Brigid: Everyday Concerns
And here's where she gets really interesting.... This was a woman, who walked beside you through your day, helped watch over your livestock, feed your children and aided with issues around fertility.
While all aspired to be like Mary and it was she who has suffered the very greatest of losses – losing a child; However, if you needed a strong presence to get you through the day - Brigid was your woman! Her concerns reflected the concerns of everyday women. And for all that, she was beloved.
The thing you have to remember about Christianity in Ireland is that for much of its life, it was cut off from Rome, not just from the leadership, but forbidden as a practice. It was driven completely underground. The result? A type of contemplative, ritualized, drawing-in of the sacred into every-day life; And no where was this more evident that in invoking the blessings of Brigid.
It began in the morning when the house was blessed:
Briighid's Charm I
Brighid of the Mantle, encompass us,
Lady of the Lambs, protect us,
Keeper of the Hearth, kindle us,
Beneath your mantle gather us,
And restore us to memory.
Brighid's Charm II
I rake this fire like everyone else
Bridgit below it with Mary on top
Twelve angels of the angels of the ages
Protecting my house till dawn.
And ended at night when the fire was 'smoored.' The 'smooring' of the fire was a lovely ritual. The dying embers were covered with the ashes so as to conserve energy, but yet not quench the fire so it could easily be rekindled the next morning. Some houses had kept their fires 'alive' literally for years - an art in itself. While the woman of the house smoored the fire, she would recite one of many "Brigid Charms".