Wednesday, November 18, 2015

New Brigit Blog: Her Eternal Flame

From Erin's new Brigit blog:

An Invitation

An invitation welcomes, and there are so many welcomings.
Brighid’s Eternal Flame invites us to sit within Her Light, and allow it to transform us.
We, in turn, can invite Her Eternal Flame into the sanctum of our heart centers, the depths of our souls, where that mystical transformation takes place.
The hospitality of welcoming is the promise of giving, and the humble joy in receiving bounty.
My invitation to my fellow Brighidine Flametenders, devotees, and other interested readers, is twofold:
I invite you to read along and explore with me my unfolding vision of contemplative Brighidine mysticism, in terms of spirituality and practice, and how this might inform our roles and paths as Brighidine Flametenders today.
I also invite you to envision and intuit yourselves the various ways in which such a path might express itself, the varieties of how She might speak to the human soul, that each soul might find those ways which resonate most meaningfully.  We might each have our own paths to and within Contemplative Brighidine Mysticism, and I think we can only benefit by sharing them with one another, and that in doing so, the flame burns brighter.
Please feel free to share your insights and thoughts and visions in the comments here.  Let us continue to tend Her flame together, as fellow Keepers of Her Eternal Flame.
Brìde Bless.

Monday, November 09, 2015

The Cow That Nursed Saint Brigit

A Short History of Irish Moiled Cattle: Thanks for this, Vicki!

We nearly lost them. Thanks to those who've brought them back. Wouldn't I love to have a few of these beauties grazing in the back.

From Bethu Brigte, the Irish Life of Saint Brigit:

When it was time to wean her the druid was anxious about her; anything he gave her [to eat] she vomited at once, but her appearance was none the worse. ‘I know’, said the druid, ‘what ails the girl, [it is] because I am impure.’ Then a white red-eared cow was assigned to sustain her and she became well as a result.

Perhaps I'll change my name to Moil (Maol) Brigde...

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Croghan Hill by Sara777

Croghan Hill (Bog of Allen County Offaly Ireland) by Sarah777
Public Domain -- Wikimedia Commons
I wanted to envision Croghan Hill, Saint Brigit's old home, and ancestral territory of her father, Dubthach son of Dreimne. So I looked it up online and found this wonderful "severely enhanced vision" of it uploaded to Wikimedia by Sarah777, Click on the image for a large version.

It may not be the whole story, but what a lovely aspect to it.

(I think I see her walking on the hill.)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Stone on the Belly: A Brigit Poetry Blog

It is probably time to fess up and tell you that I have begun a new blog for my Brigit poetryStone on the Belly. I have written a heck of a lot of these things, and am slowly publishing a few of them online.

Some focus on the goddess(es), some the saint, some both. Others reflect my relationship to Brigit over time. I don't try to make all of her lore and traditions into a single unified whole, but let each poem, each tradition, stand on its own foundations.

Below is the introduction to Stone on the Belly. You are welcome to come by and dip in, or sign up for alerts.

Writing Brigit

Many years ago I wrote my first Brigit prayer. Poem. Blessing...

I have been writing them ever since, but seldom share them. Some of them are carefully crafted, some simple and straight from the heart.

I also read the prayers and blessings of my sisters in the Daughters of the Flame and other Brigit-loving women and men, and they fill me with surprise and delight.

I would like to share some of these poems with you.

Following is the one that signs off each of my emails, a reminder to me to guide my words and intentions with care when I write to anyone. It's as good a place to start as any.

Flame Offering

In the name of the three Brigits
I light the candle of my heart

May I offer it to everyone
gentle and steady
warm and bright

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Three Lesser Known Brigs of Irish Lore

"The Three Brigits of the Ulster Cycle & the Forgotten Origins of Neopagan Theology" is a lovely article by Christopher Scott Thompson. If you have heard references to Brig Ambue, Brig Briugu, etc., but not gotten much more of their stories, this is a good place to get the skinny, with some Celtic Twilight extras that link to that old NeoPagan trope, Maiden, Mother, and Crone.

Christopher pulls the material together nicely. Be sure to read the comments below for a little extra clarification.

