HOME BRIGIT

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"The Exalted One"
Brigit was one of the great Triple
Goddesses of the Celtic people.
Goddess of the fire.
She was Protectress of smiths,
healers and poets.
She was the High Mother Goddess
of Ireland and survived Christianity.


You are about to enter the shrine of the ancient gaelic-celtic goddess Brigit.
(Entrance at the bottom of this page)


There seem to exist almost no images of Brigit on the net or in books. So the above picture is the one and only I can post here.

If you have another image of Brigit, it would be most welcome.


Click here to have only a short info about her.

Selection

Other Names and Titles

Her Role 

Her Signs and Symbols

Offerings

Relations in the Celtic Pantheon

Imbolc- Brigit's Festival

History of the Flame of Kildare


And now enter her shrine

 


Other Names and Titles


Like many goddesses she
who's name means "The High One" had many names and titles.

Brigh means 'Power'
Brighid bhoidheach: Bride the beautiful
Brighid, Bride (Scottish)
Brid, Brigit, Bridget, Brigantia (English)
Brigan, Brigindo (Gaul)
Brighid of the Green Mantle
Lady of the Shores
Brigandu, Briginda, Brigdu
Breo-Saighit/Saighead: The Flame of Ireland, means Fiery Arrow
Brighid-Sluagh (or Sloigh): Brighid of the Immortal host
Brighid-nan-sitheachseang: Brighid of the Slim Fairy Folk
christian name: Muime Chriosd: "Foster-Mother of Christ"

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Relations in the Celtic Pantheon

Brigit was probably originally a Sun Goddess, and a charming story of her birth is that she was born at sunrise and a tower of flame burst from the forehead of the new born Goddess that reached from Earth to Heaven.

In an other tradition she is the daughter of Dagda and the wife of Bres. Her Son Ruadan was murdered by Goibnui. She sang the first "Keening" for him.

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Imbolc- Brigit's Festival


Imbolc, the Celtic spring festival, honors Brigit. The Druids called this sacred holiday Oimelc, meaning "ewe's milk". Held on February 1st , it celebrated the birthing and freshening of sheep and goats.

This festival was christianized as Candlemas or Lady Day and Her Feast day, La Feill Bhride, was attended by tremendous local celebration and elaborate rituals. Her festival is also called Brigit. Brigit (the Goddess and the Festival) represents the stirring of life again after the dead months of the winter, and her special blessings are called forth at this time.

Read this description of the festival customs:

On the eve of this holiday, Bride was invited into the house. Candles were blessed. Auguries were often taken at this time. This was the season when lambs were born. From Samhain to Imbolc was considered the winter. As there were few daylight hours during the season of cold to work outdoors, the family spent their time round the fire which was the source of their light, heat and warming food. The hearth was also the gathering point for the seannachaidh (story teller) who, with the fire of inspiration, would tell the stories of the People. The sacred fire is strongly associated with Bride. Her name translates as "fiery arrow". One of her aspects is the Goddess of poetry and it is She who is the 'flame of inspiration'. Another term given to Bride is 'the flame in the heart of all women'. This relates to the absolute authority of the woman in the house. Imbolc was a fire festival only for the household.

During Imbolg, particular attention was paid to the hearth fire. Throughout the day it was kept specially fueled with specific woods, to welcome Her arrival. Great care was taken over the smooring of the fire on that night when a rowan rod was placed in the heart of the fire. The following morning, before it was opened up, the fire was checked for the signs of a blessing from Her. The mark in question was a shape that looked like the foot print of a goose or swan. If the mark was found, there was an extremely fortunate time ahead for the family. The associations between Bride and the goose or swan is also found in some of the incantations in the Carmina Gadelica by Alexander Carmichael. The Language of the Goddess by Dr. Maria Gimbutas goes a long way toward helping understand the meaning of the Bird Foot Goddess.

prepared by Iain MacAnTsaoir

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Her magical mantle was praised:

A Bhrigid, scar os mo chionn
Do bhrat fionn dom anacal

Oh Brigid spread Above my Head
Your mantle bright To guard me.

The Irish put their friends, "fd bhrat Bhrighde,"
"under Brigid's mantle".
May you be kept safe and warm "under Brigid's Mantle".



Her Role
She was the Goddess of Healers, Poets, Smiths, Childbirth and Inspiration; Goddess of Fire and Hearth and a patron of warfare. She is said to be present at every birth.

As the Goddess of Inspiration, she blesses poetry, creativity, prophecy and the arts. She was even esteemed as the patron deity of language, having inspired the alphabet. As the Goddess of Smithcraft, she blesses blacksmiths, goldsmiths, and other crafters of the household. As Goddess of Healing, she blesses physical and spiritual healing, fertility of crop and livestock and mid-wifery.

