Brigid's Way Celtic Pilgrimage - The Pilgrim's Progress

We are delighted to announce that this years Brigid’s Way 9 day Pilgrimage from Faughart to Kildare will take place from the 1st to the 9th of July (incl). see event details here.

Laura Murphy (34) is a marketing professional living and working in Dublin. She is currently writing two books; a poetry collection called ‘The Magic of Light’ and ‘A Path to Light’ about her experiences on Brigid’s Way. This is an excerpt from that work.

We made our way into the field behind the castle ruins. A ceremony was starting. I carried the group’s Brigid’s cross as we walked through the trees and into the mound.  In the centre, there was a ceremonial fire, as yet, unlit.  We sat. Enda Donnellan resumed his slow, steady drumming as Karen Ward and Dolores Whelan, our leaders, lit the fire.  As the drumming began, my head became heavy and I felt faint. I was falling into a deep trance. I knew people were sharing in circle but I was entranced and zoned out until it was my turn to speak. Then without conscious thought, words spontaneously came through. 

The story of Maud Gonne came, the muse and inspiration for our national poet, W.B. Yeats; the ‘Joan of Arc of Ireland’, a prominent fighter for Ireland’s freedom; a lover of Celtic Mysticism and a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, guardians of ancient esoteric wisdom. She chose this simple motto when initiated into the Order:  
“Through Fire to the Light”  
The smoke from the fire had been blowing around me since it was first lit. Initially, I welcomed it as a purifier, as in an indigenous ritual. However, I was no longer able to bear it so I moved to a different spot where the smoke wasn’t blowing. To my amazement, the smoke shifted with me. 
Eventually, I started to come round. As I sat up, in front of me, a glorious column of white light shone into the mound, the most amazing sight I have ever seen.  With my eyes I followed the column of white light to its origins – a gap in the canopy of trees. I was stunned. The sun appeared to be coming through a different aperture. Even more astonishing was that the column of light was shining directly through where I had been sitting and into the ceremonial fire.  I remembered the words: ‘Through fire to the Light’. The words were manifesting in a magical reality in front of my eyes. 
Deep energy held in the pit of my stomach and head instantly transformed into a light, joyful, and even heavenly, inner presence. As the ceremony was closing, I took the Brigid’s Cross, stood in the column of light and held it facing up to the aperture of light in the canopy of leaves.
Later, at dinner, we shared our experiences of the day. I recounted what had happened in the mound. Upon hearing the story, Eimear Burke, a renowned druid, told us about ‘Imbas’. Imbas, she said, was old Irish for ‘poetic inspiration’ or ‘enlightenment’. The phrase ‘Imbas Foronsa’ meaning ‘knowledge which illuminates’ is used in many Irish stories. It was the heart of the practice of ‘filidecht’, the sacred poetic tradition of ancient Ireland.
Imbas is said to be a gift of the Brigid, and when it is bestowed, causes a surge of life-force energy called ‘bradán’ or ‘neart’ in Irish. Bradán nourishes us and can empower us to live to our full potential.
The Irish word for poem is ‘dán’ and a component of the word ‘bradán’. It can also mean ‘gift’, ‘skill’ and significantly it can mean ‘destiny’. Simply put, our dán is a unique soul-gift that each of us possess and were born to make manifest into the world as our destiny. The myriad meanings of this ancient Irish word reinforced my feeling that poetry is indeed a spiritual gift with the potential to heal and enlighten. It also made me truly realise that poetry was my ‘gift’. This gave me great courage to follow my dream; live my destiny.
I wondered if the column of light that pierced through my body was somehow illuminating me on a deeper, spiritual level. Had an ‘initiation’ taken place that allowed me to re-awaken to the truth of my soul? Had I been blessed with ‘Imbas Foronsa’?
The next day as we walked toward Newgrange, a Haiku poem spontaneously arose within me. Eimear asked me to say it out loud:
Smoke is whispering 
On ethereal beauty 
Sun in angel’s breath.
It was the first poem I’d ever spoken aloud, the first of many. I walked forth in the light of my dán. 
About the author: 

Laura Murphy (34) is a marketing professional living and working in Dublin. She is currently writing two books; a poetry collection called ‘The Magic of Light’ and ‘A Path to Light’ about her experiences on Brigid’s Way. This is an excerpt. Follow her on Twitter: @everose777 

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