Here is a teaser from the article:

"Brig Ambue was the wife of Celtchar MacUthechair of the Ulster Cycle, but she was sometimes referred to as Brig Brethach or “Brigit of the Judgments,” supposedly because she gave a famous legal judgment in correction of her father Sencha mac Ailella, poet and judge to Conchobar MacNessa. The name Sencha is very similar tosenchas, a word that means lore or tradition. This is especially significant because the references to Brig Ambue come from the Senchas Mor or “Great Tradition,” a medieval collection of Brehon law.
Brig Brethach was her mother, the wife of the same famous judge and poet.
Sencha’s mother was Brig Briugu or “Brigit of Hospitality,” but the glosses to a story called Din Techtugud identify this Brig as the Brig Brethach who corrected Sencha’s false judgment.[4]   
Three Brigits: the mother, wife and daughter of a famous poet whose name actually means Lore or Tradition, and who are known mostly from a book called the Great Tradition.
We are not dealing with scattered references to women named Brigit, but with a second trinity of Three Brigits. Unlike the more well-known trinity of three sisters from the Mythological Cycle, these three are from the Ulster Cycle. As such, they are described as being human women- but their connection to the goddess is now unmistakable, and they are probably best described as avatars."

Christopher Scott Thompson is a member of Clann Bhride and writes "The Loop of Brighid" column for Patheos.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

When the Daughters, and Why?

From the 1994 newsletter, by Hawthorne

One of the Daughters of the Flame sent me an email today asking, "...when did you set up Daughters of the Flame? And what inspired you to do so?"

I wrote a brief reply and after doing so thought maybe others would be interested, as well.


"I began working on it in 1992. I'd devoted myself to Brigit a few years before, and I thought it would be good to have the practice of tending her flame reintroduced. At that time it was not being tended anywhere, not even by the Brigidine nuns, and that felt sad to me.

I didn't have a lot of energy for organizing, but I thought this I could do. So I asked some women friends if they wanted to do it, and a man friend offered to make a computer program for scheduling worldwide, and we lit the flame for the first shift on Imbolc 1993.

I didn't know for several years that the Brigidine sisters relit the flame in Kildare on that day, as well. Very cool. Obviously the time was right."

Still is.


From the first Daughters of the Flame newlsetter: the astonishing news that by word of mouth we had grown from five to twenty flamekeepers between Imbolc and Bealtaine. Astonishing because I knew almost no one in The Community.  Remember, this was pre-internet, and I was not yet on email. Another world, it was...

Friday, September 25, 2015

A Blessed Little Beer

Well, I should not be surprised by this, but I guess I was (I haven't tasted it--if anyone does, let me know what you think):

Cycle Saisonnier – Seasonal Saisons


Mary of the Gael

Spring Saison


St. Brigid’s Day is celebrated in Ireland at the time of Imbolic, a once pagan celebration of ‘summer in the belly of winter’. This release in our series of seasonal saisons is a refreshingly hoppy take on saison for springtime. Mary of the Gael has a simple base of pilsner malt, a touch of honey malt and is dry-hopped with a copious amount of floral hops
.Web Mary of the Gael
Alc. by Vol. 6.5% |  21 IBUs | 14 °Plato  | Light foods/Fish/Artisan Cheese/Asian | Best  at cellar temperature (55 °F)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Well of Five Streams: Essays in Celtic Paganism by Erynn Rowan Laurie

Some of you will remember a post I wrote last year about "Queering the Flame", an essay on Brigidine flame-tending, past and present. I noted then that it would be included in the then-upcoming book by Erynn Rowan Laurie, The Well of Five Streams. (Check here for that post.)

Well, it came out this summer. Click here to find out more or purchase the book.

Five streams flow from Manannán’s well in the Land of Promise; those who seek inspiration must drink from the well and the five streams. Finding this well requires dedication to the pursuit of wisdom. The book you hold contains the fruit of over twenty years of thought and deep exploration by this Celtic polytheist theologian. Much of the included material is out of print or hard to find, but there are also new pieces for long-time readers of Laurie’s work. There are essays on non-Celtic paths, examinations of Gaelic poetic traditions, musings on sacred madness, community, entheogens, the role of gender in Brigidine flamekeeping, and much more.

