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Brigid's festival is the first of February, otherwise known as Imbolc, when ritual fires of purification were lit. She takes over from the goddess of winter and is seen as the maiden aspect of the triple goddess by some researchers. In Irish mythology she is the daughter of the Dagda, the father god, and ruler of the Tuatha de Dannan.

Some scholars believe that Brigid is the Celtic equivalent of the Roman goddess Minerva, and it is possible that the worship of the two became amalgamated in Roman Britain. It has also been suggested that Brigantia, the goddess worshiped by the Brigantes tribe of Northern England is analogous with Brigid.

Brigid was eventually Christianised and adapted into the cult of St Brigit, who founded a religious community at Kildare in Ireland. A perpetual fire was kept burning at her nunnery, until it fell under the heavy hand of the reformation. This link with an ever-burning fire may have roots in the original worship of the goddess in the distant past. St Bridgit is also seen as the foster mother to Jesus, and is the patroness Saint of Ireland.

The eve of St Bride's (Brigid) day was celebrated in Ireland (and in some parts of Britain) by creating a female image out of straw, which was supposed to have become imbued with the power of her spirit during the night of the festival.

Offerings were also left out for her during the night, as she was supposed to walk abroad among the farms and villages. This practice is so obviously related to the old worship of the goddess, that it is surprising it lasted through the reformation and into relatively modern times. It was also customary to make a St Brigit's cross from straw; the design of these varied from place to place but often resembled a swastika or sun wheel.

In Scotland, on the 1st of February, Brigid traditionally took the place of the winter goddess, who is often identified as the Cailleach Bheur, the blue-faced hag of the Highlands. Mc Lean, in his 'Four Fire Festivals' mentions how her festival was only open to women in the Highlands of Scotland, the men having to stay outside the confines of the celebration. It is also from the Highlands and Islands that the tradition of St Bride as the foster mother of Jesus originates.

The name Bride is often associated with prehistoric stones, and the 'Bride Stones' is found a few times as the name for prehistoric monuments in the British Isles. An example of which can be found in the jumbled remains of a chambered tomb on Congleton Edge in Cheshire.

Brigit was one of the most widely worshiped goddesses in the Celtic Britain, and traditionally she is seen as the goddess of smithing, creativity, healing, wisdom, fertility, and childbirth.

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Re: Brigid

I have attempted to write some of the parts of stories about BRIGHID. My own interest stems from being born to Border Scottish Celts on both sides of my family; Liddesdale on one side and Eskdale in the Burgh (Din) Annan the other, as she features so much in my varied interests of the Celts so often...especially the Scottish version as BRHÍDE; the real Saint being buried in Iona for a while, now lost to the mists of time...
I am currenntly living in old Celtic Elmet, home of the Brigantes. I hope to write about the Battle of Arthureth one day, Alban Arfderydd circa 573 CE, King Gwenddoleu and his Caer, Rhydderch Hael, King of Bernicia and one Lailoken of Caerfyrddin aka Myrddin aka Merlin, but that is for another time.
The complexities of the Celts is so all encompassing and cumalitive, so I hope you will excuse the jumping about between these two entirely different Brighids; also the grammatical errors and spelling is difficult with a wee grimalken jumping in front of the monitor and onto my lap!
Pennie )O(

