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Author Topic: Brighid's Cross/Brat Imbolc Exchange?  (Read 5077 times)

Aster Breo

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Brighid's Cross/Brat Imbolc Exchange?
« on: January 02, 2012, 03:19:44 pm »
Happy New Year!

I'm sorry I haven't been around as much as usual lately.  I'm really hoping that will change with the new year.  So, I apologize if this is a question that has already been discussed (I checked but didn't find anything in the list of recent threads).

Is anyone interested in doing a Brighid's cross and/or brat exchange for this coming Imbolc?

If we're going to do an exchange, we should get it set up as soon as possible.  Anyone interested can start on their crosses and/or brats right away, of course, while we get the list of participants and send out addresses.  I'd be happy to coordinate the exchange again this year, but also happy to have someone else do it.

So...  Anybody interested in an exchange?

~ Aster
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Juni

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Re: Brighid's Cross/Brat Imbolc Exchange?
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2012, 07:59:04 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;37261


 
I am! I was just thinking about this yesterday, but I've had limited brain the past few days so I didn't post.
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Re: Brighid's Cross/Brat Imbolc Exchange?
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2012, 09:26:28 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;37261


 
I am! I was actually thinking that if we didn't have an "official exchange" I'd probably whip up a couple crocheted items and send them along to the cill members whose addresses I have. I need to do some serious yarn stashbusting and what better way than a couple of bhrats?
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Fagan_the_Pagan

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Re: Brighid's Cross/Brat Imbolc Exchange?
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2012, 09:35:34 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;37261
Is anyone interested in doing a Brighid's cross and/or brat exchange for this coming Imbolc?

 
I am interested.  Not sure I can commit to something at this exact moment, but I am definitely interested.
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MadHouseWitch

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Re: Brighid's Cross/Brat Imbolc Exchange?
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2012, 10:16:25 am »
Quote from: Aster Breo;37261
Happy New Year!

I'm sorry I haven't been around as much as usual lately.  I'm really hoping that will change with the new year.  So, I apologize if this is a question that has already been discussed (I checked but didn't find anything in the list of recent threads).

Is anyone interested in doing a Brighid's cross and/or brat exchange for this coming Imbolc?

If we're going to do an exchange, we should get it set up as soon as possible.  Anyone interested can start on their crosses and/or brats right away, of course, while we get the list of participants and send out addresses.  I'd be happy to coordinate the exchange again this year, but also happy to have someone else do it.

So...  Anybody interested in an exchange?

~ Aster



 This might be a stupid question, since I know what a brat IS but how do you make one?  I know knit or crochet is the most common but is it shawl like?  maybe hooded scarf?  I've watched a few exchanges now and I honestly still have no idea!

I might be interested in an exchange if I could figure that pesky detail out LOL

Aster Breo

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Re: Brighid's Cross/Brat Imbolc Exchange?
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2012, 11:29:23 am »
Quote from: MadHouseWitch;37326
This might be a stupid question, since I know what a brat IS but how do you make one?

 
Not a stupid question at all!  Especially since we've never really defined it explicitly (that I can recall).

A brat symbolizes Brighid's mantle and is basically any piece of clothing or fabric that is left outside over night on Imbolc Eve (the night of January 31-February1) for Brighid to bless as She visits each family.  To be completely clear, this tradition is attested with regard to *Saint* Brigid, not the Goddess Brighid.  Which should make sense to anyone who has done any reading on ancient Celtic religion and/or Brighid -- since there is so little extant evidence about the Goddess Brighid or how the Celts worshiped Her or other deities.  

However, many of us -- myself included -- have chosen to use information about Saint Brigid to inform our practices honoring the Goddess Brighid.  The way I feel about it is that the saint was likely a means to an end; a way for the Irish laypeople (as opposed to priests or monks or nuns) to retain an important and beloved goddess as they moved toward Christianity.  That idea can be easily challenged, of course, and there are probably just as many people who think the goddess died with paganism in Ireland and the saint is a completely independent entity.  

