An idea buds and takes deep root
An image forms from where naught had been
A blank is now not
A canvas now speaks
A fire is lit within my soul.
–A poem to Brighid by me, a few years ago
Brigid, gold-red woman,
Brigid, flame and honeycomb,
Brigid, sun of womanhood,
Brigid, lead me home.
You are a branch in blossom.
You are a sheltering dome.
You are my bright precious freedom.
Brigid, lead me home.
–from The Goddess Path by Patricia Monaghan
Today is the Goddess Brighid’s day, a day when we celebrate the returning of the light. So even though Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and six more weeks of physical winter will be here, the days will start to increase, the light lingering in each one just a bit longer.
Brighid is known as Bride, Brigit, Brighde, and other variations; the name means “bright arrow” or “bright one.” She is a fire Goddess, presiding also over springs and wells, healing, purification, poetry, inspiration, transformation, arts & crafts, youth and immortality. She is the fire of poetical inspiration, the fire of home’s hearth, and the fire of creative smithcraft. She is the healing waters that emerge from deep within the Earth, reflecting both the sun and moon. She is a Goddess of three, a Triple Goddess, with Maiden, Mother/Lover, and Crone aspects.
A sacred fire to Her was kept burning at Kildare in Ireland for thousands of years; because of her popularity and the deep love the people had for Her, She was eventually christenized into “St. Brigit” in order to be acceptable to the church. But the practice of tending her sacred fire continued well after her “sainthood,” and continues to this day. Here are some lovely images of the lighting of Her flame in Kildare in 2006.
Her sacred number is 19, as it takes 19 years for the sun and moon to make a full movement through the sky and return to a starting point. Her fire was tended by 19 women, one per day, and on the 20th day Brigit herself tended it. There are also many stone circles around the British Isles (“Brigit’s Isles” or Britannia) that have 19 stones.
Her sacred colors are white and red, for the light of creation/inspiration and the color of fire. She is often depicted tending a cauldron: all of her meanings and symbols are intertwined within this image.
“Althought the light is growing, since Yule, now at Imbolc it is still just a hint, a promise of what is to come. You can sense the deep magic imbuing everything, the promise of what is to come mingling with echos of what has passed. It is time to again evaluate our journeys, to make changes and choices, to consciously mold our lives and our paths. Imbolc is a time to focus on Inspiration, Creativity, and Intention. Brigid’s fire warms us, makes us forget the cold and remember the coming warmth of the year. Her fire of Inspiration fills us with ideas and we think of all that we want to accomplish this year…her fire of Creativity fills us, and we envision all kinds of projects…her fire of Intention fills us, and we are moved to (re)dedicate ourselves…” –from The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries by Z Budapest
I love Imbolc, as I am a child of Brighid. :-) Today is a day of renewals; the Goddess moves from her Crone aspect back to that of Maiden. I am personally going through so much transition and renewal right now, and today I light Brighid’s flame to honor all the changes and know that She is always there to guide. I honor the outgoing Crone/winter/inward time of year as I honor my mother’s spirit. I honor the incoming Maiden/spring/outward time of year as I honor my own spirit as I make these changes. I feel like I am starting over again in the sense that I am striking out in life “on my own,” without my mom within talking distance. But with Brighid’s flame warming me, I know I have the strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and that I’m never alone.
A flame for Brighid