Since learning that I was indeed Irish just over 4 years ago (ok, half Irish) I have been trying to learn about my Irish heritage and culture. One of the things that caught my eye was a small green woven cross, known as St. Brigid's Cross, I wanted to learn more about it and make my own. These are usually made on January 31st, for the Feast on February 1st. They are said to protect the home from Evil, Fire and Hunger, when made and displayed in the home.
(google image, mine shown in the tea photo above)
"The tale as we know it is as follows....
There was an old pagan Chieftain who lay delirious on his deathbed in Kildare (some believe this was her father) and his servants summoned Brigid to his beside in the hope that the saintly woman may calm his restless spirit. Brigid is said to have sat by his bed, consoling and calming him and it is here that she picked up the rushes from the floor and began weaving them into the distinctive cross pattern. Whilst she weaved, she explained the meaning of the cross to the sick Chieftain and it is thought her calming words brought peace to his soul. He was so enamoured by her words that the old Chieftain requested he be baptized as a Christian just before his passing.
Since that day, and for the centuries that followed, it has been customary on the eve of her Feast Day (1st February) for the Irish people to fashion a St. Brigid's Cross of straw or rushes and place it inside the house over the door.
This rush cross, which became St. Brigid’s emblem, has been used in Irish designs throughout history, with many modern stylists using this now popular Irish symbol within the designs of Irish jewelry and Irish gifts."
I set out to make mine this year using items I found at the dollar store, you see wild rushes not as easy to come by near where I live in Vancouver Canada, so I found some long green grass in the craft and floral section of my dollar store and I cut the leaves from the wire stem. I then watch youtube videos on how to bend the stems into St. Brigid's Cross, having to watch it a few times to get the hang of it, I felt proud as the cross came together. I am sure mine are far from perfect however I enjoyed connecting with my history in this way and there is a calming feeling as you create these crosses and as they form.
Google Image of Imbolic and Brigid
Brigid is also a Celtic Goddess, she is the goddess healing, fertility and poetry, actually the saint and the goddess are intertwined and to me quite interesting and fascinating. Imbolic which is a celebration of the beginning of spring and of new life, is also celebrated on February 1st. In Irish mythology and medieval language the word Imbolic, means "in the belly", Small figures of Brigid are also fashioned and hung in homes to help protect the home and health of the people and their animals living within.
Thank you for joining me for a cup of tea and an Irish/Imbolic craft, I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org