When I was little I used to think that the lights on the far shore of the Clyde were in fact the lights of Bethlehem. On nights towards Christmas I could be found in the back garden, with the dog, searching the night sky for a certain star in the East. The closest I probably came was the headlights of planes on their approach to Glasgow Airport.
Now living in the Appalachians of North Carolina I return to Scotland in my mind to the shores of a little windy little island off the West Coast. Iona is set between worlds of our reality and the other world. It is here the myth is set of Brighid who entwined the worlds of Paganism who embraced an ancient figure of Christ in the form of Celtic Christianity.
In my mind my feet step carefully between rock pools reflecting the light of the waxing moon between the ancient outcrops of ancient green marble. So ancient it is cracked and fissured from many ice ages which have scraped over it maybe hundreds of miles thick. It is here that Brighid once walked on a Christmas Eve. Wrapped in her blue green mantle that little girl is who is a Pagan Goddess and both Christian Saint saint becomes Mary to the Gael. Transported by angels to Bethlehem she is lifted high above the little island, over the darkening seas to Bethlehem where she is Muime-Chriosd (foster Mother) to the Newly born Christ.
‘In the story when Brighid is breastfeeding the Christ there was a reciprocal feeding going on, that somehow Christ is feeding her. As the milk is issuing from her breast to the Christ and is growing his body the light from Christ is going into her heart and in some ways the story ends with Brighid walking through the world carrying this light’*.
Brighid is a fire goddess and Fiontullach recalls that she walks into the world carrying his light, offering his light. Celtic Christianity explores Christ Consciousness through the spirituality of these islands, through the elements of nature in a cyclical path. Past the place of gods and goddesses hinting on to a place of ‘nearst’ where all gods become one. To that place of the beloved, to the great mystery to that energy beyond male and female.A Christianity which remains pure untainted by the Imperial Church of Rome.
So here is to Brighid, offering the light of Christ as incorporated by the Druids. Here’s to the peace of that Westerly Isle as it sits in it’s location cloaked in luminality, between the worlds.
* Taken from personal interview with Fiontullach, of the Ceile De Order.