30 Days of Devotion – Brighid — Sacred times

  1. Festivals, days, and times sacred to this deity

The best source for Festival and days of Brighid that I have found is a book called “The Silver Bough – Scottish Folklore and Folk Belief.” It’s a 4 volume set that is finally available on Kindle at a reasonable price which is a bit maddening since it took me about 20 years of scouring the book stalls at different Highland games to acquire all 4 volumes. And they weren’t cheap due to tariffs. I think I paid 40 bucks for one because it was so rare at the time. Kindle’s version is still in 4 volumes but you will spend $40 for the whole set. Even on Amazon the hardcover versions are almost $30 and they’re used.

Anyway, Volume 2 is the volume about La Fheille Brighde celebrations in Scotland or Imbolq if you must, that most people know about but Brighid also had a celebration the last Sunday in July. That was the feast of well dressing.

On the Isle of Arran, people stayed out all night on vigil and the well was garlanded in flowers and candles were lit surrounding it. It started as all Celtic/Gaelic holidays do on the night before.

In Scotland they tried to root out anything pagan or Papist which they considered virtually the same thing and in 1638 the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly laid down penalties for visiting holy wells and the practice went underground but things still sneak through in places like the Carmina Gadelica.  v

St Bride’s Charm – Carmina Gadelica

The charm put by Bride the beneficent

On her goats, on her sheep, on her kine,

On her horses, on her chargers, on her herds.

Early and late going home, and from home.

To keep them from rocks and ridges

From heels and the horns of one another

From the birds of Red Rock

And from Luath of the Feinne.

From the blue peregrine hawk of Creag Duilion

From the brindled eagle of Ben Ard

From the swift hawk of Tordun

From the surly raven of Bard’s Creag.

From the fox of the wiles

From the wolf of the Mam

From the foul smelling fumart

And from the restless giant hipped bear.

From every hoofed of four feet

And from every hatched of two wings,

When one is a Flamekeeper then every 20 days the 20th day belongs to Brighid and she tends the flame that day is hers, but that day is ever changing.

30 days of Devotion – Brighid – –Offerings

Day 10 Offerings

Offerings to Brighid can be a bit hairy traditionally because the tradition offering at a well was a clootie or piece of cloth with a plea for healing or help and it’s hairy because is the plea to the well or is it to Brighid? That being said when some wells or water sites sacred to Brighid are filled with coins and jewelry and other things that past supplicants have tossed in asking for help.

I suppose the corn dolly left out at La Fheile Brighde is a sort of offering also as well as making Brighid’s crosses. It was traditional to leave an oat cake or bannock, a small sheaf of oats, porridge, a cup of milk and or honey which also happen to be offerings left for the fae. And cloth was left out in the hopes that Brighid would touch it on her way by.

But really, the offerings to the goddess, Brighid are the many poems and songs that have been offered about her both in the past as recorded in the Carmina Gadelica by Alexander Carmichael and those being written today. For what better offering is there than the fruit of our heads and our hearts and hands? Everything I smith, everything I write, everything I sing can and often is an offering to the Goddess. She really has never asked for more.

Brighid watch over us

May your flame light our way

Through the night

Through the storms

Through our tears

May your waters sooth and heal

Heal our hearts,

Heal our bodies,

Heal our minds.

May your forge make us strong

Strong enough to fight what needs to be fought

Strong enough to accept what can’t be changed

Strong enough to stand under the burdens we accept

Brighid, we burn your flame

We drink from your well

We are strong when we are weak because we have your blessing

We drink from your well to be healed

We walk in the mist following your footsteps.

We carry your flame with us and give to all who need it.

Brighid, we are your flames in the world.


Poetry month – St Bridget

Saint Bridget

by Eleanor Farjeon

Part of a series of poems on saint’s lives
Saint Bridget she was beautiful
In feature and in deed
And she would give the world away
To anyone in need.
It was enough for her to know
Of beggars at her door
That women starved and babes were cold,
And ragged men were poor.

Saint Bridget gave the world away
And cut her golden hair
To dwell beneath the Holy Oak
Men speak of in Kildare.
The stick she put her lips upon
Broke straightway into flower,
The sunbeam in her greenwood cell
Lingered beyond its hour.

