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Thugamar Féin am Samhradh Linn May 1, 2015

Tulips in Boulder, 2012***

Today is May 1, and the flowers are blooming, sometimes even through the snow so you know they are serious and not about to back down anymore.

Happy Beltaine! Here’s a festive Maypole (earth-fertility symbol) and an old song in Irish to celebrate.

Maypole erection at New College of CA's Permaculture Intensive, 2007

Maypole erection at New College of CA’s Permaculture Intensive, 2007

According to An Chuallacht Ghaol Naofa, this traditional Irish song Thugamar Fein an Samhradh Linn, sung on May Day (Beltaine), dates back a ways: “Edward Bunting—a 19th century music collector—said this song “is probably extremely ancient” and was sung in the Dublin area around 1633. Even so, Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin says it dates back to 1745, yet Mary Devlin (author of The Lost Music of Ireland) claims it was 1726, so the origin is rather vague.”

Want to hear it? Here’s the magnificent soprano Nóirín ní Riain singing it. I learned this song from listening to her CD, Celtic Soul.

There are of course numerous versions, as with all old folk songs. Check the bottom of this post for a second version that for some reason also involves herring.

It’s fun to honor the changing seasons in creative ways like singing. You too can sing in Irish!

This song is presented in three ways to  make it relatively easy for you to learn. The first line is in Gaeilge (Irish), the second is phoneticized pronounciation for native English-speakers (Foghraíocht), and the third is Béarla, a rough English translation. (Apologies to all native speakers and my relevant distant ancestors for any mistakes here: I grew up in an American desert region where Irish is rarely, if ever, spoken, and still don’t know much so must rely on others. Just doing my best to keep it alive and spreading, at least in song.)

***

THUGAMAR FÉIN AN SAMHRADH LINN

Gorgeous Maypole top from Buddha's Birthday celebration, northern CA. Photo by Tina Fields

Gorgeous Maypole top from Buddha’s Birthday celebration, northern CA. Photo by Tina Fields

   (We Brought the Summer With Us)

Véarsa 1 (Verse 1):
Babóg na Bealtaine, Maighdean an tSamhraidh,
(BA-bohg nuh BAL-tin-yeh, MY-jen uh TOW-ree)
Doll of May Day, Maiden of Summer,

Suas gach cnoc is síos gach gleann,
(SOO-uss gakh cruk iss SHEE-uss gakh glyan)
Up every hill and down every glen,

Cailíní maisithe, bán-ghéala gléasta,
(KAL-yee-nee MASH-ih-heh, bahn YAL-uh GLAY-sstuh)

Beautiful girls, radiant and shining in dress,

Thugamar féin an samhradh linn
(HUG-uh-mar hayn un SOW-roo lin)
We brought the summer with us.

Curfá (Chorus):

Samhradh, samhradh, bainne na ngamhna,
(SOW-roo, SOW-roo, BA-nyeh nuh NGOW-nuh)
Summer, summer, milk of the calves,

Thugamar féin an samhradh linn.
We have brought the summer with us,

Samhradh buí ná nóinín gléigeal,
(SOW-roo bwee nah NOH-ih-neen GLAY-gyal)
Yellow summer of glistening daisies,

Thugamar féin an samhradh linn.
We have brought the summer with us.

Véarsa 2 (Verse 2) 

Thugamar linn é ón gcoill chraobhaigh,
Hug-a-mar lin ay oo-n gill khreev-ee,
We brought it in from the leafy woods,

Thugamar féin an samhradh linn.
We have brought the Summer in.

Samhradh buí ó luí na gréine,
Sa-u-roo bwee o lee na grayn-ya,
Yellow Summer from the time of the sunset,

Thugamar féin an samhradh linn.
We have brought the Summer in.   (sing CHORUS)

Kendall & me Permy 07

With Kendall Dunnigan, wild queen of OAEC, 2007. Flowers can be worn anywhere!

Véarsa 3 (Verse 3)

Tá an fhuiseog ag seinm ‘s ag luascadh sna spéartha,
(Tahn ISH-yohg egg SHEN-yim segg lOOS-koo snuh SPAYR-huh)
The lark is singing and soaring in the skies,

Thugamar féin an samhradh linn.

Tá an chuach is na héanlaith ag seinm le pléisiúr,
(Tahn KHOO-ukh snuh HAYN-lee egg SHEN-yim leh PLAY-shoor)
The cuckoo and the lark are singing with pleasure,

Thugamar féin an samhradh linn.
We brought the summer with us.
[Sing Curfá (CHORUS) again.]

Singing to welcome in the vibrant Spring spirits as we erect the maypole, 2007

According to the folks of An Chuallacht Ghaol Naofa , “…“féin” can be pronounced “hayn” or “fayn”, and “thugamar” can be “hugamar” or “hoogamar” depending on the speaker. Same with “Samhradh”, which can be “Sau-roo” or “Sau-rah”.”

