Wednesday, February 28, 2024

The Angel of the Rushing Waters


 I have seen you as a purple bruise in a yellow sky,

as a Scottish soldier with drawn sword

at the edge of the tame land and the wild wood,

as a snowy owl with fierce talons and fiercer eyes

as an Indian death-lord traveling abroad

in a Johnny Cash outfit, swinging a lasso.


I have felt you enter as a gentle breeze

stirring the curtains of a window in a hospital room,

and in the raw, thrusting horse-power

of the dark lord bursting into the sunlit maiden meadow.


You are a sexy devil.

I love you better than your brother Sleep.

Through aching nights of absence

I have longed for your embrace.


I have run your errands,

speaking in your voice to the old golfer on the plane,

negotiating with your razor-sharp precision

the terms for a possible life extension.

I have taken ailing humans by the hand

to your deep pools, to find you – if they dare –

in the troubling of the waters.


Few can look into your black sun

but those who do are different.

To know you, to walk with you,

to feel you always at the left shoulder

brings courage and October light.


You love to dress for occasions.

I have encountered you as a dandy in evening dress,

as a red Irish big-bellied god, and an Indian flame,

and a white lady whose footsteps are frost.

Your image is rarely in public places

though the medieval mind, like the mind of Mexico,

puts skeletal reminders of you at every turning,

mocking the vanities of the world.


On our wedding day

I want you to reach down in your robe of stars

and catch me in your voluptuous embrace

as we leave my old garment in the blanket of earth.

But if you choose not to come in your goddess form

I want you to be wearing my face.

This poem is published in my collection Here, Everything Is Dreaming: Poems and Stories by Robert Moss (Excelsior Editions). 

Art: "Swan on a Black Sea" by Robert Moss


Friday, February 16, 2024

Location, location, location - and other keys to dream reentry


The realtor's familiar slogan applies to the technique of dream re-entry as well as the property game. The easiest way for you to back inside a dream is to hold your focus on the dream location. Your initial memories may be fuzzy, but a single landmark - even a single shape or color - may be sufficient to enable you to shift your consciousness into a vivid and complex scene.

Be open to possibility! The geography of the dream world is not that of the Times atlas or the Mobil guides. In dreams you may find yourself in familiar locales, including places from your past – Grandpa’s place, or your childhood home – that may or may not have changed. You may also visit unfamiliar but realistic locations, often clues that your dream contains precognitive or other “psychic” material. You may find yourself in scenes from a different historical epoch (past or future), in a different galaxy, in otherworldly locales, or in free-flowing situations where nothing conforms to the supposed laws of the physical world. One of the purposes of dream reentry is to establish where in the worlds you are. The typical dreamer, after waking, has no more idea where he spent the night than an amnesiac drunk.

The best time to try to reenter a dream is often immediately after you have come out of it. By snuggling down in bed and rehearsing the postures of sleep, you may be able to slide back into the dream in a gentle and natural way. But your work schedule may not allow you leisure to do this. And if your dream contains deeply disturbing material, you may need to wait until you are ready to deal with it. You may also feel you need the support of a partner or a drumming session.

But here is a simple technique for dream reentry you can use in the privacy of your bedroom or easy chair:

1. Find your question. What is your main question about the dream you wish to explore? Try to formulate that question as clearly and successfully as possible. Write it down. This will help to establish your focus. During your exploration, you will use this question like a flashlight or a miner’s lamp. It might be quite specific, or as general as, “What is this dream telling me?”

2. Focus on your target. Summon back as many details of your dream location as you can. This is the scene you are going to reenter. Maybe you have multisensory impressions of it. How does the air feel? What can you hear? Are there any distinctive smells?

3. Ask yourself who or what inside the dream can best answer your question. When you reenter the dream, you may be able to communicate directly with one of your dream figures.

4. Relax. Get into a comfortable position, sitting or lying down. Take some deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth. As you exhale, try to release any pain or tension you are holding in your body and wish it outside your space. You may find it helps to count yourself down – from twenty to one – as you let your consciousness slide toward your selected locale. Or you may wish to put on meditation music or a drumming tape.

