What does a sleeping nursling have to do with a shield? Well, I’m his. When I read the prompt for today, I was thinking literally, like a sword and shield. However, when I sat down to nurse my baby for his nap, I looked down at his face and realized that I am his shield. Not only is my milk his shield against infection, and so forth, but my actual self is his shield—the lens and medium through which his world is interpreted, felt, and experienced. One of my favorite things about having a baby is how they look right into my eyes to assess a situation. Let’s say a loud noise happens: The baby’s eyes come to mine to see how to gauge, interpret, and react to the situation. If I am happy and calm and smile reassuringly, the baby is no longer alarmed by the noise and resumes kicking and looking around. If I was to express horror and shock at the noise, the baby would cry and be distressed. Not only do I hold him and feed him and get him when he needs me, I show him with my eyes and face what the world is like—safe or scary, comforting or isolating. While he will go on to forget what this intense mother-baby symbiosis feels like, it will still be there at some level, forming his basis for understanding the world around him. And, I will never forget what it is was like to have his eyes meet mine in this way. His shield.
The journal prompt was about experiencing the protection and companionship of Brigid. While I do not usually encounter Brigid in a literal way, one day last year when I was in the woods, I did a recording that felt too personal to share here. In it, I noted that Brigid is not a goddess that you meet while meditating in the forest, she is in the sweat on your face and the heat of metal. She is the goddess who says, roll up your sleeves and get to work.
This morning though, I awoke from a dream about Brigid in which she said, “don’t worry about me, nurse the baby.” I’m not sure what that means exactly, but reading the lesson for today, I thought of a past dream I’d blogged about: