Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Brigids Sacred Day of Fire, Imbolc
Imbolc or as it's known in Gaelic, Oimelc, which translates to mean "ewe's milk", is a festival of fire that honors the coming of Spring. At this point Spring is quickly approaching , and farmers would be preparing for the planting season. For Celtic traditions, this day is known to be a day for the Goddess Brigid, who is traditionally honored on Imbolc.
In Kildare, Ireland, there is essentially a church who's patroness saint, is St. Bridget, which is the Christianized version of the Goddess Brigid. Although this Parish is Christianized, there is legend of an ancient group of Priestesses who tended the sacred flame of Brigid on this site. The flame was tended by the priestesses who eventually became nuns, for 19 days, and on the 20th day Brigid tended the flame herself . Later, the church decided that this ritual was too Pagan and had the fire extinguished. It wasn't until the 1990's that the flame was re-lit and is still tended by the nuns today. Many Pagan women have made pilgrimages there for Imbolc to honor Brigid on her sacred site and light a candle for this ancient Goddess.
On the website for the Saint Brigid of Kildare Parish, they have information and prayers for their "Patroness", who of course is Brigid. I think it's so wonderful for a church in Ireland to have a Patroness instead of a Patron! It's refreshing and inspiring. They have a beautiful prayer to Brigid on their site, and I decided to share it here. This prayer is used when hanging Brigid crosses, or as a blessing for the parish (it could also be used as a blessing for your home).
May Brigid bless the house wherein you dwell
Bless every fireside, every wall and floor;
Bless every heart that beats beneath its roof;
And every tongue and mind for evermore;
Bless every hand that toils to bring joy
And every foot that walks its portals through.
This is my wish today, my constant prayer
May Brigid bless the house that shelters you
Wishing you all a blessed Imbolc!
Photo courtesy of Wendy Andrew
Posted by Tara at 2:00 AM