Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Blessed Imbolc: A Hymn to Brighid






A Hymn to Brighid 




 “Blessed be the Goddess of Creativity, Blessed be Brighid, The Bright One, Our Goddess of the Forge. Teach me, Dear Goddess, to bear the fires of transformation, 
the furnace that tempers my blade and the flame that makes me strong and True. Be with me O' bright one as I blaze my trail.”

~Jai Krishna Ponnappan



The goddess Brighid was known by many names. In parts of northern Britain, she was called Brigantia, and was seen as a keeper of the forge. In this aspect, she is associated with smithcraft and cauldrons. She was connected to the Roman goddess Victoria, a deity who was the personification of victory in battle, as well as loyalty. In some legends she is invoked as Minerva, the warrior goddess. Although as Brigantia she is not nearly as famous as her Brighid aspect, she is seen as the goddess who bestowed the title of Brigantes upon a pan-Celtic tribe in England's border region. Imbolc or Brigid’s Day, February 1, marks the start of Celtic spring, or about halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. It is one of the four major "fire" festivals (quarter days), referred to in Irish mythology from medieval Irish texts. The other three festivals on the old Irish calendar are Beltane, Lughnasadh, and Samhain. Brigid is a fire goddess. Her canonization is celebrated by Christians with a perpetual flame at her shrine in Kildare.



Hail, Brigantia! Keeper of the forge,


she who shapes the world itself with fire,

she who ignites the spark of passion in the poets,

she who leads the clans with a warrior's cry,

she who is the bride of the islands,

and who leads the fight of freedom.

Hail, Brigantia! Defender of kin and hearth,

she who inspires the bards to sing,

she who drives the smith to raise his hammer,

she who is a fire sweeping across the land.


Smooring the Fire
 by Alexander Carmichael 


"An Tri numh (The sacred Three)
A chumhnadh, (To save,)
A chomhnadh, (To shield,)
A chomraig (To surround)
An tula, (the hearth)
An taighe, (The house,)
An teaghlaich, (The household,)
An oidhche, (This eve,)
An nochd, (This night,)
O! an oidhche, (Oh! this eve,)
An nochd, (This night,)
Agus gach oidhche, (And every night,)
Gach aon oidhche. (Each single night.)
Amen."


Alexander Carmichael was a folklorist and author who spent nearly five decades traveling around the highlands of Scotland collecting stories, prayers and songs. His most noteworthy work, the Carmina Gadelica, is an interesting blend of early Pagan tradition mixed with the influences of Christianity. Smooring the Fire is from Carmichael's Carmina Gadelica, published 1900, and is a Gaelic hymn to Brighid, honoring the tradition of smooring, or dampening, the hearth fire at night, and particularly on the night before Imbolc.

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