Saint Bridget laid her beauty by
That earth might leave her be,
And God bestowed it twice on her
Till angels leaned to see.
‘Look, look! There goes the loveliest one
In Ireland ever known,
Our Bride who gave the world away
And made all heaven her own

30 days of Devotion – Brighid — day 9

  1. Common mistakes about this deity

The only one I can think of right off hand is the assumption that any Celtic goddess with three faces is a Maiden, Mother, Crone goddess and I’ve written that particular pet peeve before. No Celtic goddess is a Maiden, Mother, Crone goddess. They are triple function goddesses of any age they choose to show themselves as. That would include the Triplet of the Morrigan or the Romano-Celtic Tres Madres. The Maiden, Mother, Crone thing is a New Age assumption without understanding. The Celts and the Gaels in particular loved threes. The day is divided in threes, day, night and twilight and many other things including their deities are in threes.

One minor pet peeve is that what is emblematic of Brighid in one country is the same for her in all countries. Scotland’s Brighid views of her traditions and she herself are a lot different over the Irish Sea in Ireland. It can even be different from Highland to Lowland Scotland because the character of the two groups is very different and until modern times they had been isolated from one another. It’s why Lowland Scots speak Scots or Lallans and English and the Highlanders spoke Gaelic and the thought processes for language influence thinking.

For instance, Scots Gaelic has no present tense in its verbs but Irish Gaelic and English, obviously, do have a present tense. The Scots mind set is to use future tense because if you are doing it now, you are doing it in the future. To say something in the present one most use the participle ending –ing on a verb and “be” with it. My Gaelic teacher was of the opinion that because the Scots that got transported to the South were using it that was how it got into the speech of slaves because there was a lot of intertwining of the indentured Scots-Irish servants and slave culture so “I be” was translated into English when they banded against the English land owners here.

I can’t think of other real misconceptions other than regional differences other than ones I’ve already written about in the past.

30 Days of Devotion – Brighid — Day 8

The Scots are an intensely practical bunch. They may have second sight and never doubt that the Fae exist but when it comes to the seasons I’m willing to bet they used what they saw before them to determine the seasons.

So I was had a discussion with someone about the correct date of An Fheill Bride and they said it was the Pleaides.

There is only one problem with that, it rains a lot in Scotland and if you have many days of rain how do you even see the Pleaides? My contention is that they would have used what was around them like any other agricultural people. There is a branch of science/meteorology that is studying whether signs now to see how accurate they are. (The precise ology escapes me at the moment but Horticulture Magazine used to refer to it all the time. Maybe ethology?) Hence the tradition of ewe’s milk, if the sheep haven’t given birth and you don’t have lactating ewes you aren’t going to have your holiday until they do.

Below are the traditions and the Gaelic rhymes that refer to the holiday from the Carmina Gadelica, collected by Alexander Carmichael and his notes on the collecting:

‘Moch maduinn Bhride,
Thig an nimhir as an toll,
Cha bhoin mise ris an nimhir,
Cha bhoin an nimhir rium.’
Early on Bride’s morn
The serpent shall come from the hole,
I will not molest the serpent,
Nor will the serpent molest me.
La Feill na Bride,
Thig nighean Imhir as a chnoc,
Cha bhean mise do nighean
’S cha dean i mo lochd.’ [Imhir,‘La Fheill Bride brisgeanach
Thig an ceann de in chaiteanach,
Thig nighean Iomhair as an tom
Le fonn feadalaich.’

‘Thig an nathair as an toll
La donn Bride,
Ged robh tri traighean dh’ an
Air leachd an lair.’ [t-sneachd

The Feast Day of the Bride,
The daughter of Ivor shall come from the knoll,
I will not touch the daughter of Ivor,
Nor shall she harm me.On the Feast Day of Bride,
The head will come off the ‘caiteanach,’
The daughter of Ivor will come from the knoll
With tuneful whistling.

The serpent will come from the hole
On the brown Day of Bride,
Though there should be three feet of snow
On the flat surface of the ground.

The ‘daughter of Ivor’ is the serpent; and it is said that the serpent will not sting a descendant of Ivor, he having made ‘tabhar agus tuis,’ offering and incense, to it, thereby securing immunity from its sting for himself and his seed for ever.

These lines would seem to point to serpent-worship. One of the most curious customs of Bride’s Day was the pounding of the serpent in effigy. The following scene was described to the writer by one who was present:–‘I was one of several guests in the hospitable house of Mr John Tolmie of Uignis, Skye. Onep. 170

