Saturday, February 4, 2012
Lá Fhéile Bríde
Today is the halfway mark between winter and spring... Brigid's Day... Some dear friends are coming to the house in a few hours (so I'd better go run my scheduled six miles for the day...just.not.feeling.it! and get my butt back here in time for a shower!). We'll celebrate together, meditate together, eat together. Laugh and share stories and catch up. Be grateful for the winter season (and even more grateful that the halfway mark is here and each day forward is a step closer to spring!)
A festival of milks (ancient folks were herding their ewes), we'll dine on cheeses for appetizers, risotto for dinner, and butter cake (complete with buttercream frosting!) for dessert. (One year, we actually did a milk tasting, which was pretty darn cool!) In keeping with the old tradition, each family will bring a candle (ours is red) which we'll bless (Candlemas, or the Mass of the Candles or Mass of Mary of the Candles as it is sometimes known, was Feb 2). We'll also bless some oil to use in times of illness, as she is a patron of healing and health.
Brigid is special to me. She's not just my patron and Confirmation saint. It's not even that she's Irish (although that helps!). She's a patroness of the arts... of midwives... of women and babies... When Nicholas was born and died, on her observed day of the 1st (the 4th is this year's astronimical date of the midpoint between winter/spring), we entrusted him to her care until we were able to be with him again. I've always felt that his birth on that day, and Sophia's in the month of February, were symbolic of their being with this patroness of infants in the womb. Of mothers... Of me.
It's a special day. For years, I prayed to become a mother on this day, for Brigid to intercede for me. Then, there were the years (and they remain) that I pray for her to watch over my children. Even now, on the verge of a birth for a doula client (who was due on the 1st!), I find that I'm asking Brigid for her help... To watch over... To protect... To guide...
I joke with Peter that this, like St. Patrick's Day, is a day that he gets to pretend he's Irish :) (I mean, we all know he wants to be- doesnt everyone!)