Celtic

St. Brigid’s Day

I am not a religious person.  I wouldn’t put myself in that odd “spiritual, but not religious” group.  I guess, I just don’t faith in anything anymore.  But today is St Brigid’s Day.  For the Celts this was also known as Imbolc, and for some reason, the first day of spring.  Seems a bit early for spring to me.  I guess they were wishing for spring like weather.

Brigid was, before the early Roman Christians subverted her into a saint, worshiped as a goddess by the Celtic people.  I’m not going to get into the history of Brigid, either as a goddess or a Christian saint.  But from what I’ve read, she must have enjoyed her beer.  There is a wonderful story of how she turned water into beer.  And for me personally, that’s much better than turning anything into wine.  The only thing better would have been turning the water into a nice malt whisky.  But that’s not how the story goes.

The story goes that one day, while working in a leper colony, she discovered to her horror that they had run out of beer.

It’s important to understand that in those times, centuries ago, beer was consumed on a daily basis as a source of hydration and nourishment.

In any case, back in those times many of the water sources close to villages and towns were often polluted to the point where consumption would likely result in illness or, worse still, death.

Alcohol offered an (almost) germ free alternative and was almost as good as any meal of the era.

So, to be faced with a beer drought was nothing short of disastrous.

Not that it mattered all that much to St Brigid.

Channeling a little divine intervention, she answered the prayers of the thirsty lepers under her charge by turning the water they used to bathe into not just any beer, but a genuinely brilliant beer that was enjoyed by one and all.

Her water-based exploits don’t end there either.

Another part of the legend says St Brigid also succeeded in turning dirty bathwater into beer for the clerics visiting the leper colony where she was based.

There’s even a tale of her supplying some eighteen churches with enough beer to last from Holy Thursday through to the end of Easter despite only having one barrel to her name.

Whether fact or fiction, one thing appears undeniable: St Brigid liked beer.

In any case, her legend lives on through St Brigid’s Day and literature like the famous 10th century poem that speaks of her efforts in giving “a lake of beer to God.” Amen to that.

https://www.irishpost.com/news/story-st-brigid-turned-bathwater-beer-178498

Beat that (Saint) Patrick.

And here’s the poem the above post mentioned.  I would also like to point out that wifey posted this poem many years ago over on FarceBook, I mean Facebook, and a shit storm followed.  Several folks of a much more conservative religious view than ours took much umbrage at the mention of beer and god in the same article.

It would appear that these folks didn’t seem to understand that in the 10th century or so, when the poem is said to have written, the water wasn’t fit to drink as the post quoted above mentions.  Some folks just don’t get it.  </sigh>

 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.

A blessed Imbolc to everyone!

Peace,
B

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Skeeter’s Family

Scotland 2019 – Day 3

We had a long travel day today. Still stopped at some braw locations but we also spent long hours just riding through the Scottish countryside.

The reference map.

The day started as usual with a breakfast buffet. I now now that haggis is a wonderful dish! I do truly enjoy it. Wifey still hasn’t worked up the courage to try it.

Our hotel last night was on beautiful Loch Leven. Since I don’t sleep much anymore, I was up and took this shot of the Loch in the early morning mist.

Then it’s off to the races. Well, as much as a 48 passenger bus can race on narrow country roads. We passed through Fort William, but not slow enough for a picture. Actually, the only thing worth photographing was the ruins of the fort. But we went by it so fast I didn’t see anything to photograph!

An unexpected stop was at the Glenfinnian Viaduct. I’m sure most of you will recognize this from the Harry Potter movies. The train, The Jacobite Express, was not in the area when we stopped. But it didn’t matter to me as I’ve not seen any of the movies anyway.

Also in Glenfinnian is a monument to The Highlander. This monument is near the area where Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) is said to have landed in 1745 to rally the highlanders to his cause to remove George II from the throne. It ended badly for the Jacobite army. I’ll have more on that tomorrow when we visit the Culloden Battlefield.

Monument to the highlanders lost in battle.

Then it was north to Mallaig Harbour to board a ferry to the Isle of Skye.

In Memory Of Those Lost At Sea

Our Ferry, The Lord Of The Isles.

It was one of the smoothest boat rides I have been on. Sadly, our time on the Isle was too short. We had no stops at all. I was really hoping to be able to see The Old Man Of Stor, but we never got close.

As we left the Isle via the bridge, we came upon Eilean Donan Castle. I do believe that the castle was used in the Outlander series, but it may only been a reference not an actual location. I’m sure there’s someone who can set the record straight.

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We did however stop at Loch Ness which was also unexpected.

And yes, we saw Nessie! (Think I need a Scots language pack – autocorrect keeps trying to change all the Scots terms.)

Then we finally made to our hotel in Nairn.

That has some coos adjacent.

And that was the day that was. Tomorrow is Culloden, some sheepdog demonstrations and a two night stay at the Atholl Palace Hotel in Pitlochry.

Peace,

B

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A Convergance Of Events

Today would have been my mother’s 98th birthday! So happy birthday to her!

Geneva (Neva) Mae (Hicks) Campbell
1 May 1921 – 23 November 2001

Today is also the Celtic festival of Beltane. So, happy May Day as well!

Beltane was one of four Gaelic seasonal festivals: Samhain (~1 November), Imbolc (~1 February), Beltane (~1 May), and Lughnasadh (~1 August). Beltane marked the beginning of the pastoral summer season, when livestock were driven out to the summer pastures. Rituals were held at that time to protect them from harm, both natural and supernatural, and this mainly involved the “symbolic use of fire”. There were also rituals to protect crops, dairy products and people, and to encourage growth. The aos sí (often referred to as spirits or fairies) were thought to be especially active at Beltane (as at Samhain) and the goal of many Beltane rituals was to appease them. Most scholars see the aos sí as remnants of the pagan gods and nature spirits. Beltane was a “spring time festival of optimism” during which “fertility ritual again was important, perhaps connecting with the waxing power of the sun”


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beltane

Then on the way to work this morning, I heard that the always beautiful Judy Collins has her 80th birthday today. I have always loved her music. She was, of course the inspiration for this song:

Peace,
B

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