White flowers, especially snowdrops, are symbols of Imbolc, as they are one of the first signs of spring. The image of the flowers peeking through the blanket of snow brings assurance that spring is on its way
Milk and all dairy products play a part in most Imbolc feasts, as they symbolize the nourishment of the newly born animals and children.
Bridie Dolls are also known as corn dollies. Though called “corn dollies”, they’re not all made of corn husks. Many places in Europe refer to any grain as “corn”. You may have seen corn dollies that look nothing like a regular type doll. That’s because the word “dolly” in this case, is actually derived from the word “idol”. So a “corn dolly” is actually a “grain idol” made in homage to the harvest deities.
Making a Brighid’s Cross
Repeat until all the straws are used or the cross is as large as you wish to make it. Try to build the weave so that the straws are resting beside each other and not bunching up or lying on top of one another. Watch for gaps and reposition or tighten the straws as necessary. Tie off the ends of each arm with a piece of twine or string, cut any uneven ends if you wish and you’re done!
Making a Bridie Doll
Corn Husk Dolly
Arrange a few husks around the waist so that they cover the head of the dolly. Cover the front, back and sides, overlapping the husks a little bit. Once they are arranged, tie them in place around the waist. The dolly should look like she has her skirt up around her head. Carefully fold the husks down once they have been tied, so that the skirt is downwards, covering the “legs”. Trim the hem of the skirt and let the dolly dry completely.
Once the dolly is dried, you can leave her as is, or give her a face, hair, clothing, whatever strikes your fancy!
Soak the stalks for 30 minutes or so in lukewarm water before you start your doll. After they’ve soaked, wrap them in a wet bath towel let them sit for about 15 minutes, then they will be ready for weaving. Leave the stalks you aren’t currently weaving wrapped in the towel to keep them from drying out.
Bend each stem to a 90° angle, so that 4 of heads point north, east, south and west respectively. The fifth stem should be bent to the right between the south and east stems. We’ll call the stems A, B, C, D and E, as in the picture.
*Note The straw should be folded in a two stage process
1. Lift the straw so that it is vertical.
2. Bend the straw over the straw by its side.
6. Fold stem E over stem D and turn 90° clockwise. B is now pointing east.
If you turn the dolly slightly, you can see that it is in almost the same configuration as when you started, with stem B in the position of stem A. So just repeat steps 1 through 5 again and again until the dolly is the desired size, or the stems are getting short.
I've seen a couple different ways to do this, but the easiest is what I call the “Over 2” technique.
1. Arrange your strands so that they are slightly fanned out.
2. Cross the right strand over the 2 strands to the left. In this case,
the brown strand over the yellow
and red strands.
3. Take the left strand and cross it over the 2 strands to the right. Here, the blue crosses over the green and brown.
4. Again, the right strand over the 2 strands to the left. The yellow
over the red and blue.
5. And again, the left over the 2 to the right. So the green crosses the brown and the yellow.
6. Repeat these steps until the braid is the desired length!
Happy Imbolc and Goddess bless!