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Rion's Reflections
These Words from the Heart are a Collection of
Life Thoughts and Healing Words
by Brenda "Rion" Sewell

A Dedication to the Irish in Me

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Cead Mile Failte
(A hundred thousand welcomes)

The Bard within Me

You have been given words from the heart
let them spill forth .. for a gift has been given to thee.
Sing out the phrases dwelling within, sharing the wealth
and painting pictures with words for others to see.
~~ Rion ~~


Contents ...

A Taste of Irish Music
She Walks the Moor
Irishman's Lullaby
Daughter of the Flame
The Story of Saint Brigid
The Story of Maeve
Saint Patrick .. Patron Saint
Celtic Knots


A Taste of Irish Music
"Hewlett"
The Harp Music of Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1738)

    Turlough O'Carolan became Ireland's most famous harpist.  In his music one hears a variety of styles ..  from early modal Celtic melodies, to Airs, to early modern dance music to neo-classical Italian influenced Baroque melody.  While he wrote lyrics to some of his music, his work is remembered exclusively because he was a much stronger composer than he was a lyricist.

           Carolan composed his music on the traditional Irish harp at a time when that instrument was beginning to decline in popularity. The long sustain of the brass strings on that instrument produces a sound very different from that heard on the modern nylon or gut strung harp. It is believed the sparse harmonies he wrote were a result of his harp's particular sound.

           Today, Carolan's music is very popular and is played by musicians both Irish and otherwise on a variety of instruments. The works of Turlough O'Carolan survive only as single line melodies.


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She Walks the Moor
She walks amidst the moors and mist
a pensive look upon her face.
She walks with sure and steady steps
as music in her soul keeps pace.

Mist falls softly on midnight hair
creating diamond droplets there.
A woolen cloak held tight and fast
protects the skin from night time air.

Love songs sung of a love so pure
pour forth from lips like berry wine.
She holds the joy from his last kiss
as soft he said, "Would you be mine?"

Sweet smelling mosses at her feet
grace the path her small feet doth tread.
Pure and clear the night sky awaits
as moonbeams fall upon her head.

Her lover’s death has touched her mind
so oft she walks upon the moor.
Forever more her heart would hold
the love they shared complete and pure.

© February 1999 Brenda "Rion" Sewell

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Irishman's Lullaby
Dear one, my wee one, so modest and kind,
My heart's full of loving and caring for you;
Full of devotion, my heart you do bind.
Sleep peacefully, wee one .. you know I'll be true.

Chorus:
I'll offer sweet songs of praise to you,
Bird music and flowery dells.
I’ll bring you the magic of chanter’s tones,
While nature in charm excels.

We’ll ramble the woodlands and meadows so gay;
‘Midst fragrance of flowers refreshed by the rain.
This promise I give you ‘til my dying day.
 My love ever more with you shall remain.

Chorus:
I'll offer sweet songs of praise to you,
Bird music and flowery dells.
I’ll bring you the magic of chanter’s tones,
While nature in charm excels.

© July 1998 Brenda "Rion" Sewell

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Daughter of the Flame

I wandered into ancient mists and saw before my eyes
a flame that floated on the air and beckoned me to follow.
Granite steps beneath my feet led to a briar strewn glade,
with berry vines and gnarled oaks with moss hanging down low.

Though afraid and halting, I walked into briars and wood,
where veiled by the mist a woman stood with hair of fiery red.
Flashing green eyes smiled at me as I took her outstretched hand
and together we walked into the mist, as sunlight shone upon her head.

"You did well my child” .. she said to me in words of lyrical tones
“I know you search for answers .. that is why you've come today."
Lovingly she touched my cheek as a mother to a child,
and waited for the questions of life from one who has lost her way.

I know not where to point my life, in my quest for peace of soul
within my heart I long to write of newborn buds on old great oaks
and songbirds floating in the sky, to paint the words in others' minds
sharing the beauty and healing the lives of all the gentle folks.

She smiled and gathered me into her arms and drew me into her veil.
“You are my child .. my ethereal bliss” .. she whispered next to my ear.
“The words are deep within your heart to heal all troubled souls.
Don’t be afraid of life, my child .. for I am always near.”

“All the songs that have yet to be sung, and all the unrealized dreams
these threads of inspiration, do I .. Saint Brigid .. give to thee ..
release them all onto the world .. share the beauty from deep within
spin the threads and softly weave words into a great tapestry.”

