Spiral stones at the entrance to Newgrange, Ireland. GNU-Free photo via Wikimedia.
Spiral stones at the entrance to Newgrange, Ireland. GNU-Free photo via Wikimedia.

“There is mystery at the heart of what holds us together, expressed in shared symbols, stories and experiences.” ~ Brigidine Sisters

We enter into the Mysteries of Imbolc, Candlemas, or Fèill Bhrìghde.

As I’ve mentioned in previous musings, Imbolc-Candlemas has long been considered a thin time and an  ancestral holy time traditionally celebrated during the first few days of February.

The mid-point of Imbolc occurs when the Sun is at 15 degrees of Aquarius.

In 2017, that’s February 3rd, give or take some hours based on whereon this beautiful Earth you are at the moment.

The ‘Candlemas Hora’ or Holy Time begins on February 3rd — see below for more on this ‘time of practice’.

And it’s Brigid (or Bhrìghde) time, too.

The Goddess & the Saint: Candlemas, St. Brigid & Cill-Dara

With the arrival of Christianity, Imbolc became known as Candlemas, and was associated with the Virgin Mary emerging from her ‘seclusion’ after the birth of Jesus and presenting the newborn Christed One at the temple.

And in the land of Brigid, the Christian-Pagan tapestry interwove the stories of the Goddess with those of a nun and abbess known later as St. Brigid — a powerfully inspired woman, born in the mid-fifth century, who is credited with starting several monasteries, including the famed Kildare Abbey at which the eternal flame of Brigid burned.

The name Kildare comes from Cill-Dara, which means Church of Oak and hints at an earlier Indigenous spiritual tradition centered around the Goddess Brigid.

St.Brigid-stained-glass-window
Brigid’s Eternal Flame and stained glass window (Brigidine Sisters)

At that time, the High Priestess symbolized the embodiment of the Goddess and the priestesses tended the flame and the great work done in Brigid’s honor and name.

Later at this Kildare site, the Abbess and Saint and her nuns continued the work in the name of St. Brigid.

About St. Brigid, the Brigidine Sisters share that there was “a great emphasis on Brigid’s faith, her healing powers, her hospitality, her generosity, her great skill with animals, and above all her compassion for the poor and the oppressed.”

St. Brigid “… exercised miraculous influence over the weather, animals, and the landscape. “She stilled the rain and wind,” the final line of the Bethu Brigte, a medieval account of Brigid’s life, tells us,” shares Jan Richardson, writer, artist, and Methodist minister.

The Essence & Qualities of Brigid, or Bhrìghde

The name Brigid or Bhrìghde is associated with “breo-agit” or “fiery arrow”, and “brihati”, a Sanskrit word meaning “exalted one.”

Fitting for both Goddess and Saint.

Stories of both Goddess and Saint emphasize a graciousness, an abundance of Spirit, and an embodiment that extends itself into the home and the “home arts” as well as in more transcendent or community spheres.

In this, Brigid or Bhrìghde recalls the Goddess Circe‘s magic of welcome and hospitality, and what This is what Jan Richardson beautifully phrases, “A habit of the wildest bounty.”

Brigid's Fire at Kildare AbbeyShe is also a courageous and fiery protector of disempowered and dispossessed, the so-called ‘powerless’, whether people, animals, or Nature herself. In this we see threads of Artemis and the Black Madonna.

Whether we look at the stories of the Goddess Brigid or Bhrìghde, or the Brigid-inspired Saint, we see a host of beautiful qualities that inspired and guided our ancestors, and connected them to the Divine essence that runs through all of life.

These qualities are abundantly available to us now as well.

Imbolc provides the timely reminder, the perfect opportunity for reflection that inspires these very qualities to spark anew within us and, like a flame, radiate their warmth, generosity, and wild bounty of Spirit to everyone they touch.

Light your candles, invoke the qualities of Brigid – Bhrìghde, feel your heart-spark quicken, and let your light shine!

This also initiates what the late Mythic Astrologer Steve Nelson called the Candlemas Hora … a holy time.

He said …

Read the full article & stir your heartful inspiration here.

To explore your part in ‘the Great Turning’, as a Wise Guide or Keeper of the Flame in these wild, transformative times, have a look at the current featured offerings or send me an email (sophiaschildren ‘at’ gmail ‘dot’ com).

Big Love, Big Heart.

Jamie

In the Orchard (1912) by Franz Dvorak. Public domain image courtesy of Wikimedia.
In the Orchard (1912) by Franz Dvorak. Public domain image courtesy of Wikimedia.

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Lots of love,

Jamie