“The Sun’s path has returned to where it was at Samhain. Take some time to notice the quality of the light, for it is the same now as that shimmering magical glow of late October. But instead of the season of dark and silence before us, in the Northern Hemisphere, the season of light and growth lies ahead. And so we prepare ourselves with rites of renewal, cleansing, and commitment. We celebrate the first stirrings of Spring.” – Beth Owl’s Daughter, “The Days of Imbolc”
While Spring Equinox marks the official start of Spring, there is another festival that marks the unofficial “stirrings” of Spring called Imbolc (celebrated February 1-2). It is the quickening of the Goddess as she prepares to cast off Winter and turn her energy to the renewal of Earth. Think of a seed deep within Gaia, the promise of new growth. This is the time when those seeds are preparing to burst and eventually bloom into the fertility of Spring. The light grows as well, pulling us steadily out of the darkness of winter. We know Spring is coming even as we remain deep in the womb of Goddess. The church appropriated this ancient Feast and calls it Candlemas.
Brigid’s Day, the celebration of the Irish Goddess Brigid, is not only an ancient festival, but still celebrated in Ireland. It begins on Brigid’s Eve (January 31) with bonfires lit to represent the inspiration and fire of the Goddess. It coincides with Imbolc and is celebrated in Ireland to current day. Brigid made the transformation from ancient Goddess to beloved Christian saint (Saint Brigid of Kildare) and Her Sacred Flame continues to burn at Kildare.
Ways to Celebrate Brigid’s Day and Imbolc:
Tend your seeds that have been planted, perhaps at the Winter Solstice or the recent New Moons. Are they growing, progressing? What actions do you need to take to make them manifest in the world? Keep your intentions focused and follow up with actions to bring your creations to bloom.
Make a corn dolly or Brigid’s Cross. From Irishcentral.com
Candle Magick is a wonderful way to light the flames of Brigid and these Feast Days. Traditionally, Imbolc was a Celtic Fire Festival and as Candlemas, people would bring their candles to the church to be blessed for use throughout the year. Dress special candles in ritual on Imbolc and Brigid’s Day for your use later in the year. This video is about how to dress a candle for the Goddess Oshun, but swap out the herbs and oils sacred to Brigid (see below) and dress your own candles!
Dedicate your hearth or a cauldron to Brigid. As a domestic hearth Goddess, Brigid blesses the center of our homes and keeps the everyday and sacred fires burning. Do a dedication of your hearth and create a mini altar for her. If you do not have a “hearth”, consecrate and dedicate a cauldron to Brigid and use it just for her workings. Offer some grains, breads, dairy products, or part of your family meals to her.
Create a Brigid Anointing Oil or Goddess Blessing Bag.
- Trees sacred to Brigid include: Birch, Willow, Vine, Oak, Rowan
- Herbs, Flowers, and Oils sacred to Brigid include: Bay, Broom, Chamomile, Cedarwood, Corn, Crocus, Dandelion, Flax Seeds, Heather, Heliotrope, Lavender, Lemon Verbena, Red Clover, Rosemary, Rowan Berries, Sage (kitchen), Shamrock, Snowdrops, Violet, Wisteria
- Crystals/Metals for Brigid: Amber, Brass, Carnelian, Citrine, Fire Agate, Garnet, Gold, Herkimer Diamond, Ruby, Sunstone
Every day, every night
that I praise the Goddess,
I know I shall be safe:
I shall not be chased,
I shall not be caught,
I shall not be harmed.
Fire, sun, and moon cannot burn me. Not
lake nor stream nor sea
can drown me. Fairy
arrow cannot pierce me.
I am safe, safe, safe,
singing her praises.
~The Shield of Brighid from The Goddess Companion by Patricia Monaghan
Begin your Spring cleaning. Purify your temple and sanctuary spaces. Make room for new growth. Some favorite herbs for temple purification: Rosemary (use the sprigs dipped into holy water to asperge your space); Thyme (means to burn or sacrifice); Frankincense and Myrrh (two amazing resins to cleanse and sanctify your space); Hyssop (hang dried bouquets or place bowls of the herb for protection). Add sage and bay leaves with rosemary to create a magickal purification bundle. Invite the Goddess Brigid or your favorite Goddess to inhabit your sanctuary.
