Brigid Picture

The Irish Goddess Brigid

Brigid is a Goddess of the Hearth, Poetry, Smithcraft, Healing, Divination, and Fertility. Fire, healing wells, rowan trees, snowdrops, sheep, and cattle are connected to her.

There are many different variations of her name... Brighid, Bridget, Bríd, Brigit, Bride, and Bhride. Depending on who you ask, her name means either 'strength', 'exalted one' or 'fiery arrow'.

She is a Triple Goddess, and like most of the deities of Ireland Brigid is of the Tuatha Dé Danann {the Children or Tribe of Danu}.There are some who say that she is Danu herself, and others think that she is also the British/Gaulish Goddess Brigantia.

Her father is The Dagda {The Good God}, and among her siblings are Aengus Mac Óg, Cermat, Coem, and Midhir. Her husband is Bres Mac Elatha, with whom she had a son Ruadán. She had three other sons Brian, Iucharba, and Iuchair are Gods of Poetry.

Brigid was so beloved a Goddess of the Irish Pagans that the Catholic church combined her attributes with those of a saint. Saint Brigid of Kildare live from around 453 to 524. Her father was a chieftain named Dubhthach and her mother Broicsech was his slave.

St. Brigid's father sold her mother to a Druid when she was pregnant. He raised her as his own child and shares his knowledge of Druidry with her. She has been noted to stop wars, create more land with her cloak, heal the sick, and create an abundance of food.

The Gaelic holiday Imbolc {the start of February} has many different traditions and lore attached to Brigid. Imbolc marks the beginning of Spring in Ireland; it is when ewes give birth, early flowers show up {such as snowdrops}, and the ground is starts to thaw.

There are some who believe that Brigid rules over the light half of the year, while The Cailleach Bheara rules over the dark half.

A popular symbol of Imbolc is Brigid's Cross. They were usually made from rushes, straw or grasses. The crosses would be hung in homes and barns for protection against illness and evil, and sometimes farmers would place one of their livestock. Brigid's Cross was also used for weddings, either given to the couple or placed under their mattress to encourage fertility.

Bowls of water mixed with salt would be left either outside or around the hearth on the night before Imbolc in the hopes Brigid would bless it. Others would leave a piece of cloth, ribbon or clothing called Brat Bríde {Brigid's cloak} out to collect her blessing. In both cases these were used for healing throughout the year.

People would gather together to prepare a doll to represent Brigid and a bed for her. They would decorate it with ribbons and flowers, and would have a procession throughout the town with going from house to house with her.

On the night before Imbolc some folks would place the Brigid doll in her little bed by their hearth. In the morning they would look in the ashes to see if there was signs of Brigid's blessing and sometimes also look for omens of what it is to come in the year ahead.

People didn’t only turn to Brigid at Imbolc. There are prayers that were recited every day and every night when tending to the hearth, prayers to aid women in child birth, and many different holy wells that people still make pilgrimages to for healing and blessings.

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