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 31st and will continue through February 9th.
Here are a collection of quotes on this holiday.
“Highlights of this years festival include workshops in cross weaving for adults and children in the County Library, workshops in circle dance, poetry, painting and organic gardening, talks on the different aspects of Brigid by authors Dolores Whelan, Karen Ward and Kate Fitzpatrick. There will also be a day of healing and a special Eucharist at Faughart on St.Brigid’s Day, open to all, a pilgrimage walk from Dundalk to Faughart Shrine, a walk exploring the sacred sites of Faughart, and a ritual celebration of Brigid and Imbolc.” – The Argus/Independent
“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
“When I lived in the Midwest Imbolc was often a bitterly cold holiday, and snow was the norm. Instead of despairing over that ice and frost it’s better to think about what those elements mean in the long-term. All of that cold and snow set the table for the beauties of Spring, Summer, and Fall (and sometimes there really is nothing more beautiful than a snowy night). Snow fertilizes the fields and fills our rivers and streams when it melts. For so many places it’s a vital part of the eco-system. Instead of lamenting the reality of the situation, celebrate it! Celebrate the snow, celebrate the cold! Curl up with a hot chocolate and be thankful your heater works.” – Jason Mankey, Patheos
“Brigid is a time to honor how the potentialities hidden in the year to come, potentialities that can with skill and wisdom be transformed into what is visible. If we are uncertain as to what they are (and how can we not be?) we can invoke Her in whatever aspect seems most appropriate, and ask Her to help them manifest in a good way, and as gently as possible. But if the blows from Her hammer within the forge are mighty ones and Her fires overwhelmingly hot, know it may take such blows and such heat when the material to be shaped into its inner promise is strong and perhaps also recalcitrant.” – Gus diZerega
“You might know her from the roses in her hair, the eye sockets in her skull, or the icy Voodoo hand there to hold if you need it. Maybe you don’t even know her name. It’s Brigitte, Maman Brigitte. She is the ancient primal feminine power.In Haitian Vodou she is honored as the first woman buried in every cemetery. Alongside her husband Baron Samedi, she guides and protects all who seek her blessing. Here devotees find wisdom, connection and healing justice. She is very often associated the Catholic St. Brigit and the Celtic goddess Brighid. Consequently her feast is celebrated on February 2, also known as Candlemas or Imbolc. St. Brighid is the patron saint of poets, healers, fugitives, midwives, blacksmiths, Irish nuns, and infants.” – Lilith Dorsey, Patheos
Many blessings to you this holiday! See you at the lake of beer!