Imbolc and Brigid

Today has been the last day of my Yule holidays before work (and the gym!) start again tomorrow. As it was my last free day I decided to write the Imbolc ritual for our group and so spent a little time looking on the internet for a prayer and while looking I found a website that seems to have most of what we know about the Celtic goddess most closely associated with Imbolc. Brigid. So I thought I would share it here 🙂

 

Triple Goddess
Brigit

http://orderwhitemoon.org/goddess/Brigit/

 

 

 

The Welsh and Irish goddess of healing, smith craft, poetry, inspiration, queen ship and healing, she was known as the “Bright Arrow or “Bright One” and was associated with fertility and the birth of lambs in the spring. The goddess of fire, wells, springs and of poets, a teacher of the martial arts and patroness of battle. The oystercatcher bird, shamrock, the rowan tree and the scallop shell were sacred to her; she is the lady of fire and sunlight. She is said to have invented whistling, and she is sometimes depicted with a caldron, symbolizing inspiration.

 

Brigit’s feast, Imbolc, is celebrated on the first of February. Imbolc, the day of union between Goddess and God. Her shrine at Kildare was maintained by 19 virgins who tended Her undying fire until almost modern times. No man was allowed to pass beyond the hedge surrounding Her sanctuary. On Her feast day of Imbolc, the universal Celtic fertility day, the Goddess Brigit kindles the fire in the Earth, preparing the way for Spring. Her power is that of fire-in-water: a power that heals and nourishes. Imbolc is the first day of Spring, mid-way through the dark half of the year. Brigit, Goddess of all creative activity, rekindles the fire in the Earth, preparing it for the reemergence of green things.

This stirring of new life is manifested by the first flowing of milk in the udders of ewes, a few weeks before the lambing season. Agricultural tools are reconsecrated for use, household fires and the fire of the smith’s forge are blessed by the Goddess. Brigit’s Crosses are made for the protection of homes. Brigit’s snake comes out of the mound in which it hibernates, and it’s behaviour is thought to determine the length of the remaining period of frost. During this time Brigid personifies a bride, virgin or maiden aspect and is the protectress of women in childbirth.

Imbolc also is known as Oimelc, Brigid, Candlemas, or even in America as Groundhog Day. As the foundation for the American Groundhog Day, Brigid’s snake comes out of its mound in which it hibernates and its behaviour is said to determine the length of the remaining Winter.

As Muse, she inspires bards with the spirit of truth.The Celts held poetry in great reverence as it was the art of divination, the revelation of secrets, and preservation of history. Her name derives from her worship by the pre-Christian Brigantes, who honoured her as identical with Juno, Queen of Heaven. Brigit also shares attributes with the ancient Greek triple goddess Hecate. She is Ruler, Bringer of Prosperity; her two sisters display the alchemical sword and tongs of blacksmithing and the twin serpents connoting medical skill. As Guardian of the forge and consort of smiths, she is the patroness of warriors. As the Lady of the Land Who knows all herbs, She is the greatest of healers.

Her Irish consort was the Dagda, she is a daughter of the Daghda. As an individual, In pre-Roman Britain, she was the tutelary Goddess of the Brigantes tribe, and like so many Celtic Goddesses, she has some riverine associations. She was conflated into Christian mythology as Saint Brigit. The great Celtic empire of Brigantia included parts of Spain, France and the British Isles. Unable to eradicate the cult of Briget (pronounced Breed), the Catholic church made her a saint, saying she was a nun who founded a convent at Kildare. The convent was known for its miracles and evidences of fertility magic. Cows never went dry; flowers and shamrocks sprang up in Her footprints, eternal Spring reigned in Her bower.

Like the Arthurian Avalon, or “Isle of Apples Brigid possessed an apple orchard in the Other world to which bees travelled to obtain it’s magickal nectar. Brigid, which means “one who exaults herself is Goddess of the Sacred Flame of Kildare (derived from “Cill Dara,” which means “church of the oak) and often is considered to be the White Maiden aspect of the Triple Goddess. She was Christianized as the “foster-mother of Jesus Christ, and called St. Brigit, the daughter of the Druid Dougal the Brown. She sometimes also is associated with the Romano-Celtic goddess Aquae-Sulis in Bathe.
The crone Cailleach drank from the ancient Well of Youth at dawn, and in that instant, was transformed into her Maiden aspect, the young goddess called Brigid. Wells were sacred to her because they arose from oimbelc (literally “in the belly), or womb of Mother Earth. Because of her Fire of Inspiration and her connection to the apple and oak trees, Brighid often is considered the patroness of the Druids.

 

 

  The Goddess Brigit is the Triple Goddess of Brigantia, the ancient Celtic nation which included the British Isles, Brittany and parts of Spain. She is the Brigit of Poetry and Inspiration; the Brigit of Healing through the reciting of poetry at sacred Wells and Springs, and She is Brigit of the Flame, Hearth and Smith craft. She is Goddess of the New Moon, experienced by women as a wave of renewed creativity and well-being after menstruation. Her symbol is a White Swan. Her flower is the snowdrop.  

 

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One thought on “Imbolc and Brigid

  1. Some of the information she used is not correct. It wasn’t 19 virgins just 19 women. The Irish didn’t put a premium on virginity. And there have never been any snakes in Ireland.

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