5. Move into your dream locale. Look around carefully to identify exactly where you are. You may notice many details you forgot or overlooked before. Do you know this place? Do you feel you are inside a scene from another time, or another order of reality?

6. Let the action unfold. Don’t interfere with the spontaneous flow of images. You have full power to choose how you will interact with your dream characters and respond to any challenges that are presented to you. Your dream reentry may take you beyond the point at which the original dream ended; if the first dream was unresolved or aborted, this is part of your design. Your new dream may also introduce characters and events that were not in the original dream. This is fine; your underlying purpose is not to reproduce the earlier version, but to move closer to the source from which dream images flow.

7. Dialogue with dream characters. You may find a dream character who can answer all your questions. Your selection is not confined to humans. Dreams are full of “persons other than human” (to borrow an Ojibwa phrase). There is no such thing as an inanimate object in dreams.

8. Expect the unexpected. Because the dream source is wiser than the ego, it may be telling you something more important than the question you decided to ask.

9. Map your journey. Pay attention to how you return from the dreamscape, as well as the paths you took through it.

Text adapted from Conscious Dreaming: A Spiritual Path for Everyday Life by Robert Moss. Published by Three Rivers Press.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

The Cinema of Lost Dreams

What happens to the dreams we don't remember?
    I've asked myself that question on several mornings, when I've awoken with little or no dream recall, while feeling that the night had been active.
    On one such morning, I decided to linger in bed and see whether I could find a place where I could recover lost dreams. I found myself approaching an old-time cinema, that reminded me of a movie theater where I used to go, as a boy, to watch Saturday matinees. I was amazed and delighted to find that, this time, the movie titles on the marquee and the images on the posters in the lobby all throbbed with significance in my present life.
     Waking the Sleeping King was blazoned in lights.
     One of the posters showed a boy riding a monster of the deep through a stormy ocean. Another depicted a steamy romance.
      The girl at the ticket kiosk smiled and gestured for me to go through. Soon I was settled in a comfy padded velvet seat in a private screening room. As dream images filled the screen, I realized I had a choice. I could remain a comfortable observer, or I could enter the fray.

On another morning, after coffee, I decided to try the same method again. This time, instead of going back to the movie house, I found myself drawn to the kind of video store that is almost defunct, thanks to our new instant delivery systems. This video store was vast, with its products arranged on many levels, On the first floor, dreams were arranged like DVDs on shelves, according to familiar categories - Drama, Comedy, Family, and so on, There was a large Adult section most of whose content was quite unfamiliar to me. I realized that a block had been placed on some of this material, so that it did not reach my conscious mind, or - in cases where the film had been rated I (for Intrusion) was not allowed through during the night.
     I discovered sections devoted to my dreams of individual people. I had only to focus on a name or title, and the movie began to play all around me, so I could enter it at will. 
     On a lower level of the dream video store, I discovered that I could explore dream adventures I may have shared with other people, but had not remembered. I found an immense archive of shared dreams involving each of these people. One was as large as a Gothic cathedral, with shelves rising to the high roof many stories above. I watched several dream movies in each location. They took me deeply and vividly into scenes of other lives and other times - of leopard people in Africa, of Celtic voyagers in a coracle on a cold northern sea, of a turning castle in a high desert landscape where everything is the color of sand except for the pretty star-shaped flowers, blue and purple, on a terrace. The dream movies revealed a hidden order of connection in all these relationships, transcending our present lives.

On yet another day, when I felt impelled to go searching for lost dreams, I was drawn to a building like an old-fashioned post office. It resembled the post office in the rust-belt city of Troy, New York, where I once lived. When I arrived in front of it, in my conscious dream, the sky turned dark. I mounted the high steps, and walked past the mail boxes towards the counters. Most of the steel shutters were down and locked for the night, but one was still half-open. Behind it, I saw letters spilling from pigeon holes and heaps of giant mail bags and packages. A little black women in  a blue uniform hurried to the desk and handed me a letter. I was moved to tears when I opened it and found a message from a beloved family member, long deceased.
    When I turned to thank the postal clerk, I realized that I knew her. I had glimpsed her, in half-forgotten dreams, slipping mail through a letter drop in the door of my house, a letter drop that is not in the physical door. She strongly resembles a figure from history I was called to study by dreams I did remember - Harriet Tubman, a world-class dreamer who used her visions as maps to guide escaping slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad before the American Civil War.
     I suspect there are back rooms in my dream post office where there is more to discover. Maybe one of them is like the Cabinet Noir in the old French post offices, where mail judged suspect by the authorities was held for inspection, and often never delivered to the addressee.

