Brigit, Brigid, Bhride, Bride, Briga, Brigantia
Mother: Dagda of the Tuatha De Danaan
Associated Dieties: Danu
Properties: Goddess of Inspiration, Creativity, Flames, Healing and even Warfare
Element: Fire and Water
Known by many names and even revered as a Catholic Saint, Brighid is the Lady of Imbolc; goddess of inspiration, creativity, fire and healing. Her names mean 'Exalted One' and 'Fiery Arrow'. She was once worshipped as a sun goddess and fire is still sacred. To this day she has remained one of the most enduring of the Celtic goddesses and reverence to her was so great that the Catholic Church, unable to banish her from the 'heathen' mind canonized her as a saint. Saint Brighid of Kildare has been called the "Foster-Mother of Christ" (Muime Chriosd). Legend has it that Saint Brighid was the midwife to the Virgin Mary, and is still invoked by women in labor. Although various bishops and popes sought to extinguish Her Sacred Flame as a pagan custom, it was tended by the nuns until the reign of Henry VIII (ca 1509-1541). She is also known as one of the triple goddesses.
Celtic Legends say that she was once married to King Bress, son of Elathan. In this, she became the Queen of the Tuatha de Danann. It is only fit for her as she was the daughter of the first chieftain of the Tuatha. Together they had four sons: Brian, Iuchair, Iucharba, and Ruadan. When their son, Ruadan, was slain in the second battle of Mag Tuireadh, her lamenting was heard throughout Ireland. Keening was brought to the land.
Brighid is often identified with the new moon, which is viewed as the beginning of growth. She is the flame of creativity and healing; the goddess of fire who was born at sunrise and whose breath could revive the dead to live again. In earlier times, people would carry an effigy of the goddess in chariots and then throw it into the sea or a lake to celebrate her festival, St. Brighid's Day or Imbolc. But she has also been known as the Cailleach Bheara, who was once married to the warrior Lugh. Legends say that she had seven youthful periods, during which she married seven husbands, and adopted fifty foster children who founded the numerous tribes of Ireland. Where Brighid was light and fertility, Cailleach Bheara represents the the dark half of the year (fall and winter). She is the Bone Mother who resides over the dead.
She is the Goddess of Healers, Poets, Smiths, Childbirth and Inspiration. But she is also considered a goddess of warfare, and is called upon to protect warriors in righteous causes.
Fire has long been considered sacred to her. In he triple goddess role, Brighid embodies the Flame of Healing sought by Physicians and Healers; the Flame of Poetry and Inspiration, and the Flame of the Hearth and the Smithy. There was once a shrine at Cille Dara (Cell of the Oak), now Kildare, Ireland, where 19 women cared for her sacred flame, each tending it a full day from sundown to sundown. On the 20th day, it was said that the Goddess herself tended the flame. Water, too, is considered sacred to the Goddess. Numerous springs, rivers and wells, especially in Ireland, are dedicated to Brighid; many purported to have healing power. Hot springs are especially sacred, for they blend the energies of fire and water.