Saturday, January 25, 2014

Brigid's Cross

Brigid's cross, Brighid's cross or Brigit's cross is an Irish symbol.  St Brigid's feast day was the feast of Imbolc.  Though a Christian symbol, it possibly derives from the Pagan Sun wheel. It is usually made from rushes or, less often, straw.  It comprises a woven square in the centre and four radials tied at the ends.

It was traditionally believed that a Brigid's Cross protects the house from fire and evil.  It is hung in many Irish and Irish-American kitchens for this purpose.

To make your Brighid's Cross, you'll need straw, reeds, pipe cleaners or construction paper -- if you're using plant material like straw or reeds, you'll want to soak it overnight so it's pliable when you go to make your Cross. Your end result will be about the length of one piece of your material -- in other words, a bundle of 12" reeds will yield a Brighid's Cross just slightly longer than 12".

To begin, you'll form a base for your Cross by bending two pieces of straw in their middles to create a pair of loops -- in fact, you'll do this with each piece as you make your Cross. Link the two pieces together at their centers.

Next, turn these two pieces so they lie flat, and at a right angle to one another. This basic two-piece unit is the base for the rest of the Cross, and it's the only time you'll have two pieces hooked together in the middles like this.

Next, bend a third piece of straw in half, and loop it over one of your two base pieces. Both legs of the loop in the new piece will pass over both legs of the base piece. Pull this third piece tight to hold it in place.

Take a fourth piece, and bend it in half as you've done with the others. Loop this one over the legs of the piece you added. You should now have four pieces, each pointing in a different direction.

Finally, you'll continue looping pieces over one another as you did in the last step, until your cross reaches the size you want. Each piece loops over the previous one. When you're all done, use a piece of string, ribbon, or even another bit of straw to secure the four ends. Trim off excess pieces.

Blessed Be!


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