Monday, February 22, 2010

Call for Submissions: Why is Brighid a special Goddess for you?

A new book about the people who follow Brigit is being planned. Helen Roberts sent us this call for submissions.


Why is Brighid a special Goddess for you?
What experiences have you had with Brighid?
How has She communicated with you?
How has She helped you?
What rituals or practices in Brighid’s honour have you found to be particularly moving, inspiring or special?
How often do you connect with Brighid? – daily, monthly, seasonally, when a need arises and she is the most appropriate Goddess to turn to?

I am planning a book about the people who have had a connection with Brighid and I need your input. It may have been a once in a lifetime experience, or you may be a regular devotee. If you are willing to share your experiences, send them by email to


Please indicate whether you want your contribution to be anonymous or give the name to which it should be attributed e.g. Helen/Helen Roberts/ Helen from Gloucestershire
Many thanks and Blessings for your assistance.

Helen has offered the following questions as additional guides to writing your submission:

What about the people who are devoted to Brighid?
Why is Brighid so popular?
How do people relate to her, communicate with her, honour her etc. How did they first discover Brighid? Was it gradual or an epiphany?
How do they manifest her qualities in their lives?
Which of her many aspects do they connect with?
How does she inspire them?

Deadline: Midsummer, 2010.

Dear Contributors,
I have had several people asking the same questions and some asking questions which hadn't crossed my mind so this is a general round-up of answers. If you had a more specific, personal query, I'll reply individually.
  • This book is not a commercial venture - it is a labour of love which I hope will benefit and interest both the experienced devotee and the beginner.
  • There will be a charge for the book to cover the cost of the print run. (Fingers crossed that I sell them all.)
  • As you will have deduced from the above, I will not be able to pay anyone for their contribution.
  • Deadline for submissions is the summer solstice. (Brighid showed me the timeline for this.)
  • So, if you change your mind and want to withdraw your submission, please let me know before midsummer.
  • I would like a short title for each article (or I will have to think of one myself.) If you have already sent me your article, just send a quick email with a title. Thanks.
  • Copyright belongs to the author of each submission.
  • I shall include a note to the effect that whilst short quotations are acceptable, permission to quote extensively or to copy the whole article must be obtained from the author via me. I will forward requests.
  • Personal experiences and devotional practices are fine. However, if you're using prayers written by someone else, please give the source rather than writing out the whole prayer (for both space and copyright reasons.) However, short quotations are acceptable.
  • Poetry and creative writing about or inspired by Brighid belong to a different genre of book.This one is about personal experience, personal ritual and Brighid as she manifests in your daily life. As Goddess of healing and smithcraft, she was very practical and "hands on".
  • If you know anyone else who would be interested in contributing, do please let them know. I'll add my original questions and suggestions below so that you only need to forward one email to them.
I hope I have answered all of the questions you have sent me - plus a few that you haven't.
Many thanks,

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Cult of Brighde by Kelly B.Taylor

Kelly Taylor has posted online a 55 page student paper called The Cult of Brighde in Ireland. I will confess I have only so far glanced at it. Shocking number of spelling mistakes and typos, and some awkward turns of phrase in the sections I've looked at, which doesn't bode entirely well. Still, she seems to have done her homework, and has covered a lot of interesting terrain, so I will give it a go eventually. In the meantime, here are a couple of short excerpts:

The Cult of Brighde in Ireland

By Kelly B. Taylor

The modern usage of the word "cult" has taken on a negative, obsessive, almost demonic connotation. This is not what I am referring to by the "cult" of St. Brigid. Rather, I refer to more of the religion-within-a-religion that is the rites, beliefs and history behind the practice of the veneration or worship of the Irish Catholic Saint, Brigid of Kildare. It is not an aberrant part of the society, nor are there secret doctrines that specifically go against the teachings of the Catholic Church. But the full complexity of the role of St. Brigid in the Irish Church is so vast, I believe it could be maintained as a religion in its own right...

