Brigid

Celtic Goddess BrigidOther Names

Bride, Brigit, Bridget, Brid, Brigantia, Ffraid, ‘Fiery Arrow’, ‘Bright One’, ‘High One’.

Associations

Deity: Cailleach
Animal: Cow, Raven
Triple Goddess Aspect: Mother
Element: Water, Fire
Number: 19
Symbol: White snake spiralled on a wand, Candles, Anvils, Brigid’s Cross
Colour: White, Red, Blue, Green
Wood: Birch, Willow, Vine, Oak

Family & Other Connections

In Celtic mythology Brigid is the daughter of the Morrigan and the Dagda. She is the sister of Ogma, and wife of Bres, the king of the Fomorians. Brigid is the mother of the three gods of Danu; Ruadan, Iuchar and Uar. Sometimes she is alternatively seen as the daughter of Boann.

Information & Stories

Brigid was said to have once visited the house of a chieftain in Limerick, Ireland. She asked that the harps she noticed hanging on a wall be played for her, but was told that the chieftain’s bard was away and his children did not know how to play. Brigid then blessed the sons’ hands, and they became able to play the harp with such skill that they became famous harpers themselves, and the bards of kings for generations.

As Brigid is associated with both water and fire, the places seen as sacred to her include both natural bodies of water – especially where three streams joined together, in reference to her three main skills – and the hearth of every home. Brigid’s feast day is Candlemas, or Imbolc, in which all the candles for the coming year are made and blessed.

Brigid also appears in Christianity as both Saint Brigit of Kildare, and as the midwife who tended to Mary and brought the baby Jesus into the world.

In a Scottish legend, Brigid is the Maiden of Spring, kept captive by Cailleach, the Crone of Winter. One day Angus, the God of Love and son of Cailleach had a vision where he saw and fell in love with Brigid. From that day on he was determined to find and marry her, but Cailleach wanted to keep them apart as she knew that if Angus married Brigid her own power would be undermined and she would no longer rule over the land.

Since it was the middle of winter, travel was impossible and Cailleach hoped that would keep Angus away from Brigid, but he cleverly borrowed three days of summer and melted the snow enough for him to travel to the Grampian Mountains, where Cailleach and Brigid were. He followed the sound of Brigid’s voice as she sang while gathering wood in a forest near Cailleach’s castle, and the instant he found her she fell in love with him too. That day was February 1st, and would ever after be known as the start of Spring.

Cailleach tried to overpower the young couple, sending harsh storms and freezing weather, but her power was already fading and the love between Angus and Brigid was too strong. Cailleach was forced to withdraw from the landscape, and she turned into a large grey stone where she would wait for the wheel of the year to turn and her time to come again next winter.

Magic

Brigid is primarily the patron of the three main Celtic skills; poetry, healing and smithcrafting, and because of this trinity she is seen as a Triple Goddess. Since in Druid tradition poetry is associated with augery, Brigid is also said to be patron of prophets and seers. Brigid has her own form of divination, known as ‘frith Bhrighde’. This involved curling her hand into a ‘seeing tube’ and looking through it to find lost people or animals, and to see how people far away were faring.

Brigid is also associated with other womanly arts, such as weaving and dyeing, brewing and midwifery. She is the guardian of every newborn baby, and their cradles would often be hung with a woven Brigid’s Cross. Brigid is said to be protector of children and farm animals, particularly cows – she is associated with a white skinned, red-eared fairy cow through the stories of Saint Brigit and also notably connected to milk and dairy products. Brigid is therefore seen as a goddess of animal fertility. She is also said to be the patron of travellers, sailors and fugitives.

Pictures

Click the thumbnail to see a larger version.

This entry was posted in Celtic Gods & Goddesses and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply