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Article ID: 4473
Age Group: Adult
Posted: February 1st. 2000
Happy Brigid's Day Everyone!
Today, we here at TWV began our preparations for 'Brigid's Day." Also called Imbolc or Candlemas, we celebrate the advent of the coming of the 'seasons of light' by setting up the 'traditional' Bride's Bed. The Lady figure is usually formed from straw or corn husks, dressed in a fine garment and then decorated with shells, flowers, ribbons and other 'pretties.' A wand with either an acorn or seed at its tip completes the ensemble. The Brigid doll is then laid in a cradle or basket (or that wonderful large china clam shell) and left either on the doorstep or in a prominent position in the home.
In the Scottish Hebrides of my ancestors, before settling into bed on Brigid's Night, the lady or daughters of the house would spread ashes before the fireplace. Upon rising, the womenfolk would check the ashes to see if Brigid (pronounced "Breed") had etched a message for them with Her wand. To find markings in the ashes was a sign of great honor and good fortune for the entire family. Since the fertility symbolism here is quite obvious- and Brigid is often revered as a patron goddess of childbirth-these symbols could also predict a new birth in the family or a 'country marriage' (handfasting) come Beltaine (Single ladies, spread your ashes!).
For many of us, this is also the 'flu season.' Brigid is a goddess of healing (many wells in Ireland and Scotland were-and still are to those in the know!- dedicated to Her), Brigid's Day is a good time to begin a healing ritual regime. Simply take your 'lightning water' (water collected from a lightning storm and considered a staple in this Witch household) or pure spring water and anoint your forehead with three drops each morning. If you are taking your Vitamin C or Echinacea tablets anyway, an alternative method would be to pour spring water over a silver coin (no lead please!) and then take three big gulps.
In the days following Brigid's Day, She will let you borrow Her 'magick wand' and use it to 'enliven' those houseplants that are getting a bit droopy from the lack of strong sunlight. Later, you can use the wand to motivate those seeds (that you plan to plant as soon as the frost danger is over) and get them at least thinking about waking up. And if that man in your life has been falling asleep on you lately -- .well, just ask first.
For the pastoral peoples in the countries where Brigid was honored, the time of Imbolc was when the sheep and goats began lactating (producing milk) again. This was great news for those families who had run out of milk products, mainly butter and cheese, over the winter months. (In fact, in parts of the Highlands, cheese was believed to be endowed with magickal properties.) For we pagans of today, perhaps this is but an interesting folknote, but for the people of old, going without such 'basics' was a real hardship. Think upon these things, and in so doing, honor your ancestors the next time that you pour milk into that first cup of coffee.
Natural rituals are not complicated. It is merely a matter of awareness and then anything-and everything- can become a sacred act. Give your kitties a small treat with a taste of cream. Forget the 2% stuff and get a little pint of the real thing just for this one day or evening. Then, relax in a ritual milk bath and think about all the blessings in your life. Or have a spray can whipped cream dual with a loved one. (How you remove all that cream afterwards is entirely up to you.)
In the spirit of Brigid's Day, I think that Fritz and I will just check those hearth ashes for wand-etchings in the morning and then- as long as any message that we may find contains no references to caloric intake-put a big fat dollop of cream cheese on our english muffins to celebrate. Now that is indeed a simple and natural ritual that we can really sink our teeth into!
Honored to be in your service,
The Witches' Voice
Year 2000 - Day Thirty-One
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