Can Men Be Part of Wicca?

Is there a place for men in Wicca?

I’m always surprised when people ask that, but it seems a fairly common misconception.

Wicca is certainly not just for women! There are plenty of men in Wicca, and plenty of philosophical room for men as well.

To read the rest of this and an extra.link about male witches please use this link: https://www.wicca-spirituality.com/men-wicca.html

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Goddess Knowledge – Spider Woman

Spider Woman is an important goddess among many south-western Native American tribes. Though occasionally destructive, she is nearly always portrayed as a beneficent, The Keresan Spider Woman created everything there is by thinking, dreaming, or naming; she taught the people how to plant seeds. Cherokee Grandmother spider brought people the sun and fire; she taught them pottery, weaving,m and how to make ceremonial blessings. Spider Woman is responsible for bringing fire among the Pueblo, Tewa, and Kiwa tribes. A spider woman named Bliku, found in the Indian subcontinent, also brought fire and light. For the Hopi, Spider Woman is a creator who helped people during their emergence, created the moon, has the power to give and take life, and is connected to hunting and agriculture.

SPider WOman is a reminder that good comes from everywhere. Even the lowly spider, sometimes dismissed as irrelevant, has the power to create and teach

 

More Information About Goddess Spider Woman

Images of the Goddess Spider Woman

Deity of the Day for Monday, March 4: Rhiannon, Welsh Goddess

Rhiannon

Welsh Goddess

Rhiannon is an old Welsh Goddess of the earth and fertility, of horses and birds, who has links to the Underworld and who is much featured in the Mabinogion. She finds antecedents in the British Goddess Rigatona (“Great Queen”) and the continental Celtic horse-goddess Epona, who is also linked with dogs and birds like Rhiannon.

In the later Christianized version of the tale, Rhiannon’s first husband was Pwyll, (“Never was there a man who made feebler use of his wits”, in Rhiannon’s own words) who had once done a stint as King of the Underworld.

Their son Pryderi vanished the night of his birth while the new mother and the women sent to guard them slept. In fear of the consequences for slacking off on their duty, the serving-women smeared Rhiannon with the blood of a puppy and accused Her of murdering Her own son. Their word won over Rhiannon’s own, and as punishment, She was made to sit outside the castle on a horse-block, and offer each visitor a ride on Her back for seven years. Pryderi was eventually restored to Her by his foster-father Teyrnon, who recognized the boy’s resemblance to Pwyll.

She later took Manawydan (the Welsh equivalant to Manannán, the Irish Sea God) as husband after Pwyll died.

Rhiannon is said to possess marvelous birds that can wake the dead, or lull the living to sleep. In the Mabinogion She is intelligent and wise, and doesn’t hesitate to speak Her mind.

Rhiannon is deeply associated with horses: Pwyll first sees Her riding a marvelous white horse that no one can catch; The vanished child was found by Teyrnon in place of a new-born foal; and Her punishment is to act as a horse.

This card in a reading indicates a time of trial or injustice, that, with patience and faith, will come right in the end. Misunderstandings and mis-communications may be in the air, but understanding the deep roots of the situation will help.

Alternate spellings: Riannon
Pronunciation: hree AN non

From: Thalia Took

Rhiannon

A Cymric and Brythonic Goddess, also known as Rigantona: Great QueenRhiannon (Rigantona) is a Cymric and Brythonic goddess known from the Mabinogi of Pwyll Pendefig Dyfed where she is Pwyll’s wife, who is mistakenly punished for infanticide and the Mabinogi of Manawyddan fab Llŷr. She is associated with horses and has otherworldly birds in her posession. She may represent the psychopomp aspect of the goddess Epona.

