15 January 2012
Magic & Spirituality, Media, Poetry
aoda, celtic, ita, poem, poetry, prayer, saint ita, spirituality
There are two famous and important Irish saints, apparently: Brighid or Bridget, and Ita. Today is the festival day of Saint Ita (in addition to being the feast of Martin Luther King, Jr., among Episcopalians). She ran a school for boys in Kileedy, and was called the “Brighid of Munster.” (This suggests that Brighid is a title , in the same way that abbess is a title, and maybe in the way that Merlin might be a title.) Her claims to fame seem to be that she wrote a lullaby for the baby Jesus, and died of cancer. She died sometime between 570 and 577.
The entry in Wikipedia is practically non-existent. The entry in Shirley Toulson’s book is even shorter, mentioning only that she was the “foster-mother of saints,” and that she has connections with Saint Brendan the Navigator and numerous others.
Huh. Another scholar-saint, who is the teacher and foster-mother of the man medieval Ireland claimed discovered ‘America’ in a coracle. A teacher of astronomy, then, and perhaps geometry and advanced mathematics. Odd roles for a woman in the Church, but perfectly OK for a druidess, I expect. OK, here goes: (Image from Wikipedia.org).
Hail to you, Ita, instructor of saints,
working at crossroads of old and new ways:
you died of cancer, yet without complaints,
you were too busy teaching, all your days,
how number- and star- lore added to God.
How you ran schools in the back of beyond —
Latin grammar under thick roofs of sod,
Pythagoras and Euclid, and the sound
of a monochord singing Plato’s cave.
How the OtherWorld must have beckoned them.
To cross Atlantic, pious and brave,
and find Faerie: you mothered boys to men,
and made men saints: Be a “Brigid” to me,
and raise me to service of Deity.
15 January 2012
destroyed, ecopoesis, labyrinth, recovery
I’ve received word through back-channels that the labyrinth I built at my old school has been disassembled. The person who reported it to me is sad, and I don’t blame her. It became part of my spiritual practice, and hers, to walk it while our dogs were playing together in the field.
It served its purpose, though. As you can see in the photo, the ground around the labyrinth was muddy and misshapen, the result of too many trucks and bulldozers. The pond behind was really only a drainage ditch, to help leach water out of a newly-built baseball field, and help it be suitable ground for playing America’s pastime. There were heaps of dirt nearby that no one knew what to do with.
And then I built the labyrinth.
After a year of the ground seeming dead and destroyed, that spring the ground came back to life. Grasses and wildflowers sprouted around the labyrinth, and marsh reeds appeared in the pond. Quaking aspens and a small willow took root around the water. Ducks swam in the pond. One day, I startled a great blue heron from the waters, and it flew off to the west, while I observed sunrise.
In time I added markers for the solstice sunrises and sunsets. The baseball field started getting used. It became the place where the campus let their dogs play. Kids occasionally did science projects nearby. I used the labyrinth and the places around it to teach the basics of archaeo-astronomy.
And then I left.
Two years later — probably five years after I built it — it’s gone. But the changes it wrought in the landscape persist, apparently. The pond is a place of thriving life, and the land has recovered. It belongs to nature again, where before it was just a post-construction wasteland. That means it served its purpose.
And that’s what magic does. I have more thoughts on this, but I’ll post them later — I’m about to have brunch. THat’s a different kind of magic.