Exploring Imbolc & the Goddess Brigid
Imbolc (Candlemass, Imblog, Imbole) (Pronounced: EE-Molc – like ewe’s milk) is celebrated on February 1st and/or the 2nd. Incense: Rosemary, Frankincense, Myrrh, Cinnamon. Decorations: Corn Dolly, Besom, Spring Flowers. Colors: White, Orange, and Red. (thewhitegoddess.co.uk)
We also know this holiday as Candlemas, or Brigid’s (pronounced BREED) Day, which is one of the four Celtic Fire Festivals. This festival commemorates the passing of winter and the beginning of the spring planting season. This Festival also marks the progression of the threefold Goddess energies turning from the Crone to the Maiden.
This is a time of transition for many of us. It’s the tween time when we’re stuck between winter and spring. Depending on where you live, you might have snow on the ground, while other places still feel the sting of winter’s cold. I have a feeling that winter isn’t over yet.
In Arizona, I’m noticing the first glimpses of spring with the arrival of many new species of birds. The sun also sets a bit later each evening coloring the sky in celebratory colors of pink and mauve.
Brigid was the patron of poets and bards, healers and magicians. We honor her for her gifts of prophecy and divination. A sacred flame maintained by a group of priestesses, would honor her at her sanctuary at Kildare, Ireland. This location later became the home of the Christian variant of Brighid, St. Brigid of Kildare. Kildare is also the location of one of several sacred wells in the Celtic regions, many of which are connected to Brighid. Even today, it’s not uncommon to see ribbons and other offerings tied to trees near a well as a petition to this healing goddess.learnreligions.com
Imbolc is one of my favorite Sabbats. It’s the first spring celebration where we honor the Celtic goddess, Brigid, considered as the goddess of fire, hearth, poetry, healing, smithcraft, and midwifery. If you can make it with your hands, your gifts honor Brigid.
Brigid is a Sun goddess, inspiring all of us to act with inspiration, and achievement. She asks us to embrace our creativity. She offers the gifts of knowledge and skill, access to the divine realm, and healing if we seek it.
Brigid is the Goddess of:
- musicians and singers,
- scholars and teachers,
- artists, tradespersons, and artisans, especially metalsmiths
- healers and herbalists,
- seers and prophets.
“Brigid is the daughter of Dagda, and therefore one of the Tuatha de Dannan. Her two sisters were also called Brighid, and were associated with healing and crafts. The three Brighids were typically treated as three aspects of a single deity, making her a classic Celtic triple goddess.”(learnreligions.com)
There is some discussion on whether the Morrigan and Brigid are the same because of the triple goddess affiliation of maiden, mother, and crone.
The easy way to remember the difference is that Brigid is the goddess of Imbolc, and the Morrigan (also known as a different triple goddess) is the goddess of Samhain. We compile her triple goddess status from the mythology of the three sisters: Babd, Macha, and Morrigu.
Brigid, or Brighid
This is a time for communing with Brigid as we tend to the lighting of her sacred flame. I light candles to honor her. I choose white for Brigid, and yellow or red to represent the passing of winter and our movement into spring, the time of the Sun.
Do you notice the green ribbon on my altar? One of my favorite traditions is to leave out a green cloth ribbon by placing it on an outdoor windowsill. The belief is that Brigid stops by and blesses the ribbon as she completes her journey that evening. The ribbon represents Brigid’s green mantle and is known as the “Brat Bride.” This ribbon is from last year. I’ll use it again this year. Then, throughout the coming year, I use this ribbon for healing and protection.
Brigid lights the fire of creativity in all of us. As poets, we should accept these gifts with humility. Dedicate a poem to Brigid as a thank you for her inspiration.
I’ve written what I would like to call a Reverse Tanka (7/5/7/5/5) however, I don’t know if this form really exists. (Let me know if it does). This syllabic form can easily fall into the Gogyoka in English form with five lines spoken in breaths or phrases.
Honoring the Goddess Brigid
Brigid, goddess of the dawn
keeper of the flame
muse of creativity
maiden, mother, crone
©2020 Colleen M. Chesebro
I’ll repeat my celebration from last year’s Imbolc. You can read about that HERE.
Bride of the earth,
sister of the faeries,
daughter of the Tuatha de Danaan,
keeper of the eternal flame.
In autumn, the nights began to lengthen,
and the days grew shorter,
as the earth went to sleep.
Now, Brighid stokes her fire,
burning flames in the hearth,
bringing light back to us once more.
Winter is brief, but life is forever.
Brighid makes it so.learnrelitions.com