a 3rd-century martyr under the Diocletianic Persecution, who it is said, brought food and aid of those hiding in the catacombs, and using a candle-lit wreath on her head to light her way she left her hands free to carry as much food as possible.

Her ‘day’ used to be celebrated at the time of the winter solstice, which was 13 December on the old Julian calendar, and so is really some ten days away, but when the calendar was change they kept her feast day on the same date, even though it moved the celebration.

Even today, in Scandinavian countries, with their long dark winters, a young girl in many churches and village squares is dressed in a white dress and a red sash (as the symbol of martyrdom), and wears a crown or wreath of candles on her head.

 

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Tadhg’s Journal: Shock Horror! Can You Help?

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Tadhg’s Journal: Short and sweet, and humorous today, I think. Here’s an opportunity my fellow Celtic, Christian, Druid friends to do something for the community, by keeping our eyes peeled to solve this most heinous crime.

Shock! Horror!

In Perth in Scotland, where they have a full-sized nativity scene at this time of the year – yes, a life-sized statues of Mary and Joseph, a donkey and an angel at least adorn the front of the church, it was reported that for the second year running, the life-sized baby Jesus had been stolen!

How awful!

The BBC reported that Anne Chat, who serves as an elder at the church, said: ‘Last year someone stole the doll from the display too, but it turned up again a while later. It just seems to be something that people do these days, it’s a shame.’

Now this is serious!

So where is the humour in all this. Well, the BBC story continued, and quoted the local police who had said that some eye-witnesses had noticed three young men in the area that night, acting suspiciously.

Three, you say? Young men? Acting suspiciously?

Hmmm, the men in the area, acting suspiciously? Could it be…..? These men are also  described as wearing black clothing, and carrying rucksacks.

Could it be…..? No. But, you never know?

Hmm, I’m wondering if I should telephone the Perthshire police with the names of these three young men, these ne’er-do-wells? You see, I feel  sure they go by the names Balthasar, Melchior and Gaspar. And the contents of the rucksacks? It wouldn’t surprise me if they each had a ‘stash’ of  gold, frankincense and myrrh, perhaps?

Should I inform the police? What do you think?

But, then again, I’ll let the police work it our for themselves as they might think I’m just a wee bit frivolous. As if? Meanwhile, if you do come across this missing life-sized baby Jesus doll, please let the Perthshire police know. The BBC report concluded: Anyone with information is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

PS: Those are genuine UK police telephone numbers.

PPS: (Irony follows) If it is the Magi that have stolen the baby Jesus doll, this wouldn’t have happened if we had taken back control of our borders, or built a wall, or insisted that foreigners register. Just a thought!

 

Celtic Daily Thought: ‘The World According To Siri’, Or ‘Great Words From A Computer Algorithm’

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I have a smart mobile (cell) ‘phone and it has that Siri app on it – you know the one that answers back, verbally, when you give it  a verbal question.

If you’re anything like me, there’s nothing better, especially when it’s new, than it ask it impossible questions. Ah, impossible questions like, what’s the weight of the colour green? What’s the largest number you can think of? And, how long is a piece of string? And then the novelty wears off, but it still has its uses – I usually now ask it more serious questions, and it then gives me serious answers.

Oh, how I wish our politicians would give serious answers to serious questions posed to them by the general public? There are so many sensible questions being posed; so many nonsensical and off-the-point answers coming back. A veritable cacophony of nonsense returns that clamours for our attention, drowning out rationality, almost.

Meanwhile, I making a several of most elegant  dorchau pen, literally the ‘head wreaths’ for an upcoming event. Purists will take me to one side, as the dorchau pen are made from artificial, silk vine leaves this time, with little white flowers for the woman’s headwear….but it was necessary to use artificial leaves and flowers (honest!) as they have ‘to travel’ and be used a few weeks apart!

Oh, how I wish that FaceBook wouldn’t link to dubious health websites – you know the sort that says that if you have cancer you should ditch the chemo and ‘load up’ on sugar and that is recommended by a chiropodist! And, glowing praises follow in the hundreds, if not thousands. I admit it’s an emotive subject for me. As a ‘survivor’, I would suggest that you  do not follow their advice. [Ofcourse, there is a place for complementary therapy, but it is complementary, and not alternative! There is a huge difference. Beside, chemo was part of what saved my life].

