Brigit's Cloak Spreading
Brigit's Cloak Spreading
International Brigit Gathering
On January 31st-February 2nd we hosted our first international Brigit weekend to explore the relevance of Brigit to our lives in the 21st century.
The Brigit Gathering was a wonderful and rich weekend, with great participation from everyone. As well as people from all over Ireland, we were delighted to welcome Kathleen who came all the way from Canada, Daniel who came from San Francisco, and Kirsten, Kaj and Marta-Lena from Denmark and Sweden.
We shared Brigit traditions old and new, participated in some of the beautiful old rituals with the Brat Bhríde and the Crios Bhríde, made lots of Brigit's crosses and enjoyed drumming and singing together.
Moya Roddy facilitated and held the weekend beautifully, and Mary O'Sullivan wove a magical thread of music through the event, including pieces she composed specially for the occasion. The on-going weaving project led by Mérovée Guerin gave everyone an opportunity to weave in wools and fabrics, rushes, personal items and stories over the two days, and after Mérovée has finished securing the edges the weaving will be on permanent display at Brigit's Garden.
In her fascinating talk, Mary Condren shared many insights from her years of research into the origins and importance of Brigit, soon to be published in a major new book. Equally engaging was Clare Sawtell's presentation on images of Brigit in stained glass designed the artists of An Túr Gloine. The Celtic Gardens and Jenny Beale's workshop provided the context for seeing Brigit's Day as part of the cycle of the seasons, and also as a source of natural materials for some creative and meaningful artwork. Mairéad Ní Chonaola's use of her native tongue and affinity to her dúchas (Irish traditional heritage) wove another rich thread on the loom of the weekend. The Siamsa session on Saturday evening was a lovely celebration of poetry, song and dance from many countries.
The weekend brought home to all of us how nourishing and helpful it can be to take some time out and to find new ways of celebrating and exploring old truths. We hope it will lead to many more Brigit events, networking and creativity.
Our warm thanks to all participants for bringing their stories, poems, contributions and themselves, and for the great work of the organising group - Moya, Mary, Jenny, Clare, Mairéad and Mérovée - who put so much time and thought into every element of the Gathering.
Under Bridget's cloak we gather
in the darkening of the day
come we here from every corner
all our colours
in a tapestry of hope for
Bridget Anthem by Mary O'Sullivan
How wonderful, refreshing and healing for me to be in the company of such strong, wise and beautiful people'
'A harmonious mix of talk, rituals, songs, playing/laughing and meeting people'
'I very much appreciated the balance between the serious and the fun sessions, and most of all the healing ending'
'The lecture of Mary Condren was the highlight for me, together with the rituals, the altar in the middle of the room, the Brigit-cross-making and the Crios ritual'
'I found everything so great and having been out of Ireland for 38 years, it felt like an new invitation back to what I missed by being emigrated at the age of 12'
'Everything had a very important part in the weekend but the rituals and the weaving have been really empowering'