of my fellow-guests was Mrs Macleod, widow of Major Macleod of Stein, and daughter of Flora Macdonald. Mrs Macleod was known among her friends as “Major Ann.” She combined the warmest of hearts with the sternest of manners, and was the admiration of old and young for her wit, wisdom, and generosity. When told that her son had fallen in a duel with the celebrated Glengarry–the Ivor MacIvor of Waverley–she exclaimed, “Math thu fein mo ghiullan! math thu fein mo ghiullan! gaol geal do mhathar fein! Is fearr bias saoidh na gras daoidh; cha bhasaich an gaisgeach ach an aon turas, ach an gealtair iomadaidh uair!”–”Good thou art my son! good thou art my son! thou the white love of thine own mother! Better the hero’s death than the craven’s life; the brave dies but once, the coward many times.” In a company of noblemen and gentlemen at Dunvegan Castle, Mrs Macleod, then in her 88th year, danced the reel of Tulloch and other reels, jigs, and strathspeys as lightly as a girl in her teens. Wherever she was, all strove to show Mrs Macleod attention and to express the honour in which she was held. She accepted all these honours and attentions with grace and dignity, and without any trace of vanity or self-consciousness. One morning at breakfast at Uignis some one remarked that this was the Day of Bride. “The Day of Bride,” repeated Mrs Macleod meditatively, and with a dignified bow of apology rose from the table. All watched her movements with eager curiosity. Mrs Macleod went to the fireside and took up the tongs and a bit of peat and walked out to the doorstep. She then took off her stocking and put the peat into it, and pounded it with the tongs. And as she pounded the peat on the step, she intoned a “rann,” rune, only one verse of which I can remember:–

On the day of Bride of the white hills

The noble queen will come from the knoll,
I will not molest the noble queen,
Nor will the noble queen molest me.

La Bride nam brig ban
Thig an rigen ran a tom,
Cha bhoin mise ris an rigen ran,
’S cha bhoin an rigen ran rium.’

‘Suipeir is soillse Oidhch Fheill Bride,
Cadal is soillse Oidhch Fheill Paruig.’
Supper and light the Night of St Bride,
Sleep and light the Night of St Patrick

The dandelion is called ‘bearnan Bride,’ the little notched of Bride, in allusion to the serrated edge of the petal. The linnet is called ‘bigein Bride,’ little bird of Bride. In Lismore the oyster-catcher is called ‘gille Bride,’ page of Bride:–

‘Gille Bride bochd,
Gu de bhigil a th’ ort?
Poor page of Bride,
What cheeping ails thee?

Bride is said to preside over the different seasons of the year and to bestow their functions upon them according to their respective needs. Some call January ‘am mios marbh,’ the dead month, some December, while some apply the terms, ‘na tri miosa marbh,’ the three dead months, ‘an raithe marbh,’ the dead quarter, and ‘raithe marbh na bliadhna,’ the dead quarter of the year, to the winter months when nature is asleep. Bride with her white wand is said to breathe life into the mouth of the dead Winter and to bring him to open his eyes to the tears and the smiles, the sighs and the laughter of Spring. The venom of the cold is said to tremble for its safety on Bride’s Day and to flee for its life on Patrick’s Day. There is a saying:–

‘Chuir Bride miar ’s an abhuinn
La na Feill Bride
Is dh’ fhalbh mathair ghuir an fhuachd,
Is nigh i basan anns an abhuinn
La na Feill Padruig
Is dh’ fhalbh mathair ghin an fhuachd.’
Bride put her finger in the river
On the Feast Day of Bride
And away went the hatching mother of the cold,
And she bathed her palms in the river
On the Feast Day of Patrick
And away went the conception mother of the cold,

Another version says:–

‘Chuir Brighid a bas ann,
Chuir Moire a cas ann,
Chuir Padruig a chiach fhuar ann.’ (?)
Bride put her palm in it,
Mary per her foot in it,
Patrick put the cold stone in it,
La Bride breith an earraich
Thig an dearrais as an tom,
Theirear “tri-bhliadhnaich” ri aighean,
Bheirear gearrain chon nam fonn.’
The Day of Bride, the birthday of Spring,
The serpent emerges from the knoll,
‘Three-years-olds’ is applied to heifers,
Garrons are taken to the fields.

In Uist the flocks are counted and dedicated to Bride on her Day.

‘La Fheill Bride boidheach
Cunntar spreidh air mointeach.
Cuirear fitheach chon na nide,
’S cuirear rithis rocais.’
On the Feast Day of beautiful Bride
The flocks are counted on the moor.
The raven goes to prepare the nest,
And again goes the rook.

p. 173

Nead air Bhrighit, ugh air Inid, ian air Chasg,
Mar a bith aig an fhitheach bithidh am bas.’
Nest at Brigit, egg at Shrove, chick at Easter,
If the raven has not he has death.

The raven is the first bird to nest, closely followed by the mallard and the rook. It is affirmed that–

‘Co fad ’s a theid a ghaoth ’s an dorus
La na Feill Bride,
Theid an cathadh anns an dorus
La na Feill Paruig.’
As far as the wind shall enter the door
On the Feast Day of Bride,
The snow shall enter the door
On the Feast Day of Patrick.

