Brighid of the Mantles encompass us
Lady of the Lambs protect us
Keeper of the Hearth kindle us
Beneath your mantle gather us
And Restore us to memory.
~ from An Invocation to Brighid, by Rowan Fairgrove
In addition to declaring this year a celebration of my fortieth anniversary as a Tarot reader, I am also re-dedicating my commitment to the Goddess.
While I deeply honor the Gods, and the many fluid, multiple, and mysterious genders that are manifestations of Deity, my own epiphany and transformation in 1974 was absolutely, unmistakably Feminine. Thus, it is to Her that I give my ultimate devotion.
So starting today, every Sunday, I will be honoring the Goddess in Her many forms. I hope you will enjoy this new feature each week.
To start off, the Goddess for this week is naturally our blessed Brigid, the “Bright One.” That’s because this week, Pagans and Christians around the world will be celebrating Her Sabbat and feast day (respectively).
Her Catholic feast day is Feb. 1, and some Pagan traditions also honor Her on this date. But many other Pagan and Craft traditions celebrate this cross-quarter Sabbat on Feb. 2, also calling it Imbolc.
Brigid, also spelled Brighid, Bridget, Bríd, or Bride (the latter two usually pronounced “Breej” or “Breed”), is one of the few Goddesses to survive Christianity nearly intact. She successfully made the leap to revered saint, thanks to the love and devotion of the people of the Celtic lands from which She comes to us.
Although successful in wiping out the worship of many others, the Church could not muster the power to break Her bond with the people, so with a few tweaks and revisions to Her stories, She is still beloved the world over.
Brigid is a Triple Goddess, but as Goddess scholar Patricia Monaghan notes in her essential guide, The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “There were three Brigids, who were probably never construed as separate Goddesses, but as aspects of one divinity; unlike other triple Goddesses, they were identical, not aging through the typical maiden-mother-crone sequence.”
The unification of Her triple aspect, Patricia explains, is through Her symbol of fire.
Born at the exact moment of daybreak, Brigid rose into the sky with the Sun, rays of fire beaming from Her head. She is the daughter of the Dagda, the great Good Father God of Ireland.
In Druid mythology, the infant Goddess was fed with milk from a sacred cow from the Otherworld. Brigid owned an apple orchard in the Otherworld and Her bees would bring their magical nectar back to earth. It is said that wherever She walks, small flowers and shamrocks appear. As a Sun Goddess, Her gifts are light (knowledge), inspiration, and the vital and healing energy of the Sun.
Brigid is the Goddess of smithcraft, the creative arts, especially of poetry and inspiration, and of healing and medicine. As the Christian saint, She is patron of the humble folk of the land, protector of the harvest, of wells and streams, and is the guardian of cattle and sheep. She lights the fire which is never extinguished, which is the hearth fire of the home. Saint Brigid is also the patron saint of studies and learning.
I will have more to say on Thursday, as we honor this very dear and important Goddess on Her own day of worship. For now, may your heart open to Her in thanksgiving and delight. Blessed be.