Friday, January 27, 2012

B is for Brat Bríde {Pagan Blog Project}

{I just found out about the Pagan Blog Project and thought that I would have a go at participating. If you're a Pagan blogger you should consider signing up to participate too!}

Since it's almost Imbolc and this week's letter is "B", there is no way that I could have done this post without having Brigid as a part of it. I figured I would post one of my favourite Imbolc customs, laying out a brat Bríde {Brigid's mantle}.

A tradition from Ireland is for women to leave a piece of clothing, ribbon, or a piece of fabric out on the eve of Imbolc for Brigid to bless when she stopped by their house. Once blessed, it was then supposed to have healing and/or protective powers.

Midwives would use them to aid in the birthing process of their clients, and was a talisman for healing all sorts of ailments, such as headaches. It was also used by some for protection from the evil eye, maintaining a girl's virginity, to keep children from getting lost, and apparently was used for when cattle gave birth.

There were almost as many different rules on how to keep a brat Bríde as there were uses, and it pretty much depended on where in Ireland the tradition was being practiced. Some folks would only put out an item that was not cleaned to be blessed, and there were some who thought that the brat would loose its effectiveness once it was cleaned, post blessing. Another guideline was that the brat had to be put out every year, while others thought that the article would always hold its power, or would reach its full potential once left out for seven consecutive years.

To me personally the most important rule is to make Brigid's stop over a warm and hospitable one. One does not need a proper hearth to make it cozy for her, but some food and drink will definitely help. ;)

Obviously this was a custom practiced by Catholics for Saint Brigid, and there is speculation by some that many of the Imbolc traditions are carry over practices from pre-Christian times. There is probably no way of really knowing, but I don't see why this isn't a suitable custom for the Goddess Brigid as well.



1 comment:

Hertha said...

I like to leave out salt to be blessed every year. This is a great post.