Rhiannon is also associated with otherworldly brids, the adar Rhiannon (birds of Rhiannon) which are explicitly named in the Mabinogion of Branwen ferch Llŷr. Mortally wounded after the battle in Ireland, Brân tells his companions to cut off his head and take it with them on their return journey …you will be on the road a long time. In Harlech you will be seven years in feasting, the birds of Rhiannon singing to you. The head will be as good company to you as it was at its best when it was ever on me. And you will be at Gwales in Penfro for eighty years. Until you open the door facing Aber Henfelen on the side facing Cornwall, you will be able to abide there, along with the head with you uncorrupted. But when you open that door, you will not be able to remain there…. They reach Harlech and as soon as they began their feast …there came three birds, which began to sing a kind of song to them; and when they heard that song, every other [tune] seemed unlovely beside it…. The brids of Rhiannon are next mentioned in the Mabinogion of Culhwch ac Olwen where Culhwch is set forty impossible tasks by Ysbaddaden Pencawr in the wooing of his daughter Olwen. The thirteenth task is the gaining of Rhiannon’s birds that they may sing at the wedding feast. These birds have a woderous song and are …to wake the dead, and send the living to sleep…. There may also be a hint of Rhiannon’s magical birds in the Mabinogion of Iarlles y Ffynawn. The Arthurian champion Cynon relates one of his adventures to Oweni and Cei: He comes to amagical glade where a spring emerges. Water from the spring must be poured on the slab and there will be a mighty peal of thunder and hailstones will fall from the sky. Then the weather becomes fair, but the tree is denuded of its leaves. At this point a flock of birds fly in and they will alight within the bare branches of the tree and sing. Their melody will be the sweetest sound ever heard by any mortal ear. Some time within the course of the song the black knight — guardian of the fountain — will appear to challenge the usurper. For the shower of hailstones will have stripped the black knight’s lands bare, denuding it of all life. Only by defeating the challenger can the balance be restored. Cynon is defeated by the knight but Owein then re-traces Cynon’s tracks and experiences the same things but he defeats the black knight. From their description it seems highly likely that the birds described here are the adar Rhiannon (the birds of Rhiannon).

Riannon’s association with horses is also unquestionable. We are told of the way Rhiannon rides past the gorsedd of Arberth on a great steed that no-one can catch. After the loss of her son, Rhiannon’s punishment is to be effectively turned into a horse. She has to stand by a horse-block and offer to carry any traveler upon her back and into Pwyll’s llys. Here she is beng symbolically transformed into that which she symbolizes. The link between Rhiannon and horses is further exemplified by her son Pwyll and the fact that he was born on the same night as a foal and that he and the foal grew up together and effectively ‘became one’. Symbolically therefore the ‘horse’ Rhiannon gives birth to a foal ‘Pryderi’. All of this leads to the inescapable conclusion that Rhiannon is strongly hippomorphic in aspect and probably represents at the very least an aspect (and may well represent a continuation of) the mythos of that great pan-Celtic hippomorphic goddess, Epona. A further indication of the link between Rhiannon and Epona may be the episode of the killing of a puppy to frame Rhiannon for her son’s disappearance for a dog is often seen as Epona’s companion.

Rhiannon’s name is derived from the Brythonic Rīgantona (Great Queen). Continuation of the name would indicate the existence of a Brythnoic goddes known as *Rīgantona, though no trace of her (save for the name of Rhiannon) has been left to us. Whether this *Rīgantona was an independent deity or represented an aspect of Epona (who is occasionally referred to in the plural and may be a triple-goddess) may not be known for certain though the surviving tales of Rhiannon would suggest the later interpretation. Thus there may once have been an insular Brythonic deity known as *Rīgantona Epona. If this is the case, and the Epona aspect of the goddess is fairly clear, what does the Rīgantona aspect represent. In the Mabinogi, Rhiannon is plainly ‘otherworldly’ in nature though this aspect of her nature is not explicitly drawn out. However, from how she and Pwyll met is is fairly obvious that Rhiannon does not originate in the World of Men. Moreover, she appears immediately after the episode of Pwyll and Arawn and originally Rhiannon may well have originated in one of the ‘Happy Otherworlds’ that are beloved of the Celtic storytellers. Epona herself was probably a psychopomp and the association of Rhiannon with horses and with her magical birds (both of which could transport/accompany the deay on their journey to the next world) would indicate that Rhiannon may once have performed a similar function. In the Mabinogi of Branwen ferch Llŷr Rhiannon’s birds are described as singing ‘across the waters’ which is the only direct evidence we have for Rhiannon’s otherworldly home; the ‘Happy Isles of the Blessed’. Thus Rhiannon may originally have been the ‘Great Queen’ of such a realm; a realm to which her steeds transported the spirits of the dead who were entertained on the way by the singing of the ‘Great Queen’s’ magical birds. The association between horses and birds also seems to be a recurring theme in Celtic mythos and the image above comes from a coin of the Unelli tribe of modern-day Normandy.

