All Their Voices

Words and thoughts in devotion to the Divine

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Love Song for Aengus

Laughing boy, dancing boy, beautiful boy,

your father’s house is now your own.

Above you, the doves dance as you dance,

stretching their wings, exulting in the poetry of movement.

There is glory in your gaze,

sensuality in each step you take,

and every smile is seduction.

Goldenhair, blue-eyed perfection,

or green, or hazel—

Each of us sees in you what we most crave,

and what our longing bends toward.

You have every temperament that

draws lovers to love:

courage and wit,

kindness and humor,

intelligence and patience,

generosity and strength and gentleness.

Silver tongue, silken voice, smooth manners.



God of youth, god of passion,

Lord of poetry and of love,

we beg you to be kind in your gift-giving;

we do not always know what is good for us,

so when we beseech you to bring us love,

I pray that you lead to us

what we most need

rather than just that which we desire.

Beauty is found in the heart,

not just on the surface,

and let us not be deceived

by hateful heart wearing fair face.

Sweet and knowing Aengus,

let us never be so blinded by our lusts

that we forget there are other qualities just as great, or better.

and in your generosity and mercy,

help us find a love that will last a lifetime.


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A Father’s Song

Never was father ever prouder of his daughter.

Not just a worthy woman;

enough skills has she for three women

–doctor, smith, poet–

and paramount, without peer, is she at all three.

Gentle are the hands of the healer,

grinding herbs,

setting broken bones,

stitching wounds,

massaging away pain from muscles with oils and ointments.

Strong are the hands of the smith,

lifting the hammer to bring it down,

turning the hot metal with tongs,

shaping it with careful blows,

quenching it in cool spring water.

Deft are the hands of the poet,

trimming the quill pen,

stretching and cleaning the parchment,

letting the fire in the blood

kindle verses for the bard and insults for the satirist.

What skills does she bring to a battle?

Not hard:

weapons keen and cruel to let the blood of the foe;

words and wit sharp as steel to lacerate an enemy’s courage;

bindings and medicaments to once more make whole the flesh of our own.

None there is like her,

My daughter Brigid,

Brigid daughter of the Dagda,

Dagda the son of Danu,

Danu leader of her people.

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His Cauldron

All good things come from His cauldron:

Roast of cattle and swine and sheep,

Duck and chicken and goose,

Oats baked into bread and porridge,

Apples and berries with honey,

Butter with garlic and onion, or from the cool bogs,

Milk both sweet and sour,

Cabbages and parsnips and wild herbs,

And every good thing that walked on two legs or four,

Or flew,

Or grew from the ground.


All good things come from His cauldron:

Meat for the protein to build a warrior’s strong muscles

And a worker’s strong back;

Fruit and vegetables to provide vitamins and fiber

To ward against sicknesses and keep the heart hale;

Dairy products with their calcium,

To keep bones growing strong and healing swift when broken,

And small green growing things with their many

Compounds to help build toughness for all.


All good things come from His cauldron:

Heat of a meal inside the belly,

To warm against a cold winter’s night;

Heat outside the body, from where it hangs

over the hearth’s flames to help send warm goodness

all through the house, and drive away the drafts;

The scent of food, which is the scent of home,

And the scent, most of all, of happiness.


All good things come from His cauldron:

Seated at His feast, we know how to work together

To create a meal;

We learn to cooperate to build something worth having,

To commiserate with each other when there is sorrow,

And celebrate with each other when there is joy.

We learn to understand the brevity of life; in knowing

It is short, and will end, we learn to value every moment of it,

Because once gone, those moments will never come again.


All good things come from His cauldron:

Health, and strength, and perseverance,

Togetherness and joy, even sorrow,

But of all these, the best thing to come from His cauldron

Is hope.

Hope is at the heart of every piece of daily bread;

Hope is the soul of the joy that links us together at the table,

And hope is what holds us together,

Tribe and family, beneath His gaze.


