Brigid in Ceremony
(Adapted from a traditional Irish custom of welcoming Brigit and used at 2009 Imbolc celebration at Fourknocks)
A participant embodying Brigit and carrying the Cailleach doll walked around the outside of the cairn three times, each time, passing the door and knocking to come in.
The group inside were listening to stories about Brigit and when the knocking occurred called out,
“Tar isteach a Bríd agus tabhair duinn do bheannachtaí” (Come in Brigit and give us your blessings)
On the third round Brigit answered,
“Gabhaigí ar bhur nglúine, foscailigí bhur súile, agus ligigí isteach Bríd” (Get down on your knees, open your eyes and let Brigit in)
Those inside answered,
“Sédo bheatha, Sédo bheatha, Sédo bheatha” (You are welcome, you are welcome, you are welcome)
The human Cailleach then entered removing her skeletal face and black cloak, revealing the bright clothes of the fresh Spring personification of Brigit.
Our Bridóg (shared at several gatherings) removes the black cape and skeletal face revealing her alter ego of the virgin; pure, inspirational and full of promise of rebirth and restoration.
Symbolism for a centre
Brigit patron of Fire in the Hearth
the brave and bold leader of Spring (snowdrops),
Christian and pre-Christian (cross)
and healing (Bhrat Bríde).
Symbolism for Brigid's cloak
Brigid's cloak was made with intuition and instinct. It is veil like. Coincidentally, the gathering was held on St. Mel's day and it was St. Mel that 'veiled' Brigid when she was ordained. The sheep's wool was gathered from Tara and Loughcrew - Sliabh na Callaigh - and this is, of course, lambing time.
Woven in the veil fabric is birch bark. This came from a birch tree in RTE grounds in Dublin - RTE has Brigid's cross as a logo. Traditions suggest that birch bark represents new beginnings, poetry and inspiration. The red felt pieces symbolise Brigid in her smith aspect, representing the red hot hearth and the perpetual sacred flame at Kildare. Strips of red felt from Kildare were gifted at the opening of Slí an Chroí (Way of the Heart) and was put out on Brigid's Eve as a Bhrat Bhride.
The blue tie reminds us of St. Brigid's well, and the healing waters of purification. One small swan's feather represents the connections suggested between Fourknocks and the constellation of the Swan, that travels on the Milky Way. Swan is said to be the dreamkeeper.
Information on Brigid's Cross can be found if you click here for Join In - Use of Crafts
A suggestion for linking to Brigid using candles in a ceremony is available here - Join In - Use of Candles
Colours connected to Brigid are listed in the article 'Colour' found by clicking here