Brigid is a triple goddess holding the archetype of the Maiden, Mother, & Crone. In her maiden aspect, she is said to charm new life into the cold heart of Winter, with her white birch wand, to help him open his eyes to the promise of Spring. Imbolc literally means Ňin the bellyÓ it is the lambing season after all, when the milk begins to flow.
A long time ago, nigh the beginning, near the waters of a sacred well, at the first crack of pink in the young morning of the cross-quarter between Winter and Spring, at the very threshold, the goddess Brigid slipped into the world, and the waters of the world rippled with joy.
Up rose a column of fire out of the head of the new goddess that burned to the very sky. Brigid reached up and broke away a flaming plume from her crown and dropped it on the ground before her. There it leapt and shone, creating a new hearth.
Then from the fire of her hearth, Brigid used both hands to draw out a leaping tongue of heat, swallowed it, and felt the fire burn straight to her heart. There stood the goddess, fire crowning her head, fire leaping inside her heart, glowing and shooting from her hands, and dancing on the hearth before her.
The waters of the sacred well quickened as Brigid built a chimney of brick about her hearth. Then she formed a roof of thatch and walls of stone. And so it was that by the waters of the sacred well the goddess built the forge in which she keeps the four fires that have served the world evermore.
Out of the fire in BrigidŐs hands baked the craft of bending iron. Out of the fire on BrigidŐs hearth & the waters of her sacred well came the healing potions, teas, and tinctures. Out of the fire on BrigidŐs head flared out writing and poetry. Out of the fire in BrigidŐs heart spread the warmth of compassion.
Word of the gifts of BrigidŐs fire traveled deep and wide. People flocked to learn from Brigid the secret of using fire to soften iron and bend it to the shape of their will. The people called it smithcraft, and made wheels, pots, and tools that did not break.
All the medicine plants of the earth were gathered & brought to the house of the goddess. With their leaves, flowers, bark, and roots, they offered themselves to the waters of her sacred well. Brigid made healing brews. The people were healed and wanted BrigidŐs recipes. ŇBut we canŐt remember which plants for which healings, where to gather them or how long to steep them,Ó they told Brigid.
The fire on BridgetŐs head blazed bright. She took up a blackened stick and made marks with it on a flat piece of bark. ŇThese are the talking marks,Ó She said. ŇThey are the way to remember what you donŐt want to forget.Ó The talking marks also let the people write down the stories of her wisdom.
The folk hold the wisdom of the goddess close, and every year on Imbolc they thank Brigid for her well of wisdom & her fires of hand, hearth, head & heart.