(pg 1)

It is my goal to fully convince the reader that there has been a continuous practice of the worship of the Celtic goddess Brighde from pre-Christian era of the first and second centuries, through to today. I will explain how this was made possible by the form of Celtic Monasticism in Ireland, the acceptance of the cult of the saint in Roman Catholicism, and the ever-present need for a mother-figure, a healer, an artisan of words and metal and a fertility goddess in agricultural Ireland... (pg 3)

Songs of Bride: Fundraising CD for Friends of Bride's Mound

"Songs of Bride" arrived today. I was afraid I wouldn't like it -- a lot of pagan music is rockier than I enjoy. But saving Bride's Mound is a worthwhile project and I'm happy to kick in a little now and then to help pay off the bank loan, which is what earnings from this CD are meant to do. (Though regular old donations probably do still more in that regard. Or membership sales.)

I was pleasantly surprised. The music is good, well performed and well presented, and appeals to me (as a bonus). The cover is graced with lovely artwork, and the words are included. Very pleased to have these love songs to Brigit.

From the Friends of Bride's Mound website:

Songs of Bride: CD of music honouring Bride by various artists including Jana Runnalls, Julie Felix, Silver on the Tree, Triskelian... Cover art by Dorrie Joy and sleeve art by Jill Smith. This CD has been produced to raise funds for the Friends of Bride's Mound and all the tracks have been donated free of charge by the artists.

Hello and Welcome to Friends of Bride's Mound TM

Bride's Mound is a mound to the West of Glastonbury, just near the foot of Wearyall Hill (on the right in the photo).

Small it may be, but its history is great, being known as the western gateway to Avalon where pilgrims would stay in vigil through the night before passing on up the processional way to Avalon proper - and to the Tor.

The mound appears to have served this function through a seamless transition into the Christian period, as this is the legendary site of a pre-Christian bruga - a Druidic hostel/college. Such an established spritual community would have been a fertile source of recruitment for monks at the fledgeling abbey. Later, King Arthur is said to have had a vision of the Virgin Mary and the Christ Child here, and that St. Brigid of Kildare (Brighde) stayed here in 488 AD.

Two stone chapels were dedicated to her and built, consecutively, on the same site where, as legend would have it, stood a much earlier wooden structure - the Shrine of Saint Mary Magdalene- during Brigid's time. As so often happens on the Isle of Avalon, the results of archaeological investigations turn out to be remarkably consistant with ancient legend.

Download our January 2008 Newsletter Here (pdf file)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"The Brídeog": a Short Story

I am preparing to review a number of Brigit books and it suddenly occurred to me that this past summer a short story concerning Brigit appeared in Escape Clause: A Speculative Fiction Annual, edited by Clélie Rich.

In the story, "The Brídeog" by Casey Wolf*, a young woman disenchanted with country life interferes with her mother's heartfelt traditional welcoming of Brigit--to the distress of the mother and the great irritation of the Brídeog herself.

* Author of Finding Creatures & Other Stories (as C. June Wolf). Wattle and Daub Books (2008).

Brigit CDs

Paul Williment, on his site Brighid Goddess and Saint, has a list of CDs of interest to any Brigidine. We have a few other CDs mentioned on this site that aren't listed below. Click on CDs in the label list to the left and below, or enter it in the Search box to the left and above, to see what else we have here. (As above, so below?) Or, heck! I can post the link here:

Paul's Brighid CD list:

Brighid Cds


A collection of wyrd folk, including Brigid of the Healers with lyrics based on the Carmina Gadelica, by Jenne Micale, from New York State, whose matron deity is Brigid. Padma Records published 2005.

Braiding the Flame of Brigid*

(see bottom of post for lyrics)

A CD of 13 songs celebrating the spirit of Brigid of Kildare composed, performed and produced by Minette Quick in time for the Feile Bhride 2000. Available from Solas Bhride.

Brigid, Celtic Goddess and Christian Saint

A CD of 13 stories and songs recorded on Brigid's Eve at the Findhorn Foundation by Peter Vallance — storyteller and teacher of sacred dance — and Diana Elaina, singer and harpist. Available from Peter Vallance.

Brighid's Kiss

Gerry O'Connor and Eithne Ni Uallachain's CD of 11 Gaelic songs including the delightful, “Brighid's Kiss” inspired by the song Galshaim Molta Bride — I praise Brighid, Beloved of Ireland, Beloved of all Lands, We all praise her. Lughnasa Music LUGCD961 published 1996.

Circle of the Seasons

Lisa Thiel 's CD of ritual music for the wheel of the year includes a song for Imbolc entitled, Blessed Bridget. Sacred Dream published 2005.

Flame of Ireland

Canty's absolutely beautiful recording of medieval Irish plainchant for the feast of St. Brigit. From a fifteenth century noted breviary in the library of Trinity College Dublin.Gaudeamus CD GAU354 published 2005.

