I’m sure this is no surprise that the days after Winter Solstice and before Imbolc are sometimes the darkest days of the year. With the solstice, we celebrated the rebirth of the sun and yet as the days grow longer we seem to be plunged into a deeper darkness. While I generally love the dark and feel comfort hiding under her cloak these post Solstice pre-Imbolc days aren’t fun. Maybe like me, you find yourself worrying about the heating bill and sometimes just falling into the darkness? Imbolc truly is a light, a hope at the end of a dark tunnel. While Imbolc isn’t spring Brighid’s return to the world holds promise and hope.
This Imbolc we journey on three paths in exploring the great Goddess Brighid: the path of Bear, Goddess and Mary of the Gael. Wither you have a relationship with Brighid or you’d like to learn more throughout this retreat we will explore three specific aspects of Brighid. With bear, we travel back to the paleolithic and explore the cave of the Grandmothers, with Brighid as Goddess we explore her fire aspect, her qualities as midwife, keening, her qualities of transformation as well as Imbolc traditions of laying out of the Brat (fabric) and the Brideog doll. In Mary of the Gael, we explore a pagan figure overlapped with a Celtic Christianity and explore Brighid as fostermother to Christ and look into how people wove these traditions into their daily life through prayers and charms.
We will gather to hear stories of Brighid’s earliest incarnation, that of the Bear. We will explore the folklore of this theory and take a guided journey to the Cave of the Grandmothers (a lineage of bear priestesses and women who often seem to shapeshift into bears). The bear went into hibernation at Autumn Equinox, descending into sleep and also the underworld as her story was the first story of descent. As part of our Imbolc traditions we will carry out the ceremony of the Brat Bhride and lay out our items for Brighid to bless) and call her back to the world as we hold our candles in the dark.
Harris tweed laid out overnight for Brat Bhride – with frozen dew
Saturday – Honoring Brighid the Goddess
We will gather in the morning in circle to welcome Brighid back to the world. Collecting our cloth with its precious dew we will also learn a song in Gaelic to welcome her as well as making Brighid’s crosses (wheels) on which to write our blessings and personal notes.
We will decorate a premade Brideog doll – you may wish to use some of your brat fabric to fashion a cloak for your doll. All materials will be provided to decorate your doll – from hair, wool for the dress as well as a small Brighid’s Wheel and embellishments. You are encouraged to bring your own embellishments that have personal meaning for you.
In our ending circle, we will welcome Brighid into the world using our doll and share ways to weave Brighid into our lives.
Small intimate circle of Brighid women
Guided journey to the Cave of the Grandmothers
Brat Bhride ritual
Welcoming Brighid Ceremony
Creating a Brideog doll & protection brooch
Ceremony to welcome Brighid with your Brideog doll
Plus free online course on Brighid’s Protection
Pre-retreat reading pack
Jude is an artist and writer. Her work focuses on the wise women ways, of women’s mysteries and employing tools to heal the damaging split modernity has created between ourselves and nature, which only exists in our mind. Through women’s circles, ritual and ceremony she builds ways to approach our ancestors with sacred intention and lets those insights and inspiration flow through us in creative ways allowing it to nourish us and let it root it in our lives, our circles and communities.
Jude gained her MSc masters degree in Human Ecology at the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, Scotland) in partnership with the Center for Human Ecology, with her thesis entitled ‘Fire in the Head, Heart and Hand. A Study of the Goddess Brighid as Goddess Archetype and her Relevance to Cultural Activists in Contemporary Scotland’.
Our retreat home for the weekend is the Heron House based in the Bull Creek area of East Asheville. Please email me if you are interested in booking one of the rooms at $60 per night. Click here to view the retreat house and accommodation.
Cost for this workshop is $155 and is limited to six women. (This price doesn’t include accommodation). An early discount of $135 is available up until 31st January.
The Retreat is now full and registration is closed. Please email me if you are interested in joining us in case a place becomes available through a cancellation.
For any questions or if you wish to pay by check please email judelally (at) celticsoulcraft.com