February 2004



Celtic Cross © Aris Dervis

© Aris Dervis 2004

Brigid of Kildare

Feast February 1

The following speech is attributed to Brigid:

I would like the angels of Heaven to be among us. I would like an abundance of peace. I would like full vessels of charity. I would like rich treasures of mercy. I would like cheerfulness to preside over all...I would like the friends of Heaven to be gathered around us from all parts. I would like a great lake of beer for the King of Kings. I would like to be watching Heaven's family drinking it through all eternity.

Brigid reigns over the feast of Imbolc (or Candlemas), one of the four feasts of the traditional Celtic ceremonial cycle. On February lst she was said to be seen emerging in the form of a snake from the cave where she had spent the winter. Her presence evoked the beginning of spring and the birthing time of lambs.

Her sacred shine still exists in Kildare, Ireland. In ancient times 19 virgins tended an undying flame and on the 20th day, Brigid tended the fire by herself. For many centuries the fire remained doused, but in 1993 the Sisters of Brigid relit the fire and keep it burning as a symbol of healing and peace. Her sacred well is still in use as a healing shrine.

Since Brigid is the patron of poets I dedicate the following poem to her.


We meet in a circle facing a frozen stone.
We are the color of snow
Only our eyes make bright flames in the dark.
Winter is almost over.
Just today something green stirred in the clumsy ice.

The fast has been endless.
Ribs protrude: strings of a harp with no playing.
We sing with empty mouths praising the gods
Who keep us safe from the roasting fires.

It is good sometimes to wait
As if there were a plan.

To shrink down to the spirit:
A ghost whose vigil
Hunger cannot keep.

Carole Murray