All of which leads to this suggestion: if you are missing your dreams (and your dreams are missing you) try taking a little quiet time, when you won't be disturbed, and announce this as your intention:

I would like to go to a place where I can find my lost dreams

Maybe this will take you to a movie theater, a video store, or a post office, or another place entirely, constructed from your own life memories and suited to your imagination. In whatever form it appears, you will be entering the Office of Lost and Found Dreams.

For more on recovering lost dreams, please see my book Active Dreaming: Journeying Beyond Self-Limitation to a Place of Wild Freedom. Published by New World Library.

Graphic: 1933 photo of the Victoria Station News Theatre, London.

Dreaming with the People of Amber

Suvalkija district, Lithuania

I am out in the woods, in the rural part of western Lithuania where I am staying. I come to some wide, shallow steps, just packed earth with wood at the edges. I notice two snakeskins, tied in knots that resemble figures of 8, then a larger one, tied in a slightly more complex knot, on a higher step, and know these were left as signs and also that the snakes were not venomous.
    Now I see vivid, brightly colored scenes of ancient battles - of Teutonic Knights who invaded these lands, and Lithuanian Grand Dukes with their knights and men at arms, struggling against great odds to force them back. This living history unfolds into times where local people took to the forests and the mud to carry on their resistance against invaders. I see people who lived with wolves and bears and tried to call on their energies in the fight. I see huge mystery beasts in the woods that look like elephants and wonder whether these are the shades of extinct prehistoric creatures, or entities created by the country''s defenders in an effort to equalize a conflict through psychic means of attack.
    I wander deeper into the woods. I am conscious that sticky mud is everywhere, and getting deeper, just as I found it roaming fields and ancient hill forts the previous day. I come to the house of a ragana - a witch - on one of the sloppy forest trails. It is just a hut among the roots of a crooked tree. I see the face of the witch before she scuttles away into hiding. She has painted the upper part of her face, from the hairline to the cheekbones, chalk-white so it looks like part of a death's head, or perhaps a venomous spider. While she avoids me, nasty slithering things rise from the mud.
    I'm willing to fight her allies, if need be, and am glad to see that an enormous Bear is with me, as a bodyguard. Yet I'm thinking that the witch is merely defending herself; I have wandered into her territory, and she has reason to fear intruders. Instead of starting a fight, I call down Light, and a bright shaft of amber light immediately descends.
    I am happily surprised to find that it serves as a traction beam. It pulls me straight up into the air, far above the mud and the dark woods. I find myself inside what seems to be an egg-shaped amber the size of a spaceship, with female presences who remind me of ancient priestesses of this land I have met in previous dreams and journeys.
    The leader tells me, "You must understand that there are the Mud People and the Amber People, and here you belong to the People of Amber. Your duty - and that of those you train here - is to build bridges and wooden pathways so people can get across the mud safely. You must avoid allowing yourself to be sucked down into the mud. You must remember to call on the power of Light Amber to heal and to guide, and on the power of Dark Amber to remove the darkness."

As I surface from this mostly lucid dream, the moon shines bright in my face for a moment, like a spotlight. Then a cloud blows above the apple trees and mountain ash outside my window, and I lie back in the gentle dark, savoring my latest encounter with the "understory" of the Baltic country where I am traveling.

