Imbolc Inspiration

Sometimes I have amazing bursts of inspiration of how to celebrate the Sabbats and I come up with some amazing new and funky ways and rituals to do so. Other times, to quote my friend Jenny's turn of phrase, I am as about as spiritual as a stick. This Imbolc, my style and inspiration instead of being that of Sassy Spiritual Chic, I was more like Stressy Spiritual Stick.

Snowdrops at St Margaret's Church

So whilst muttering darkly to myself that none of my snowdrops had come up (probably because I hadn't got round to planting them) and that fact I had to work on Imbolc,  I sat listening to my lovely friend Jacqueline on one of her Facebook lives and heard her talking about Brat Bhrides, or Bratog Brides, also known more simply as Bride's Mantles. Pieces of linen left out on a tree over Imbolc Eve or Imbolc Night for St Bridget / Bride / Brìghde to bless with healing powers for the year as she passed by. Up I jumped all Catherine Tate like, declaring I can do that! These special pieces of linen are sometimes embroidered, and I knew I had the prefect thing - altar cloths that I had found in various charity shops over the years. Gleefully I pinned these two on my Olive Tree, that serves as my sacred tree of whatever weird and wonderful thing I'm doing on my patio..


Brat Bridhes, Bratog Brides or Bride's Mantles


How beautiful they look! That made me feel much better, following an old tradition that is more or less forgotten, nothing novel and wild this year, that worked for me. The idea is that they are filled with healing energy and you can use them throughout the year as and when you need them, just make sure you peg them down when it's windy! With this mind set firmly in place I decided to have a goat another traditional Imbolc custom which could be done on limited means and effort, making Bridie's crosses out of leaves from the garden.

Much happier now my mind turned to sacred wells, the only spring and well I  knew of near me was not far away but is in a sad state of repair and covered in pigeon poop, and I was really feeling that. Randomly I had a google, a really lazy Goddess Girl's google literally - 'sacred wells near me ' and lo and behold St Margaret's Well appeared! Ok so she wasn't Brigid - (I mean we're not in Ireland Claire for goodness sake!) But  it was just 8 miles away. The next day WAS my day off so this was too good an opportunity to miss!


The Plaque at St Margaret's Well

Luckily it was easy to find and I parked my car up, and got out to have a look at the well based at the bottom of a little hill with the beautiful Norman Church of St Margaret's at the top. Now, I quite like a Church, from everything I've read and researched, they were usually built at a cross roads or meeting place - on a sacred site that predates them by a long way. So after having a few quiet moments at the well and carefully placing my homemade Bridie's cross I had made on it, I walked up the hill, passing some gorgeous snowdrops on the way.

My Bridie's Cross at St Margret's Well


At the top, much to my dismay but sadly not unexpectedly, I found the old church locked, but round the side of the Church there was a man taking a break from mowing the church yard talking to another man, so I asked if there was any chance of having a look inside. Bless his heart, he was the Church Deacon and went back down the little hill to get the key to show me round, whilst I stood chatting to the other man who had come to visit his wife's grave, admiring the  ancient Yew there, what a beauty and a certificate verifying it's age as over 1000 years old hangs in the Church Porch! Looks like I was right about it always being a special place!

The 1000 Year Old Yew! 

We heard a car alarm go off and I could see my indicators flashing so I merrily bleeped it with my fob and carried on chatting. When the Deacon came back chuckling he said, "you might have to move that car o' yours, it's blocking the road!" Bewildered I went to investigate, only to find that I must have forgotten to put my handbrake on in my excitement and it had rolled down and was proudly sitting in the middle of the road, completely blocking it both ways, with several cars curiously at a standstill with drivers and passengers wandering about trying to find the owner! Hahaha. Luckily the only thing it had touched was the kerb on the other side of the road which had prevented it rolling through a thin wooden fence and into someone's front wall. Apologising and blushing profusely, I moved my car and made sure the hand brake was on good and proper this time.

What Glorious Keys!!


Re-joining my new friends we all laughed about it, before they opened the church with the most amazing set of keys and then proceeded to give me a lovely little tour round the church, perhaps they simply thought I wasn't safe on my own! They may well be right. They showed me all the hidden gems, the squint holes for the lepers and the beggars to peer through, the 500 year old stained glass in one of the windows, the mechanism of the pipe organ as well as pointing out graves of importance  - such as a famous bell maker and showing me just the right angle to peer into the crypt to see the wooden coffins sealed off below!

What a beautiful unexpected little Imbolc afternoon out, and when I got home, I decided to look up St Margaret, she's the patron saint of expectant mothers, perfect for Imbolc wouldn't you say? 


Have A Blessed Week  x x 

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