In Barra, lots are cast for the ‘iolachan iasgaich,’ fishing-banks, on Bride’s Day. These fishing-banks of the sea are as well known and as accurately defined by the fishermen of Barra as are the qualities and boundaries of their crofts on land, and they apportion them with equal care. Having ascertained among themselves the number of boats going to the long-line fishing, the people divide the banks accordingly. All go to church on St Bride’s Day. After reciting the virtues and blessings of Bride, and the examples to be drawn from her life, the priest reminds his hearers that the great God who made the land and all thereon, also made the sea and all therein, and that ‘murachan na mara agus tachar na tire,’ ‘cuilidh Chaluim agus cuilidh Mhoire,’ the wealth of sea and the plenty of land, the treasury of Columba and the treasury of Mary, are His gift to them that follow Him and call upon His name, on rocky hill or on crested wave. The priest urges upon them to avoid disputes and quarrels over their fishing, to remember the dangers of the deep and the precariousness of life, and in their fishing to remember the poor, the widow and the orphan, now left to the fatherhood of God and to the care of His people. Having come out of church, the men cast lots for the fishing-banks at the church door. After this, they disperse to their homes, all talking loudly and discussing their luck or unluck in the drawing of the lots. A stranger would be apt to think that the people were quarrelling. But it is not so. The simultaneous talking is their habit, and the loudness of their speaking is the necessity of their living among the noise of winds and waves, whether on sea or on shore. Like the people of St Kilda, the people of Barra are warmly attached to one another, the joy of one and the grief of another being the joy and grief of all.

p. 174 p. 175
SLOINNEADH na Ban-naomh Bride,
Lasair dhealrach oir, muime chorr Chriosda.
Bride nighinn Dughaill duinn,
Mhic Aoidh, mhic Airt, nitric Cuinn,
Mhic Crearair, mhic Cis, mhic Carmaig, mhic Carruinn.Gach la agus gach oidhche
Ni mi sloinntireachd air Bride,
Cha mharbhar mi, cha spuillear mi,
Cha charcar mi, cha chiurar mi,
Cha mhu dh’ fhagas Criosd an dearmad mi.

Cha loisg teine, grian, no gealach mi,
Cha bhath luin, li, no sala mi,
Cha reub saighid sithich, no sibhich mi,
Is mi fo chomaraig mo Naomh Muire
Is i mo chaomh mhuime Bride.

THE genealogy of the holy maiden Bride,
Radiant flame of gold, noble foster-mother of Christ,
Bride the daughter of Dugall the brown,
Son of Aodh, son of Art, son of Conn,
Son of Crearar, son of Cis, son of Carina, son of Carruin.Every day and every night
That I say the genealogy of Bride,
I shall not be killed, I shall not be harried,
I shall not be put in cell, I shall not be, wounded,
Neither shall Christ leave me in forgetfulness.

No fire, no sun, no moon shall burn me,
No lake, no water, nor sea shall drown mc,
No arrow of fairy nor dart of fay shall wound me,
And I under the protection of my Holy Mary,
And my gentle foster-mother is my beloved Bride.

30 days of Devotion – Brighid – day 7

  1. Names and epithets

Brighid has many names



St Brigit




Fraid (Wales)

Brigitta ( Belgium)

Breo-Saighit, (Gaul)

Mary of the Gaels

Brighid nam Bratta – Brighid of the Mantles

Brighid Muirghin na tuinne – Conception of the Waves

Brighid Sluagh – spirit of the dead or immortal host

Brighid Binne Bheul Ihuchd nan trusganan uainne – Brighid of the green mantles

Brighid-nan-sitheachseang – Brighid of the Slim Fairy Folk;

She is also sometimes associated with Brigantia,

It also is related to the word Bright which makes sense when you think of her flame aspect.

I’d give footnotes if I remembered where I had learned these although some are from Steve Blamires “Little Book of Great Enchantment. Writings of Willaim Sharp/Fiona MacLeod, On kindle at:

Poetry month – Knot of Isis

At the end of the universe
A blood red cord
Binds life to death and will to destiny
Let the knot of that red sash
Bind us together
Cradling our hips and weaving all our dreams.

(Chours) We are the knot where the whole world meets
Red magic passes through our veins
Magic of magic
Spirit of spirit
We are the power of Isis

We are bound mind to mind
We are bound heart to heart
Heaven in one hand
Earth in the other
We will walk in harmony


Give us not consolation
Give us Magic!
Give us the spell of living well
Give us Magic!

Chorus and
We are the power of Isis
We are the power of Isis
We are the power of Isis

Original translation from the Book of going forth – Normandy Ellis