Invocation of the Graces

Lisa Thiel 's CD of 14 songs based on traditional material from the Carmina Gadelica. The cover art depicts Brighid as the Queen of Faery. It includes the beautiful, 'Song to Brighid'. This song has been choreographed as a gentle sacred circle dance to empower the sacred feminine, Blessed Woman by Lucy van Leeuwen. Sacred Dream published 2001.

Lady Moon

Kellianna's CD of 11 goddess inspired songs includes a track to Brighid with lyrics written by Heidi Couture for an Imbolc gatheringin 2002 — Blessed Brighid burning bright lead us from the darkest night… published 2003 and available from CD Babyor direct from Kellianna.

Missa Celtica

The English Chamber Orchestra and the Choir of New College, Oxford perform John Cameron's, Missa Celtica celebrating a golden age of Celtic art. The CD includes a setting of Bridget's Descent from Carmina Gadelica — I am under the shielding of good Brigit each day… Erato 3984-25494-2 published 1999.

Return to the Goddess

Jana Runnalls CD of 13 goddess songs thanking the earth for her beauty and the gift of life includes the track, Brighde Our Lady. published 1999 and available from wild women music.

Songs of Bride

CD of music honouring Bride by various artists including Jana Runnalls, Julie Felix, Silver on the Tree, Triskelian... Cover art by Dorrie Joy and sleeve art by Jill Smith. This CD has been produced to raise funds for the Friends of Bride's Mound and all the tracks have been donated free of charge by the artists.

Songs of the Celtic Night

Trio Nocturna's CD of Celtic inspired songs includes the evocative song, Bridghid's Fire — Where have they gone? The price of their fame. The old ways have gone and fools forget they name. Trio Nocturna was formed in 1992 by the harpist, Thomas Dodd. Published in 1996 and now hard to find.

Singing the Wheel of BrigitAna

VocalAna's first CD of 10 songs written by Sally Pullinger celebrating and invoking the ancient goddesses of Celtic Britain celebrated in the Wheel of Ana at the Glastonbury Goddess Temple. The CD includes a Song for Bridie — Bridie, maiden of the fire, Goddess of the source… published 2004 and available from VocalAna.

Vox de Nube

Nóirín Ní Riain and the monks of Glenstal Abbey sing choral music linking heaven and earth, including a setting of Brigid's Prayer — I'd like to give a lake of beer to God. Sounds True STAA318 published 1999.

Welcome Brigid

A collection of celtic, medieval and original songs to the Divine Feminine sung by Katy Taylor and Amy Fradon. The CD includes 3 songs to Brighid (Welcome Brigid, Lady Gregory's Poem to Brigid and a Brigidine version of Ave Maris Stella) along with others to Mary and Sophia. Published 2005.


With the fire in the head

The fire in the forge

With the fire in the cauldron burning

Let us braid a new cord

Lay down every sword

God's love in our hearts a-burning


Over and Under and Over and 'Round

We are braiding the flame of Brigid

Over and Under and Over and 'Round

She is braiding our hearts, our Brigid

Come drink at her well

Seek healing's true wealth

Take courage her flame is still burning

Seek justice and peace

Come share in the feast

Her spirit is now preparing

(chorus) Over and Under...

She brings us new hope

The strength of the oak

God's love in our hearts is yearning

Thanksgiving and grace

For the whole human race

Her love for the earth we're sharing

(chorus) Over and Under...

May the spark she ignites

Blaze up and burn bright

Showering blessings all over Creation

May we welcome her fire

Our hearts to inspire

May her flame light a New Millenium

- Minette Quick


Braiding the Flame

Celtic Goddess Christian Saint

Brighid's Kiss

Circle of the Seasons

Flame of Ireland

Invocation of Graces

Lady Moon

Missa Celtica

Return to Goddess

Songs of Celtic Night

Singing the Wheel of BrigitAna

Vox de Nube

Welcome Brigid

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

5th annual Cyberspace Poetry Slam for Brigid

Autumn Hiscock passed on through Facebook the invitation to publish Brigit poetry all over the web today.

(Go to the bottom of this post to see my offering.)

