Gelli Fach

Gelli Fach

I'm a cell, I'm fragmented, I change my form;
I'm a repository of song, I'm a dynamic state.
I love a wooded slope and a snug shelter,
and a creative poet who doesn't buy his advancement.

Wyf kell, wyf dellt, wyf datweirllet;
wyf llogell kerd, wyf lle ynnyet.
Karaf-y gorwyd a goreil clyt,
a bard a bryt ny pryn y ret.

From: Legendary Poems from the Book of Taliesin, edited and translated by Marged Haycock

Thursday, 25 July 2013

The Three-Fold Fire of Brigit

Sulamith Wülfing

Towards the end of my last flame-tending shift for Ord Brighideach I settled down on the sofa beside the candle and contemplated the flame. I've found this is a good way to calm my mind and chase away the racing thoughts I've been plagued with recently. I was feeling that I had been stretching myself too thin for the last ten months and was wondering what I should be doing with my time, whether I should take a step back, what part of what I do I should concentrate on. The three fires of the Ord Brighideach charm came into my mind and rearranged themselves, providing a sort of answer:

Fire in the Head which incites and inspires
This fire is often with me and is what inspires and animates me. I am so grateful for its presence. But perhaps sometimes it burns too uncontrollably and I need to think of it in balance with the other Fires. I meditated on the importance and teachings of these.

Fire in the Forge which shapes and tempers
This fire is the fire that brings the inspiration and creativity into existence. Like hammering out iron, it is often hard work. But we must remember the process of tempering. To increase the iron's toughness by making it less hard, it is sometimes heated to lower temperatures which give more flexibility so that it becomes less brittle and less likely to break under pressure. The forge therefore requires that we know when to stop putting ourselves and our work into the hottest fire, how much heat it is necessary to apply in order to sustain ourselves and give our creativity endurance and flexibility. Quenching the hot metal in water, also associated with Brigit, may be necessary sometimes in order to fix the hardness so that our work cannot be driven out of shape by outside forces. A time to rest and leave the process of forging for a while, to let the work simply be itself in the world.

Fire of the Hearth which nourishes and heals
This fire is the one that we go out from and come back to. At the heart of life, it's about being not doing. It sustains us and enables us to be open to the Fire in the Head and to bring our work into fruition with the Fire of the Forge. Sometimes we need simply to rest by the Fire of the Hearth.

Meditating on these feels to me like a good practice for flame-tending vigils. It's a good way to check that I am using Brigit's fire wisely and well to enhance my life, work and relationships.

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