I'm one of the facilitators for a day-long Brigid retreat on Saturday and am priestessing our Mother Grove public ritual that night.  What that means in practical terms is that my car is full of boxes and cloutie trees, and the dining room table is also covered with material for one thing or the other.

Have you been spending the week getting ready for this lovely holy day, those of you who honor it?  Have you cleared and reset your altar?  Put some oats and whiskey out for Bride and her white cow?

The thing I almost forgot was the bhrat--that length of cotton cloth that goes out onto the Earth tonight to catch the dew or the rain. I use cotton because it's easy to rip into clouties or cut into squares for healing work.

The weather has turned quite chilly here after last night's torrential rains and I was settling in and dreaming of a nice cuppa tea when I remembered. Holy mothers of gods, I thought to myself.  The bhrat!

My neighbors are used to my Kate Laity-style shenanigans by now and thought nothing of the silly woman dashing out the back door trailing some cloth.  I placed it carefully in the side yard, weighted it down with a chuck of pink granite and zipped back inside.

The bhrat represents the cloak of Brigid and it is a soft armor for all sorts of ills. "We are under Brigid's cloak" is a comforting charm for hard times.  In the old tales, Her cloak was miraculous in so many ways. There's the sweet story of Her hanging it on a sunbeam, and the clever story of the king promising he would give Her enough land for Her monastic house and then laughingly telling Her he's give Her everything Her cloak could cover.  Imagine his surprise when She flung it off Her shoulders --or off that sunbeam--and it grew and grew and covered the Curragh.

And there's another story, closer to home.  My friend and sister-priestess Jill, who died a couple of years ago, told the story of Brigid flinging the edge of Her cloak over Her shoulder, as one does.  And it stretched and floated all the way to our own Blue Ridge mountains.  And with that She claimed us for Hers, affording us the protection of that wonder-working cloak.

Probably not too late for you to fling your own bit of bhrat outside and wait for the dew to bless it, and you, as you do your own healing work this coming year.

It may even be time for a nice cuppa tea.