Create an Imbolc Anointing Oil. According to A Druid’s Herbal by Ellen Evert Hopman, the herbs and oils for Imbolc are: Angelica, Basil, Bay, Benzoin, Blackberry, Celandine, Coltsfoot, Heather, Iris, Myrrh, Tansy, and Violets. You can also check out the inspirational Brigid Goddess Spray from Red Wholistic.
Write poetry. Brigid is the Patroness of Poetry and Bardic lore, as well as a font of inspiration. Write poetry as an offering to her. Need some inspiration? Join Mael Brigde on Mystery School of the Goddess for the online course, Journey with Brigit – Goddess of Poetry.
Learn more about Brigid as Goddess and Saint. Mael Brigde and Renee Starr both offer amazing online courses that you can start anytime on Brigid through Mystery School of the Goddess:
- Discovering Brigit – Goddess and Saint with Mael Brigde
- Stepping into Brigit – Goddess Activation Course with Mael Brigde
- Fire Magic Spells of the Goddess with Renee Starr
Take an offering to a sacred well, spring, or water source in Brigid’s name. Many sacred wells are dedicated to Brigid as Goddess and Saint in Ireland. Take some pieces of cloth that have meaning or that you have worked with for intentions and healings, then dip into the well or water, and leave tied near the well/water. These are called Clooties and there are numerous “Clootie wells” dedicated to Brigid.
Milk played an important role in these rites. It symbolized new life and so was considered sacred and pure. I imagine it was also dear. It seems unlikely to me that ancient peoples actually drank much milk. It would have been difficult to store and milk production was tied to the seasons. I reckon they made butter, cheese, yogurt, etc and possibly saved the milk drinking for ceremonies or for offerings to goddesses—particularly fertility goddesses. Brighid, the mother/sun goddess associated with Imbolc, has a close association with milk. Legend has it that she was nourished exclusively on milk from an Otherworldly red heifer. Even post-sainthood, St. Brigid was considered a protector of herds and a producer of milky miracles. Pre-Christian and Christian worshippers of Brighid/St Brigid relied on the goddess/saint to bless and protect the milk supplies of their herds and the new mothers in their communities. ~ Gather Victoria
Eat Dairy. Eat Cake. Eat for the Goddess Brigid. Gather Victoria has incredible recipes, thoughtful commentary, and the best resources for seasonal celebrations. There are many great posts, so take your time exploring and don’t miss:
- Imbolc Lavender and Rosemary Seed Cake
- Lavender Tea Milk Punch – A Libation to Toast the Returning Light
- Feast of Light – Reviving the Magical Foods of Imbolc
Brigid has many forms so create your Goddess practices according to the aspect that you are seeking to expand.
Brigid has been known by many names: Brigit, Brig, Bride, Brigantia, Saint Brigid, and Mary of the Gael. But no name encapsulates her personality as well as the term Breo Saighead (or Breo Aigit), meaning “fiery arrow or power.” Although this term was thought to be the root source of Brigid’s name (as stated in the ninth-century book Cormac’ Glossary), modern scholars have proven this early etymology to be based on folk legends and rumors rather than on scholarly sources. Yet the term Breo Saighead will not go away. It remains with this powerful triple goddess of the fire, as she inspires, transforms, and heals. Brigid is the force behind grand ideas and simple comforts. She is direct, quick, enlightening, and enlivening. She is the shaft of lightning or the glowing candle that illuminates our world. Fast, furious, bold, and strong, she arrives quickly and departs just as fast, leaving behind a brighter mind or soul or heart. Brigid’s gifts lie not in what she brings to you, but rather in casting light on what you can bring to the world.~ Michelle Skye
RESOURCES FOR THE GODDESS BRIGID:
Goddess Brigid on MotherHouse of the Goddess – see all Brigid articles
What the Goddess Brigit Means for Men and Women Today by Mael Brigde
The Feast of St. Brigid by Carol P. Christ
Happy Brigid’s Day – Imbolc and the Story of the Goddess Brigid by Amantha Murphy
Brigit: Sun of Womanhood Anthology from Goddess Ink – book edited by Patricia Monaghan and Michael McDermott
Goddess Companion: Daily Meditations on the Feminine Spirit by Patricia Monaghan