Saturday, March 21, 2009

Brigit Gwers (OBOD lesson) by Susa Morgan Black

Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids member Susa Morgan Black offers online her 38 page lesson on Brigit, looked at from many aspects and supported with lots of notes, images, and resources. Below is a brief sample.

Druid Goddess
Brigit is a “pan Celtic” goddess, who was worshipped by both the Goidelic4 and Brythonic5 Celts in the British Isles and beyond. She is a solar deity, who once hung her mantle on a sunbeam.

In Celtic mythology, Brigit is the daughter of the Morrighan and the Dagda6, the Good God and
Chief of the Tuatha de Danaan, the ancient fairy race of Ireland, and the sister of Ogma, who
invented the Ogham alphabet. She was the wife of Bres, King of the Fomorians (who were at
war with the Tuatha de Danaan). Brigit was said to have been the mediator of peace between
the two ancient warring tribes. She was the mother of the Three Gods of Danu – Ruadan7,
Iuchar and Uar8. These three Gods were said to have married the three princesses of Ireland –
Eire, Fodhla and Banbha.9

In other sources, Brigid is the daughter of Boann, the Goddess of the River Boyne in Ireland.
Boann (bo fhionn) means “white cow”, an association she shares with Brigid.

Brigit is primarily the patron Goddess of poets, healers and smiths. She is also a patron of other
womanly arts – midwifery, dyeing, weaving and brewing, and the guardian of children and farm
animals – particularly cows.10 The island of Ireland itself is said to be the green mantle of Brigit.

She is also said to be the patron of travelers, sailors, and fugitives.

She is specifically a patroness to the Druids in her aspects of poetry (Bards), healing and
prophecy (Ovates) and blacksmithing.11 (Druids).


4. Goidelic – Gaels: Irish, Scots, and Manx Celts
5. Brythonic – British: Welsh, Cornish and Breton Celts
6. In other versions, Dagda is the son of Brigit; White Goddess, page 101. Dagda is the patron god of the Druids. In some
versions, he is the consort of Brigid.
7. In some sources, it’s Brian, Iuchar and Iuchurba (White Goddess, page 101)
8. Article on Brigit on the OBOD webpage, by Winter Cymres (
9. White Goddess, page 102
10. Kindling the Celtic Spirit, pg. 47
11. Blacksmithing is the art of transformation of metal, and they were considered great wizards and mages in ancient times,
which relates them directly to the transformative (alchemical) arts of the Druid.

Susa Morgan Black Resources List

Member of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids (OBOD) Susa Morgan Black has assembled an intriguing list of resources for lovers of Celtic and Brigidine lore, especially as travellers in Ireland. I paste a large portion of it here, but do
visit her site and see all that she has to offer you--poetry, articles, and much more. (See especially her Brigit Gwers {lesson}.)



General Celtic:

  • Kindling the Celtic Spirit, by Mara Freeman, Harper San Francisco, 2001
  • Druidcraft, the Magic of Wicca and Druidry, by Philip Carr-Gomm, Thorsons, London, 2002
  • Celtic Myth and Magic, by Edain McCoy, Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1995

St. Brigid:

  • Saint Gobnait of Ballyvourney, by Elís Uí Dháiligh, (some say Saint Gobnait is a version of Brigid in her patroness of Blacksmiths aspect)
  • Irish Legends: St. Brigid’s Cloak, by Reg Keating, Tarantula Books, Dublin, 1997
  • Rekindling the Flame, A Pilgrimage in the Footsteps of Brigid of Kildare, by Rita Minehan, CSB, Solas Bhride Community, 1999
  • In Search of St. Brigid, Foundress of Kildare, by Mary E. Pollard, St. Brigid’s Cathedral, Kildare, 1988
  • The Cathedral Church of Saint Brigid, Rev. John Paterson, Dean of Kildare, 1982
  • Brigit of Kildare by Ann Egan, Kildare County Council Library and Arts Services, 2001

Ogham, Irish Herbs and Trees:

