Sunday, January 31, 2021

Saturday, January 30, 2021

A Radio Show and Live Chat with Mael Brigde & Other, Even Cooler People


What a busy season Imbolc is! 

I worked feverishly on the Daughters of the Flame newsletter until I was able to send it out last week. This week I have been getting organised for the book draw on Oiche Fhéile Bhríde - tomorrow - preparing for two very unexpected interviews, creating blog posts for Stone on the Belly - I wanted to put out more Brigit poetry than usual during the time of her celebration - getting ready for tomorrow's first ever gathering  (virtual, of course) of Daughters of the Flame, and so on and on.

Austin Comerton of Irish Radio Canada interviewed me yesterday for a segment of tomorrow's program, which will feature Maura De Freitas of the St Brigid's Day Festival Vancouver, Bríd Dunne of the Ireland - Canada Chamber of Commerce Vancouver which is hosting a portion of the event, myself, and Kathleen Fee speaking about Festival Bloomsday Montréal. (James Joyce's birthday is 2 February.)

For more information, read his full announcement here.

This episode of Irish Radio Canada will stream at 8am & 1pm (Eastern Time) on TuneIn, Simple Radio (Ask Alexa/Google) & via the Irish Radio Canada App.

I will also be speaking about Saint Brigit with Brigidine Sr. Mary Teresa and Anne Cassidy Carew of the United Irish Cultural Centre of San Francisco next Wednesday evening. The event is hosted by Dowling Library at the UICC.

The live chat is Wednesday, 3 February 2021. Join us on Zoom for this free talk, from 7 - 8 P.M. P.S.T.

I am feeling tired but joyous about these opportunities to be with people who are as excited about Brigit as I am.

"St. Brigid - Harry Clarke's stained-glass window at St. Mary's Church, Ballinrobe, County Mayo"

I was searching for more information about Henry Patrick (Harry) Clarke's St. Brigit imagery in the stained glass windows he designed for various churches. In the process I discovered the above-named article about one particular window, in Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo.

Below are excerpts from Averil Staunton's article on the Historical Ballinrobe website:

Here at St. Mary’s Church, in Ballinrobe, County Mayo one of Harry Clarkes’s final works prior to his death was the large three-light window located at the organ gallery, representing three of the patron saints of Ireland; St Brigid is represented in one of the panels; the others being St. Patrick and St. Colmcille.

Description of St. Brigid’s representation

This very large panel shows St. Brigid as a nun in an elaborately trimmed and tasselled veil elegantly falling in pleats over her shoulders; she wears a coif headpiece, which includes a decorated cap and a turquoise wimple or guimpe with a long tassel to the front.

Her habit coloured brown is worn over a longer undergarment with an embroidered trim at its full-length hem. These garments were often loose and pleated from the neckline and can have two sets of sleeves, the larger of which can be worn folded up for work or folded down for ceremonial occasions, but in this case, it appears to be her cloak that is covering her white sleeves with a ruffled trim.

St. Brigid’s scapular is a deep turquoise colour with an overlaid intricate Celtic pattern in black. Her stole is turquoise with a long fringe. Over these garments is a purple cloak, heavily decorated on the inside hemline.

We get a tiny glimpse of Clarke’s awareness of Ireland’s heritage with the elaborate silken pointed-toe, embellished elegant tapering, green pointed slippers, which may be inspired by the Shrine of St. Brigid at the National Museum of Ireland...


St. Brigid’s overhead emblem is five green oak leaves and acorns represent a ‘Cill’ meaning cell or church. In Irish ‘An Daire’ means is a type of oak tree, so Kildare means “Church of the Oak” where she founded her church...

