Loop of Brighid: The Nine Pure Choice Graces, Part 3 – The Grace of Fortune

The third grace in this series is the grace of fortune. In medieval Europe, Fortune was often allegorized as a capricious goddess named Fortuna, as in the famous song “Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi” or “Fortune, the Empress of the World” from the Carmina Burana. Fortuna was often portrayed with a great wheel. The symbolism of the wheel was not just that Fortune is random, but that her gifts are always temporary.

What does it mean to have the grace of fortune? If the gifts of fortune are always temporary, then no one can be considered fortunate merely for possessing them briefly. Nor is anyone completely hopeless, because the wheel always keeps turning. Up today, down tomorrow — down today, up tomorrow.

The idea expressed by the wheel of fortune is similar to a line by the medieval Scottish poet William Dunbar: “Our pleasure here is all vainglory, this false world is but transitory.” This is a very medieval way of looking at the world and one that few modern people would find congenial, but it also expresses a spiritual perspective similar to Buddhism. All states of consciousness, whether pleasant or painful, are transitory and fleeting by nature. The wheel of fortune never stops.

The grace of fortune is not the condition of being lucky, but a lighthearted and graceful acceptance of change and loss, a spirit of gratitude without attachment, a conscious embrace of the fact that fortune always changes and will go on changing.

1- Prepare a bowl of the lustral fire using milk, honey and either wine, mead or berry juice. Bless the lustral fire by reciting the “Invocation of the Graces” over it.

2- Sit in front of your bowl of lustral fire. Recite the first verse of the “Invocation of the Graces” while anointing your palms and cheeks with the lustral fire:

I bathe thy palms
In showers of wine,
In the lustral fire,
In the seven elements,
In the juice of the rasps,
In the milk of honey,
And I place the nine pure choice graces
In thy fair fond face,
The grace of form,
The grace of voice,
The grace of fortune,
The grace of goodness,
The grace of wisdom,
The grace of charity,
The grace of choice maidenliness,
The grace of whole-souled loveliness,
The grace of goodly speech.

3- As you recite these words, imagine that it is Brighid Herself who is speaking and purifying you.

4- Sitting before the lustral fire, think of nine ways in which you are currently fortunate and thank Brighid for them one by one. Try to cultivate an awareness and acceptance of the transitory nature of your good fortune, because all things are temporary. Think of nine ways in which you are not currently fortunate. Try to cultivate an awareness and acceptance of the transitory nature of your bad fortune, because all things are temporary.

Clann Bhride: The Children of Brighid

 

 


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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.