Brigid, the Celtic Goddess
Triple Goddess and Beloved Christian Saint
The Celtic goddess Brigid and her namesake, Saint Brigid of Ireland, can lay claim to being the most complex, intriguing, widespread, timeless, and beloved of all legendary ladies. Brigid appears in many different guises, with numerous names, in many different European cultures. And she has survived the ravages of time much better than most.
Known as Bride in Scotland, Brigandu in France, Ffaid in Wales, and Brigitania in England, the Irish goddess Brigid (usually pronounced Breet) is also known by the names Brighid, Bridget, Brid, and others. Her varying identities reflect her original image as a triple goddess, but with each of her three faces differing in their gifts.
The Brigid first worshipped in ancient times was the daughter of the great Irish god Dagda, the ‘Good Father’. She had two sisters who were also named Brigid. Taken together, they were called the ‘Three Mothers’, ‘Three Sisters’, or simply the Goddess Brigid.
Unlike in Greek mythology where the Triple Goddess represented the three chronological stages of a woman’s life (Maiden, Matron, and Crone), the Bridgets were all of the same generation and the distinctions between them were based on their domains of responsibility.
Brigid, the ‘Fire of the Hearth’, was the goddess of fertility, family, childbirth and healing.
Brigid, the ‘”Fire of the Forge’, was like the Greek goddess Athena, a patroness of the crafts (especially weaving, embroidery, and metalsmithing), and a goddess who was concerned with justice and law and order.
Brigid, the ‘Fire of Inspiration’, was the muse of poetry, song history and the protector of all cultural learning.
Much later, when the Christian church came to Ireland, they had little hope of making converts if they were to denounce the beloved goddess of the Druids as a wicked demon. So instead they made her a saint. Many of the ancient legends of the goddess were soon to become the deeds of the saint. (Note: Some scholars cite evidence that Saint Brigid was an actual woman, the daughter of a Druid king and his Christian wife.)
In whatever form she might take, Saint or Goddess, Brigid is loved as a goddess of peace and inspiration, one of compassion and generosity, and one who had great gifts of insight and wisdom.