Today, I thought it would be appropriate to post for the current season. Spring will be here soon and I started off with my Lá Fhéile Bríde celebration. I had decided this year to do so nearer to the Gregorian calendar date, celebrating on the 2nd and 3rd of this month, rather than doing so at the first significant melt, as I usually do in Minnesota. No, this year I'm in a new and unfamiliar place where the growing season is even shorter than in Minnesota and I haven't the faintest idea what its like here without snow. We arrived in the Rocky Mountains during the first snows and all I've seen since is snow and occasionally some rock and dirt. And definitely no green rushes for a new Cros Bríde, though I made an unsuccessful attempt with some dead grass...I would have made one with different material, but I've never made one out of something other than grass or reeds. Natural materials are just more aesthetically pleasing to me, so I'm rarely satisfied with substitutes and simply unwilling to dedicate something to the Gods, Ancestors, or Spirits without it being pleasing to me, as well. So, I've made the decision to make one when Luke and I return home, which will conveniently be right around when the new reeds will be popping out of the pond and lake next to home.
This year I settled with a smaller celebration than I usually like to plan. Thankfully, Brigid seems the forgiving goddess and I don't think she was displeased, though I was unable to make out any signs in the ashes of our woodstove the next morning (so I made sure to burn juniper the following day). I made do with a meal and music, as well as the usual offerings and prayers to Brigid. For the meal I made pork roast in the crockpot with some dumplings, salmon, soda bread, colcannon, leeks, butter, and some shortbread with some stewed apples, blackberries and cream. I like cooking. Like, I really like to cook and I do a lot of it, so the festivals are always a great excuse for me to splurge and get expensive things like cream and salmon and berries! Much of that meal consisted of my standard go-to dishes for the festivals, though it may change according to the season, the central focus for this festival being the butter and other dairy products our ancestors found much of their nutrition from in the meager Winter months leading up to the growing season.
I gave my prayers and offerings in the fire of our woodstove and shared the meal with my friends/roommates all the while Irish tunes played on Pandora. It was a good day, I always enjoy preparing for the festivals, though I'm usually exhausted by the end of it and passed out in bed earlier than usual.
We'll be arriving back home in Minnesota right around Lá Bealtaine at the end of April/beginning of May, so I imagine I have a lot to do. Thank the gods the house will be clean when I get back, so that's taken care of, at least! And then I will be back in my home environment and can go back to following the weather patterns of Minnesota. I haven't yet figured out a specific marker for Lá Bealtaine in Minnesota, so I usually rely on when the lilacs bloom and the asparagus starts shooting out of the ground. We'll also be ordering our chickens soon, I plan to purify them and their coup with juniper and blessed water and maybe the marsh marigolds will be in bloom to decorate the house!