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Re: Brigid

It is complicated, as there are two Brighids: BRÍGHIT of KILDARE, ('The Ever Burning Oak Tree'), an IRISH Fire/Sun Goddess, and or BRIGANTIA, a Gaulishh Cow Goddess. Although these Goddessess are NOT related, there are some intersting comparisions.
'Brig' means 'High One',from a sanskrit word. She was worshipped in many parts of the Celtic world. In Britain,The Brigantees may have followed a leader who claimed descent from this Goddess.They were numerically the largest tribe in Britain, stretching coast to coast from The Mersey to The Humber, down to the Peak District, their Northern boundary probably extending beyond Hadrian's Wall. These were divided into around fifteen sub-Kingdoms, including The Gabrantovices of North Yorkshire, The Sentatii in Lancashire, The Textoverdi, The Carvetti of the Upper Eden Valley and The Latenses. Each sub-kingdom revered their own local deities but were unified by the one High-Goddess, Brigantia. This was within the boundaries of six modern counties.
It must be included about local Goddess, VERBEIA, of Wharfedale.This minor goddess was revered by a garison of Roman soldiers, The Lingones, of Northern France. At Ilkley, North-West Yorkshire, an altar was set up to Verbeia.At the back of All-Saints church, were two altar stones,probably from the Roman fort that once covered about three times the size of the present church ground. There were two altars, one showing a pitcher and patera, a type of flat dish used in sacrificial rituals. The other altar, to the left shows a female figure, wearing a long, pleated robe, with what looks like a Head-dress. She also holds two long, wavy objects,described as torches. This interperatation is understandable, but they are probably snakes - torches are rarely serpentine ... Because of the patera's connection with earth and barley, it is interpereted as the earth and barley goddess,Demeter. Demeter, however, was a Greek deity, so maybe the answer is closer to home for her identity. She is universally identified by scholars as VERBEIA. This comes from another altar-stone inscribed: "To Verbeia.Sacred.Clodius.Fronto.Ded.Prefect of the Cohort,Second Lingones."
This stone was found in Elizabethan times, then being used to support stairs in a house, which was removed to Middleton Lodge, north of The Wharfe. Folklore also relates tales of strange female Water Elementals that haunt stagnant ponds by rivers, waiting to drag in children who come too close to the edge (these are known as 'nursey bogies', like Peg Prowler and Jenny Greenteeth in rivers in Teesdale and Yorkshire, some invented by mothers to keep their children away from riverbanks...)
Various interperatations of the Wharfe and Verbeia led from M.E. 'hwerfen': 'To turn', and Verbeia, associated with Goidelic guerif 'To heal'.The two snakes could correspond with the two streams which once flowed at each side of the Roman fort. The Lingones originated in the Upper Marne region of Northern France, near Dijon.The relief plaque of Verbeia (now on display inside All Parish church) is very similar to one found in Mavilly-Mandelot, who seems to be her Gaulish predecessor.She is described by Dr.Ann Ross as "a mother-healing goddess", and given that Mavilly is the area The Lingones were recruited from, she may be be the most direct suggestion of Verbeia's origins we have.
There is another intriguing connection to Verbeia. Rivet and Smith relate the title 'Verbeia' to the Latin verbena, and Gaulish names.According to Roman historian Pliny the Elder in his 'Natural History', the plant verbena officianalis (aka vervain) was very popular among the magi of Ancient Gaul. The name 'verbena' was "the classical name for 'altar-plants'. The Druids and magicians and sorcerers used it largely."
Verbeia, whose realm lies at the heart of The Brigantia's Kingdom/Queendom, is closely associated with Brigid via Brigantia herself, as well as by aquactic cults and serpents. The importance of Brigid/Brigantia in the North, in this case Yorkshire, is suggested by the many stones, hills and wells with 'Bride' in their name.
A final connection arises due to Verbeia being an equivalent goddess to Brigid. A favourite form of Brigid's cross suggests a swastika, and, according to Janet and Stewart Farrar, this desire is still central to Imbolc folk-rituals. Further, in Nigel Penwick's booklet 'the Swastika', he presents an illustration of a shrine to St.Bridget in Co. Sligo which incorporates a more obvious swastika design. The Isle Of Man, (interestingly positioned between North Britain and Ireland)retains much evidence of a wider worship of Brigid.The symbol of Man, the Three Legs, and the Irish Triskele, suggests the basic impulse behind swastika design - ANCIENT SUN GODDESS )O(
sources: 'Verbeia:Goddess Of Wharfedale', an excellent detailed study of this forgotten Northern Goddess. Also, see 'Brigid: Goddess, Druidess and Saint' by Brian Wright, (Mainly about the Irish Fire Goddess) and various articles, especially by Dr.Anne Ross, Prof. Miranda J. Green, and Peter Beresford Ellis.

