Imbolic and Brigid

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Like many Pagan holidays, Imbolc has a Celtic connection as well, although it wasn’t celebrated in non-Gaelic Celtic societies. The Irish Saint Brighid is the keeper of the sacred flame, the guardian of home and hearth. In addition to fire, she is a goddess connected to inspiration and creativity. Imbolic is a Gaelic traditional festival marking the beginning of spring. Most commonly it is held on 1 February, or about halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. It is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals—along with Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain and corresponds to the Welsh Gŵyl Fair y Canhwyllau. ForChristians, especially in Ireland, it is the feast day of Saint Brigid.There is some debate over whether St Brigid was a real person. She has the same name, associations and feast day as the Celtic goddess Brigid, and there are many supernatural events, legends and folk customs associated with her.

Some scholars suggest that the saint is merely a Christianization of the goddess. Others suggest that she was a real person who took on the goddess’s attributes. Medieval Art Historian Pamela Berger argues that Christian “monks took the ancient figure of the mother goddess and grafted her name and functions onto her Christian counterpart. Others suggest that the saint had been chief druidess at the temple of the goddess Brigid, and was responsible for converting it into a Christian monastery. After her death, the name and characteristics of the goddess became attached to the saint.
Photo ~ Jeff Frazier
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