Monday, February 1, 2010

February 1: Brigid's Day

This afternoon as I was getting ready to leave work I was amazed to see that the sky was still light. Light! The days truly lengthen at last. Even as snow still covers the ground, hardened into a tough crust of ice.

Today is Brigid's Day. (Catholics have co-opted the day as Candlemas, the feast day for St. Bridget of Kildare, one of the patron saints of Ireland.) Brigid is the Celtic goddess of poetry, healing, and smithcraft--the common element of the three aspects being fire, of course: the fiery spark of inspiration, the warmth of good health, and the flame of the forge. And fire brings light, the growing light and deepening power of the sun as the days slowly, slowly but surely, lengthen.

In the pagan calendar the day is also called Imbolc, meaning "in milk," the time of year when sheep and goats give birth. Perhaps a little early here in Maine, but at Aldermere Farm in Rockport it won't be long before the Belted Galloways start dropping their calves. Whatever you call the day, it's all about light and the hope of new life.

One ritual I have heard recommended for the day is to light a candle and walk through each room of the house, purifying each with the candle's small flame. And since I can't hammer on a piece of metal, or perform any medical miracles, another ritual that seems appropriate for the goddess of poetry would be to write a poem, of course, if but a small one.

Inspiration's spark
heats the deep cauldron of words.
May they rise with light.

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