Here's a review from Goodreads:

A treasure trove of wisdom, this anthology offers invaluable discussions of concepts that are key to Celtic polytheism, Celtic Reconstructionism, and modern Druidism. Erynn Rowan Laurie takes the reader on a journey through beauty and madness, poetry and truth, the divine and the mundane, weaving them all together into a cohesive and captivating whole. Truly essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the beliefs of the ancient Irish and how those beliefs can be interpreted and applied today, as well as a fascinating and essential view into one woman’s journey along this path (less)

Saturday, September 05, 2015

The Mythical Pairing of Brig and Bres: Its Origins and Meaning in ‘Cath Maige Tuired’

“In the ninth century Irish text “Cath Maige Tuired”, the figure of Bres offers an illustration of a failed king and his impact on prosperity. The goal of this paper is to uncover a greater mythical significance to Bres, and to begin to discover what the presence of his wife Brig (Brigit, daughter of the Dagda) in the tale might indicate. This is done by examining their significant attributes and relationships in this and other texts and, in the case of Brig, in material attaching to St Brigit of Ireland.”

There is very little evidence in the medieval texts of a goddess named Brigit: this is one of two that I know of.

For those who haven't read the text, it's quite interesting, as is the First Battle of Moytura, which also features Bres although Brig doesn't make it in.  But even if you haven't read and don't feel like reading the texts, you can still learn some interesting facts about Brig, her husband and children, and the world of the medieval Irish tales in “The Mythical Pairing of Brig and Bres”.

Click here for the free pdf download at               

Morgan Daimler I think the paper raises some very interesting ideas about Bres and his ultimate role in the mythology beyond "bad king" that deserve some real reflection. I also like the exploration of Brig and Bres as a couple and why that could be and is significant - its really not a subject I've seen anyone else try to deal with.

Pinar Writes: this is beautiful, many thanks for sharing. I shall dowload it and refer to it later as well. it's not easy (at least for me) to form and understand the relationships and what they represent between Celtic deities sometimes; they're so much more fluid than, say, the Greco-Roman pantheon. that's one part of the challenge. after all these years (about 20!) I'm still trying to figure out the connections, the symbolism, regional variances and all that. articles like yours are very helpful in that sense.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

The Scribe That Shouldn't Be

I was just grabbing an embed code from YouTube, where I had uploaded "I Will Kindle My Fire", and I noticed under the "More" button: Transcript.

Oh, good idea, thought I, who had just been in the throes of creating one myself. Let's see what they have:


I leukemia do my father who this my whole room
in the through dozens who viewed noontime who you yumm
who she is keen dude in my heart it do you feel you
hopefully move love to my new you
her to my food to move away from noon to my keen to you
to movie reviews her new you to move
room we found out my
wounds without shedding Lucy
we've heard hmm
a movie we found few you...


I especially like "wounds without shedding Lucy". If you would like to
experience the whole transcript, or indeed, listen to the song and look at 
the pictures of hearths and sacred flames, you may find them at the 
following link.

Or for the song without the "transcript", see below:

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Errors in the Flamekeeping Map--Please Check To See If They Are Yours

Nothing huge, just:

Melody: There are three Points (i.e. balloons without names). Point 30, 39 & 40. Two are in England. Please fix them by tomorrow afternoon MST. If they aren't fixed, I'll erase them. These people didn't edit the name when they made a location balloon so it stayed a point number.

So if you enter yourself on the map, please put a name beside it.

See below for an explanation of all this.

Addendum: Melody made my blob-point marker into a cow! Yay!!!

Not this one, of course. But still, a cow.

Monday, August 24, 2015

New sculpture of St Brigid unveiled at Féile Bríde (2014)

By the artist who brought us--

St. Brigid of Kildare - This sculpture of St. Brigid captures that moment where she gave her father’s treasured sword to a leper in the the presence of the King of Leinster. Before her father was able to strike her down, she explained that she had given the sword to God through the leper. The King, being a Christian, forade her father to strike her and granted her freedom saying “her ment before God is greater then our own”

--a new sculpture is unveiled. Or was, a year and a bit ago. How did I miss this one? Wish I could get a clearer image.