    I am staying at the country place of a "good witch" in the Suvalkija district in Lithuania. She invited me to learn practices of healing and divination handed down in her family from mother to daughter and never written down (until I took notes, with her permission). She made the invitation after she heard me speak words of ancient Lithuanian after a shamanic journey I led at a workshop she attended in Vilnius. During that journey, I met a
  priestess of Žemyna, the Earth goddess of Lithuania, who brought me inside a chamber like the inside of an egg-shaped amber, a smaller version of the space I was in last night. It glowed with golden light. The priestess instructed me that I could use a pocket size version of the amber egg as a place to see.
    The wood witch bu
rned amber in a ritual in her house the night before my new dream of the Amber People. In the morning, after hearing my dream, she continues my instruction. She demonstrates how to move light amber over the body in a spiraling motion to heal. Then she shows me how she uses a dark amber (also called "vampire amber" here when used in this way) in a different pattern to extract disease and "strangers" in the body.
     Over a breakfast of dark, nutty "grandmother's bread", homemade cheese and butter and coffee chewy with grounds, we talk about the significance of "Mud People" in the literal history of Lithuania, whose name means "Rain Country". Lithuania has no real natural borders. Its main defense against invaders and occupiers, across the centuries, has been the mud. When the cities fell to enemies, people "went into the mud".

From the Journal of a Dream Archaeologist  2009

Friday, February 9, 2024

Using dream symbols to interpret the world

 In 1814, Gotthilf Heinrich von Schubert (1780-1860), a German physician and naturalist, published a most interesting book on The Symbolism of Dreams at a time when Napoleon was still campaigning across Europe. Schubert suggested that in dreams the soul seems to speak an altogether different language than it usually does a language resembling poetry than that he also sometimes characterized as hieroglyphic”. If we can only remain conscious of what happens inside the dreamspace, we dont have to learn the language of dreams, because it is the souls own language.

He speculated that dreaming may be “the true state of waking”, when we are in contact with our eternal nature". His propositions do not translate readily into English, but here is one worth puzzling over:

The events in our lives seem to be joined like the pictures in the dream; in other words, the series of events that have occurred and are occurring inside and outside of us, the inner principle of which we remain unaware, speaks the same language as our soul in a dream. Therefore, as soon as our mind speaks in dream language, it is able to make combinations that would not occur to us when awake; it cleverly combines the today with the yesterday, the fate of distant years in the future with the past; and when the future occurs we see that it was frequently accurately predicted. Dreams are a way of reckoning and combining that you and I do not understand; a higher kind of algebra, briefer and easier than ours, which only the hidden poet knows how to manipulate in his mind.[my italics][1]

Schubert is telling us (as I read him) that instead of trying to interpret dream symbols according to everyday assumptions, we should use the symbolic language of dreams to interpret the events and circumstances of everyday life. It’s a reasoned version of something I have long expressed like this: We need to take dreams more literally and waking life more symbolically.

Contemporaries remarked or mocked his childlike air of wonder and innocence. The acerbic Clemens Brentano said he had the manner of a chick that has just come out of its shell and is gaping dumbfounded at the light of day. At 18, when he became a medical student, he announced, “I see everywhere a great force that operates everywhere in things great and small.”

He published Die Symbolik des Traumes after a six year gap in his published work, the longest gap in a life in which he was often regarded as a writing machine. His many other works included a vast atlas of natural history, painstakingly illustrated by himself, and a 1,700 page autobiography. The catalyst for the dream book was a wine merchant from Bamberg, C.F.Kunz, who joined E.T.A. Hoffmann in drinking binges at the Hotel Wilde Rose  and became his self-invented publisher.

Over a few bottles, Kunz  proposed to Schubert that he should be his publisher. On what subject? Schubert, who had never read a book on dreams, surprised himself by proposing “a key to dreams”. A dream key it will be, said Kunz. Schubert assumed this conversation was just party banter but the wine merchant held him to his announcement and next winter he wrote the book. 

Schubert was fast and sloppy in writing about dreams, with brusque transitions, and he could not overcome his desire to show off his encyclopedic knowledge of medicine, physiology, botany and philology – and something of his esoteric studies (Saint-Martin, Boehme, Swedenborg) conducted under the mentorship of the mystical baker Mathias Burger.

Nonetheless, a leading scholar of the German Romantics declared that Schubert's book is “the most original of all the theoretical works devoted to the Romantic myth of the dream” [2]

The Symbolism of Dreams starts briskly: 

In dreams and already in the state of delirium that precedes sleep, the soul seems to speak a quite different language than the ordinary one. Certain objects from nature, certain properties of things suddenly represent people and, inversely, a certain quality or action presents itself in the guise of a person. [3] 

Ideas follow a different logic in dreams, not an inferior one, but “a more direct way of the spirit” An image may say in moments what it would take hours to try to express in words. Dreams speak a different language, the language of symbols. We have access to a universal hieroglyphic picture book.

