The Fire & Legend of Bridget of Kildare

What follows is an article by Erin Durrett introducing the new Explore Celtic Spirituality series starting up this coming Sunday. I’m delighted to be one of the co-dreamers of this offering!

February 11, 2018, 4pm-5pm
Church of the Holy Spirit
15420 Vashon Hwy.

What does the word “Celtic” conjure for you? Lively, lilting music on St. Patrick’s Day? Lines of high-steppin’ Riverdancers? The misty isles of Britain? For the next few months we’re going to be exploring the deep currents that underlie these well-known traditions and images in a series of short workshops that will offer music, poetry, movement and food for the soul that come from the ancient sacred traditions of Celtic culture.

February 11th the series begins with a celebration of the “fire in the heart” of Bridget of Kildare, whose legend goes back into the mists of Irish prehistory. Like many saints, she comes down to us carrying the elements of her Divinity – blessings of fire and water, guarding prayers of home and hearth, brewing and good fellowship. She is the shepherdess of flocks and tender of their abundance.

One of her legends: When Bridget was a young woman her father tried to marry her off to a local king. As the king stood at his window watching her he said, “I suspect you want me to marry her because you are tired of her giving away all your possessions – just as I see her now giving away your jeweled sword to that beggar”. Her father, enraged, ran over to the window and began to yell down at Bridget but the king stopped him. “Your child’s reputation for generosity is well-known. But I think she will have no king of Tara; she is already the worthy bride of a greater King”.

Indeed, the fire in Bridget’s heart waits on no man! She walks back and forth through the mists of time tending that fire by touching the human heart with generosity, courage and companionship. She is with us when she makes ale for a bunch of thirsty lepers, when the last coals of the fire are banked with her blessing so the family may have hot porridge in the morning, when we weave the image of the fiery sun from cold, wet rushes as she taught us on her feast day in the bleak mid-winter.

Come with your children, grandparents and friends to celebrate with us at the fire in the labyrinth, with music and good fellowship in the hall! People of all ages and spiritual leanings welcome!

For more information:

And also in celebration of Brighid.

For the next two weeks you can listen to an episode of Forest Halls Celtic devoted to exploring the legend and myth of Brighid by way of music, poetry, and folklore.  Head over here to listen to Show 22

Make Fire Cider!

Dear Readers,

I don’t know how it is in your community circles right now, but I’m guessing it’s a bit like in mine. Here in the late winter, kids and grown-ups are coming down with colds and fevers, and fevers keep coming back from some, and coughs lingering on, and on, and on.

It you haven’t been sick yet, you want to stay that way! If you’re still sick … you’re looking for a way to get well.

This week happens to be Fire Cider Awareness Week.  Fire Cider is a traditional herbal remedy that has its roots back to generations, and which was named Fire Cider and given its glory and fame by beloved herbalist elder, Rosemary Gladstar.

Fire Cider is an immune-system boosting, warming, anti-bacterial, anti-viral remedy, that usually is made with apple cider vinegar, honey, onion, garlic, horseradish and a pinch of cayenne – for a sour, sweet, vinegary, yow-ee! recipe.

But, of course, being in the folk tradition, folks have created many yummy variations, some more on the mild side, or the romantic side, or with other vigorous expressions in the realm of the pungent.

So, I’m going to choose one of the fabulous recipes available, and on Sunday, Feb 2, I’m going to make Fire Cider.

Yes, Sunday, Feb. 2, is the Super Bowl — a big deal here on the island, as our local team, the Seattle Seahawks, is playing.  If I was going to a Super Bowl party (which I’m not), I’d bring some Fire Cider and have everyone take a spoonful. But that’s just me :-).

And Sunday, Feb 2 is also when Imbolc, a Celtic cross-quarter festival is often celebrated. (Read my blog post about Imbolc here). With Imbolc honoring creative fire and healing, among other things — ah, I think Fire Cider-making is rather appropriate, in this regard!

My friend Kristine Brown at Herbal Roots Ezine has written a very informative post about why we’re all making Fire Cider right now, and why you might want to as well — besides for the just plain delicious, healing reason of making a powerful herbal remedy.  It has to do with preserving our ability to create this remedy and even call it Fire Cider! Kristine writes about the situation and offers the foundational recipe here.  After reading it, you may want to sign the petition too. Please do!

This post on the website, has some great links to variations on the Fire Cider recipe. I’m considering making Kiva Rose’s Gila Harvest Cider recipe.

Or perhaps I’ll get a “fire in my head” and come up with my own poetic herbal fire!

So, what do you say? Want to join me in some Fire Cider making? If you go for it, please come back and post about your inspired concoction!

Make Fire Cider!