Archive | January 22, 2016

Sources for La Fheille Brighide

The best source for Festival and days of Brighid that I have found is a book called “The Silver Bough – Scottish Folklore and Folk Belief.” It’s a 4 volume set that is finally available on Kindle at a reasonable price which is a bit maddening since it took me about 20 years of scouring the book stalls at different Highland games to acquire all 4 volumes. And they weren’t cheap due to tariffs. I think I paid 40 bucks for one because it was so rare at the time. Kindle’s version is still in 4 volumes but you will spend $40 for the whole set. Even on Amazon the hardcover versions are almost $30 and they’re used.

Anyway, Volume 2 is the volume about La Fheille Brighde celebrations in Scotland or Imbolq if you must, that most people know about but Brighid also had a celebration the last Sunday in July. That was the feast of well dressing.

On the Isle of Arran, people stayed out all night on vigil and the well was garlanded in flowers and candles were lit surrounding it. It started as all Celtic/Gaelic holidays do on the night before.

In Scotland they tried to root out anything pagan or Papist which they considered virtually the same thing and in 1638 the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly laid down penalties for visiting holy wells and the practice went underground but things still sneak through in places like the Carmina Gadelica.  v

St Bride’s Charm – Carmina Gadelica

The charm put by Bride the beneficent

On her goats, on her sheep, on her kine,

On her horses, on her chargers, on her herds.

Early and late going home, and from home.

To keep them from rocks and ridges

From heels and the horns of one another

From the birds of Red Rock

And from Luath of the Feinne.

From the blue peregrine hawk of Creag Duilion

From the brindled eagle of Ben Ard

From the swift hawk of Tordun

From the surly raven of Bard’s Creag.

From the fox of the wiles

From the wolf of the Mam

From the foul smelling fumart

And from the restless giant hipped bear.

From every hoofed of four feet

And from every hatched of two wings,

When one is a Flamekeeper then every 20 days the 20th day belongs to Brighid and she tends the flame that day is hers, but that day is ever changing.