Already, we in Ireland can see a stretch in both the mornings and evenings, assuring us that the time of the greatest darkness of winter is over and that spring is already on its way. The ancient Celtic festival of Imbolc, in early February, marks the beginnings of springtime in Ireland. It celebrates the awakening of the life-force within the earth, the growing day light and the re-emergence of the energy of new life. It is a time when the wonderful heritage of both Brigid of Faughart and Brigid of Kildare, is celebrated.
Brigid, as both Goddess and Christian saint stands at the heart of the Celtic spiritual tradition. Brigid is greatly loved and revered all over Ireland and as each year passes has an increasing following world-wide. Brigid often described as “breathing life into the mouth of dead winter” is associated with inspiration, new ideas, and new possibilities.
Two festivals honour Brigid in Ireland at this time– the Brigid of Faughart festival in the Dundalk area and Fheile Bhride in Kildare town. In the Brigid of Faughart festival we celebrate, not only the ancient heritage of Brigid of Faughart, but we ask the following questions: “What does Brigid represent in modern Ireland,” “What qualities does she embody that would serve us in our world today?” and, “How can Brigid and what she represents inspire us humans to live wisely amidst the change, the turmoil and the uncertainty that is so much a part of our lives in 21st century Ireland?”
When we read the stories associated with Brigid we learn that she was a woman who trusted completely in God and life to provide what was needed in each moment. She was renowned for her generosity to everyone, which I believe was born out of her trust in the abundance of the universe. She was a woman who courageously challenged the status quo and what was seen as possible. She made bold choices in her life; choices that were life-enhancing.
Now, more than ever, we need not only to call on her to support or heal us, but we need to go one step further. We must develop within ourselves those qualities that distinguished Brigid in her day, so that in doing this we ourselves become catalysts for change in today’s world, as she was in her time.
So at this time we invoke her energy and guidance in becoming alive again to all the new possibilities present in the midst of the darkness and doom and gloom which pervades our reality. We ask her to support us to say YES to our dream of what else might be possible within our life!
Brigid of the sunrise
Rising in the morning
Rising with the springtime
Greening all the land
In this springtime if each of us chooses to include one new possibility within our lives and develop these possibilities through our decisions and choices, what a wonderful world it will become!
We invoke Brigid to bless and protect us and our dreams.
“The mantle of Brigid about us
The memory of Brigid within us
The protection of Brigid keeping us from harm,
From ignorance, from heartlessness
This day and night from dawn till dark.”
Dolores Whelan, Imbolc 2012