Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Contracts with Bridget
A fellow Bridget worshiper first told me about making contracts with Her, a surprise to me. Contracts with Bridget? The idea intrigued me to no end. But this fellow Bridget follower found he wrote better and with more success when he agreed to certain puja actions to Bride, and then asked for her intercession and support for his projects.
I started asking other worshipers about their own contracts with Bridget or other deities/saints, and several correspondents told me of their research in early Indo-European worship customs. These Celtic polytheists saw direct supplication as a key element to Pagan Bridget worship.
Well, certainly the historical antecedents for petitioning deity are well recorded in the British Isles. The Romans, literate peoples, bunged those swords down wells and asked Coventina and Sulis and Fortuna for health, wealth, and at times curses on others who had stolen from them. That the thousands of votive objects bunged to Celtic Goddesses might have carried specific - albeit non written - requests, seems a pretty easy conclusion.
Now I admit to feeling taken aback when I first read about contracts with Bridget. A socialist in my soul, I don't want to reduce all human interaction to the marketplace. (Great sermon on Christian ethics and challenging the Marketplace, by the Archbishop of Canterbury here.) Yet as a mother of two children with autism spectrum disorder, I know full well how contracts with my children have been stupendous ways to help them grow. (Currently my son receives 6$ a week for exercising daily, for example. I have paid my children for many things that astound families not in the autism community, yet the results are two children who have mainstreamed fairly well. Thus contracts, especially when special needs are involved, are not just mercantile: they are amazing and miraculous interventions.)
So if I contract with my son to bathe regularly, why not ask Bridget for something as well? I already light candles for her, so it is fairly easy to promise other actions in puja and worship. I considered making her a daily cup of tea, for example, as my first correspondent suggested.
Around this time I was working on a quilt. The quilt itself is dedicated to Bridget, patterned on one I had made for a Catholic friend dedicated to the Virgin Mary. I used old mass cards on that Marian quilt, copying the card images on to fabric, quilting and embroidering it, and adding holy items as decoration. It was utterly wicked, if I do say so myself. For Bridget's quilt, I looked for an icon or mass card that I liked, and found one: by Sr. Aloysius McVeigh, with the Sisters of Mercy in Northern Ireland. I didn't want to just steal her image, so I decided to write the Sisters, and to ask permission to use the image in a quilt. I offered to pay a small fee for copyright, if they so chose.
And I started gathering some lovely wools for the quilt, and some old holy medals, and looked at some Victorian buttons in my collection that I think will rock on the wool. And I wrote to other friends about contracts, Bridget, and whether or not contractual relationship is really representative of Indo European worship.
Weeks passed, and I received something in the mail from Northern Ireland. Well, how exciting is that? I love getting mail from foreign parts! I opened the letter, and out falls a contract: from the Sisters of Mercy, on behalf of Sr. Aloysius, now deceased, giving me copyright privileges to the icon she painted of Saint Bridget. The contract was signed by the head of the Sisters of Mercy, with space for me to sign and return a copy to them.
So my exploration of contracts with Bridget, started in correspondence with another worshiper, now ended with me having a formal and written contract with the Sisters of Mercy, Northern Ireland.
And how utterly marvelous is that?
So I offer this story. Contracts with deity can lead to amazing things!
My original correspondent also contracted with the Irish Oghma for his writing goals. Obviously, contracts with other saints, angels, Goddesses and Gods, devas and spirits are all your personal choice. (I personally suggest caution on using contracts with the likes of Kali Ma or the Morrigan - though ya never know!) Otherwise, the opportunity for worship and growth is there. The question is yet again: what are you going to grow?
And the icon image above comes to you with the permission and contract from the Sisters of Mercy. Icon by Sr. Aloysius McVeigh.
Clearly Bridget moves in mysterious ways.