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account of the nun-led Imbolc ritual in Kildare :)

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  • paul
    hi all. Just got back from the Brigit s Day ritual in Kildare. It was very beautiful though vicously cold. The Hag of Winter was having Her last fling, she
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 2, 2008
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      hi all.
      Just got back from the Brigit's Day ritual in Kildare. It was very beautiful though vicously cold. The Hag of Winter was having Her last fling, she even snowed! The ritual was a mixture of neoPagan, Celtic and Christian.
      Davey managed to get time off work for the celebration, having pulled equality legislation on them! They had to give the time off as a "managment exception," and they even had to research the holiday before approving the time off! We got the bus from Cork, which took 3 bloody hours, and took alot of coffee to get through unscathed.
       It started at the Wayside Well, where the nuns had laid out a circle maybe 25 feet across with what looked like willow branches, and with lanterns ( which were candles inside brown paper bags with a layer of sand at the bottom) There were about 100 people mainly carrying candles in jars or small glass lanterns. We were carrying Brigit's crosses made from rushes which we'd bought on the street in Cork from a Traveller woman
       The nuns led chanting of "Spirit of water, carry me home to myself."  There was someone playing the fiddle. A nun welcomed everyone whatever the reason  they had come, and talked about Irish folk practices for Brigit's Day,including leaving out a piece cloth overnight to become the Bhrat Bride when it's been visitd by the spirit of Brigit on Her way past. She encouraged us to leave out our own Bhrat Bride on our windowsills when we got home and then to useit for healing and protection during the year. We were led in saying three times the traditional welcome for Brid " Tar Isteach tar isteach, tá fáilte romhat"
      As the nun described the welcoming of a girl to represent Brigit into the home, a young woman entered the circle, lit up by a torch, carrying a bundle of rushes which she held high as she walked three times around the Circle. She then sat at the centre of the circle where a stool had been put next to a circular, low brazier which was representing the Hearth. We were told about the custom of leaving the best seat for Brigid on Her night. The woman representing Brigid then wove a large Brigit's Cross while we all chanted the name of Bride. It took a long time in the cold but was very beautiful. The cross was then taken to the four cardinal directions of the Circle and the nun with the loudspeaker said things like "We send peace and love to the North of our planet and pray for strength"!!
       We were led on a torchlit procession of about half a mile along the road, which had been lined with flaming torches (made from tin cans nailed to 4' posts and filled with sand and fuel) to a huge bonfire at the gates of Brigid's garden. Two of us  burned  lists of stuff that  we were asking Brigit  for. A woman played the flute. Inside Brigit's garden is a stream with little bridges over it  and a lifesize statue of Her. Flowers had been put into the statue's arms. There was music and meditations  on aspects of Brigid at each of five standing stones in the garden. We chanted "walk gently on the earth".
       Two of us got initiated in unpleasant ways during the ritual. One by Fire (spark in the eye) and one by Water (accidentally stepping into a freezing cold stream). Back at the car park our friend David's car had a puncture and he changed the wheel in heroic calm despite being the one with the wet foot. (bloody mecury retrograde!!!)
       The whole ceremony was very beautiful and very Pagan. Next year we hope to visit the restored foundations of the  Fire Temple in the grounds of the Cathedral (where the nuns light a fire on Brigid's Day) and the labyrinth and Peace Pole in the Grove out on the Curragh. (Bought a guidebook from the Tourist information centre which stressed the inseperable nature of Goddess and Saint.)
      Imbolc Blessings,
      Paul and Davey
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