Imblog

Bride with her white wand is said to breathe life into the mouth of the dead Winter and to bring him to open his eyes to the tears and the smiles, the sighs and the laughter of Spring. The venom of the cold is said to tremble for its safety on Bride’s Day, and to flee for its life on Patrick’s Day. – Alexander Carmichael

It is pronounced “IM-bulg” or “EM-bowlg” and derived from the Gaelic word “oimelc” which means “ewes milk”. Also may derive from a word meaning “In The Belly,” which is a reference to the womb of Mother Earth. Also called Oimealg (“IM-mol’g), Candlemas, Imbolg, Brigit’s Day, St. Lucy’s Day, Feast of Brighid, Oimealg, Imbolgc Brigantia, Imbolic, Disting (Teutonic, Feb 14th), Lupercus, Candlelaria, The Festival of Lights, or the Feast of the Virgin.

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Imblog Crafts

Candle Wheel
Craft wreath
Eight white candles
Ivy leaves or vines
Glue gun

Directions: Either drill thick holes into the wreath so that candles can be placed inside, or just secure them with screw-bottom candleholders or glue gun glue. Place the ivy leaves around in a decorative fashion.

Ritual use: The eight candles are symbolic of the eight spokes of the year, and spinning the circle into motion at Imbolc is important. In ritual, the candles can be solemnly lit with a cauldron or bowl placed in the middle of the candle wheel. The cauldron or bowl can have the Wish Tree in the middle of it, with water all around it, and have new pennies thrown into it while cementing the wishes. Also the tree and the candle wheel can be toasted.

Imbolc Potpourri
45 drops of Musk oil ‘or’ Myrrh oil
2 cups dried Heather
2 cups dried Wisteria
1 cup dried Oakmoss
1 cup dried yellow Tulip petals
½ cup dried Basil
½ cup chopped Bay leaves

Priapic Wand
Small Tree Branch
Acorn
Thin Brown String or Thread
Yellow, Green, and Gold 1/4″ Ribbon
Small Gold/Silver Jingle Bells.

Select a small branch about 1/2″ to 3/4″ in diameter. Cut top end flat. Approx. 1/2″ below top score a groove (parents only) with a sharp knife. Take 1′ long piece of string/thread and tie in groove. Take another 1′ piece of thread and tie in groove on opposite side of branch. Place acorn at top of branch (flat end) and adhere with some glue. Now pull the string up over the cap and wind once around acorn. Repeat with all 3 other pieces of string. Pull strings back down to the groove in the branch and tie off. This will hold the acorn in place. Decorate the branch by wrapping it with the ribbons, leaving enough length at top for streamers. Tie gold/silver jingle bells to the ends of the ribbons. For smaller children, thread the bells onto the ribbon while wrapping the branch. Tell the children about how the acorn-wand is a symbol of the Lord of the Forest, and how this magical wand helps the sleeping plants and animals wake up and prepare for Spring.

Bride’s Cross
Method # 1

a handfull of wheat stalks
warm water
clothespins
clear or red thread and needle

Directions: Soak wheat stalks in warm water until pliable. Fold one stalk of wheat in half, leaving the kernels sticking out. Fold another one the same way, and thread through the first one. (It now looks like a long “L” ) Fold the third the same way, and insert through the second wheat stalk. (It now looks like an L with a tail) Fold and insert the fourth stalk through the third. Use the clothes pins to help keep the shape as you weave more wheat. Continue folding and threading the wheat stalks until you have several wheat woven through each “arm”. Allow to dry with the clothespins in place. Using the thread and needle, sew the stalks together – this is cheating, but I find that it’s necessary! Hang over the fireplace or stove

Method #2
Dried Wheat Stalks, Brown Thread.

