Poetry. Art. Music. Love.

The Rainmaker: You Could Be The Water


By the scent of water alone,
the withered vine comes back to life,

and thus… wherever the land is dry and hard,
you could be the water;

or you could be the iron blade
disking the earth open;

or you could be the acequia,
the mother ditch, carrying the water
from the river to the fields
to grow the flowers for the farmers;
or you could be the honest engineer
mapping the dams that must be taken down,
and those dams which could remain to serve
the venerable all, instead of only the very few.

You could be the battered vessel
for carrying the water by hand;

or you could be the one
who stores the water.

You could be the one who
protects the water,

or the one who blesses it,

or the one who pours it.

Or you could be the tired ground
that receives it;

or you could be the scorched seed
that drinks it;

or you could be the vine,
green-growing overland,
in all your wild audacity …

“The Rainmaker, You Could be the Water…” prayerpoem by ©C.P. Estés, all rights reserved

St Brigit: no better woman for the times we live in →


31 Jan 2011

The Irish Times

St Brigit, whose feast day falls tomorrow, was a negotiator, peacemaker and early community activist. Just the kind of person we need now, writes MARY CONDREN

‘BRIGIT, WITH her white wand, is said to breathe life into the mouth of the dead Winter and to bring him to open his eyes to the tears and the smiles, the sighs and the laughter of Spring,” wrote Alexander Carmichael.

This weekend marks a turning point in the Celtic year. February 1st is the festival of Imbolc, announcing the arrival of new life: never more needed, and never more welcome.

The whole month of February is also called Mi na Feile Bride (Month of the Festival of Brigit). In Celtic myth, Brigit was goddess of poetry, healing and smithwork: in Christian history she was an abbess and saint. Her traditions are preserved today in ritual, story, artefacts and her Christian Lives stories.

However, one aspect of Brigit seldom receives attention: Brigit the Weaver. Her cross was made of newly plucked rushes; her crios (girdle or belt), of new straw; and her cloak was of woven material. Now the opening up of Eastern Europe expands our understanding of the importance of this connection.

Before mass media and travel, and great political rallies, societies were held together by fragile threads, and weaving tools signified a key responsibility: that of weaving the precious webs of life and tending the bonds of community.

Throughout European mythology and folklore, the wise women were spinners whose advice was ignored at one’s peril. Images abound of European women leaders holding distaffs, spindles, weaving swords or spears which were not used for war making but for practical and ritual purposes.

Some of the few surviving relics of Saint Brigit are thought to be her weaving or embroidery tools, held in Glastonbury, England.

During Brigit’s festival, on February 1st, weaving or turning wheels was strictly forbidden in an honouring of Brigit the Weaver’s holy day.

Brigit was also a “peace weaver”, the name given to distinguished women in Old European times. Peaceweavers sometimes married into their enemy’s tribe, and their daughters carried gifts to weave peace. Such women had great negotiating skills and authority.

As with such peaceweavers, St Brigit caused mists to appear between opposing sides in order to prevent bloodshed. With her nuns she accompanied protesting warriors to the battlefield, rendering them unable to fight.

In historical times, the Abbesses of Kildare, who succeeded the historical 5th century Brigit, could pardon criminals encountered on their way to execution. They were revered figures of authority who were known as “Those Who Turned Back the Streams of War”.

In the 12th century, however, ominous events took place. Two abbesses of Kildare were raped, symbolically rendering them unfit for office. Twelfth-century church reform councils restricted sacramental offices to male priesthoods. The offices of weaver would be entirely superseded by the offices of sacrifiers, with wide-ranging social and political implications.

European grave excavations show that, whereas priestesses were buried with their spindles and distaffs, priests were buried with their knives. Subsequent European history, with its numerous wars, colonisations, and constant threat of violence, speaks loudly of the consequences.

Today, weavers and nurturers - community activists, parents, carers, and educators - continue to weave webs of empowerment. Their authority is fragile, rather than heroic. Their work is often unpaid, their views are unrepresented and their perspectives are silenced in the corridors of political or religious power.

This weekend, those in search of a new Irish spring, will celebrate the festival of Brigit and Imbolc at their holy wells, in their homes and communities.

Like community activists and nurturers, Brigit wove the fragile threads of life into webs of community. She invented a shriek alarm for vulnerable women travelling alone, she secured women’s property rights when Sencha, the judge, threatened to abolish them and she freed a slave-trafficked woman. Above all, her bountiful nature (23 out of 32 stories in one of her Lives concern generosity) ensured that the neart (life force) was kept moving for the benefit of all and was not stagnated by greed.

Today, the old religious and political structures have crashed all around us. In any new arrangements weavers and nurturers must be represented and their voices heard, loud and clear. No better woman than Brigit to inspire their efforts.

Mary Condren ThD teaches at the Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies, Trinity College Dublin, and is director of the Institute for Feminism and Religion:instituteforfeminismandreligion.org

Tilicho Lake by David Whyte

In this high place
it is as simple as this,
Leave everything you know behind.

Step toward the cold surface,
say the old prayer of rough love
and open both arms.

Those who come with empty hands
will stare into the lake astonished,
there, in the cold light
reflecting pure snow,

the true shape of your own face.

For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country.
— Barack Obama, 1/21/13 (via think-progress)

Yes Lord!

Poem of the Day →

"Discontent" by Sarah Orne Jewett

"The Way It Is" by William Stafford
Poem of the day 1-9-13

"The Way It Is" by William Stafford
Poem of the day 1-9-13

I don’t know who God is exactly.
But I’ll tell you this.
I was sitting in the river named Clarion, on a
Water splashed stone
And all afternoon I listened to the voices
Of the river talking.
Whenever the water struck the stone it had
Something to say,
And the water itself, and even the mosses trailing
Under the water.
And slowly, very slowly, it became clear to me
What they were saying.
Said the river: I am part of holiness.
And I too, said the stone. And I too, whispered
The moss beneath the water.

I’d been to the river before, a few times.
Don’t blame the river that nothing happened quickly.
You don’t hear such voices in an hour or a day.
You don’t hear them at all if selfhood has stuffed your ears.
And it’s difficult to hear anyway, through
All the traffic, and ambition.

— Mary Oliver, “At the River Clarion”
Snow Mandala by Simon Beck

Snow Mandala by Simon Beck

Snow Mandalas →

Man walks all day to create art in the snow

jump mama by kurtis lamkin →