CONNECTING WITH MID-WINTER
& CELEBRATING IMBOLC (Feb. 1st)
Winter is Still Beautiful:
The garden is under three feet of snow. In some places I can't even see the trimmed roses poking up out of the drifts.
The taller raspberry canes and hydrangeas are like a man's two-day stubble on a white chin.
Near the house corner where it is warm, the clematis vine is a crumble of brown leaves and stems. It looks like a heap of tea leaves someone spilled in great haste.
Everything is dormant in the cold. My spirit, too, is spilled and scattered. I seem to be at a standstill.
- Gunilla Norris
A Mystic Garden: Working with Soil, Attending to Soul
A Brigid Story from Bear:
Here is a story about how Brigid affected a co-worker of mine. When I worked at Albion (a sword making company), one of guys was working on cleaning a blade. He was having trouble getting rid of lumps in the metal and making the blade smooth. Even after weeks of work he couldn't get it right.
He said he was an atheist, but he asked me who I go to for inspiration. I told him the Goddess Brigid is a metal smith. I suggested he ask Her for guidance in getting the blade done. He said, "Yeah, sure, that will help," but a little while later he found me and said, "Damn, it worked." He was shocked that within 10 minutes after he asked for Brigid's guidance the blade was done. I reminded him to say thank you. He said he was going to keep talking to Brigid when he works on blades.
From that time I've thought of making a metal Brigid's Cross for craftspeople, but I never found the right metal and didn't get around to making anything while I had the right tools at Albion. When I came home this Imbolc and saw that Theresa had dedicated our wood stove to Brigid, I remembered this story and thought that it would be a good night to try making one with aluminum foil. It would be fire proof, so we could hang it on our wood stove. Theresa liked it, so it must have worked.
HOW TO MAKE A BRGID'S CROSS
1. Use aluminum foil to make pipe cleaner length strips. Pull 6-9" out of the aluminum foil box, then fold it lengthwise multiple times until it's around 1/2" wide. Rolling it might work too. Start with about a dozen pieces.
3. Begin the cross by slipping 2 pieces together at a 90 degree angle. Slip one through the other so they will be locked together.
5. Continue by putting the 4th arm around the third.
7. Keep going.
9. Continue adding pieces until the center of the cross has reached the desired size (this one took 12 pieces). Then take wire and wrap it around the end of each arm to hold the cross together.
10. To hang, make a small wire loop on the back of one arm and put it around one of the screws on the chimney (we had to loosen the screw a bit).
2. Fold each long strip in half. Small cat not required.
4. Going counter clockwise, begin the 3rd arm of the cross. From here on, go around the previous arm rather than through it.
6. Continue adding one folded piece at a time, going counter clockwise. The piece you are adding should go around all the previous pieces/ arm sides.
8. Note that Bear is slipping the new piece completely around the previous pieces.
11. Ta daa...
Making the cross with pipe cleaners:
You can use the same procedure to make the cross out of pipe cleaners (see photo near top). Use two different colors of pipe cleaners. When you add a new pipe cleaner, use the opposite color of the one that you're putting it next to, and that will make the spiral pattern in the center. The arms can be tied off with yarn.