Today, I honour Brighid.
In Gaelic pagan lore, she is described as one of the daughters of the Dagda: known as Bride, Brigdu, Bríd, and Brigantia, among many other variations of the name. She was honoured as the Goddess of healers, poets, the fire and the hearth, and she was said to lean over every cradle.
Medieval stories depict her in many forms: in one story, she is referred to as the wife of Bres, the half-Fomorian ruler of the Tuatha Dé Danann. In another, she is said to be the wife of Tuireann and mother of Brian, Iuchar and Ircharba.
Her legend found its way into Christianity too, where she was revered as a saint, a patroness of farm work, and a protector of the household from fire and calamity. St. Brigid was believed to be the daughter of a druid named Dubthach, who brought her from Ireland to be raised on the Isle of Iona, or “The Druid’s Isle.” She is closely associated with the county of Kildare, too, as this is where she founded a famous monastery. A woman named Darlughdach is said to have been her beloved and companion in the monastery, and she took on the role of Abbess after Brighid’s death.
The tales and legends that are told about Brighid – goddess, saint, potent feminine archetype – are too numerous to list. I believe it is entirely possible that Brighid may have incarnated throughout several phases of early Irish history: appearing first in the pagan world, under various guises, then making herself known again when the Christian era began.
‘She who guards the well; she who bears the flame.’ These are the words that have always come to mind for me when I tune in to Brighid’s energy. Today, I honour her.
The painting of Brighid is my own, while the tree-lined path in the background is a stock image.