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Re: Brigid

BRIGHID/BRIGANTIA and The Druids Under Roman Occupation.
Julius Caesar said that the entire Celtic people were 'exceedingly given to to religious superstition', but this simply indicates that they belonged to a very religious society. They saw many stones, streams,lakes, springs, groves and other features as being inhabited by a local deity or spirit, and were very aware of the existence of the Otherworld.
The Brigantes were united under the protection of their powerful Goddess, Brigantia, and her name, 'High One' suggests the important position she held in tribal tradition and beliefs.
The Brigantes probably 'saw' their High Goddess and the evidence of her power in their tribal territiory, in the form of great rivers, springs, and the impressive, distictive hills, mounts/'pens' of the area.
The religious observances of the Brigantes would have been conducted by the Druids, and usually carried out in sacred groves of trees, particularly of oak which they regarded as particularly sacred; but there were probably more conventional shrines, particularly near the sources of rivers (as was the case in Gaul).
There were three categegories within the Order of Irish Druids: The first were the Druids ('Druaid'), the second were the Bards ('Bhaírds') and the third were the Vates (or 'Velitas'). All members of the order could marry and have children, and women could belong to the Order and be members of any of the three categories and, like the men, were taught the secret Druid language, known in Irish Gaelic as 'béala na bhfile' (language of the poets.)
The Isle of Anglesey off the N.Welsh coast was the centre of the Druid order in Britain and a focus of resistance to the Roman invasion, harbouring many political refugees as well as being a 'grain store' for The Ordivici, a northern Welsh tribe that mounted very strong opposition to the Roman conquest of Wales. However, in 60 CE, Anglesey was attacked by the Romans.
In an appeal to the Gods for help before the attack on YNYS MON, The Isle of Anglesey, the Druids consigned a great many objects to a lake, Llyng Cerig Bach ('The Island Of Small Stones') among the huge number of objects, such as swords, spears, daggers, shield and chariot fittings, iron currency and slave chains, were distinctly BRIGANTIAN items, suggesting that Druids from the Brigantian kingdom were present when the Isle was attacked.
Following the conquest of the Brigantian kingdom during a series of campaigns between 71 and 74 CE, the people still continued to venerate their High Goddess, Brigantia...though human nature would suggest some may have regarded her as failing them in their hour of need as they tried, unsuccessfully, to resist the Romans; However, she had many attributes besides protective warrior deity that still made her popular and was to ensure her survival during the Roman occupation.
During the Romano-British period when Brigantia is mentioned on many dedications or shown as a carving, she was often equated with the Roman goddess Minerva. The seven inscriptions found so far all cluster on the northern or southern borders of the Brigantian frontier. Brigantia, in her person as the British Minerva, along with Sulis, disappeared with all the traditional deities except in debased or altered forms such as faeiries, once pre-Celtic Gods and Goddesses and other aspects of Roman life by the end of the 5th century CE in Britain.
...So it is to Ireland that we have to look for the goddess Brighid, to re-emerge as BRÍGHIT...Sort of... )O(
Sources: 'Brigid: Goddess, Druidess And Saint' by Brian Wright, articles and essays by Dr Ann Ross, Prof. Miranda J. Green et al.