Take eight stalks with sheaves still attached. Place four stalks on flat surface with two sheaves at the top and two sheaves at the bottom. Measure approx. 6″ of stalk between the sets of sheaves and cut off excess. Tie all four stalks together with the brown thread, first under the top sheaves, then above the bottom sheaves. Cut off excess thread. Repeat this procedure with the other four stalks, shortening the length between the sheaves to 4″. Carefully separate the first set of stalks (two in front and two in back) and slip the second set through approx. 1″ from the bottom of the top sheaves. Tie some thread in a knot just under the arms of the cross. Take the excess ends and diagonally wrap the thread over the opposite corresponding arm and back to the knot. Tie off in back and cut off excess ends.

Imblog Recipes

Homemade Butter
1/2 pint whipping cream
A jar with a tight-fitting lid
salt to taste

Fill the jar 1/3-1/2 full of cream. Add salt. Screw the lid on tightly and begin shaking the jar or rolling it back and forth on the floor or table top. The cream will begin to thicken and then small pieces of butter will begin to form.Continue shaking or rolling the jar until the butter forms a solid mass seperate from the thin buttermilk. (It should take 10-15 minutes) When finished drain the buttermilk (you may use this for drinking or other recipes) and add salt to taste to the butter that remains once you have patted it dry with a papertowel or drained it in a seive. The butter may be formed into different shapes using small cake molds, a cookie press or cookie cutters. Keep any left-over butter covered and refrigerated as there are no preservatives used for this.

Honey Cakes
1/2 cup Riesling wine
1 egg
2/3 cup flour
1 cup honey
2 tbs sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Dash of salt

Beat the egg together with the wine. In another mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, sugar and salt. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture. Stir until blended through. Let stand for 30 minutes. In another small bowl, mix the honey and nutmeg. In a skillet, heat up about a 1/2 inch of oil. Drop a tablespoon of batter into the oil and fry until golden brown. Drain off the oil, and dip into the honey mixture.

Poppy Seed Bread
5 eggs
3 3/4 cup flour
2 cups half n half
1 cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cup poppy seeds
7 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350F. With a hand mixer, blend together the poppy seeds, oils, eggs, sugar, vanilla and half n half. Add flour and baking powder. Mix together on high speed for 30 seconds. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans. Bake for one hour or until tops of loaves are brown.

Blackberry Wine
1 gal. Blackberries
1 gal. Spring water, lukewarm
5 lbs. sugar
2 slices toast
1 pkg yeast

In a very large wide-mouthed container, crush the berries and add water. Mix in half of the sugar and stir until dissolved. Float toast on top and sprinkle with yeast. Cover container with cheesecloth and let stand for 5 days. Add remaining sugar and leave for another 2 days. Stir well. Let the mixture sit undisturbed for 3 more weeks. Strain through cheesecloth to remove seeds from wine. Bottle and serve when desired.

Cheddar Dill Scones
2 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
1 Cup (4 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 Cup chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp dill weed
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 Cup butter or margarine
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 Cup half-and-half

Heat oven to 400 degrees. In medium bowl combine all ingredients EXCEPT butter, eggs and half-and-half. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in eggs and half-and-half just until moistened. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth (1 min.). Divide dough in half; roll each half into 8″ circle. Cut each circle into 8 pie-shaped wedges. Place 1″ apart on cookie sheets. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Cape Cod Cranberry Scones
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup butter or margarine
1 cup cranberries, coarsely chopped
2 tsp grated orange peel
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk or sour milk

Preheat oven to 400F. In mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder and baking soda; cut in butter with pastry blended or two knives. Stir in cranberries, orange peel and sugar; stir in buttermilk just until ingredients are moistened.

Working on floured surface, shape dough into two 8-inch circles, 1/2-inch thick. Cut each circle into eight wedges and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned.