Soul speaks a different language in dreams, one better suited to its nature.

Dreams stem from “the poet hidden in us” and their language is poetic and metaphorical. 

The seeds of the future, dormant in ordinary life, reveal themselves in relaxed states “through presentiment, through dreams, the phenomena of sympathy and animal magnetism.” 

The language of dreams is “infinitely faster, more expressive and expansive, less subject to progression through time” and it is “innate”. It does not have to be learned: the soul speaks it as soon as it escapes the limits of the body. 


1. Quoted in Albert Béguin, L’Ame Romantique et le Rêve: Essai sur le Romantisme Allemand et la Poésie Française. (Paris: Librairie José Corti, 1960) p.106.
2. ibid p.107
3. ibid p.108
4. ibid.

Illustration of tulips, lilies and fritillaria from Schubert's Naturgeschichte des Pflanzenreichs (Natural History of the Plant Kingdom). 



Wednesday, February 7, 2024

The Midnight Library and the Café Jet-Lag

"Sometimes just to say your own truth out loud is enough to find others like you."

It's a great moment in Matt Haig's great novel The Midnight Library, when Nora, who is sliding between parallel lives, discovers there are others like her. This is what Hugo, the first to reveal himself, tells her. 

"We are sliders. We have a root life in which we lying somewhere, unconscious, suspended between life and death, and then we arrive in a place...A library, a video store, an art gallery, a casino, a restaurant..." 

And this place becomes the portal to a parallel world where you find yourself in the body and situation of your parallel self as they are in this same moment. You'll be challenged to catch up with their divergent biography, with a lover you never knew, a job you never held, songs you never learned, muscles you didn't know you had. 

The many worlds interpretation of reality, as it has evolved, makes sliding acceptable to theoretical physics. The architecture for transit - the library, the video store - is easier for human minds than theorems about quantum waves. 

Matt Haig's protagonist, Nora Seed, is exploring this territory while lying between life and death after overdosing. Her surroundings resemble an immense library, in the care of a lady who looks like her beloved librarian from elementary school. All the books in the midnight library are bound in green; to open any one is to enter a different parallel; life in which Nora made different choices.

We come to understand that the challenge for her is to find a life in which she wants to stay in a body in the physical world. She must white out volumes of her vast Book of Regrets. She can't take forever to do this. At a certain point the library of this limb will crumble and dematerialize.

The librarian tells Nora, "Every time one decision is taken over another, the outcomes differ. An irresistible variation occurs, which in turn leads to further variations...You have as many lives as you have possibilities. There are lives where you made different choices. And those choices lead to different outcomes. If you had done just one thing differently, you would have a different life story."

We are then informed that "Doing one thing differently is often the same as doing everything differently. Actions can't be reversed within a lifetime, however much we try...But you are no longer within a lifetime. You have popped outside." 

The books in the library are near or far according to how near or far the alternate life is from the current one (in time as well as space since greater divergence seems related to earlier separation).

Nora learns to think of the life in which her body is lying in a coma as her "root" life, with all the others spreading and diverging like branches of a gigantic tree. I think of Sylvia Plath picture of  existence as a fig tree where you see the juicy fruit of other possible lives but can't get to them and must watch them rot. Here you can get to them but may leave them to rot. 

 So here is the friendly librarian's challenge: Which life would you like to try on?" 

 Choose to stay in another life and it will be as if it was always there. Your memory of the life you were living before - and of the midnight library- will fade and disappear. The book of that life will not be returned to shelves. 

 Nora starts by following her regret over not marrying a boyfriend named Dan and living his dream of running a country pub. The author teases us with his name for the Oxfordshire village where the pub is located: Littleworth. Nora lands in her slightly different body without knowing anything about the scene - she doesn't know where the loo is, or the name of the whiskery regular. A question not answered is: what happens to the Nora who was living at the Three Horseshoes pub while the "original" Nora is in her body and life?

