Monday, February 4, 2013


Traditionally the woman of the house would put the peat hearth fire to “bed” each night. I’m not sure but I suspect that in an extended household the oldest “mother” of the house would care for the fire.

The ashes and embers are spread and divided into three sections. A peat section is put between each section the ends butted at one end. Then covered with more ashes. A prayer is said. Pagan or Christian. The Christian trinity or the three faces of Brigid. Brigid who is the patron of the fires of the forge and the hearth. This is a version of the prayer common to the western highlands and the isles of Scotland.

The sacred Three,
To save,
To shield,
To surround
The hearth
The house,
The household,
This eve,
This night,
And every night,
Each single night.

It’s also traditional that the fire does not go out, even in summer. The only time the hearth fire was deliberately extinguished or allowed to go out was for Beltane; the summer festival on May 1. Community bonfires would be lit at sunset and the hearth fires would be lit for the coming year at dawn. 

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