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Account of Kildare Imbolc ritual 2011

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  • paul
    Account of Kildare Imbolc ritual 2011 As I arrived into Kildare, on the bus from Cork, I could see from the bus window, the beautiful 6ft Brigit s Cross in box
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 1, 2011
      Account of Kildare Imbolc ritual 2011

      As I arrived into Kildare, on the bus from Cork, I could see from the
      bus window, the beautiful 6ft Brigit's Cross in box hedging growing on
      the bank at the side of the road. I got off in the town square where
      there's a huge sculpture of a flaming torch wreathed in oak leaves,
      and a powerful-looking statue of Brigit. A big "Feile Bhride" banner
      was flying .

      I was met from the bus by a friend, Paul who'd travelled up from Cork
      earlier. He took me to the house of his friend's Mum, Peg, a lovely 80
      year-old woman who kindly put us up for the night :)

      Paul and I walked the mile or so out of town down the dark side road
      towards Brigit's Healing Well. As we got close we could see flames
      along the side of the road. The ritual route was lit with flaming
      torches which were basically large food cans nailed to sticks and
      filled with some kind of fuel. They looked amazing!

      We got to the healing well, again surrounded with flames, and I
      climbed down the steep bank so I could bless myself with the water.
      Just past the well, a 20ft Circle had been laid out in lanterns made
      from paper bags with sand in them, holding candles. In the centre of
      the circle was a large 3-legged brazier full of fire, surounded with
      arrangements of rushes, symbolizing the hearth. There was a big crowd
      there..maybe 100 people of all ages. One of the nuns welcomed
      everybody whatever reason they had come for, and started teaching us
      all different Brigit chants (she called them "chants" not "hymns) in
      Irish and English. One of them was "Oscailt mo chroĆ­" ("open my
      heart"). Another had the words "lead us to a deeper well"

      She encouraged the crowd to walk deiseal (Irish for clockwise or
      'sunwise') around the circle while we were chanting. We were asked to
      shout out the names of the places we had travelled from. The nun
      talked about the tradition of Brigit walking the land and blessing
      every town,home, and shed on the Eve of her feast and taught us to
      chant Her name to invite her to the circle. She talked about Brigit
      being the one who brings Spring and breathes life into the mouth of
      dead winter.

      A woman then carried a piece of cloth around the circle holding it out
      towards the people to bless us. We were told that it was Bridget's
      mantle and that we should each leave a piece of cloth outside on our
      window -ledge that night which would become Brigit's mantle and could
      be used for healing throughout the year. A young girl of about ten
      sang a beautiful song to Brigit and then water from the Healing Well
      was carried around the circle by 4 women and sprinkled on the crowd.

      A young woman wove a Brigit's Cross from rushes in the centre of the
      circle while we chanted about weaving the hopes of our hearts' delight
      into it. Then one of the nuns walked around the circle , holding up
      the Brigit's Cross made from rushes, asking for blessings from the
      Four Directions including love from the South and strength from the
      North. We followed Brigit's flame as it was carried away from the
      circle, chanting as we walked along the mile -long torch-lit route to
      the Garden Shrine. ("Brigit light our path through darkest night and
      brightest day")Many people were carrying lanterns or glass jars with
      lit candles in them.

      Outside the entrance to the shrine was another large burning brazier.
      The shrine itself is about 1/4 of an acre, surrounded by trees, with a
      stream running through it, upright stones. and a statue of Brigit as a
      strong woman holding a torch. We chanted "Walk gently onthe Earth, we
      must respect Her, She does not belong to us, our children must inherit
      Her. We were invited to shout out our hopes for ourselves and the
      world. People shouted things like "justice "peace of mind"
      "reconnecting with the earth". People gave each other a sign of
      peace, hugging or shaking hands with the people around us

      After the ritual had finished, Christy Moore's brother, Luka Bloom
      played his guitar in the shrine and sang his Imbolc song "Don't be
      afraid of the light that shines within you"

      The ritual is held every year in Kildare on January 31st. I'd really
      recommend going! :)
      Did you know that just 1% of the population of Ireland
      are estimated to own at least 34% of the wealth of the country?
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