Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Brigid's Cloaks

Below find info on Sara Jane Kingston's Brigid's Cloaks and other items related to the cloaks, including art, communities, a children's book... She also has a Brigit meditation CD available: http://www.brigidscloak.com/meditations.html

Sara Jane Kingston began making Brigid's Cloaks for sale last year after discovering their value as spiritual tools. You can make your own or order one from her, or from the Catholic Brigidine sisters at Solas Bhride in Kildare, Ireland.

A snippet of her story:

Brigid's CloakTraditionally, the brat bhríde, or Brigid's Cloak, was laid outside before sunset on the eve of Brigid's feastday, 1st February, and brought back in before sunrise.

Blessed by Brigid, ancient Spring goddess and saint, the dew which fell that night imbued the cloth with powers of healing and protection which lasted throughout the year.

Brigid's Cross, now usually associated with the 5th-century Christian saint, was made annually from straw or rushes and hung above the door. In pre-Christian times, it was probably a sun symbol and celebrated the power of the goddess to bring back the light at the Celtic feast of Imbolc. It holds the promise of fertility and abundance...

...As a child I had loved the story of how, when St. Brigid went to the King of Leinster looking for some land on which to build a church, he had tried to put her off by saying that he would give her as much land as her cloak would cover. Not to be daunted, Brigid asked four of her nuns to each take a corner of her cloak and as they began to walk, the cloak began to stretch in size until it was large enough to cover a substantial piece of land. The King, true to his promise gave her the land and she built her first church there. This seemingly miraculous power over land of the 5th-century Christian saint in this story holds the resonance of the more ancient Brigid, the great Celtic Land Goddess.

As I work in healing through the energy field, I used the symbol of Brigid's Cloak as a starting point to allow people to connect into seeing their own "energy cloaks" or auras by imagining that they were wearing a cloak and seeing what it was like. Was it old and frayed, heavy or light? What material was it made of - what sort of texture, or textures? And the colours - were they bright or dark or a mixture?

Go to Sara Jane's site at http://www.brigidscloak.com/ for more of her story. If you would prefer to make your own Brat Bhride, go wild--the possibilities are endless! Don't forget their use as healing tools. A cloak may be cut into smaller pieces and distributed to those in need of blessings once it has been used in ritual. Or the entire cloth laid over a sick person to aid in her recovery.

Many other sites refer to Brigid's Cloak.
  • for a simply beautiful painting of Brigid's Cloak as the land of Eire, go to Barrie MacGuire's listing at http://www.maguiregallery.com/barrie/brigidscloak.htm. Barrie is also a quilter, and has included a video of his paintings of quilted Ireland. Go to his homepage to view it. http://www.maguiregallery.com/barrie/barrie.htm
  • "St. Brigid's Cloak" a prayer circle for Christian women flame-keepers, dedicated to keeping the fire of St. Brigid of Ireland burning bright in the world today. Local members in Las Vegas, Nevada have an annual St. Brigid's Food Drive for the Poor in November and December.
  • "Brigid's Cloak", a children's book by Bryce Milligan, published by WhipperSnapper Books.
  • The Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, Inc says of St. Brigid's Mantle: "In very traditional homes, two devout practices are still observed on the Eve of St. Brigid's Feast Day (February 1st). A strip of cloth called "brat Bhride" (Brigid's mantle) is hung outside the door. A loaf of oat bread baked in the shape of a cross and a sheaf of straw are left on the windowsill. For on that night, Brigid travels through the land with her red-eared cow bestowing blessings on those who keep the old ways."
  • Sr. Mary Minehan of Solas Bhride says, "I also remember my mother having an ulcer on her leg. A customer told her to leave out a piece of cloth on the eve of Brigid’s feast. There was a belief that St. Brigid left her curative powers on the cloth on the eve of the feast day. I can’t remember if it cured mam’s sore leg but I remember the faith and belief she had in Brigid. I have learnt since that the cloth is called the Brat Bríde. The custom is being revived in Kildare, so my earliest memories are of Brigid the protector, Brigid the healer."
Sweet Blessings on you all this Beautiful Bealtaine!