Rhiannon’s name is directly cognate with the Irish goddess Mórrígan (which also menans ‘Great Queen’). In terms of attributes, however, Rhiannon is most closely similar to an aspect of the triple-goddes, Mórrígan known as Macha; a goddess of war, horses and kingship.

From: CeltNet

Rhiannon

Welsh Horse Goddess

The Welsh horse goddess of the Underworld, Rhiannon (pronounced ree-ah-nin) is also known as Rigatona or “Great Queen” in Welsh lore. An equine goddess-turned-magical queen, she is unique in the sense that she is exclusively a horse deity — while other goddesses of antiquity typically have other identities and functions.

Accordingly, horse themes are very strong in Irish and Welsh mythology. As such, Rhiannon’s Irish sister Macha, a trans-functional goddess spanning all possible functions of society as priestess, warrior, and nurturer, has also been represented as a horse.

Nevertheless, Rhiannon is one of a kind with the exception of one Gaulish equine goddess counterpart known as Epona — a diety who has no other function than being the patroness of horses.

Even more anomalous however, is her legendary fairy tale: one that is fraught with ambivalences. Appearing in the first “branch” (or chapter) of the Mabinogi as a mysterious lady riding a horse, Rhiannon is depicted as a graceful and wild goddess — untamable and free to the point that no one can ever catch her or overtake her gallop.

Alas, she is finally tamed in the sense that Pwyll, Prince of Dyfed, convinces her to stop and speak with him. As if fated, the two marry and Rhiannon bears him a child — one who mysteriously disappears at birth. Because the attendant maids (who should have been keeping vigilance) shirk their duties by falling asleep, the baby is effectively spirited away by an unknown creature. Trying to absolve themselves of any blame, the maids then resolve to kill some puppies, smearing the blood and gore on Rhiannon, claiming that she had killed her own child.

In light of the goddess-queen’s presumed guilt, Pywll does not divorce her, since that had been an act reserved exclusively for barrenness. Instead, she is sentenced to sitting near a horse-block outside of the city gate and is correspondingly instructed to carry passersby inside the city walls, becoming a horse in all but physical appearance and wild freedom.

Incidentally, right after Rhiannon’s son disappears, a mare of a villager named Teyrnon Twrf Liant gives birth to rather attractive colt. At the moment of delivery, a great claw reaches through the window of the house as if to seize the newborn. In bewildered response, Teyrnon slices off the arm and rushes outside only to find a noble baby boy — Rhiannon’s child.

Raising the boy as his own for over four years, the man eventually hears about the unfortunate plight of the goddess-queen, sees the resemblance between the two, and brings the child to the castle. Happy and free from her position as a compulsory horse-substitute, Rhiannon embraces her long-lost son, naming him Pryderi. And then they all live happily ever after . . . until the story changes again.

In a twist of fate, in the third “branch” of the Mabinogi following her husband’s death, Rhiannon marries her son’s friend Manawydan. After a number of experiences and adventures, she and her son eventually disappear into the magic fortress of Llwyd, (son of Cil Coed) where she is made to pay a horse penance once again, wearing the collars of donkeys.

The beautiful Welsh underworld goddess traveled through earth on an impossibly speedy horse, accompanied always by magical birds that made the dead waken and the living fall into a blissful seven-year sleep. Originally named Rigatona (“Great Queen”), she shrank in later legend into Rhiannon, a fairylike figure who appeared to Prince Pwyll of Dyfed near the gate of the underworld. He pursued her on his fastest horses, but hers–cantering steadily and without tiring–exhausted any mount of Pwyll’s. Finally, the queen decided to stay with Pwyll; she bore him a son soon afterward.

What can one expect of a goddess of death? Her son disappeared, and the queen was found with blood on her mouth and cheeks. Accused of murder, she was sentenced to serve as Pwyll’s gatekeeper, bearing visitors to the door on her back; thus she was symbolically transformed into a horse. All ended happily when her son was found; Rhiannon had been falsely accused by maids who, terrified at finding the babe absent, had smeared puppy blood on the queen’s face.

Behind this legend is doubtless another, more primitive one in which the death queen actually was guilty of infanticide. This beautiful queen of the night would then, it seems, be identical to the Germanic Mora, the nightmare, the horse-shaped goddess of terror. But night brings good dreams as well as bad, so Rhiannon was said to be the beautiful goddess of joy and oblivion, a goddess of Elysium as well as the queen of hell.

