Imbolc is also known as “Brigid” or “St. Brigid’s Day.” Brigid (often pronounced “Breed” or “Bride”) is the most tangible deity to me. I’m rarely comfortable putting human form to Spirit, although I love legends, myths and stories about deities. But Brigid, the triple Goddess of smithcraft, poetry and healing, feels almost corporeal to me.
Each Imbolc I journey in meditation to her forge. She takes from me my burdens, and transforms them into the tools I need to create my future.
When I was a very small child we lived next to Mr. Petty’s blacksmith’s shop. Sometimes Mr. Petty would let me come in to the dark, hot, dusty shop. I would hold my aunt’s hand tightly, both excited and afraid. I remember the huge bellows, the heat, the sparks and flames. I remember the sound of his hammer, and the glow of the hot metal as he worked.
Maybe that is why Brigid, Goddess of Smithcraft, is so real to me now. Maybe Brigid had marked me, a six-year-old girl with hair the same color as her own, even then. Maybe Brigid arranged my trips to the blacksmith shop as a way of forging a connection between us.
In all the years I have celebrated Imbolc and read tarot, never have I devised a spread for my journey to Brigid’s Forge! This year, I’ll correct that.
Brigid’s Forge Three-Card Tarot Spread
Card one: The path I must take.
The journey to Brigid’s forge is the journey to release emotional burdens, to transform hurt into something valuable, and with it, to create something new. This card represents the mindset of this journey – what I must consider prior to the journey, or how I must prepare myself.
Card two: The burden I carry.
This card will speak to the hurts, disappointments and sadness I carry with me that no longer serve me.
Card Three: Brigid’s gift.
Brigid takes my burden in her forge. Heating and hammering, she forges it into something useful for me. This card will speak to that gift, and how I might use it.
Here is my interpretation of the cards I received. The deck I used is Ellen Dugan’s “Witches Tarot.”
The Path: Karma (Judgment)
In Witches Tarot Judgment is renamed “Karma.” That it falls in position to denote my path to the forge is pretty amazing. My path is my calling, and unavoidable. I am summoned to the forge. I bring with me the knowledge, wounds, failures and accomplishments of my past, fully ready to receive closure and rebirth.
The Burden: The Fool
I love the Major Arcana cards here – Judgment followed by the Fool is very powerful. The Fool clearly represents the burden I carry. On one hand, I am healed and evolved enough to be very cognizant of my spiritual journey and to be unburdened by worldly concerns. On the other hand, my natural Fool-like state causes me to live in a way that is very different than the norm. I accept and appreciate my journey, but I am sometimes burdened by the difficulties that come from being so different from societal expectations. The trick of truly being the Fool is to have no fear. Fear is my burden.
The Gift: Queen of Wands (Reversed)
For years the Queen of Wands has been my significator, specifically in regard to my spiritual path and my work as a tarotist. The Queen of Wands usually represents my highest ideals of who I can be and what I can achieve.
Sometimes I lose focus and fall short of what I know I can do. I think the reversal on this card reflects that disappointment – my next book isn’t getting finished quickly enough, I have so many projects to do and so little time.
Brigid’s gift is to help me be me, better than before. Brigid’s gift is to help me stay on my path and achieve what is already in motion, with greater passion and energy. At her forge, Brigid transforms my fear into confidence.
Picture at top: Brigid, from “The Goddess Oracle” by Amy Sophia Marashinsky and Hrana Janto.