Exploring Celtic Spirituality - Brigid & Imbolc, 2015                  

A Series of Classes and Ceremonies Celebrating the Celtic Wheel of the Year
with Edie Stone, MAWe can all receive the flame of Brigid in our
        hearts. Art by Susanne Iles, Irish artist.
2027 Broadway, Suite H, Boulder, Colorado 80302     
303-415-3755



Imbolc, Sunday, Feb. 8, 2:30 pm - Details
Read article from the Daily Camera - 2010

Read article from The Celtic Connection - 2012
NEWS! Article from the Daily Camera - 2014
Article on Lunar aspects of Imbolc at my Meetup group
Return to main Exploring Celtic Spirituality page and current events.
Edie's main page, www.ediestone.com


Imbolc, by Susanne Iles, Irish Symbolist Artist and Writer c.2008    
Explore her art and writing at susanneiles.com    
 We can all receive the Flame of Brigid in our hearts.    

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Come join us in celebration of the beauty, inspiration, and healing energy of Brigid -- Brigid who is an ancient and timeless triune goddess of the Celtic spirit, and Brigid, who is the beloved saint of Ireland and Scotland.

In our ceremony, we will have an opportunity to walk the lovely 11-circuit labyrinth in quiet contemplation. We will also share stories, music, and poetry inspired by Brigid. All participants will have an opportunity to receive a small candle infused with the Flame of Brigid, and a blessing from her healing well.

The qualities and symbolism of goddess and saint overlap and merge in a lovely way, making it difficult to tell where the myth of one ends and the legends of the other begins.

Facilitated by Edie Stone and volunteers.

Check out the article by Megan Quinn that appeared in the Boulder Daily Camera, Saturday, February 1, 2014, about our Imbolc celebration! 
below   

Text of a 2010 article, also by Megan Quinn, is copied below.


See my new article, Discovering Brigid, below.



  Brigid's
          Well at Kildare, IrelandWell of St. Brigid in Kilda
re, Ireland

NOTE: Be sure to bring warm socks, or enjoy going barefoot on the Labyrinth. They will have some booties to cover shoes, if you need shoes. (The floor can be slippery in socks.) We must do everything we can to preserve the labyrinth, which is in delicate condition.

The church has an elevator to the basement, and is handicapped accessible.

The parking lot behind the church is available for Sunday (not for weekdays, however).

EVENT DETAILS

EVENT: Imbolc: The Festival Of Brigid, Celtic Goddess and Saint

TIME: Sunday, February 8, 2015 -- 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm

LOCATION: Labyrinth Room in the First United Methodist Church, downstairs, 1421 Spruce Street, Boulder, CO 80302. Church is handicapped accessible.

DIRECTIONS: NE corner of 14th and Spruce. Spruce is one-way going west in the downtown loop. Park on the street or in the city garage on 15th Street between Pearl and Spruce. Free parking on Sunday. Or park in the lot behind the church, at 15th and Pine, also free on Sunday.

COST: Open to all. Donation of $10 to $25 appreciated, if you have the ability to give. No one turned away for lack of funds.

RESERVATIONS: Please RSVP if possible. Plenty of room, but I need to know how many candles to bring.
Edie Stone, 303-415-3755, rsvp@ediestone.com

Return to main Exploring Celtic Spirituality page and current events.
Edie's main page, www.ediestone.com

Perpetual Flambe of Brigid at Kildare, Ireland

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The Perpetual Flame of Brigid which was relit in Kildare, Ireland.

The Dalai Lama received the Flame in 2011!

Source: See kildare.ie for history of the Flame. 


Flamekeepers of Brigid

Who are the Flamekeepers?

The original fire of Brigid was probably a druidic fire dedicated to the goddess. At Kildare, the legend is that St. Brigid lit a fire, which was tended by 19 sisters and on the 20th night by Herself. After her death, the 19 sisters kept a perpetual fire at the abbey, still leaving the 20th night to be tended by Brigid in spirit. The fire was tended by the nuns for centuries, but was eventually extinguished by the English during the Reformation.

Each rotation is 20 days long, each keeper takes one of 19 shifts. The twentieth night is Brigids. A keeper's shift begins at sunset and continues until sunset the next day. Keepers can begin their shifts by lighting a candle or lamp while saying a prayer, invocation, or chant to Brigid. During a shift, the keeper tends Brigids flame physically, symbolically, or both.
(Flamekeeper info quoted in part from cauldroncill.ecauldron.net. More information and inspiration can be found at www.ordbrighideach.org)
 
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Links: 

2014 article by Megan Quinn, on Brigid and our Imbolc ceremony!

