Tag Archive: myths and legends


Something to ponder.
Why can’t we be like that old bird?

The owl:

Cailleach-oidhche, Owl, represents wisdom, stealth, initiation, change and detachment. She is associated with arcane lore, clairvoyance, seeking deeper knowledge and death as a new beginning. The owl is aware of her surroundings at all times, has great intuition and the courage to follow her instincts. She offers keen insight into obscure occurrences, a bringer of hidden truth, omens and secrets. She is the power animal of psychics.

khamneithang

A wise old owl sat in an oak,
The more he heard, the less he spoke;
The less he spoke, the more he heard.
Why can’t we be like that old bird?Image

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A series of dreams

I grew up in an Irish-Catholic family, with an emphasis on the Irish. My grandmother’s parent’s came over from Galway, and Ireland was always this exotic motherland to me. That was where we came from, where some family still lives, and where the most magical and fantastic myths and legends originated.

Like any child, I was delighted by tales of leprechauns, unicorns, and faeries. Between mandatory school reading, I occupied my time with Irish poetry and folklore. I was enamored with the “year and a day” concept in so many of the stories.

I remember the first time I read the tales of St. Brendan the Navigator, St. Patrick, and St. Brigid. I felt such a connection to them. It was like reading about my own family.  In particular, I felt a special bond with Brigid. Even though I must have read at least a dozen different versions of the tale, I never grew tired of them. She was beautiful, brave, and intelligent – everything I wanted to be.

When I was up for my confirmation, I chose Brigid as my name.It wasn’t because I felt any particular connection to the Catholic Church. Actually, by that point in my life, I was so frustrated with how the Church treated people, especially friends and family, I was ready to be done with it. But I had to finish what my mother had started; for my Grandmother, I would be confirmed. No, I chose Brigid because I always felt like there was a part of her in me, and that was closest I would get to changing my name.

As the years went by, I strayed quite far from the Church, only ever returning for weddings and funerals. I never reconciled with religion; every time I tried to find my spiritual path, I was left in the dark feeling more alone than before. Something was calling me, I just couldn’t find it.

I had a dream.
It was a bright, beautiful day, and I was standing in a field of flowers. There was a music on the wind that I couldn’t identify, but it felt so familiar. As I wandered through the grasses I saw a small brick building with a large fire burning just outside.
As I approached it, I noticed the fire was on a pedestal… it sort of reminded me of a torch. It glowed blue and white, but I felt no heat. An older woman sat on a bench near a small vegetable garden, reading a book. She hummed the mysterious tune to herself for a while before she took notice of me.
“What are you looking for?”
“Um, I dunno. I thought I was dreaming. Maybe I ate too much before bed.”
“That doesn’t mean you aren’t looking for something.”
“I suppose so.”
“Maybe you aren’t looking in the right place.”
“I never said what I was looking -”
“You needn’t speak it. Just focus on it and all will be revealed.”

And I woke up. I cursed at my alarm.
I had that dream three nights that week. It was almost always the same, we usually talked about the world, my life, her garden, but little things changed – Her clothes, the smell of something cooking in the house, the book she read, or where she sat. On the last night, I helped her weed the garden, and I asked her who she was.
“I am the keeper of the flame.”
“Who is it for? The fire, I mean.”
“The one you seek.”
I had finally made a connection.
“How do I find her?”
“She will show you the light and the path. Follow her, show compassion, embrace art, and you will be healed.”
“How will I know her?”
“You will know. You will feel her presence when you dance.”

Again with the stupid alarm.
Dance? I don’t dance. I have two left feet, and they’re both on backward.
It wasn’t long before I had forgotten about the dreams.

Not even a year later, I started taking dance classes.
And the dream came back. It was very different this time.

The old woman looked almost younger, and we stood inside the little house. It was tidy, warm, and comfortable. We played cribbage for a while, and talked about my new job, my cats, and my marriage. My life was good.
And now I had dance.

“Have you found her yet?”
“Um.. I guess, no. Not really. I haven’t, like, physically seen her or anything. Should I be expecting a hallucination or something?”
“Time, dear; give it time.”

It was another 3 years until I saw her again. This winter, actually. I hadn’t really thought much about it. Over the fall I had wanted to dream about her. One of my cats was very ill, she went in for emergency surgery and we discovered she had cancer. I prayed to whatever powers would listen to help keep her healthy and happy; I wasn’t ready to give up on her. We made it through, and she’s doing well. We should have several more years with proper diet and medications.

This February (2012), the old woman returned. But she wasn’t old anymore. She was, maybe, in her 40’s or 50’s. Her hair was a beautiful shade of auburn where once silver had been. Her eyes were not so weary as before, and her hands were smooth. But it was her, I knew it. She hummed her little song as we walked along a wooded path.
“You are dancing still, yes?”
“Oh yes, I love it. I feel the music move through me and I feel like I could write poems without words.”
“Then you have found her?”
“I’m close.”

I haven’t seen her since, but I think when I do we should be about the same age. And I think that is when I will have finally found her. Until then, I will dance for her. I will write poems without words.

Brighde-© Stuart-Littlejohn

Brighde-© Stuart-Littlejohn