Clann Bhríde encourages its members to build a daily practice of offering and prayer, as we value personal revelation as an important tool for understanding our Lady’s work. However, we also recognize that not everyone can realistically commit to daily prayers and offerings for an extended period of time. The Nine Days for Brighid are an opportunity for anyone and everyone to get a taste of regular contemplative practice. Beginning on the first day of each Fire Festival, we commit to nine days of devotional practice. This involves reciting prayers upon waking, at midday, and before sleep; daily offerings of food, drink, incense, and/or light; and setting aside time through meditation or journaling to focus on our relationship with Brighid.
The Nine Days are also a good period for setting up a new shrine or cleaning and reconsecrating ones that have fallen into neglect. You might choose to set out special artwork or offering dishes specifically for this time, or decorate your shrine with seasonally appropriate symbols. You might also choose to work on creative projects, self-care and healing, or acts of charity throughout this time frame.
Why the number nine? Nine is a recurring sacred number for Clann Bhríde. We have Nine Elements, nine Touchstones, and nine daily prayers in our Book of Hours. Nine is a good number for trying out new things: long enough to experience something multiple times, but not long enough to ingrain a habit. Nine itself is three multiplied by three, another sacred number related to Brighid as a triple goddess and with the interconnected realms of Land, Sea, and Sky.
While the Nine Days emphasize a commitment to devotion, there’s still room for personalization according to your schedule, living arrangements, and abilities. Certainly dedicate yourself as much as you’re able, but don’t worry too much if you miss a set of prayers or are unable to pray aloud or maintain an open shrine. It is also completely valid to visualize offerings if you’re unable to gift anything physical to Brighid. This is a time for you to reconnect with our Lady and to remember that She values the time you dedicate to Her, however much time it is, whatever form the dedication takes.
The Nine Days also let us share in practice together though we are scattered all over the globe and may be celebrating holidays at different times. Whether we are able and willing to carve out multiple days of celebration and ritual for each Fire Festival, or whether we have just enough time and energy for a quick prayer three times a day, we are all able to observe the four holy points of the year as Children of Brighid.
Though Clann Bhríde reckons the start of each Fire Festival starting at sunset the day before, as was customary in pre-Christian Ireland, the Nine Days for Brighid devotions start at sunrise (or upon awakening) the morning of the holy day. So while we would celebrate sundown October 31 as the beginning of Samhain or Beltane, we would begin the Nine Days prayers the morning of November 1.
Here are examples of how the Nine Days might be worked into your life. The daily prayers are listed in bold and may be found online or in our Book of Hours.
Example Schedule – More Time
Upon rising, recite the Three Sisters Prayer. You may wish to record any dreams you had the night before.
Light a candle at your shrine and recite the Flame-Lighting Prayer. You may also offer incense at this time by lighting it from your candle.
Look out your window at the morning sky or visualize the rising sun in all Her glory. Recite the Rising Prayer and go about your usual morning routine.
If you have time, you may also wish to recite the Sloinntireachd Bride and recite or listen to Gabhaim Molta Bríghde as you prepare for the day.
Remember to extinguish your candle before you leave your room unless you are able to tend to it all day!
Recite Grace before your midday meal, silently or aloud, taking time to consider the blessings in your life.
Prepare an offering of food or drink – perhaps a small portion of your meal – and recite the Offering Prayer. If you’re at home, you can leave the offering on your altar. If not, you may put it out in nature, consume it, or respectfully dispose of it.
Recite the Daytime Prayer before returning to the day’s work.
As you prepare for bed, recite the Seven Elements Prayer. If you wish you may also revisit Sloinntireachd Bride and Gabhaim Molta Bríghde.
Light a candle once more and recite the Flame-Lighting Prayer. If you have other offerings, make them now.
Recite the Nighttime Prayer and open yourself to inspiration from Brighid. You might choose meditation, divination, journaling, or art to process your feelings and impressions for the day.
Remember to extinguish your candle before you go to bed!
Example Schedule – Less Time
Upon rising, take a moment to stretch in front of an open window or while visualizing the rising sun. Recite the Rising Prayer and go about your usual morning routine.
While preparing for the day, listen to Gabhaim Molta Bríghde as background music.
Recite Grace before your midday meal, silently or aloud, taking time to consider the blessings in your life. Think about Brighid as you consume your meal. The enjoyment and nourishment you get from your food is your offering today.
As your evening winds down, light a candle and recite the Flame-Lighting Prayer. Take a moment to contemplate your day and ask Brighid to help your sleep be restorative and your dreams calming.
Spend some time meditating, writing, drawing, or simply sitting in silence, before sleep.
Remember to extinguish your candle before you go to bed!