Brigid, Celtic Goddess of Imbolc
Brigit is the central Irish Goddess. She is known as Brigantia in England and Bride in Scotland. She rules metal work and smithy, fire, poetry, midwifery and martial arts–but is primarily known as a major Mother Goddess. Brigit is a face of the Triple Goddess, and able to see all–often represented by an ever watchful eye. The three heart-shaped leaves of the shamrock recall the magical Celtic number of three, as well as the number of Brigit’s faces. From nine to Nineteen priestesses once tended an undying fire in her name at Kildare. Brigid is so central to Ireland that the newly converted people would not give her up, so her name metamorphosed into St. Bridgid, who in Irish Christian myth acts as tender and supportive friend of Mary and as the midwife at Christ’s birth. Barbara G. Walker writes that to the Irish people, however, she continued to be a Queen of Heaven and the mother of all the deities of the new religion. As the Saint, she also matched wits with St. Patrick, who is as mythical as she. At times they seem to be consorts, at others, adversaries. It cannot have helped their relationship that Patrick is known for ridding Ireland of snakes, and since Bridgid the saint descended from a pagan goddess and priestess persona, whose sacred healing totem is the snake. So when St. Patrick says he is ridding the isle of snakes, what he means is he is ridding it of pagans. Nevertheless, Patricius and Bridgid were often considered the primal Mother and Father, and were supposedly buried together at Derry Down.