Sunday, 8 October 2017

Novena for the Fallen Through ~ our fourth prayer for the people of Grenfell


Here is the fourth of our Novenas for the Fallen Through, which for this month are devoted to Brigid and to seeking justice and healing for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire. If you would like to read more about this work please pop and have a look here.

Today we weave a gentle Sunday prayer of holy wells and healing.

I have written a lot about Goddess-Saint Brigid’s connection to Fire, but she is also intimately associated with Water and holy wells, and through them to healing. Many wells throughout Ireland are dedicated to her, most famously in her home of Kildare where there were once said to be thirty healing wells flowing with sweet water. These often carry the legend that Brigid once stopped there during her travels through the British Isles, blessing and healing people at the site. These holy wells are repeatedly associated with sacred trees, sometimes known as ‘rag trees’, many having a hawthorn or a rowan growing beside them and often these will have ‘clooties’, strips of cloth used in healing prayers, tied in their branches. These rag trees and clootie wells are held in high regard and there is great distress amongst those close to the land if they are harmed. There are also rivers named for her, for example the Bride in Ireland, the Braint in Anglesey, North Wales, and the Brent in England. Brean Down in Somerset, a promontory high above the Bristol Channel, once known as the Severn Sea, and the setting of Dion Fortune’s book, ‘The Sea Priestess’, is named for her. Another of her aspects is as a ‘mid-woman’ or midwife and so she watches over birth and its own breakwaters.

In this way, she brings a powerful balance to the heat of the fire.



Brighid's well, Kildare

History says, don't hope
on this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
the longed for tidal wave
of justice can rise up,
and hope and history rhyme.

So, hope for a great sea change
on the far side of revenge.
Believe that a further shore
is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
and cures and healing wells.”

(Seamus Heaney)


Offering at Swallowhead Spring, the source of the Rover Kennet, Avebury, Wiltshire

Novena for the Fallen Through ~

Justice, healing, and wholeness for the people of Grenfell, and for us all.

This prayer begins with water.

Blessed Brigid,
Holy Woman,
Saint and Goddess,
Mother of Water.

Brigid of the mantles,
Brigid of the peat heap,
Brigid of the twining hair,
Mary of the Gaels.

We ask for the blessings of your waters
to cool the wound that the Grenfell Fire
has left on our land and our hearts,
on families and friends, on community and country.

We ask for the blessing of your healing wells,
beside which so many in pain have stood
for generations, making their own prayers
and petitions to the holy waters that flow
from deep underground in our land.

May the tide of feeling that has
risen in sympathy, empathy, love, and sadness,
be like a healing well to the people of Grenfell,
cool water for the living, the dead,
and those who love them, to sit beside.

Blessed Brigid,
Holy Woman,
Saint and Goddess,
Mother of Water.

Brigid of the mantles,
Brigid of the peat heap,
Brigid of the twining hair,
Mary of the Gaels.

May each of us be like a strong tree
growing beside the well of healing
for the people of Grenfell and their community.
May we be rooted in sweet waters
to soothe and bring comfort to
scorched earth and scarred people.
And may all flow at the meeting place
of healing, justice, and deep peace.

May our prayers become clooties
tied to the tree of memory,
the memory of love made and children born,
the memory of laughter and joy,
the memory of lives lived and moments shared,
and may none of these memories
be debased or defiled by the heat of the fire.

Blessed Brigid,
Holy Woman,
Saint and Goddess,
Mother of Water.

Brigid of the mantles,
Brigid of the peat heap,
Brigid of the twining hair,
Mary of the Gaels.

We ask that the mixture of Fire and Water;
the elements of your forge,
the heat of transformation,
the cooling into a new form,
be harnessed in an alchemy of hope,
a new form where justice sings
songs of wild joy for truths heard
and wrongs righted,
an alchemy of hope in which
all peoples see through the things that divide us,
elements coming together, melting into each other,
to make something stronger, more beautiful.

We ask this in memory of Mohammed Neda, Ali Yawar Jafari,
Karen Bernard, Lucas James, Rania Ibrahim and her daughters,
Fathia and Hania, Stefan Anthony Mills, Ligaya Moore.

We ask this in memory of Zainab Dean and her son, Jeremiah,
Khadija Saye and her mother, Mary Mendy, Gary Maunders,
Mohammad Alhajali, Hesham Rahman, Tony Disson, Sheila Smith.

We ask this in memory of Mariem Elgwahry and her mother, Suhar,
Jessica Urbano Ramirez, Deborah Lamprell, Steve Power,
Dennis Murphy, Amal Ahmedin and Amaya Tuccu, Isaac Paulos.

We ask this in memory of Marco Gottardi, and Gloria Trevisan,
Mohammed Nurdu, Fouzia el-Wahabi, her husband, Abdul Aziz,
Nur Huda and Mehdi, Yasin.

We ask this in memory of Nadia Loureda, Maria Del Pilar Burton,
Berkti Haftom and her son, Biruk, Nura Jamal, her husband, Hashim,
their children, Yahya, Firdaws, Yaqub, Kamru Miah.

We ask this in memory of Fatima Afrasehabi, her sister, Sakina,
Nadia Choucair, her husband, Baseem Choukair,
their children, Mierna, Fatima, Zainab,
their grandmother, Sirria, Raymond Bernard.

We ask this in memory of Majorie Vital and her son, Ernie,
Joseph Daniels, Logan Gomes, Khadija Khalloufi, Abdeslam Sebbar,
Fathia Ahmed and her son, Abufars Ibrahim. Of Omar Belkadi,
Farah Hamdan, Malak, Leena, and Tamzin who lived.
Of Mohamednur Tuccu, Husna and Rebaya Begum,
Mohammed Hanif, Mohammed Hamid, Vincent Chiejina, Hamid Kani,
a ‘woman’ unnamed, all the unnamed, the disappeared.

Blessed Brigid,
Holy Woman,
Saint and Goddess,
Mother of Water.

Brigid of the mantles,
Brigid of the peat heap,
Brigid of the twining hair,
Mary of the Gaels.

We thank you for our land of 
sweet rivers and holy wells,
we thank you for the flow
of different cultures and peoples
who come to our shores,
knowing that you watch over all
who make long journeys.
Let none be held in a shape
that is not their own,
or which is no longer needed,
and may the dead of Grenfell
move beyond form,
flowing like water, feeding on sunlight and moonlight,
radiant as the stars in the night sky,
free.

This prayer ends with water. Let it be the water of healing.


For this we pray.

Aho mitake oyasin, amen, blessed be. Inshallah.

Sacred Waters, a prayer for protection of the trees, Oaken Wood


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