Couples in Ireland could legally marry on St. Brigid’s Day, February 1st, in County Meath. As recently as the 1920s, they just had to walk toward each other. If the marriage didn’t work out, they could divorce by walking away from each other at the same spot on St. Bridid’s Day the following year.
St. Brigid lived in 6th century Ireland. Her lavish generosity, with food and help as well as love, sometimes put her at odds with her family. Later, her monastic community sometimes had to do without as she emptied their cupbaords for guests and strangers.
Miracles that run through tales of Brigid are usually about providing bounty. Most of her recorded miracles are feats where she creates an abundance of food for daily living and for festivals. Examples? The bacon she slips to a dog miraculously reappears in the pot. A stone turns to salt. Water becomes milk, or beer, or an aphrodisiac. Brigid’s miracles also brought dignity to the daily tasks that women devoted so much of their lives to.
The fire in paintings of Brigid symbolize her ability to transcend her position. She is a strong influential woman of transcendent power who sees inside the heart.
And so, one day each year, she gives us a path to eternal love. And, in an act of compassion, she creates a path out of the woods if love goes wrong.
A few days late, but we celebrate the magic that is St. Brigid!