The prospect of fishbones stuck in my throat, robbing me of the ability to breathe, with the offending bone growing larger by the second. This vision sent me to church on St. Blaise’s’ Day with great urgency. It sent me into the confession box so that I’d have communion as extra protection, along with Saint Blaise, to protect me from a death caused by fishbones stuck in my throat.
In early memories, dad carried me to church, and I was two or three years old. Dad had explained about Saint Blaise. I remember the candles crossed at my timid neck as I knelt and breathed in a sigh of relief, sure to be safe for another year. I worried that my mother wasn’t with us, her not being Catholic, and hoped my fervent prayer would extend the blessing and protection to her as well.
Now, the truth is, I sat down to write a piece about Brigit, both Goddess and Saint. Brigit has more fine stories and followers than you could shake a stick at and far more than St. Blaise, who turns out to be Armenian bishop who was martyred, and lived roughly a few hundred years before Saint Brigit was in Ireland as a saint. Personally, I find this interesting, as I’m half Irish and half Armenian, and here haven’t I split the celebrating and thanking between them, always. One bringing hope and protection, the other to guard my Irish throat against the many hidden fish bones lurking in our suppers. This is a link that will take you to information on St. Blaise: https://aleteia.org/2016/02/03/the-real-story-behind-the-churchs-tradition-of-blessing-throats/
These days, for Imbolc, I enjoy having some seed packets ready for planting. I’ll say a prayer over them, and light candles. I’ll give the wood stove a good cleaning, and set a fine fire. I’ll imagine the first stirring of life in the seeds, although it’s too early for planting here, aside from a few things begun indoors. I sit comfort of the fire, feed it birch so it burns brightly, and make a bit of music to honor the woman who crossed over party lines to work both as Goddess and Saint so powerfully. This year I’ll also remember to light a candle for my cousin Kathleen who recently passed, and who loved this day. This is a link to a bit more information: http://www.angelfire.com/journal/ofapoet/brigid.html
Welcome to my home, hearth, and blog, Brigit. And give my best to St. Blaise as well.