O Dagda, great god, good god,

We thank You for the gifts You bring us,

Red-headed lord of great knowledge,

Warrior without peer, champion with no equal,

Great father to Midhir and Aengus and Brigid and Bobd Derg,

Generous one, wise one:

All good things come from Your cauldron.

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The enemy saw my girth,
my rude way of dressing,
my cheerful nature,
and branded me a fool.
They were wrong, of course;
they thought to weaken me,
humiliate me with their demands:
as if eating a huge bowl of porridge
would leave me unfit for battle!
They learned, to their grief,
how wrong they were,
when I slew Cirb, son of Buan,
when he entered the fray.

Some among my own thought me simple;
they forgot my deeds of strategy
at the Plain of Props, and thought
they could trick me into giving up
such things as were mine;
when my most beautiful son
sought a place of his own, and
my half-brother,
the most skilled one of all of us,
thought to help me, they could come up
with no more than a petty play on words,
and that in our own tongue;
yet they thought that enough to take
the Bru na Boinne, and I let them,
for I love my son, and am I not
the most amiable and easy-going
of all of our folk?

Some among the bards think me
indolent, and lazy, and slow,
content to let others do my work for me,
as when I handed command of our forces
to my half-brother during the heated battle,
as when I might have served as champion
to our silver-handed king, but left that task
to my brother; but I had other matters to
contemplate and carry out, and those things
required more of me than a moment’s stolen grace.

Some thought me weak and cowardly;
those who were thus mistaken are all dead.
Skulls smashed in battle, brains spilled,
blood loosed in rivers from the veins where it swam.
I suffer none to hold me in such contempt,
and showed my foes the errors of their ways.
None may stand against my mighty club,
nor the heft of the thews that wield it,
nor the strength of the one who lifts it.

Some account me lusty, and on this,
they are correct, though mistaken are those
who think I show disrespect for my wife
by my trysts with others;
but when was it a crime for a man or a god
to admire a beautiful face, a shapely form,
and want to explore such beauty further?
If such is a crime, then all of us are criminals,
and not just men, but women too, though
many would not care to admit to such.
But I refuse to recoil from such joy and pleasure
when the opportunities present themselves,
and of me and my prowess, no woman I’ve
bedded has ever complained.
Even the Phantom Queen Herself,
fierce and dreadful and terrifying to behold,
has known the embrace of my arms,
the skill with which I wield that other club of mine,
and when we were finished, She lamented not.
In this, I am content.

Those who might mock me, think to cheat me,
hold me in disdain, find me unwitting, beware:
Among all the Tuatha de, you will find no greater King.
Underestimate me at your peril.

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The Faces of the Morrigan

Those who say you are made only of

murder and mayhem,

battle and blood–

they do not know you.

That is who you are, yes,

but it is not all of who you are.


You sing to us of what

will become the future,

telling tales of war and peace,

life and death,

success and failure,

and in your hands you hold

the knowledge of the warp and weft

of what is yet to come.


You guide he who is to be king

into that position,

conferring the role of sovereign

onto that man both blessed and cursed

with the dread yet awesome weight

of responsibility for a nation.


There is so much more to you

than violence and death,

though I do not dispute that these

are essential parts of your nature,

but you are not a one-note caricature,

and those who think you are

need to spend more time

getting to know you,

seeing all your faces,

and acknowledging you as much

‘Foreteller’ as ‘Frenzy’,

as much ‘Kingmaker’ as ‘Killer’,

and as much ‘Victorious’ as ‘Venomous’.


These are names by which

you might be known by,

and it is not until one

can know all of you that

they truly do you honor.

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Flidais’ Emissaries

That day,

in the rain,

water dripping off the branches overhead,

the forest all around me embracing me,

I felt your presence as never before,

sensed your gaze upon me as

I walked past oaks and pines and maples,

listened to the whisper of the rain,

and then, ahead of me,

well off the path I had abandoned

a mile or more ago,

your emissaries stepped out of the shadows.

Six deer:

a stag, three does, two fawns,

and I came to a stop,

watched as they cropped grass and herbs as they walked.