Staunton ends with three recommended resources, including her own book on the artist's work:

Further reading:

 Fahey, Denis, “An Irishman’s Diary,” Irish Times, January, 27 January 2015 p 17

 O’Hanlon,John, Lives of the Irish Saints, Duffy & Sons, London, Vol  ll & lll

 Staunton, Averil, Harry Clarke’s Liquid Light, BAHS, Ballinrobe, 2014, p 39


Images: From Saint Mary's Church, Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo. Uncredited.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Online Brigit Festivals in Ireland

No one, I trust, would call COVID-19 a blessing. It has been a curse, and the brunt of it borne by those who could least afford to bear it. Like any event, however, it has brought small blessings in its wake. One of these has been the blossoming of live online connections, social, spiritual, artistic, health-related  it has been astonishing. For those with access to computers and the internet, doors have opened which could not have before. I only hope that some of these remain open when we "return to normal." Particularly for those who have not been well enough to attend outside events, or those who live in rural communities far from urban offerings, the opening up of online access has been life enhancing, to say the least.


This year, for the first time, those of us normally unable to get to Ireland can go to Lá Fhéile Bhríde in Kildare, or to the Brigid of Faughart Festival in the Faughart and Dundalk area  or to portions of both, if we have the energy and the time, and in some cases, a bit of coin, as well. 


The Brigid of Faughart Festival has joined with An Táin Arts Centre in Dundalk to host ‘Cruinniú Lá Fhéile Bhríde – Gathering Under Brigid’s Mantle.’ It will take place from 8 P.M. on 1 February 2021.

Lá Fhéile Bhríde is as usual put on by Solas Bhríde and Afri (Action from Ireland). It will take place in individual sessions from 12 A.M. 31 January to 6 February 2021.

The entire ‘Cruinniú Lá Fhéile Bhríde is €10. Kildare's Lá Fhéile Bhríde events are each separate. Some are free, some cost €11.53.

P.S.: Don't forget we also have the first annual St Brigid's Day Festival of Vancouver, Canada from Jan 31 - Feb 7, 2021. Online as well, of course.

Image: The weavers of Brigit's crosses are from the Solas Bhríde website.

News article: "Louth's Brigid of Faughart Festival is going online" by Michelle O'Keeffe, 25 Jan 2021.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Hungry Brigit

This post on is much more personal than I normally get here. In it I talk about the background to the poem "Hungry" that I published a few weeks back in Stone on the Belly. It does refer to hardships, without going into great detail, but it could be triggering for some.

 I published one of my poems on Stone on the Belly earlier this month, “Hungry.” It’s different from most of my poems about Brigit, saint or goddess or both, in touching on an aspect of her that doesn’t figure much in our musings about her. It bears marks that are more often attributed to The Morrigan, or another more martial deity. A saint who oversaw the army of Leinster in battle, who might mysteriously abandon her devotees and require appeasement in the form of a struggling bird buried alive at a place of magical power. A smith goddess whose implements are as likely, perhaps more so, to be tools of battle as cauldrons of plenty. 

Brigit’s influence on my life has been one of tremendous healing, but it hasn’t come in the form of ease and comfort in a mother’s arms. It has come as an unyielding companion in battle, a friend in times of tending wounds. Brigit surrounded me as I received blow after blow to my person, my dreams, my sense of being in this world. She remained as I tried to form myself again.


I couldn’t feel her, most of the time, or see her standing over me. Yet I turned to her, nevertheless. Again and again, over decades, I built on the relationship I had with her and with her followers – with myself – and from my current vantage point, standing on this threshold place — a hilltop overlooking a wild sea — I see the shape of her in my own unfolding life.


In her company, I have strengthened, purified my understanding, let go, let go, and then let go still more of all I thought I was and could be, or have, in my life. My suffering, like the suffering of that poor smothered bird or the folk who killed her in their fear, has been and will be unavoidable. But in Brigit’s company, and in your company, I have gradually learned to hold my own in the churning seas, to retreat from battlefields or to fight when needs be, in ways that are not so cruel to myself or my opponent. I have been ashamed of my actions, my words, when I let them fly untempered. I have been landless, cowless, without even the Fianna, it seemed, but in fact, there have always been others. Friends, family at times, sisters and brothers on Brigit’s path. We have been bruised yet continuing, rising up again and again, learning from our poorly moulded states, being transformed not once, but a thousand thousand times.


I raise my hands in gratitude to Brigit and to you, my companions in this sometimes treacherous, sometimes blissful, always precious life.

