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In the Belly: Finding the Muse Within
Brigid is one of my favorite goddesses. She is the Celtic goddess of healing, poetry and smithcraft. I always loved celebrating her festival in February and I once served as one of her Flamekeepers. Having written verse since I was a kid, I always found a connection with her as the patron of poetry, but I wonder if my devotion to her perhaps led me to the healing modalities that I practice and to the jewelry making that has also become a hobby of mine.
Brigid is a fire goddess whose sacred flame in Kildare was once tended each day by one of nineteen priestesses. On the twentieth day Brigid tended the flame herself. Nineteen is her sacred number, and significantly relates to the synchronicity of solar and lunar time measurements: The monthly lunar cycle starts at the same time as the solar year once every nineteen years. For instance, to use our common calendar, there will be a new moon on New Year’s Day next year, 2014, and there was a new moon on New Year’s Day nineteen years earlier in 1995 and will be again 19 years later in 2033. To use a different example, 2014 is also the year in which we have a new moon on the winter solstice, as we will have again in 2033.
Nineteen is the number of the Major Arcana Sun card. This reminds us of the nineteen year cycle for the Sun and Moon to coincide. In astrology, the Sun, also known as Sol, represents how we see ourselves, while the Moon, Luna, is our secret or inner self. Common symbolism for Sol and the tarot Sun card include knowledge, reason, logic and science—things that are in the light or readily apparent. Luna and the Moon card represent things that are obscured or hidden, which brings about common symbolism such as illusion or deception. But the symbolism also includes that which cannot be known through reason or logic, bringing in the meanings of instinct, intuition or psychism. In essence, one set of meanings for the Sun would be following what is reasonable and making analytical decisions, while the Moon can represent following an inner sense of truth that can’t be supported by external logic.
Another common set of meanings for the Sun and Moon is the cycles they represent. The Sun can represent one day, the natural diurnal cycle of Sol’s death and rebirth. It can also represent one year, focusing on the waxing and waning cycle of the sun’s annual potency. The Moon on the other hand represents about twelve hours, or approximately the amount of time to go from low tide to high tide. The Moon will also represent one month, or the complete lunar cycle. The Moon can also represent the human gestational cycle, nine months. The birth process, moving from darkness into light, is sacred to Brigid. She is the patron of newborn babies and midwives. One of her rituals involves stepping through a woven straw loop as a symbol of rebirth.
In addition to fire, the almost opposite symbol of a well is attributed to Brigid. Wells plumb the depths of the earth, bridging inner and outer, creating a way to gain access to the hidden life-sustaining waters. The images of the solar fire and the lunar water connect in Brigid’s symbolism, supported by her sacred number nineteen. The synchronization of the solar and lunar cycles is in and of itself a symbol of rebirth: a cosmic new moon.
So often when we look for inspiration we look outside. We think of our connection to the Divine or our Higher Self or even our Muse as being something beyond us or outside of us. In Traditional Japanese Reiki, we are taught as our very first meditation to bring our breath and our awareness to the hara, which means belly and is considered the primary energy center of the body. This energy center is considered the source of our own original energy, given to us by our parents at conception. They received their energy from their parents, and so on. Therefore the energy center in the belly also links back to our ancestors. When this energetic lineage is extended far enough, we discover at some point our connection to the Divine, the Source of Life itself. In this philosophy, we are taught to look within to discover our connection to Spirit.
Likewise, the rituals of Brigid find our connection within. It is traditional to walk counter-clockwise (moonwise) around St. Brigid’s Well to find harmony within yourself and within the universe. Whereas working clockwise or sunwise in ritual is considered to expand and increase energy, moonwise motion decreases and centers energy, bringing our focus within. This simple ritual releases the external and brings us to our own inner sense of self, and we find our muse within.
The Muse Within Tarot Spread
A simple tarot spread to work with this symbolism would be to lay out four cards while considering what you can release to connect deeper with the muse within.
Card 1 is the first moonwise circle. It is the first thing you need to release to find center. It may be something in your environment or otherwise a big picture thing.
Card 2 is the second moonwise circle you walk around Brigid’s Well. It is the second thing to be released and will be closer to you, something personal in your daily habits or personal environment.
Card 3 is the third moonwise circle. It is the final thing to be released and will be very personal, perhaps a belief or inner thought pattern that doesn’t serve you.
Card 4 is the well itself, the muse within. This is what you find in your center, in your belly when you connect to the divine through the true essence of yourself.
Your Next Stop
Hop off my blog and onto Morgan Drake Eckstein’s Gleamings from the Golden Dawn or visit the master list of all the blogs.
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Joy Vernon is a Certified Professional Tarot Reader and Reiki Teacher in Denver, Colorado. Her specialty is the Empyrean Key Transformational Guidance, which combines energetic and esoteric modalities to help her clients break through blocks and align themselves with their higher purpose. For information on upcoming classes or to schedule an appointment, please visit JoyVernon.com.
© 2013 by Joy Vernon. All rights reserved.
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