We like the solstices and equinoxes as they begin the seasons. But just as special are the cross-quarter holidays which come at the heart of every season. Those of us in the Northern Hemisphere approach the heart of winter. This week we’re exactly between winter solstice and the spring equinox–when the Sun reaches 15 degrees of fixed sign Aquarius. Our bodies are restless. They can sense what’s coming: the renewed vitality and promise of spring. They’re weary of the cold and staying so long indoors.
So how do our bodies want to celebrate this holiday in natural time? They like to party–the Superbowl brings such an opportunity for those of us in the United States. We want our pleasure endorphins released in a festive communal way, so that with happier hearts, we can skip through the remaining weeks of winter.
Another fine way to celebrate this seasonal midpoint is to make contact with the god or goddess of the coming season. For spring, a favorite is the Celtic goddess of passion, poetry, inspiration and spring: Brigid. She is often honored on February 2, the date of the pagan holidays Imbolc and Candelmas. You can reach out to her anytime in February to be sure to nourish your spring with her blessings.
For three successive nights, light a small candle at the same hour. Focused internally on your heart, recite Brigid’s prayer below. When the poem is complete, close your eyes and wait to be touched by the goddess. You may blow out the candle when you’re done, or leave it burning until you retire. (Be safe: don’t leave a burning candle unattended.)
This is the genealogy of the holy maiden Bride*,
Radiant flame of gold, noble foster mother of Christ,
Bride, daughter of Dugall the Brown*,
Son of Aodh, son of Art, son of Conn,
Son of Crearer, Son of Cis, son of Carmac,
son of Carruin, Every day and every night
That I say the genealogy of Bride,
I shall not be killed, I shall not be harried,
I shall not be put in a cell, I shall not be wounded,
Neither shall Christ leave me in forgetfulness.
No fire, no sun, no moon shall burn me,
No lake, no water, nor sea shall drown me,
No arrow of fairy nor dart of fay shall wound me
And I under the protection of my Holy Mary
And my gentle foster-mother is my beloved Bride.”
From the Carmina Gadelica, by Alexander Carmichael
*“Brighid” is also known as “Bride” or “Breed.” If you read about Brigid first, you may find your connection to Her is strengthened.