The horse goddess. Rhiannon was the Welsh equivalent of the Epona (Gallic) and Macha (Irish). Rhiannon was also associated with a Romano-Celtic goddess Rigantona (“Great Goddess”).

Rhiannon was the daughter of Hereydd the Old. She married Pwyll, a chieftain of Dyfed.

Rhiannon was unfortunate figure in Welsh myth. Rhiannon had many suitors, among them were Pwyll, chieftain of Dyfed, and Gwawl, the son of Clud. Pwyll won her hand and married her. Gwawl and his father laid a curse upon Pwyll’s household. Rhiannon was barren for many years. Pwyll blamed his wife for their inability to have a child, mistreated Rhiannon.
Even though she managed to give birth to a son named Pryderi, she was accused of killing or devouring her infant.

Later, when Pwyll died, Rhiannon lived with her son, before she married Manawyddan, after the death of Manawyddan’s brother (Bran) from the war in Ireland. Upon her son arrival back, Rhiannon and Pryderi were beset by curse from Llywd, the son of Kil Coed, and friend of Gwawl, Rhiannon’s former suitor. Their subjects in Dyved had vanished. Llywd had transformed Rhiannon into an ass, while her son was transformed into a gate-hammer. They were released from the curses through Manawyddan’s cunning and resourcefulness.

See Manawyddan son of Llyr, in the Mabinogion.

From: Timeless Myths

Originally published on MysticWicks

 

Can There Be Witches That Are Also Christians?

This is a subject that has been hotly debated since Christianity first became an accepted religion and the debate I feel that will never have a definite answer.

Some people believe they can at least partially combine Christianity and Paganism usually by still thinking of Jesus as a  god or because many Christians already worship a triple god “the father, son, holy ghost or spirit” and saints to help them with certain things so jumping to a belief in a Triple Goddess and other goddesses isn’t that big of a jump. Many never call upon other gods than those they already believe in. Mostly the Christians that combine The Craft and Christianity are just bring the feminine divine back into their lives.

I have found over the years that the two were combined very early in the ancient history of religions. For example “In a way, Gnosticism is the best example of Hellenic Syncretism” ( see links below for more information). Another example of Christianity and Paganism crossing over is with two major holidays Easter and Ostara also Christmas and Yule. The early Christians trying to convert pagans purposely put the resurrection of Jesus close to Yule the Pagans celebration of the birth of Odin/the Oak King and the coming of the Maiden or spring time of year. So by putting Jesus birth in the wrong season, the Christians could use it to say something like . “See the son of our God is born now also.”

Let me interject here that it has been scientifically proven that the man known for the last 2056 years, give or take a year or two, as Jesus Christ or Jesus of Nazareth or by other names as well was born not born in the winter. There is a debate ongoing in the scientific community over which season and what exact year he was born. (Click the link below for more information) These are not the only holidays that Christians purposely used to convert pagans almost any Sabbat on the Wheel of the Year has a Christian holy day of some sort close to it or even on the same date. (Click on the link below for more information)

I have included a link for YouTube that presents the views of people who say they are Christian WItches.

Now my personal view is how can a person believe that there is a son of God that will cleanse them of all the wrongs they have done to others and/or themselves also believe in the Wicce Rede of “Do as ye will, lest it harm none.” and if you do harm someone with words and/or actions you need to take responsibility for the wrong and apologize or whatever to make what happened a thing of this past and most importantly forgive yourself. We as pagans do not ask a god or goddess to take away our wrongdoings to be free of them we free ourselves of the wrongs we have done. How can a person practice a religion that does not believe in a heaven or hell or satan when that is part of the core of Christianity? Part of the Christian dogma is the 10 commandments of which the first one is “Thou shall have no other God before me.” So does this mean a Christian Witch is breaking one of the main rules of Christianity if they use a different god and/or goddess for a spell and/or ritual? And if they do break the commandment do they ask the son, Jesus, of their one God to forgive them for doing so? Christians are also not supposed to worship idols (which if you go into some of the different denominations of the Christian churches you could see Jesus hanging dead from a cross and other statues of saints. Are they not all ready worshiping idols when they pray to them asking for their help with interceding with God to bring about something in their life? In my personal opinion and also from trying to meld Christianity and Paganism some may be able to justify what they are doing but I could not keep denying the feminine part of the dual nature of the Devine.

