Valentine’s Day Swans

2 feb

Last year I took a photo of this beautiful pair of swans on the lake in the park at the back of my home, where they lived and produced young each year.

This is a sad picture, because unfortunately people visiting the park had been feeding these swans (and the other water birds) with large amounts of bread. Too much bread isn’t good for anyone! …and definitely isn’t good for swans. Rather tragically there is now only one swan on the lake. The other swan died, apparently of botulism, due to the volumes of bread thrown into the lake – not all of which was eaten, but instead rotted in the water.

It brought me up short when I heard this had happened, as it seemed that kindness on this instance really had killed.

Keeping love alive isn’t always easy. We can easily get carried away with indulgent thoughts and actions. We need to think as well as feel, and when we make a mistake (which is inevitable) we need to learn quickly and change for the future.

Love is expressed in many forms – through family, friendships, colleagues, comrades, lovers, and of course the Divine source of love itself (however we perceive that).

I believe love is the purpose of life….and the lesson.  Love is costly and sometimes painful, but we cannot truly life without it.

I don’t know if the remaining swan can find another mate – I hope so…..


St Bridget, Bride and Candle Blessings

The Goddess Bride and St Bridget are closely linked in Irish belief and mythology. Both are very beautiful beings.
Bride is the Goddess of healing, poetry and blacksmiths. She symbolises the elements of Fire, the Sun and the Hearth. She is seen as bringing fertility to the land and its people and is closely connected to midwives and new-born babies. The pre-Christian festival of Bride is celebrated as the Eve of St Bride on 31st January and Imbolc on 1st February. This is a time of expectation, when evenings are ever so slightly longer and the hope of spring becomes a reality. Lighting a fire and candles is a lovely way to mark this turning point day.

Brighid Mother Goddess of Ireland 14" x 28" Signed Limited Edition Giclee on Fine Art Paper          Irish St Brigid named in honor of the goddess, Brigid, whose name means "Fiery Arrow" and who was akin to the Roman goddess Minerva, who concerned herself with fertility, prosperity, and poetry, and who was symbolized by a spear, crown, and globe.              St. Brigid's Day is celebrated on February 1st. It is traditional to make a St. Bridget’s cross on the day. - See more at:
Brighid -Patron of poetry, the hearth, healing, things with high dimensions such as high-rising flames, highlands, high spirits and love; and of activities and states psychologically lofty and elevated, such as wisdom, excellence, perfection, high intelligence, poetic eloquence, craftsmanship, transcendental abilities, druidic knowledge and skill in warfare. Quality craftsmanship.: From
Bride – Green Maiden. Symbol of youthful feminine energy and fertility of Spring Time.

The 1st of February is St Bridget’s Day. St Bridget of Kildare is as well-loved in Ireland and was a contemporary of Saint Patrick. Having consecrated her life to God at the age of 15, she went on to became the Abbess of the Kildare where she presided over both male and female communities. Bridget was a strong and capable woman who made her monasteries great places of learning; with an art school devoted to making highly decorated copies of scripture and other holy writings. As a highly generous and practical lady, she is said to have performed a miracle by turning a tub of bath water into a tub of excellent beer so that a group of lepers could ease their thirst! St. Brigid saw that the needs of the body and the needs of the spirit intertwined and understood that all things rightly used could be a means of bringing glory to God. Like so many of the great saints, she was as earthy and real as the soil she walked on.
Bridget died shortly after her 70th birthday in 525, she is the Patron Saint of poets, dairymaids, blacksmiths, healers, cattle, fugitives, Irish nuns, midwives, new-born babies and brewers.

Image result for free images for st bridget and bride    Image result for free images for st bridget and bride   Image result for free images for st bridget and bride February 1 is the feast day of Saint Brigid of Kildare.   Saint Brigid is a patron of Ireland, along with Saint Patrick and Saint Columba.Hymn to Saint BrigidWhen faith’s light of freedom to Ireland first came,You, Lord, raised up Brigid to make known your name.Her proud chieftain father’s wild rage she defied,And followed your way, with the gospel for guide.In silence of fields, while she tended her fold,You spoke to her heart words more precious than gold.White figure of peace, through our country she went,In your loving service her whole life was spent.With keen fiery arrow she set hearts aflame;To live ‘neath her rule many monks and nuns came.The poor and the hungry were fed from her store,For open to all were her heart, hand and door.For Brigid we praise you, our Father and God,We praise Christ your Son in whose footsteps she trod,We praise your kind Spirit who guided her ways,We praise you, blest Trinity, all of our days.Saint Brigid of Kildare, pray for us.
The poem below has been attributed to St Bridget.

I’d like to give a lake of beer to God.
I’d love the heavenly
Host to be tippling there
For all eternity.

I’d love the men of Heaven to live with me,
To dance and sing.
If they wanted, I’d put at their disposal
Vats of suffering.

White cups of love I’d give them
With a heart and a half;
Sweet pitchers of mercy I’d offer
To every man.

I’d make Heaven a cheerful spot
Because the happy heart is true.
I’d make the men contented for their own sake.
I’d like Jesus to love me too.

I’d like the people of heaven to gather
From all the parishes around.
I’d give a special welcome to the women,
The three Mary’s of great renown.

I’d sit with the men, the women and God
There by the lake of beer.
We’d be drinking good health forever
And every drop would be a prayer.
St Bridget the Midwife

There is a beautiful story within the mythology of St Bridget which tells of her being carried by angels to the place of the birth of Jesus and being allowed to act as midwife for Mary. This vision/experience/myth is depicted in this wonderful painting by John Duncan.

Within the concept of eternity we can travel forwards and backwards in time.


The Christian tradition of Candlemas follows through on the 2nd February. This is the churches festival of light when church candles are blessed in the church ready for the coming year.

This day is also closely associated with ceremony known as the ‘Churching of Women’ during which a blessing is given to mothers after recovery from childbirth, and  includes giving thanks for the woman surviving the birth (even if the child is still born or died during the birth).

The usual reading for the festival of Candlemas is Luke 2:22-40 ‘The purification of the Virgin’, where Jesus is taken to the Temple to give thanks for his birth as the first born son, and for the ritual purification of Mary. The Churching of Women ceremony has developed from this Jewish rite, although this ceremony is essentially a celebration and blessing not a  purification ritual.

1 presentation at temple Jan 2016_edited-3

This image is from my calendar ‘Lord of the Seasons’ – Simeon takes Jesus in his arms and blesses God.

I love the way the old Celtic earth based festivals blend and melt into the Christian. I believe that the meaning comes to life and goes that much deeper when we respect the connection of Old and New.

Happy St Bridget’s Day!