Savory Cheese Scones
2 cups Flour
2 teaspoons Baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups Grated cheddar cheese
3 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup Butter
1/3 cup Milk
2 Eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine all dry ingredients, stir in cheeses and toss well. Cut in butter. Combine eggs and milk, add to flour mixture and gently knead to form a stiff dough. Cut dough ball into halves and pat each half into an 8″ diameter, 1/2″ thick circle. Cut into wedges, place wedges on a baking sheet and bake 15 to 17 minutes, until lightly browned.

Orange Poppy Seed Scones
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cups poppyseed
1 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup orange juice
1 large egg
1 tsp orange peel

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix all dry ingredients together. Cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles cornmeal. Beat the egg slightly into the orange juice; add liquid mixture to dry mix and gently shape dough into a ball. Cut the ball in half, and pat each half out on a floured surface into a circle about 1/2 inch thick, and 8 inches around. Cut into wedges and place on a baking sheet. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.

Imblog Chants, prayers and songs

Prayers

Imbolc Prayer
We’ve made it to the mid-point
of the Winter dark and bleak.
From this day on the Sun
will climb and thaw the
ground and creeks.
Bless us now, oh Maiden fair,
and keep us in your loving care.
Showing signs of new life everywhere
as you awaken from your sleep.

Kindling The Fire
This morning, as I kindle the flame upon my hearth,
I pray that the flame of Brighid may burn in my soul,
and the souls of all I meet today.
I pray that no envy and malice,
no hatred or fear, may smother the flame.
I pray that indifference and apathy, contempt and pride,
may not pour like cold water on the flame.
Instead, may the spark of Brighid light the love in my soul,
that it may burn brightly through the day.
And may I warm those that are lonely,
whose hearts are cold and lifeless,
so that all may know the comfort of Brighid’s love.

Covering The Fire
Brighid, preserve the fire, as You preserve us all.
Brighid, may its warmth remain in our midst, as You are always among us.
Brighid, may it rise to life in the morning, as You raise us to life.

Prayer to Bride
Great Goddess Brigit
I ask for your inspiration
In all my endeavors
Help me to learn new things
Please give me the gifts
Of poetry and creativity
Help me to clean out the old and musty
In my mind and heart
Show me how to make mundane tasks
A joy and Honour to you
Make my hands, my lips, my mind
My heart and my soul, a blessing to you
Forge me into your instrument
That I may be a blessing
To you and the Old Ones
As well as a blessing to all I meet
May they see your love and power in me
Teach me to Honour you in being
A wife, a mother, and keeping a home
I dedicate my life to you
My body, soul, heart, and mind
To your service
SO MOTE IT BE!!

Poems
Spring
The crone wears her shroud of ice proudly
Like and honour she has earned, it cloaks her.

The young and viral Sun
Envelopes her in his loving embrace.

She turns to him and smiles, knowing that the time has come
For him to remove the icy coverlet with his warmth

As it slips away, so do the years upon her face
And in their place the lovely Maiden Spring is found.

A rhyme
If Candlemas Day be fair and bright,
Winter will have another flight
If Candlemas Day be clouds and rain
Winter is gone and will not come again

Come to the Well…
Ease your mind,
Ease your soul
Give up your burdens and laugh at the water

Wash your hands pure with the holy water
Wash your face clean with the Love of God
Let Brigid walk beside you and fill your heart with passion
Come to the Well and drink of Her Love.

Leave all your sorrows
to be washed away
There is always forgiveness
There is always a new start.

Give up your burdens and laugh at the water
The Water will laugh with you.

Imbolg
Look through the darkness and you will see
The spark growing for all to see

To warm the Earth
To warm our souls
The seeds we plant begin to grow

The goals you set and magick worked
Was it all for knowledge, wisdom and mirth?

