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The Brigid's Cross is a traditional craft made at Imbolc and Candlemas by Pagans and Christians alike. Named for the Celtic goddess and the Catholic saint, it is hung in the home for protection or given as an offering to the goddess. Others keep the cross hung up all year round for protection and as part of their devotion to Brigid.
The equal-armed cross is derivative of the Celtic sun wheel symbol. Traditionally, the cross is made from rushes, wheat stalks, or other natural grasses. The cross pictured below is made using flat basket weaving reed that is 1/4-inch wide. It has been soaked in warm water for approximately two hours to make it pliable enough to work with. Dried grasses will need to be soaked also. A kid-friendly version can be made with craft pipe cleaners or straws.
The exact materials used for the pictured cross are:
- 14 reeds cut to 12-inch lengths and soaked for 2 hours
- Four 6-inch lengths of cotton string
- 1 tablespoon instant tea for staining (optional - this was used due to the reed having been bleached)
Instructions for the Cross
Take two reeds and place them together in a cross pattern. Take another reed and fold it in half over the far right half of the horizontal reed (see Figure 1). Keep the reed snug to the center cross.
Turn the entire piece 90 degrees to the left. Fold another reed in the same fashion over the far right half the current horizontal reed (see Figure 2). Keep working snugly.
Continue on this way until you have one reed left to use. Start folding this reed over in the manner described above but tuck the ends into the front and back of the reed below to secure the piece together (see close-up of this below).
Tie string around the four arms of the cross to secure. Mix the 1 tablespoon instant tea with 1/2 cup water and paint the cross with it. I let this dry and applied a second coat to get the stain I wanted.
As mentioned, if you have young kids, use pipe cleaners or straws to make this a fun project for them. Add whatever embellishments you like including paint or fancy flourishes on the ends by twisting the pipe cleaner into curls.
Plan ahead and harvest your own natural grasses for the project. Basket weaving materials also come in a large variety of sizes, types, and colors.
Prayers and blessings said over the materials you are going to use would be appropriate as this is a devotional craft.
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ॐ Namasté - Blessings!
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