February 1, 2022
Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, is often depicted with doves and roses and swans. Athena, goddess of wisdom and war, appears with an owl and spear. Kuan Yin, goddess of compassion and mercy sits on a lotus and holds a vessel of healing water. Durga, goddess of protection, strength, motherhood, and destruction, rides a tiger and her many arms hold symbols of those aspects.
Yet in the global cosmology of goddess archetypes, none have as many aspects or symbols as Brigid. Primarily associated with healing, poetry, and the forge, Brigid’s symbols extend far beyond those three energies to include the bell, cloak, cow, cross, dandelion, flame, oak, snow drop, and sword. And there are legends for each of these symbols. No reductive mythic symbology can contain her. She’s just too big, too pervasive, too present. And perhaps that is why she remains so relevant. Perhaps that is why, as the symbol of the divine feminine, she is so celebrated on this day and all days. Perhaps that is why next year Ireland will begin a national holiday for her.
Many of you will likely be seeing all manner of tributes to Brigid, all manner of writing and images. I thought I would share a song I received in a meditation a few years ago. From the Céile Dé tradition that is rooted in the ancient Irish Catholic Church, one of the many poetic names for Brigid is Seek Beyond. Sireadh Thall, in Irish. In this aspect she reminds us that it is always possible to step beyond our limits. New life is coming!
Imbolc Blessings, my friends. May we all journey beyond.
Judith – firstname.lastname@example.org
A blessed Imbolc to you, friend. And this will be a new public holiday in Ireland, starting next year. About time, since she’s one of the three great saints for the island. More importantly, though, is all the all that Brigid entails. I have Brigid crosses in my life, but there is so much more. A wonderful saint and person to get to know.