To help the Gods and your fellow man
To grow strong and to aid your clan

The light of hope begins to stir
Even though snow and ice still occurs

The work that is wrought
Brings the growth that is sought

Just as a seed breaks open underground
Deep in your Spirit these roots are found

But how they will grow is up to you
They grow by way of the things that you choose

We are given a light to bring us warmth
And nourished from Water from the time of our birth
The Earth with big rocks to anchor our lives
And Air to teach us so the Old Ones may guide

The second turn of the Wheel has begun
The God is rising
The Cycle begun


http://www.wicca.com
Dawn Thebarge Hill
ElfDragon2@aol.com
Raven Spirit
K.J. Reynolds
E. Holden

Imblog Activities and Ideas

  • Make or decorate candles
  • Brighid, the Celtic goddess of fire, healing, and poetry is considered the patron Goddess of Imbolc. Read up on her as a Celtic goddess and as her later incarnation, St. Brigit.
  • Burn the evergreen boughs that decorated your home during the winter holidays in the Imbolc Fires and celebrate the return of the Sun’s strength and the Godess as the Maiden.
  • Brighid is the goddess of poetry. Write a poem in her honor, and read it aloud during any Imbolc ritual you may have planned.
  • Cleanse and re-consecrate your ritual tools and clean your altar.
  • Go through all your herbs and discard those that are more than a year old.
  • Weave “Brigit’s crosses” from straw or wheat to hang around the house for protection
  • Perform rites of spiritual cleansing and purification
  • Make “Brigit’s beds” to ensure fertility of mind and spirit (and body, if desired)
  • Ritually cleanse your home and start your “spring” cleaning
  • Make a Crown of Light (i.e. of candles for the High Priestess to wear for the Imbolc Circle, similar to those worn on St. Lucy’s Day in Scandinavian countries
  • Place a lighted candle in each and every window of the house, beginning at sundown on Candlemas Eve (February 1), allowing them to continue burning until sunrise. Make sure that such candles are well seated against tipping and gaurded from nearby curtains, etc. If you are not able to use real candles use those candle lamps sold at crafts and department stores for the Christian Christmas season.
  • Buy a “salt lick” block and leave it out for the wild animals.
  • Make a window garden with seeds, soil, old glass jars or rinse some tuna or cat food cans, and get ready for spring! Easy items are beans, mints, marigolds. Even carrot or pineapple tops and avocado pits are fun to do.
  • Make a Bride doll
  • Make a tiny “Candle Garden” by filling a small aluminum pan with fine salt or sand and “planting” birthday candles, Hanukkah candles or even tea lights in the “garden”
  • Tie tiny strips of fabric in trees near a stream and ask Bride for her influence in your life. Use cotton strips and the birds will use them for nesting or they will bio-degrade over time
  • Play a candle game where the men stand in forming a circle whole passing a candle quickly and the women stand on the outside of the circle trying to blow out the flame. The one who succeeds gets to claim a kiss.
  • Meditate as a family. Have everyone explore what it would feel like to be a seed deep in the Earth, feeling the first stirrings of life. Lie on the floor and put out tendrils. Stretch and bloom.
  • Have a bardic circle where everyone brings poetry, songs or a short story that they have written to honor Brigid (Brigit/Brigid/Bride was the daughter of Dagda. She was the protector of the poets, the forge and the healing persons.)
  • Help your kids go through all their clothes, toys, and books to find the unwanted and outgrown items. Donate everything to a charity that will give the items to children who need them.
  • Go for a walk. Search for signs of spring. Take off your shoes and socks and squish your toes in the mud!
  • Lead the family on a parade around the outside of your home, banging on pots and pans or playing musical instruments to awaken the spirits of the land.
  • Have your children hold some herb seeds in their hands. Talk to the seeds. Bless them with growth and happiness. Fill them with love.
  • Plant an in-door herb garden.
  • Make corn dollies and a cradle for them to sleep in.

