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  • Nichol Skaggs

Imbolc

Updated: Oct 19, 2019

This Feast of Imbolc (also know as Candlemas) is sacred to the Celtic Goddess of Fire – Brighid, Brigid, Brigit (meaning ‘Fiery Arrow’ or ‘Bright One’). Imbolc, the feast day of Brigid, is celebrated on February 2 with a festival of light and is associated with purification and fertility at the end of winter.



Born at the exact moment of daybreak, Brigid rose into the sky with the sun, rays of fire beaming from her head.


Brighid possesses an unusual status as a Sun Goddess who hangs her cloak upon the rays of the Sun and whose dwelling-place radiates light as if on fire. It is said that wherever she walked, small flowers and shamrocks would appear.


As a sun goddess her gifts are light, (knowledge) miracles, inspiration, Smithcraft and vital healing energy.


Brighid sparks fires of inspiration, she provides the ‘fire in the head’ for poetic expression, and is the patroness of poets, storytellers, singers, composers and musicians.

The role of the blacksmith in any tribe was seen as a sacred trust and was associated with magickal powers since it involved mastering the primal element of Fire, moulding the metal (from Earth) through skill, knowledge and strength. Concepts of smithcraft are connected to stories concerning the creation of the world, utilizing all of the Elements to create and fuse a new shape.


Brigid is also the Goddess of physicians and healing, divination and prophecy.

Brigit rules the elements of Water and Fire. As a Water deity, Brigit has many healing springs and wells dedicated to her throughout the British Isles.

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As the patroness of the healing arts, using the elements of fire and water to heal. She taught the properties of herbs, and blessed many springs and wells across the land, that are still venerated today. Her girdle and mantle had healing properties, which she shared with others. A drop of water from her cloak created a healing lake. It was said in legend that Undines also served Brigit and worked to purify the waters at her beckoning.


She is also a patron of Womanly Arts – midwifery, dyeing, weaving and brewing, and the guardian of children and farm animals – particularly cows. The connection of Brighid to human fertility is most apparent in the continuation of the custom of honouring women who have just given birth through the lighting of candles (Candlemas).


The Saint Brigit, was born near Kildare, on February 1st in 453 AD, to the Morrighan and the Dagda, the Good God and Chief of the Tuatha de Danaan, the ancient fairy race of Ireland, and the sister of Ogma, who invented the Ogham alphabet. Saint Patrick was still alive when she was born. Her father had a vision that his wife would ‘bring forth a daughter conspicuous, radiant, who will shine like a sun among the stars of heaven’. In the vision, the father was told to name his child after the Goddess Brigit. When the radiant child was born, she was immediately bathed in milk. She would tolerate no impure food, and was nourished on the milk of a ‘white skinned, red eared cow alone’. The attributes of white skin or fur with red ears on an animal (usually a cow, hound, or deer) is indicative of an ‘otherworldly’ or faerie animal in Celtic mythology.


Milk, to the Celts, was sacred food, equivalent to the Christian communion. It was an ideal form of food due to its purity and nourishment. Mother’s milk was especially valuable, having curative powers. The cow was symbolic of the sacredness of motherhood, the life-force sustained and nourished.


That’s why the celebration of Imbolc, which deeply honors Brigid, involves itself with the lighting of fires, purification with well water and the ushering in of the new year (Spring) by a maiden known as the Queen of the Heavens.


The island of Ireland itself is said to be the green mantle of Brigit.

White is her colour, and symbolizes purity. It is also the colour of her sacred food – milk and milk products. White also brings to mind the pristine snowy landscape during her festival in early February.


Red is also her colour, the colour of the hearth fire.

Green (Her mantle/cloak is also said to be green, a colour associating her with faeries. Ireland is sometimes described as her green mantle. But In Christian tradition, her mantle/cloak is blue, which is also associated with the Virgin Mary.

Brigid inspires you to honor that which ignites your passions.


Symbols:

Fire – flames, candle crown, hearthWater – springs, healing wells, lakesBrigid’s CrossAnimals – white cow with red ears, lamb, wolf, snake, swan and vultureTalismans – Shining Mirror to Otherworld, Spinning Wheel and Holy Grail


Name variations:

Brighid; Bride (Scotland), Brid, Brigit, Bridget, Briganta (England), Brigan, Brigindo (Gaul), Berecyntia, Brigandu (France)

Name means Bright One, High One, Bright Arrow, Power. Christianized forms: St. Brigit (Irish), St. Ffraid (Welsh), St. Bridget (Swedish), Queen of Heaven, Prophetess of Christ, Mary.


Imbolc - Cross Quarter Day, Blacksmiths, Brighid, Brigid, Brigit, Child Birth, Clover, Fairies, Fertility, Fire, Goddess, Healer, Healing Well, Hearth, Home, Lamb, Midwifery, Poetry, Shamrock, Solar, Stars, Sun, Undine, Water, Wolf

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