Welcome to my brand, spanking new blog! So glad you’re here. Now let’s get to it…
Earlier today I posted on my IG feed a photo of the St. Brigid’s Crosses that I made for Imbolc, which is coming up on 1 February.
My Interweb research has yielded interesting results and I look forward to reading some books about Brigid as well, but I’ll start with the difference between the Saint and the Goddess Brigid. Most accounts agree that the Saint called Brigid was a nod to the ancient Celtic goddess Brigid. The interweaving of ancient Pagan beliefs and Christianity’s new dogma was a natural outcome and can be seen in many of Celtic (Irish?Scottish?) stories, songs, rituals and art, including the St. Brigid’s Cross.
A Goddess of many names
Brigid the Goddess has many names: “Brighid-Muirghin-na-tuinne, Brighid Conception of the Waves; Brighid-Sluagh (or Sloigh), Brighid of the Immortal host; Brighid-nan-sitheachseang, Brighid of the Slim Fairy Folk; Brighid-Binne-Bheule-lhuchd-nan-trusganan-uaine, Song-sweet (literally: melodious mouth’d) Brighid of the Tribe of the Green Mantles. She is also called Brighid of the Harp, Brighid of the Sorrowful, Brighid of Prophecy, Brighid of Pure Love, St. Bride of the Isles, Bride of Joy and other names. ” (italics added, From Winged Destiny by Fiona MacLeod via https://www.mythicalireland.com/myths-and-legends/brigid-bright-goddess-of-the-gael/)
As we can see, Brigid has many names but the meaning of her name is ‘exalted one‘ or ‘lofty or elevated one’ or ‘she who is on high’. She was, and is, so embedded in the Celtic culture that to try and separate the Goddess from the Saint would be almost impossible. She is goddess of the well, poetry, metalsmiths, creative people everywhere; of the fire, the forge and inspiration, bringing transformation through creativity, peace, abundance and maybe, sometimes through the hammer blows and steely justice.
I love this description of the form and spirit of Brigid by William Sharp (found on https://www.wicca-spirituality.com/brigid.html):
“Whom the Druids held in honour as a torch bearer of the eternal light, a Daughter of the Morning, who held sunrise in one hand as a little yellow flame, and in the other held the red flower of fire without which men would be as the beasts who live in caves and holes….She herself and no other, is … that ancient goddess whom our ancestors saw lighting the torches of sunrise on the brows of hills, or thrusting the quenchless flame above the horizons of the sea; whom the Druids hailed with hymns at the turn of the year, when, in the season we call February, the firstcomers of the advancing spring are to be seen.“
I like looking at the affinities of the Goddess to understand where I can find and connect with their energy. In the case of Brigid she is found in fire+water: wells and springs, sunrise and sunset (liminal times), light, fire, candles, spears/arrows, Brigid’s Cross and forges. She is also the muse for creative and household tasks like writing poetry, music and songs, metal working, teaching, healing, herb-craft, midwifery, mothering, tending flocks, bee keeping and divination. Her creatures, colors and other symbols include
All of the above information seems similar to other Goddesses from mythologies around the world including:
- Cerridwen (Welsh)
- Athena (Greek)
- Minerva (Roman)
- Saraswati (Hindu)
- Isis and Hathor (Egyptian)
- Astarte (Phoenician)
- Ishtar (Babylonian and Assyrian)
This is no coincidence, since Brigid represents the ultimate Earth mother! To me, she’s caring, nurturing, attached to sacred household rituals and, at the same time, ready to do the actual, hard core work of walking through the fire of transformation. I’m fascinated by Brigid and all of her stories.
I’m looking forward to writing more about various Gods and Goddesses and how they are intersecting my life and magic.