1 Feb is St Bridget or St Bride’s Day, as you’ll learn if you listen to the ever excellent Bluirini Bealoidis podcast. Bride has several pasts, being the daughter of night and also the outcast daughter of a nobleman born over a threshold (clear symbolism there for the dawn goddess), but also being the goddess who tends cows and cattle produce, a trait she might have brought from her Indian roots. Indeed, Bride was originally a term meaning “o high one” used in the Vedic prayers.
Back in Ireland, her feast day is one of those marked in the ancient calendar for a turning of the year (in this case the start of spring), but later given a Christian gloss that tied the festival closely to the symbolism also present in Candlemas.
I’m always fascinated by evidence of communities dealing with the same questions/emotional issues, which is why I’ve paired this medieval Irish poem (harking back to the Vedas) with a photo shoot of the singer Joy Crookes that deliberately calls on the imagery for the goddess Lakshmi, another goddess believed to bless her followers with prosperity.
come into my dark oratory, be welcome the bright morn
and blessed be he who sent you, victorious, self-renewing dawn.
Maiden of good family, sun’s sister, daughter of proud night,
ever welcome the dawn that brings my mass book light.
Touching the face of each house, illumining each kin,
white necked, gold bedecked,
welcome imperious one – come in.