I've read about different ways to carry out the tradition of leaving a brat out for blessing.  There are numerous regional variations on the theme.  For example, people who lived on the coast would often leave out the coats worn by the men involved in seafaring.  In other places, the brat was simply a handkerchief or just a piece of cloth, pieces of which would be cut or torn off and used throughout the year to foster healing (especially for headaches), ease the pain of childbirth, protect the cattle, etc.  In some areas, the brat had to be a specific color or had to be put in a particular place (a bush or just outside the door, f'ex) or had to be brought inside before sunrise, etc.  (Sean ODuinn's book, The Rites of Brigid:  Goddess and Saint, is the best source I've found for Irish Imbolc traditions.)  

The way we -- members of the TC Cill -- have done the Imbolc exchange in the past (I don't remember if we've done it twice before or three times) is to give the sender the option of making a Brighid's cross OR a brat OR both.  But it's important to note that the exchange is NOT about spending money.  It's about creating and sharing a powerful symbol that is special to us, as Cill-mates.  

When I have received a brat, it has usually been knitted or crocheted.  I have two that are squares -- like the squares my grandmother crocheted and then put together to make a blanket.  I also have one that is a knot, which uses two colors of yarn.  I don't knit or crochet (although I'd LOVE to learn -- it's on my 2012 To Do List ;) ), but other Cill-mates do and can do a better job of describing this kind of brat.  

Since I don't knit or crochet, I've had to rely on other materials.  And I've also adopted a pretty loose definition of "brat."  For the purpose of the exchange, I've sent strips from the very first brat I put out, many years ago.  For my family's personal use, I've put all sorts of things outside to be blessed: scarves, bandanas, hats, pieces of fabric, ribbons, even jewelry.  Other people might take a more traditional view of the practice, though, and feel that I'm going too far astray.

So, I guess the basic answer to your question is:  You can make a brat any way you want to.  ;)

Does that help?

~ Aster
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MadHouseWitch

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Re: Brighid's Cross/Brat Imbolc Exchange?
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2012, 02:44:49 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;37335
Not a stupid question at all!  Especially since we've never really defined it explicitly (that I can recall).
*snip*

Does that help?

~ Aster


YES!  That helps, and my guess was right on, but I wanted to be sure that if I did the exchange that I was going the right direction.

SunflowerP

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Re: Brighid's Cross/Brat Imbolc Exchange?
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2012, 04:09:42 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;37261
Is anyone interested in doing a Brighid's cross and/or brat exchange for this coming Imbolc?

 
Good heavens, it is that time again, isn't it?

I would be very disappointed if our cross/brat exchange didn't occur.  But I think I had better say that I'm not taking part this year - my track record for getting things made and mailed in previous exchanges is dismal, and this year I have a lot more on my mind and on my plate.

Or rather, that my participation will be limited to finally actually sending the crosses from the last two exchanges (see?  dismal:ashamed:).

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Re: Brighid's Cross/Brat Imbolc Exchange?
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2012, 04:19:42 pm »
Quote from: Fagan_the_Pagan;37301
I am interested.  Not sure I can commit to something at this exact moment, but I am definitely interested.

 
I personally have no problem with the idea of people who are not technically Cill members, but who have become connected with it on the sidelines so to speak (as you've done, Fagan, with your Month of Poetry and choosing to share it with us), taking part in the exchange if they want to do so.  But it's probably something that should be discussed by those who are members.

I think that's one for the private board - I don't have time right now to start a thread there, but I should be able to do so later today, or if one of the other SIG Leaders wants to beat me to it, I'm fine with that.

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Fagan_the_Pagan

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Re: Brighid's Cross/Brat Imbolc Exchange?
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2012, 04:53:36 pm »
Quote from: SunflowerP;37383
I personally have no problem with the idea of people who are not technically Cill members, but who have become connected with it on the sidelines so to speak (as you've done, Fagan, with your Month of Poetry and choosing to share it with us), taking part in the exchange if they want to do so.  But it's probably something that should be discussed by those who are members.

