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Kindness. Compassion. Caring.

Happy February! Many things are celebrated in February - Black History, St. Valentine’s Day, and, if you are Celtic or Wiccan, Imbolc, or Saint Brigid’s Day, which is considered the first day of Spring.

“Saint Bride” by John Duncan (1913)
“Saint Bride” by John Duncan (1913)

My maternal grandmother’s middle name was Bridget, which has always fascinated me, given that we are generationally Italian as far back as we can track.

St. Brigid is the only female patron saint of Ireland, and she is the patron saint of midwives, cattle, poets, and newborn babies. Her acts of healing were, as women’s tend to be, focused on the poor, the low born, and the disenfranchised. Simply put, her legend is one of simple acts of charity and kindness from the time of her childhood; she was unable to keep from feeding the poor and healing them.

St. Brigid shares a name and many qualities with the Celtic Goddess Brigid, goddess of the Spring, fertility, poetry, and divination. I see her as the Empress as depicted in the Tarot: Queen of the harvest, fertility, and abundance. She is generous and caring, and in her realm no one goes un-fed.

Thinking about it now, this was also true of one of her namesakes; my grandmother fed everyone in her realm, every single day. This included me and my brother, (we lived with her from the time I was 5) all of her children (10 from a blended family) their children each Sunday, and, on holidays, as many of the extended family as could fit around the three tables set up from the dining room and into the kitchen. Numbering over 30, it never felt crowded.

February in the Northern Hemisphere can be the coldest month. This week in Massachusetts we’re looking forward to an arctic cold in the negative teens! It can be hard to imagine that this is actually a turning point toward new growth, warmth and light. This is why it makes me so happy to think of Brigid: my grandmother, the Patron Saint, and the Goddess. When it’s so cold outside, the warmth has to come from inside - inside of us, extending acts of warmth and kindness, the food of human compassion, everywhere we can.

In this month of many remembrances, I wish you warmth, a full heart, and as much love as you can hold.

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