Sun Wheel - Brigid's Cross

Compact Rush - Juncus conglomeratus
Harvested Rushes.

On a rainy Tuesday, I decided to renew our Brigid's cross. Traditionally, in Ireland, this is done on the first of February. Here in Sweden, the season is a little less advanced and the snows have not long gone. Above you can see the rush growing next to a small stream and the harvested rushes ready to be brought home and weaved.

This particular form of woven reed cross is Irish in origin.
It is called a St Brigid's cross after a 5th-century nun, but its origins almost certainly predate Christianity. That three armed crosses are also known alludes to its ancient roots.

The crosses are created by folding reeds in half and weaving them at right angles to the previous one. Traditionally they are made in as spring returns and are associated with purification and protection, prosperity and blessings. 
In pagan Ireland, the great Goddess Brigid, a member of the Tuatha-de-Danann, or Tribe of the Goddess Danann, was celebrated as the Goddess of Spring, dawn and the returning light.
 These crosses were associated with the Goddess Brigid long before they became associated with Saint Brigit. Indeed the popularity of Saint Brigit maybe due to the people of Irelands love of the Goddess Brigid. Saint and Goddess share similar attributes.
Christian missionaries adopted Brigid's cross to bring the "pagan" communities into the Christian fold. Both the pagan Goddess Brigit and the Christian Saint Brigid have become inseparably linked within this symbol.

Reeds are folded in two at right angles to the previous reed.
Eventually, a four-armed cross is formed.
Continue adding reed stems until the cross consists of four arms and a central weaved piece, the four arms are then bound and cut to length.

 We make one every year, and hang it above a prominent doorway or window. The old one is burnt and the ashes scattered on one's land or property for extra blessings for the coming year. Although this is an Irish custom similar practices were common in Europe and Scandinavia. It has a long history going back further than recorded history.
It is very similar to the Sun Cross of European prehistory and also the Swatztiki of Vedic India. A symbol associated with prosperity, blessings and good luck. In fact, this symbol and its variants are found in nearly all cultures across the world, with similar meanings and qualities associated with it. 
Old and new... We will burn last years cross and spread the ashes at the entrance of the home to attract good luck during the coming year.


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