Goddess Knowledge – High Priestess

The high priestess is the direct representative of the goddess on earth. She has direct responsibility for functions that ensure fertility and ongoing creation. Priestess often were responsible for ensuring rain, for the goddess was the giver of few and of rain. They often tended a sacred flame, the embodiment of the creative spark of life.

The High Priestess is the Great Goddess herself, a universal figure founder in such diverse guides as Isis in Egypt, Juan Yin throughout all of Asia, Athens in Greece, and Rhiannon among the Celtics. This goddess is all-knowing and all-wise; she creates life out of herself and bestows life-giving waters. At the proper time she takes life away so that the divine spark in each person may be freed to continue on its journey. The High Priestess is a reminder of the innate wisdom in each of us. She demands that we connect to the divine within and manifest it in the world.

 

 

I did not purposely pull this week’s card. It was on top after I shuffled the unposted Goddess Knowledge Cards. I personally do not look at myself as “the direct representative of the goddess on earth.”  The reason being is my dearest sister has pointed out to me something I let go to the way side which is the Goddess lives in all who ask. This goes for he God Consort also.

 

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Christian/The Biblical Lilith

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Christian/The Biblical Lilith

When the Almighty created the first, solitary man, He said: It is not good for man to be alone. And He fashioned for man a woman from the earth, like him (Adam), and called her Lilith. Soon, they began to quarrel with each other. She said to him: I will not lie underneath, and he said: I will not lie underneath but above, for you are meant to lie underneath and I to lie above. She said to him: We are both equal, because we are both created from the earth. But they did not listen to each other.

When Lilith saw this, she pronounced God’s avowed name and flew into the air. Adam stood in prayer before his Creator and said: Lord of the World! The woman you have given me has gone away from me. Immediately, the Almighty sent three angels after her, to bring her back.

The Almighty said to the Angels: If she decides to return, it is good, but if not, then she must take it upon herself to ensure that a hundred of her children die each day. They went to her and found her in the middle of the Red Sea. And they told her the word of God. But she refused to return. They said to her: We must drown you in the sea. She said: Leave me! I was created for no other purpose than to harm children, eight days for boys and twenty for girls.

When they heard what she said, they pressed her even more. She said: I swear by the name of the living God that I, when I see you or your image on an amulet, will have no power over that particular child. And she took it upon herself to ensure that, every day, a hundred of her children died. That is why we say that, every day, a hundred of her demons die. That is why we write the names Senoi, Sansenoi and Semangloph on an amulet for small children. Andwhen Lilith sees it, she remembers her promise and the child is saved.

Notes: This version of the myth is one of many, most of which have small translation flaws. Often the bible has been translated from Hebrew to Latin to German and then finally to English.

According to accompanying legends, Lilith was cursed and turned into a succubus. God created Eve as an afterthought out of Adam’s rib, in order to make her more submissive. Lilith’s descendants and Eve’s descendants mingled together and bred, and God decreed that Lilith is to kill all of her descendants, except for those protected by an amulet. This belief that Lilith will come to slay young children is still held in awe today in many cultures. As the mother of all other succubi, Lilith’s daughters (succubi, or simply Liliths according to some tales) are also held to this and cannot harm any child protected by the amulet. This is Lilith’s curse for being too dominating according to many tales, although it is also questioned as to whether the real reason is because she spoke God’s avowed name and stole some of gods powers

Another legend says that Jehovah (god) and Lilith are actually god and goddess. Although usually the feminine half of god is known as Yahweh.

Suggestions also say that because Lilith never ate the forbidden fruit, like Adam and Eve did, Lilith is not tainted by original sin, and thus can never die. She is immortal like an angel. Angels can be destroyed however. As can demons. Begging the question of whether Lilith is invincible also.

Other Biblical and non-Biblical legends portray Lilith as being a terrible mother-goddess. Her clergy is described as being temple prostitutes according to some historians. This belief changed over time, with Lilith (or succubi in general) becoming the “divine whore” according to clergy men, described as being a tall beautiful, obsidian-skinned, bat-winged female with long red (some legends say black) hair and sharp blue eyes. This creature then seduces men and kills them. This is a perfect example of men describing ONLY the physical characteristics of women, and also their obvious fear of being powerless against a woman and controlled by them.