I have included in this post a link to a general search on how witches are talked about in all the Christian Bibles. Not one of them is a positive statement toward witchcraft. In fact, all of the passages condemn witchcraft in one way or another. So how can a Christian not follow the book that is supposed to be a guide in how they should live their lives? How can they practice Witchcraft when it is expressly forbidden by the commandments and other passages of the book their faith has been built on?

Some Information About Gnosticism

Some Views on When Jesus was Born

Pagan Holidays Used by Christian for Easier Convergence

Different views on Christians Witches

YouTube Videos on Christian Witches

Biblical View on Witches

I have tried to give you enough information to form your own opinion on whether or not a Christian can also be a Witch that practices Witchcraft. So I would like your viewpoint on whether a person can mix Christianity with Witchcraft/Paganism?

Goddess Knowledge – The Sphinx

The Sphinx is an ancient moon goddess, the goddess of birth and death. Part animal, part human, she remains connected to her deep instinctual nature. Most stories empathize her aspect as a death goddess who carries the dead to the underworld. Often portrayed as a lion, she shares in the solar and regal symbolism of that animal. Her role as an oracular deity, given to enigma and riddles, points to her as the keeper of the great mystery. A symbol of strength, wisdom, and royal power, she reminds us that nothing comes to creation without some destruction and that sometimes to solve a mystery we must enter the darkness. This image reminds us that there is beauty even in the heart of that which terrifies.

More Information on The Sphinx Goddess

Images of Goddess The Sphinx

Goddess Knowledge – Eagle Woman

Despite the fact that the life-giving and death-wielding Bird Goddess is one of the oldest representations of the goddess, eagles have usually been linked with the masculine, with a few exceptions (the Sphinx of Egypt had the wings of an eagle, and the Aztec goddess Cihuacoatl was also called Eagle Woman). This Eagle Woman shows a new marriage of the feminine and the eagle. SHe represents all an eagle stands for: spirit, valor, majesty, renewal, accuracy of sight, spiritual aim, and the ability to soar to the heights. She also holds in her hands a vessel, the traditional symbol for the feminine, for that which receives, contains, and nourishes. Here both sets of values are joined, emblematic of a different combinations of strengths that are part of women-born.

Eagle Woman is a joyful affirmation of our ability to break out of millennia-old stereotypes and find new definition the embraces our entire continuum of being alive. She teaches the women can express qualities of the eagle while continuing to contain and nurture.

For more information about the Goddess Eagle Woman please click on this link: Informaton about Eagle Woman

To see images of Eagle WOmen please click on this link: Images of Eagle Woman

Goddess Knowledge – Pele

Pele is the fiery Hawaiian volcano goddess. The daughter of the earth goddess Haimea, Pele came to Hawaii on a boat. Killed in a fight with her sister, the ocean, sho took refuge in the glowing cauldron of Mount Kilauea (this is the volcano that had the major eruption in July 2018 – a link will be below) where she receives the souls of the dead and regenerates them with fire. In a tempestuous relationship with Kamapua`a the ferocious pig god,  she is portrayed as a jealous goddess, her rages manifesting as volcanic eruptions. Revered by Hawaiians even today, she carries the force of the volcano, with its molten lava flow, which even in destrud=ction creates new land. Pele stands for the molten, fierce aspect of life that is unable to do anything halfway. She reminds us that even in the midst of fiery eruption there s creation and new life.

More Information About Pele

Images Of Pele

More Information on Pele’s Home – Mount Kilauea, Hawaii

Pagan Study of the Gods & Goddesses – Brighid, the Hearth Goddess of Ireland

Brighid

The Hearth Goddess of Ireland

In Irish mythological cycles, Brighid (or Brighit), whose name is derived from the Celtic brig or “exalted one”, is the daughter of the Dagda, and therefore one of the Tuatha de Dannan. Her two sisters were also called Brighid, and were associated with healing and crafts. The three Brighids were typically treated as three aspects of a single deity, making her a classic Celtic triple goddess.

