Brighid is an ancient role model for modern women – she was a leader and a revolutionary, a healer and a wise woman. The myths, traditions and tales of St. Brighid are often merged with the Celtic Goddess Brighid (also a powerful figure in the pre-Christian pantheon) giving us an extraordinary figure of exploration and inspiration.
For the past seven years, The Circle has celebrated Brighid, Goddess, Saint, and Wise Woman at her Springtime festival of Imbolc, February 1st. However, we have learned over the years that Brighid of Imbolc is but one manifestation of the Old Wise Woman, also known as The Cailleach, whose traditions are found all over the world, and have been especially honoured and preserved in Ireland and Scotland.
Brighid, therefore, also appears in various guises at the other three quarterly festivals: Bealtaine, May 1st; Lughnasadh, August 1st and Samhain November 1st.
At Bealtaine, May 1st, Brighid appears as the Inion Buí, (Inyeen Bwee) or Daughter of the Hag, (The Old Wise or Holy Woman), and our festival this year will begin to explore, excavate and celebrate the mother-daughter relationship in its excruciating joy and ambivalence.
For many years now the feminist movement has yearned to recuperate a symbolic system and ritual tradition that honours and brings to consciousness the dialectic between mother and daughter. Against the cultural resonances of mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all – that attempt to set women in permanent opposition − stories of the Cailleach and of Saint Brighid (who freed her own mother from slavery) offer new images and potential. Drawing on such stories, personal reflections and BodySoul work, we will attempt to mirror one another – beyond destructive envy − into creativity and liberation.
“Brighid provides an image of empowerment, integrity, courage, and complexity. She was pagan and Christian, rich and poor, slave and free. She invites us, therefore, to focus on what we have in common, rather than on what divides us."
- Mary Condren
Dr. Mary Condren - National Director of the Institute for Feminism and Religion - Dublin, Ireland
Author of The Serpent and the Goddess: Women, Religion and Power in Celtic Ireland and her forthcoming book Brigit of Ireland: Spirit of Old Ireland.
Mary Condren Th.D. has degrees in theology, sociology, and social anthropology from the University of Hull; religion and society from Boston College, and a doctorate in religion, gender and culture from Harvard University.
She is a Research Associate in Women’s Studies at the Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies, Trinity College Dublin and Fellow of the University of Winchester in England; a former Research Associate in Women’s Studies at Harvard University, and has published widely on issues of feminism and religion, and on the interrelationship between religion, violence and gender. Mary is the author of the Serpent and the Goddess: Women, Religion, and Power in Celtic Ireland and her forthcoming book Brigit of Ireland: Spirit of Old Europe.
Mary Hamilton, MEd, a pioneer in dance and theatre education, is a graduate from the Canadian National Ballet School. In 1973, she implemented the first secondary school dance credit course in Canada and started teaching theatre with Marion Woodman. Mary, a former professor at the University of Western Ontario where she taught modern dance, improvisation, and choreography, is also a member of the Canadian Group Psychotherapy Association. In 1980, she began co-creating and teaching the BodySoul Rhythms® Intensives internationally. She is the author of Under the Horse's Ass: A Love Story Human and Divine, The Dragonfly Principle: An Exploration of the Body's Function in Unfolding Spirituality, and one of the authors of Leaving My Father's House: Journey to Conscious Femininity. (The Dragonfly Principle: An Exploration of the Body's Function in Unfolding Spirituality can be purchased from Mandala Books at www.mandalabookshop.com)
Ann Skinner - 18th season: Head of voice emerita. Stratford: Ann's long and unique association with the Festival began in props, wigs and stage management. Later she was, for eight years, Head of Voice. Elsewhere: She began her journey with the voice in 1975, with courses in New York led by the renowned Kristen Linklater, the Voice Diploma program at Central School of Speech and Drama, England, and several encounters with the Roy Hart Theatre in France. Many years later, she is now recognized as one of the founders of Canadian voice training, having been head of voice at George Brown College and the National Theatre School of Canada. Ann went on to create, with Jungian analyst Marion Woodman and movement specialist Mary Hamilton, BodySoul Rhythms - a program taken around the world. During that time she continued to teach masterclasses at the Festival.
Weekend Rates (incl. all meals)
Clare Hall – Stay with us at Brescia!
View our comfortable Clare Hall accommodations.
To register for guest accommodations at Brescia, book your room here.
Windermere will provide a discounted rate for festival goers! When booking your room, request "Brescia's university rate" All bookings include a full breakfast buffet, free parking & high speed wireless internet
**Regular room with single occupancy: $119.00 per night
**Suite with up to double occupancy that includes 2 queen size beds & living room area: $139.00 per night. (To add a third person -pull out sofa bed available - $149/night)
BOOK: 1-800-997-4477 or click here for website
Guest House on the Mount
519-641-8100 or click here for website. Rates vary from $49.00 to $99.00 per night.
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