The Fear of Lilith

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The Fear of Lilith

Examining the Lilith Myth and the Male Fear of Dominant Women

By Charles Alexander Moffat

Men’s fear of women has caused them to portray women in two specific archetypes and continued to compare women in such a fashion because the majority of their writing was written by men for other men. Thus was born an unspoken tradition amongst men to portray women as weak submissives and/or seductive, evil succubi/monsters such as Lilith, and is the result of men’s fear of being controlled.

Psychologically, a man may be willing to have sex, but if the woman is not, the denial of sex perpetuates a breach in the male ego. The male response to this rejection is fear and anger, and in order to find a solution to the problem, the male reacts by finding excuses for his superiority. Believing that if he is superior and that the woman is weaker and inferior, then whether or not the woman is willing will now be unimportant and inconsequential, as far as the man is concerned.

Women do not have this sexual rejection problem however, for at any time they are willing, men can be made willing through the use of female charms or even simple aggression. Only male impotence can prevent this, which is no fault of the female. Men subconsciously understand this and also understand that they are vulnerable against females in this way, and are afraid of being seduced and manipulated.

Putting these two in perspective, men have defined two types of women: The submissive woman who falls prey to a man’s every whim, and the aggressive, manipulative woman who can seduce a man into performing her every whim.

When communicating these ideas to other men, the emphasis of a woman’s description is placed upon her beauty, her weaknesses and her lack rationality. These are ideas that men subconsciously/consciously seek to promote about women as a result of their own insecurities.

Aristotle was obsessed with his penis, that much is evident from a psychologically perspective. According to Aristotle, the penis and its semen is the source of all souls and spirit, and that women, being “mutilated” and without a penis is soulless. He goes into more detail, believing that women are unable to create souls because they themselves are “impure” and “incapable of concocting the nutriment in its last stage into semen. If she does have a soul, it is an “impure” one, and thus needs a man’s “purity” in the form of semen. In short, Aristotle likely believed that the world revolved around his penis.

Going further on Aristotle’s beliefs, if women are soulless, then their feelings don’t matter, and thus men must be the masters over women because women are cold, heartless and lack authority. He admits that women have intelligence/faculty, “but it is without authority” and thus men must be the masters. The end result is that Aristotle likely believes that the perfect woman is a “mutilated” quiet, cold, and submissive creature, something similar to Helen of Troy or Andromeda.

As the exact opposite, the worst woman by his definition would likely coincide with many of the mythological creatures of his time. The medusa, sirens, gorgons and harpies portray intelligent women as cunning, powerful, independent, and yet deformed monsters. They would still be “mutilated” by Aristotle’s definition, and would suffer the consequences for their independence, for they were all defeated by men. In essence these myths could be considered allegory warning women not to become independent and proud of their intelligence.

Respected for his beliefs by his male colleagues (and they were all male and thus with male egos and “in love with their penises” and no doubt loving the idea that the world revolves around their penis), Aristotle’s beliefs were written down for men and mass produced for men. These beliefs are then passed down upon children, who then take these beliefs to be the absolute truth, and never questioning it. “Men commonly think according to their inclinations, speak according to their learning and imbibed opinions, but generally act according to custom,” said Francis Bacon, speaking of this usually “unspoken tradition” that is passed down through the generations.

In the Biblical Genesis (the King James/Yahwist version), Eve is portrayed as being lesser than Adam by the simple fact that she is made by only part of him, and is not made wholly of the earth like Adam was. This shortcoming is then shown when she is tricked so easily by the serpent into eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and she in turn manipulates and tricks Adam into also eating of the tree. Furthermore, when caught and questioned, Eve quickly blames the snake for her shortcomings. Thus Eve presents parts of both archetypes, the submissive woman who is easily tricked by the snake, but after eating the fruit, she becomes the cunning and manipulative woman who seduces/tricks Adam.