***

Here are a couple more verses found on the most excellent folksong-nerd site Mudcat Cafe, posted by Malcolm Douglas on 7 July 2001, after he found it appearing as song #502 in George Petrie’s Complete Collection of Irish Music (ed. C. S. Villiers, 1903):

Of all the fish that’s in the sea
The herring is king, the herring is king.
Sing thugamur fein an samhra linn
‘Tis we have brought the summer in

The storm is o’er ’tis calm again;
We’re safe on shore from the raging main,
Sing thugamar fein an samhra linn,
‘Tis we have brought the summer in.

**

If you would like to learn how to sing more songs in Irish, check out Mary McLaughlin’s very user-friendly intro book/CD combo, Singing in Irish Gaelic (Mel Bay Publishing). It contains some great material, including a bouncy little childrens’ ditty about “Phillip’s little boat with Phillip in it” drowning in the sea.

Yep, pretty authentic Irish material, singing cheerily about death. Enjoy being alive right now to see another Spring!

***

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Spring Potential March 20, 2014

Filed under: Spiritual Ecopsychology — BrujaHa @ 8:47 pm
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Happy Spring Equinox!

The warmth and light are growing.

What kind of seeds or life reboot

Will you consider sowing?

 

Meyer lemon tree. Image by Tina Fields, 2014.

Meyer lemon tree which I couldn’t bear to leave behind when moving from Northern California, now living in my Colorado living room, thinks it’s bloody well time for spring.

 

 

 

 

 

Joyous Eostre! March 31, 2013

vintage-easter-celebration-chick

Happy Eostre! May the increasing return of that glorious sun bring a corresponding increase of warmth, light and energy into your own life.

Easter is based on a much older celebration (Eostre/Ostara) based on this fundamental recognition of the rebirth of the planet, as it warms from the ever-increasing sun.

Have you noticed how Easter doesn’t fall on a regular, predictable day of the month — or even in a predictable month? That’s because it’s a seasonal holiday based on the actual wheel of the year, not just the Gregorian calendar. Easter is always celebrated (take a breath here) on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal (spring) equinox. That’s when fresh green food begins to grow once more; lambs and chicks are born; the sap rises in the trees, and flowers open their lovely colors out of the dead winter ground. Crocus! Delicate purple petals rising from the snow! What isn’t possible right now?

Easter: note the similarity with the word “estrus”? All of our beloved Easter imagery — bunnies, eggs, flowers, chicks, baskets filled with green grass nests, Christ rising from the grave to live again — are based on the concept of renewed fertility and possibilities for life. It’s all about birth and rebirth.

I began the day with a sunrise ritual created by my pals at  Milk and Honey, a goddess gift shop in Sebastopol, CA. (Yes, I was up before the dawn. Me! That’s very unusual: clearly that sun was calling.) Here it is, if you’d like to do something like that too.

The Ostara Ritual  

Purpose:
To acknowledge the balance between light and dark; to revere the growing strength and energy of the Sun who is now strong enough to conquer darkness; to acknowledge the time of new beginnings; to bless new goals and projects; to thankfully reflect on the gifts of fertility.

Tools:
4 sticks of incense, blanket, 1 hard-boiled egg per person, cauldron & freshly cut flowers.

Time:
Sunrise (is best): anytime between the Full Moon or Easter morning

1. Find a special place outside.  Lay blanket on ground with intention of connecting to the earth.

2. Arrange the egg(s), cauldron and flowers on the blanket facing towards the Sun (East).

3. Plant incense into the ground in all 4 directions, beginning with East, then South, West and ending with North to represent the 4 quarters.  After incense is in the ground start with East, and moving in the same direction, light each incense stick and verbally welcome and honor each direction.

4. While standing, feel your feet on the earth and allow yourself to feel grounded and centered.  Then allow yourself to relax and sit on the blanket.

5. Verbally state the purpose of the ritual.

6. Lift one flower at a time with great intention.  For each goal or new project you want to begin working on:
– Hold a flower in your hands and focus on the positive end desire of your goal.
-Break the stem off and put the stem in a pile to your left
-Slowly, pull the petals from the flower and place them in the cauldron while reflecting on the meaning of Ostara.
-Repeat with a new flower for each intention and goal you are focusing on.

7. Stand up with your egg and throw it into the air as high as you can and let it fall to the ground.
It is said that the higher the egg goes, the better your luck will be!

Then sit back down.
8. Peel the dirt and shell fragments off of your egg and put them in the pile with the stems.

9. Eat the egg and let yourself become energized with healing and positive energy.
It is said that if the egg is eaten at sunrise, you will gain much luck, health and happiness.

10. With your hands dig a hole in the earth in the direction of south.

11. Bury the stems and eggshells.
This is an offering to the Earth!  Verbally thank her for fertility and the gifts she presents us with daily!

12. Grab the cauldron of flowers and heave the contents upward and outward as hard as you can to bless your new projects, and to return to the Earth that which is hers.
Laugh or shout with joy!
The season of wonder is now beginning!

13. To close the ritual, beginning with North, going reverse to West, South and ending with East, face in each direction and thank the direction for holding sacred space for you and then release it.  At each direction turn your incense stick upside down and extinguish it in the earth speaking, “So mote it be.”  (Translation:  So may it be).

May this ritual bring you exactly the energy you need in the days to come.
Blessed Be!

