My morning devotions to Brìde are often performed in my kitchen at a simple shrine I keep for Her beside my stove, my home’s hearth. I love the wrought-iron candle holder I use, as it reminds me of Her connection with smithing and fashioning with the fire of Her forge. I also love the corn dolly I stand beside it as a representation of Her.
The corn dolly is traditionally made as a celebration of the harvest when the corn is brought in. The husks of the corn are first dried to preserve them, then soaked to render them temporarily pliable, then fashioned into a human form and left to dry to hold their shape. This particular corn dolly holds a wee, colored rose, also made of corn.
In this corn dolly image of Brìde, I see Her cycles alive as meaningful symbols of our vital cyclic reality. The corn husks remind us of the Life given to us as nourishment, as well as the death of the plant in that giveaway, that offering to us. This death also reminds of the restful time that comes after harvest, when the seed falls into the tomb/womb of the land, to sleep and incubate through the dead season of winter, the promise of life hibernating within the seed husk.
And, She holds a rose.
The rose reminds us of the flowering of Life, its bright vitality, its sweet perfume, its alluring beauty, later to become a round hip, a potent medicine– altogether another kind of giveaway and offering. While the corn represents physical nourishment, the rose symbolizes spiritual nourishment. In this way, the rose is like the Fire in the Head of the poets, or the Flame in the Heart of devotees. Brìde’s Flame feeds and sustains our souls with Her spiritual light and medicine.
Like corn, it provides for us best when taken as daily fare.
Mar a bha, mar a tha, mar a bhitheas gu brath.