The Story Of Goddess Brighid  

Posted by Stella Clark

The Story Of Goddess Brighid Image
THE STORY OF BRIGHID IS A LINK BETWEEN THE PAGAN WORLD AND THE CHRISTIAN WORLD.

IN PRE-CHRISTIAN TIMES, "BRIGHID "WAS A POWERFUL GODDESS WHO REPRESENTED THE MANY ASPECTS OF THE CELTIC SPIRITUAL TRADITION. SHE WAS THE DAUGHTER OF THE ONE THEY CALLED THE GOOD GOD, THE "DAGDA" OF THE "TUATHA DE DANANN"; HER NAME MEANS "'THE EXALTED ONE'". ORIGINALLY A SUN AND FIRE GODDESS, SHE WAS THE IRISH GODDESS OF THE SACRED FLAME, A THREEFOLD GODDESS WHO RULED OVER POETRY, HEALING, AND SMITH CRAFT. SHE WAS THE GUARDIAN MOTHER OF NEW LIFE, THE KEEPER OF THE WELLS, AND THE PROTECTOR OF THE LAND. FARM ANIMALS AND MILK WERE ESPECIALLY SACRED TO HER.

SHE WAS SO BELOVED IN HER NATIVE IRELAND THAT THE PEOPLE WOULD NOT GIVE HER UP SO THE CHRISTIANS, UNABLE TO OBLITERATE THE GODDESS, TURNED HER INTO "ST. BRIGIT OF KILDARE" RATHER THAN TO TRY TO OUTLAW HER WORSHIP ALTOGETHER. THE SAINT THEN TOOK ON MANY OF THE POWERS OF THE GODDESS, PARTICULARLY HER FERTILITY SYMBOLISM. AS A SAINT, SHE HAD THE POWER TO APPOINT BISHOPS, AND THEY HAD TO BE GOLDSMITHS. SHE WAS ASSOCIATED WITH MIRACLES AND FERTILITY. THUS, THE TWO ARE SO INTERWOVEN THAT IT IS HARD TO SEPARATE THEM. IN SOME OF HER MANY LEGENDS, SHE WAS REGARDED AS THE "'FOSTER MOTHER'" OF CHRIST OR THAT SHE WAS A MIDWIFE AT HIS BIRTH. SHE WAS SHE IS DEFINITELY A SURVIVOR.

SHE HAD AN EXTENSIVE FEMALE PRIESTHOOD AT KILDARE, A FORMER PAGAN SHRINE WHERE A SACRED FIRE WAS KEPT PERPETUALLY BURNING. IT IS SAID THAT IN THE SACRED WORSHIP OF "BRIGHID", THE VESTALS THAT ATTENDED HER WERE 19 IN NUMBER, THUS REPRESENTING THE 19 YEAR CYCLE OF THE CELTIC GREAT YEAR. THEY GUARDED HER SHRINE, HOWEVER, IN A CYCLE OF TWENTY NIGHTS,AND IT WAS THEIR TASK TO SEE THAT HER SACRED FIRE WAS NEVER SUFFERED TO DIE AWAY. WHEN IT CAME TO THE EVENING OF THE TWENTIETH NIGHT,THE NINETEENTH VIRGIN PILED WOOD UPON THE FIRE, DECLARING BRAVELY TO THE GODDESS: " BRIGHID, NOW TAKE YOU CARE OF YOUR OWN FIRE; FOR SURELY THIS NIGHT'S CHARGE IS AT YOU."

FOR OVER A THOUSAND YEARS, THE SACRED FLAME WAS TENDED BY NUNS, AND NO ONE KNOWS HOW LONG BEFORE THAT IT HAD BEEN TENDED BY THE PRIESTESSES UNTIL 1220 CE WHEN A BISHOP BECAME ANGERED BY THE NO-MALES POLICY OF THE ABBEY OF "ST. BRIGIT;" HE INSISTED THAT THE NUNS WERE SUBORDINATE TO THE PRIESTS, AND, THUS, THEY MUST OPEN THEIR ABBEY AND SUBMIT THEMSELVES TO INSPECTION BY A PRIEST. WHEN THEY REFUSED AND ASKED FOR ANOTHER ABBESS OR OTHER FEMALE OFFICIAL TO PERFORM ANY INSPECTIONS, THE BISHOP BECAME SO ANGRY WITH THEM THAT HE DECREED THAT THE KEEPING OF THE ETERNAL FLAME WAS A PAGAN CUSTOM AND ORDERED THE SACRED FLAME TO BE EXTINGUISHED.

YET, DESPITE ALL THE ATTEMPTS TO DENY "BRIGIT'S" SAINTHOOD, SHE ALWAYS REMAINED CLOSE TO THE PEOPLE'S HEARTS. THEN DURING THE 1960'S, UNDER VATICAN II MODERNIZATION, IT WAS DECLARED THAT THERE WAS INSUFFICIENT PROOF OF "BRIGIT'S" SANCTITY OR EVEN OF HER HISTORICAL EXISTENCE; HENCE, THE CHURCH'S GRADUAL PROGRAM AGAINST BRIGIT WAS SUCCESSFUL AT LAST AND SHE WAS THUS CANONIZED. IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO OBTAIN IMAGES OR EVEN HOLY CARDS OF "ST. BRIGIT" OUTSIDE OF IRELAND ANYMORE. A VIRTUAL SHRINE TO "BRIGIT" CAN BE FOUND HERE...CELTIC HERITAGE

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This entry was posted on 18 May 2008 at Sunday, May 18, 2008 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the .

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