Imbolc, also known as the Feast of Brigid, celebrates the arrival of longer, warmer days and the early signs of spring on February 1. It is one of the four major ‘fire’ festivals (quarter days, referred to in Irish mythology from medieval Irish texts. The other three festivals on the old Irish calendar are Beltane…
“Pagan Goddess Brigid” by Alter-Eye
Excellent article by David Salisbury
Brigid, meaning “exalted one”, is the daughter of the Dagda and a true survivor goddess. Throughout the many twists and turns of religion in the British Isles, Brigid has managed to stay within the heads and minds of the people. Whether in the form of a saint, a goddess, or the embodiment of the land, she is the keeper of tradition that stretches into antiquity. Witches and pagans who maintain a religious devotional practice often honor Brigid only on Imbolc. But as this next Imbolc approaches, I ask you to take that a step further and maintain a regular practice with her, if she calls to you.
Brigid is a poet, a smith, a healer, an artist, and the kindler of flames. For those familiar with the Norse runes, you might think of her power best described by Kenaz, the torch rune. She ignites the inner flame within us, allowing us to seek our own healing, our own power. She asks “What tools do you bring to this work? What do you need?” The following is a simple devotional you may perform on Imbolc or any time at all. If you wish to form a close bond with the Exalted One, regular devotionals, prayer, and deep listening will go a long way.
Early in the morning, just as the sun is rising, approach your altar space or some other space in the home where you can see the sun if possible. Begin by breathing slowly and deeply, until you enter a state of meditation suited for deep communion with the gods. With each breath, feel the first rays of the sun flowing into your body, as if on a stream of flowing water or the crisp sweetness of wine. Have three fresh candles before you. You may wish to dress them with oils and plants associated with Brigid such as angelica, myrrh, wisteria, heather, and basil.
Light the first candle and say:
Lady of the forge, I call to you. The fierce strike of the anvil resounds the call for transformation. I honor you.
Light the second candle and say:
Lady of the healing cloth, I call to you. Sunlit rays upon the dawn awaken the weary travelers. I honor you.
Light the third candle and say:
Lady of the sacred flame, I call to you. You who are eternal and forever unending. The holy spark. I honor you.
Take your time observing the light of the three candles and meditate for a bit on these powers that you have honored. Contemplate how transformation, the renewal of a new day, and the warmth of a flame in the winter make you feel. Brigid is the embodiment of these powers on their own and the feelings that stir as a result of them.
Before you is placed a bottle of wine or some other special drinking brew. There is also a bowl that will hold the offering. Breathing deeply, hold the vessel of the brew before you and say:
Lady of the deep well
Shepherd and keeper of humanity
Cosmic queen of the dawn
Keeper of the healing waters
I honor you!
Pour the brew into the bowl and raise it high before you. At this point I try to notice if I can actually feel her presence. I may also whisper personal words of honor, or even poetry. As a bardic goddess, I find that Brigid is often impressed when someone takes the time to speak original poetry in her name. Writing and releasing this devotional is one such offering.
When you’re done, you can leave the offering bowl on your altar for a bit or immediately take it outside and pour it (with reverence) onto the ground.
It is done.
Brigid: Meeting the Celtic Goddess of Poetry, Forge, and Healing Well by Morgan Daimler
Brigid: History, Mystery, and Magick of the Celtic Goddess by Courtney Weber
Tending Brigid’s Flame: Awaken to the Celtic Goddess of Hearth, Temple, and Forge by Lunaea Weatherstone
Imbolc: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for Brigid’s Day by Carl F. Neal
And from Empowering Astrology:
“Happy Imbolc! We’re in the part of the zodiacal calendar when the Sun is halfway between the season. Here in the northern hemisphere we’re in mid-winter, the time when the Sun hits around 15 Aquarius.
The ancients celebrated these “cross quarter days” with different rituals and festivals. Halloween is another one of the four festivals along with Beltane/May Day (5/1) and Lammas Day (8/1). Here in the US, we celebrate Groundhog Day and predict the arrival of spring.
In other news the Moon is in Sagittarius today, turning our sights toward foreign lands, long distance travel, exploration, faith, and philosophy. Wherever the Moon is day-by-day reveals how we’re nourishing ourselves and the emotional tone of the day.”