Imbolc Exchange 2017

Clann Bhride is happy to announce our 2017 Imbolc Exchange!

 

Here’s how it will work: Anyone who wishes to participate, will e-mail their “real name” and snail mail address to Mac de Bride (specific details below). Mac will then carry out a mostly random draw (adjusting for shipping preferences, again details below) and will e-mail participants with details of their gift recipient.

Participants then make a cross or brat. If you can ship it in time for your participant to receive it for Imbolc Eve (January 31st) then please feel free to do so. If your gift would not arrive in time, please keep it and put it outside for Brighid’s blessing as She passes on Imbolc Eve. All gifts should be shipped no later than February 15th.

Most members are probably familiar with Brighid’s cross. If not, here are a couple of links showing the variety of shapes and designs they are made in, a traditional method for making them, and another method. Traditionally, Brighid’s crosses are made of rushes, but people have used all sorts of materials, including corn husks, pipe cleaners, wire, paper, and fabric.

Brats might be a little less well known, so here’s some information about them:

A brat symbolizes Brighid’s mantle and is basically any piece of clothing or fabric that is left outside overnight on Imbolc Eve (the night of January 31-February1) for Brighid to bless as She visits each family.

There are many different ways to carry out the tradition of leaving a brat out for blessing. There are numerous regional variations on the theme. For example, people who lived on the coast would often leave out the coats worn by the men involved in seafaring. In other places, the brat was simply a handkerchief or just a piece of cloth, pieces of which would be cut or torn off and used throughout the year to foster healing (especially for headaches), ease the pain of childbirth, protect the cattle, etc. In some areas, the brat had to be a specific color or had to be put in a particular place (a bush or just outside the door, f’ex) or had to be brought inside before sunrise, etc. (From Sean ODuinn’s book, The Rites of Brigid: Goddess and Saint.)

Many people knit or crochet squares to represent Brighid’s mantle, but really a brat can be any type of fabric: a coat, a ribbon, some clothing, strips of spare fabric, etc.

Just to be clear: the idea is that participants make a cross OR brat OR both. No one should feel as though they have to spend lots of money on this project. We strongly encourage people to use found items or things they have lying around the house. If you do buy materials for this, they would ideally be inexpensive. This is about sharing community to celebrate Brighid’s feast day – NOT spending money.

Now, to the specific instructions.

If you want to participate, please e-mail Mac de Bride (macdebride@gmail.com) BY END-OF-DAY on JANUARY 8 and give your “real” name and your snail-mail address. Also, note whether you are OK with sending a package to someone in a different country. (That can be important, since the postage on international packages can be significantly higher than on domestic packages.)

Mac will acknowledge your e-mail within 24 hours. If you do not hear from him within this time, assume something has gone wrong and send your e-mail again.

By the end of January 15, Mac will email your recipient’s name and address.

Please EITHER plan to send your package in time for your recipient to receive it on or before January 31 so the recipient can put it out for blessing on Imbolc Eve OR plan to put the materials for your gift out for blessing yourself, and then send it after Imbolc. Either way, the item will receive Brighid’s blessing.

If you plan to ship your gift BEFORE Imbolc, ideally, you should aim to get your package in the mail at least one week before January 31. So, people could go ahead and start planning and making their crosses and/or brats, so they’re ready to go when you get your recipient’s contact info.

If you plan to ship your gift AFTER Imbolc, please try to send it by February 15th, so it doesn’t get put off indefinitely and then forgotten.

If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail Mac.

Clann Bhride Statement on Racial Justice

Clann Bhride has always been committed to working for social justice as an expression of devotion to our goddess Brighid. Current events compel us to take a stand against systemic racial injustice and violence as well as the ongoing institutionalized disenfranchisement and oppression of indigenous people. We declare our support for Black Lives Matter and Idle No More, and call on all of the Children of Brighid to join us in devotion to our goddess through acts of solidarity, including:

– Examining and discussing the lore of Brigidine social justice including the stories of Brig Ambue and St.Brigid.

– Creating new myths, works of art and poetry centered on a Brigidine social justice theology.

– Taking political action as a form of Brigidine devotion. This can include writing to your representatives, knowing what your local police oversight procedures are, signing petitions, speaking at city council meetings, joining a march or engaging in tough conversations with loved ones.

We encourage all of our members to tend Brighid’s flame by committing to the work of justice, and we welcome suggestions from members on further steps we can take together. Here are some resources you may find useful:

everydayfeminism.com/2016/07/your-guide-on-how-to-support-black-people-after-incidents-of-police-violence/
Idle No More – http://www.idlenomore.ca/
Collection of articles, statements and prayers – www.uua.org/worship/collections/black-lives-matter
“New Jim Crow” resources (which includes BLM resources) – www.uua.org/multiculturalism/new-jim-crow

NEW: Finding Brighid in the Ancient Lore

Ever wondered what we know about the goddess Brighid? Curious about our Lady’s lore but not sure where to jump in? Want to read excerpts of myths, poetry, folklore, and legal texts with commentary from our very own Gilbride and Aster Breo?

Clann Bhride is proud to present Finding Brighid in the Ancient Lore, a substantial essay (10,000+ words!) that presents every direct and indirect reference to the pre-Christian goddesses and women called Brighid, Brig, Brid, or Bride in Irish and Scottish lore. We offer this as a starting point for the Children of Brighid to explore how past devotees saw and understood our goddess.

There have also been many other additions to the site as we slowly import content from our Book of Hours to the web. Check back often and don’t forget to visit us on Facebook to join the conversation and fellowship.

Happy Imbolc!

