Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Brigid's Day

courtesy wikimedia commons
Today is Brigid's Day. Also known as Imbolc and Groundhog Day, today celebrates the Celtic goddess Brigid. She is also known as St. Brigit, as the Catholic church quite wisely adopted her.

Brigid oversees creative endeavors, poetry, storytelling, healing and smiths. She is represented by leaping flames and, as a goddess always stretching up, she urges us to lift ourselves higher, whether onto the next hill or to a new, more challenging task. She is the goddess of lofty pursuits.

Many years ago I visited her sacred flame in Kildare, Ireland, kept alight for thousands of years with only brief interruptions. The church built on this ancient, sacred site is strong and imposing, a solid place to consider your place in the universe. Around the flame were offerings - scraps of burned paper with a word or two still visible, beads, goddess figurines, shattered vessels. It was a wondrous place.

I spent part of the morning sitting on the damp grass watching the fire flicker and stretch, then the deacon of the church invited me inside to get warm. As it happens, it was Good Friday. I listened to a sermon outlining Jesus' journey through crucifixion. It was a brutal story. As a Jew I'd never heard it told in such detail. I wept with the old women attending the service. But there in the church built to honor the saint derived from the goddess of creativity and flame, I saw all of these stories as paths to our own creative redemption. Whether through art or story or prayer or community, creative action lifts us up into our better selves, where we can examine our own spirits and our place in the world with fewer distractions.

Brigid has walked with me through some of my life's more challenging moments. I've taken comfort in creative acts of writing and telling, art and poetry. I am grateful for the reminder that, through striving to go higher, I burn brighter.

(c)2011 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this Laura. It's exactly what I needed today.


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