This morning saw the Wildwood Seed Group back on The Edge to welcome Bride and to celebrate the return of the Spring. There was still plenty of snow on the ground, it was pretty overcast but managed to stay dry. Thankfully the cloud had seen off the forecast frost, but boy was it cold!
The altar looked rather pretty. I am determined that one year I will actually find sheep’s milk for Imbolc, but this year I got as close as I could by using goats milk from a dairy just a few miles away. Lindsey provided her delicious oatcakes which we used with the milk as an offering to Bride, fortunately Lindsey had another secret stash so we were all able to sample some afterwards!
There was a white candle in the lantern for Bride, my little sheep jug to represent the lambs (filled with a bit of greenery collected on the way to cheer it up) and the obligatory snowdrops. Claire had crafted a beautiful Bride Doll from straw, swan feathers, crystal and silver. There is a long history of creating images of Bride from straw in Ireland and the Scottish Highlands. She is processed around the houses by young girls and greeted by the women of the house with butter, milk, cheese and oatcakes. At the end of the evening she’s laid to rest in a cradle.
Appropriately, when we called in the Light the sun appeared!
During the Ceremony we had space to recite poetry, which is particularly apt for this rite with Bride, being goddess of poetry and learning. We had a nice selection of poems.,
Jane chose Fiona McLeods ‘Brigit Speaks’ and made a brilliant job of the Gaelic!
I am older than Brigit of the Mantle,
I put songs and music on the wind
Before ever the bells of the chapels
Were rung in the West
Or heard in the East.
I am Brighid-nam-Bratta:
Brigit of the Mantle,
I am also Brighid-Muirghin-na-tuinne:
Brigit, Conception of the Waves,
Brigit of the Faery Host,
Brigit of the Slim Faery Folk,
Brigit the Melodious Mouthed
Of the Tribe of the Green Mantles.
And I am older than Aone (Friday)
And as old as Luan (Monday)
And in Tir-na-h’oige my name is
Suibhal: Mountain Traveler,
And in Tir-fo-thuinn, Country of the Waves,
It is Cu-gorm: Gray Hound,
And in Tir-na-h’oise,
Country of Ancient Years,
It is Sireadh-thall: Seek Beyond.
And I have been a breath in your heart,
And the day has its feet to it
That will see me coming
Into the hearts of men and women
Like a flame upon dry grass,
Like a flame of wind in a great wood.
I chose Caitlin Matthews poem, which has more of the feel of a traditional Celtic Blessing:
Brighid of the Mantle, protect us,
Lady of the Lambs, protect us,
Keeper of the Hearth, kindle us,
Beneath your mantle gather us,
and restore us to memory.
Mothers of our mother,
Remind us how to kindle the hearth,
To keep it bright,
To preserve the flame,
Your hands within ours,
Our hands within yours,
To kindle the light
Both day and night.
The mantle of Brighid about us,
The memory of Brighid within us,
The protection of Brighid keeping us
From harm, from ignorance, from heartlessness,
This day and night,
From dawn till dark,
From dark till dawn.
After the ritual we all repaired to the cafe to thaw out, although one of the group did remain to watch over the Grove!