Autumn encourages us to "Help weave a web of poetry today in honour of Brigid by posting a poem (original or otherwise) on your blog, journal, Facebook page, Twitter, or somewhere else (who says you can’t write one out and pin it to a bulletin board at work, or tape it to your office door?). Leave links to it in the comments area of other post...ed poems; follow the other links you find online to read a vast woven web of poetry today."

Here is the original invitation from Oak:

5th annual Cyberspace Poetry Slam for Brigid
Feel free to copy the following to your blog/facebook/website and spread
the word. Let poetry bless the blogosphere once again!
WHAT: A Bloggers (Silent) Poetry Reading
WHEN: Anytime February 2, 2010
WHERE: Your blog
WHY: To celebrate the Feast of Brigid, aka Groundhog Day
HOW: Select a poem you like - by a favorite poet or one of your own - to
post February 2nd.
RSVP: If you plan to publish, feel free to leave a comment and link on
this post. Last year when the call went out there was more poetry in
cyberspace than I could keep track of. So, link to whoever you hear
about this from and a mighty web of poetry will be spun.
Please pass this invitation on…

Hail, Poetry! Let the web be woven!

Autumn's offering can be found at

And here is mine, from 20 February 1995:

St. Brigit of Kildare

she was a short woman with heavy hair
the colour of peat
plaited and pinned back recklessly
her skin bore a swarthy
neolithic caste
hips hands forehead
broad and strong as rock

she never read
nor spoke from a pulpit
and no
she didn't appoint bishops
hang her garment on a beam of sun
cause the milk to flow
from calfless teats

she never met saint patrick
didn't catch the slippery christ
as he was squeezed from his mother's pelvis
she never was a goddess
though she believed in many
her god was well accompanied

the land spoke to both of them
birds' pathways meant much
and a poem sung on an injured part could heal

yeats would not have known her
we would not have known her
she would have stared at us
from crooked brows
if she had seen how we'd picture her

she would have trod on
a sort of prayer inherent
in her breath her step
her glance at the harebell
on the moist edge of the spring

Mael Brigde

Monday, February 01, 2010

Meditation Matters - St. Brigid's Day

Ellie Finlay presents a lovely Brigid's Cross on her blog "Meditation Matters". She says, "Making a Brigid's cross is a wonderfully meditative experience. You can learn how to do it right here."

Meditation Matters - St. John's Center - Reflections and announcements by Sr. Ellie Finlay of St. John's Center for Spiritual Formation.

The Anam Cara Experience & A Brigit Breviary: An Interview

Bee Smith, author of the soon-to-be-released poetry collection A Brigit Breviary is interviewed online with her husband Tony Cuckson of The Anamcara Experience. The show is Tell Me Your Story, with interviewer Richard Dugan, and the interview can be found right here:

Tony Cuckson is a storyteller and Anam cara, born one of twins in Milford, County Armagh not far from where Macha ran her legendary race at Navan Fort before giving birth herself to twins. In Ireland the mythic and one's own personal story never seem far from one to the other, with frequent overlaps and meaningful coincidences.

He weaves Irish mythology into his updated wonder tales and peoples them with those known as the Tuatha de Dannan. These are the people who were once the Shining Ones and who were driven underground by the invading Milesians. The Tuatha de Dannan are the people who then became the fairie folk known as the little people.

As a storyteller Tony takes this metaphor and turns it into stories for modern minds and hearts. Using storytelling, songs and poetry from Ireland and beyond you are invited to reclaim the beauty that you are. Tony invites this return to beauty and power through writing and in live performance using storytelling, song and poetry.

This storyteller met his anam cara in 1980 when he returned from a spiritual pilgrimage to India. He was staying with a friend in London and saw that the local library had a Poetry Circle on every Thursday evening.

When he walked through the door of the Dalston Junction Public Library on a rainy November evening he clapped his eyes on a young blonde haired woman seated at the conference table of local poets. The thought sprang into his head, "That woman is going to be my wife." The next thought was, "What an odd thing to think!"

Surprising thoughts not withstanding, nearly three decades later, poetry continues to be a strong soul link in their relationship. Sometimes soul friends also become soul mates.

Bee Smith writes many of the articles on Practices and includes some of her own Soul Friends in the Radiant Soul Friend section of the website.

Bee has had her poetry, fiction and non-fiction published in magazines, pamphlets and small presses in England, Ireland and the USA. Her special interest is haiku as a spiritual practice. A Brigit Breviary will be available soon from Wattle and Daub Books.