  • Irish Trees, Myths, Legends and Folklore, by Nial Mac Coitir, The Collins Press, Cork, 2003
  • Irish Trees and Shrubs, by Peter Wyse-Jackson, Appletree Guide, Belfast, 1994
  • Healing Herbs in Ireland, by Paula O’Regan, Primrose Press, Dublin, 1997
  • Brighid’s Healing, Ireland’s Celtic Medicine Traditions, by Gina McGarry, Green Magic, Sutton Mallet, England, 2005
  • Ogham, Ancestors Remembered in Stone, by Susan Connolly and Anne-Marie Moroney, Flax Mill Productions, Drogheda, Ireland, 2000

Tour and Guide books:

  • The Book of Tara, by Michael Slavin, Wolfhound Press, Dublin, 1996
  • The Tara Walk by Michael Slavin, (self produced and available in his shop at the foot of Tara Hill)
  • The Druids at Tara, by Michael Slavin (self produced and available in his shop at the foot of Tara Hill)
  • Sheela-na-Gigs, Origins and Functions, by Eamonn P. Kelly, Country House, Dublin, 1996
  • Illustrated Map of the Sheela na Gigs of Britain and Ireland, by Jack Roberts and Joanne McMahon, Bandia Publishing, Ireland, 1997
  • Brú na Bóinne, Newgrange, Knowth, Dowth and the River Boyne, by Archeology, Ireland, 2003
  • The Complete Road Atlas of Ireland, Ordnance Survey, Ireland
  • Paddy Mac’s Gap of Dunloe Pictoral Guide
  • Guide to the National Museum of Ireland. by Patrick F. Wallace, Town House, Dublin, 2000
  • The Complete Road Atlas of Ireland, Ordnance Survey, Ireland
  • My personal travel journal, kept diligently for the duration of this extraordinary trip


  • The Story of Tara, produced by Michael Slavin, available at his shop at the bottom of Tara Hill

Museums, Tours, and Parks

  • Musaem Cheílteach Agus Réstaore. Dingle, County Kerry:
  • Arthur Young Nature Trail, Killarney National Park, begins near Muckross House. Many of the Druid trees grow here, including incredible giant Birches and Pines, as well as Oaks, Hawthorne, Alder, Hazel, Reed, Furze, Fern, and ancient Yews. Even found a Blackthorn bush near Dundag Bay!
  • National Museum of Ireland, Dublin:
  • Bram Stoker’s Dracula Experience, Dublin:
  • The Zozimus Ghostly Experience, Dublin:
  • Irish National Stud, Japanese Gardens, and Saint Fiachra’s Garden, Kildare
  • Dublin Ghost Bus Tour:
  • Dublinia, and the Viking World, Dublin:
  • Musaem Cheílteach Agus Réstaore. Dingle, County Kerry:
  • Arthur Young Nature Trail, Killarney National Park, begins near Muckross House. Many of the Druid trees grow here, including incredible giant Birches and Pines, as well as Oaks, Hawthorne, Alder, Hazel, Reed, Furze, Fern, and ancient Yews. Even found a Blackthorn bush near Dundag Bay!

By Susa Morgan Black

Druid (OBOD), NROOGD, FSA Scot

Friday, March 20, 2009

Brigid's Irregulars: A Celtic Reconstructionist Brigidine Order

Community Profile

This community is dedicated to the development and practice of a Celtic Reconstructionist order dedicated to honoring Brigid through flametending and other activities. We honor the decision of the nuns of Kildare to open access to Brigid's flame to all regardless of gender or religious faith. We strongly recommend members of Brigid's Irregulars be Celtic Reconstructionist if not actively sympathetic, as this is a CR order. In the spirit of the nuns' decision, however, we do not limit membership to Celtic Reconstructionists.

Multiple approaches to devotion to Brigid are an interest of several members of this order. We welcome diversity in rituals devoted to Brigid, as we believe Her multiple attributes encourage if not actively invite multiple ways of praising Her. We are currently focused on flametending as the base due to its long-established existence as a means of honoring Her, but there is a strong desire to expand. Those who wish to discuss other approaches but do not wish to tend a flame are welcome and encouraged to join the group.