In a different version of Genesis, the ben-Sira version~, the person known as Lilith (Adam’s first wife, before Eve) is introduced:

“When the Almighty created the first, solitary man, He said: It is not good for man to be alone. And He fashioned for man a woman from the earth, like him (Adam), and called her Lilith. Soon, they began to quarrel with each other. She said to him: I will not lie underneath, and he said: I will not lie underneath but above, for you are meant to lie underneath and I to lie above. She said to him: We are both equal, because we are both created from the earth. But they didn’t listen to each other. When Lilith saw this, she pronounced God’s avowed name and flew into the air. Adam stood in prayer before his Creator and said: Lord of the World! The woman you have given me has gone away from me. Immediately, the Almighty sent three angels after her, to bring her back. The Almighty said to Adam: If she decides to return, it is good, but if not, then she must take it upon herself to ensure that a hundred of her children die each day. They went to her and found her in the middle of the Red Sea. And they told her the word of God. But she refused to return. They said to her: We must drown you in the sea. She said: Leave me! I was created for no other purpose than to harm children, eight days for boys and twenty for girls. When they heard what she said, they pressed her even more. She said: I swear by the name of the living God that I, when I see you or your image on an amulet, will have no power over that particular child. And she took it upon herself to ensure that, every day, a hundred of her children died. That is why we say that, every day, a hundred of her demons die. That is why we write the names Senoi, Sansenoi and Semangloph on an amulet for small children. And when Lilith sees it, she remembers her promise and the child is saved.”

According to accompanying legends, Lilith was cursed and turned into a succubus. God created Eve as an afterthought out of Adam’s rib, in order to make her more submissive. Lilith’s descendants and Eve’s descendants mingled together and bred, and God decreed that Lilith is kill all of her descendants, except for those protected by an amulet. This belief that Lilith will come to slay young children is still held in awe today in many cultures. As the mother of all other succubi, Lilith’s daughters (succubi, or simply “Liliths (according to some tales) are also held to this and cannot harm any child protected by the amulet. This is Lilith’s curse for being too dominating according to many tales, although it is also questioned as to whether the real reason is because she spoke God’s avowed name.

Other Biblical and non-Biblical legends* portray Lilith as being a “terrible mother-goddess”. Her clergy is described as being “temple prostitutes” according to some historians. This belief changed over time, with Lilith (or succubi in general) becoming the “divine whore” according to men, described as being a tall beautiful, obsidian-skinned, bat-winged female with long red (some legends say black) hair and sharp blue eyes. This creature then seduces men and kills them. This is a perfect example of men describing the physical characteristics of women, and also their obvious fear of being powerless against a woman and controlled by them.

There are many other legends (mostly Sumerian, Babylonian and Assyrian) calling Lilith (or creatures like her) by other names such as Shedu, Lamashtu, Marilith, Succubus, Ahhazu, Alu, Gallu, Lamia, Ishtar. The legend of Lilith is so widespread that it reaches even Malayasia where she is called Langsuir (or Langsuyar) and feared as a demon seductress of the night. This enforces the idea that man’s fear of seductive/dominating women is universal amongst all men.

During the Spanish Inquisition (and various other witch hunts), witches were associated with the demon Lilith, and anyone having red hair like Lilith were more likely to be hung or burnt at the stake. This perhaps is the reason why red hair is so rare and also why the current stereotypes that all red-haired people are regarded as aggressive, hot tempered, troublesome, and otherworldly. These witchhunts were led by men, usually clergy, who were obviously afraid of being bewitched, seduced and controlled.

The power struggle between Adam and Lilith is a reflection of the power struggle between the sexes, a man’s patriarchal attitude versus a woman’s demands for independence and equality. Psychologically, this is the result of Adam’s fear of Lilith being in control, Lilith’s equal fear of Adam being in control, and both rejecting the others demands for dominance. Adam and Lilith obviously could not meet with a marital therapist however, but since the two are viewed as being mythical characters, then they reflect universal characteristics and behaviour such as all people’s (not just men’s) fear of being controlled.

A number of modern psychologists/analysts have studied the ben-Sira version and have come up with their conclusions about Lilith, Adam and Eve, and their archetypes:

Vogelsang asserts that Adam bears the guilt for the disagreement. “From the beginning [he] was trying to assert his superiority and to dominate her, a power play on the part of the masculine.” He also says “it should be emphasized that she was not trying to subjugate him. She was trying to maintain her rights.” Essentially this means that Adam represents the average aggressive male, whereas Lilith should actually be considered a model female who stands up for her rights. Perhaps women should be feared, for it is the fear between both sexes that makes them equal.

Lenherr-Baumgartner claims that Adam’s demand for the upper position was the result of “is evolutionary understandable as a certain male fear of an equal female. In addition she considers the separation of the two metaphorical in the sense that male and female shall be forever separated by their fears of each other.

