Brigid, (Imbolc) fell on August 2—halfway between winter solstice and spring equinox. I always love this festival because it signals the return of spring, and marks a quickening of energy. Brigid was the Celtic goddess of fire and inspiration.
In my book, Celebrating the Southern Seasons, I call this festival First Light. In old Europe, people would open the door and call out ‘Brigid, Brigid, won’t you come in?’
This year I was calling extra hard.
The rain was sloshing down, the wind nipped and pinched, and I began to sneeze and cough. The flu had finally caught me. I thought I’d escaped, but there we are, sometimes winter ends with a sting in its tail.
Now I’ve ventured out into the sun. Yes, sun! It has returned, and is caressing the buds of the daphne bush that my friend gave me last year. She left it, gift-wrapped, on the doorstep after the teenager in our family suffered a tragic loss.
As the daphne flowers again, I remember that a whole year has passed since that event, and give thanks that our dear teenager is once more finding things to enjoy in life.
The sun strokes the blue hyacinths, with their little bells that I fancy are sending out a ring of hope.
And the first freesia is on its way to blooming.
Brigid was associated with the ancient goddess in her maiden form. Her statue would be taken down to the sea or lake, and washed, to signify renewal. Candles would be lit to celebrate her light.
I missed our First Light/Brigid celebration this year because of being unwell. So this post has become my celebration, in honour of the return to life and hope.
For all of you who need renewal and healing: