Sanctuary of Brighid
Goddess of Poets, Healers and Metalsmiths
Brighid, Brigit, Brigid, Bhride, Bride, Briga, Brigantia...
By many names, she is known; the lady of inspiration and creativity; lady of poetic verse and vision; Lady of the Sabbat of Imbolq. Her names mean, variously, "Exalted One" ("Briganda") and "Fiery Arrow" ("Breo-Saighit" or "Breo-Agit").

Brighid has remained one of the most enduring of the Celtic goddesses. History notes that she was originally worshpped as a Sun Goddess, and fire is still considered sacred to her. In the passage of time, Brighid has evolved. She was, and is, the Goddess of Healers, Poets, Smiths, Childbirth and Inspiration. Interestingly, she is also considered a matron of warfare, and is called upon to protect warriors in righteous causes. Daughter of the Dagda of the Tuatha De Danaan - legend says one of three daughters all called Brighid - she became the wife of Bres of the Fomors. 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.

Fire has long been considered sacred to her. In her three-fold role, Brighid embodies the Flame of Healing sought by Physicians and Healers of all kinds; the Flame of Poetry and Inspiration, and the Flame of the Hearth and the Smithy. Anciently, a shrine to Brighid was kept 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.

The Goddess Brighid is revered as the Catholic Saint Brigid of Kildare. Unable to banish her from the "heathen" mind, the church sought to integrate her into the fold by canonizing her as a saint. Saint Brighid has been called the "Foster-Mother of Christ" (Muime Chriosd). Legend has it that Saint Brigid 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). Even so, individuals continued to maintain a Brighid's Flame until the present day. Despite decanonization by Vatican II, the Order of Saint Brigid remains, and the Sisters of Kildare rekindled Brighid's Flame on Saint Brigid's Day (Imbolq - February 1) in 1993. Plans are in progress for the lighting of a perpetual flame at Cille Dara on Imbolq 2000.

Simultaneously, the all-woman Daughters of the Flame lit a fire in honor of the Goddess Brighid, which is still maintained in the ancient twenty day rotation. Currently, Brighid's Flame is also being tended worldwide by members of the co-ed Ord Brighideach, of which this writer is a member.

More information will be posted as time will complete links to other Brighid websites.

The Three-Fold Fire of Brighid

Fire in the forge that shapes and tempers
Fire in the cauldron that nourishes and heals
Fire in the head that incites and inspires
Brighid-Goddess of Metalsmiths, Poets, and Healers
Greylaurel's Altar of the Goddess Brighid-Goddess of Metalsmiths, Poets, and Healers

Illustration by Miranda Gray Celtic Gods and Celtic Goddesses by R.J. Stewart

May the Flame of the Hearth
Warm and Cheer You

May the Flame of the Healer
Turn Away Dis-Ease and Ills

May the Flame of Inspiration
Teach and Enlighten Your Mind

May Brighid's Sacred Flame
Lead You Toward Her Light

© 2000, Laura S. deGrey
May be freely copied with attribution.

Brighid (Sacred Source Images) Tending the Goddess' Sacred Fire
Ord Brighideach
Silver Fir
Cill Giúis Web Page
Flame Keepers
Daughters of the Flame
Brigantia (Mythic Images)

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