Sunday, December 13, 2009

Visions of Lucia


St. Lucy’s Day, December 13th, today

Thanks to a Facebook posting by Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary I was inspired to compare Lucy with our Lasiar.

Lasiar is a little known ancient “goddess” of Ireland, partially because most of these revered “goddess” women of ancient times were outstanding healers and teachers. Selena, if she was of these ancient times would probably have been one of these “goddess” women.

There are several levels of legend to Lasiar and like other Irish “goddesses”, like Attracta, Grain and especially Brigid, Abbesses of monastic “cities” took on the names of these wise women to sustain their legacies. Unfortunately, when the Catholic church blessed them as being “saints” the reasons behind sainthood became very distorted from their origins.

Lasier was apparently sainted for her ability to heal the blind. Maybe this was true of the Abbess Lasier who was daughter of Abbot Ronan of Kilronan, church of Ronan, founder of Kilronan monastic city which hosted the sacred well that is today called St. Lasier’s Well.

I find an amusing paradox here because Turlough O’Carolan, the blind composer harper is buried across from the well said to be of waters to heal the blind.

Locals tall of the legend of Lasier not being the healer of the blind but a healer who helped people to see clearer, meaning more of a release from mental anguish. Some local people there do actually lie and meditate under a mass table there to help them clear and bring light to their minds.

However, I recently learned from local people who look closer into this sort of thing Lasier helped certain people to see clearer with a totally different intent in mind. It is said that her sacred well was for leading women to before Beltaine celebrations so they would have an advance vision of the man they would meet and become partnered with over Beltaine.

One local storyteller even suggested to me that Lasiar taught women the “crafts” of being a wife, who would best be described then as a keeper of the fire, and this included smithing. For a woman that saw a vision in the well, Lasiar would smith a silver ring for her courting woman to hand to the man she saw in the well, when she meets him in the Beltaine circles. She would ask him to put it on her finger if his intentions are sincere. Was this the origin of the silver engagement ring?

Nine months later, after the Beltaine mating, if the couple bore a healthy child a gold ring was not exchanged but the wife, the Cailleach, the goddess on earth, would hand her mate a bronze sword that she would have cast on her fire.

As for her husband? After being presented with and accepting the sword from her fire it was his commitment to always return fuel to keep her fire kindled …… and that can be visioned and interpreted in many ways.

So what has this to do with St. Lucy’s Day

Looking around the net the stories of St. Lucy, St. Lucia and San Lucia follow different threads and it surprises me how many bounce off our Lasier traditions and mythology.

When I lived in Florida for awhile I lived for over a year in Martin County at a place called San Lucia, the second “white person” settlement ever set up in the USA after St. Augustine. It is said that sailors heading for St. Augustine went off course in a storm and were led ashore safely by a light so they decided this was an omen to settle there. They called the town, still a tiny town, San Lucia after their saint linked to healing the blind. They believed the storm blinded them and Lucia gave them light and sight to come ashore. The next Florida country to Martin County, Port St. Lucie, was named after her and St. Lucie river that runs through that county is a major tourism draw as it was the river, that was made out to be the Amazon. in the James Bond Moonraker movie.

So I see that St. Lucy is also revered on the islands of Croatia for similar reasons to the Florida story. However, in Sweden and, of course, St. Lucia Island I read the traditions of St. Lucy being the visionary of introducing women to their visions of husbands to come. On December 13th gingerbread biscuits (cookies) are served to women and one has a ring within. The one who chooses the biscuit with the ring will be wed within the year. Connection to our Lasiar?

Why December and not May?

Maybe Selena Fox is going to come up with something on this, but I cannot help speculating that Lucy’s pattern day was moved to December to add validity to the connection of Joseph and Mary to partner for the birth of Jesus, 12 days before Christmas Day, as it was told that it was Mary who approached Joseph to join her.

A loose end for me is also the tradition of the silver sixpence being in a Christmas pudding on Christmas day and the person who has the sixpence in his or her share will have luck for a year. However, the Xmas pud was once a Yule dessert and contained a ring???. Before then it was a Samhain celebration dessert, the opposite pole to Beltaine, very confusing, which was prepared after first harvest of Lunasa and stored for eating at Samhain. These ancient desserts were made with a combination of meat, grains and berries.

Also are the words Lucy and Luck related?

Lass and Lassie

Speculation again, maybe coincidence, but many men call women who are attracted or connected to them as “lass”. Is this because these women came to them after the visions of Lasier?

Lassie the dog, the bringer of light, survival and sometimes guiding the blind, maybe like Abbess St. Lazier once did?

Living Tradition

As our garden labyrinth is inspired by the mating rituals of seabirds, the mating circles of Beltaine, the reconciliation courts of Samhain along with the pathways of the dragon and the transformation of the snake ….. there’s now an inspiration to offer this tradition with our water and fire facilities there.

Meanwhile, I’m a bit mouthwateringly jealous of those lucky women who today are gorging into those divine ginger biscuits. Maybe I’ll tease them with some chocolate cake.

I suppose that tease is kind of fuelling the fire before its even properly lit. Men are good at that. I think its called “backfiring”.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting to read! Here in the Swedish-speaking part of Finland (and in Sweden) where we don't usually celebrate saints, St. Lucia is a big thing, also symbolizing midwinter and the hope that light will return to the world. Maybe because the darkness is so overwhelming here in the north at this time of the year...

    Petra, Finland

    ReplyDelete