:"This article refers to the Pagan Goddess Brigid. For the Catholic/Orthodox Saint of that name, see Saint Brigid."

In Irish mythology, Brigit or Brighid ("exalted one" [Campbell, Mike [ Behind the Name] ] ) was the daughter of the Dagda and one of the Tuatha Dé Danann. She was the wife of Bres of the Fomorians, with whom she had a son, Ruadán. She had two sisters, also named Brighid, and is considered a classic Celtic Triple Goddess.Fact|date=December 2007

Familial relations

She is identified in "Lebor Gabála Érenn" as a daughter of the Dagda and a poet. The same passage mentions that she has two oxen, Fe and Men, that graze on a plain named after them, Femen. She also possessed the "king of boars", Torc Triath, and Cirb, king of wethers (sheep), from whom Mag Cirb is named. [Macalister, R. A. Stewart. "Lebor Gabála Érenn". Part IV. Irish Texts Society, Dublin, 1941. § VII, First Redaction, ¶ 317.] As the daughter of Dagda, she is also the half sister of Cermait, Aengus, Midir and Bodb Derg.


In "Cath Maige Tuireadh", Bríg "(sic)" invents while mourning for her son Ruadán, after he is slain while fighting for the Fomorians. She is credited in the same passage with inventing a whistle used for night travel. [ [ "Cath Maige Tuired"] (The Second Battle of Mag Tuired), translated by Elizabeth A. Gray. ¶ 125]

Divine responsibilities

Brighid was associated with perpetual, sacred flames, such as the one maintained by 19 nuns at her sanctuary in Kildare, Ireland. The tradition of female priestesses tending sacred, naturally-occurring "eternal flames" is a feature of ancient Indo-European pre-Christian spirituality. Other examples include the Roman goddess Vesta, and other hearth-goddesses, such as Hestia. Her sacred flame at Kildare was said by Giraldus Cambrensis and other chroniclers to have been surrounded by a hedge, which no man could cross. Men who attempted to cross the hedge were said to have been cursed to go insane, die, and/or to have had their "lower leg" wither.

Brighid was also connected to holy wells, at Kildare and many other sites in the Celtic lands. Well dressing, the tying of clooties to the trees next to healing wells, and other methods of petitioning or honoring Brighid still take place in some of the Celtic lands and the diaspora.

As one of the most popular goddesses worshipped by the Celtic peoples, including the druids, many of her stories and symbology survive in the persona of Saint Brigid. She is the goddess of all things perceived to be of relatively high dimensions such as high-rising flames, highlands, hill-forts and upland areas; and of activities and states conceived as psychologically lofty and elevated, such as wisdom, excellence, perfection, high intelligence, poetic eloquence, craftsmanship (especially blacksmithing), healing ability, druidic knowledge and skill in warfare. In the living traditions, whether seen as goddess or saint, she is largely associated with the home and hearth and is a favorite of both Pagans and Christians. A number of these associations are attested in "Cormac's Glossary".

Her British and continental counterpart Brigantia seems to have been the Celtic equivalent of the Roman Minerva and the Greek Athena ("Encyclopedia Britannica: Celtic Religion"), goddesses with very similar functions and apparently embodying the same concept of 'elevated state', whether physical or psychological.

Maman Brigitte, one of the Lwa of Haitian Voodoo, may be a form of Brigid. It is likely that the concept came to the New World through the Irish who were kidnapped, enslaved and forced to labor in the Caribbean alongside the enslaved Africans." [ Irish Famine Unit II: Racism] "] Because of the intermarriage and cultural blending between the Irish and Africans, it is possible that Haitian Voodo is partially influenced by survivals of Celtic polytheism.Ventura, Michael (1993) "Hear That Long Snake Moan" in "Letters at 3Am: Reports on Endarkenment" Spring Publications. ISBN 0882143611] Maman Brigitte is worshipped as the Lady of the Cemetery; her colors are purple, violet and black. She is the wife of Baron Samedi, and characterised as a hard working, hard cursing woman who can swear a blue streak and enjoys a special drink made of rum laced with 21 hot peppers. People suspected of faking a possession by her may be asked to drink her special rum or rub hot peppers on their genitals, which she occasionally does. Those who are not truly possessed are soon identified.


On February 1 or February 2, Brigid is celebrated at the Gaelic festival of Imbolc, when she brings the first stirrings of spring to the land. Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, and some Anglicans mark the day as the Feast of Saint Brigid; the festival is also known as Candlemas and Purification of the Virgin.

Other names and etymology

Old Irish "Brigit" IPA| ['brɪʝɪdʲ] came to be spelled "Brighid" by the modern Irish period. Since the spelling reform of 1948, this has been spelled "Bríd" IPA| ['briːdʲ] . The earlier form gave rise to the Anglicization "Bridget", now commonly seen as "Brigid".

*Brìghde/Brìde (Scotland)
*Fraid (Wales) Because of Welsh pronunciation mutations, her name changes to 'Ffraid' when following an [s] sound, such as in the name 'Llansanffraid' = 'Saint Bride's Village'
*Breo Saighead ("the fiery arrow" – a folk etymology found in "Sanas Cormaic", but considered very unlikely by etymologists)
*Brigandu (Gaul)
*Brigantia (Great Britain)
*Brigantis (Great Britain)
*Brigindo (Switzerland)

ee also

* Brigid of Ireland
* Brigid's cross
* Imbolc



*Bitel, Lisa M. 2001. "St. Brigit of Ireland: From Virgin Saint to Fertility Goddess" [ on-line] )
*MacKillop, James. 1998."Dictionary of Celtic Mythology". (Oxford: Oxford University Press) ISBN 0-19-280120-1.

External links

* [ St. Brigid Fire] Pictures of St. Brigits Church in Kildare and the sacred fire pit.
* [ "Sloinntireachd Bhride" (Genealogy of Bride) from the Carmina Gadelica]
* [ Mary Jones's entry on Brigid]
* [ Brighid: What do we really know? by Francine Nicholson]
* [ St. Brigid's Well, Liscannor]
* [ Images of Brighid]

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