Tonight and tomorrow is when many 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.
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 27th and will continue through February 3rd.
Here are a collection of quotes on this holiday.
“I’m spending the days between now and Imbolc putting the finishing touches on a plan of action for this calendar year. I’ve made lists of goals, some practical (declutter closets) and some not (spend birthday at the beach). I’ll make a collage, draw up action plans. It all will be based around putting some more juice in a long-term manifestation plan to bring my life more into alignment with my creative and spiritual goals.” – Kathy Nance, Patheos.com
“Brigit’s holiday was chiefly marked by the kindling of sacred fires, since she symbolized the fire of birth and healing, the fire of the forge, and the fire of poetic inspiration. Bonfires were lighted on the beacon tors, and chandlers celebrated their special holiday.” – Mike Nichols, The Witches’ Sabbats
“Maybe it isn’t so much about needing to create something that is unique to me as it is needing to create something that keeps that internal fire lit; something that is deliberate, and relevant, and fresh. Perhaps these words will be my own, or they might come from someone else. But either way it seems important as I approach this High Day — not as the organizer of a fellowship, but as a solitary Druid — that I set aside time to find what lights that fire in me. This is what I think we are all called to do.” – Teo Bishop, Bishop In The Grove
“The fire of Brigantia was both the fire of fertility with the earth and the fire of the sun, which gradually gained in strength as the days lengthened. The lighting of bonfires or candles was an expression of magical encouragement to the sun, as well as a sign of rejoicing at the more abundant light. Traditionally, Imbolc marked the point after which it would no longer be necessary to carry a candle when going out to do early morning work.” - Alexei Kondratiev, The Apple Branch: A Path to Celtic Ritual
“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”