Dear Goddess of the Fire,
February 1 is known to Celts as Imbolc (pronounced I-molk) a day that celebrates the halfway point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. The preparation for Spring, the blessing of the newly planted crops and wishes for a happy and healthy home.
To the Irish, Imbolc marks the Feast day of Brigid, Celtic Goddess and Patron Saint.
Brigid is the only Saint who retained her Goddess stature (no easy feat when the Catholic Church was involved.)
She is the Celtic Goddess of poetry, healing, hearth and home, fertility, fire, new beginnings and creation.
Her story as it has been passed down from ancient text, is that she was born a slave in Dundalk, Ireland in approximately 451 AD. She became a nun and founded a monastery in Kildare, (that pagan history says was where she could perform healings under the guise of the church.)
She refused an arranged marriage and ran off, wild and independent, and wound up educating thousands of women, who otherwise would have been deemed slave property. Women in ancient times were mere trade material for marriage or for slavery work.
The story as told by the Church was that Brigid, in attempt to console a dying man, wove rushes from the river into a cross, at his bedside, soothing him from his dying agony, and as such became one who could calm the soul and commit them to God before entering the spirit world.
This resulted in her monastery duties and eventual sainthood.
According to Celtic history, Brigid’s father was a pagan chieftan and her mother a Christian. It was thought that her mother was kidnapped by Irish pirates in Portugal and brought to Ireland as a slave.
Brigid’s father named her after one of the most powerful Goddesses in Pagan religion, the Goddess of fire. He kept Brigid and her mother as slaves even though he was a wealthy man. Brigid spent her early life cleaning, cooking and tending to the farm animals.
She became inspired by St. Patrick and studied his teachings, then became a Christian. Brigid’s father arranged a marriage for her, but instead she dedicated her life to God’s work. She founded many convents all across Ireland, Kildare being the most well known.
Young girls from all over Ireland who did not wish to become property, instead gave themselves to God under Brigid’s care knowing they would instead receive an education and life skills.
The most famous story was when Brigid visited the King of Leinster asking for a grant of land. The King laughed at her and denied her request. Brigid had found the perfect fertile location to grow her healing herbs, collect wood for the cooking fires and heat, and a lake nearby for water. She decided to revisit the King and this time asked for something so ridiculously small, he could not refuse.
She asked “will you give me as much land as my cloak will cover?” The King thought she was joking and in seeing how small her cape was, agreed.
Brigid spread her cloak on the ground and legend has it that it began to grow. She asked four friends to hold each corner and begin to walk in opposite directions. The cloak grew with each of them until it covered many acres of land.
Instead of being angered, the King was astonished and thought she had been blessed by God, knelt before her and granted her land. He also provided her with food and supplies, including money. Soon after the King converted to Christianity and began helping the poor, and it was all attributed to what has been called “Brigid’s miracle.”
So over centuries of time, Brigid weaves between both ancient practice (called Pagan religion) and Christianity. Keeping both her Goddess and Saint titles.
You can consciously choose to connect with her and the energies of fire, birth, miracles and inspiration if you want to. It is closest to you right now.
No matter how you feel about religion or terminology, all ancient practices were simply about living in connection to all that is- the wise Star Beings and Nature, while here on Earth in human form.
Call it what you will, but we are all working our way back to remembering this practice and this connection, within ourselves and with each other.
Ways you can celebrate Imbolc:
Smudge your home
It is a time of cleansing and renewal
Make a list of all you wish to let go of
Burn it in a small fire (a candle to light it and a small shell to capture the ashes is fine. No one needs a giant bonfire for this.)
Plan a fun get together on the weekend (have friends in or go out)
Celebrate hearth and home.
Spend time finding inspiration through creativity
Since Brigid is the Goddess of poetry and fertility, call on her to be your muse, write something, paint something in her honor, find a way to celebrate all of your gifts and inner yearnings, in a way that births them into this world, if only just for you.
Create an altar in your sacred space that honors Brigid
You can have flowers, seeds, fire, water, written wishes, intentions etc. All that represent a new cycle of life.
Imbolc and Goddess Brigid are deeply special to my soul, I hope you will take a few minutes to create a space for her in your life, and call her in to guide you…
Wishing you deep manifestation of a burning inner fire, sewing of new spring seeds, and connection to your divinity….
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