Day 4 is for favourite myths or stories – This isn’t really a myth but it is a story about what we do:
People who are new to this blog may have noticed a weird thing that appears on my blog every 20 days. Well, every 20 days when I remember to do it online.
The flame is an ancient tradition thought to date back to the 6th century. It is an eternal flame kept in Kildare Ireland. Originally dedicated to the Goddess Brighid (Brigid) by 19 priestesses and on the 20th day the flame was said to be kept by Brighid herself. At the coming of the Christian Era the Church couldn’t beat the worship of the Goddess so they created the saint Brigid and at Kildare the flame continued to be tended by 19 nuns. The Archibishop of London ordered it put out in 1220 but was unsuccessful but King Henry VIII was successful in driving it underground. The flame was kept in Norway by Norwegian Brigantine Sisters until it was brought back to Kildare in Ireland in 1993 at the opening of a conference on peace and justice. Since then it has been tended in Kildare by Brigidine Sisters at their centre called Solas Bhride.
A new tradition was born however on that same day in Canada by a group called Daughters of the Flame. The flame is tended at hearths around the world every 20 days. I belong to a group called Ord Brighideach who are Flamekeepers who are pagan. There is another group for Christians who follow the saint. The Flame is kept by cells of 19 people who take a shift every 20 days of flame keeping. This doesn’t mean they don’t keep the flame on other days just that they promise to do it on their given day.
What is Flamekeeping? It is a day where at least some of it is dedicated to honouring the healing aspect of Brighid as well as her other aspects of inspiration metal craft. Everyone has their own ways of flamekeeping. One is supposed to devote some or all of the day to prayer/mediation/ritual or contemplation. Some Flamekeepers do it with only a real physical flame. Some use a digital flame and some use a combination of both. I do both since I can’t light a candle in the car or at work. If I light it on my blog I know that flame will stay lit and it’s also a lot safer in an earthquake. At home I use a glass novena candle.
Most of us use candles that at some point in their history have been touched by a candle that was lit from the original flame in Kildare but it really isn’t necessary if you really want to do it. Our group with in the Temple of Isis was the largest group outside of Ireland allegedly at one point but that’s because we’re all in one place. And I think all the Flamekeepers were all ordained to the goddess Brighid as part of their ordination. Most of the TOILA women were ordained to at least 3 goddesses but not all. Most Flamekeepers are solitary and spread all over the world. Most Flamekeepers are women but there are cells that are co-ed and one that is male only. The rest are women only.
So when I say I’m adding you to my Flamekeeper list I’m adding you the group I send energy as I keep the flame and I do it as necessary not just my day.
If you would like to join Ord Brighideach here is the link to the website: http://www.ordbrighideach.org/raven/
There are FAQs there that explain more. I’m in Cill Elder, 3rd shift.