Tonight and tomorrow is when many modern Pagans celebrate the fire festival of Imbolc sacred to the goddess Brigid, patroness of poets, healers, and smiths. Today is also the feast day of Saint Brigid of Ireland patron saint of poets, dairymaids, blacksmiths, healers, cattle, fugitives, Irish nuns, midwives, and new-born babies.
In Kildare, Ireland’s town square, a perpetual flame is kept lit and housed in a statue that pays homage to the Pagan and Christian conceptions of Brigid. Festivities for La Feile Bride in Kildare started on January 29th and will continue through February 5th.
Here are a collection of quotes on this holiday.
“Perhaps on this Imbolc, Brighid will ignite some fire in me that will illuminate ways in which I can better align myself with the rhythms of the earth. Perhaps I will see in the mind of my heart some memory of a simpler time; an ancient world that my spirit belonged to, and still belongs to. Perhaps when that happens I will think of the ewe, and the newborn sheep, and I will see in them something true about the world, about myself, and about the Great Mystery to which we all belong.” – Teo Bishop
“Brigid is a time to honor how the potentialities hidden in the year to come, potentialities that can with skill and wisdom be transformed into what is visible. If we are uncertain as to what they are (and how can we not be?) we can invoke Her in whatever aspect seems most appropriate, and ask Her to help them manifest in a good way, and as gently as possible. But if the blows from Her hammer within the forge are mighty ones and Her fires overwhelmingly hot, know it may take such blows and such heat when the material to be shaped into its inner promise is strong and perhaps also recalcitrant.” – Gus diZerega
“Brigit’s holiday was chiefly marked by the kindling of sacred fires, since she symbolized the fire of birth and healing, the fire of the forge, and the fire of poetic inspiration. Bonfires were lighted on the beacon tors, and chandlers celebrated their special holiday.” - Mike Nichols, The Witches’ Sabbats
“The fire of Brigantia was both the fire of fertility with the earth and the fire of the sun, which gradually gained in strength as the days lengthened. The lighting of bonfires or candles was an expression of magical encouragement to the sun, as well as a sign of rejoicing at the more abundant light. Traditionally, Imbolc marked the point after which it would no longer be necessary to carry a candle when going out to do early morning work.” - Alexei Kondratiev, The Apple Branch: A Path to Celtic Ritual
“I’d sit with the men, the women of God, There by the lake of beer, We’d be drinking good health forever, And every drop would be a prayer.” – Saint Brigid’s Prayer
Many blessings to you this holiday! Be sure to check out the seventh annual Brigid in Cyperspace Poetry Reading in your travels around the web tomorrow, I’ll see you by the lake of beer!