Tag: Ireland

Brigid’s Cross

Brigid’s Cross

This summary of the recent journey to Ireland has been avoided because it brings the experience to another level of finality. I want the travels to remain open and fresh and ever-expanding in my heart and mind. Alas, it is time to reflect and accept the many gifts and let them rest peacefully.

There were many powerful moments; perhaps the most meaningful experience of the trip was at a small convenience store where a post office clerk gifted me with a freshly made Brigid’s cross.

I planned the trip so arrival would be on Brigid’s Day or Imbolc, a cross-quarter day between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. Imbolc celebrates the first-stirrings of spring and was originally a festival associated with the goddess Brigid and fertility. It was later Christianized into the festival of St. Brigid…who was based on the Gaelic goddess.

Tradition calls for reeds to be gathered every Imbolc and woven into a cross. The cross is usually placed on the hearth as a reminder to honor the home and family. The next year it is burned and a new cross woven and placed.

When I saw the cross, I asked the clerk if she made it. She said her sister did and asked if I would like to have it. It was such an act of generosity and kindness. I politely thanked her but said I couldn’t take her cross. She said, “I can get another one, please take it.”

Tears filled my eyes and my voice cracked as I tried to thank her. Finally, I was able to speak a proper thank-you.

The cross sat on the dash of the car as I drove through the Burren. It waited patiently as I visited the Poulnabrone dolmen burial chamber and had an otherworldly experience with my Celtic whistle and spirits of the land and sky.

The green cross sat on the window sill in the bedroom of the cottage I stayed at in Doolin. It was there watching the two horse neighbors, the sacred hill where the moon set every morning and the Atlantic Ocean in the distance.

It was there as I drifted off to blissful sleep after traditional Irish music that sent my soul soaring. It was there when I dreamed of finding a harp and learned the saying, “It is now strung and shall be heard,” Ireland’s call to arise from persecution and claim their right to freedom.

Brigid’s Cross traveled to the Maumturk Mountains and heard my anxious words as snow fell and temperatures dropped as I drove toward Killary Fjord and the village of Leenane. It heard the first, tentative notes of the new whistles I adopted from traditional music stores….adventures in their own right.

It heard the story of the hilarious attempt at candle-lighting at the small, Gothic cathedral at Kylemore Abbey; it witnessed the wild attempt to hike the upper reaches of Diamond Hill in Connemara National Park.

The many beautiful moments at the Cliffs of Moher, beaches, rocky grasslands, steep-mountainous roads, villages….are all stored in the reeds of the cross. As well, feelings of gratitude, love, excitement, wonder, awe, bliss, grief, courage and ‘home’ fill the spiral design.

After months of singing to Brigid every morning as a daily dedication and intentionally planning my travels to coincide with Her day, the simple cross created and gifted with love is the symbol that ignites my memories of a land for which I am profoundly grateful.

On arrival to Ireland–after landing, picking up the rental car and beginning the drive from Dublin towards Doolin–I randomly chose an exit on the motorway to find food. Nothing was close to the highway so I took a turn and ended up passing Brigid’s Well in Kildare. I felt Her welcoming spirit so strongly. It is difficult to believe I didn’t stop and visit this holy well. What was I thinking? 

The only other regret I have from those 10 days is not returning to the Doolin Hotel for music the Monday before leaving for northern Connemara. The music there was transformational to my soul…(sigh).

I could return and spend a month in Doolin wandering the countryside and enjoying the serenity of the land and immense strength of the Atlantic Ocean. The music could carry me to other dimensions as I once again found myself in my spiritual home.

What is a spiritual homeA place that supports and nurtures us to be the fullest expression of higher self. For me, the wild, west coast of Ireland has twice awakened me to freedom to be myself–connected to land, sea and sky in complete surrender. The relationship I share with the land there is profound and deep, ever-evolving into greater understanding of what it means to consciously walk upon this sacred planet.


Deep Listening

Deep Listening

Early morning is no stranger to me. While my body adjusts to being six hours ahead of this time zone, I’ve spent more time outdoors…in the early morning…much earlier than my usual pre-dawn salute to the day.

I left for Ireland while it was still chilly here in coastal Alabama–we’ve had a very cold winter. After eleven days away I returned home to spring.  Literal spring. Flowers and trees blooming, warm temperatures and insects singing.

During the dark hours of the day, hours before sunrise, the insects have awakened. Their soft chirping preludes the intense music they will make later…during summer nights. Their sounds remind me of life that continues even when there are no outward signs.

When we take the time to listen deeply we notice things we miss when speeding through life. The 3 a.m. concerts have helped me connect deeper with nature, with the subtle stirrings that give evidence of continuous life even when the cold, dark, silent winter is upon us.

