Here we are on the last day of January and the eve of Candlemas or Imbolc. Strange to relate, this festival day in the depths of winter celebrates light and warmth, the stirring of green things within the earth, the burgeoning of new life and the beginning of springtime. Once called "Bride's day", the day is consecrated to Brigid, she who is loved as an Irish saint, but was revered as a goddess long centuries before she was canonized. Herself is a deity of fire and 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 hearth and the forge, and light is her special province.
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 billions of years ago. Within the radiant particles of our being 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 precious world, but the whole cosmic sea in which it floats.
The stardust of which we are formed is essentially recycled matter, having assembled spontaneously into diverse life forms over and over again, lived and expired, then dissolved back into the stream of existence. In our time, “we” have been many things, worn many shapes and answered to many names. In this lifetime I exist as a tatterdemalion, specific and perhaps unique collection of wandering molecules called Catherine or Cate, but in previous incarnations, I was someone or something altogether different. Buddhist teacher and deep ecologist Joanna Macy likes to say 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 blessings of Light be yours.