Bridget’s Feast Day

Sure, this weekend brings us SuperBowl Sunday, but also something more important than that:  it’s the Celtic festival of Imbolc, the traditional celebration of the beginning of spring, also known as St. Bridget’s Feast Day.  My thanks to Anne Hill, President of Creative Content Coaching and host of Dream Talk Radio, whose facebook post reminded me of this holiday.  I have to admit, most years I let it slip by unnoticed.

This weekend Anne is hosting a virtual poetry festival in honor of Brigid, the Celtic Goddess of Poetry.  If you have a prayer of praise, petition to the goddess, or wishes for the Earth, feel free to post a link on Anne’s page here:

http://gnosiscafe.com/gcblog/2014/01/31/9th-annual-brigid-poetry-festival/

Since Brigid is the goddess of poetry, it might be a good time for all us writers to send Brigid our good wishes and ask her to bless our endeavors this coming year!

My own contribution, a poem of praise to Bridget in her many forms, was something I wrote in 1985 after visiting Ireland with my mother, my aunt and my cousin.  I spell the name of the goddess/saint as my great-grandmother Bridget Cassidy Moss from County Donegal spelled her name.  I just read on Wikipedia that this is an “anglicized” spelling, which of course I find horrifying!–so if I’m wrong about this spelling, I leave it to one of my more knowledgeable Irish cousins to help me out here!

And so–Happy Imbolc to All!  As one who has many eclectic beliefs, I urge you to take a few moments this weekend to say a prayer to either the goddess, the saint, or both–your choice.  Remember, the NFL is not a deity.

Bridget

I was conceived by a woman

of the Fir Bolg

who caressed the paper thin bark

of a lone birch tree

and its small green leaves

fluttered like the hands of children

making shadows in the sun.

I was borne by a woman

of the Tuatha de Dannan

who cradled me

in the blue cup of a lupine

carried me in a wreath of fresh blossoms

she braided into her blonde hair.

The Celts named me

in contemplative dreams

of flute notes and turf smoke.

I stoked the dying embers

of the hearth fire

in the dampness of morning

and Oisin, in that hazy half hour

between wakefulness and sleep,

tasted poems on his tongue.

But the Christians say

my body was conceived

in the last hours of darkness

on a Beltane morning.

At daybreak

a cloudburst

cracked

the sky

and raindrops

caught in my eyelashes,

fog hung like heavy cream

thick and cold

in my throat.

I retreated to a peat fire,

spread cut river grass to dry,

then wove it into a cross

I presented to my father.

Finally I followed Patrick

to Slane,

sought abby walls to shelter me

from bitter chill

of a waning moon.

Still music of a Gaelic phrase

swells my lungs

and curls my lips.

They cannot silence me.

I cast my cloak onto the wind

and like fire it spreads

enveloping the hills and loughs

with a brilliance

even the Welsh women see

across the water.

Call me goddess or saint

but my face is always beautiful.

Nancy Schoellkopf

1985

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5 responses to “Bridget’s Feast Day

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I love the images; I can almost see this speaker as a child and young woman dancing with trees and mists. Blessed Be

  2. Pingback: TODAYS HOLIDAY: ST. BRIDGET’S DAY | euzicasa

  3. Bríd Wyldearth

    Beautiful words that make me long for Ireland Nancy. Thank you. Yes Bridget is an anglicised version of the name. I was named Brigid which my English mother thought was the Irish spelling. My Irish relatives however often spelled it Bridget. I now call myself Bríd, pronounced Breej which is the modern Irish for the name and suits me better. It sounds softer and more like the goddess to me. I think there is an old post on my blog http://www.moondrummer.blogspot.com that has the story of my name. I have a poem there for this years festival too and another on my new blog: http://www.rainbowlabyrinthwoman.blogspt.com

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