Celebrating the Goddess Brigit/Imbolc-1st February

by Leona Graham on 1 February, 2010

in Brigit Matters

Last night, on the 31st January, the Eve of Brigit’s Day, I moved into action, re-invigorating a very ancient tradition of honoring the ancient ‘Celtic’ fire Goddess Brigit: Her name may be spelt variously, especially as regards the use of ‘d’ or ”t’ (Brigid/Brigit), which are very closely linked. She is also endearingly known as Bride and Bridey–thus Brides’ Well or Brideswell–the name of my husband’s and my website, signifying MUCH! The Goddess of Healing, Poetry and Birthing, is very well-connected (smile!)–as the many wells, especially in Ireland, contest.

In years gone by, my pal Kathy Jones (of Glastonbury UK Goddess Conference fame) and I, amongst others, revived the tradition of creating Bridey Dolls, birthing a yearly Bridey, appreciated through the year and beyond. So I too birthed a Bridey last night, attached my special California wand (normally it should be of some tree or bush that starts with a ‘b’), and swaddled her in an ornate Moroccan travelling pouch left by my old Wise Crone Cafe pal, Margaret Kimber. I stood at the door and knocked thrice, and each time my savvy goddess-wise husband (whose surname is that of the Great Goddess of the Trackways, Elen) correctly called out “Enter Bridey!” She entered our home officially and lives with us now, bringing Her Blessings. Tonight She will eat with us–‘poundies’ (potatoes), eggs and lots of butter and cream–as milk and butter are especially associated with her. Her blessings on our house will be many, as She is a benevolent, healing Presence to a household who honours Her.

And for the first time I created a Brigit ‘brat’ (wait for it!): I placed a piece of unwashed cloth,  a white (milk-colour) handmade shawl brought back from the recent 9th World Wilderness Congress in the Yucatan, out in our garden, as it is said that Brigit will come by and turn it into a magic cloth.  The full moon had risen (in Leo, my sun sign!), flooding the garden with clear and silvery enchantment; I placed the shawl on a prolific rosemary bush (associated with The Feminine, as sage is with The Masculine). This morning, covered with dew and a dusting of silvery frost, I brought it it. It is now a healing blanket to be carried Where Need Be.

Brigit’s Time–Imbolc–heralds the coming of spring, when wee lambs start to appear in the hills and dales of this Magical Island of Britain, when ewes’ milk pours forth,  a by-product of which can be a lovely cheese!

My husband and I often visit our favourite local ‘holy well’ in yes, Holywell (near St Ives, Cambridgeshire). From being an overgrown bramble infested site some years ago, it’s been restored and cared for (THE GREAT RETURNING has its own natural momentum). Once there were many such such ‘holy wells’–too many have been sealed up or forgotten. They marked healing springs, where in olden times people would tie bits of cloth and other items on branches of trees and bushes nearby, as an indication of prayer for some healing necessity. There are still a few of these in Scotland and Cornwall. Most such wells and springs would have had some linked association with Brigit or a form of Brigit, often transposed onto some Christian saintly figure (males or female). Thus the ‘pagan’ Brigit became St Brigit, and Long May She Live in whatever form She chooses to take through these difficult times, when we sorely need Her Healing Touch.

Hail Brigit!

There are many celebrations in honour of Brigit…as The GREAT  RETURNING gets underway. As well as in Glastonbury (where the Goddess Tradition is alive and well!), back in my ‘home town’ of London, Ontario (Canada), The Circle up at Brescia College (at my old Alma Mater, University of Western Ontario) is sponsoring a Brigid (Brighid) Festival from 19-21 February: “Entering the Matrix…Being Betwixt and Between”, featuring the Irish scholar Mary Condren: It will be a weekend of ritual, learning, community, art, movement, workshops and exploration as we reclaim the ancient female wisdom traditions of Old Europe through the figure of Brighid: http://www.brescia.uwo.ca/thecircle/brigit.htm;  Contact: The Circle circle@uwo.ca. My good goddess-pal Penn Kemp, with whom I have a Great Returning workshop last autumn in London, is also one of the workshop facilitators.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Penn Kemp February 1, 2010 at 14:51

Your writing is so inviting, Leona! Congrats on this beautiful blog. You’ve found your form in poetic prose!

I’ll forward this to The Circle. More information about that event is also up on my Muse news, released today: http://www.mytown.ca/pennletters.

Here’s celebrating Brighid across the waves! And the return of Spring… Persephone, as the groundhog foretells…

Love from sun on deep snow,
Penn

Cheri February 1, 2010 at 19:38

Funny how Brigid has a way of connecting (through friends like Leona) even when your daily life fills our mind with mundane thoughts.
Tonight of all times (call it synchronicity, but we all know different) I meet with a circle of women, unknown to me as of yet.
It seems the great Goddess has called us together for a reason. The great homecoming has begun and I welcome her once more to my home and hearth. I shall not forget again.
In love and light,
Cheri

marianna lines February 1, 2010 at 23:39

HAIL BRIDGIT! THIS is the night of Imbolc, the ancient Celtic
Fire Festival of Spring. Light a candle, seek a star, gaze at the moon. Be with your hearth, your heart, your light within. Birth is awaited, our own rebirth, and new birth of many waiting to enter this world. I feel I am almost channeling something tonight, and must light the candle to welcome those spirits who gather. Rosemary bushes, Birch trees, Rowan trees, all hold out their naked branches for the Goddess to return and bring the light of spring, the living hearth, the will to live on and flower anew.
23:37 on Monday 1 February, 2010, Collessie, Fife Scotland, UK

Kathy Jones February 2, 2010 at 10:36

Dearest Leona
Love your writing as always.
Last evening we held our Imbolc ceremony for Bridie in the Goddess Hall in Glastonbury. It was a beautiful sweet evening with the children and young people bringing Bride’s light into the dark hall. Sally Pullinger embodied Bridie as a young girl, full of energy and life, happiness and the new. There were poems and songs, laughter and dancing and we made Bridie Crosses from rushes from the land of Avalon. We were blessed by Her presence.
Wishing you a happy Imbolc and a blessed New Year filled with Her inspiration.
Your forever friend Kathy

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