The Goddess Bride

As with many Goddesses, Bride has many names: Bride (pronounced Bre-id), Brigantia, Brigid, Brigandu, Brigit; and was taken over by the Christians and renamed Bridget.

In her various guises she is a Goddess of smith-craft, poetry, inspiration, healing and medicine. She is also credited with inventing keening (the mourning song) and whistling. In Ireland she is known as the fire Goddess Brigid ‘bright one’ and Brigid of the bright (or fiery) arrow.

One of the older Imbolg rituals involves making Bride’s bed. The women of the household make a corn doll and dress it with white cloth and coloured ribbons. The men make a phallic wand of the same length as the Bride doll. These would be placed together in the hearth, surrounded by candles, last thing at night. In the morning the ashes would be inspected for signs of the God’s visit; perhaps the shape of the wand, or a footprint in the ashes. If something was found it would indicate that the Goddess and God had been united and fertility would follow.

For those without a real fire, a modern alternative is to place both Bride and the wand in a bed together. Then each person writes on a slip of paper something they wish fertility for in the coming year. These slips are then carefully burnt and the ashes collected and placed at the foot of the bed. Small candles are burnt around the bed and once they have finished everyone retires and leaves the bed until the morning. The following day the ashes are inspected and any markings and patterns are interpreted.

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