My thoughts turn to Brigid this Imbolc day as I gather kindling for the wood stove. I picture my relatives who have invoked her name as they prepared their own hearth fires. Meandering towards a pile of branches I enjoy the repetition: testing the wood to make sure it’s dry enough, breaking the branches so they are of equal length and bundling them into my gathering cloth. This has become a morning meditation, being out in the sunshine, with the birds flitting from tree to tree. I soak up the potential of the new day, attending to my thoughts, kindling for my fire.
Brigid is fire goddess, her fire may inspire and inflame but it never burns. Her flames are a symbol of our own indistinguishable fire, our fire being that spark within us that is within every living thing which we name god or goddess and a myriad of other names to help us understand this great mystery.
Imbolc the first stirrings of an energy that will grow into spring, as we come tumbling out of a dark winter. How strange that we in the Applalchians are awaiting winter, with this incridibly mild winter we’ve been having. In Scottish mythology the Calleach, the blue hag of winter, a goddess who brings about death (without which neither ourselves nor the land can be cleansed and be able to make new life) returns to the Tir-Na-Nog (the Land of Youth) and drinks from the fountain of youth. As she lifts her head from the fountain she has transformed into the Brigid. Brigid takes her mantle from around her shoulders and spreads it across the land. The energies move from winter with the first signs of spring. Whatever the myth, the story to explain this time of year they are all different threads of understanding. Myths contain truth; they are the weave of the land, deep connections with local interpretations.
Today my thoughts are with kindling, our preparation of our internal posture, our daily meditations, to help us live in the now – a life infused with spirit. Our hearth is our spark our spirit, we live in a world which provides us with an exhaustible amount of distractions which feel like they dump layers and layers upon that internal fire. Enjoy the swirling energies of Imbolc, prepare your kindling as that fire within us is the fire which sets our head alight guiding our reasoning, the fire which sets our heart alight creating our compassion and the fire which sets our hands alight guiding the actions we carry out.