Image of two sheep outside in winter.
Two woolly sheep in a snowy field in the early morning. Imbolc is the traditional time when ewes would begin producing milk for lambs to be born in the spring. Photograph by James Bowe, 2009.

Clann Bhride would like to wish everyone a very blessed Imbolc – or a very blessed Lughnasadh, for our members in the Southern Hemisphere. It has been another amazing year of growth for our group and we’d like to take a moment to reflect over what the last several months have brought.

This year is our second anniversary of launching this site and sending our Book of Hours out into the world. It is also the first anniversary of our flamekeeping Cill‘s creation. Membership in our Facebook group numbers 293 as of this morning, and we’ve also expanded with our ogam study group.

2015 saw our first ever Membership Survey, which helped us determine how to chart our course for further growth. It gave us invaluable insight and we certainly intended to hold more surveys in the future. As a result of this survey, we took steps to establish an Advisory Council for Clann Bhride, which has allowed us to work on several new projects.

2016 is only a month old and has already seen the creation of new initiatives, such as our Imbolc Exchange, our Kiva lending team, and a complete redesign of the website. We’re also working on several behind-the-scenes projects, such as an updated version of our Book of Hours and message boards.

Clann Bhride has been a labor of love from all of us and we are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to share our love of Brighid with the world. If you’ve been with us for awhile, thank you for your continued feedback and support. If you’re brand new, we’d love to have you aboard!

May Bride bless us at this turning of the year, as we fall from one season to the next. May we all feel Her nurturing touch, Her steadfast love, Her guiding call. May we follow Her willingly and joyfully toward acts of generosity, justice, and peace.

Clann Bhride on Kiva

We at Clann Bhride believe that our Lady has called us to works of charity, justice, and compassion. Our Touchstones urge us to “offer generosity and hospitality to those in need, without judgment or expectation of reward” and  to “work for peace, freedom, and justice for all.” Our Nine Elements reference Brighid in Her manifestations as Brig Ambue, who advocated for the disenfranchised, and as Brig Briugu, who offered food and shelter to all in need. Because our goddess is generous and calls us to be generous in turn, we are taking the first steps to actively encourage generosity among our members by announcing the Clann Bhride team on Kiva.

What is Kiva?

Kiva is a non-profit organization whose primary mission is alleviating poverty through microfinance. Entrepreneurs around the world connect with local financial institutions, who vet their clients and establish a loan process. Members of Kiva then lend as little as $25 at a time to finance borrowers’ requests. The “micro” part of “microfinance” means that Kiva users collectively fund these project, often through many individuals donating the minimum $25 amount, rather than one organization like a bank loaning the full amount.

Who uses Kiva?

Kiva sponsors microfinance institutions across five continents. Borrowers are seeking to fund projects such as buying livestock and feed, returning to school, repairing fishing boats and equipment, and switching to clean energy. Fewer than 2% of Kiva borrowers ever default on their loans, with the vast majority repaying their lenders within a year.

Lenders come from all walks of life and donate for a variety of reasons. Lenders have the opportunity to join teams of other like-minded individuals organized around religious groups, charity interests, or even shared hobbies. Teams allow lenders to fund projects together and keep track of everyone’s lending statistics.

How do I get started?

To lend with us, you first need to sign up as a member of Kiva and join the Clann Bhride team. You control your money at all times, choosing which projects to fund and by how much. To make your contribution count toward Clann Bhride’s loans, you select our name under the drop-down menu titled “Apply to Lending Team.”

Who you decide to lend to is up to you, but consider making donations toward Brigidine causes such as buying pigs and cattle, promoting education, empowering craftswomen, and providing solar power.

Announcing the Clann Bhride Advisory Council

clann_bhride

The Founders of Clann Bhride (Aster, Gilbride, and Sage) are very pleased to announce the establishment of the Clann Bhride Advisory Council.

As 2015 drew to a close, Clann Bhride held its first member survey.  The survey revealed a very strong interest in the development of new written materials – essays on Brighid and related topics, prayers, rituals, etc. – as well as projects like study groups, logo merchandise, and an original divination system.  We realized that the scope of the work was far beyond what the three Founders could accomplish alone.  So, we decided to establish an Advisory Council.

The current members of the Council are Nic an Dair, Mac de Bride, Erin Lund Johnson, Chris McCoy, Marcelo Paschoalin, Jennifer Parsons, Ristoria, and Rocquelaire.  They were invited to participate based on their own demonstrated interest and offers to assist with Clann Bhride projects.

The purpose of the Council is to assist the Founders in making decisions regarding Clann Bhride and to take on the primary responsibilities for many of the upcoming projects.  Some of the projects already underway are:

  • expanding the Book of Hours
  • running the Ogam Study Group (on Facebook)
  • organizing the 2015 Imbolc Exchange
  • researching and testing various online communications possibilities (such as websites, forums, chats, etc.)
  • setting up online shops for Clann Bhride logo merchandise
  • creating an original divination system
  • researching ideas for group and individual public service

The Founders will continue to retain decision-making authority for Clann Bhride for now.  Ultimately, we foresee the possibility of transitioning to a different form of governance for the group, but that will require substantial discussion and deliberation.  In the meantime, we will be focusing on creating new materials, study groups, and other projects for Clann Bhride members.

In addition to this website (https://clannbhride.wordpress.com/) and the Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/clannbhride/), we have also set up an informational Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/clannbhride/timeline.  Bios for all Founders and Advisory Council Members can be found there, as well as here on the WordPress site.

If you have any questions or suggestions, or if you’re interested in joining the Advisory Council, please contact us at clannbhride@gmail.com.