The Goddess Brighid, Crosses And Imbolc


Still there are FlameKeepers who tend the sacred flame of Brighid on a 20 day cycle – 19 shifts, plus one day upon which Brighid tends the flame herself.

Brighid's Cross for Imbolc
Brighid’s Cross for Imbolc

Photo by Amanda Slater under Creative Commons ShareAlike License 2.0

Brigid’s , Brighid’s, or Brigit’s cross, also with the “Saint” prefix, or (in the Irish language) Cros Bríde, Crosóg Bríde or Bogha Bríde, though not recorded before the seventeenth century, is an Irish symbol. Though regarded as a Christian symbol, it may possibly derive from the pagan sunwheel and is sometimes mistaken as such. It is typically made from rushes or, less often, straw. For kids crafting activities, we’ve even made them from colorful pipe cleaners with good effect. It is comprised of a woven square in the center and four radials tied off at the ends.
Brigid’s crosses are associated with Brigid of Kildare, who is venerated as one of the patron saints of Ireland. The crosses are traditionally made on February 1st, which in Irish Gaelic (Gaeilge) (is called Lá Fhéile Bhríde (St. Brigid’s feast day), the day of her celebration. This feast coincides with the more ancient one of her pagan namesake, one of pagan Ireland’s most important Goddesses. Brigid, is associated with fire, healing and holy wells, blacksmithing, crafts and poetry. Her feast day celebrates the earliest stirrings of Spring, and is called Imbolc. Many rituals are associated with the making of the crosses. It was traditionally believed that a Brigid’s Cross protects the house from fire and evil. It is hung in many Irish and Irish-American homes for this purpose.


She is, perhaps,  one of the most complex and contradictory Goddesses of the Celtic people. Brigid can, in many ways,  be seen as the most powerful religious figure in all of Irish history. Numerous layers of separate traditions have been interwoven, producing Her story and impact on generations of those who venerate her. She moves effortlessly down through the centuries and has succeeded in travelling intact through time, fulfilling different roles in various times.

Sé do bheatha a Bhríghid, bandia na beatha. (Here is your life, Brighid, Goddess of Life.) – Pádraigín Ní Uallachaín

For more of her beautiful words and music please visit:

http://www.irishsong.com/

 

 


Considering The Source – Isaac Bonewits

Isaac Bonewits
Isaac Bonewits

Isaac Bonewits would have been 64 years old yesterday. He was a hero of mine from early on in my years of first learning that I was Pagan. One of the first things I read by him was his Advanced Bonewitz Cult Danger Evaluation Frame or ABCDEF for short. He also recorded several songs I enjoyed. Among my favorites were his version of Circles, The Wizard and We Won’t Shave Any Longer. Some of his songs were silly, fun songs, others were serious. You can find some of his silly ones here at Other Silly Songs by Isaac. I had the good fortune to meet him at an Imbolc gathering before he passed away while I was still a Grove Organizer for Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (ADF). He was as friendly and personable in person as he generally was in his writings and other endeavors. Mr. Bonewits wrote a hymn to Brighid on the spot just before our Imbolc ritual. His wife, Phaedra Bonewits posted a status update yesterday mentioning that 64 was a significant age to turn for people of their generation, eluding to the Beatles tune “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64.” She said that she saw a couple at the farmer’s market yesterday about their age and was hit by her sense of loss of not having Isaac there to share life with anymore. She went back to her car and cried in sorrow. I can understand how she feels. It is painful when those we love dearly are no longer there to share life’s moments with us. We know, of course, that they will be born anew but until our paths cross again we must carry on in our current lifetime. I too feel a sense of loss that Isaac is no longer walking among us in the physical plane but am thankful for all of the great works he left behind for us. He was a great elder, leader and an inspiration to many. Hail Isaac Bonewits!

As I mentioned the other day I am curtailing my Facebook time lately. I still check in because, my friends and family still send me messages through it, post things on my timeline, tag me on it and other stuff. But I don’t spend my downtime like I was sharing memes and such. I did get contacted yesterday by a fellow who moved to Texas from Florida a couple of years ago but is living in a very small town with no Pagan population to speak of. He wanted to find other Pagans to get together with and stop feeling so isolated. So, I had him friend me on Facebook and then arranged to suggest him as a friend to some of my Pagan friends down in the Houston and Austin area closer to where he is at. I know that they can put him in touch with others and hopefully he will soon be able to find a group in the community that fits him. Facebook is good for stuff like that. But, I have found some rewarding things to do with my time which I was spending sharing memes and whatnot on the mighty book of face. A lot of those memes have websites attached to them so I decided to take the time I usually don’t bother to take and go find these websites. Some of them are great resources of knowledge, wit and inspiration. Some are other blogs which I am now subscribed to. I have also been going around reading other people’s blogs, commenting and taking part in discussions. There is so much more to be found when you dig deeper into things. Facebook is like a stream in which the water rushes by quickly and is gone. Visiting these websites and blogs is like taking a dip in a nice pond or even the ocean in some cases. There is so much more to be found if we take the time to explore it.

Of course I have still been doing my social thing on Google+ as well, popping in to Pinterest, Twitter and StumbleUpon here and there. Not to mention working on promoting some big event that we are having this coming Saturday. What was that again? Oh yeah… PAGAN PRIDE DAY! Thou must get thine asses down there with some food for the canned food drive, roll up thy sleeve and give blood for the Pagans For Life blood drive so you can get one of those blue bandage armbands. Everyone knows, all the sexy people are wearing blue bandage armbands because they check your blood when you give it to insure you’re clean and disease free. Just sayin’! 😉 After that, go have a good time! We will have performers, vendors, workshops, rituals and all kinds of awesomeness going on. It’s just a few days away now!

Oh! Also, be sure and say hi to Pagan Pope Tommy Elf who is NOT A PRIEST dagnabbit! (inside joke) But is an all around great guy who does a local podcast for Pagan minded folks. He will be out there with a recorder to take down anything people might want to say and share with his listeners.

Bíodh  amhlaidh,

Troy