From the Daily Camera, Celtic festival honors spiritual woman of mystery
http://www.dailycamera.com/lifestyles/ci_25038350/imbolc-celtic-festival-honors-pagan-goddess-st-bridgid

Megan Quinn: Celtic festival honors spiritual woman of mystery

By Megan Quinn

Camera Staff Writer

Posted:   02/03/2014 11:47:58 AM MST
Updated:   02/03/2014 11:56:01 AM MST

In some traditions, Brigid was a pagan goddess of healing and poetry. In others, Brigid was a beloved Irish saint.

The myriad stories and identities of Brigid have many layers of history and mystery. To celebrate her symbolism and place in history and religion, a Boulder spiritual group is inviting the public to the festival of Imbolc, a Celtic springtime celebration.

The Imbolc celebration is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Feb. 9 at First United Methodist Church, 1421 Spruce St.

Edie Stone, who has been organizing Celtic festivals in Boulder since the early '90s, said Brigid has intriguing, inspiring and mysterious origins.

"I love the inspiration and transformational quality of the sacred feminine energy, which is embodied in the image of Brigid," Stone said. "There's a striking, transformative energy that bridges both Christian and Pagan traditions."

Brigid symbolizes "water and fire, poetry, healing, peacekeeping. You can't ask for a better goddess," Stone added.

Boulder's Imbolc celebration will feature stories, music and poetry inspired by Brigid, and participants will pass around candles that symbolize the fire that continuously burns in Kildare, Ireland, where St. Brigid established an abbey around the year 470. In the Pagan tradition, Brigid's flame symbolizes spring's warmth.

Candles used during the Boulder Imbolc event have been lit from the original Kildare flame, she said.

The sacred fire is a big part of Brigid's identity, Stone said.

In the years before air-travel rules restricted bringing certain items onto airplanes, some followers of Brigid carried actual embers from the Kildare flame back from Ireland to the United States and other countries, she said.

Nowadays, followers light a candle from the Kildare flame, then extinguish it and light other candles with the same candle.

"The light of this goddess and saint is still spread around the world," Stone said. "When (participants) light their candle with that fire, that energy, that consciousness, the light can be passed on."

Lola Wilcox, who has participated in Imbolc for several years, said she became interested in Brigid while studying medieval literature in college.

She visited the original flame of Kildare two years ago and now is known as a "fire keeper" who prayerfully lights a candle in her own home every 20 days.

Wilcox's husband, Chuck, said he connects with Brigid because of her multiple representations and patronages, including poetry and craftwork.

"When I feel inspired, I think of Brigid," he said.

Because Brigid is known as both a pagan goddess and a Catholic saint, her stories overlap and merge so much that it's sometimes difficult to tell where each myth, legend and story originates, Stone said.

Stone became interested in Celtic rituals as a graduate student at Naropa University in the early '90s. After meeting other like-minded students, she and others got together and organized celebrations for each of the four major Celtic celebrations.

Stone said the First United Methodist Church is a good place to stage the event because of the church's large indoor labyrinth. Another part of the Imbolc ceremony will include a contemplative walk through the labyrinth.

Labyrinths also have appeared in both early pagan and Christian traditions, Stone said. The winding, circular path is meant to help generate a meditative state where people can reflect on their life and spirituality.

Megan Quinn writes a faith column once a week for the Camera. Contact her at 303-410-2649 or quinnm@broomfieldenterprise.com



Celtic celebration honors spiritual woman of mystery, history

       (This is the 2010 article from on Imbolc from the Boulder Daily Camera)

Megan Quinn, For the Camera

Posted: 01/23/2010 12:04:44 AM MST

Celtic goddess and Catholic saint Brigid carries a sense of mysticism in two seemingly different but intimately connected traditions.

Edie Stone, who has been organizing Celtic festivals in Boulder since the early 90's, hopes to shed light on Brigid and Imbolc, her upcoming Celtic celebration. The holiday honors Brigid, a woman with dual identities as a Catholic saint and a pagan goddess of healing and poetry. The Imbolc celebration takes place 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 31 (Note: that was 2010! Current event is 2:30 to 4 pm, Feb. 9, 2014) at the First United Methodist Church, 1421 Spruce Street.

Brigid is a dynamic symbol because of her multiple identities, Stone said.

"The qualities and symbolism of goddess and saint overlap and merge in a lovely way, making it difficult to tell where the myth of one ends and the legends of the other begins," she said.

The celebration, which is open to the public, will feature stories, music, and poetry inspired by Brigid, and participants will pass around candles that symbolize the fire that continuously burns in Kildare, Ireland, where Saint Brigid established an abbey around the year 470. In the Pagan tradition, Brigid's flame symbolizes Spring's growing warmth.

"There's a lot of crossover when it comes to Brigid in the historical sense and the mythical sense," she said.