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Re: Brigid

The Once And Future Queen: BRIGHID re-emerges in Ireland as BRÍGHID and ST.BRIDGET of KILDARE.
The spur for the creation of the Goddess Brigid in Ireland was the arrival of Brigantian Druids circa 71-74 CE, following their attacks on the Brigantian King/Queendom by Roman forces.
They would've brought the veneration of Brigantia with them and may have wanted to merge their High Goddess with the Irish equivalent;this would've been difficult as she was an 'alien' deity.
However, in pagan Celtic times Ireland there was a goddess Bríghid, daughter of the Dagda Mór('the Good Father God')the all father of the mighty Tuatha De Danann, and the Morrigán,('Phantom Queen'), dark aspect of The White Goddess.They mated astride a river, Morrigán with a foot on each side of a river bank.(Read about the MORRIGÁN...)
Aspects of Bríghid's parents that she inherited:
Dagda, The Good God: Magic, Healing, Knowledge, producing an abundance of food, Control of the weather and environment(particularly in relation to to crops), Fire.
Morrigán, the Goddess Of War: Fertility, Fortelling the future, animal husbandry. Associatio with fire. Protection of 'her' people.
BRÍGHID is a MIDWIFE (healer/nurterer/herbalist)
BLACKSMITH (keeper of fire/craftswoman/ fire/
POETESS (bringer of wisdom/guidance/prophecy)
Sister to Ogma,a sun god and creator of Ogham
An enchanting story of the birth of Bríghid is that she was born as dawn gave way to sun-rise.A beam from the sun touched the bairn's head, and a sheet of flame immediately reflected back into the cosmos.
Bríghid's cross is a widdershins swastika, woven from wheat (as wife Scottish Bridie dolls, often using the last wheat of the crop to ensure a good harvest again). It is most commonly square shaped, looking as though it has no beginning or end; occaisionally it is a three-armed Triskele cross, placed in stables,cowsheds and outbuildings.
She had many sacred animals, plants, birds, but cattle especially so. She had many cattle, including two cattle and a wild boar,which, if they shrieked, was indicative that all Ireland was endangered. She also had a cow that accompanied her or her spirit on the eve of Imbolc(sometimes called Óimelc('lactating ewes').
Plants sacred to Bríghid include the snowdrop,a symbol of purity and one of the earliest flowers out and also on many Imbolc greetings cards;the Dandelion, too, in Ireland, the Highlands of Scotland and the Hebrides.Called 'Bearnen-Brhíde'-the notched plant of Bride, a reference to its serrated foliage, the milk-like sap believed to provide norishment for early lambs, and Bríghid, a fire Goddess, the flower resembles the sun.(However, I think in fact the true plant may be the Coltsfoot; it is one of the first plants,the flowers coming BEFORE the [notched] leaves [the stalk also notched], the leaves covered with white fuzz like wool, this plant, a personal choice, is a contender...)
Many Rivers are sacred to the Goddess, including, most spectacularly, perhaps, Afon (River) Braint, the longest river on Ynys Mon...
Bríghid had three sons, Brian, Iuchar,Iuchabra and with Bres, a son, Ruadan, who tried to murder the smith Goibnu, maker of magical weapons that always hit their mark.But Goibnu killed him.It is said that Bríghid's lament for Ruadan was the first keening to be heard in Ireland.
She persisted into Christian times. The Irish were willing to accept Christ, but not without Bríghid.So, the Christians were forced to canonise her. She remains to this day one of the most important Saints in Ireland, probably second only to Patrick Himself.(Rather than supressing Celtic pagan beliefs, it was common for the Christian church to adopt many pagan festivals.Gerald of Wales wrote in 1185 how a fire had been burning continually at the church at Kill-Dar (Cill-Dara) 'the ever burning oak tree'...
It is believed that nineteen priestesses tended the eternal flame of Bríghid at the place now known as Kildare.
There are many names for this mighty Goddess and Saint.
Bríghid, the once and future Queen...)O(
For more information, check 'Brigid:Goddess, Druid,Saint', for (ocaisionally contrary) information, Peter Beresford Ellis's excellent 'Celtic Women'(with an excellent bibliography); 'Lebor Gabá Érenn'-Book of Irish Invasions ;
the excellent site 'Shrine of the Goddess'.
For the SERIOUS seeker, you may apply to become a friend of the Tuatha de Brighid, the modern day seat of Druidry and Brighid...

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Re: Brigid

I received a message on YouTube from davedeerave1, concerning the Guardians of Ilkley Moor.They are campaigning to protect Stanza Stones on Rombald's Moor and the surrounding area, and to have modern poetry carved on moorland rocks.Any cosiderations on this subject are welcome.You can comment (with or without your hat!) without having to join.

CeltiGael Saxon
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Re: Brigid

Brigid is interesting, was her following stronger among Goidelic Celts? Could you see any tie between Brigid and the Scythian Goddess Tabiti?



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