Brigid, Goddess of Healing, Poetry, and Smithcraft by Judith Shaw

Judith ShawBrigid, the Celtic Goddess of Healing, Poetry, and Smithcraft, begins her reign on Imbolic, February 2, the midpoint between winter solstice and spring equinox. On this day the ancient Celts held their Fire Festival in honor of Brigid and the growing light. In Scotland, as recently as the mid-twentieth century, houses were cleaned and the hearth fires rekindled on February 2, to welcome in  Brigid.  Remnants of this festival are found in America today on Groundhog Day.

Like the Cailleach, She existed in many places and  was known by many names.  The Irish called her Brighde; she was Bride in Scotland,  Brigantia in Northern Britain, and Brigandu in France.  Some called her Brid, Brig or Brighid.  Later she was transformed by Christianity into Saint Bridget.  Her older name was BREO SAIGHEAD.   Her name has various interpretations, many relating to fire – “Power,” “Renown” “Fiery Arrow of Power ” “Bright Arrow”, “The Bright One”, “The Powerful One”, “The High One” and “The Exalted One”.

Brigid, Celtic Goddess

As a triple goddess She reigns over three aspects of life, all united by fire.  Her  sacred flame is symbolic of the creative principle. In Kildare, Ireland, Brigid’s shrine had a continually burning sacred fire, even after the shrine became a Christian nunnery.  Finally in 1220 it was extinguished by the orders of Archbishop Henry of Dublin.

As a Sun Goddess, born at the exact moment of dawn, she bears the gifts of knowledge, inspiration, and the life force and healing energy of the sun.  She is complete within herself.

Her attributes are:

1.   Fires of Inspiration – poetry, learning, divination, witchcraft, occult knowledge and prophecy.  In this aspect She appears as a poetess and a muse.
2.   Fires of the Forge – smithcrafts, blacksmiths, goldsmiths, housecrafts. In this aspect she is seen carrying her famous cauldron used for melting metals.  She may even date back to the beginnings of pottery and its firing. Through this forge aspect She is also associated with the martial arts, as a warrior goddess, who forges spears and arrows.  A smith creates anew and fixes broken things.
3.  Fires of the Hearth – medicine, spiritual healing and fertility, midwifery, inner healing and vital energy. In this aspect She is known as the Goddess of Healing.

Before the Celts, as far back as 3000 BCE, Brigid was known as a spring and summer goddess who shared her rule with the Winter Goddess, Cailleach. Another clue suggesting Her importance to people of the Neolithic and late Stone Age is that the  massive stones which make up Stonehenge and Avebury are known as Bridestones.

Through Her aspect as Goddess of Healing she is also associated with water.  She rules over sacred wells, where the womb of Mother Earth opens to the light of day.

She is identified with the changing moon. Her sacred animals are ox, boar, ram, cow and serpent. Her  reign begins at the time lambs are born. Bees are also sacred to Brigid. From Her apple orchard in the Otherworld, Her bees brought their magical nectar to earth.   People believed that small flowers and shamrocks appeared in Her wake.  New life springs up around Her.

“I am Brid, beloved of Erin, spirit of fire, healer of ills, warrioress of old, protector of life, woman of power, sovereign Mother of all creation. I create, I inspire, I make magick. I am old, I am young, I am eternal. I am the All-Power personified. I am me… Brid.”  –  (Celtic Myth and Magic – Harnessing the Power of the Gods and Goddesses by Edain Mc Coy, 65.)

In this season, allow Brigid into your heart.  Open yourself to inspiration and new creation.  Relish your alone time, allowing your fierce, warrior self to emerge, using Brigid’s gift for detail and creativity to resolutely fight the battle for good.  Embrace Her sacred discipline of work in all things you now approach. Notice small synchronicities which might bear prophetic messages.  Feel your connection to the divine feminine; feel yourself to be complete within yourself.

Judith Shaw, a graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute, has been interested in myth, culture and mystical studies all her life. From a college paper on Beauty and the Beast to a much later series of paintings on Beauty and the Beast…From a student painting of circles to her current fascination with the interlocking circles of sacred geometry…From reading When God Was A Woman in the early 70′s to her ongoing visual exploration of the role of the Goddess in our modern world…From her very first oil painting of a tree to her most current painting, The Mother Tree— her early influences of Jackson Pollack’s abandon, and Van Gogh’s emotionality are evident. Originally from New Orleans, she has traveled in Mexico, Central America, China, Europe and Greece and lived in Mexico and Greece. The passion and bright colors of many of these places have affected her palette and style. Judith makes art, dances with abandon and experiences the world through travel and study. Her work, which expresses her belief in the interconnectedness of all life, can be seen on her website at http://judithshawart.com

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Categories: Art, General, Goddess, Goddess Spirituality, Goddess Spirituality, Myth

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29 replies

  1. Just adore that little lamb cuddled up next to the tall “high” Goddess! As you must remember from our days in Lesbos, this is one of the times when lambs are born, right now.

