Sunday, 29 January 2017

The quickening

I love this time of year – when the darkest time is behind us and the days get lighter and longer.
At the end of January/beginning of February we are at the halfway point between the darkest days of the year and the spring equinox. This time is known as the quickening. February 1st is also Brighed’s day and the first day of the Celtic spring. Brighed  is the Celtic patron of poets, bards, healers, creativity and fire. In this poem I mention some of the traditions associated with her and with this time of year.

The quickening

Hang sprigs of rowan
from the quickening tree,
decorate the doors;
bring branches of willow
to signal this time of change –
and of dreaming.

Collect leaves of blackberry to
attract prosperity and healing;
coltsfoot to move us
toward love and peace;
ginger to raise the fire within
and guide the serpent.

Snowdrops are her first gift of spring,
the lambs’ cry the first sound.
As blackthorn blooms
and the owl’s call fades,
now comes the quickening.
Welcome returning light,

this feast of torches.
Light the flames,
set every lamp, raise all the candles.
Brighed stands at the halfway.
Cloaked in white and silver
she shimmers like a flame on the bridge –

at the precise point between
the darkest day and equal night.
Patron of poets and Bards,
she brings the fire of creativity
and stirs the serpent’s energy.
Let her dismiss the darkness.