New sculpture of St Brigid unveiled

at Féile Bríde

By Ann Marie Foley - 04 February, 2014
New 9ft bronze of Ireland’s famous female saint created
by Canadian sculptor, Timothy Schmalz.

Sculpture of St Brigid with artist Tim Schmalz
A new sculpture of St Brigid by an internationally renowned artist is to be unveiled at this year’s Féile Bríde festival in Kildare which continues this week.
Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz, who created the 9ft bronze of Ireland’s famous female saint, hit the headlines in Co Mayo last March when he proposed erecting a 100ft statue of St Patrick on top of the Reek.
However, the sculptor abandoned his plans for that sculpture, which would have been higher than the Christ the Redeemer statute in Rio, due to strong local opposition.
His life-sized sculpture ‘Jesus the homeless’ depicting Jesus as a homeless man sleeping on a park bench recently found favour with Pope Francis who blessed it.
Now a permanent home is being sought for it in Rome near the Vatican.
The arrival of his latest sculpture in Kildare has been delayed by poor weather conditions. The statute of St Brigid was commissioned and donated by Fr Dennis O’Neill from St Martha’s Catholic Church in Morton Grove (a northwest suburb of Chicago), Illinois, USA.
Read more:

World Map of Flamekeepers

Here's a fun project.

Ord Brighideach has put up a world map for Brigidine flamekeepers of any group (or solo performers) who wish to pin their locations for others to see. You can be as vague or as specific about location and identity as you like.

Here's the link.

And here's a screenshot of the map, just before I figured out how to add my name. Now, I know in Daughters of the Flame alone we have participants in England, Ireland, Switzerland, Italy, etc., so it will be interesting to see how this develops over time.

I sure wish I knew how Melody made her icon into a cow...

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Feedback Wanted for Online Courses: What Do You Want With Brigit???

St Birgitta Revelationes Nuremburg* Anthony Koberger

I am planning a series of online classes about Brigit, starting with an introductory level and moving on from there.
I have many ideas of my own, by I want to know what the main questions, needs, hopes are for aspiring and current Brigidines.
If you can recall what your challenges or interests were in the early days of your acquaintance with her, and what they have evolved into, or indeed if you are at that beginning place now, I would love to have your feedback. You can leave a comment here (If you don't want it published I will keep it private) or PM me through Facebook to speak privately.
Many thanks!

* Yes, I know that St Birgitta isn't St Brigit. I just love the image!

Flame-Keepers Directory

The flame-keeping group Nigheanan Brighde has set up a Directory of Brigidine Flametending Orders. A good idea, though daunting. If you have a group you would like included, or if you are looking for a group to join, have a look at their website.

Regarding Nigheanan Brighde itself, it appears to be a welcoming group, mainly accessible through Facebook.

They say, "Nigheanan Brìghde’s Vision is of a renewed Priestesshood for the goddess Brìde, in which sisterhood is fostered, spiritual growth is nurtured, healing is offered, creating is honored, study is encouraged, and Imbas is sought, while deepening our service to, and relationship with our lady Brìde."


The Directory of Brigidine Flametending Orders seeks to be a storehouse and database of all Orders dedicated to Brighid, to assist the Brighid-devotee in choosing among the various Orders that best meets her or his needs.
Orders will be listed to include a brief description of vision and mission, website and contact information, whether Pagan, Christian, or open to both, and whether female-only or open to men.
The Directory is sponsored by Nigheanan Brìghde, Order of Brigidine Priestesses and Flamekeepers at
To have a listing included in the Directory, please email the relevant information in 100 words or less to or join and post to the facebook group, Flametenders International at
Thank you, and Brìde Bless!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Blessings of Lughnasa and the Well at Liscannor

Blessings of (almost) Lughnasa!

Saint Brigit's Well at Liscannor in Co. Clare is a traditional site for Lughnasa celebrations, as described in Máire MacNeill's The Festival of Lughnasa. That festival, held there on the last Sunday in July (Garland Sunday, called by some Garlic Sunday), and her own feast day at Imbolc were the two major days of pilgrimage to the site. At one time the Aran Islanders paddled over in their curraghs and walked the five miles inland to her well, where they spent the night singing to the spellbound locals.

