Monday, August 5, 2013

Brigid, Brigid, won't you come in?

 Gathering at First Light/Imbolc/Brigid/Candlemas on August 2 was extra special this year, because our group was able to take a whole weekend together. One member, who has been living in England for many years now, was back in New Zealand and able to join us.
We enjoy making food together,
 and joke that we always have far too much. But we are learning to simplify.
 First Light marks the half-way point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. In Celtic society, this was the festival of Imbolc, derived from the old word for ewe's milk, which began to flow again with the returning light and warmth.  It was also the festival of the Celtic fire goddess Brigid, goddess of inspiration, healing and poetry.
And so, as we lit our candles, we read and listened to some inspiring poetry.
This year I had secretly made a special gift for everyone: a Candlemas/Brigid lantern. In my next post I'll show you how to make one; but for now, watch what happens when the candles are lit inside:
 These were photographed before the handles were fixed on.
The spirit of Brigid is youthfulness and play, for it's the maiden aspect of the Goddess that comes to the fore at this time. In Britain people would open the door and call out, 'Brigid, Brigid, won't you come in?', inviting in light and fun after the long winter.
Women used to walk in candlelit processions as part of the festivities. And so here we were, seven grown women, each lighting her lantern and singing a simple song (taught to me by 5 year old Mira), walking in procession with our lanterns in the darkness of the night, giggling away and delighting in the simple magic.
I go with my Brigid lantern
My lantern is going with me
In heaven the stars are a-shining
On earth they are shining in me.
The light is returning, inklings of spring are appearing. The fragrance of magnolias and early spring flowering bulbs is wafting through the air.
 Happy Brigid to you all, and in the northern hemisphere, happy Lammas/Harvest.

14 comments:

Max said...

your ceremony sounds wonderful, with read aloud poetry and lit lanterns i bet it was quite atmospheric x

juliet said...

Hi Max, the atmosphere was beautiful. It would work really well with children, especially with the candle trick I used (to be revealed in the next post). Thanks for visiting.

Penny O'Neill said...

What a joy it is to hear again about Brigid and your ceremony, Juliet, with a song taught to you by Mira. Can she already be 5 years old? I'll look forward to your instructions on lantern making. Lovely post, Juliet, and I thank you for sharing First Light with us.

juliet said...

Penny, you are very welcome. Mira has just turned 5, and is very proud of being 'quite grownup' now. And your little ones are growing fast also.

Hotly Spiced said...

I always enjoy cooking with friends. It's such a fun way to prepare a meal and yes, over-catering is always the issue! xx

juliet said...

Charlie, you've just taught me a new word: over-catering, so that's what it's called! It certainly fun to cook with others.

Friko said...

What dear little lanterns these are; they remind me of the St Martin’s lanterns children in Germany make and carry through the streets in procession on St Martin’s Day.

I am so happy that you found your brooch again. It is a beautiful piece. Keep it safe.

juliet said...

Friko, how interesting to hear about the children in Germany making these lanterns. There's a link here, as I was inspired by the lantern festival at the Steiner School (which is based on Rudolph Steiner's work), which my granddaughter attends. The brooch is safe now, thank you.

Vicki Lane said...

A lovely ritual! I'm re-reading Neil Gaiman's AMERICAN GODS -- all about how people bring their gods with them when they come to new lands. I'm sure Brigid felt properly welcome on the other side of the world.

Loved the story of the brooch -- what a happy ending!

juliet said...

Vicky, the book sounds interesting. My ritual work has been about bringing the gods/goddesses & rituals from old Europe together with the Maori cultural practices.
Glad you enjoyed the story, and thanks for visiting.

cecilia buyswheeler gunther said...

Oh your lanterns are wonderful, especially with the lights out.. I look forward to seeing how you make them! have a lovely day .. c

juliet said...

Thanks Celi, nice to see you here. No ocean for you today, but some light instead. Will post the instructions soon; am away from home computer where the photos are.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Juliet - love those candles and the symbolism you evoke with your stories through your blog.

Isn't that fun that Mira gave you a 'hymn to Spring' .. and yes our summer is very slowly waning ..

Cheers to you - Hilary

juliet said...

Hilary, we've had nothing but wild weather: wind, hail and rain since then. Spring is a fickle season.
Thank you, and I'm glad you enjoy the symbolism.