So, the snow has hardly been a moment gone, in fact it’s still lying in lumps of hard, crisp gatherings of ice on the hills and higher places, and what’s coming up soon but Imbolc, Celtic festival of the beginning of spring and of the lactation of ewes
Imbolc, directly translated as ‘in the belly’, is the festival of St Brigid, or Bride, as she was known in pre-Christian Ireland. In pre-Christian belief, there were in fact three sisters called Bride, each of whom was holy and had a special gift. One of the sisters was a midwife and healer. When this triple-aspected goddess was re-invented as St Brigid, she kept her midwife’s role. Some say Brigid was the midwife to Mary, all that time ago in the little stable. How she got from Ireland to Bethlehem, I don’t know. Boat and donkey, I guess.
Many of the pre- or non-Christian goddess figures had three aspects. When Bride made her transformation to the singular and Christian, we are told that she was born in a doorway and was brought up on the milk of a cow from the gods. I find that interesting – doorways are what are called ‘liminal’ spaces – the spaces in between. Like the night of Hallowe’en, when the veil between this and the other world is thin, Brigid, patron saint of midwives, herself came into this world in the space between
That space where birthing mothers go.
Anyway, enough of that chat. Here’s a link to a song which expresses the transcendence of birth, perhaps better than any song I’ve yet come across http://www.seizetheday.org/music.cfm?albumID=4&trackID=51
And check out that sax solo!
Happy Imbolc, everyone