February 1st is St Bridgets Day in Ireland, celebrated by school children making St. Bridget’s crosses, like all good little catholic children do in Ireland.
Only it is a pagan celebration, a pagan symbol and a pagan goddess. Brigid was an Irish Celtic Goddess long before the Christians came. The “St. Bridget’s Cross” is in fact a pre-Christian pagan sun motif, celbrating the arrival of spring. Brigid was a goddess of fertility. Imbolc is the first cross quarter day of the Celtic calendar, lying halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.
Brigid had a sanctuary in County Kildare where an eternal flame was kept forever burning. The sanctuary was surrounded by a hedge. Any man who attempted to enter the precinct could not pass through the hedge without becoming confused, being driven mad, or dropping down dead.
Irish Celtic women never needed a feminist movement. They were boss.
Brigid was also the Celtic goddess of smiths, healing, midwifery and poetry!
Imbolc, the festival of Brigit, Goddess of ancient Ireland. She ruled over the Spring, fertility, healing, poetry and smithcraft. As Goddess of Poetry she has pride of place on this site. Officially Imbolc is a cross quarter day, one of the four great festivals of the Celtic calendar. It lies between Winter solstice and Spring equinox.
The title of this post is in Irish Gaelic. It means “Day Feast Brigit” (Brigit’s Feast Day)
Along with Hallowe’en it was found to be a sticky holiday with the Irish. Very tricky for the Christian church to get rid of. So they subsumed it. They changed Brigit, the Goddess, into Saint Bridget. This year the Christian feast is Feb 1st and Imbolc is Feb 3rd. Choose your poison, or celebrate both.
Just to fill up the agenda this year, Groundhog day lies in between! Welcome to Spring if you live in Ireland. If you live in the USA you need to hear from the furry rat.
Spring: by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Nothing is so beautiful as Spring –
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.
What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden. – Have, get, before it cloy,
Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.