Patron and Protector
Brighid was the patron of poets and bards, as well as healers and magicians. She was especially honored when it came to matters of prophecy and divination. She was honored with a sacred flame maintained by a group of priestesses, and her sanctuary at Kildare, Ireland, later became the home of the Christian variant of Brighid, St. Brigid of Kildare. Kildare is also the location of one of several sacred wells in the Celtic regions, many of which are connected to Brighid. Even today, it’s not uncommon to see ribbons and other offerings tied to trees near a well as a petition to this healing goddess.

Lisa Lawrence writes in Pagan Imagery in the Early Lives of Brigit: A Transformation from Goddess to Saint?, part of the Harvard Celtic Studies Colloquium, that it is Brighid’s role as sacred to both Christianity and Paganism that makes her so hard to figure out. She cites fire as a common thread to both Brighid the saint and Brighid the goddess:

“When two religious systems interact, a shared symbol can provide a bridge from one religious idea to another. During a period of conversion, an archetypical symbol such as fire may acquire a new referent, while not being entirely emptied of a previous one. For example, the fire that clearly signifies the presence of the Holy Spirit in Saint Brigit may continue to signify pagan conceptions of religious power.”

Celebrating Brighid
There are a variety of ways to celebrate the many aspects of Brighid at Imbolc. If you’re part of a group practice or a coven, why not try honoring her with a group ceremoy? You can also incorporate prayers to Brighid into your rites and rituals for the season. Having trouble figuring out what direction you’re headed? Ask Brighid for assistance and guidance with a crossroads-themed divination rite.

Brighid’s Many Forms
In northern Britain, Brighid’s counterpart was Brigantia, a warlike figure of the Brigantes tribe near Yorkshire, England. She is similar to the Greek goddess Athena and the Roman Minerva. Later, as Christianity moved into the Celtic lands, St. Brigid was the daughter of a Pictish slave who was baptized by St. Patrick, and founded a community of nuns at Kildare.

In addition to her position as a goddess of magic, Brighid was known to watch over women in childbirth, and thus evolved into a goddess of hearth and home. Today, many Pagans honor her on February 2, which has become known as Imbolc or Candlemas.

Winter Cymres at the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids, calls her a “complex and contradictory” sort of deity. Specifically,

“She possesses an unusual status as a Sun Goddess Who hangs Her Cloak upon the rays of the Sun and whose dwelling-place radiates light as if on fire. Brigid took over the Cult of the Ewes formerly held by the Goddess Lassar, who also is a Sun Goddess and who made the transition, in the Isles, from Goddess to saint. In this way Brigid’s connection to Imbolc is completed, as the worship of Lassar diminished, only to be revived later in Christian sainthood.”

Brighid’s Mantle
One commonly found symbol of Brighid is her green mantle, or cloak. In Gaelic, the mantle is known as the brat Bhride. The legend has it that Brighid was the daughter of a Pictish chieftain who went to Ireland to learn from St. Patrick. In one story, the girl who later became St. Brighid went to the King of Leinster, and petitioned him for land so she could build an abbey. The King, who still held to the old Pagan practices of Ireland, told her he’d be happy to give her as much land as she could cover with her cloak. Naturally, her cloak grew and grew until it covered as much property as Brighid needed, and she got her abbey. Thanks to her roles as both a Pagan goddess and a Christian saint, Brighid is often seen as being of both worlds; a bridge between the old ways and the new.

In Celtic Pagan stories, Brighid’s mantle carries with it blessings and powers of healing. Many people believe that if you place a piece of cloth out upon your hearth at Imbolc, Brighid will bless it in the night. Use the same cloth as your mantle each year, and it will gain strength and power each time Brighid passes by. The mantle can be used to comfort and heal a sick person, and to provide protection for women in labor. A newborn baby can be wrapped in the mantle to help them sleep through the night without fussing.

To make a Brighid’s mantle of your own, find a piece of green cloth long enough to comfortably wrap around your shoulders. Leave it on your doorstep on the night of Imbolc, and Brighid will bless it for you. In the morning, wrap yourself in her healing energy. You can also make a Brighid’s cross or a Bride’s Bed to celebrate her this time of year.

