Tuesday, November 16, 2010
- works based on folk traditions, and/or written or geographical materials of ancient or medieval origin versus those which embark in new directions, infusing Wiccan and other ideas into their presentation of Brigit, versus works based largely on personal relationship with deity;
- works that are well written and well presented versus those which are not;
- works intended to further the study of or devotion to Brigit versus those which pursue other aims primarily;
- works that are more useful for inspiration than for scholarship. (Since I can find inspiration in the driest scholarly presentation, if the ideas are exciting enough, I may not be able to offer the opposite: works that are more useful for scholarship than inspiration.)
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Brigit's Forge Website is the child of Hilaire Wood of Aberystwyth, Wales. In her words:
Brigit's Forge website is inspired by Brigit and dedicated to her. It represents the actual and virtual place where I work as a poet and healer and where I research and write about Brigit, Celtic mythology and folklore. I believe that healing, inspiration and creativity are linked, and that the ability to forge is important for bringing our creativity into manifestation. I draw my faith in the Otherworld, my inspiration, and the strength to cope with the challenges in my life, from Celtic mythology and religion in general and Brigit in particular. My method is to read and learn, to go to sacred places in Ireland and Wales, to spend time with land, sea and sky and to let all this inform my spiritual practice. This website is where I hope to share some of what I have learned with people who have the same interests.
The blacksmith's forge is the place where iron is forged to make useful and beautiful objects, and at one time it was also the meeting place for the community, a place to share stories and information, music and jesting, a place where the young men would engage in contests and shows of strength. In ancient times it also had a deeper and more magical significance as a place of initiation and creation.
My aim here is to balance more factual information with nourishment for the spirit and the senses, taking advantage of this medium to use colour, images and sound where possible.
On this site Hilaire offers:
These articles begin where most do, with an introduction to Brigit as goddess and saint, but they move into areas not often examined, such as the the role of Brigit in war, Brigit in Wales (Ffraid, who does not share with her Irish and Scottish parallels an Imbolc feast day), and a comparison with the "Hindu Sarasvati, goddess of learning and the creative arts, who bears some striking resemblances to Brigit, as well as some important differences."
Hilaire's careful scholarship, deep commitment, and creative intellect make this website a valuable and precious resource.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Traditionally, most pictures of Saint Brigit have one of two things in them, if not both: a cow, and a book. As a goddess, Brigit is patron of Healing, Poetry, and Smithcraft. She comes from a rural society with a cattle-based economy, and she inspires and oversees the work of scholars and artisans. As a saint, Brigit is responsible for the blessing of cattle, and her miracles related to the production of milk, butter and meat are many.
In Maryland, USA, St. Brigid's Farm is dedicated to raising beef cattle humanely on grass* instead of grain, and veal calves are given far gentler lives than is normal in modern times. Here are a few words from their website:
"Our farm is named after St. Brigid, the patron saint of dairymaids and scholars who was renowned for her compassion and often featured with cows at her feet. She perfectly represents the pairing of Judy, the dairymaid and Bob, the scholar...
"The 55 acre farm, located on the scenic eastern shore of Maryland, is planted in permanent pasture, comprised predominantly of perennial rye grass and clover. The seasonally calved herd intensively grazes from April through November...
"Milk from our outstanding Jerseys is marketed through our cooperative, Land O’ Lakes...
"Grass fed Jersey beef and veal is...a delicious and healthy alternative to the options at the supermarket...
"The pairing of a dairymaid and scholar has resulted in a beautiful farm which produces high quality milk, beef, veal and dairy stock. Stop by anytime for a real life visit."
Looking through the website and reading the links they provide, I was enthusiastic about St. Brigid's Farm. But I am uncomfortably aware of the issues concerning the meat industry and veal in particular. Before writing this post, I wrote to St. Brigid's Farm to ask about how they raise their calves. Below is our correspondence.
"I would like to do a posting about St Brigid's Farm for my Brigit blog, but I'd like to know more about how you raise veal. Although you mention TLC on your site, and link to an interesting article on veal, it isn't clear exactly what SBF's methods are. There are lots of photos of mature cattle grazing but only one of a calf, with its mom; the other calves are shown tethered and separated from each other and their mothers. I know that although Brigidines love the image of the cow, many are vegetarians and most others are very careful about humane treatment. I'd like to be able to tell them straight out what you are up to."
"In answer to your inquiry, we raise calves in three different ways and consider all of them humane.
Have a look at the St. Brigid's Farm website. You'll find lots of information there, a great deal of which is gleaned from the many (and often beautiful) photographs. For those who wish to preserve a rural lifestyle while improving on modern farming techniques, there is much to encourage you here.
*See "How Cows (Grass-Fed Only) Could Save the Planet" for more info on the issue.
Monday, October 25, 2010
The New Order of Druids has a lovely podcast telling the story of Imbolc and Brigit, with some very nice pronunciations of words many non-Celtic speaking folk struggle in vain with.
I am not sure who drew this lovely picture of Brigit. If you know, please tell!
Friday, September 17, 2010
I`ve just received my contributor's copy in the mail--Hollee Swann's new 48 pp pamphlet,
It is a series of articles by devotees of Brighid, and I am thoroughly enjoying reading the offerings. What a brave and lovely group of beings!
Hollee had wanted to do a book on Brigit but, on researching the subject, decided she'd be simply rehashing available materials. Instead when she reluctantly let go of the project, she was inspired to collect the stories of some of Brigit's followers and offer them to the world.
In honour of Brigit's attributes as a healer, and Hollee's mother, who is in a care home with late stage Alzheimer's, donations from the sale of the book will go to the Alzheimer's Society.
£4.50 per copy. £4.10 for 3 or more copies in one order
Postage at cost. Overseas postal rates on request.
Email: helen(AT)goddessdance.co.uk for ordering and payment details. (Replace (AT) with @ )
Thursday, September 09, 2010
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
There is online a German language thesis, written by Karina Hochegger, which compares the earliest life of Brigit (Cogitosus, 650 CE) with the Vita Prima Sanctae Brigidae (750 CE). These texts have different aims and means for achieving their goals, as described in Lisa Bitel's excellent book, Landscape with Two Saints. For those German speakers amongst us, I link you to „Untersuchungen zu den ältesten Vitae sanctae Brigidae“. Below find her abstract.
This thesis shall provide a comprehensive and detailed analysis of the two oldest Lives of saint Brigid of Kildare, the “Life by Cogitosus” and the so-called “Vita Prima”. It will also illustrate the most important findings concerning the intentions of the presumed authors in writing these Lives. Dating of the Life by Cogitosus to the third quarter of the 7th century appears to be appropriate based on the reference that Muirchú makes to Cogitosus and his work. Cogitosus was likely an intellectual member within Kildare’s monastic society and he would have been able to write. His political aim in creating a Life of saint Brigid and establishing her as one of the main saints was to strengthen both the influence and power of the monastic centre and its parochia. The Life contains accounts of miracles describing the beauty and greatness of the church of Kildare, the sepulture of Brigid and her bishop Conleth, and the wonders that supposedly took place after Brigid’s death. This would inspire believers from across Ireland to make pilgrimages to Kildare. The reason for establishing the Life may have been the competition between the two main churches of Ireland during the 7th century, Kildare and Armagh. Both of them wanted to spread their power and their parochia. There is no proof of a direct relationship between Cogitosus and the Uí Dúnlainge, the ruling dynasty of Leinster at that time. But it is clear that the expansion of the sphere of control of Kildare was on behalf of the governance of Leinster. There are compositional and structural aspects which support McCone’s theory that the Vita Prima came after the Life by Cogitosus, in the middle of the 8th century. This is because passages from the Life by Cogitosus can be found at the end of Vita Prima and because of the friendly relationship between Patrick and Brigid, the two main saints of Armagh and Kildare. Despite the efforts of Vita prima’s author to create a thorough account of Brigid’s travels, there can be found inconsistencies throughout this Life. The author also neglected Kildare, and emphasized Brigid as a nomad saint; he intended to establish a national saint in Brigid by compiling miraculous stories in order to illustrate her nationwide political-ecclesiastic influence.
angestrebter akademischer Grad
Magistra der Philosophie (Mag. phil.)