Original Poem: “Hungry” by Mael Brigde on Stone on the Belly.

Image: "A honest look at the pain of mental illness." Photo by Kat J on Unsplash.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Another Anniversary Coming Up -- Daughters of the Flame

 I am feeling very happy about the upcoming anniversary of Daughters of the Flame -- 28 years tending Brigit's hearth. I'm grateful for the immense changes that have come about in my life through committing myself to Brigit and to you. I think of the women who have come and gone, some who have stayed for decades. None of us see her or practice in quite the same way as each other, but for the most part we have loved and been supportive and embraced our differences.

I am also grateful for the many others I have met in more recent times, Brigit lovers and allies of great diversity. What a joyful gift I have received from knowing you.

I raise a glass of buttermilk to Brigit and to you. May the coming celebration of her feast and the spring beyond it bring blessings to you all.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

"How To Weave A Three Legged Brigid's Cross" by Brendan Farren (Video)


Wonderfully, Brendan Farren of Big Green Art has a video showing how to make one of my favourite shapes (1) of Brigit's cross, the three-armed version once found frequently in byres. Now, I haven't tried his instructions. I'd love to hear how you do.

"How To Weave A Three Legged Brigid's Cross" by Brendan (Video)

Brendan teaches willow weaving from basics to some pretty awesome stuff. Have a look at his website and at the very least, if you are interested, download his free booklet, The Willow Handbook.

(1) See this post for a feast of Brigit's crosses from E. Estyn Evans.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Holy Brighid, Goddess and Saint, a Talk by Rev. Rowan Fairgrove


The Reverend Rowan Fairgrove, longtime member of Daughters of the Flame, spoke to South Bay Circles in California last November on "Holy Brighid, Goddess and Saint." 

From her introduction:

Rowan's accomplishments are extensive (as seen below) but, for this talk, she comes to us as a Daughter of the Flame - an organization dedicated to keeping Brighid's Flame lit. For more information, click here. Rev. Rowan Fairgrove is a Wiccan, first initiation in 1971, with initiations including Gardnerian, NROOGD & Ozark Celtic (but practicing NROOGD since 1981). Her current NROOGD Coven, Owl Moon, celebrated our 15 anniversary in May. She is a Senior Medium of the American Magic Umbanda House, headwashed to Pombagira Cigana Rainha; a National Interfaith Representative of Covenant of the Goddess; an ordained Priestess of Brighid through Fellowship of Isis and is also a Daughter of the Flame. She has practiced Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism in the Inis Glas tradition (magical side). She does quite a lot of interfaith and social justice work. She is a member of the Women's International League for Peace & Freedom (serving on the steering committee for our local Branch) and a Raging Granny. She is involved with the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival; a disability rights advocate, and has been a registered Green Party member since that was possible in California. She does faith-based social justice work with PACT (People Acting in Community Together), which is part of PICO CA which, in turn, is part of Faith in Action nationally. She is on the Executive Committee of the Board of our local interfaith council, The Silicon Vally Interreligious Council. She lobbies our City Council and the State legislature regularly.

Click here to watch a video of her talk on all ideas Brigit.

Image: from Rowan Fairgrove.

Saturday, January 02, 2021

Competition: Win a Copy of A Brigit of Ireland Devotional

Win a copy of A Brigit of Ireland Devotional - Sun Among Stars by Mael Brigde.

Follow this link to Brigit's Portal - Classes, Gatherings, Poetry, Tools for a chance to win a signed advance reading copy of my upcoming book (on sale 27 August 2021).



* Like my Facebook page, Brigit's Portal - Classes, Gatherings, Poetry, Tools -

* Share the competition post to your Facebook homepage (and anywhere else you like!)

* Comment below the competition post on Brigit's Portal with something you treasure about Brigit, Goddess or Saint (or both).


If you are not on Facebook:

* Subscribe to this blog, Brigit's Sparkling Flame

* Share this post &/or the meme above on social media

* Comment below with something you treasure about Brigit, Goddess or Saint (or both).

The winning name will be drawn on 31 January 2021.

Good luck!