Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Brigid - Goddess of Poetry

February First

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February 2nd is a holy day known by many names throughout western civilization. Some people call it Imbolc, the festival of the first lambing and ewe's milk. Some people call it Candlemas, the purification of the Holy Virgin forty days after the birth of the Christ child. Some people call it Groundhog Day, a time of weather augury to see just how quickly spring will come. Some call it Brigid, Bride, Brighid, Brigit, the day of the Celtic Goddess who has become the most beloved female saint of Catholic Ireland. I usually just call it February First.

No matter the name of the festival the Goddess is the central focus. At th
is time of the year the crone of winter goes to the sacred well and comes away the maiden of spring, the maiden goddess Brigid. Brigid is many things to many people; the patron of metal smith, healing, weaving and prophecy. She is also a goddess of poetry.

At the end of my first year of blogging here at The Wheel and the Disk I said I wanted to incorporate more poetry into this blog. I have not only been successful in posting poems on the blog but also in reading more poetry. Many years ago when I was a freshman in college, in a late night in a dorm room when the world was young and new, I asked a friend of mine what poetry is. I don't remember the answer she gave but I remember the question. It is still a question I have and still ponder. All I can think to say is that poetry is magic made of words.

As winter tips into spring I give to you a poem to commemorate Brigid and all the other forms of the Goddess.
by Mary Oliver
The spirit
 likes to dress up like this:
   ten fingers,
     ten toes,
shoulders, and all the rest
 at night
   in the black branches,
     in the morning
in the blue branches
 of the world.
   It could float, of course,
     but would rather
plumb rough matter.
 Airy and shapeless thing,
   it needs
     the metaphor of the body,
lime and appetite,
 the oceanic fluids;
   it needs the body's world,
and imagination
 and the dark hug of time,
     and tangibility,
to be understood,
 to be more than pure light
   that burns
     where no one is --
so it enters us --
 in the morning
   shines from brute comfort
     like a stitch of lightning;
and at night
 lights up the deep and wondrous
   drownings of the body
     like a star.
from Dream Work Atlantic Monthly Pr., 1986

Happy Brigid! Happy Groundhog Day! Happy Candlemas! Happy Spring!
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February First 2009: February the First

February First 2010: Lovely Luz and Sweet Bridgit
This happens to be my all time favorite post from all two plus years of blogging. Please go check it out. 


libramoon said...

Bearing Water for Brigid

Sketches for a water vessel --
bottle and message elide on waves.
Voice of Brigid calls.
All who hear: Imagine.
Exposed to wind, to grit, to rain
and hail,
rock faces erode.

Designated fixed space
Sacrosanct container
Conveyor through fluid
Creates place, surface to paint.
diffusement of emotion,
beatitude, foment of dueling farce.

Harsh edges polished,
pure colors
blend in the dark.
Brief infusion
of giddy illusion
just enough to guilefully entice.
Sparkling Neural net
a secret
clue revealing
purpose, meaning,
wild eternal child,
ages' flamboyant fool,

(Voice rains from within)

A wound is a sacred vessel.
Pain carves into flesh
sense memory;
carries the seed
of its own demise.
engulfed in life
learns anew to be whole.

Wounded with the potential for wisdom
when eyes are are pried
from seeping, sucking, suffering
aching to censure what future we admire.
Redefine the schizm.
This wound is our project.
To heal, discover the vision;
realign the seam to fit
self-framed landscape.

Let loose that genie of desire.
Ride rushing blood streams.
Build a roaring pyre of grief,
insane belief in wrathfilled deities.
Revile that old refrain: "life is pain" or a game
to be lost.
No Faustian bargain.
Just a
rambling adventure
to explore
essence of ecstasy.
Don't wait for the rest to see
and demur.
Stretch your sail.
Take sight of your guiding star.
The only failure is self-denial
in favor of the vile lie
that pain is destiny
instead of faithful friend
lending energy
for change.

Slice vivid memories.
Exult in the tastes, the textures.
Enliven your way.

In the end
the vessel breaks.
There the Goddess stirs

2011 Aquarius

Poetry of the Day said...

oh how i love the use of words <3
-come support Famous Poetry about life

The Barefoot Crofter said...

Blessing to you for the coming Spring. That was a beautiful poem you shared. Thanks for visiting me too - we made our crosses from rushes growing in the field outside. xx

hands follow heart said...

Hi Alyss, thanks for popping by at my blog and leaving a comment. Beautiful entry and poem on this special time of the year, full of promises. I have one to add to your list. February 2 is also the day of Yemanja, an African deity well celebrated in Afro/Brazilian circles.

Somerset Wedding Gal said...

I never knew about the goddess Brigid I must admit, or that February 2nd was particularly significant, so this is all truly fascinating to find out!