 
This is a good point, and if you guys did not want me to participate on that basis, I would understand.
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Brighid's Cross/Brat Imbolc Exchange?
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2012, 05:11:38 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;37261
So...  Anybody interested in an exchange?

~ Aster

I'm in :)

When do we want to be getting things in the post by?
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Re: Brighid's Cross/Brat Imbolc Exchange?
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2012, 12:00:40 am »
Quote from: Aster Breo;37261

So...  Anybody interested in an exchange?

~ Aster

 


I want to, but I doubt I'll be able to actually get something out in time for it to arrive...I would have to mail it next week, and I won't be home. Nor do I have the time to make anything between now and then.

Next exchange I'll be able.
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Aster Breo

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Re: Brighid's Cross/Brat Imbolc Exchange?
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2012, 03:03:02 am »
Quote from: Morag;37437
I want to, but I doubt I'll be able to actually get something out in time for it to arrive...

 
It sounds like we have enough people to go forward with an exchange.

It also sounds like there might be a few people who would like to participate but don't think they could send it by whatever the deadline will be (see below).  Personally, I have no problem with receiving my package after February 1.  In fact, I think it would be kinda cool to have the person who made the cross and/or brat put it out for Brighid's blessing on Imbolc Eve.  That said, I'm also OK with a group consensus that we should stick with the deadline, even if that rules a few (very busy) people out.  

How do others feel about that?

About the deadline:  The idea in past years has been to send your package in time for your recipient to receive it on or before January 31.  That way, if you send a brat, the recipient can put it out for blessing.  When I've been the organizer, I've encouraged people to get their packages in the mail at least one week before January 31 -- in this case, I'd suggest aiming for January 20.  

However, if you're sending a package to someone in a different country, you should probably add extra time.  Or at least send a message to your recipient (via the organizer) that the package might be late.

Here's what I propose:  In the interest of time, I volunteer to organize this exchange, since I've done all the past Imbolc exchanges -- UNLESS someone else really wants a chance to be the organizer.  If that's the case, please speak up.  I'm happy to share the wealth.  ;)

Please PM me as soon as possible -- BY END-OF-DAY on FRIDAY, JANUARY 13 -- and give me your "real" name and your snail-mail address.  Also, note whether you are OK with sending a package to someone in a different country.  (That can be important, since the postage on international packages can be significantly higher than on domestic packages.)

In addition to the PM, please post in this thread to let me know you've PMed.  That gives me a way to check that I've actually got everyone.
 After I receive your PM, I will acknowledge it via reply PM.  

I know that sounds overly complex, but I've learned from experience that this system will head off problems down the road.

By the end of Sunday, January 15, I will PM you with your recipient's name and address.

Since we're cutting the timing somewhat short this year, participants should probably go ahead and start planning and making their crosses and/or brats, so they're ready to go when you get your recipient's contact info.

Finally, please remember that this exchange is NOT about spending a lot of money.  It's about celebrating together with our Cill-mates and sharing Imbolc with each other.  Nobody should feel that they have to spend much money on this project.   We strongly encourage using found materials for your cross and/or brat, if possible, and inexpensive materials, if you need to purchase something.

F'ex, I've been making Brighid's crosses out of pipe cleaners for years, and I love them.  We have quite a collection all around the house.  They're especially fun because they're so colorful.  And I've loved the crosses I've received, made from rushes, straw, wire, corn husks, etc.

Any questions?  Post them here.
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Re: Brighid's Cross/Brat Imbolc Exchange?
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2012, 12:00:50 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;37452
It also sounds like there might be a few people who would like to participate but don't think they could send it by whatever the deadline will be (see below).  Personally, I have no problem with receiving my package after February 1.  In fact, I think it would be kinda cool to have the person who made the cross and/or brat put it out for Brighid's blessing on Imbolc Eve.  That said, I'm also OK with a group consensus that we should stick with the deadline, even if that rules a few (very busy) people out.


I'm perfectly good with pushing the deadline. :whis:

And I've sent you a PM!
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Re: Brighid's Cross/Brat Imbolc Exchange?
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2012, 12:07:00 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;37452


 
PM sent!
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