Imblog Correspondences

Colors: White, Orange, Red, Yellow

Tools: Plough, garden implements

Herbs/Flowers: Angelica, Basil, Bay Laurel, Blackberry, Celandine, Coltsfoot, Heather, Iris, Myrrh, Snowdrop, Tansy, Violets, First Flower of the Year

Stones/Gems: Amethyst, Bloodstone, Garnet, Ruby, Onyx, Turquoise

Symbols & Decorations: Candles, Lamps, Brooms, Yellow flowers, Brighid’s Crosses, Priapic Wands (acorn-tipped), dish of snow, evergreens

Foods: All dairy products, curries, onions, chives, seeds, herbal tea, mutton or lamb, Poppyseed Cakes, muffins, scones, and breads, onions, garlic, raisins, spiced wines

Deities: Dagda (Celt), Pan (Greek), Cernunnor (Celt),Osiris (Egyptian), Herne (Saxon), Jupiter (Roman), Demeter (Greek), Ceres (Roman), Cerridwen (Celt), Aengus Og, Eros, and Februus,Frigg (Norse), Cybele Brighid (Celt), Bride, Brigette, all virgin Goddesses and Gods of love and fertility

Animals: Sheep, Wolves, Bears, Stags, Eagle, Raven, Groundhog, Owl, Snake

Other names for this holiday: Candlemas, Imbolg, Brigit’s Day, St. Lucy’s Day, Feast of Brighid, Oimealg, Imbolgc Brigantia, Imbolic, Disting (Teutonic, Feb 14th), Lupercus, Candlelaria, The Festival of Lights, or the Feast of the Virgin.

Imblog Traditions

The Feast Day of Bride

Bride put her finger in the river
On the Feast Day of Bride
And away went the hatching mother of the cold. -Carmina Gadelica

It was said: “from Brighid’s feastday onwards the day gets longer and the night shorter.” Although this refers to the time of the winter Solstice, the felt truth was that the goddess brought back the growing light. On the eve of Là Fhéill Bhrìghde (St.Brigid’s Day), the Old Woman of Winter, the Cailleach, journeys to the magical isle in whose woods lies the miraculous Well of Youth. At the first glimmer of dawn, she drinks the water that bubbles in a crevice of a rock, and is transformed into Bride, the fair maid whose white wand turns the bare earth green again. Another version of the story of Spring tells how Bride is a young girl kept prisoner by the Cailleach all winter long in the snowy recesses of Ben Nevis. She is rescued by the Cailleach’s son who elopes with her despite his mother’s attempts to keep them apart with fierce storms.

Brideo’gas
Straw Brideo’gas (corn dollies) are created from oat or wheat straw and placed in baskets with white flower bedding. Young girls then carry the Brideo’gas door to door, and gifts are bestowed upon the image from each household. Afterwards at the traditional feast, the older women make special acorn wands (Praipic wands) for the dollies to hold, and in the morning the ashes in the hearth are examined to see if the magic wands left marks as a good omen. Brighid’s Crosses are fashioned from wheat stalks and exchanged as symbols of protection and prosperity in the coming year. Home hearth fires are put out and re-lit, and a besom is place by the front door to symbolize sweeping out the old and welcoming the new. Candles are lit and placed in each room of the house to honor the re-birth of the Sun.

Snow Drops on Candlmas
In the county of Shropshire, the snowdrop, first flower of spring, took the place of candles, being named, “Candlemas bells,” “Purification flowers” or with a faint remembrance of Brigid, perhaps “Fair Maid of February.”

Plowing
In some areas, this is the first day of plowing in preparation of the first planting of crops. A decorated plough is dragged from door to door, with costumed children following asking for food, drinks, or money. Should they be refused, the household is paid back by having its front garden ploughed up. In other areas, the plough is decorated and then Whiskey, the “water of life” is poured over it. Pieces of cheese and bread are left by the plough and in the newly turned furrows as offerings to the nature spirits. It is considered taboo to cut or pick plants during this time.

Breedhoge
In Ireland, the “breedhoge” was carried around from house to house by the young folk of the village. In it they collected food and money “in honor of Miss Biddy.” The breedhoge was a butter churn decorated with hay and straw and done up to represent a human figure.
A bal of hay, as the head, was covered with a white muslin cap and the figure was in a woman’s dress, with a shawl.

