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The Rose

 (From "Sticks, Stones, Roots, and Bones" by Stephanie Rose Bird)


No other plant is as intimately linked to love as the rose (Rosa spp.). When working with roses, seek out the old-fashioned scented types, such as those listed below, rather than the more neutral tea roses. Roses are beautiful, and like the lotus, they suggest female genitalia in the height of passion. The blush of the rose is often linked to the blush of a bride or a sexual partner during orgasm. In parts of Africa and the Middle East, holy temples are spiritually cleansed entirely with highly potent Bulgarian rose water. Rose water enhances the sacred environment.

A little-known fact is that roses are a systemic nervine (translation: they calm and soothe your nerves). Only your imagination sets the limits when it comes to using roses in love-drawing potions and tricks.

Old-Fashioned Shrub Roses for the Hoodoo's Garden

1. Apothecary's Rose -- This is a richly fragance, medicinal rose with a spicy scent.

2. Belle de Crecy -- This is considered the purest rose scent.

3. Bulgarian Rose and Damask -- The sweet, fragant roses from which quality rose water and attar of roses is made.

4. Celestial -- Contains the aroma of clean skin.

5. Madam Isaac Pereire, Guinee, and Souvenir de la Malmaison -- These are stunning and fragant.

6. Maiden's Blush -- This is considered to be refined.


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The Origins of Brighid


by Paula Jean West
(Fragg)
CIRCLE Magazine On Line
Brighid, the Goddess to whom I had dedicated myself, is the Celtic Goddess of inspiration, healing, and smithcraft. She is one of the best examples of the survival of a Pagan Goddess into Christian times. She was canonized as St. Brigit by the Roman Catholic Church and various stories are given of Her origins and Her life. She was a Druid's daughter, described in the Carmina Gadelica as the "daughter of Dugall the brown." She is reported to have predicted the coming of Christianity and to have been baptized by St. Patrick. Popular folk tales describe Her as the midwife to the Virgin Mary, and She is thus always called upon by women in labor. The Christian St. Brigit was a nun, and later an Abbess, who founded an Abbey at Kildare in Ireland. She was said to have had the power to appoint the bishops of Her area, an unlikely role for an Abbess, made stranger by Her unusual requirement that these bishops also be practicing goldsmiths.



In ancient times, the Goddess Brighid had a shrine at Kildare, with a perpetual flame tended by nineteen virgin priestesses called Daughters of the Flame. No man was permitted to come near Brighid's shrine and neither did Her priestesses consort with men. Even food and supplies were brought to the priestesses by women from the nearby village. When Catholicism overtook Ireland, Brighid's Fire Temple became a convent and the priestesses became nuns, but the same traditions were upheld and the eternal flame kept burning. Each day a different priestess/nun was in charge of the sacred fire and on the 20th day of each cycle, the fire was miraculously tended by the Goddess/Saint Herself.



For more than a thousand years thereafter, the sacred flame was tended by nuns. In 1220 CE, though, the Bishop became angered by the no-males policy of the Abbey of St. Brigid of Kildare. He insisted that nuns were subordinate to priests and must open their abbey and submit to inspection by a priest. When the Brigidine nuns refused and asked for another Abbess or other female official to perform the inspections, the Bishop was furious. He decreed that the keeping of the eternal flame was a Pagan custom, and ordered the sacred flame to be extinguished. Despite this persecution, St. Brigit remains to this day the most popular saint in Ireland, along with St. Patrick. In the1960s, though, Vatican II declared there was insufficient proof of St. Brigit's sanctity, or even of Her historical existence, and She was decanonized, so that the Roman Church's campaign against Her became successful. Recently, however, despite the initial protests of the Roman Catholic church, two nuns, by the name of Sister Mary and Sister Phil, have reestablished the worship of St. Brigit at Kildare and have relit Her sacred flame, which burns once more. The first modern Candlemas/Imbolc celebration at the ancient site of Brighid's sacred well in 1997 drew hundreds of people and grows every year in popularity. The flame of Brighid's love burns brightly once more.
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Blessed Imbolc!



