Brigid's Adoption Picture

Brigid, Celtic Goddess
of Fire (Irish) :A fire Deity and midwife and protector of woman and children. She also ruled over agriculture, healing, divination, occult knowledge, poetry, prophecy and metal work. Other spellings of her name include : Brid, Brig, Brigid, Brighid and Brigindo.

Brigid, the Celtic goddess of fire (the forge and the hearth), poetry, healing, childbirth, and unity, is celebrated in many European countries. She is known by many names, including that of Saint Brigid who is, perhaps, the most powerful religious figure in Irish history.

Here we will relate the myths of the goddess Brigid. The legends of Saint Brigid are equally compelling, and you can use this link to read them. Brigid's role as an ancient Triple Goddess and the issue of whether or not Saint Brigid was actually a mortal women can be found in:

Brigid : Goddess or Saint?

Born at the exact moment of daybreak, Brigid rose into the sky with the sun, rays of fire beaming from her head. She was the daughter of Dagda, the great '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 walked, small flowers and shamrocks would appear. As a sun goddess her gifts are light (knowledge), inspiration, and the vital and healing energy of the sun.

Brigid became the wife of Bres, an Irish king. Together they produced three sons, each of them became a famous warrior. Brigid and her husband came from two warring tribes and hoped their marriage would end the enmity between their kin.

Unfortunately, it did not. But, as it turns out, the battlefield death of their son Ruadan assured Brigid's role as a goddess of peace and unity.

A major battle between the two families was about to begin.

Brigid's eldest son, using the knowledge of metalsmithing that he had learned from his mother, struck the first blow, killing the smith of the opposing army. But as the warrior fell to the ground, he managed one last blow before he died and Ruandan was also killed.
Brigid's grief was enormous--for the continual hatred between the two sides of her family and for the death of her son. Her lamentations were so loud they were heard throughout Ireland and so heart-rending that both sides left the battle and forged a peace. The goddess Brigid is said to have originated the practice of "keening".

She is also credited with the invention of whistling, which she used to summon her friends to her side.

Eventually the love and respect for the goddess Brigid brought unity to the Celts who were spread throughout Europe. Regardless of their differences, they all agreed upon her goodness and compassion.

The goddess Brigid was also revered as the Irish goddess of poetry and song. Known for her hospitality to poets, musicians, and scholars, she is known as the Irish muse of poetry.

The Feast Day of Brigid, known as Imbolc, is celebrated at the start of February, midway through the winter. Like the goddess herself, it is meant to give us hope, to remind us that spring is on its way.

The lessons of this complex and widely beloved goddess are many.

The Celtic goddess Brigid lends us her creativity and inspiration, but also reminds us to keep our traditions alive and whole. These are gifts that can sustain us through any circumstance.

Her fire is the spark of life.

" Joseph Campbell believed that mythic stories draw us into accord with nature. We tend to forget that we are still animals on a fragile planet. The tales remind us of our place in the natural order.

The oral tradition had rich reflections on the changes of the seasons. In the Celtic calendar, the first of the four fire festivals of the year is Imbolc. It is celebrated on the second day of February.

The divinity acknowledged in these early Spring rites is the goddess Brigid, the queen of heaven. She is the greatest of the Celtic divinities and is closely associated with the land. She is the protector of the wells and springs. She is the guardian of nature, and therefore agriculture. She is specifically associated with livestock. As a fertility goddess, Brigid is also the patron of the poets, artists, and others who create. Hence, her name is invoked at childbirth.

When Brigid slipped into the world, a tower of flame rose from the top of her head to the heavens. Her fire aspect means she is the goddess of the hearth, and the forge. She is the guardian of those who worked with metal. By extension, she is the goddess of the machine. If we have difficulties with our cars or computers, our pleas for divine intercession might be properly addressed to Brigid.

The various historical details have contemporary psychological implications. We can think of the deities as symbols of inner mystery. If we ponder the images in the stories as if they had appeared in our dreams, we will discover many valuable insights. Joseph Campbell thought myths were much like dreams. Guidance through life’s difficulties could be drawn from their symbolism.

The symbolism of wells and springs reflects the connection to the waters of life that emerge from unseen sources. In psychological terms, this could signify the wisdom of the unconscious that flows from mysterious origins. The key is developing a practice of receptivity. For example, contemplating our dreams can open us to an awareness greater than our conscious knowing.

Brigid’s protection of agriculture and poetry underscores the need to tend our inner fertility. Tending our forms of creativity is crucial to a fulfilling life. The ancients believed that gifts of expression were only on loan. We are reminded to remain grateful, and to be good custodians of artistic talents.

Her association with fire also pertains to the creative life. Finding passion in our work is a major achievement. Handling our energies well requires maturity. It takes effort to find a balance where we have vitality without being consumed.

The plume of fire radiating from her head connects her to the life of the mind. She is the patron of scholars and colleges. One implication is that learning is a form of service to the divinities. She is also the protector of travelers. This applies to both those who explore new terrains and those seekers who are on inner journeys.

Brigid is said to have invented the fervent Irish mourning wail called keening. Part of her presence resides in the faerie spirit whose keening can be heard at night in times of grief. This link reminds us to respect our losses. Experiences of renewal often include bereavement. We continually suffer losses, especially in the moments of passage. Claiming our wholeness includes valuing the sorrow for that which is no more.

One traditional practice on her day was to put baked goods out on the doorstep. They were called cakes for the queen of heaven. These offerings were often eaten by hungry travelers in her name. We might honor this custom by giving money to the homeless for something to eat on Imbolc. The idea is to find a way to share the boon. Those who have been blessed in life are called upon to develop some practice of service to others.

Down through the years, mythic stories continue to enchant. On close inspection, the images have much to say about modern life. Joseph Campbell said the ability to see the metaphors in the old tales opens us to the richness of everything around us. The whole world turns into a holy picture. We can become aware of a dimension of significance in the ordinary that is nothing short of radiant.

So, let us honor the Great Mother, the Queen of Heaven. May we be open to her many gifts of inspiration in this season of renewal. "
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Brigid's Adoption
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