In modern times it would be very easy to compare Adam, Eve and Lilith to a patriarchal husband, a weak, submissive wife, and a vindictive, dominating ex-wife. A slightly different example would be patriarchal President Bill Clinton (perhaps as the result of his obsession with his penis), submissive stand-by-your-husband Hillary Clinton, and the aggressive “succubi” (no pun intended) Monica Lewinsky. The First Lady has deliberately played the submissive/supportive wife because she understands that she will be considered more socially acceptable because of it, whereas Lewinsky has found popularity amongst some feminists who support her for her aggressiveness. Bill Clinton himself however faces a special problem with his ego, having the American-Made title of the “Most Powerful Man In The World” and likely believing that the world really does revolve around his penis, and his true fears are more complex because of the high price some believe that he should have paid for his adultery.

In conclusion, the dominance of men has been implemented by unspoken tradition amongst men through the generations of men writing for other men, such as Aristotle and the many variations of Genesis. This has caused men to create two specific archetypes of a submissive weak woman and an aggressive “Lilith” both of which are the result of men’s fears of a dominant/equal female.

Study of the Goddess: Lilith

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Study of the Goddess: Lilith

An Introduction to Lilith

By Alan Humm
Lilith is the most important of a small collection of named female demons in Jewish legend. Historically, she is actually older than Judaism (at least Judaism as defined as a post-restoration phenomenon). Her earliest appearance is probably in ancient Sumer. Although it is far from certain, she may be a minor character in a prologue to the Epic of Gilgamesh. In the ancient world she also sometimes appears in magical texts, amulets, etc., intended to thwart her activities. She appears once in the Bible (Isaiah), in a context that associates her with demons of the desert, and again in some Dead Sea Scroll passages clearly based on the Isaiah reference.

We see somewhat more of her in late Roman/early medieval Judaism. She appears frequently on prophylactic magical bowls. In this context, she is clearly associated with childbirth (e.g. as a threat), and perhaps also as a succubus against which men need protection. In these bowls she is often countered by invoking the powers of her nemesis angels: Snvi, Snsvi, and Smnglof (we don’t know what vowels to use with these names, but presumably they were intended to be pronounceable). She also shows up in the Talmud, and is clearly linked with the demonic world. Here also, her role as succubus begins to take clear shape.

Somewhere between the eighth and tenth centuries, CE, she makes an appearance in a satirical work entitled the Alphabet of Ben Sira. It is here that she is first given what has become her most famous persona: the first wife of Adam (before Eve). In this story, she is created at more or less the same time as Adam, and, as was Adam, out of the ground. Because of this she tries to assert her equality — an assertion which Adam rejects. Refusing to conform to Adam’s desires, she escapes from Eden, and is subsequently replaced by the more subservient Eve (who has less claim to equality, since she was made out of Adam’s side). Having escaped Eden, Lilith takes on her renowned role as baby-stealer and mother of demons. She also promises to leave babies alone who are protected by amulets with the names of the three angels mentioned above.

While it is true that there was a rabbinic tradition that Adam briefly had another wife before the creation of Eve (Genesis Rabbah), there is a great deal of doubt as to whether Lilith had any connection at all to this first wife of Adam story prior the publication of the Alphabet. The satirical nature of the Alphabet casts further doubt on the authenticity of this Lilith connection. But whatever its origins, the connection between Lilith and the first Eve seems to have struck a chord with Jewish folk imagination and it is now an inexorable part of those traditions. It has been able to function both as a ‘woman’s story’ (in which Lilith is a role model for uppity women), and as a patriarchal story (in which we see the dire consequences of being an uppity woman). As a midrash, it also helps to solve a problem that arises from the fact that Genesis 1 has mankind created “male and female,” but when we get to Genesis 2, Adam seems to be alone and in need of a partner.

Kabbalistic literature is occasionally aware of the Alphabet story, but more frequently not. Here Lilith usually appears as a partner for Samael (=Satan), and as the chief feminine expression of the Left (evil) Emanation. In some passages, she participates in the temptation of Eve/Adam, and, after the expulsion, she serves as succubus to Adam, generating hoards of demons from his seed. She is also the personification of temptation, and is for all intents and purposes identified with the woman Folly from the early chapters of Proverbs. In one story, she actually serves as consort to the Holy One.

