Tag Archives: ancient religion

Imbolc, Brighid and Poetry

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Brighid's Cross - Imbolc Altar

Brighid’s Cross – Imbolc Altar (Photo credit: alisonleighlilly)

I had wanted to post this on the day of Imbolc but as it turns out, I am a bit late.Some of us acknowledged Imbolc a few days ago, signifying the first day of spring in the ancient celtic religion.  Groundhog Day today, is a leftover from those beliefs, also Candlemas celebrated by some stems from Imbolc.  Although the sources differ on the meaning of Imbolc,  “ewe’s milk” or “in the belly”  –  either way it signals lactating sheep and the beginning of spring.

Those living in the countries still covered with snow and ice may beg to differ, spring seems to be still far away, but the days are growing longer and most of the unseen activity is taken place under the ground.  Imbolc is the celebration of the strengthening of the sun and the awaking of the seeds from their deep winter sleep.

The fiery Irish goddess Brighid or Brid (meaning Bright One) is honored on Imbolc.  She is the goddess of healing, smithcraft and of poetry. She is the keeper of the sacred flame and guardian of the hearth.  Purification and cleaning are associated with her.  When Christianity swept over Ireland, the old gods and goddesses were not forgotten by the people of the land and so the Church had to make concessions and allow the worship of such as Brighid.  Today, she is known as St. Brigid and many churches carry her name.

A poem for that day goes as follows:

Thig an nathair as an toll
la donn Bride
Ged robh tri traighean dh’an
Air leachd an lair

Translation for all Non-Gaelics:

The serpent will come from the hole
on the brown day of Brighid
though there may be three feet of snow
On the surface of the ground.