What If

What If

The journey to Ireland has been a wonderful one. Staying in cottages or apartments has gone well until last night. The house was okay but the heating system didn’t work so well. But after wandering around outside I understood more of the issue that created unease.

It snowed last night so this morning I walked down the gravel driveway to a beautiful river lined with old trees and their moss-covered limbs. I played one of my new whistles for the creatures of the woodland.

As the music flowed, I sensed an appreciation for the tune from the spirits of nature. It felt as if they had been shoved aside from the small development of homes that destroyed part of the woodlands around the site. The music seemed to soothe and feed the beautiful elemental energies that had been forgotten.

All along the way I have been playing my Irish whistles, speaking words of gratitude, walking as softly as possible and doing my best to capture the essence of these places through photography and writing. Today I felt moved to write about the ones that are ignored when contemplating building, developing or altering a natural environment.

What if we took the time to tell the Earth, Thank you! every day. What if we played music to nurture the Earth. Or read poetry to Her. What if we made a conscious connection to Earth and Her many creatures and beings that reside here. What if we saw the Earth as a conscious being–different from our consciousness–but conscious still….

What if?

I Lit a Candle Today

I Lit a Candle Today

Mitchell Henry built a small, Gothic cathedral in the Connemara region of western Ireland. He built a castle here in the 1800’s and when his beloved wife died at the young age of 45, he loved her so much he built the cathedral in her memory. Rather than having frightening gargoyles, the structure is more feminine and has smiling angels carved throughout with delicately carved flowers and birds. There is a beautiful stained glass window of Mary depicting the five graces–Fortitude, Faith, Charity, Hope and Chastity.

As I wandered through the small cathedral I marveled at the love this man had for his wife and reflected on my own lack of a partner…which grieves me. In front of the stained glass of Mary was a candle holder where you can light a candle and say a prayer. So I decided to make a donation and light a candle to ask Mary to bring a man that will love me with a great love and be my partner in life and adventures.

After saying the prayer I picked up the lighter. I repeatedly tried to light the candle, thinking it was already in the holder. So I’m not Catholic and had no idea you had to actually put a candle in the glass. I thought the candle was deep inside the glass. I laughed out loud as I glanced to the left and saw a basket of candles.

I finally got the thing lit but am still pondering the entire experience. I asked for this ‘miracle,’ fired up the lighter but there was nothing to light because I didn’t know I had to have a candle. What the heck does that mean in my relationship life? Geez…. There is a definite lesson there.


It was the first rainy day in Ireland since I arrived almost a week ago so no complaints about the rain. There was plenty of beauty to be found wandering around the grounds of Kylemore Abbey.

Some of the leyland cypress trees had to be over 500 years old. I stopped and leaned my forehead against one and dropped into silence. I saw a series of what appeared to be files flashing rapidly in my mind so I asked the tree to slow down and choose one for me to look at…like it was showing me the growth rings representing years. I saw it as a very small, young tree and heard–See, I started out tiny and frail and look at me now. Don’t ever give up.

I thanked the tree and walked on through the forest enjoying the sweet, soft energy of the ancient beings. Maybe the tree was reminding me to keep doing the work I do, that it will grow and develop. Perhaps it was telling me that a great love is coming into my life. One thing is for sure–I was reminded to never give up on something that is important to me.

So beloved man, whoever you are, I lit a candle for you today and asked Mary to guide you to me. And I hugged an ancient tree which reminded me to never give up on anything that’s important to me. And my work to reveal beauty to anyone who will pay attention continues.

I lit a candle today.

Everything is Sacred

Everything is Sacred

Connecting with the land and sea was my first intention for journeying back to Ireland. The other was to see more megalithic sites from 5000 or more years ago. Inis Mor is covered with them and it was a wonderful experience to explore them back in September of last year.

There is something incredibly special about being in silence where people came together 5000 years ago to connect with each other in reverence to the Earth, Spirit or even for protection. It isn’t difficult to feel the essence of these places for many were built in natural concentrations of Earth energy.

Yesterday while in the Burren National Park I stepped up to a very large rock that towered over my head and was massive in size. I leaned against it and placed my forehead against the rough, gray surface and went into silence.

I heard clearly that every place is sacred and not to be attached to visit places where others gathered, even if they left behind structures and carvings of art. There are many places that have not been labeled and they are just as sacred. The message continued, “Feel the energies of each place and go to where you feel guided. You will feel the true source of power behind the place in its raw form, not changed due to thousands of tourists who visit and thus alter the energies.”

It made perfect sense. In the park there was the sweetest energy on the trail we walked. It felt like a cocoon of nurturing calm. There were several places that invited me closer and made me want to simply immerse myself in the rugged landscape and quiet groves of ash trees.

Everything is sacred. It’s up to us to slow down and listen for the whispers that guide us deeper into relationship with the Earth and Her children. When we do that, there’s no telling what we will discover.