Saturday, August 2, 2014

Brigid, Brigid, won't you come in?

 Today is the festival of Brigid, the maiden aspect of the ancient triple goddess. She returns at 'First Light', the half-way point between winter solstice and spring equinox.
Brigid is associated with fire, creativity, poetry and healing. In Ireland people still visit Brigid's wells and springs at First Light, in search of healing.
'Brigid, Brigid, won't you come in?' cried the women of ancient Britain, as they flung open the doors of their cottages and welcomed in the light. Today, a circle of candles around Brigid's 'well' reminds us of the candlelit processions of ancient times.
Even when the Church converted the festival of Brigid into Candlemas, the lighting of candles continued, for who doesn't love to kindle brightness?
 In Britain, the women would skilfully weave crosses, dolls and spiralling shapes from straw or corn. My old aunt Trudy from Yorkshire sent me this one, which is like a little straw bell.
 We remember to give thanks for the return of the flow, just as our Celtic ancestors did, by pouring a libation of ewe's milk on to the earth,
 blessing the new growth that is stirring in the dark soil. The old Celtic word for ewe's milk is Oi-melg, which gave rise to the name Imbolc (Imbolg) for this festival.
 It's a fragrant and delicate season, this early spring awakening. Despite the nip in the air, we can feel the blessing of the returning light, bringing fresh hope and playful energy.Time to prepare to open to new life — but gently.

Come Bride! Come Bride!
Enter in!
We're ready for thy blessing now
Ready for thy blessing now.

[Old invocation. Bride was another word for Brigid]


RuthG said...

I've just been reading that a Celtic custom was to hang ribbons on the threshold and by the hearth on Imbolc eve, so that Brigid would bless them when she came in.

Juliet said...

That's a nice custom Ruth. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

So lovely to read this today. Especially because I picked a magnolia exactly like yours. I hesitated to do so but having seen yours and read about Brigid I feel I did the right thing.

Juliet said...

What nice synchronicity, Gallivanta. And I must have been posting on your blog exactly as you were posting on mine! Thank you.

Unknown said...

Thank you for the beautiful reminder of Brigid Day, Juliet. It quite slipped my mind.

Penny O'Neill said...

Once again, you warm my soul with ritual, Juliet. I know of St. Brigid and the Celtic customs, and now am wrapped up in the continuance of it through you.

I love dishes, plates, bowls. If I could, I would have a set of dinnerware for every day of the year. Of course, that is foolish and impractical and so on, but, it always has me admiring plates and bowls and cups and such. When I first saw your top photo, I thought what a gorgeous plate for springtime. Your Brigid's well is lovely, indeed.

Hotly Spiced said...

I've never heard of Brigid but I have heard of Candlemas. I love to light candles - the light's not only pretty but they cheer you up. I love your plates in the first image xx

Juliet said...

* Joan, I always watch for Brigid's day as I love to welcome in the light. I'm glad you were reminded.

* Penny, How lovely that you know of St. Brigid also. Ah, dishes and bowls - my mother had so many beautiful ones, mostly dispersed now. The top photo is actually of a glass bowl, into which I placed a brooch and some sprigs of rosemary, but it does look like a plate when viewed from above.

* Charlie, I make ritual altars and you create beautiful dinner party settings. And candles are beautiful on both.

Thank you Joan, Penny and Charlie. Good to see you.

Friko said...

This is very strange:
Brigid’s Day is early February and so is Candlemas n the Northern hemisphere.
Is everything turned upside down in the Antipodes?

Whenever or whatever, spring solstice it is.

Juliet said...

Friko, yes our southern hemisphere seasons are the opposite to yours. And so we are on the verge of early spring here.

Vicki Lane said...

What a lovely ceremony! Have you read, by any chance, Neil Gaiman's OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE? There are three women who are, I believe, Brigid archetypes.

Juliet said...

Vicki, I haven't read that book but will look out for it. There are 3 aspects to the triple goddess, and on the threshold of spring, Brigid represents the maiden aspect. All very interesting. Thank you Vicki.
PS Your comments come through twice each time, so I delete one.