Brighid and Imbolc
Like many Pagan holidays, Imbolc has a Celtic connection, although it wasn’t celebrated in non-Gaelic Celtic societies. The early Celts celebrated a purification festival by honoring Brighid. In some parts of the Scottish Highlands, Brighid was viewed as a sister of Cailleach Bheur, a woman with mystical powers who was older than the land itself. In modern Wicca and Paganism, Brighid is sometimes viewed as the maiden aspect of the maiden/mother/crone cycle, although it might be more accurate for her to be the mother, given her connection with home and childbirth.

Celtic Goddess Brigid and the Story of the Enduring Deity

Over the centuries, the stories of two women named Brigid (or Brigit or Bride or Brighid) have become intertwined in an intricate Celtic knot of myth and miracle. The Celtic Goddess Brigid and the Catholic Saint Brigid of Kildare both personified similar spiritual practices of their times in Ireland. Many scholars believe that the two are the same mythological person. The saint was necessary to mollify the native Irish population while not falling within the realm of worship of Pagan gods and goddesses. The transition from goddess to saint allowed Brigid to survive throughout the Christianizing world. At this time, the worship of a pantheon of gods – and any religious or spiritual belief system that existed outside of Christianity – was no longer acceptable in Europe.

Celtic Goddess Brigid
The Celtic goddess Brigid is one of the most venerated deities in the Pagan Irish pantheon. The name Brigid means exalted one, while her most ancient Gaelic name, Breo-Saighead, means fiery power or fiery arrow. As a solar goddess, she embodies the element of fire and is commonly depicted with rays of light or fire emanating from her head. Irish mythology relates that she was born at sunrise of Dagda, the earth god, and Boann, the goddess of fertility. They belonged to an ancient tribe of gods, called Tuatha Dé Danann (people of the Goddess Danu), who practiced magic. After they lost their mysterious islands in the west, they traveled to Ireland in the misty clouds and settled there.

When Brigid was born she had flames shooting out from her head, and through them, she was united with the cosmos. As a baby, Brigid drank the milk of a sacred cow that came from the spirit world.

Fiery Aspects
Worshippers sometimes call Brigid the “Triple Goddess” for her fires of the hearth, inspiration, and the forge. She is a powerful being and through her fires, she is the patroness of healing arts, fertility, poetry, music, prophecy, agriculture, and smithcraft. Many people also call her the Goddess of the Well, as she also has ties to the element of water. The well is sacred because it stems from the womb of the earth, and Brigid is also Mother Earth or the Mother Goddess. Her association with the sacred cow reflects the Celtic reliance on the animal for sustenance; milk was an important theme throughout the year, especially during the cold winter months when hardship threatened.

Worship of the Celtic goddess Brigid was widespread among Celts of Ireland, the highlands and islands of Scotland, and also of Western Europe. Amongst the warring clans, Brigid was a unifying theme and common bond. However, in the 5th century, the goddess faced an immense wave of religious change and pressures that swept through her devotees. She had to evolve, otherwise, her followers would have to banish her from their lives.

Saint Brigid of Kildare
As Christianity spread throughout the Celtic lands, many properties of the older religions were Christianized rather than eliminated. Brigid was an integral part of the lives of Celts, and the solution was to create a version of her that would fit into the Catholic religion. Hence, a new story emerged.

St. Brigid of Kildare was “born” around 450 AD to a Pagan family. Her family converted to Christianity with the help of St. Patrick, an equally important saint in Ireland. The Lord inspired Brigid as a young girl and her generosity and compassion reflected her unusual virtue. She gave everything away to the poor. So overly charitable was the young girl that her own father, Dubhthach, a chieftain of Leinster, wanted to give or sell her away because she had gifted the impoverished with many of his valued possessions.

St. Brigid’s Church of the Oak Tree
The king recognized her holiness and gave her a plot of land where she built a church under an oak tree. It was called Kill-dara (cill dara) meaning church of the oak tree (the area is now called Kildare). Seven girls soon followed her to Kill-dara and they started a convent at the tree.

This is one of the ways Brigid sanctified the Pagan with the Christian: The oak was sacred to the druids, and in the inner sanctuary of the Church was a perpetual flame, another religious symbol of the druid faith, as well as the Christian. Gerald of Wales (13th century) noted that the fire was perpetually maintained by 20 nuns of her community. This continued until 1220 when it was extinguished. Gerald noted that the fire was surrounded by a circle of bushes, which no man was allowed to enter.