She also appears in Christian iconography. Most late medieval and renaissance paintings of the temptation of Adam and Eve have portrayed the serpent as having a woman’s head and often torso as well. This is usually referred to by art historians as ‘Lilith,’ but there is no Jewish story which easily corresponds to the pictorial representations (the one exception is Bacharach, ‘Emeq haMelekh 23c-d, but it is confusing, and problematic at best). I am led to presume that there were Christian versions of the Lilith myth in which the identification between her and the Serpent were made explicit. Unfortunately, none of these versions have survived in either text or known folklore.

Lilith enjoyed something of a revival in literature beginning in the mid 19th century. Usually she represents the feminine dark side (the part that men subliminally fear). Carl Jung made use of her as prime expression of the anima in men (the suppressed feme within), and the best monograph on her still belongs to one of Jung’s disciples (Siegmund Hurwitz).

She has also been embraced by many modern, particularly Jewish, feminists. Based mainly, or entirely, on the Alphabet, she is presented as the proto-feminist, willing to sacrifice even the paradise of Eden as the necessary cost of freedom and equality. Of course, her role as baby-stealer is usually down-played (or assigned to a patriarchal layer of the tradition). Some neo-pagan groups have taken up her cause as well, either accepting her dark nature as part of larger sacred reality, or finding the erotic goddess within after removing the clutter of what they argue are patriarchal and monotheistic condemnations.

Finally, she has a place in vampire lore either as the first and most powerful of the vampires, or at least as their queen. She is sometimes presented as either the daughter or the consort of Dracula. In her role as succubus, she has, of course, particular control of nightmares and erotic dreams. She also rules a horde of other succuba and incubi.

Today On Mother’s Day, We Celebrate The Pagan Mother Goddesses

Asasa Ya (Ashanti)

This earth mother goddess prepares to bring forth new life in the spring, and the Ashanti people honor her at the festival of Durbar, alongside Nyame, the sky god who brings rain to the fields.

 

Asase Ya (or Asase YaaAsaase YaaAsaase Afua; is the Earth goddess of fertility of the Ashanti people ethnic groupof Ashanti City-State of Ghana. She is also known as Mother Earth or Aberewaa.

Asase Yaa is the wife of Nyame the Sky deity, who created the universe. Asase Yaa gave birth to the two children, Bea and Tano. Bea is also named Bia.

Asase Yaa is also the mother of Anansi, the trickster, and divine stepmother of the sacred high chiefs.

Asase Yaa is very powerful, though no temples are dedicated to her, instead she is worshipped in the agricultural fields of Ashanti City-State.

Asase Yaa’s favoured Ashanti people are occupationally Ashanti workers in the agricultural fields and planet Jupiter is her symbol.

Asase Yaa Worship

The Ashanti people of Ashanti City-State regard Asase Ya as Mother Earth, the earth goddess of fertility, the upholder of truth, and the creator Goddess who comes to fetch Ashanti people’s souls to the otherworld (Planet Jupiter) at the time of death.  She is credited as being the nurturer of the earth and is considered to provide sustenance for all. When a member of the Ashanti people ethnic group wants to prove his (or her) credibility, he (or her) touches his (or her) lips to the soil of Ashanti City-State and recites the Asase Ya Prayer-Poem. Another tradition holds that because Thursday is reserved as Asase Ya’s day, the Ashanti people generally abstain from tilling the land of Ashanti City-State on that day.

Prayer Poem To Asase Ya
First stanza
Old Woman Earth ….
She who Lent the Rights..
Of Cultivation to the Living ….

My Prayer to You, of Thanksgiving.

Second stanza
“Earth, When I am about to Die,
I Lean on you.
Earth, While I am Alive,

I Depend on You”.

Third stanza
Lilacs in your Hair .. Ever Present Mother
In each Grain of Sand is thy Story.
Fourth stanza
Giver of Nkwagye the Salvation of Life
And Nkwa to live Life without Strife

To your Everlasting Glory.

Fifth stanza
That Man is Tame is thy Domain…
Giver of Law and Ethics

Scales of Justice.

Sixth stanza
With Each Field I till..
With Thee I am Still
And when Death comes to Claim..
I become One with thy Fame

Bringing Life to the Land with my Will.

