Saturday, 1 February 2014

Imbolc Blog Hop: The Making of the Songbirds

Final image

Our wrangler on this blog hop is the delightful Christiana Gaudet.  As someone inspired by the Goddess Brigid, whose festival this is, she suggested we talk about divination, healing and creativity, and that fits just perfectly with the card I chose to represent this spoke on the Wheel of the Year.

The card is one variant on the Birds: there are three in this deck (including the Owls, which you can see here).  You can use all three, or pick the one you prefer to stick to the traditional number of Lenormand cards.  This one is the Songbirds, and shows three songbirds sitting on a branch, looking out over a frosty winter's morning.

When thinking about timing for the Celtic Lenormand, I considered nature-based ways of connecting with the seasons.  The old saying "one swallow does not make a spring" emphasises the idea that when songbirds migrate back to more northerly climes, it does not mean that the warmer weather has actually arrived.  So, while it is still chilly, we may yet see some of these lovely, colourful creatures.

Original "Cliodna" birds
Another association I had with the Birds was a connection to the Goddess.  And researching Celtic Goddesses, I found Cliodna.  As one source describes, she had three birds, one blue with a crimson head, one crimson with a green head, and one golden with a speckled head.  However, when Will painted the card that way, the contrast between the songbirds and the misty morning landscape just didn't work.  We tried a couple of variants, before agreeing to the finished card, which no longer respects the myth, but is more true to real-life birds you might see in the British Isles.

Another facet of the Cliodna story is that the birds could heal the sick with their song, a theme often found in myth and fairytale.  And of course, with the connection to Brigid and her power of healing, that also seemed to fit well with this sabbat.

Birds are also often associated with being messengers.  We see this in ideas around divination, be it watching the flight patterns of birds or looking at their entrails.  And we also find it in traditional Lenormand meanings for the Birds card, which include conversations and telephone calls.  The Birds can also represent nervous energy and anxiety, which would then call for the healing these Songbirds offer - finding the solution in the issue that the darker side of the card portrays.

Now, onwards to more thoughts and ideas around divination, healing and creativity...