Brigid is a Goddess of many faces and she is called by many names.
In England, she was known as Brigantia, in Scotland she was the Maiden Bride, or Brede and in Ireland she was Brig or Brigid. Her name means “High One” or “Exalted One”, a fitting name for one who was seen by so many as a Solar Goddess and the Goddess of the returning light.
As Saint Brigid, Her sacred place was in Kildare. Kildare meant “Church of the Oak” as the oaks were there long before the church itself. Legend says that the Druids worshipped and practiced in the shadow of these sacred oaks that once towered there.
It was said that the sacred fire of Brigid in Kildare burned for over six hundred years tended by Brigid and nineteen of her nuns. When Brigid left Earth and passed into the realm of spirit, it was said that the nuns took turns tending the flames and on the 20th night Brigid would return to watch over the sacred flames once more. From ancient times, women gathered to tend the sacred flame of Brigid, both Priestess and nun alike.
She was also said to have healing powers and the power of bringing miracles to those who desperately needed it. She brought compassion wherever she went to ease the afflicted. She was said to have been especially powerful when it came to healing the blind, that with a touch of her hand to the brow she was able to restore their sight back to normal.
To the Celts, she was a Goddess of the Sun.
She brought life giving warmth to a time of darkness, a spark of illumination and inspiration when things seemed most dim. She was also deeply connected to the fairy folk.
Many of the aspects of Brigid can be seen as contrary. She is the Goddess of both fire and water. She is the patroness of healing and of battle. She is a Goddess of fertility and then in her later incarnations, she was transformed into a virgin saint.
She was the Goddess of sovereignty who refused to marry and have children in pursuit of her higher calling, but she was also the protectress of childbearing women and midwifery and in other legends the grieving mother of a slain son. So she embodies many aspects that are at either end of the spectrum depending on which incarnation she is being referred to.
She is the welcoming flame of the hearth, keeping the fires steadily burning. She is the flame of sacred devotion and the fire of rebirth and change. She is the hand of transformation; with her forge and flame, everything can be reshaped and reborn.
Brigid is known as a patroness of poets and creatives, Goddess of the forge and smithcraft, of fire, healing waters, prosperity, fertility, birth and fire. She was a healer, a warrior, and Goddess of inspiration.
The traditional time to celebrate the Goddess Brigid is February 1 on Brigid’s Day.
Her celebration continues on February 2 with Imbolc or Candlemas where she takes the stage as light begins to return into the world once more after the darkness of Winter begins to pass.
This is when we celebrate the returning of the light, the hope of Spring coming back and life beginning to stir once more within the cold earth below. This was an important fire festival during the year, especially in the North. It would be a welcome reminder that this dark and cold time would not last and it would soon break.
Brigid is the light of consciousness during times of darkness and doubt, and she breathes warmth, light and fire when all hope seems to be lost. She sparks illumination and kindles the embers of fire in the hearts of all those who create, whether it be poetry, music, creating healing light or on the forge, she is the guiding fires of creative inspiration.
Another very powerful aspect to the Goddess Brigid is her side of being a warrior and teacher of the martial arts. Her soldiers were even given the name “Brigands” after her. Though she was well skilled in combat she wasn’t painted as a bloodthirsty Goddess. She brought the skills of negotiation between warring sides bringing clarity and illumination to times of strife. It was said that she was a bridge between warring people, bringing resolution to ongoing issues.
The energy of Brigid calls to us through the darkest of times, assuring us that no matter how dark the night, a light will soon shine once more