Tonight and tomorrow is when most modern Pagans celebrate the fire festival of Imbolc sacred to the goddess Brigid, patroness of poets, healers, and smiths. Today is also the feast day of Saint Brigid of Ireland patron saint of poets, dairymaids, blacksmiths, healers, cattle, fugitives, Irish nuns, midwives, and new-born babies.
Brigid: Saint and Goddess.
In Kildare, Ireland’s town square, a perpetual flame is kept lit and housed in a statue that pays homage to the Pagan and Christian conceptions of Brigid. Festivities for La Feile Bride in Kildare started on January 31st and will continue through February 7th.
Here are a collection of quotes on this holiday.
“The earliest whisperings of Springtide are heard now as the Goddess nurtures Her Young Son. As a time of the year associated with beginning growth, Imbolc is an initiatory period for many. Here we plant the “seeds” of our hopes and dreams for the coming summer months.” – Witchvox
“Imbolc is associated in Ireland and Scotland with Bríd the mythological woman whose nineteen nuns tend the eternal fire at Cill Dara. The sacred fire is associated with Uisneach, the omphalos or spiritual bellybutton of Ireland-as-goddess, and it was there that Bríd is said to have taken the veil. Imbolc is one of four seasonal holidays in the Celtic world with Halloween (Samhain), Bealtaine and Lughnasadh.” – Brendan Patrick Keane, Irish Central
“It seems crazy that a fire Goddess be the alternative name for Imbolc. But at least for coastal Caifornia, She might be the perfect patron for what this season signifies. Looking around at the rushing streams, moss growing everywhere, and leaden skies, one could scarcely guess that much of California’s landscape is dominated by fire, by the fact it burns regularly, and that dousing the burns simply guarantees they will be all the worse when they come again. As they will.” – Gus diZerega, Beliefnet
“One of the nicest folk customs still practiced in many countries, and especially by Witches in the British Isles and parts of the U.S., is to place a lighted candle in each and every window of the house (or at least the windows that face the street), beginning at sundown on Candlemas Eve (February 1), allowing them to continue burning until sunrise. Make sure that such candles are well seated against tipping and guarded from nearby curtains, etc. What a cheery sight it is on this cold, bleak, and dreary night to see house after house with candlelit windows! And, of course, if you are your coven’s chandler, or if you just happen to like making candles, Candlemas Day is the day for doing it. Some covens hold candle-making parties and try to make and bless all the candles they’ll be using for the whole year on this day.” – Mike Nichols, The Witches’ Sabbats
“I’d sit with the men, the women of God, There by the lake of beer, We’d be drinking good health forever, And every drop would be a prayer.” – Saint Brigid’s Prayer