Friday, January 27, 2012

Court of Brigid Working – the plan so far.

OK, a few other Druid mages have expressed an interest and received the materials for this work. L. and I are definitely doing the three rites between now and full moon on Feb 7th. Here’s a few notes on how I think it should go, including things that occurred to me after finishing the text, or as support.
The Audience With Brigid: We’ll be working this rite tonight, Friday, at our own hearth, with a small group of Grove members. This rite is much like a simple High Day, with complex offerings. We’ll arrange a big shrine for the goddess in front of our hearth, including a staff-sized World-Tree pillar with the Fire & Well. Our hearth isn’t used for full fires, so we’ll probably use something else for the ritual fire – I hope to do better than the ring-of-candles-and-censer approach. The rite calls for a hefty nine offerings, and they must all be disposed of properly. So a fire of some sort has to be ready for the incense, and herbs, etc. At very least I'll use camphor and nag champa cones for the Blessing fire, which burn with an open flame for minutes if you don't blow them out. Food offerings will be set before the eidolon of Brigid and taken outside later.
My goal in this rite is to bring the company into a close vision of Brigid. I have continued to be attracted to the Hindu term ‘darshan’. It literally means ‘seeing’ but the connotation is of having an ‘audience’ (which, of course, means a ‘hearing’) with the object. The term is applied to meetings with deities, gurus, kings and any sort of person for whom special access is required. So, our goal is to come into the presence of the Goddess to see and be seen.
The formal blessing phase of the Audience will serve both as preliminary work for the spirit-arte of the next two rites, and a good blessing for all present. I’ve adapted a Fire-and Water module that I’ve used before to provide purification and potentially healing through the water, and empowerment and energization through the fire. The rite should be very intimate and immediate. As usual, success will have a lot to do with my ability to entrance the company and induce the vision.
Calling the Three Queens: We will be working this rite on the Saturday immediately following the Audience. We’ll leave the Shrine in place (though safely cat-proofed) and simply return to it the following evening (L. and I) for the next rite. This is actually the most experimental of the three rites. In the first big rite we did the full audience invocation (though not the separate blessing) and we did a direct summoning of the ‘lesser’ daemons of the Court, seeking their names and conversation. We did not specifically call these three greater daemons of the Goddess for conversation, but only invoked their presence and blessing to allow us to speak with the Courtiers. In this round we will attempt to speak directly with the Three Powers as personal beings.
I find myself unable to avoid playing with Neoplatonic and later occult hierarchy models to this matter. I keep getting the term ‘archangels’ bouncing around in my head concerning the relative status and meaning of these three presences of the Goddess’ might. (Pagans unused to Christian magic may not realize just how god-like an archangel is.) However I also find myself reflecting on Hindu and Tantric models of spiritology, where a Goddess may appear in many persons, with diverse symbols. Those persons are not exactly ‘aspects’ of the single goddess, in the way many of us might have suggested back in the day. Rather they are, well, persons of the deity. Persons with their own names and signs, who may be called into human awareness for human goals, just as we hope to do with the Hammer, the Harp and the Cuaich. In a Hellenic vocabulary it would be proper to call them great daemons of Brigid. In a Gaelic one we say Tri Cuachtai (Three Powers) or Tri Banriona (Three Queens). The ritual as written includes a formal oath and alliance, as with the lesser courtiers. I remain open to the opinion of the Queens themselves on this matter.
The method here is traditional to western magic. A form is imagined for the spirit, and the spirit is called with offerings and invocation to inhabit the form. However the rite uses a pretty intense charm to allow the ‘sight’ using herbs and stones to make a potion for anointing. I look forward to working this. This time I don’t have to be the ritual chief, supporting the visions of others, and can look for myself.
Convoking the Court: L. and I will be working this right sometime during the next week, before the public Imbolc gathering. The rite is written, at present to include the convoking of the Three Powers along with the sixteen Courtiers who presented themselves at the original working. We’ll see how that goes. I have no preconception, really, about whether all those spirits would be available to every mage who might call them. Perhaps it being us two, who first lit the fire for them, will make it more likely. It will be fairly strenuous work, I suspect. Once again I am pleased to have begun with a calm and benevolent power. Love that Brigid!
I do intend to set several of the Courtiers to specific practical magical tasks as well. One of the big questions at this stage is how potent these friends are for such things. While they may seem like a fairly pleasant gang of artists and creative types, I have impressions about several that I want to confirm or deny.
Incidentally, I’m making a new Table of Practice with the oak, rowan and hazel Triangle and the sigils of the Queens. The spirit sigils I’m putting on wooden disks, and so I should end the work with a set of talismans. Pics to follow, if allowed.

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