Neil Gaiman says:

Neil Gaiman says:
pic by Allan Amato

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Another turn of the Wheel

Hope you don't mind me jumping in here Robbie with info on the winter festival of Imbolc. I know you like to explore myth and legend.. but somehow I've always felt connected to this particular holiday. And any Goddess/ Saint who can turn water into ale, encourage her sheep to make lakes of milk, helps to stoke the fires of creativity AND is the patron of a tidy house needs to be celebrated and prayed to [by ME] for sure ;-)

Merrie Imbolc!

It is the Feast of St. Brigid, (otherwise knows as Bride, Bridey, Brighid, Brigit, Briggidda and Brigantia (referring to the Celtic Brigantii tribe) Apparently pronounced "Breet", --gotta watch those "d's, "dh's" and other crazy consonents in Irish Gaelic! She is a pagan Solar/ Fire Goddess, completely intertwined with an identity as a Christian Saint.

To find out all about Imbolc, the Celtic Goddess and later Christian Saint, check out this great link: The Wheel of the Celtic Year: Imbolc

"...Early writers believed Brigid's name stemmed from breo-aigit: "fiery arrow," a false but somehow very fitting etymology for a goddess of smithcraft, and one who kindles the fires of creativity and regeneration."

Her influence is so strong, that she is still revered and celebrated to this day, especially in Ireland, where it is traditional to make St. Brigid's Crosses (counter-clockwise Swastika traditionally of wheat or oats) and light candles within the house. Old crosses are burned today & new ones made, symbolising renewal, birth and the coming of Spring.


This is traditionally a time of purification; clean your house!
If you have any Christmas greenery lingering, burn it now.

Make your own Brighid's crosses and hang them up,
especially in the kitchen where her influence can bless your food.

Put out food; cake, buttered bread and milk will do, outside your door:
Brighid and her cow walk through the neighborhood tonight, and will appreciate your offering.

Leave a silk ribbon on your doorstep for Brighid to bless:
It can then be used for healing purposes.

Meditate upon what you would like to see grow in health and strength this year:
for yourself, your family, your community, the Earth,
and ask for Bride's blessing upon your prayers.

Here's an interesting link to the Wiccan side of celebrating Imbolc, written by Akasha. For the Druidic take on the Irish Goddess, this link is particularly interesting: "Brigit: The Survival of a Goddess", by Winter Cymres, 1995. For information and stories on the Christian interpretation of St. Brigit, check out: All Saint's Parish as well as the Catholic Encyclopedia (and Wikipedia has lots of good bits too.)

Happy Imbolc, may the light and blessing of the Goddess/Saint inspire another year of abundance, health and creativity.


Rob A. said...

I was asleep at the wheel! I forgot to do this one. Thank you! I think that this fetive day is one of the more intersting and ancient ones.

Eifriger said...

No worries Robbie! Between the two of us, we should have most of the festivals taken care of *wink*. It is a cool holiday..with some odd associations with Groundhog Day and the length of winter.. couldn't stop following all those weird links once I got started :-)


c u tomorrow darlin'!

Anonymous said...

Happy Imbolc! You keep telling me you're not Pagan, but I disagree! The weather never fails me on Imbolc. It's always mild, a promise that spring will be here soon.

Eifriger said...

Hmm, Pagan eh? Possibly ;-) I remember my buddy Fi had a bumper sticker that read "Born Again Pagan"; funny! Shortly thereafter she swung all the way to the Catholic faith. I find that being in nature and surrounded by natural things brings me a spiritual peace I don't find anywhere else.

Glad the weather served you well, BDD! Imbolc was good for me too; beginning of a new creative cycle in my life (I hope..) :-D