‘You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them,’ wrote Maya Angelou.

Meanwhile, I’m reading a wonderful book on the spiritual aspect of midlife (‘Am I of an age where the book is relevant? I aim to be honest:  Yes’).  I’m making copious notes on each page of the book, indexing it at the back, such is the pure joy it is to read this book, and inwardly digest its knowledge and wisdom.

Oh, how I wish that Christmas wasn’t so commercialised? Oh, how I wish that manufacturers would stop putting those microbeads into products that kill ocean life? Oh, how I wish….

Meanwhile, I cooked the most beautiful piece of cod you could imagine, last evening. I know some may not find that spiritual (but I do, as I don’t believe there’s a duality between the sacred and the mundane for Christians, Druidic-Christians, Celts, Druids and other similarly ‘aware’ people), but I’ve also noticed that when one talks about food on FaceBook and elsewhere the readership goes through the roof. But, as you’re reading this, you will know that I am really more interested in quality, rather than quantity. More interested, too, in making that important point about non-duality, as duality blights many peoples daily life and spiritual walk.

‘Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish.’ Matthew 13:47, The Book.

Some time ago, I sat down after a long and busy and enjoyable day, checked my emails, and then, in a moment of verbal mischievousness I asked Siri: How are you? It immediately replied: ‘This is not about me, it’s about you!’

 Well, I could have fallen on the floor had I not been sitting down, already. What a great reply.’…It’s about you! ‘So, I took it to heart.

It’s not really about politicians, its about you and me. It’s about us! If politicians can’t or won’t give serious and truthful replies, then don’t vote for them. They’ll soon get the message.

And, those dubious health websites (and other annoying ones)? Well, don’t’ give them the time and ‘likes’ that they beg for. Your time is too important for that.

‘I learned long ago to focus on things you can control and don’t even pay attention to things you don’t,’ wrote Bryan Cranston.

And seasonal commercialisation? How about we buy what we want and be wary of advertisements. And microbeads? If we stop buying their products, they’ll get the message in exactly one week, and mend their ways in double-quick time. In one fell swoop, I tuned away from the over-commercial radio station to ‘Magic FM’ – a most suitably and aptly named radio station if ever there was one, thus avoiding over-commercialisation and politicians’ words.

You see, it’s not really about them; it’s about you.  Siri was right!

‘…It’s about you!’

It is about you, and you are powerful. What kind of power do you have? The power to make Christmas, the solstice, the upcoming full moon, or whatever festival you ‘lean to’, a really great and personal event. In that respect we don’t need politicians, we don’t need another’s approval, and we don’t need  commercialisation etc, though that’s what they would have us believe.

‘Wherever you go, go with all your heart,’ said Confucius

You only need intentionality, grit and determination, and the ability to hope, to expect, and the joy of carrying on the path, the way.

So, this season, I’m going to celebrate the upcoming full moon (liturgy is now ready), and the winter solstice (layered clothing all cleaned), and Christmas Day (gifts wrapped and ready to distribute), and not heed politicians’ words, not be swayed by dubious websites, and buy only what I want to buy, and avoid the hype. In that respect…

‘…It’s about you!’

Ofcourse, the season is about others, too, and giving, and celebrating the season. Others, as we choose, but primarily not about politicians, bad website information and shopping….unless the latter serve us. In that respect it is about others, but you can include yourself, too.

‘…It’s about others!”, and …’It’s about you!’

And, so without those distractions, I carried on, and completed some great dorchau pen (‘head wreaths’) for friends and look forward to leading two upcoming Druidic-Christian marriage anniversary celebrations, have almost finished reading that great book by Joyce Rupp and benefitted from it (and it is highly recommended), pondered on that awesome fish meal and gave thanks to the Source of All for it, and continue to look ahead to celebrating this wonderful winter and Christmas season in several different ways. Life goes on, and it’s a good one. Don’t you think so?

‘Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful,’ wrote Norman Vincent Peale.

Whatever is ‘derailing’ you in your positive and wholesome endeavours, whatever is clamouring for your attention and maybe unhelpful, whatever is holding you back from good things. I would suggest you take Siri’s advice. It’s not about them.

‘…It’s about you’.