Many legends are told about Brigit. Some say that there are three Brigits : one sister in charge of poetry and inspiration who invented the Ogham alphabet, one in charge of healing and midwifery, and the third in charge of the hearth fire, smithies and other crafts.

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Brigit clipart 
Claire B. has sent me this artclip of Brigit on 26/10/01. Thx :-)


Her Signs and Symbols

A Solar Sign, the St. Brigit's-Cross:

Up to today many Irish homes have a
St. Brigit's cross for protection - made from rushes as in the old days.

BRIDCROS.JPG


Offerings



History of the Flame of Kildare

"The High One" was cannonized by the Catholic church as St. Brigit and various origins are given to this saint.

BRIDGET.JPG  The most popular folktale is that She was midwife to the Virgin Mary, and thus was always inviked by women in labor. The more official story was that She was a Druid's daughter who predicted the coming of Christianity and then was baptized by St. Patrick. She became a nun and later an abbess who founded the Abbey at Kildare (450-523). The Christian Brigit was said to have had the power to appoint the bishops of her area, a strange role for an abbess, made stranger by her requirement that her bishops also be practicing goldsmiths. Actually, the Goddess Brigit had always kept a shrine at Kildare, Ireland, with a perpetual flame tended by nineteen virgin priestesses called Daughters of the Flame. No male was ever allowed to come near it; nor did those women ever consort with men. Even their food and other supplies were brought to them by women of the nearby village. When Catholicism took over in Ireland, the shrine became a convent and the priestesses became nuns but the same traditions were held and the eternal flame was kept burning. Their tradition was that each day a different priestess/nun was in charge of the sacred fire and on the 20th day of each cycle, teh fire was miraculously tended by Brigit Herself. There into the 18th century, the ancient song was sung to her : "Brigit, excellant woman, sudden flame, may the bright fiery sun take us to the lasting kingdom." For over a thousand years, the sacred flame was tended by nuns, and no one knows how long before that it had been tended by the priestesses. In 1220 CE, a Bishop became angered by the no-males policy of the Abbey of St. Brigit of Kildare. He insisted that nuns were subordinate to priests and therefore must open their abbey and submit themselves to inspection by a priest. When they refused and asked for another Abbess or other female official to perform any inspections, the Bishop was incensed. He admonished them to obedience and then decreed that teh keeping of the eternal flame was a Pagan custom and 6rdered the sacred flame to be extinguished. Even then, She remained the most popular Irish saint along with Patrick.

Her Fire was rekindled and kept alight until the reign of Henry VIII (1509-1541).

In the 1960's, under Vatican II modernization, it was declared that there was insufficient proof of Brigit's sanctity or even of her historical existence, and so the Church's gradual pogrom against Brigit was successful at last and She was thus decanonized.

And in 1993, the Brigidine sisters of Ireland rekindled her flame at Kildare.

It was said that when the saint died, on 1 February 525 (eg on Imbolc: the festival sacred to the Goddess Brighid) the number of nuns who tended the fire remained the same -- 19 -- and that on the 20th day the saint herself kept it alive.

On Imbolc, 1993, the Daughters of the Flame lit a fire in honour of the Goddess Brighid, modelled after the perpetual fire which once burned in Kildare. We share the task of tending the flame, on a twenty day rotation; each woman tends the fire in her own way, so that it is a solitary devotion linked to the devotions of a larger group. On the twentieth day the Goddess Herself keeps the flame alive.

Sources used for the History of the flame of Kildare: Morning Glory Zell from AMARGI Vol I. No.3 Feb. 1st 1989 and an article of Casey Wolf - Sisters of the Flame.

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This is the geneology of the holy maiden Bride,
Radiant flame of gold, noble foster mother of Christ,
Bride, daughter of Dugall the Brown,
Son of Aodh, son of Art, son of Conn,
Son of Crearer, Son of Cis, son of Carmac, son of Carruin,
Every day and every night That I say the genealogy of Bride,
I shall not be killed, I shall not be harried,
I shall not be put in a cell, I shall not be wounded,
Neither shall Christ leave me in forgetfulness.
No fire, no sun, no moon shall burn me,
No lake, no water, nor sea shall drown me,
No arrow of fairy nor dart of fay shall wound me
And I under the protection of my Holy Mary
And my gentle foster-mother is my beloved Bride

Source by Branfionn NicGrioghair

 

  


Short Information on Brigit


And now enter her shrine