KILDARE TOWN, Ireland — Revered by Pagan and Christian alike, the Irish figure of Brigid is perhaps the perfect symbol of the spirit needed in our troubled times. She left an inspiring legacy as a spiritual leader, peacemaker, woman of the land, advocate for the poor, and giver of hospitality. And in her native County Kildare, Brigid is honoured at the Solas Bhride centre, run by the Brigidine Sisters. In 2017, the centre has just used its annual Feile Bride festival to celebrate 25 years of work spreading her message to people of all faiths and none. The order was founded in County Carlow in 1807, under Bishop Daniel Delany, as a restoration of an old order of St.
TWH – The time has once again come for many modern Pagans and polytheists to celebrate the fire festival of Imbolc, sacred to the goddess Brigid, patroness of poets, healers, and smiths. The modern celebration is often held on Feb. 1 or Feb. 2. However, due to work schedules and other practical considerations, rituals and other group events can also be found throughout the week and weekend.
On May 1, Courtney Weber’s new book Brigid: History Mystery, and Magick of the Celtic Goddess was released by Weiser Books. This is Weber’s first venture in publishing. While reading the book, I found myself most intrigued by the journey that led to the writing this book and by Weber’s personal relationship to the Goddess,Brigid. I decided to contacted her. And, through an interview, I had the opportunity to further explore this aspect of the book and more.
I celebrated Imbolc before a hearth-fire with a Christian. Not a ‘pure’ Christian, mind you. One learns in Druidry that purity isn’t something that can exist within Nature, let alone human belief. What’s purity anyway, except a violent stripping away of flesh and bone to get to the very ‘pure’ and perfect core of existence? And by then, all you’ve got is a pile of shredded skin and muscle and hair and no life left.
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, the 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 Brigid. Festivities for La Feile Bride in Kildare started on Jan 30 and will continue through Feb 8. There are many other notable observances held during these first few days of February. For example, in some Celtic Recon traditions, this is a time to honor Cú Chulainn’s three-day combat with his foster-brother Fer Diad.