I am off at Mepkin Abbey, restructuring my poetry manuscript and turning blog posts into essays for my memoir. Last year, I wrote the following piece for the feast day of Saint Brigid, which we celebrate today. Enjoy!
Today is the feast day of Saint Brigid, one of the patron saints of Ireland. She is one of the early Christians who stood at the intersection of Christianity, Druidism, and the other pagan religions of Ireland. She is also one of those extraordinary women who did amazing things, despite the patriarchal culture in which she lived.
If you're interested in learning more about her, see this blog post that I wrote for the Living Lutheran site. You may be saying, "But why are you mentioning her on this blog site that focuses on creativity?"
Along with being a spiritual leader, Brigid was also a creative type. She's famous for founding a school of art that focused on metal working and illumination. The illustrated manuscript, the Book of Kildare, was created under her auspices. Unfortunately, it's been lost since the Reformation, so we know it by its reputation only.
What shall we do to celebrate her day? Here are some suggestions:
--We could create our own book of illuminations. Maybe this should be the year that we keep an illuminated journal. What would happen if we sketched more? What would happen if we collected images along with words?
--Even people who don't have drawing skills could do this project. Take a photo every day and see what opens up in your heart. Before you throw magazines away, clip images that speak to you. Once you have a collection, spread them out to see if they speak to you in a different way.
--How could we celebrate Brigid's interest in metal working? I'm certainly not going to take up welding. But jewelry making? Perhaps. Maybe it's time to look at the earrings I no longer wear, the necklaces that don't delight me. Could I make a new piece of jewelry? Or could I make some other kind of artistic creation?
--Brigid's miracles reveal a sense of abundance: lakes full of milk, baskets of butter, water turned into milk or beer. Thinking of butter makes me think of bread. Why not bake some bread today and slather it with butter? If you think you don't have time for a yeasted bread, why not an Irish soda bread?
--Deb Perelman over at Smitten Kitchen has an intriguing recipe in this post: soda bread that can be made in a scone shape (or in a skillet, if you don't have time for scones). And, in the spirit of Saint Brigid, it's best to consume all of the bread on the day that you make it. Abundance! Tomorrow, you could make more.
--Even if you don't bake, you could go buy a good bread and slather it with butter.
--Brigid is associated with fire. Let's build a fire and think about the flames as they dance. How can we be this kind of light to others?
--Or, thinking about fire in a different way, a metalworking way, what purifying flames do we need to invite into our lives? What habits do we need to throw into the flames so that we are no longer held back by them?
--I return again and again to the abundance associated with Brigid. How can we invite abundance into our lives? How can we recognize it and celebrate it?
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