Imbolc, Time of Emergence; Brigid, Goddess of Creative Fire

Sometimes it takes a message from the larger world to shift our inner and outer paths. Sometimes the message arrives via spoken word or by e-mail, letter, or book. Sometimes it arrives, early in the morning, from Crow, whose presence in Old Oak speaks clearly to me without need of human words.

Sometimes, the necessary message wells up from many different sources/places/beings all at once– coming again and again like quick beats of a Drum moving my feet, my body, my spirit into a different Dance.

That is the kind of synchronicity that I have experienced this week. My deepest gratitude to all that have helped in their different ways to open my heart, letting in fresh air to fan dim embers back into flame. On my walks, I have seen the gift of crocus blossom and rising shoots of narcissus. It is time.

Yesterday was February 1. That day is associated with Imbolc — Celtic season of Emergence and New Life, whose name is derived from words meaning “in the belly,” pointing to the time of early spring lambing, to Birth. It is also the day associated with Brigid. She is Celtic goddess, historic person, and Christian saint — embodying — in all her forms — Unification, Inclusion, Mercy, Hospitality, the Fire of Passionate & Creative Purpose, and the Sacredness (Sovereignty) of the Land.

Yesterday — February 1, 2023 — was also the first celebration of a new national holiday in Ireland, the first national Irish holiday dedicated to a woman — Brigid.

You might enjoy the Irish video prepared to mark that special day: Finding Brigid . The video explores all the aspects of Brigid and why she is so important to women today. It concludes that Brigid is, for each of us, a mirror — and so, I would add, is every myth, legend, story. I recently came across a quote (lost to me for now) or maybe dreamed the image of a Story built of mirrors, arranged in constellations that reflect and illuminate not only the listener but so much more.

Now, blessed as I am with the spirit of Imbolc/Emergence, it seems like the time (Kairos) to open my heart & hands, to reach out to the vastness of Community which spreads from each being in ever-growing circles –like ripples on water in which a stone has been dropped — onward and outward to furthest reaches of the Cosmos. So, here I am.

Firebird stories and images have long been haunting me (see, for example, Sept. 23, 2022), but I have hindered myself with feelings of the difficulty (impossibility?) of embodying what is speaking to me. Materials have been left to languish helplessly on my table. But now, once more aware that I — like all — am filled with the Fire that the ancient goddess Brigit celebrates, I gather the colors and textures together — giving them permission to begin taking whatever form they will, curious to discover whatever may emerge, viewing with with kindness and acceptance rather than judgement.

* * * * * * *

Mindful of the anguish caused by the wildfires that have engulfed so much of Earth and by the turmoil and pain as Earth’s inner that erupt in lava flow and quake, I can’t help but wonder whether I am being insensitive to dwell so much on the metaphor of Fire as Life. And yet, in fact, there would be no Life here without the generous Fire of the Sun, the Fire of Earth’s core…..

So today I will leave you to ponder a prayer & blessing by John O’Donohue ( from his book To Bless the Space Between Us:

"Let us praise the grace and risk of Fire.

 In the beginning,
 The Word was red,
 And the sound was thunder,
 And the wound in the unseen
 Spilled forth the red weather of being.

 In the name of the Fire,
 The Flame
 And the Light:
 Praise the pure presence of fire
 That burns from within
 Without thought of time.

 The hunger of Fire has no need
 For the reliquary of the future;
 It adores the eros of now,
 Where the memory of the earth
 In flames that lick and drink the air
 Is made to release

 Its long-enduring forms
 In a powder of ashes
 Left for the wind to decipher.

 As air intensifies the hunger of fire,
 May the thought of death
 Breathe new urgency
 Into our love of life.

 As fire cleanses dross,
 May the flame of passion
 Burn away what is false.

 As short as the time
 From spark to flame,
 So brief may the distance be
 Between heart and being.

 May we discover
 Beneath our fear
 Embers of anger
 To kindle justice.

 May courage
 Cause our lives to flame,
 In the name of the Fire,
 And the Flame,
 And the Light."

And, just as I finished writing this, a final word came from the cardinal outside my window: Feast and Fly Free!

9 thoughts on “Imbolc, Time of Emergence; Brigid, Goddess of Creative Fire

  1. “Fire as metaphor for life”: We women of a certain age, coming of age in the 60’s, using our fire to rise and protest, our heat to entice and create our place in the world, spreading the flames of our stories that are singular as well as universal, a thousand sparks coming together in all aspects of society.

    Life, at times, causes us to bank our embers as we deal with what presents: careers, marriage, motherhood, but while embers denote sparks of a dying fire, the fire never truly dies. AND when age comes and we begin our journey to wise womanhood, we are keepers of the cauldron and that cauldron contains our never ending life spark. For me, it is important to remember that embers hold the spark of fire and when it becomes necessary to ignite the embers, we rise in solidarity, flaming our stories far and wide, spreading light and heat and wisdom, for the world needs our words…


  2. When I see your crow…I think of my tree with crow, here today. And when I read your words of explanation: “words meaning “in the belly,” – I consider the timeliness of this, the connection of this. And when I consider your thoughts on your focus on , your dwelling on ‘fire’ – I sit up and think, yes, there have been uncontrolled fires of unthinkable damages…But, I reflect that, in part, the trees often “need” that fire. They need it to grow and thrive…to be healthy. We need that balance to be healthy as well. I am so glad you are here with your words and ripples and flaming red, just waiting to become. Be well.


    • As I work with the Firebird, I am finding that she wants to manifest in many different ways. I’m not surprised for she is, after all, Story, Myth, multi-faceted Truth. She has so much to teach me. I suspect I’ll continue to explore her many forms before she lets me go.


  3. How wonderful to see you here again. The red and orange such great combo .. one of my favorites. Always enjoy the poetry you share and your many words filled with loving wisdom.


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