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Evergreen: A Year of Yule Tree Crafts and Rituals... A different spin on Brigid's Cross

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Imbolc, coming up in less than two weeks, marks a period of quiet growth. Seeds are coming to life underground, the sun is growing in strength, and waters begin their mid-winter thaw, another indication of the flow of life to come (Brigid, as Goddess of healing, had many ancient wells dedicated to her. Those that are still extant remain sacred to Saint Bridget). As an act of sympathetic magic, hoops would be set afire and rolled down hills, or pinwheels (Bridget’s crosses) staved and set to turn in the wind. In this way, the return of the sun was encouraged.

Use a branch from your Yule Tree in a ritual of renewal. (Yule tree? But it's JANUARY! If you need to backtrack a bit, have a look at our introduction to this year-long magical project and tips for preparation and storage. If you do not have access to a Yule evergreen, fallen branches from other trees can be used for this craft. Use your favorite resource to identify the tree from which the branch came, and what energy that particular tree will bring to this work.

Materials

  • Imbolc Pinwheel (CLICK HERE for a free PDF to print out)
  • 12-14” long Yule tree branch
  • Two Pony Beads
  • Twist ties (from the produce section of the grocery store)
  • Construction Paper
  • Tape
  • Glue
  • Scissors

Tips to make this a greener craft: Use recycled paper (computer printer paper printed on one side), or gift wrap that is blank on one side to print or trace the pinwheel. Magazine covers are usually printed on a heavier weight paper than inside pages, and can be used in place of construction paper.

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Crafting

  1. Cut out the pinwheel, and color it any way you wish. Colors special to the season of Imbolc are red, gold yellow and orange for fire, brown for the awakening earth, and blue for Brigid's well.
  2. Glue the square to a piece of construction paper and trim any excess. This will reinforce the paper so that it will withstand repeated turning.
  3. Cut the corner lines down to the center circle, but don't cut in or around the circle. Each section will become a blade of the pinwheel.
  4. Take the corner of each bade where the text ends and bend it to the center of the back of the pinwheel and secure it with a piece of tape.
  5. Thread the twist tie through one of the pony beads so that the bead is centered on the twist tie.
  6. Using a gentle hand, make a small hole in the center of the circle on the pinwheel. This can be done by pushing the tip of a pen or pencil into the paper. Slip the ends of the twist tie through the hole, then slide the second bead on in the back. Make sure that it is secure, but loose enough so that the pinwheel turns when it is blown.
  7. Position the pinwheel near the top of the Yule tree branch and wrap the remaining lengths of the twist tie around it to secure the pinwheel to it.

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Ritual

Speak or sing the poem on the pinwheel. The poem, like a circle, can be started at any line:

Dear Brigid be with us as we turn the wheel,

Wells of blessed water to help us all heal.

A cross like a pinwheel to help the year flow,

Fire to Inspire, fire to grow!

Blow on the pinwheel to make it turn, envisioning healing and growth for yourself, loved ones, the earth or any special intention that you may have. Repeat the spell as many times as needed. If the pinwheel is part of a group ritual, pass it clockwise around your circle, with others present chanting the poem, and the one who has the pinwheel stating their intentions aloud. At the end of the ritual, place the pinwheel outside a doorway on the night of February 1st to welcome Brigid and the energy of renewal, taking heart that Spring is indeed on the way.

 

Up Next... In the belly: the Brideog

Artwork by Robin Ator (http://glowinthedarkpictures.com/tarot/). Please visit our blogs: Katharine Clark (http://irishelder.blogspot.com) and Natalie Zaman (http://nataliezaman.blogspot.com)

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From 2006 to 2010, www.broomstix.com was an online magazine for families following alternative spiritual paths. Relaunched in 2013, Broomstix has a new format, but the same, simple goal: to be a positive community resource where folks can share their knowledge and talents.

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