Things don't work out at the pub, or with the boyfriend, now a surly dipsomaniac husband. Try again, and again. Each time there's the small problem of trying to catch up with all the things your parallel; self was doing before you slid into her body. Nora flunks a speech she is supposed to give, as an Olympic star, to a thousand people, because she can't remember the story of this alternate self.

When you check out another life, through a book from the midnight library, you start at the same exact time  00:00. In this other life you made other choices in the past. That is past history of which you may remember little or much or nothing in the body you are now in. You cannot touch that past. You can make choices in the present and future of the alternate life that will become your definitive life, unless disappointment throws you out of it. 

Among the infinity of parallel lives you may choose from, according to library rules, there is a category that is forbidden: lives in which you are already dead. We are told there are no books for such lives because the library is about possibilities and the dead don't have any.

This seems to me to be a wrongful restriction. The dead have choices, like the living, and plenty of possible futures. In exploring my own parallel lives I have entered worlds where I died years ago. Some I find quite enjoyable, even beautiful. For relaxation I sometimes go the penthouse of a Robert who died before me. I enjoy swimming in his rooftop pool, and foraging in his vast library, and watching dreams that play all around me, as if I have slipped into a virtual reality pod, when I stretch out on his bed.

 Nora's dialogues with the slider Hugo, who seems addicted to quantum jumping for its own sake, are marvelous and an effortless introduction to the Many Worlds hypothesis in physics which suggests that there are an infinite number of divergent parallel universes. "Every moment of your life you enter a new universe. With every decision you make." 

Sliders might be popping in and out of parallel worlds all the time. People around them generally don’t notice even when they say, "My mind went blank" or "I am not myself today."

Hugo says, with admirable clarity, that "the human brain can't handle the complexity of an open quantum wave function so it organizes or translates this complexity into something it understands." Like librarian in a library. When Hugo goes sliding, his departure lounge is not a library, but a video store. Other sliders use different launch pads There is always a guide who resembles someone who was helpful in life.  

You don't need to be half-dead to explore this field for yourself, though we all exist somewhere between life and death. I use a very special library, and a cosmic video store, and an art gallery or museum often as portals for lucid dream adventures in parallel worlds and others. I open such spaces to adventurous dream travelers as departure lounges for group journeys powered by shamanic drumming. and play guide for groups that want first-hand experience of these things.

 I have made Matt Haig's novel recommended treading for the advanced dreamers who are engaged with me in exploring and mapping the multiverse. His sliders' varying choice of portals makes me reflect that, beyond a library and a video store, I could make more use of restaurants. I often dine well in my dreams and return with the taste in my mouth. I think I will see whether the Café Jet-Lag in Paris, where I would often stop for coffee or vin rouge after overnight flights, is a friendly transit lounge for interdimensional travel. The name matches my condition when I return from world-jumping. 

I am told that since my last visit the Café Jet-Lag has closed. This is not a serious obstacle to making a return visit. If in my root life the café is no longer there, I am pretty sure I can find it in a parallel continuum, maybe even one in which the old farmer's market is still in business nearby at Les Halles. 

