Brighid and the Oran Mòr

This is a reblog from my latest blog post at Moon Books. I hope you enjoy it, and do let me know if you’ve had similar experiences. 🙂

I had meditated and tranced for nearly an hour before my altar, to the sounds of the birds outside and Heloise Pilkington on my cd player. http://www.heloisepilkington.com/index.htm  My cats joined me, sleeping in their respective spots, their purrs vibrating along my spine.  As the incense burned out, I came back to myself, having danced with my goddess, diving in her mysteries and those of my own soul.

I was ready now. Time to go out, to seek her, to seek the awen.  I packed a small bag with more incense and some water and made my way out of the house and onto the heath. Taking my time, walking slowly, I feel more graceful after my time spent at my altar, both within myself and within my goddess. Life goes easier on me.  I ghost through the trees at the edge of the wood, where heath meets beech and oak, and thirty feet away from me are the deer. A vast herd of them, probably about a hundred, lying down basking in the warm spring sunshine.  I smile and make a small wave of my hand as I pass by. They have come to know me, and do not run away, though they stand up – just in case.  I feel their vibrant energy lifting my heart, and my soul runs free with theirs. I leave them where they were, carrying on along the edge, where two environments, where two entities, two souls meet and intertwine. Here is where the potential lies. Here is where power lies.

But I move on, for this is not my chosen spot. There is a very special place to me, again that lies on edges, in a small copse of birch trees on the edge of another part of the heath, where a stream marks the boundaries between woodland, heath and farmer’s fields.  As I step carefully amongst the heather across this beautiful open-access land, I smile at the familiar faces of friends – the oak trees, the sandy soil, the great pines.  Then I see it, my special spot, the birch trees about to burst open their buds, everything hanging in anticipation.  Narcissus flower everywhere underneath the white boles, running down through the patch of woodland that hides the stream from prying eyes.  Spots of yellow, like little suns, laugh and smile as they stretch towards our nearest star.

I walk beneath the birch trees, looking at the fox den and rabbit holes. I find my place, a clear space of ground and here I put down my bag.  Looking around me, there are branches everywhere as the recent winds of springtime have brought many down. I gather some up, together with pieces of flint and quartz that lie upon the mossy earth. I make my circle of sticks and stones, and smile at the thought.

Lighting the incense, I walk around the circle several times, then place it carefully upon a bare patch of earth. I take my bottle of water and allow a thin stream of water to bless this sacred space.  Standing at the four directions I honour them for all that they are. Within the centre I recognise and remind myself of the three worlds: land, sea and sky. I use the ritual gestures that I have created over the years to emphasize my words, to bring them into action.  I breathe in the air, filled with the scents of spring, face the stream and call to my goddess.

“Lady of the sacred flame. Lady of the sacred water. Where fire and water meet is the greatest power. I honour you with all that I am, for all that you are. Lady of healing, lady of transformation, lady of poetry, lady of creativity. Show me your mysteries. I open my soul to you, to hear your song.”

A wave of energy comes towards me, nearly knocking me off my feet.  I balance, and turn around, knowing that there is incense behind me. I move carefully around the incense, walking as if through treacle or dark, sticky molasses. I need to lie down. The Earth is pulling me down, down into her mysteries. Carefully I lower myself to the ground, a pair of hawks overhead crying as they circle, riding the thermals.

I close my eyes. The earth thrums beneath me, the sky singing above me.  I hear it. I hear The Song.

Oran Mòr.

I’ve heard it all my life. I just didn’t have words for it. I didn’t know its name.  A few weeks ago, I heard those two words, Oran Mòr. It all made sense. The song of harmony, of life, of existence.  The sigh of the wind through the pines, overlaid with the cries of the hawk, the soft bass of the earth and the timpany of heartbeats of every creature around me.  They create a wondrous sound, a flowing song that speaks of life, of constant creation, or whirling through time and space. It sings of this blue planet and the stars’ dancing round.  The sound of distant cars are tuned to the wind. Everything is singing.

The song fades, and my eyes begin to open, but I am not yet ready to let it go. I refocus, and tune into it once again.  There is my own melody within the song, and the deer and the fox, the blackbird and the pheasant.  There are the rocks and the slow pulsing of lava beneath the earth’s surface. There are the soft notes of the light clouds overhead and the bright arias of all the stars in the sky hidden by daylight. I let this sound soak into my skin, into my being. Slowly it fades, and I smile as I now know a new secret. I have heard a new song, the song of my goddess, the song of all existence, and it is exquisite.

Slowly I get up, thanking the gods and the spirits of place for their beauty.  I take down my circle, the memory of the Oran Mòr still bright within my soul. I know that it is not something I can yet carry with me all the time – it is still too powerful, too enchanting. I would be off my head if I did.  That wonderful, ecstatic moment is my inspiration, my awen, and my channel to tap into Source.  I know where to plug in now.

Slowly walking back home, I see the horses in the paddocks, a beautiful white horse frolicking with his smaller, dark friend.  He looks at me, his gorgeous long face reminding me of Shadowfax, Gandalf’s horse from Lord of the Rings, descended from a race of noble equines called Mearas. Here is a modern day Mearas, his intelligent eyes looking into my soul, his playful heart and light foot moving joyously over the ground. He trots up and down his paddock, showing off his beautiful gait, where he barely touches the ground. I smile in pure joy. He canters, slides to a stop, and trots back with his friend at his side. His antics bring over the other horses from the other side of the fence. I open my soul to him in friendship, but he is too caught up in Springtime.  I smile and leave them to their games beneath the warm sun, and head home, the memory of the Song still humming deep within my veins.

This is what it means to be alive.

Joanna van der Hoeven is a Moon Books author with three titles released in the Pagan Portals series, including the No.1 Amazon bestseller The Awen Alone: Walking the Path of the Solitary Druid. She is indebted to author Alison Leigh Lily for bringing those two words, Oran Mòr to her consciousness.

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14 thoughts on “Brighid and the Oran Mòr

  1. Thank you. This is lovely. I too have written of the Oran Mor – it’s something I teach in my annual course on the Isle of Iona. The description of your experience of it is beautiful.

    There are places where I experience it as a full-body dissolution – eg West Cornwall, my homeland; Dartmoor, where I live; an enchanted forest in Brittany; the Isle of Iona.

  2. This was a beautiful read, thank you! I’d not heard this called Oran Mor before, but I believe I’ve experienced it. It seems to have happened to me when I’ve meditated in my bedroom during the day, with the windows open, during just rain or a full storm. Absolutely amazing.

    I also have experienced that ‘walking through treacle’ feeling during a meditation where I believe I visited the Otherworld. I felt extremely clumsy, and it’s interesting to hear someone else go through something similar.

    This was really interesting, thank you 🙂

    • Your words reminded me of Robbie Robertson’s “Twisted Hair”, where they slowed down the sound of crickets and discovered that they sounded like a choir. They then overlaid some vocals from a Native American opera singer – just beautiful! x

  3. I just lost my reply . . . what you relate and share here is wondrous and magical if one is willing to let go and goes there is accessible to all. I have only experienced it to the fullest on Iona. I have not been back for some years, but now that I am in a different environment I feel the pull to go forth here and experience it in a place where I live and more and have my being on a day to day basis, not in a special place where I went and left and returned, though the pilgrimage aspect of it may have been part of it at the time. Now there are different forces, and more fully present and presences and energies whom I am coming to know more deeply with each venturing forth, hear the song more clearly and am slowly more willing to let the music sink in and take me. Thank you for this account.

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