Mother of Wisdom, had a maternal
function and was closely identified with the land.
The Celts formulated
female triads to overcome the
Brigid is a prime example of this type of
deity which is associated
with the sacred number three, the triple aspect of the divine.
had two sisters, patrons of healing and smithcraft.
She was venerated
not only as Brigid, but also as Bride, Briginda, Brigidu, and in North Britain
as Briganda, translated
as High One or Exalted One.
'Ashless Flame', 'Flame of Two Eternities', and 'Mother of All
One of the most potent symbols of the triple nature Brigid is
the flame of life and
the fire of the hearth and smithy;
the flame of divine
The hearth is the focus of the
integral to everyday functions.
circle of the campfire divided
the world into two parts: the safe, domestic part, and the Wild.
was the hearth, the center of the circle of domesticity.
warmth, keeping the cold world at a distance.
Here was safety, keeping
predators at bay.
Here was light, defining a human realm but making the
night beyond all the deeper, all the more alien.
Outside the circle of
firelight was the other, the wild, the unknown."- Charles
ancient traditions the hearth is connected to the sun, the source of warmth and
As the patroness of filidhact (bardic lore) Brigid guides
the flame of inspiration,
poetry and divination.
Heroes on spiritual tasks
request protection and guidance from Brigid.
A symbol of Brigid is
water, in all its forms venerated.
Sacred springs, associated with Brigid,
were a focus of
water symbolically unites the
underworld and the upper world by rising out of the darkness of the Earth
and reflecting the light of the heavens.
Hot springs provide the link
between fire and water.
All springs and wells remain
powerful sources of
inspiration, healing, and a means of both physical and spiritual
One legend connecting Brigid with water, tells how a
crystal drop from the mantle of Brigid touched the Earth and became a deep and
This was said to be a lake from Tir-Na-Moe 'Land of the
Living Heart' and there was healing in it for all weariness and battle wounds.
Historical references to Saint Brigid begin in the seventh century.
Saint Brigid was venerated in an Irish convent at Kildare or Cill Dara,
which means the church of the Oak
Originally a site of an ancient temple with a perpetual
flame, an ashless fire.
To Gaelic speaking Scots she is Saint Brigit of
To this day she is remembered as patron saint of the family
hearth, originally a peat fire
kept burning in her honor.
The first day of February, dedicated to
Brigid, is known as Imbolg, meaning 'of/in the womb'.
connected with this celebration is Oimelc, a Germanic word meaning 'ewes-milk'
or 'lactation', which is a direct reference to the birth of young animals in
According to Celtic tradition Imbolg was the first day of
spring and stock who had been penned in for the winter were allowed
On Brigid's Eve in parts of Ireland it was customary for groups of
young girls, clad in white, to go from house to house singing and dancing.
Householders would give the girls a gift for Brigid, usually either
eggs or milk.
The leader usually was a girl
who would carry an image of Brigid, a 'brideog', into the fields.
brideog was fashioned from rushes or oats and decorated with colored shells,
spring flowers, greenery and ornaments.
The best and brightest of
ornaments were attached over the heart and called reul-iuil Bride, The 'Guiding
Star of Brigid'.
Older women prepared a Brigid's Bed which was made of
an oval basket filled with rushes.
A straw image was placed in the
basket which was put on the hearth.
Then the main door was opened and
the men said a prayer invoking and asking Brigid to come in for her bed was
Brigid was believed to travel with her white milk cow on her
festival and bring blessings to
In some areas of Scotland and Ireland offerings of
grass were left on doorsteps for her cow.
The goddess Brigid is great
eternal being who, like the flame of life itself, keeps alight and
rekindles hope and
Brigid can act as a catalyst
creativity, compassion and
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