Happy Imbolc, northern hemisphere friends, Happy Bride's Day, a Celtic celebration of the creative fire that makes ewes birth lambs in spring, and spring break through the cold of winter. Imbolc is associated with the Irish goddess, Brigit.
below: Brigit painted in the Temple of Goddesses, Glastonbury
There are many tales about Brigit in which she is repeatedly challenged by males, including the god who weds her. In one of my favourite tales, and disturbing, Brigit is forced to run a great distance while heavily pregnant, and does so. Because she is outspoken, independent and highly resourceful, she is often at odd with male gods, but her courage and inner strength win their respect, and their love.
Brigid was so widely loved in Celtic Britain that the church had to add her to their list of saints, a tame, watered down Brigid that nevertheless is dearly loved as second patron saint of Ireland (well first, really).
right: Saint Brigid
Brigit is a solar deity, daughter of the Dagda, the Good God and Chief of the Tuatha de Danaan, the Irish gods, and wife of Bres, king of their enemy, the Formorians; she mediated peace between them.
below: 'Riders of the Sidhe' by John Duncan (descendants of the Tuatha de Danaan, also known as Faerie, people of the hill, the little people or good people).
Brigit is considered the goddess of music, poetry and metal craft, also the womanly arts, and is associated with lambs (new birth, spring) and fire (perhaps the fire of metal craft, the fire of life that warms the earth and the wombs of ewes in spring).
Image: Day Chapel Tapestry of the Church of the Annunciation, Clonard. House of Brigid. University of Notre Dame. http://www.houseofbrigid.org/Sourced from: http://www.sunmountainspring.org/
(Sun Mountain Spring also has a beautifully written post on Brigit and traditional celebrations of Imbolc, titled Lá Fhéile Bríde. I highly recommend it, and now that I have discovered this site, I will visit it often).
To me, Brigid/Brigit represents not only the immense creativity, resourcefulness and energy of the feminine, its fortitude and generosity, Mother of Life. I also see in her stories and frequent conflicts with men or between men the continual struggle of the feminine with the aggressive, domineering, usurping energies of the masculine.
The feminine (whatever its form) is continually challenged by the energies of the out of balance, overweening masculine that seeks to hinder, possess, dominate, diminish, hinder, corrupt or dominate the feminine forces.
It's not men against women (though it is often represented that way in myth and played out that way in our societies). Rather, it is an ongoing battle of priorities, values and energies that has become so obvious right now in our world, also within ourselves, male and female.
Happy Imbolc, sisters, who everywhere are fanning the life-nurturing, heart-tempering fire of Brigid into new life. And Happy Imbolc to all those brave brothers, fathers, sons and partners who give those energies room and safety in which to bloom, and, hopefully, are allowing the feminine to arise in them, to infuse their hearts with love and gentleness so that humanity can finally live in harmony.