Female worshippers tended to Brigid’s sacred fire for many hundreds of years. Other sources indicate that 19 maidens rotated over 19 days to keep the fire lit, and then on the 20th day, Goddess Brigid tended the fire herself.

The Legends of St. Brigid
According to the same story, St. Brigid of Kildare had many mystical powers, performed many miracles and healed innumerous sick people. Thus, the colorful tales about the goddess-saint quickly spread to other lands. Her popularity grew in Celtic devotions to the point where she became closely associated with the Virgin Mary and Jesus. In fact, other names for her was “Mary of the Gaels” and “Foster Mother of Jesus,” and myths placed her centuries earlier than her “known” 5th-century life. Those myths described her as the midwife attending Mary or as the wife or daughter of the innkeeper who had no room for Mary and Joseph.

The story of Saint Brigid tells us that she passed away in the year 523.

The Celebration of the Goddess and Saint
The hardest evidence of a mixture of the goddess and the saint is the date of February 1st. This is the Celtic festival day of Imbolc, which was an important event that included much worship of the goddess Brigid. That same date is when the annual Saint Brigid Feast Day takes place. The Irish still celebrate this day. As part of the festivities, they make Saint Brigid’s crosses (St. Brigid) of rushes or reeds (Goddess Brigid) and put them in houses for protection and luck (both). The cross, one of Brigid’s most important symbols, looks very much like the swastika motif, which ancient proto-Germanic people used as a symbol of life, fortune, and blessings.

Resurgence of Paganism
Hundreds of years passed since the Celtic goddess Brigid converted to sainthood. And yet, her worshippers had maintained many of her goddess qualities. Because Ireland was separate from mainland Europe, they were able to keep some their own culture and practices intact. Therefore, even the nature of their worship still had Pagan aspects.

Wells of Resistance
Pagan roots still exist today at many Irish wells that Christians had dedicated to St. Brigid. Those wells were originally connected with the Celtic goddess Brigid. As noted, she is also the Goddess of the Well, which is historically very sacred as the womb of Mother Earth from which flows life-giving waters. The most significant wells are those that exist near a large tree, as there is deep reverence and old mythology about world trees and wells. Even today, the wells have pre-Christian significance.

For example, worshippers mostly visit between dusk and dawn. This is the time of day when the Celts believed the veil between the worlds of the living and of spirits is thinnest. The Irish annual pilgrimage to many of Brigid’s wells falls on the first Sunday in August. This day is a pre-Christian Gaelic holiday called Lughnasadh, after the god Lugh. Lughnasadh is one of the four seasonal holidays of the ancient Celts, and celebrations abound in honor of Lugh and the fall harvest.

The Burning Flames That Endure
Brigid started as the Great Goddess, exalted and inseparable from the everyday activities of the Celts. Although the Church rewrote her story, they were never able to completely supplant the tenacious goddess. Each Brigid reflected the essential spiritual values of her era, whether Pagan or Christian. She still endures so strongly that it is now impossible to tell where the goddess ends and the saint begins.

In 1993 a group of female followers re-lit Brigid’s fire, and her spirit still burns fervently in hearts and minds, as she continues to move through time as the enduring Celtic Goddess of the flame.

Reference:

Patti Wigington, ThoughtCo.com
“Celtic Goddess, Christian Saint”, Celtic Heritage, February/March 1997.
St. Brigid’s Well
Wicca Spirituality, “Brigid: Goddess of the Flame and of the Well”
Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries
Co-authored by Kim Lin
Historic Mysteries, Discovering the Secrets of Our World

Goddess Knowledge – Flora

Flora, “Flourishing one,” was the Roman goddess of flowers, gardens, and spring. She is the embodiment of all nature; her name has come to represent all plant life. She is especially a goddess of flowers, including the flower of youth. Her festival of unrestrained pleasure, the Floralia, was celebrated at the end of April and beginning of May; this festival was probably the orgin of the maypole dance and the gathering of bouquets of flowers, symbolizing the bring of spring and new life into the world. She gives charm to youth, aroma to wine, sweetness to honey, and fragrance to blossoms.

Flora teaches us to honor growing things, both inside and outside us, She is a reminder to pay attention to pleasure, to the beauty of spring, and to new life, where it is found.

For more information about Flora click on this link for a general search: Information about Goddess Flora

To see images of the Goddess Flora click on this link: Images of Goddess Flora