This week a group of us celebrated the feast of St. Brigid, which falls on February 1st. We had rich scones with Star’s homemade black currant jam. What a feast. St. Brigid was someone who stood on the threshold between the pagan and Christian worlds, she was also known as a healer. She was said to be a time traveler because there are stories that she was Mary's midwife at the birth of Jesus. She traveled with a white cow that gave milk at anytime to those in need. You can read more about her on Wikipedia or in the book Illuminating the Way by Christine Valters Paintner.
Another reason why February 1st is so special is that it is a threshold day, the half way point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. The Celts call it Imbolc. Of course, in the Adirondacks it is not the half way point until real spring, but we have already noticed the longer light. Imbolc means ‘in the belly,’ it is in the belly of the earth that new life is waiting to arise. As winter loses ground to spring, we are invited to look faithfully at the bareness--the frozen earth, the lifeless trees--and see or imagine to see new beginnings. Resurrection energy is trying to rise in the soul.
Star and I learned about Brigid at the School for Celtic Consciousness last summer. It was the first year of a three year program lead by John Philip Newell. This we year we hope to go again and this time John Muir will be one of the Celtic ‘saints’ we learn about. Happy half-way to spring!