    • I do remember that Carol. And of course that’s one of the reasons lambs are sacred to Brigid. It was your post on Brigid last year which inspired this painting and started me on the journey of exploring the Celtic Goddess. Thanks so much for all you do.

  2. I love the lamb too, adorable. I have associated with Brigid since my teens. She resides over my hearth & home & I turn to her often to help my creative flow. Great read Judith, your art is always very powerful & symbolic, so much to find.

  3. I honor and cherish Brigid also as the Goddess of Harpers. In my rounds at the hospital, I feel her healing energies and love through the music I am lucky enough to share.She brings such inspiration and joy.
    Beautiful painting…and I too especially love the lamb.

    • What a wonderful way to use your talent and inspiration as a musician – healing others. It’s always so great to find men who love and honor the Goddess. She renews and enriches us all, doesn’t she.

  4. This is splendid. Thanks for telling us about Brigid. We all need her nourishing fires and her music. And stay tuned for my meditation on the shamrock, coming (I’m pretty sure) on February 2.

    • Barbara, I look forward to reading your meditation on the shamrock. I loved it when I found the little snippet about folks believing that little flowers and shamrocks sprung up in Brigid’s wake. So Imbolc, Feb 2 is the perfect day to for a shamrock meditation!

  5. Reblogged this on Journeying to the Goddess and commented:
    In honor of Brighid…May She – Keeper of the Flame – protect, bless, and heal us with Her light; may Her light spark within us creativity; and may Her fires burn away & transform that which is within us that no serves our higher being or calling.

  6. Thanks, Judith. This is a great description of Brighid. I especially loved learning that She’s associated with bees. I had never read nor heard that.

    • Nancy, I seem to have bees and Brigid popping up all over my facebook newsfeed and in emails. It’s interesting that last year when I first began delving deeply into Brigid, I also started keeping bees. What amazing little creatures they are!!

  7. Loved the post, the painting, and especially the last paragraph. Adding Barbara’s shamrocks tomorrow and Brigid’s inspiration (both gentle and fierce) should make for a festive day. Blessings to all! :-)

    • Onoosh, Thanks so much. Tomorrow I am heading up to soak with a friend in healing waters we have here in northern N.M. – a good thing for Imbolic and receiving Brigid’s blessings. Hope your day is filled with inspiration. :)

  8. LOVE the painting! And the beautiful description of Brigid. An instinctive part of me recognizes Her as ancient part of myself, responding to the call to reawaken. So inspiring! Thanks for posting.

  9. Better late than never with my reply, right?

    I enjoyed reading this and learned plenty, too.

    And the painting…the movement in it, the wonderful colors, all the symbology…it comes together as a great piece of art work.

    Here’s something I love about Brigid that I lifted as one of her quotes from ‘All Saints’, by author, Robert Ellsberg:

    “I would like a great lake of beer for the King of kings;
    I would like the people of heaven to be drinking it through time, eternal.”

    This sounds great to me!

    She was living at such an intriguing time – she was part Goddess, part Saint, and part early Christian Bishop! I love the story about how it was said that the bishop was, “intoxicated by the grace of God”, and that he didn’t know what he was doing when he made her a Bishop.

    Let’s face it – some of the earlier Christians were off-the-hook BRAVE for their times, and then? A LOT of back-peddling ever since…with twisting and turning the actual events and becoming more mired in patriarchal dictates and rules and politics – heavy-handed land-grabs, etc…and all the rest…

    Every beer I have for now on, I’m toasting to Brigid herself – no matter that she now resides in heaven!!

  10. Thanks for this. As to Brigit and bees, she also invented mead, made from honey. She’s said to be able to whistle up the wind. One of my favorite images is when it is said that “snowdrops spring up in her footsteps.” Blessings of Brigit upon all.

Trackbacks

  1. B – Brighid (PBP2013 – week 3) « Introspective Maenad
  2. Happy St Bridget’s Day « BRIDGET WHELAN writer
  3. Becoming maiden. Again. | Pilgrim's Moon
  4. Creative inspiration « birch goddess
  5. Brigid at Imbolic | Judith Shaw – Life on the Edge
  6. A Bee in My Bonnet | Judith Shaw - Life on the Edge
  7. (Art Essay) Brigid, Goddess of Healing, Poetry, and Smithcraft by Judith Shaw | Return to Mago
  8. Celtic Goddesses – a Personal Journey by Judith Shaw «

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