14 February 2015

Dreaming: Happy Valentine's Day




Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
William Butler Yeats

Images:
Mikhail Andreenko (1895-1982) Russian, Pierrot with heart
Hans Memling (1430-1494) German, Allegorical painting of love
Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) Russian, Riding couple, detail 

02 February 2015

Brigid: The Goddess and The Saint




Today Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter. The famous Pennsylvanian groundhog has his antecedents in ancient European weather lore. During the Celtic festival of Imbolc, people watched to see if serpents or badgers ventured from their winter dens:

The serpent will come from the hole

On the brown Day of Bríde,

Though there should be three feet of snow

On the flat surface of the ground 


February 1 marked the halfway point between winter solstice and spring equinox. Also called Brigid’s Day, the pagan celebration honored the goddess of the same name. The patroness of poetry, smith work, medicine, livestock, sacred wells, and the arrival of early spring, is also associated with the Irish Saint Brigid of Kildare.  Whether the saint really existed or
 was a Christian transformation of the goddess is unknown. 

 Images:
Peasent Cross of Saint Brigid's 
Harry Clarke, Irish, 1889-1931
Saint Brigid
Patrick TuohyIrish, 1894-1930
Saint Bride
John Duncan, Scottish 1866-1945