Thursday, September 02, 2010
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Check out the English webzine Goddess Alive: a new magazine of Goddess celebration. Now into its 17th issue and its 8th year, if you peek back to issue 2 you will find fine paintings and an article about Brigit in the Hebrides, all by Jill Smith. Art from the series Brighde of the Isles was used on the cover of the Friends of Brides Mound CD, Songs of Bride.
“Brighde is an ancient creative force/goddess who later merged with St. Bridget of Kildare in Ireland to become something of both of them, yet more; and in the Hebrides she has her own distinct character.”
(For photos, ferry schedules, weather forecasts, jobs, events, and more for the Hebrides, click here to get to Western Isles of Scotland.)
The Cill Dara Historical Society site has a number of goodly bits on offer. An article on Brigit, a history of the area, a collection of old postcards, including the market square, the round tower, and the interior of the church. I do wish these were clickable to see larger images but alas, no.
Also included are a table of annals (plus bibliography), from 484 when Brigit founded the monastery to 1539 when the “Carmelite friary in Kildare (was) suppressed on 3 Apr. The friary was surrendered by the prior. It consisted of a church, belfry, dormitory hall and two chambers. Kildare also owned a messuage, a garden and a close containing one acre, as well as a cottage and six acres of arable land in the vicinity.”
The site is hosted by Kildare.ie--the County Kildare Community Network--with everything from community events, forum, and business directory to an A-Z of County Kildare Websites. Check it out before you visit!
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
The Secret of Kells
Here is a note of enthusiastic recommendation from one of the Daughters of the Flame:
I watched this film last night and it blew me away. It was astonishing. I was drawn into this gorgeous world. The animation if nothing else is stunning. But the clever way there was always something celtic on each frame, be it a swirl or design was brilliant. The story was lovely too. And the faerie was very sweet. My husband isn't sure what to make of this film. Not sure what to say, other than he loved the art (he's an artist so duh!) but he's out on the rest of it. I'd give it full marks.
The trailer is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTPAvY4y0pY
The official website is here: http://www.thesecretofkells.com/
And here is the trailer itself:
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
Two sites of interest for those eager for medieval Irish texts (etc!).
(1) In Parentheses:
In Parentheses is devoted to distributing texts, translations, and commentaries from a wide variety of areas and disciplines in an elegantly presented form.
Papers in Medieval Studies
Chinese Drama Series
Medieval Canadian Series
Medieval Castilian Series...
Medieval Irish Series
Medieval Italian Series
Medieval Latin Series
....Vaguely Decadent Series
The Colloquy with the Ancients, tr. Standish Hayes O'Grady (480K PDF)
The Vision of Adamnán (Fis Adamnáin), tr. C.S. Boswell (80K PDF)
The Irish Æneid (Imtheachta Æniasa), tr. George Calder (244K PDF)
The Voyage of Bran (Immram Brain), tr. Kuno Meyer (59K PDF)
The Feast of Bricriu (Fled Bricrend), tr. George Henderson (152K PDF)
The Destruction of Dá Derga's Hostel, tr. Whitley Stokes (156K PDF)
The Pursuit of the Gilla Decair and his Horse, tr. Standish Hayes O'Grady (92K PDF)
The Tain, tr. L. Winifred Faraday (312K PDF)
The Vision of MacConglinne (Aislinge Meic Conglinne), tr. Kuno Meyer (120K PDF)
The Wandering of Ulixes Son of Laertes (Merugud Uilix Maicc Leirtis), tr. Kuno Meyer (52K PDF)
The Death of the Sons of Usnach, tr. Eleanor Hull (98K PDF)
Of Related Interest:
Giraldus Cambrensis, The Conquest of Ireland, tr. Thomas Forester, rev. Thomas Wright (476K PDF)
Giraldus Cambrensis, The Topography of Ireland, tr. Thomas Forester, rev. Thomas Wright (400K PDF)
Modern Irish Flash Cards 4500 words (928K PDF)
Monday, May 31, 2010
LibraryThing is a wonderful site for lovers of books.
A home for your books.
A community of 1,000,000 book lovers.
Join the world’s largest book club.