Imbolc (Gaelic for "in the belly"), is also known as Candlemas, the Festival of Lights, or the Feast of St. Brigid. At this cross-quarter or midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, we begin to see the first signs of life and the promise of Spring! We celebrate the triple Goddess Brigid (Ireland), also interpreted as Bride (Scotland) and Brigantia (England). She is the ultimate domestic Goddess, keeper of the sacred hearth flame and the patroness of poets, healers, and craft workers. Inspiration is the spark of her passion and we drink at her sacred spring of knowledge!

"May Brigid bless the house wherein you dwell.
Bless every fireside, every wall and door.
Bless every heart that beats beneath its roof.
Bless every hand that toils to bring it joy.
Bless every foot that walks its portals through.
May Brigid bless the house that shelters you.”

- Brigid’s Blessing



RITUALS

Kindle Your Inner Flame: Light a fire in your hearth or make/decorate and bless a special candle for your altar. Take some time to purify your mind, body, and soul. Then invite Brigid to spark your creativity and fan the embers of inspiration! Be sure to rake the ashes in your fireplace smooth before you go to bed so you can see Her footprints in them, in case she passes that way during the night.

Wear Brigid’s Mantle: Leave a shawl, scarf, handkerchief, scraps of fabric, or string in a tree or bush outside your door on Imbolc Eve. Brigid’s blessing will transform them into “Brat Bhride” (Brigid’s mantle or cloak) for personal protection and health throughout the year.

Weave Brigid’s Wheel: These charms can be made from rushes, palms, wheat, willow or even colorful pipe cleaners and can be hung above your hearth or door to protect your home throughout the year
Make Butter: Imbolc is closely associated with mother’s milk (ewe or sheep’s milk in particular), and the act of making butter is nothing short of magical! You could simply beat heavy whipping cream in a mixer until it “breaks,” but nothing compares to hand shaking real butter in a glass jar—it’s much easier and more fun that you might think. Be sure to support your local, organic dairy!

Visit Sacred Springs: If you are lucky enough to have a natural spring or seasonal stream near your home, now is a great time to consecrate your body and respectfully collect Her sacred waters for magical workings. Be sure to leave an offering in reverent gratitude, such as a colorful ribbon or yarn of natural material tied to a nearby branch.

Create a Vision Board: Grab a stack of magazines, some poster board, and start placing words and images together into a collage that represents what you’d like to attract and manifest this year. This is a great activity to help kids visualize their intentions and indentify common goals for your family. Put them in a spot where everyone can see and encourage one another!

Start Your Spring Cleaning: Clean out your hearth, cut through the clutter, and use your besom to clear out any stagnant energy. Smudge each room, your ritual tools/altar, and open the windows to let in some healthy, fresh air!



BRIGID'S FEAST

This is the feast of hearth and home, so it’s a perfect time to conjure a hearty winter stew or comforting cottage pie. To top it off, why not showcase the element of fire with a decadent Crème Brulée or a dramatic flambé such as Cherries Jubilee, Bananas Foster, or Crepes Suzette? As always, fresh and local foods are the best for seasonal feasts. There are many late winter options to choose from, including a variety of root vegetables, but you can also supplement with foods you have canned or frozen throughout the course of the year.

• Vegetables: Onions, leeks, potatoes, carrots, winter squash, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage

• Grains: Gingerbread, carrot bread/cake, honey cakes, oat cakes, porridge

• Dairy: Milk and cheese (especially Greek Feta and Pecorino Romano), fresh butter

• Fruits: Dried fruits and raisins, pomegranates, oranges/clementines, lemons, pears, cranberries

• Nuts and seeds: Sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds

• Beverages: Mead, blackberry wine, pear cider



FLOWERS & HERBS

There may be snow on the ground in many places, but signs of new life are all around--if you are looking. The first cold-hearty buds and blooms of spring are filled with vibrant color, fragrance, and quickening magic!

• Camelias: Luxury/riches, admiration, memory

• Snowdrops: death/cleansing, passing of sorrow [should not be picked]

• Narcissus (Daffodils, Paperwhite): Respect, harmony, tranquility, fertility, abundance

• Crocus: New love, intuition, vision/divination

• Fruit tree blossoms: Immortality, fertility, friendship, love, luck

• Maple buds: Balance, healing, knowledge/intellect, communication

• Pine Cones: Fertility, hope, longevity, purification, protection

• Frankincense (resin): Calming/focus energy, cleansing/healing, protection

• Myrrh (resin): Spirituality/communion with Goddess, cleansing/healing, protection


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