Fire in the forge that
shapes and tempers.
Fire of the hearth that
nourishes and heals.
Fire in the head that
incites and inspires.
~ The Ord Brighideach (Three-Fold Fire of Brighid)
Rejoice, my dear ones!
Today is the feast day of St. Brigid who is also Brigid, a beloved Goddess of the Old Religion. Even after the Roman Catholics banned all Pagan ways, She was so firmly and permanently adored, She was absorbed into Christianity as a saint, possibly with the help of Her namesake priestess who converted to the new religion.
But the Wheel has turned and we can once more, without fear of persecution or death, directly give honor to our Sun Goddess Bride (pronounced “breed” or “breej ”), Brigit, or Brighid.
She is the Celtic Fire Goddess of Healing, Poetry, and Art. You can see Her embodied in the bright stars of the constellation we call Orion.
Brigid presides over all kinds of transformation: birth and brewing; metal-smithing and poetry; and perhaps the most miraculous of all transformations — the passage from Winter to Spring.
Her name may be derived from the Gaelic “breo aigit” meaning “fiery arrow.” Her name is noticeably similar to the Sanskrit derivation “Brahti” which means “exalted one.”
She is the Goddess in Her Maiden form, youthful bringer of light, transformed from the Crone of Winter, who departed yesterday. Tomorrow, Feb. 2, She will oversee the celebrations of Imbolc, the quarter of the year that brings the unfolding of Spring. Gentle and subtle at first, Her flame will grow in the months ahead.
Brigid is the untamed, independent Feminine Divine, and is sovereign to Herself. I think it is no accident that my grandmothers used to call sassy, saucy girls “briggity.”
Brigid’s Flame in Kildare
For millennia at Her temple at Kildare (or Cill Dara, which means Church of the Oak), Her priestesses, and later, the nuns of Her order, tended an eternal flame in Her honor.
Although it was extinguished during the Burning Times (the Inquisition), now, in living memory, in 1993, Sister Mary Minehan ceremonially re-lit St. Brigid’s flame in Kildare.
It was lit again in 1997, in the town square by Ragny Skaisten, a member of the Norwegian Brigidine Sisters, at the opening of Her feast day, Feile Bhride.
After that, ignoring the displeasure of Popes John Paul and Benedict, the Brigidine Sisters in Kildare continued to light the flame for Brigid’s Feast Day.
Then, on Feb. 1, 2006, with much ceremony, and lit by the President of Ireland, Her eternal flame was permanently restored.
In traditions that have remained unbroken, Her celebrations have continued throughout Ireland, and wherever Her Irish sons and daughters have migrated.
To my knowledge, Pope Francis has not made any proclamations about whether this eternal flame is supported by or frowned upon by the Roman Catholic church. He did visit Kildare last year, the first pope to visit Ireland in over 40 years, but I cannot find any reference he may have made to Her sainted Self. (If anyone knows differently, I’d love to hear from you).
Fire That Heals, Shapes, and Inspires
Whether we prefer to think of Brigid as an actual holy woman, or a Goddess who was assimilated by the Roman Catholic Church, and regardless of our spiritual path and culture, She opens the way for all.
She inspires us to become more than we have ever been – encouraging and tending our creative, life-affirming potential. Brigid’s fire and forge strengthen us to become the best and brightest we can be.
Being in Her service is one reason I call myself a Priestess of Illumination, for I tend and share Her flames of creativity, rebirth, and healing transformation.
Brigid is the Beloved that oversees the quickening of life and energizes the path from our dark Winter to the promise of Spring.
Brigid 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.
traditional Gaelic Blessing
As a Goddess of Poetry, you can best honor Her by sharing songs, poems, and creativity of every kind. Light candles (safely) and tend your hearth-flame of your home with tender care.
Being a Goddess of transformation, She also blesses all fermented drinks, as well as milk, so all creamy dishes (and offerings of cream and honey) are sacred to Her.
Our dear Brigid enlightens us to see and know our ancient, wise souls. Hers is the purifying fire that heals our wounds, forges new strength, and awakens poetry, skill, and art — and therefore, depth, beauty, and meaning — into our lives.
Healer, smith, poet; midwife, keener, shaper, transformer.
Across miles and across aeons
Your children call.
Beloved Brighid, arise.
In the secret cave of this dark night, light the fire of spring.
Lady Most High, Muime, Fire of Creation,
Well-Keeper, Mother of the Isles, Living Oak, Aid-Woman,
Forger of Souls:
On gentle wings, carried by flame,
Heed our cries and be with us this Imbolc eve.
excerpt from an invocation by Temiel
May Brigid the Shining Daughter of the Dagda bless you on this great day of hope and power. May we, with our lives, ensure that Her holy fire burns forever more.