In April, Priestess Laura and I participated in a personal, powerful, and deeply moving 19-night flamekeeping ritual in response to the CoVID-19 pandemic. Pictured above is my altar ablaze with candles, each lit with heartfelt petition for relief from this horrid plague. I always put my all into my altar-tending, but those nineteen nights were especially powerful.
As a Priestess of Brigid, for me She is central to my personal mandala, and much of my spiritual work is with Her. She is beloved world-over, Her most well-known symbol the perpetual flame. Nineteen is the traditional number of devotees who each tend Her holy flame in one-day shifts. On the twentieth day, legend says, Brigid tends the flame Herself.
I stumbled across this ritual on social media, thanks to a friend’s link, and I am so glad I did! It was created and brought to fruition by author Lunea Weatherstone whose book Tending Brigid’s Flame: Awaken to the Celtic Goddess of Hearth, Temple, and Forge is an excellent reference on all things Goddess Brigid. The following ritual instructions and prayer to accompany each flame over nineteen nights are from Lunaea’s Brigid-19 Facebook page, set up specifically to share the ritual with the world.
Brigid-19 Flamekeeper Ritual Instructions
This ritual is offered over nineteen nights. It’s very simple, as the most meaningful spiritual practices often are! Brigid knows you have a lot on your plate right now. At sunset, calm and center yourself. Close your eyes for a moment and connect to all the others around the world who are also reaching out to connect. Feel the power of faith growing stronger. Sense the light of hope growing brighter.When you are ready, light your candle, and dedicate its flame to the day’s prayer. You can offer a single prayer each night or do it “twelve days of Christmas” style (on the first night, offer Flame 1’s prayer; on the second night, offer the prayers for Flames 1 and 2, and so on).
The little prayers are in the Celtic style, with its characteristic rhythms and repetitions.
Brigid of brightness, I bid thee welcome, Brigid of blessing, come thou in. Brigid of strength, I bid thee welcome, this night and every night, this day and every day.
The rest is up to you. Listen to your heart. Listen to Brigid.
Nightly Prayers for the Brigid-19 Flamekeeper Ritual
Flame 1: For those who are ill Brigid of the sacred waters, Brigid of miracles, Brigid of the healing hands, be with us this night and every night, this day and every day.
Flame 2: For medical workers Brigid of the shining shield, protect the healers: Sustain their courage, Uphold their strength, Replenish their hope.
Flame 3: For providers of goods and services Brigid of the humming hive, Brigid of the helping hand, Brigid of the daily round, bless and protect your workers.
Flame 4: For the dying Brigid the midwife, ease their passage. Brigid of the threshold, open the door. Brigid the midwife, bring peace to their crossing. Brigid of the threshold, welcome them home.
Flame 5: For good government Brigid of wisdom, guide those in power. Brigid of vision, open their eyes. Brigid of memory, remind them of duty. Brigid of caritas, open their hearts.
Flame 6: For those in isolation Brigid of the hearthfire, stay close beside us. Sweeten our solitude, ease our loneliness, allay our fears, and breathe upon the embers of faith.
Flame 7: For the media Brigid of the shining sword, protect the truth-tellers: Guard their freedom, embolden their actions, defend their voice.
Flame 8: For protection Brigid of the sheltered flock, encircle us. Brigid of the woolen cloak, enfold us. Brigid of refuge, encompass us, this night and every night.
Flame 9: For researchers and scientists Bright Brigid, spark of genius, be with those who seek a cure: Kindle their creativity, fuel their passion, ignite their imagination, and with your flame held high light their path.
Flame 10: For those who grieve Brigid of the keening cry, sit with the mourners, release their sorrow, let it flow, not shatter. Brigid of the soul-forge, strengthen their faith.
Flame 11: For first responders Brigid, bright arrow, Brigid of mercy, protect those who answer the call: Go before them on every road, stand behind them at every challenge, and bring them safely home.
Flame 12: For hope Brigid of the greening spring, Brigid of the joy of lambs, Brigid of the quiet dawn, bless us with hope.
Flame 13: For all providers of food Brigid of the endless butter, Brigid of blackberries, Brigid of miraculous honey, Brigid of the good brown loaf, Brigid of the lake of beer, sustain those who feed us and keep them well.
Flame 14: For those in elder care Brigid of dignity, cherish the elders: your shield protect them, your sword defend them, your hand soothe them, your eye be ever on them.
Flame 15: For makers of needed equipment Brigid of the roaring forge, Brigid of industry, Brigid of the skillful hands, speed and bless the makers.
Flame 16: For social distancing Brigid of the watchful eye, keep us from complacency, focus our vigilance, sustain our care. Brigid of kindness, help us keep each other well.
Flame 17: For good humor Brigid of the bard and satirist, Brigid of the sly wit, Brigid of the lively tune, cheer our confinement. Brigid of the sunbeam, bless those who make us smile.
Flame 18: For the unemployed Brigid of strength, sustain those without work: Be their walls against the wind, be their roof against the rain, be their lantern in the window that draws good fortune home.
Flame 19: For gratefulness We thank thee, Brigid, three times three: For your road that lies before us, and your wisdom that guides us, and your strength that upholds us. For your ear that hears us, and your voice that speaks for us, and your eye that watches over us. For your sword that guards us, and your cloak that shelters us, and your well that heals us. We thank thee, Brigid, this night and every night this day and every day.
This is a beautiful and meaningful flamekeeping ritual that can be started at any time. The “Great Pause” caused by CoVID-19 is tragic and heartbreaking, and I mourn the pain, sickness, and loss of life that seems to be touching us all. This pause has also given us a glimpse of how quickly our Mother Earth can begin to heal herself and provide us with an improved quality of life, if we will only come together and do the work to make it happen, to restore our planet so it is the home that all people, and all creatures, deserve. I do pray that we endure this plague and not only survive it, but also thrive in its aftermath. May it be so.