I was in that liminal state between sleeping and waking the other day. I was thinking about Imbolc, Brighid’s Day, and thinking how much I like it. Samhain is the most meaningful of the holy days for me, Winter Solstice/Yule the most fun, but there is something about Imbolc that just inspires me. The thought of the spring (and summer to come) gives me hope. I’ve noticed the days getting brighter earlier and staying brighter longer and I feel the earth beginning to warm a bit, even through the snow. My Fedco order is in and I wait for the seeds I’ll sow. I’ve started figuring out whether this will be my year for chickens and I’m making a list of what I need to do to clean out the ornamental garden. This winter has my garden so confused. My Butterfly Bush began putting out little green leaves only to be hit by the very cold temperatures of the last week. I’ll cut it back before we warm up again but I empathized with its confusion. I’m used to the tempo of cold northern winters and the warm, wet, weather we have had is disconcerting.
All that in the moments between sleeping and waking…but mostly I thought about Brighid herself. I have seen so many representations of her but she always seems to be shown as a maidenly goddess. She is the goddess of healing, of creativity, of fertility, of fire and of health. We associate her with Spring and with the lambs that come early. Her maidenly avatars, clean and pure, have never struck a chord with me and so I have never really had a mental image of the Goddess Brighid. She just was, which, when you come down to it is really what every goddess and god is, they are there, immanent. They don’t really need an image, we just need them to have an image, I just need an image. It is just so much easier to make a connection when I can envision the goddess or god as I meditate upon them or try to commune.
I was so pleased, and more than a bit surprised when I saw the goddess herself in that place between. She came walking towards me, leading a lamb on a string by one hand and carrying a trowel in her other. She was short and plump/stocky and her reddish brown hair was in pigtails. She had freckles and a smile that made me feel good to be alive. She wore overalls, blue denim overalls and she was clearly a working goddess. She radiated common sense and joie de vivre and she was everything that Spring was about. I was, and am, honored that she came to me. She didn’t speak, and I just smiled, and she gave me a face for spring.
I just wish I’d been able to ask her about those chickens.