Loop of Brighid: Private Practices 4 – The Four Treasures

According to the Beatha Bhrighdi, the sun that shines above the City of Heaven is none other than St. Brighid of Kildare. The monastic author of this early text prays for the intercession of St. Brighid so that he may reach “that unity which exists for ever and ever.”

Eternal unity is a mystical state, so the monk who wrote the Beatha Bhrighdi is presenting the saint he adores as an intercessor capable of granting access to the highest states of mystical union in her role as the sun above the City of Heaven. None of these visualization practices is intended to be merely psychological or symbolic. Brighid is not an archetype or a mental concept, but the divine fire of creation itself. The goal of these practices is to experience unity with that fire.

In our continuing exploration of private spiritual practices, we’re going to combine the concept of the sun of heaven with the pre-Christian lore of the four treasures as we move closer to genuine mystical practice.

To the pagan Irish, there wasn’t just one City of Heaven but at least four: Falias, Gorias, Finias and Murias. In these shining cities, the Tuatha de Danann learned the arts of druidism before descending to Ireland in a cloud of mist.

From the city of Falias they brought the Lia Fail, the Stone of Destiny that cried out beneath the feet of a true king. From the city of Gorias they brought the sword of Nuada. From the city of Finias they brought the spear of Lugh. From the city of Murias they brought the cauldron of the Dagda, the legendary “Undry Cauldron” from which no one ever left unsatisfied.

In the fourth of this series on private practices, we’re going to visualize the four Cities of Heaven and the four treasures, with Brighid as the sun of heaven imparting Her power to them all. Unlike the three sisters visualization, this version of Brighid is not in human form. In Her role as a blazing sun above the heavenly cities, She embodies the Brig, the transcendent power of all creation.

Several writers have attempted to link the four treasures of the Tuatha de Danann with the four directions of the compass, although there is no consensus on which compass point should be assigned to which treasure. Rather than taking that approach, we’re going to emphasize the power of the treasures to convey qualities associated with the gods who carry them: prosperity from the cauldron of the Dagda, strength in battle from the sword of Nuada, victory over oppression from the spear of Lugh and sovereignty from the stone of destiny.

All four of these treasures are associated with the sacred kingship, and with the powers and qualities an ideal king was supposed to have in ancient Ireland. In keeping with modern practice, this has been reinterpreted as personal sovereignty. The purpose of this meditation is to stabilize an inner sense of personal sovereignty, which will then be expanded upon in the next ritual.

Begin by breathing slowly and deeply, then raise the circle of fire. You can also perform the fiery water and three sisters rituals if you wish. Imagine yourself rising up through the sky into the heavenly realm, where four shining cities float beneath the sun of Brighid.

Above the city of Murias is a mighty cauldron, granting the power of limitless prosperity and generosity. This is not the prosperity of one who hoards wealth to compete with others, but of one who provides for others without needing to count the cost — prosperity for all rather than just a few. As the cauldron blazes with the light of Brighid’s sun, you can feel the power of the Dagda’s cauldron suffusing your entire being.

Above the city of Falias there is a pillar of stone, shining with light from the sun above. The stone sings out when it sees you and the song creates a vibration through your entire body, a sense of stable and enduring power.

Above the city of Finias is a blazing spear, granting the power to defeat oppressive forces. Just as Lugh of the Long Arm defeated Balor of the Evil Eye, you gain the power to overthrow all oppression.

Above the city of Gorias is a bright white sword, granting the strength to prevail in every struggle. The white sword of light of many Gaelic legends, it banishes all evil forces and grants clarity of sight.

Each of the four treasures is shining brilliantly, illuminated by the sun of heaven. The light of the sun is the flame of Brig, the divine fire of creation in action. As you descend to earth again, confirmed in your sovereignty, you feel ready to grant divine blessings as well as receive them.


Loop of Brighid is published on alternate Thursdays. Follow it via RSS or e-mail!

About Christopher Scott Thompson

Christopher Scott Thompson is the president of the Cateran Society, and the author of several books on the historical Gaelic martial arts. Under the name C.S. Thompson, he is the author of the Noctiviganti dark fantasy novels. Under the religious name of Gilbride or “Servant of Brighid,” he has been active in the pagan community for a number of years, serving as the vice president (and briefly the president) of Imbas, a board member of the Fellowship for Celtic Tradition, a flamekeeper of Ord Brighideach and now the Cauldron Cill, and a member of the Kin of the Old Gods temple. He is a member of Clann Bhride, an organization of Brigidine devotees. He lives somewhere between this world and the Sidhe in the company of his wife Cicely and daughters Leila and Rowan.


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