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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.