Bonfires
Imbolc was usually celebrated by lighting sacred fires bonfires and candles because Brghid was the Goddess of Fire, the Fire of Healing and Birth.

Weather
Today Imbolc is usually a time for predicting the weather patterns for the coming seasons. Of course we watch for the groundhog’s shadow. One nice custom that is widely practiced today is to place a lighted candle in each window on the eve of Imbolc, allowing them to burn until the sun rises. Another custom is to weave a Brigid’s Cross from straw. The cross then hangs until the next Imbolc as a portent of fertility of the mind, and spirit. Lastly a custom deriving from Oimelc, (which literally translates as ewe’s milk), because now too is the time lambing season begins, is the drinking of “lambswool”. Lambswool is a hot drink make with crab apples and spices.

Making a “Caim”
To protect themselves in Brighid’s name, the traditional Irish would recite a “caim,” the Matthewses write; “caim” means “loop” or “bend,” thus a protective circle. A caim would always name Brighid and the beings, household or body-parts to be protected. Traditionally, you place a caim by stretching out your right forefinger and keeping that finger pointed toward the subject while walking about the subject deosil, reciting the caim. You can also say a caim for yourself. A caim can be made in all seasons and circumstances; it traditionally encircles people, houses, animals or the household fire. The Matthewses write: “As her family prepared to sleep, the Gaelic mother would breathe these words (the caim) over the fire as she banked it in for the night…. As she said this, she would spread the embers into a circle, and divide it into three equal heaps with a central heap. To make the holy name of the foster mother (Brighid), she placed three tur fs of peat between the three heaps, each one touching the center, and covered it all with ash. Such smooring customs and invocations are still performed in the West of Ireland. And so the protection of Brighid is wrapped about the house and its occupants.”

Frithing
Brighid is also a seer; the Matthewses describe her as “the central figure of the Celtic vision world.” She presided over a special type of augury, called a “frith,” performed on the first Monday in a year’s quarter to predict what that quarter would bring. The ancient Celts divided the year by Imbolc, Beltaine, Lughnasad, and Samhain, so the first Monday after Imbolc is appropriate for frithing.

To perform a frith, a traditional frithir would first fast. Then, at sunrise, barefoot and bareheaded, the frithir would say prayers to the Virgin Mary and St. Bridget and walk deosil around the household fire three times. Then with closed or blindfolded eyes, the frithir went to the house door’s threshold, placed a hand on either jamb and said additional prayers asking that the specific question about the coming quarter be answered. Then the frithir opened his or her eyes and looked steadfastly ahead, noting everything seen.

Frithing signs can be “rathadach” (lucky) or “rosadach” (unlucky). A man or beast getting up means improving health, lying down ill health or death. A cock coming toward the frithir brings luck, a duck safety for sailors, a raven death. About the significance of horses, a rhyme survives: “A white horse for land, a gray horse for sea, a bay horse for burial, a brown horse for sorrow.” The role of frithir passed down from generation to generation; according to the Matthewses, the name survives in the surname Freer, “held to be the title of the astrologers of the kings of Scotland.”

To perform a pagan version of frithing, fast the Sunday night before the first Monday after Imbolc and that night formulate your chief question about the coming three months. Monday morning at sunrise, say a prayer to Brighid and barefoot and bareheaded walk deosil around whatever seems the central fire of your house – maybe your kitchen stove, or if you’re not a cook your fireplace or heater. Then go to your doorway, put your hands to either side, and closing your eyes pray your question be answered. Then open your eyes, and note the first action you see. That action probably won’t be found in the traditional frithir’s lexicon, so the interpretation is up to you.

In another frithing technique, you curl the palms to form a “seeing-tube”; frithirs used such a tube to discover lost people or animals and to divine the health of someone absent. Frithirs also sometimes used divinatory stones; the Matthewses describe a “little stone of the quests” made of red quartz.