Blessings of Lugh and Brigit on the harvest.

Sitting in drought-kissed British Columbia, where the fires have been raging for weeks and now the air is sweet with one day's rain, I am very aware of the delicate balance of plenty and famine. I pray for rain in healthful quantities in all our countries, for food and nourishment of every kind for all, for the wisdom to steward this planet challenged by our numbers and our ways of life.

Blessings of Lughnasa on you and your families.

 George Petrie (1790-1866), Pilgrims at Saint Brigid's Well, Liscannor, Co. Clare, c.1829-1830, NGI.2381

George Petrie (1790-1866)
Watercolour on paper, 18.5 x 26 cm.
Bequeathed, Miss M. Stokes, 1900.
St Brigid’s Well at Liscannor, Co. Clare is one of a number of Irish holy wells associated with St Brigid of Kildare, one of Ireland’s patron saints.
The well is a popular site of pilgrimage with great numbers travelling from across Clare and the Aran Islands to participate in the traditional Lughnasa festival on the last Sunday of July (or first Sunday in August).
Petrie shows the well from across a narrow stream. A number of pilgrims perform the various stages of the Rites associated with the well; some kneel in prayer while others circle the well, which is marked by a standing stone inscribed with a cross. The well is depicted in its original location before being moved to a more convenient site in 1853, where it remains today.
Petrie was one of a circle of scholars, antiquarians and artists who, fascinated by Irish history and folklore, toured the country studying and documenting its scenery and antiquities. This is one of his many watercolours depicting locations of Irish cultural significance and is a typical example of his approach to painting. Although romantic and sentimental in style, his work was accurate in its representation of the subject matter. 


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Broccan's Hymn

I record these so I can listen to them in peaceful moments. My pronunciation leaves something to be desired but if you aren't too fussy, you may also get something out of the contemplative nature of a reading.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Story Archaeologists Search for Brigid

St Brigid's Well at Faughart

I'm very fond of the podcasts (and blog posts) put together by the Wonderful and Talented Chris Thompson and Isolde Carmody on their site Story Archaeology. With well wrought stories, thorough examinations of texts, and a good dose of humour, they present fresh thinking on old stories from Irish mythology.

Follow this link to explore the posts tagged "Brig", or listen (I have pasted a small excerpt below) to "Mythical Women" episode 5 "The Search for Brigid". They provide downloadable files of all their podcasts (mp3s), or you may subscribe to them through iTunes. (Hint: I have found with iTunes in this particular case that I need to download the podcasts one at a time. Can't just click on them all and walk away.)

Hear also (of course!) the podcast on Brig's husband Bres in the Cath Maige Tuired, and read the associated blog postings.

Bres by Jim Fitzpatrick

Monday, June 22, 2015

News Flash! Two Easters Celebrated at Kildare, Says Bethu Brigte!

from Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum.
An interesting little tidbit, this.
I noticed in rerereading Bethu Brigte the other day (The Irish Life of Saint Brigit--so called because it was written in Irish, not Latin) that Bishop Mel, and therefore his flock, was celebrating both Easters. 
"24 - On the following day, Monday, Mel came to Brigit to preach and say Mass for her between the two Easters."
Bethu Brigte was written down in the Book of Leinster c.800–850 CE--nearly two hundred years after the Synod of Whitby. It was at Whitby that King Oswiu ruled Northumbria would go with the Romans on the date of Easter and on monastic tonsures, rather than the Irish monastic practices followed at Iona, etc. (Synod of Whitby, 664 CE).
According to Wikipedia The Infallible (and allegedly to Haddan and Stubbs), South Ireland adopted the Roman dates circa 626-8 and North Ireland in 692. This means that Kildare itself had likely been celebrating Easter on the Roman date since a hundred years or so after St Brigit's death, and long before the BB was written. Which gives a wonderful sense of verisimilitude to the detail, that at one time, in order to hedge (if you'll pardon the pun) their bets, monasteries such as Kildare were celebrating not one nor the other, but both.
You can find the Bethu Brigte here: