Tuesday, July 05, 2005


anyone out there???



Lorem ipsum said...

I am! I am!

Who's Brigit?

leslierahye said...

A Bit about Brigit

St. Brigit

The line between fact and myth blurs considerably when one considers the life of Saint Brigit. The confusion is caused by several factors: the possibility exists the woman was an invention of the Catholic Church used to convert pagans to Christianity. In addition, the legends concerning the Celtic Goddess Brigid who may be somehow confused with the Saint called Brigit. In any case, the legend of St. Brigit is one that proclaims her as one of the three Patron Saints of Ireland and the "Mary of the Gael".

According to Irish legend, St. Brigit was born in 452 AD to Dubthach, a pagan chieftain, and a Christian bondwoman (slave) in County Louth, Ireland. The wife of the Chieftan naturally took objection when hearing of the slave's pregnancy and ordered her removed. Dubthach was forced to sell the female slave to a poet, who in turn then sold her to a Druid: but the child she carried was not part of the bargain.

Shortly after the Brigit's birth, her slave mother went out to milk the cows and left the child unattended. The neighbors noticed the house was on fire, but when they arrived to help, the fire mysteriously disappeared. This was the first incident, which gave her a reputation as being full of the Holy Spirit.

Later when Brigit was about ten years old, she returned to the home of her natural father. The legends say she immediately starting giving away everything in the kitchen to the poor, and in a different episode she gave away her father's sword to a leper. Dubthach was enraged at this, and took Brigit to the King to sell her. Brigit's explanation for the deed impressed the King with her faith and she was sent to the Church instead. Here she was ordained a bishop and soon had her own monastery at Kildare.

Irish legends say that during Brigit's lifetime, everything she touched increased in quantity or quality, whether this be sheep she tended or feeding the poor. She healed many people with prayer and even through the touch of her blood. Her life continued, virtually unchanged, with Brigit eventually sharing her monastery with Conleth, another Bishop until her death in approximately 524 AD.

Many consider the legends of St. Brigit to be a fabrication of the Roman Catholic Church used to convert Celts from their religion to Christianity. This was a common tactic of the church, to somehow usurp a ceremonial date or god of pre-Christian religions, and therefore convert followers. The similarities are rampant between the stories of St. Brigit and those concerning Brigid, a Celtic Goddess.

Brigid was a Goddess, a female deity who was also known as Brighid, Brigit, Bride, Brid, Brig and other closely spelled names mainly pronounced Breed. She manifested herself in three forms; those being maiden (Goddess of poetry and inspiration), mother (Goddess of healing and medicine) and crone (Goddess of Smiths).

Brigid's fire festival is Imbolc, celebrated on February 2 every year. Imbolc heralds the coming of spring, while St. Brigit's Feast day is February 1. The temple of Brigid held an eternal flame, tended by virgins. The Nuns also carried out this tradition in St. Brigit's monastery. The similarities go on and on.

When one considers all the facts it is apparent there is at least some transference of myth and legend from Brigid to St. Brigit. The scant amount of facts on her life combined with the similarities to the traits of the Goddess Brigid combine to make a very strong case that she did not, in fact, exist. Whether this individual was actually real or a fabrication of the Church will probably never be known, but she still stands as second only to St. Patrick in the Patron Saints of Ireland and is known as the Mary of the Gael.

Brigit was worshipped under various names in many parts of the Celtic world. Because of the longeivity of Her worship and the variety of people who honoured Her, She has taken on many attributes, some of which seem superficially to conflict, just as many aspects of life seem to conflict until they are more fully explored. In addition, scholarship differs on interpretations of evidence and Her relationship to St. Brigit of Kildare, and caution must be used in transferring the attributes of one to the other.

Believed by many to be a solar divinity, for whom a perpetual fire may have burned, Brigit is also associated with water, and was worshipped at healing wells and springs. Born to one people and married to a man of another, She has mediated between two peoples in times of war. She is Brigit of the Judgements, and the triple matron of crafts - - including smithcraft, brewing, weaving and dyeing - - of healers - - seers and doctors - - and of poets, those powerful women and men whose word held magic and who sat as equals to kings. She protected travellers, and women in childbirth, and extended that blessing to domestic animals, especially cattle. Her feast day - - Imbolc (In the Belly) - - has strong connotations of pregnancy and life, in this case the birth of lambs and the lactation of ewes, and was one of the four major festivals of the year. (This day, like all others in the Celtic reckoning, begins at dusk on the one day and ends at dusk on the next, so that Imbolc is properly celebrated from the evening of 1 February until the evening of 2 February.)

So important was Brigit to the people who followed Her that when Christianity replaced the old religion, Her worship was absorbed into the cult of a saint, and endured. St. Bridget established a monastery at Kildare (Cell of the Oak) in the 6th century. She embodied to early Christians:

lasting goodness that was not hidden;
minding sheep and rising early;
hospitality toward good men.

It is she keeps everyone
that is in straits and in dangers;
it is she puts down sickness;
it is she quiets the voices of the waves
and the anger of the great sea.

She is the queen of the south;

She is the queen of the south;
she is the mother of flocks;
she is the Mary of the Gael.

-Lady Gregory

It is generally accepted that in Christian times, the fire of the Goddess at Kildare continued to be tended, this time by nuns. Miranda Green suggests that the assumption that She was associated with fire may be a confusion of the saint's aspects into Hers. This idea implies that She may not have been a solar goddess at all, which presents intriguing questions for those of us whose devotion to Her rests in large part on Her solar and hearth symbolism. Nevertheless, the symbol is a powerful one that has been integrated into the practice of many modern pagans - - a Goddess who is at once touched by fire and by water. The fact of Her association with the smithy does lend credibility to the notion, as may the solar symbolism of the rush crosses made in honour of the saint at Imbolc (the most primitive being a three-armed cross - - alluding perhaps to her Triunity?) and the legend of Saint Brigit of Kildare, reported by Jean Markale, which says that her double monastery was founded on a pre-Christian temple site, wherein a perpetual flame was maintained by women.

This fire burned in a place sheltered by hedges and no men were allowed to enter therein. Even the women who tended it could not blow on it with their mouths, but had to use bellows or a fan. It was said that when the saint died, on 1 February 525 (eg on Imbolc: the festival sacred to the Goddess Brigit) the number of nuns who tended the fire remained the same (19) and that on the 20th day the saint herself kept it alive. No one knows when it was lit, but it was ordered extinguished in 1220 by the Archbishop of London to suppress superstition. It was rekindled and kept alight until the reign of Henry VIII (1509-1541).

hope this helps...it's what came to mind when all of a sudden confronted with making a blog to post on your! LOL! I love the lore and magic surrounding her...Bill and I discussed naming our farm [in the future] Brigit's Farm.

Lorem ipsum said...

That's great!!

I think that if you have a daughter you should name her Brigit. I mean, if you haven't thought of that yet. *g*

Did you know that if you fly Aer Lingus each plane is named after a saint? So I bet there's a St. Brigit over the Atlantic right now...

leslierahye said...

The thought has crossed our mind! *I* liked Rainée [ray-nee]. But with Brigit being in the front...dh might like it. ;) [since it's all about him! LOL!]

I think I've told you that I'm pretty sure if DS was a DD we'd probably STILL be calling her "baby girl s*" LOL! We were arguing over that name going into the delivery! LOL!

That's pretty that there could be a St. Brigit flying over the Atlantic! interesting factoid my friend.

Lorem ipsum said...

Sure enough...


I know we flew St. Patrick on our honeymoon. Don't know about the return journey.

leslierahye said...

where did you honeymoon?

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