Stone became interested in Celtic rituals as a graduate student at Naropa in the early 90's. At first, she studied Native American traditions and their connections to the earth. After meeting another student who described his spiritual experiences with Celtic traditions, Stone threw herself into learning everything about Celtic ceremonies and their similar ties to nature. A group of students got together and organized celebrations for each of the four major Celtic celebrations.

"We started really getting into it and taught each other. It was a joyful process, and we were always discussing how we could do it so it was interesting and exciting for people," she said.

There are four "cross-quarter" holy days that fall in between solstice days and equinox days. They also include Samhain or Halloween, Beltane or May Day and Lughnasa or Lammas. Stone often holds workshops that delve into the other three celebrations.

Stone said the First United Methodist Church was a good place to hold the event because of the church's large indoor labyrinth. Another part of the ceremony will include a contemplative walk through the labyrinth.

Labyrinths have also appeared in both early pagan and Christian traditions, Stone said. The winding, circular path is meant to help generate a meditative state where people can reflect on their life and spirituality.

Julie Heins of First United Methodist Church said the church has rented out the labyrinth room to many organizations since it is one of the few indoor labyrinths in Boulder.

"It's a pretty popular spiritual practice around here," she said.

The church's large basement labyrinth was the brainchild of former pastor Trevor Potter, and a committee helped maintain it and integrate it into spiritual events. In the past few years, however, the most active users have moved away, gone back to school or joined other churches, Heins said.

The labyrinth, open to the public 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays, it is available to people of all faith traditions, she said.

Those interested can also walk a few other labyrinths around Boulder. St. John's Episcopal Church, 1419 Pine Street, has a stone labyrinth just outside the building. Those who are looking for a nature-centered maze can walk the gravel labyrinth behind the Boulder Public Library. The labyrinth sits right next to Boulder Creek.

Megan Quinn writes a weekly faith column for the Camera and can be reached at bubblegumandbibles@gmail.com.


UPDATE 
Recent email for Megan: quinnm@dailycamera.com
Return to main Exploring Celtic Spirituality page and current events.

Edie's main page, www.ediestone.com


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ARTICLE

Thanks to Pat McCullough for publishing this article in The Celtic Connection, January 2012 edition!
You can subscribe to The Celtic Conection: 303-777-0502, celticevents@rmi.net, or www.CelticEvents.com

Discovering Brigid

The Sacred Faces of Brigid, Goddess and Saint

by Edie Stone

Just as you can hardly travel a week in Ireland without discovering that two or three of your B&B hostesses are named Brigid, so you cannot journey very far along the paths of Celtic spirituality without discovering Brigid, either in her historic form of St. Brigid of Kildare, or in her mythic form as the triple goddess of the Tuatha De Danann who presides over bardic poetry and visioning, smithcraft, and the healing arts.

The qualities and symbolism of goddess and saint overlap and merge in a lovely way, making it difficult to tell where the myths of the one end and the legends of the other begin. Both are healers, for example. The goddess presides over a cauldron of rebirth, and the healing well of St. Brigid still flows at Kildare (and many other healing wells in Ireland and Britain).

There are differences between goddess and saint, of course. While it was Patrick who converted Ireland, it was Brigid who brought the love of Christ into the homes and hearts of the women. St. Brigid was known as the Midwife of Mary, and it was to her that the women prayed in childbirth.

Both goddess and saint are associated with the transformative power of fire - the fire of the forge, the hearth, and the sun. Brigid was the goddess of metalworking, at a time when that art was imbued with power and mystery. And the fire of her inspiration has burned in the minds of bards and poets for centuries. When Brigid of Kildare was consecrated (as a bishop!), a column of fire ascended from her head.

There was an ever-burning fire at Kildare, which was tended by the nuns for a thousand years. This fire was relit in 1993, and in the form of embers and candle wicks, it has spread around the world. Circles of Flamekeepers now honor either goddess or saint or both. Each participant tends a Flame of Brigid in a cycle of 20 days. And on April 13, 2011, the Dalai Lama received a Flame of Brigid in Kildare.

Note from Edie: Participants at our Imbolc celebration on February, 2014, will each receive the Flame of Brigid embodied in the wick of a small candle.

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Flamekeeping poem:

I found this lovely brief poem in the 2014 WeMoon Calendar, p. 55. It captures the essence of Brigids quiet, on-going transformative energy, and the practice of keeping her Flame.

                    One By One

        One by one, in tiny increments,
        candle by candle, gesture by effort,
        wish by prayer, concern by care,
        we feed the life-fires of the soul
        and light the infinite universe,
        little by little from within.
                    by Mama Donna Henes, www.donnahenes.net

Return to main Exploring Celtic Spirituality page and current events.
Edie's main page, www.ediestone.com