———

PS – Just remembered that I posted on Easter last year too. For more: https://indigenize.wordpress.com/2012/04/03/happy-eostre/

 

Happy Eostre! April 3, 2012

Filed under: Celtic Spirituaity,Humor,Spiritual Ecopsychology — BrujaHa @ 11:01 pm
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Easter, according to De Ratione Temporum by the Christian scholar known as “the venerable Bede” (672-735 C.E.), was named after Eostre, the Teutonic dawn goddess of fertility – in other words, the spiritual embodiment of Spring.

The Teutons lived in what now is central Europe – Germany, Austria and the like. The word for Easter in modern German is Ostern, which likely stems from Ost, meaning “East.” The sun rises in the east, and of course we in the Northern hemisphere, particularly places that have recently experienced long and bitter snows, are all celebrating the sun’s return as winter passes and the days grow longer and warmer.

This is the heart of the death and resurrection story later grafted onto the holy man Jesus – the return of life to soil, plants, birds, bugs, plants, animals, and us all. Young animals are born, their mothers’ milk flows, and from the bare branches of winter, sweet-smelling flowers and life-giving fruit now return. For one more year, we know now we will likely live.

Plus now we also get chocolate bunnies.

May your own season of rebirth go much more easily!

***

(Image Note: I don’t know who drew this great bunny cartoon. If you do, please tell me and I’ll be delighted to give credit.)

 

Happy Imbolc! February 3, 2011

Beannacht Brighdhe – happy Brigid’s day!

May your ewes give plentiful milk; may your awakening plants be safe from frost and bloom abundantly once summer comes; may the pale sun grow to warm your spirit and quicken what is most precious to you.

The prehistoric Irish goddess/woman Brigid, aka Bríg (& later, the female saint Brigit) is the Irish patron of healing, poetry, learning, and smithcraft. The meaning of her name, according to Lady Augusta Gregory, is “Breo-saighit, a fiery arrow.” In a way, she’s sort of a western Saraswati. Besides her main skills listed above, she is credited in early Irish tales for the invention of the whistle (for calling each other during the night before the invention of cel phones) and of keening, a particularly moving wailing cry for mourning the death of a beloved. At this turning of the year back toward the warmth, we remember her by visiting wells or springs, and by lighting candles.

At Kildare, Ireland, one flame burned constantly in her honor for thousands of years, non-stop. It was tended by 19 priestesses in rotation, one each night in sequence. On the 20th day, the flame was tended by Brigid Herself. Men were expressly forbidden to cross the hedges to view the sacred flame. Giraldus Cambrensis reported that males who tried would go insane, die, or have their penises wither off. No messing around here! This was strictly women only.

In the middle ages, this ancient flame was extinguished by the Church in an attempt to snuff out such pagan worship – but the people, in good Celtic fashion, just switched names and began worshipping Saint Brigit instead of the goddess Brid. The holiday on Feb. 2 now became known as “Candlemas.” And Brigid’s flame was lit once more, this time by Catholic nuns, who continue to tend it to this day.

“Groundhog Day” is a remnant of Pagan spiritual practice for this time of year. I’ll admit to feeling mischievous delight every year when weather augury by rodent gets televised.

*

At this time around February 2, Imbolc, how might you honor the spirit of Brigid and invite her gifts into your life?

  • You might do so by letting your springs of inspiration flow. Compose a poem, a song, a dance, a recipe, a goofy rhyme, a blog post.
  • Light a candle, with intention of allowing your inner lights of hope, strength, love, perseverance, attention, kindness, etc. to return with the light of the sun. Staring into the flame of a candle for three minutes while stilling the mind to pay attention to only that can be a powerful meditation.
  • Pick some herbs and place them in a cauldron to brew tea for healing.In what way can your health be better attended to? Imbolc offers a second chance to go for those new years’ resolutions. After all, the quickening of spring feels much more like the real new year of life beginning, eh?
  • Perhaps you need to be inside the cauldron: take a long hot bath with candles and lavender and perhaps a really good book.
  • Clean and repair your home – the hearth is another aspect of Her sacred fire.
  • You could bring in white: decorate with white flowers or wear white garments. White is an important color for Brigid’s Day – the melting of the last snows; the rising of the first flowers, which in the cold British Isles are often white snowdrops; the white milk that gives this day its other name, Imbolc (from the Gaelic oi melc, ewes’ milk, beginning to flow around now due to the birth of the spring lambs).
  • Go to a water source with reverent intention to help. Clean the debris from a well or spring, so it can flow freely and cleanly once more. (As without, so within, as the sages say.) Then sit by it and watch the birds. Listen to the frogsong. Make little offerings – perhaps of ribbons or tokens; perhaps of poetic words – and ask her blessings.

I once saw such a well deep in the forests of Brittany, the tree overhanging it festooned with petitions and offerings. It was a moving sight, and a beautiful reminder to tend the spirit of our living world.

Whether you prefer to think of her as pagan deity, Catholic saint, or the manifested qualities her name invokes: inspired eloquence, skill at forging, and healing, may the blessings of Brigid fall softly upon you this Spring like petals from an abundantly flowering tree. And may they smell sweet.