|Brigid's Well in Kildare|
The year turns for me on Brigid's Day. The beginning of it is of course a bit earlier, but it is at that first bit of February when you get an inkling of how long the winter will be, what the prospects are for the seasons to come; it is the deep part of winter when you can hear yourself think, and make a plan.
It is, as traditionally celebrated, the very first stirring of a new season.
Irish harpist and singer Aine Minogue has some wonderful stories of the mighty Saint and her goddess ancestor- and last year, she presented some of these along with her matchless music at a concert at the Blackstone River Theatre where I was pleased to be able to offer my Brigid Crosses for sale. Remembering that fine evening, I sought out Aine's excellent web site, a whole section of which is devoted to Brigid of Ireland.
"To me Brigid's Day is simply bursting with significance as the start of the year, the opening of nature's door to new growth, new life - possibility. Rituals linked to Brigid seem to connect us to this, to force us to notice nature's cycle, to engage us in the magic of wishing for what we desire, while at the same time seeking protection during a time of change. Brigid had the right idea when she developed the ritual of cross making. It connects us in a very simple way with the earth, with life, with spirit. I smell the new growth as I walk down by the Blackwater river here in Lismore. I move out amongst the deep green-coloured reeds, bend my head to the land to gather clumps of them and again smell the earth's sap rising. "