Here we are again on the eve of Imbolc or Candlemas. Strange to relate, this festival in the depths of winter celebrates light and warmth, the stirring of green things within the earth, new life and the beginning of springtime. Once called "Bride's day", the observance is consecrated to Brigid, a deity of fire, creativity, wisdom, eloquence and superb craftsmanship. She is patroness of the forge and smithy, poetry and the healing arts, particularly midwifery. Hers are the candle, the lantern, the hearth and the forge, and light is her special province. Poets, bards, storytellers, musicians, painters, weavers, potters, midwives, healers, cunning folk, chandlers (candlemakers) and blacksmiths - she watches over them all.
We are made of light ourselves, and that makes us Brigid's children - creatures forged from the dust of stars which once lighted the heavens and ceased to exist long ago. Within our cells are encoded the wisdoms of the ancient earth and all its cultures, the star knowledge of unknown constellations and "The Big Bang" which created not just our own world, but the vast cosmic sea in which it floats.
The stardust of which we are made has spontaneously assembled into diverse life forms over and over again, lived and expired, then dissolved back into the stream of being. In our time, “we” have been many things, worn many shapes and answered to many names. In this lifetime I exist as an eccentric, tatterdemalion, and perhaps unique collection of wandering molecules called Catherine or Cate, but in previous appearances I was someone or something completely different. Buddhist teacher, thinker, activist and deep ecologist Joanna Macy says that since every particle in our being goes back to the first flaring of space and time, we are as old as the universe itself, about fifteen billion years. In other words, we are the universe, and it is us.
Merry Imbolc to you and your clan. Happy Candlemas and Happy Brigid's Day too. May the boundless blessings of Light be yours.