At Imbolg, the Maiden aspect of the Goddess might be represented in a great variety of ways -- by a simple ear of dried corn, a figure made of grain at Lughnasadh, or straws or wheat braided into an intricate design. One representation of the Goddess is Brigid's Cross. Although the original design may well have been made from rushes, wheat versions have been recreated for centuries. Make a cross for each room in the house to invite the blessings of the Goddess into them.
Brigid's Cross Rite
28 long, large diameter wheat straws without heads
Soak straws in a tub of cool water for half an hour before starting, then wrap in a towel for another 15 minutes.
Make the core first by positioning two straws to make a plus sign, placing the horizontal straw on top. Pull the upper section of the vertical straw down on top of its other half (Fig. 1). Turn the weave 90 degrees counterclockwise. Repeat to fold down the straw that is now vertical. (Fig. 2)
Turn the straws 90 degrees counterclockwise again. Add the next straw by placing it to the right of the vertical folded straw and under the horizontal folded straw, as shown in Fig. 3. Fold the added straw, turn the straws once again, and add the fourth and final straw to this round in the same fashion.
Continue to add folded straws. Avoid letting them bunch up or lie on top of those in a previous round. Instead, build the weave outward, resting the straws side by side. At first, you may find it difficult to hold the arms together and at right angles, but as the weave gains substance, this will prove easier. Just remember to watch for gaps and fill them by repositioning and tightening the straws as necessary.
When all 28 straws have been incorporated, tie each arm off about 4 inches from the center of the design. Trim the ends of the straws and threads.
Materials: Nine long, large diameter wheat straws without heads
1. Soak straws in a tub of cool water for half an hour before starting, then wrap in a towel for another 15 minutes.
Tie nine straws together at their ends.
Spread them as shown with the tied end facing down (three to the right and two each other direction. (Image #1)
2. Fold the front straw of the three under the other two.
3. Bring it up and over to be alongside the two at the nest corner.
4. Completed cross.
References: _Wheat Weaving and Straw Craft_ by Morgyn Geoffry Owens-Celli and _Your Book of Corn Dollies_ by Joan Rendell
BRIGID'S CROSS RITE
from _Green Witchcraft_ by Ann Moura
Make a cross for each room of the house. Place a red pillar-sized candle center to the front of the door, with cross in hand, light the candle, open the door, and say:
We welcome in the Goddess and seek the turning of the wheel away from winter and into spring.
Close the door, take up the candle, and go to each room of the house. Say:
Great Lady, enter with the sun and watch over this room!
Leave a cross in each room and proceed thusly throughout the house. The last room should be the kitchen, and here you say:
Mother of the Earth and the Sun
Keep us safe and keep us warm,
As over our home you extend your blessing.