Blessed Imbolc to all who celebrate this day!
I experienced a wonderful Imbolc ritual over the weekend with my coven. Imbolc is a special time of mystery for my circle and this ritual is a closed one, therefore I’m not able to share its details here. What I can share is that this year we held our first Sabbat celebration at Cornflower Wolf’s house and it made for an even more special experience. Thanks to her for hosting!
We had a lovely feast afterward, with good food and lots of conversation and laughter. We discovered a wonder concept… brookies… a brownie/cookie hybrid that is really delicious! I love time spent with my sisters!!!
Because I can’t talk about our ritual, I thought that I share who Bridget is and what she means to me. Bridget has been my patron goddess for many years and she’s a guide that I have an especially close relationship with. A few years ago, when I was working on my First Degree study with the Keepers of the Hearth, I had to do an assignment on a Goddess. Well, of course I chose Bridget! I went back to that lesson and below you will find an updated version.
Bridget by Jessica Galbreth
Rulership: Fire, Smithing, Poetry, Hearth
Stone: Angelite, Lapis Lazuli
Symbol: Bridget’s Cross, cow, fire, forge
Bridget is probably one of the best known members of the Celtic pantheon. She is the Goddess of fire, poetry, inspiration, childbirth, water, blacksmith and healing, just to name a few. She is the daughter of Dagda, the “Good God” and is married to Bres, who was king of the Tuatha for a tragically short time. Together they had one son, Ruadan, who was killed by the goldsmith, Govannon.
I believe that what is best known about Bridget is that Imbolc is her day. Imbolc is February 1st (sometimes celebrated on the 2nd as well) and is also known as Candlemas, Brid’s Day or Bride’s Day. Bridget is responsible for bringing for first stirrings of Spring and is commonly associated with Groundhog’s Day.
It is said that she created the Celtic alphabet, the Ogham, after the death of her son as she was whistling. Afterward it became known as keening, the custom of wailing for the dead. Therefore, Banshee’s are believed to hold a part of Bridget’s soul.
She is a triple goddess, but instead of her inhabiting the role with two other goddesses, it is described that she shares the role with two sisters who are also known by the same name. It is said that the first sister is in charge of poetry and inspiration. She is the one who developed the Ogham. The second sister is in charge of the healing arts, herbs and midwifery. She is the protector of children and who imparts fertility. The last sister rules over fires of the hearth and smiths. This is the sister who marches into battle.
Bridget is also known as Ceridwynn, Brigantia in England, Bride in Scotland, Bridandu in Wales and France, and for a time she was even a Catholic saint. Many equate her with the Roman goddess Minerva, and therefore the Greek goddess Athena, as well.
I think one of the most interesting things about Bridget is that she is linked with a once Catholic saint. Saint Brigid of Kildare is said to have been born at Faughart near Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland. Her father’s name was Dubhthach and he was a pagan chieftain, while her mother’s name was Brocca, a Christian Pict who had been baptized by Saint Patrick. Brigid was inspired by the teachings of that same saint and angered her father because of her generous nature, which came to a head when she gave his jeweled sword to a leper. It was then that it was decided that her life would better be spent as a nun. It is said that Saint Brigid went on to establish the abbey at Kildare in 470 AD where the famed well of the Celtic Bridget is also located. She died in 525 AD and buried on the grounds if Kildare, but her skull was later exumed and taken Igreja de Sao Joao Baptista in Lisbon, Portugal by three Irish noblemen, where it still remains today. Why it was moved there I am not certain.
Bridget is often depicted as a proud warrior woman with fiery red hair. The picture above is by Jessica Galbreth and it is my favorite rendering of Bridget. It’s also one that I have framed on her altar in my home. When I see Bridget in dreams and in mediation she is wearing forest green leggings and a green and brown tunic. Her hair is coiled into a single braid that comes over her right shoulder and she wears knee high leather boots. She carries a bow with a quiver full of arrows on her back.
I’ve been thinking about what Bridget means to me and how she’s affected my course on the Path and I would have to say that her personality as I’ve come to known her is a perfect fit for me. I don’t really remember how we first came together… it’s almost as if she’s always been in my life, even before I started practicing the Craft. If I had to guess, I would have to say that I’ve always had a connection with Ireland and the Celtic pantheon of gods. In fact, Celtic Magic by DJ Conway was the very first book on magick that I read and that was probably the first time I’d ever heard of Bridget.
For me, she is all the things that you read about when getting to know her. She is strong, pure of heart and inspiring. Bridget is very encouraging when I need her and she kicks me in the pants when I need her to as well. She is usually at my left shoulder when I meditate, leaving a warm feeling on my skin.
She is also very protective. Many times when I’m meditating and am supposed to be journeying for something on my own, Bridget can be very reluctant about letting me go. She also knows that these journeys help me to grow so she backs off just as quickly as I see her get nervous.
What’s different about my relationship with Bridget is that she shows me a softer side that I never would have originally thought possible. There’s a sensuality to her that really surprised me and it’s a direct counterpoint to her strength. It’s a beautiful dichotomy that is such a perfect mirror of how light and dark work together.
I guess what’s the most interesting thing about Bridget is that she is always there for me. I get really busy with real life at times and it becomes difficult to maintain my daily practice. But Bridget is always there, no matter what. She reprimands me sometimes, but she knows that my love and respect for her is always there, even if I might not light incense to her every day.
Lady Bridget, Green Huntress
Thank you for your presence in my life
Beautiful Bridget, Goddess of Inspiration
Thank you for the gift of creativity
Thoughtful Bridget, Lady of the Forge
Thank you for your intricate design
Loving Bridget, Patron of Healing
Blessed am I for your caring touch
Multifaceted Bridget, Two-Faced One
Thank you for helping to turn the Wheel.
Helen Heartsmith, 2016
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