They showed no fear of me,

just as they would show no fear

of hawk or squirrel or raccoon or rabbit,

coming forward until they were no more

than a foot or two away.

I could have reached out

and touched those children,

but was content

to stand there under the boughs of an elm,

water streaming from my hair,

and watch them continue on,

until they were out of sight,

fellow travelers from your land,

neither far-off or foreign.

visiting that place that we both loved so well.

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Paean to Brigid

You are a healer, but you are not

the gentle, doe-eyed, dainty lady

that some folk make you out to be.

Your arms and shoulders bulge with muscle,

gained from lifting your hammer in the forge;

you are practiced with swords.

No weak and whining maid,

no cringing, fainting girl.

Woe to the foe that underestimates you;

send him screaming to his doom!

The hands that heal, that build, and

that pen songs of praise

may also wield the blade that takes

a head from its shoulders.

Hail to the warrior healer,

warrior smith,

and warrior poet:

May your sword shine ever bright!

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Prayer to Lugh

Many-skilled lord, Lugh of the Long Arm,

I ask you to guide my hands

as I set out today on this project;

share your courage with me, I pray you,

as I start something new.

Show me the way to make a difference,

to help those around me,

drawing upon your example to build a future,

to fight evil,

to connect with my fellows,

and to defend those who are oppressed.

Lugh Lámfada, Lugh Samildanach,

let me grow in the number and sort of skills I learn,

let the reach of my principles’ and actions be long,

let me always keep you in mind as I go about the day,

and let my deeds never bring shame upon you

as I strive to emulate you

and make you proud.

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The Morrigan at War

Two handfuls of the blood of their kidneys:
That’s what I promised them,
Before the birth of the battle,
Nor did I fail to make good on my promise;
My hands were stained scarlet
well before the battle’s end,
the meat of many men in shreds under my talons,
and the skies black with my birds.
Ever around me were screams–
of pain
of terror
of woe:
Each that fell, I took his head,
hurled it into the heap,
my acorn-crop, my treasure trove,
and though many others on the field
took heads of their own,
my mountain was most mighty.
For feasting, there is the Dagda;
For learning and lore, Ogma;
For healing, call on Dian Cecht;
For cleverness, Manannan.
But for maiming, for mayhem, for murder,
call my name.
For none among Danu’s kin
know so much of the shedding of blood as I:
of weaponry against wights,
of bodies torn limb from limb,
of guts on the ground.
Mine are the ways of sword, of spear, of shield;
Mine are the ravens, ravenous, who rear their
young on dead man’s eyes;
Mine are the howls of the wolves,
the whinnies of the horses,
the eel’s sharp fangs.
And mine is the sight that sees through time,
showing me the woe of the world to come.
What I see is that I will have battlefield business
for ages yet,
Man and god alike will never cease to wage war,
exchanging blades for bullets and bombs,
and the legions of the dead
will only continue to expand;
the graves will grow, row on row,
and the two handsfuls of blood
that I took then
will become an overflowing ocean of red.

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Dinner with the Dagda

I long to dine from your cauldron;

to be surrounded by the steam of good things cooking,

to know that the basic needs of body and soul

are being tended to in your care.

To be wreathed round with the savory scents

of roasting meat and baking bread,

the sweet scents of cake and pie and pastry.

It is good to know that none who dine in your hall

go away unsatisfied,

and to understand that it is your essential nature

to nurture, to guide, and to guard.

To sit at your table, to dine from your cauldron,

to converse with you over a meal

is to know that you care.

Benjamin Franklin once said,

“Beer is proof that the gods love us

and want us to be happy.”

(I think you would have liked him, by the way).

But I think, instead, that we know you exist

and want us to be happy

when we sit in company with you

over a slab of roast and all its accompaniments,

and drink of your mead,

and listen to the laughter at your jests,

and feel the warmth of your hearthfire around us,

and know that we have come home.


I long to one day dine from your cauldron.