Brigit (pronounced breed) was goddess of the ancient British Kingdom of Brigantia. She regenerates the forces of nature at the end of each winter. Today, February 2nd, is Imbolc (pronounced emolc) which is half way between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, and is Brigit’s festival and one of the four Celtic Fire festivals. Christians know it as it Candlemas and secularists in the UK as a half Quarter Day.
Kathy Jones notes of Imbolc:
“... the Light of Illumination from Her perpetual flame is brought into a darkened room, heralding the coming of spring. Small honey and barley cakes are eaten and milk drunk in Her honour. On the first day, the ears of corn from the Lammas Corn Doll are planted in the ground and the dried stalks are burned, the flame releasing the life back into the earth. The ashes are spread upon the ground.”
That such connections between fertility and the Earth from the ancient past remain active even in a developed capitalist economy (and they are much more extensive across the world) shows the hold that myth and tradition still have on us, and on our need for connectedness to nature.
Honey and barley cakes sound a fine way to celebrate. Maybe with a glass of mead, metheglin, melomel or pyment. Or herb-infused mulled wine perhaps; here's a suitable Imbolc recipe c/0 Green Witch.
This post is a brief extract from one of the chapters in the recently published Routledge text: Learning, Environment and Sustainable Development – a history of ideas