The fire of inspiration, which brings forth life when touched to words,
the poetic flame from Saint Brigid is there for all who want the power.
The Daughters of the Flame keep the poetic fire burning in their hearts
and share the words of truth, and pain, and the beauty of a single flower.

© May 1999 Brenda "Rion" Sewell

Brigid is the patron saint of poets, dairymaids,
blacksmiths, healers, nuns, midwives, and new-born babies.

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Saint Brigid of Kildare
(also known as Bride, Bridget, Brigit)
Born at Faughart (near Dundalk) or Uinmeras (near Kildare), Louth, Ireland, c. 450; died at Kildare, Ireland, c. 525; feast of her translation is June 10.

"We implore Thee, by the memory of Thy Cross's hallowed and most bitter anguish, make us fear Thee, make us love Thee, O Christ.  Amen."  Prayer of Saint Brigid.

Saint Brigid was an original .. and that's what each of us are supposed to be, an original creation of the Almighty.  Unfortunately, most of us get caught up in the desire to be accepted by others.  We conform to the norm, rather than opening up to the creative power of God and blooming to render Him the sweet fragrance of our unique lives.  We miss the glory of giving God the gift of who we were intended to be.

Brigid lacked that fault.  She would brush aside the rules .. even the rules of the Church .. if it was necessary to bring out the best in others. Perhaps for this reason, the saint who never left Ireland, is venerated throughout the world as the prototype of all nuns.  She bridged the gap between Christian and pagan cultures.

Brigid saw the beauty and goodness of God in all His creation.  Cows made her love God more, and so did wild ducks, which would come and light on her shoulders when she called to them.  She enjoyed popularity both among her own followers and the villagers around; and she had great authority, for she was given the responsibilities of a bishop.

Brigid and certain virgins along with her went to take the veil from Bishop Mel in Telcha Mide. Blithe was he to see them.  For humility Brigid stayed so that she might be the last to whom a veil should be given.  A fiery pillar rose from her head to the roof ridge of the church.  Then said Bishop Mel, "Come, O holy Brigid, that a veil may be sainted on thy head before the other virgins."  It came to pass then, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, that the form of ordaining a bishop was read out over Brigid.  Macaille said that a bishop's order should not be confirmed on a woman.  Said Bishop Mel, "No power have I in this matter. That dignity hath been given by God unto Brigid, beyond every (other) woman."  Now the men of Ireland from that time to this give episcopal honor to Brigid's successor.

Once Brigid dreamed that the good of the church would be uprooted by evil.  St. Patrick told her that such would happen; false teachers would come to Ireland and uproot all their good work. This saddened Brigid, but she redoubled her efforts, teaching people to pray and to worship God, and telling them that the light on the altar was a symbol of the shining of the Gospel in the heart of Ireland, and must never be extinguished, and in her church at Kildare, a flame still burns to her memory.

The best-known custom connected with Brigid is the plaiting of reed crosses for her feast day. This February tradition dates to the story that she was plaiting rush crosses while nursing a dying pagan chieftain. He asked her about this and her explanation led to his being baptized.

Brigid is the patron saint of poets, dairymaids, blacksmiths, healers, nuns, midwives, and new-born babies.  She is still highly thought of in Alsace, Flanders, and Portugal, as well as Ireland and Chester, England.

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The Story of Maeve
Someone once commented that my eyes were an odd color, so I felt obligated to explain the story behind the color of my eyes.  It is the old Irish story of Maeve (sometimes spelled Maeb)

Maeve was a Warrior queen, a goddess in her own right .. she was a spiritualist, a magick user, she had powers to enable her to see the future and to use that knowledge to win wars for the kings that she married .. she had nine husbands in her lifetime .. they married her to win her favors and to advance their holdings.

Maeve was very empathic.  She would use her powers of being able to read people's emotions in her dealings with the people she was trying to conquer.  She had eyes that changed colors with her moods and it was said you could read her mood by the color of her eyes.

My eyes are the typical Irish Maeb eyes .. and the story that is handed down from generation to generation, goes like this:
Maeb had eyes that signified the connection she had with the heavens and the earth.

