February 2016 WATERritual

Embraced by Brigit: A Breath of Spring

By Diann L. Neu and Mallory Naake

February 2016

          According to Celtic spirituality, women’s power was most manifest in Brigit of Ireland−goddess, saint, and threshold figure. She bridged the worlds between rich and poor, pagan and Christian, slave and free.

Audio available here.


          Set the altar with a cloth which represents Brigit’s cloak, an unlit candle, and 16 pieces (for each person) of 12” rush, straw, raffia, or ½” x 11” strips of paper to make Brigit’s cross. You will need matches and scissors. Additionally, we will walk across or through a threshold during the ritual. The WATER office participants used a Brigit’s sash (Crios) made by and given to us by Irish colleagues, but you may use a doorway or other representation.

Welcome and Naming the Circle

February is Brigit’s month so we form our circle in memory of this wise woman of Ireland. Share your name and a thought you have about spring this year.

Brigit’s Welcome

Gatherer: Brigit calls us.
All: Spring into life!
Gatherer: Brigit touches our hearts.
All: Spring into life!
Gatherer: She opens our minds.
All: Spring into life!
Gatherer: And heals our spirits too.
All: Spring into life!
Gatherer: Brigit renews Earth.
All: Spring into life!
Gatherer: She invites us to
All: Spring into life!

Brigit’s Dance: “Dancing Brigit’s Circle” adapted from “Dancing Sophia’s Circle,” Colleen Fulmer, Dancing Sophia’s Circle © 1994.

Ring us round O ancient circle,
Great Brigit dancing free.
Beauty, strength and Holy Wisdom.
Blessing you and blessing me.

Brigit’s Story

          Read the story in parts or as a group.

Brigit of Ireland was born in the middle of the 5th century CE into a Druid household. She was taught the secrets of the old religion. She was goddess of hearth and guardian of fire. She founded a famous monastery in Kildare that housed a sacred flame until well into the 16th century.

Brigit’s Fire: From Brigit’s Arrow Invocation, Traditional

          Light a candle and say together:   

Most Holy Brigit, Excellent Woman,
Bright Arrow, Sudden Flame;
May your bright fiery Sun
Take us swiftly to your lasting kin-dom.

The context of Brigit’s birth has great significance. She was born during a transitional time as Ireland was moving from the old religion into an era where St. Patrick and others were bringing the message of Christianity to the people. She was also born in a transitional location, the place of the threshold.

At sunrise as Brigit’s mother crossed the threshold into the house, she gave birth, in a place neither in nor out, neither day nor night. In Celtic Spirituality, thresholds are sacred places where the veil between heaven and Earth seems especially thin and people feel keenly the presence of the sacred. Even today, many hang Brigit’s cross on their threshold or hearth to seek her blessing and to remember that the sacred is part of our everyday life.

Brigit’s Threshold

          Say together:

Neither in nor out,
Neither day nor night,
Neither heaven nor Earth,
Shedding the past, walking into the future
We pass through the threshold of Brigit.

          Two hold the Crios (sash) while others walk through it in silence.

Later in her life, Brigit asked a rich man for land to build a monastery. He offered to give her a site as far as her cloak would reach. When she spread her cloak, it encompassed all of Kildare. This story places Brigit in the long line of female divinities throughout Europe and beyond who used their cloaks to claim the land they needed for their work.

Brigit’s cloak is the cloak of mercy, and an Old Irish blessing is: May Brigit’s mantle protect you always.

Brigit’s Cloak

          Touch Brigit’s cloak and say together:

May Brigit’s mantle protect me always.
May Brigit’s mantle protect our families and communities always.
May Brigit’s mantle protect the cosmos always.

Genealogy of Brighid*: Traditional, translation from Scots Gaelic: Noragh Jones, Power of Raven, Wisdom of Serpent © 1994. (*Note, this is another spelling of Brigit.)

Brighid of the mantles,
Brighid of the peat-heap,
Brighid of the twining hair,
Brighid of the augury.

Brighid of the white feet,
Brighid of serenity,
Brighid of the white palms,
Brighid of the kine.

Brighid, companion-woman,
Brighid of the peat-heap,
Brighid, aid to women,
Brighid, woman kindly.

Brighid, own tress of Mary,
Brighid, nurse of Christ,
Each day and each night
That I say the genealogy of Brighid.

I shall not be slain,
I shall not be wounded,
I shall not be prisoned,
I shall not be gashed,
I shall not be torn in sunder,
I shall not be plundered,
I shall not be down-trodden,
I shall not be stripped,
I shall not be rent in tow,
Nor will Christ let me be forgotten.

Nor sun shall burn me,
Nor fire shall burn me,
Nor beam shall burn me,
Nor moon shall burn me.

Nor river shall drown me,
Nor salt-water drown me,
Nor flood drown me,
Nor water drown me.

Nightmare shall not lie on me
Black-sheep shall not lie on me,
Spell-sheep shall not lie on me,
Sleep-sickness shall not lie on me.

I am under the keeping
Of my Saint Mary;
My companion dear to me
Is Brighid.

Brigit’s Cross

            Make a Brigit’s cross during the period of reflection. After the crosses are made, the group will bless them. We suggest each person hangs their cross in a doorway, on the hearth, or on another threshold in their home. Instructions can be found here:

http://fisheaters.com/stbrigidscross.html – written directions

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eDUXepmNLY – video directions


As we make these crosses, let us share how Brigit has spoken to us this evening.

Brigit’s Cross

          Hold your cross in one hand, extend your other hand in blessing, and say together:

Holy Brigit, watch over our homes and our communities.
Goddess of hearth and guardian of fire,
Embrace us with your mantle of protection.
Breathe your healing blessing on each one.

Song: “Come Sing a Song with Me,” Words and Music by Carolyn McDade, Sister, Carry On © 1992.

Come sing a song with me (3x)
That I might know your mind.

And I’ll bring you hope
When hope is hard to find
And I’ll bring a song of love
And a rose in the winter time.
Come dream a dream with me (3x)
That I might know your mind. Chorus


© 2016 Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER). Planned by Diann L. Neu dneu@hers.com and Mallory Naake mallory@waterwomensalliance.org.