PRAYER TO BRIDIE
A poem for Imbolc
...and every other day of the year!
On this day,
as we kindle the flame in our hearts,
We pray that the flame of Bridie
ignites in our souls,
and the souls of all we meet.
We pray that no envy and malice,
no hatred or fear,
may smother the flame.
We pray that indifference and apathy,
contempt and pride,
may not pour like cold water on the flame.
may the spark of Bridie
light the love in our souls
so that it might burn brightly
throughout the year.
May we warm those that are lonely;
our light guide those who are lost,
so that all may know the comfort of
© Morgana West
Brigid the Goddess
Brigid is a deity who can be seen in many different cultures. She is believed to have been Brigantia in England, Bride in Scotland, and Brigandu in Wales and France. She is thought to be the same Goddess who was worshipped at Bath in ancient Britain as well as the patroness of countless springs and wells in Ireland. Brigid was said to be born in the instance between night and day. As She rose with the sun, a beam of flame was said to have sprung from Her forehead. That She was born on a threshold is a very import aspect of the legend. The ancient Celts were fascinated by in-between places such as shores, the instant of sunrise, the instant of season change, doorways, and other places that lay instantaneously between two places while being in neither.
Brigid is the traditional Patroness of Fire, Smith Craft, Poetry and Healing. As a solar deity Her attributes are Light, Inspiration and all Skills associated with Fire. Called 'The Exalted One' or 'The High One', Brigid was known under several names from ancient through modern times. She was perhaps the most widespread, ancient and revered Goddess in Celtic culture. Her connections to Healing also connect Her to Water, as does her Cauldron of Inspiration and many springs and wells bear the name of Brigid. As Goddess of Fire, Keeper of the Flame, Goddess of Smith Craft and Goddess of the Wells, perhaps it is not too great a leap to see Her also as Lady of the Lake and the Forger of Excalibur. Her evolution from Goddess to Saint linked Pagan Celtic and Christian traditions in the same way as the Cauldron of Cerridwen and the Holy Grail were combined in Arthurian legend. She acts as a bridge between the two worlds and has successfully made the transition back to Goddess again with most of Her traditions retained.
Variations of names for Brigid:
Brigit, Brid, Brigentis, Brighid (Eriu), Bride (Alba), Bridgit, Brig, Brigantia, Brigentis, Brigantis (Briton), Brighid, Brigidu, Briginda, Brigindo, Brigit, Breo Saighead ('fiery arrowhead'), Brigandu (Gaul), Brigan; Bricta, Brixia, Bricia (Gaul).
Brigid the Saint
St. Brigid's life was a remarkable one and the places in Ireland associated with her are scenes of pilgrimage throughout the year. She was born in a society ruled by the old Gaelic Order and the Druidic religion. St. Patrick had already reached Ireland and was in the process of making many changes, but though his message had reached the court of Dubhtach, the powerful Leinster Chieftain held firm to the old religion and the worship of the Goddess Brid.
Around 453 CE, a child was born out of wedlock between Dubhtach and one of his Christian slaves named Brocessa. The mother was sold to a Chieftain in Connaught, and the child was given to a Druid to be raised and educated. The child was named Brigid, perhaps to seek the blessing of the Goddess, as from the very beginning there were indications that she was a special child. It was reported that she was born at sunrise, and that the cottage in which she was born burst into flame when she left it.
After her fosterage, she returned to her father's house as a slave, although she enjoyed the privileges of family. The stories tell us that she became a vestal virgin in service to the Goddess Brid, and eventually high priestess at Kil Dara (the Temple of the Oak) which gave its name to the present County Kildare. There she and her companions kept a perpetual ritual fire in honour of Brid. The exact circumstances of her conversion to Christianity are unknown. Some claim that she personally met St. Patrick which is possible since she was ten years old before he died but there is no proof of that. Whatever the circumstances, Brigid and her companions in service to Brid, all accepted the Christian faith and formed Ireland's first Christian religious community of women. Legend says that upon her acceptance of her vows, fire appeared above her head.
Brigid changed the Pagan sanctuary of Kil Dara into a Christian shrine. She extinguished the ritual fire of the Druids, and lit a flame dedicated to Christ which was thereafter maintained by her followers until it was doused by the forces of Henry VIII. She continued her work until her death in 525 CE, when she was laid to rest in her abbey. In 835 CE, her remains were moved to protect them from Norse invaders and interred in the same grave that holds the remains of St. Patrick and St. Columcille at Downpatrick.