In the coming week we will be celebrating Imbolc, or Candlemas as it's known to Christians. A celebration of the mid point of winter, the goddess Brigid and her Christian continuation St Brigid, and a time to light fires in the darkness.
Brigid to the Celts was a mother goddess, and a triple goddess at that. A deity of fire her dominion was the fire of the hearth, the fire of the smiths' forge and the metaphorical inspiration fires of the bard. She was a goddess of the sun then, warmth and light here on earth. Beautiful art and card by EmilyBalivet.
Her celebration comes with lots of candles, fire goddess' love candles. In the legends of St. Brigid, she is a nurse maid to the future savior, and she rescues a young Jesus wearing a circlet of candles to light their way. (Never mind that the sainted woman was born some 500 years after Christ, there were angels involved!) Wonderful embroidered alter cloth from Rainfeather13. Embroidery is also associated with the goddess, who carries with her a bag of embroidery supplies.
During Imbolc it is traditional to make a Brigid's cross. The old style are made of reeds or straw and have three sides to represent the three aspects. The Celts also simply liked things in threes! With the advent of Christianity in the isles the crosses morphed to have four sides. Either way, one makes a new cross to hang in the house for protection, and burns the one you have had hanging the entire last year. Marvelous shining silver pendant from AFMetalsmith, who perhaps receives some of the smiths' fiery inspiration.
This is also the time of year when cows and ewes are giving birth, and milk returns to the diet. In a sparse winter milk and cheese would be a lifesaving boon. The birth of new animals is also a promise of a plentiful season ahead, and a welcome sign that spring is coming. Milk and Honey bath powder from YarrowStalkHerbals to renew yourself!
Whether she is a fertile goddess of the hearth, or a saintly virgin healer, Brigid offers protection, inspiration, healing, renewal and the promise of spring to come. She is a patron of housekeeping and writers, a protector of lawfulness and woman's rights. Here in the beautiful snow covered winter she is said to be sleeping, waiting for the strengthening sun to awaken her and her mantle of green. Gorgeous print by MythWeaver with more information about Imbolc.
While I love the gray winter days, and the sparse trees, I have been flipping thru seed catalogs and plotting my garden. The dark months are still here, but there is a promise of spring just around the corner!