The dark rich black of the pupil signified the connection she had with the dark night skies of the heavens (her connection to the Gods).  The inner ring of color next to pupil was yellowish gold (her connection with the sun, the mainstay of life).  The next ring of color was of blue green (her connection to the waters, lakes and oceans of the earth and the daytime sky).  The outer ring of brownish/green signified her connection to the earth and all its bounties.

The story goes that every so often a child is born with the eyes of Maeb. That child would be destined to be a spiritual child .. a child who would possess the ability to feel other peoples emotions with such intensity that sometimes the child would be able to tell if that person was hurting, happy, or close to death ... the child would be an empath.

It was up to the child to develop and use the abilities to the advantage of mankind.  The story goes on to say that the child would grow and be exposed to many outside influences that would try to stifle the child's ability.. and it would be up to the child to develop this ability and to use them for mankind's betterment.

It was also told that the child would have to overcome many obstacles before he/she would be believed .. that before his/her ability was taken seriously.  He/she would be ridiculed by his/her peers and would become close to mental instability before finding the plane of awareness that would enable him/her to use those powers to everyone's advantage.

© May 1998 Brenda "Rion" Sewell

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St. Patrick .. Patron Saint
The person who was to become St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was born in Wales about AD 385. His given name was Maewyn, and he almost didn't get the job of bishop of Ireland because he lacked the required education.

Far from being a saint, until he was 16, he considered himself a pagan. At that age, he was sold into slavery by a group of Irish marauders that raided his village. During his captivity, he became closer to God.

He escaped from slavery after six years and went to Gaul where he studied in the monastery under St. Germain, Bishop of Auxerre for a period of twelve years. During his training he became aware that his calling was to convert the pagans to Christianity.

His wishes were to return to Ireland, to convert the pagans that had overrun the country. But his superiors instead appointed St. Palladius. But two years later, Palladius transferred to Scotland.  Patrick, having adopted that Christian name earlier, was then appointed as second bishop to Ireland.

Patrick was quite successful at winning converts. And this fact upset the Celtic Druids. Patrick was arrested several times, but escaped each time. He traveled throughout Ireland, establishing monasteries across the country. He also set up schools and churches which would aid him in his conversion of the Irish country to Christianity.

His mission in Ireland lasted for thirty years. After that time, Patrick retired to County Down. He died on March 17 in AD 461. That day has been commemorated as St. Patrick's Day ever since.

There is more lore surrounding the legend of Saint Patrick.  Some of this lore includes the belief that Patrick raised people from the dead. He also is said to have given a sermon from a hilltop that drove all the snakes from Ireland. Though originally a Catholic holy day, St. Patrick's Day has evolved into more of a secular holiday.

The St. Patrick's Day custom came to America in 1737. That was the first year St. Patrick's Day was publicly celebrated in this country, in Boston.

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Celtic Knots

celticknotred.gifThe Gathering Knot celtictrinityknot.gif    The Trinity Knot

Many modern versions of celtic knot work is now done as artwork on the computer.  A geometric entertwining of ropes or threads, the celtic knot is a symbol of life .. never ending, intertwined, and balanced.  Originally the knots were used to decorate clothing and to mark the saddlery of early warriors.  Each warrior clan had their own version of knot.  This knot was tied on the bridles and harness works of the battle horses to not only identify them, but to bring good luck as well.  The three pointed trinity knot was used to signify the trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

A knotwork’s meaning defies literal translation and should be sought at a deeper level. The repeated crossing of the physical and the spiritual are expressed in the interlace of the knots.  Lovers often tied the knots of their clan into necklaces or into hair ribbons to wear as a token of their love for each other.  Knots were also made from silver and other metals as jewelry such as rings, necklaces, or arm bands. The knotwork hearts represent the unbreakable, intertwining bonds of love between two people.  The never ending path of the strands may represent the permanence and the continuum of life, love and faith.

Create your own Celtic knot ..

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Traditional Irish Blessing

May soft be the grass you walk on,
May fair be the skies above you,
Mya true be the joys that surround you,
May dear be the hearts that love you.
 

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All literary works and original artwork by Rion on this page,
unless otherwise noted, are the sole property of Brenda Sewell.
I do not mind sharing but please ask me first.
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© 1998 - 2004 Brenda "Rion" Sewell



For more literary works by Brenda (Rion), visit  ...
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Email me at brendarion at cfl.rr.com



Music provided by "The Music of Ireland"


Knot work provided by
Aon Celtic Art and Illumination