Posts are friends-locked by default to provide a safer space for members to share their experiences. Membership is monitored to guard against trolls. (Editorial Intrusion: You must have a LiveJournal account and become a "friend" of this community, in that way obtaining permission to join. Members who seek to disrupt the group with provoking and unfair comments will be removed from membership. --Mael Brigde)

Our first flametending cell is completely filled. A second one can be started in the event more apply to do so. As a part of our practice, we ask that flametenders use the liturgy of the order as the basis of their shift's work. Other liturgical material, meditations or magical work may be added to it as desired by any individual, but the liturgy is intended to provide a connecting thread of poetry that unites all the flametenders of the order.

If you are interested in joining Brigid's Irregulars, contact or for more information.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Landscape with Two Saints: Upcoming Book Release

Landscape with Two Saints: How Genovefa of Paris and Brigit of Kildare Built Christianity in Barbarian Europe by Lisa M. Bitel

ISBN13: 9780195336528ISBN10: 0195336526 hardback, 320 pages; 15 halftones, 11 line illus.;
Apr 2009, Not Yet Published, Oxford University Press
$34.95 (01)

At a time when Europeans
still longed to be Roman and were just learning to be Christian, two extraordinary holy women-Genovefa of Paris (ca. 420-502) and Brigit of Kildare (ca. 450-524)-began to roam their homelands. One of these saints raised an apostolic church in the imperial city that would become Paris. The other scavenged fragments of that dwindling empire for the foundations of a grand Roman basilica built deep in barbarian territory. Both brought Christianity and romanitas (Roman-ness) to their people. By examining the ruins of their cities and churches, the workings of their cults, and the many generations of their devotees, Lisa Bitel shows how Brigit and Genovefa helped northern Europeans map new religion onto familiar landscapes. Landscape with Two Saints tells the twin stories of these charismatic women but also explains how ordinary people lived through religious change at the very beginning of the Middle Ages.

Tales of ancient conversions on distant landscapes have much to teach us about lived and built religion, why people choose new beliefs, and how they act out those beliefs in meaningful ways. The combined history of Brigit and Genovefa explains not just how a couple of legendary peripatetic women could become targets of devotion, but how and where Europeans became Christian, and what it meant to them on a daily basis. The story of these two saintly cults-not just in the pages of manuscripts, but on the streets of cities, in the stones of cemeteries, and in the walls of churches-also demonstrates the pervasive influence of gender and ethnicity, as well as regional culture and material environment, on the whole process of religious change. Bitel contends that in the building blocks of their churches and the tracks they once traveled, Genovefa and Brigit show us what the written words of missionaries and theologians never can: the active participation of converts in the history of their own conversion.


"Lisa Bitel's most recent book offers a fascinating window into two disparate late fifth-century landscapes: the first, Paris during the Hunnic invasions, and the second, rural Ireland following the conversions. ....Bitel's treatment of two highly enigmatic women makes a decisive contribution to our understanding of late antique and early medieval gender, hagiography, and religious history."
--Bonnie Effros, professor of history at Binghamton University (SUNY), author of Caring for Body and Soul: Burial and the Afterlife in the Merovingian World, Creating Community with Food and Drink in Merovingian Gaul , and Merovingian Mortuary Archaeology and the Making of the Early Middle Ages
"Lisa Bitel's Landscape with Two Saints is a wonderful book-scholarly, yet fascinating for anyone interested in the development of Christianity in the early Middle Ages. Bitel skillfully brings to life the world of Genovefa of Paris and Brigit of Kildare to highlight the often-neglected role of women in the medieval Church of western Europe."
--Philip Freeman, Orlando W. Qualley Chair of Classical Languages at Luther College and author of St. Patrick of Ireland
"This is a wonderful book - fascinating, provocative, and erudite. Utilizing a variety of sources, Bitel provides a detailed comparative study of the worlds of Saints Genovefa and Brigit and their remarkable accomplishments in the building of a new Christian society. No one knows these early sources better than Bitel who has been deeply involved in this research for many years. This will become a classic study of these important figures and the landscapes of Paris and Ireland during this formative period of early Christianization."
--Jane Tibbetts Schulenburg, Professor of History, Department of Liberal Studies and the Arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison, author of Forgetful of Their Sex: Female Sanctity and Society, ca. 500-1100

About the Author

Lisa Bitel is Professor of History, Religion, and Gender Studies at the University of Southern California.
from the website of Oxford University Press, USA.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Gracious Bride, a Blessing by A Hedge of Trees

January 25, 2009

Gracious Bride

Gracious Bride
Bless this my intent
bring it to birth on the Earthly plane
So mote it be, and blessed.