Candles
In Britain, Candlemas was celebrated with a festival of lights. In the dark and gloomy days of February, the shadowy recesses of medieval churches twinkled brightly as each member of the congregation carried a lighted candle in procession around the church, to be blessed by the priest. Afterwards, the candles were brought home to be used to keep away storms, demons and other evils. This custom lasted in England until it was banned in the Reformation for promoting the veneration of magical objects. Even so, the symbol of the lighted candles had too strong a hold on the popular imagination to be entirely cast aside. Traces of the festival lingered until quite recently in other areas of the British Isles like little lights that refused to be blown out

Brídeog Procession
This is a special type of procession, similar to caroling, that members of your grove can do on the eve of Imbolc (or one of the preceding nights if necessary). Arrangements should be made ahead of time so that people can sign up for a visit and know what to expect. They should also be advised that it is best to do the spring cleaning before the Brídeog visits. Assemble a company of participants, called “Biddy’s” or Brídeogs and prepare you’re the songs for the event. Then take the Brídeogs from house to house to offer blessings and entertainment to the families who live there. Dressing in unusual clothes and wearing funny hats will add to the fun of the event and is quite traditional. A young lady, traditionally the prettiest of the crowd, should be selected to carry the Brigit doll with them. When you arrive ask for admittance to the house (it is considered very bad luck to be uncivil to a Brídeog) and everyone should file in. Entertain the household with a couple of songs (traditionally song, rhymes and music on flute, violin, and later, accordion) and recite a prepared Brigit blessing for them. If the household does not already have one they should be presented with a Brigit’s cross for protection and blessing through the year. Before going the family should present the Brídeogs with an item of food, especially one associated with dairy to be used at the community feast (or as an alternative you can collect non-perishable food items for a homeless shelter).

Blessing of the Brat Bríde
During the day before Imbolc the woman of the house or women of the grove should take a small piece of cloth (larger if it is for the entire grove) and lay it on a bush outside. During the night, as the goddess roams to bless the houses of her followers, she will pass by, touching and blessing the cloth. Collect the cloth in the morning and tear it into small pieces. These pieces of cloth, individually called a Brat Bríde (BRAHT BREEJ), should be distributed among the children and females of the household. The Brat Bríde will give them protection throughout the year where ever they go. These pieces of cloth may be sewn into the clothes or jackets of the children to insure that it won’t be lost.

Blessing the Bratach Bríde
The Bratach Bríde (BRAH-TOCK BREEJ) is a large piece of cloth, such as a shawl that Brigit will bless in the same fashion as the Brat Bríde. Instead of being torn into pieces on the next day this cloth should be kept as a sacred relic and charged repeatedly year after year. The Bratach Bríde can become quite powerful over time and can be used to help insure safe childbirth and to cure sterility by placing it over the patient and asking for Brigit’s help. It was once fairly standard equipment for country midwives in Ireland. In addition to being used for human mothers during childbirth it was also spread across the back of a birthing cow to ensure the health of the calf and an abundant supply of milk.


Other resources include but are not limited to:

Carmichael, Alexander. Carmina Gadelica. Edinburgh: Floris Press, 1992.
Ó Catháin, Séamas. The Festival of Brigit. Dublin: DBA Publications, 1995
Farrar, Janet and Stewart. The Witches Bible
Cunningham, Scott. Wicca, A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner
Walker, Barbara, Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, Harper and Row 1983
Akasha Ap Emrys, The Celtic Connection http://www.wicca.com
Merideth, Leda. Imbolc: Arriving at the Beginning
From http://www.chalicecenter.com/imbolc.htm
Brighid’s Fires Burn High by Miriam Harline

Some listed items taken from various mailing lists and the author’s are not known. If you have information on who may have written anything thath is titled “author unknown” please contact me so that I may give proper credit. Thank you!