Art: "Dream Library" by Robert Moss

Thursday, February 1, 2024

May Brigid's blessings be with you

Blessings to you on the day of the High One, the Exalted One. That is the meaning of Brig, from which the name Brigid (also Brigit, Brighid, Brigantia of England and Brigindo of eastern Gaul) derives. The church made the goddess a saint, one of the most beloved saints of Ireland, with various biographies, the best of which is recollected in Kildare, where the flame of Brigid burned constantly until Henry VIII, and burns again today. She is a power of the land, and of the deeper world, that the church and the people can agree on. In Ireland and in Scotland, you feel her presence in stones and trees, in high places and in deep wells.
In the stories told at Kildare, the woman Brigid is born at sunrise, as her mother stands straddling a threshold, one foot out and one foot in. When Brigid’s head comes out, the sun’s rays crown her with flame. We can see why she is the patron of people who open doors between the worlds – of shamans, seers and poets – and of all who work with fire, in the peat, in the forge, in the cauldron of imbas, the fire of inspiration.
Marija Gimbutas wrote of her (in The Living Goddesses): “Brigid is an Old European goddess consigned to the guise of a Christian saint. Remove the guise and you will see the mistress of nature, an incarnation of cosmic life-giving energy, the owner of life water in wells and springs, the bestower of human, animal and plant life.” She is “Mary of the Gael”, and she is the Triple Goddess and Robert Graves’ Three-fold Muse. She is patron of poetry, healing and smithcraft. In Scotland she is Bride, and the White Swan and the Bride of the White Hills. In the Hebrides she is the protector of childbirth.
Lady Augusta Gregory, Yeats’s friend, described Brigid in Gods and Fighting Men as “a woman of poetry, and poets worshiped her, for her sway was very great and very noble. And she was a woman of healing along with that, and a woman of smith’s work, and it was she first made the whistle for calling one to another through the night.” We are now entering the prime time of this High One, when nature awakens around February 1.
She may appear as a snake from beneath the earth, even in Ireland, the country without snakes:
This is the day of Bride the Queen will come from the mound
This is the time of Brigid’s feast of Imbolc which coincides with the lactation of the ewes and the first signs of spring. You know the lambs are coming soon. You see snowdrops pressing up from the hard earth, perhaps through its white mantle. You offer the gifts of the goddess to the goddess: you pour milk on the ground, you bake and leave out special cakes. To she who spins and weaves life itself, you offer woven fabrics or offer a cloth – a handkerchief, a scarf, a pillowcase – to be blessed as it rests on the earth overnight. To this bringer of fire, you light a candle and offer your heart’s flame.
In the old country, in the old way, young girls carry her images – straw dolls or brideogs – in procession from house to house, and the goddess is welcomed and decked with finery. The dolls are laid on in “bride beds”, with a staff or wand of power resting beside them. At Imbolc, as on other days, you may raise the High One’s energy with poetic speech. Best to do this by a stream or a spring, or (if you know one) a sacred well. She does have a fine love of poets and those who bring fresh words into the world.
There is a legend that, in one of her womanly forms, Brigid married the great poet Senchan Torpeist,  foremost among the learned fili (bards) of Ireland. It was this same Senchan, it is said, who recovered the great poem known as the Táin Bó Cúailnge (The Cattle Raid of Cooley) when it was feared lost forever, by raising the shade of the druid poet Fergus to recite all of the verses.
Among the bevy of Celtic blessings in the great repository know as the Carmina Gadelica, collected by Alexander Carmichael in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland around 1900, some of the sweetest call on Brigid. In “Womanhood of Brigit” (#263 in the Carmina Gadelica)
Brigit of the mantles
Brigit of the peat-heap
Brigit of the twining hair
Brigit of the augury.
Brigit of the white feet
Brigit of calmness
Brigit of the white hands
Brigit of the kine.
Many kinds of protection are then asked of Brigid – safety from death or injury or mishap in many forms. Next comes a verse that makes it plain that Brigid is regarded, among all else, as a guardian of sleep and dreams:
Nightmare shall not lie on me
Black-sleep shall not lie on me
Spell-sleep shall not lie on me
Luaths-luis shall not lie on me.
I need someone more learned in Scots Gaelic than myself to translate Luaths-luis. Its literal meaning seems to be something like “fast-moving lice” for which our modern phrase might be “creepy-crawlies.” In the “Blessing of Brigit” (numbered #264 in the Carmina Gadelica) we have words that might please the Lady on her feast day, or any day:
I am under the shielding
Of good Brigit each day;
I am under the shielding
Of good Brigit each night.
Brigit is my comrade woman,
Brigit is my maker of song,
Brigit is my helping woman
My choicest of women, my guide
Brigid’s Day is also a fine time for courting, and a time to dream, and seek guidance from dreams.

Brigid's Flame

I dreamed this poem at Imbolc in 2020

May the radiance of her blue mantle
surround you and protect you
May you burn with her fires:
fire of seership,
fire of craft,
fire of inspiration,
fire of healing,
fire of transformation
fire of heart.
May you always stand ready
to wrest the killing irons
from evildoers and oppressors
and to take up the Sword of Light
in defense of the weak and the just
May you always be a lover of poets
and commit poetry every day.