I pinch this candle of fire, your gift
may it burn more brightly in the realm of spirit
Continuing to fire my boon, for my good
and the good of all
'An it harm none, so mote it be

Brighid's Kiss: Triniti (Video on You Tube)

Beautiful song and video! I am trying to download it so I can share it here directly, but in the meantime, the url is this:

A Hedge of Trees posted these words to Brigit's Altar, 15 January 2009:

A version of Eithne and Padraig Ni hUallachain's "Brighid's Kiss is now on U tube together with beautiful images, mostly from Kildare.

In our Brigit celebrations we have used this track as Brigit enters the assembly, and it has been very powerful.

Here are the words of the original old Irish song, together with their additons.


1. Gabhaim Molta Bride…

Ionmhain í le hÉireann,

Ionmhain le gach tír í

Molaimis go léir í

Translation: Not sung

I praise Brighid

Beloved of Ireland

Beloved of all lands

We all praise her

2. Lóchrann geal na Laighneach

'Soilsiú feadh na tire

Ceann ar óghaibh Éireann

Ceann na mban ar míne.

Bright torch of Leinster

Shining throughout the land

Irish women cherish her

As do all fine women.

3. Tig an gheimhreadh dian dubh

Gearradh lena ghéire,

Ach ar Lá 'le Bríde

Gar dúinn Earrach Éireann

The harsh dark Winter comes

Cutting with its sharpness

But on Brighid's Day

Ireland's Spring is near.

4. Brighid of the sunrise, rising in the morning,

Rising with the Springtime, Greening all the land,

6.. You the red-eared white cow, Nourishing the people,

Nourish now the hunger, Souls' longing in our land.

5. See you in the soft cloud, See you in the raindrop,

See you in the winds of change, Blowing through the land.

7. Bird that is unfolding,

Now the time's upon us,

Only have we eyes to see, Your Epiphany.

Repeat first verse

Gabhaim Molta Bride…

A Hedge of Trees

American Academy of Religion

The American Academy of Religion has nothing directly to do with Brigit. What it has to do with is promoting understanding and tolerance between religions, and as such, has everything to do with her. Both the Goddess Brigit and Saint Brighid have reconciliation and caring in their toolkits, and both the religions of the Goddess and Christianity are capable of, and in need of, extending tolerance and understanding.

From their website:

Mission Statement

The following Mission Statement, Goals, and Strategic Objectives were adopted by the AAR Board of Directors in November 1995.

In a world where religion plays so central a role in social, political, and economic events, as well as in the lives of communities and individuals, there is a critical need for ongoing reflection upon and understanding of religious traditions, issues, questions, and values. The American Academy of Religion's mission is to promote such reflection through excellence in scholarship and teaching in the field of religion.

As a learned society and professional association of teachers and research scholars, the American Academy of Religion has over 8,000 members who teach in some 1,500 colleges, universities, seminaries, and schools in North America and abroad. The Academy is dedicated to furthering knowledge of religion and religious institutions in all their forms and manifestations. This is accomplished through Academy-wide and regional conferences and meetings, publications, programs, and membership services.

Within a context of free inquiry and critical examination, the Academy welcomes all disciplined reflection on religion--both from within and outside of communities of belief and practice--and seeks to enhance its broad public understanding.

"Consort with them in kindness, for if ye hate them it may happen that ye hate a thing wherein Allah hath placed much good." (An-Nisa': 19)

Prism Image with Brigit

Joan Lansberry arranged and photographed this beautiful image of Brigit for her multi-layered website.

Lovely work, Joan.