Seventh stanza
The Fertile Fields and the Woman’s Yield
All Have felt thy Hand
Hail and Thanks Be Great Mother

For your Back upon which we Stand.

Eight stanza
Upholder of Truth, our Lady Fair
To kiss the dust of thy Breast…

Is proof of the Tale.

Ninth stanza
Hail Great Mother
Whose Love is in the Earth
Thy gifts to your Children

Are an Unending source of Mirth.

Tenth stanza
A Smile to the Lips with a Song in the Heart
Praises we Sing, when the Plantings to Start.
Eleventh stanza
Hail bringer of Life, bringer of Law and Order
Hail Old Mother Earth, your Children
Have Crossed the Border

Into the Lands of Sweetness and Heart.

Twelfth stanza
Asase Yaa, Aberewa, Asase Efua
Names without End do we Call You
Blessed Be, Asase Yaa

To Be Cherished Forever, We Adore You.

The Abosom in the Americas (Jamaica)

Worship of the Asase Ya goddess was transported via the transatlantic slave trade and was documented to had been acknowledged by enslaved Akan or Coromantee living in Jamaica. Jamaican slave owners did not believe in Christianity for the Coromantee and left them to their own beliefs. Hence an Ashanti spiritual system was dominant on the plantation. According to Jamaican historian and slave owner Edward Long, creole descendants of the Ashanti coupled with other newly arrived Coromantee joined in observation and worship of the Ashanti goddess Asase Yaa (the English people recorded erroneously as ‘Assarci’). They showed their worship by pouring libations and offering up harvested foods. Other Ashanti Abosom were also reported to be worshipped. This was the only deity spiritual system on the island, as other deities identities in the 18th century was obliterated because of the large population of enslaved Coromantee in Jamaica, according to Edward Long and other historians who observed their slaves.

 

Source

Wikipedia

 

Hecate – The Distant One

HECATE
Greek goddess of the three paths, guardian households, protector of everything newly born, and the goddess of witchcraft

Once a widely revered and influential goddess. Sadly the reputation of Hecate has been changed over the centuries. In current times, she is usually depicted as an ugly hag.  In reality nothing could be further from the truth. Hecate is a beautiful and powerful goddess.  Hecate was given the power of giving anything she wished (or withholding if it pleased her).

Classified as a “Moon Goddess”,  she ruled 3 kingdoms . . . the earth, sea, and sky. She was also considered the protector of shepherds and sailors.

It is said that Hecate was a “virgin” because of her unwillingness to give up solitude and her independent nature for the sake of marriage.

Walking, traveling at night or visiting cemeteries during the dark phase of the moon, the Moon Goddess Hecate was described as shining or luminous.  Some tales say she is invisible or simply a quick glimpse of light…maybe it’s because she always carried a torch to light her way.

Hecate and her sacred dogs were said to have three heads so that they could see in all directions.  Usually pictured as a beautiful woman having three human heads, on occasion she was pictured with one snake head, one horse, and the third a boar’s head.  Other opinions are that the three heads gave her the ability to see the past, present, and future.  It is said that Hecate was often accompanied on her travels by an owl, a symbol of wisdom.

Hecate also played an ongoing important role in the life of Persephone (Hades wife), becoming her confidante when she was in the Underworld. Hades, because he was thankful for their friendship,had the effect of promoting her reputation as a spirit of black magic with the power to conjure up dreams, prophecies, and phantoms.

It not surprising that a woman who needed to make a trip alone at night would say a short prayer to Hecate for protection.

Known as a protector of women, especially during childbirth. Not only was Hecate called upon to ease the pains and progress of a woman’s labor, but especially to protect and restore the health and growth of a child.

Hecate played a role that, in contemporary times, we would describe as “hospice nurse”, helping the elderly make a smooth, painless transition into the next life even staying with them if need be.  She also helped in the otherworld to prepare them for their return to the earth in their next life.  Familiar with the process of death and dying as well as that of new birth and new life, the goddess Hecate was wise in all of earth’s mysteries.

The Greek Goddess Hecate reminds us of the importance of change, helping us to release the past, especially those things that are slowing our growth, to accept change and move comfortably into transitions. She sometimes asks us to let go of what is familiar, safe, and secure and to travel to the uncomfortable places of the soul.  Changes of any kind no matter if they are spiritual or mundane, aren’t easy. But Hecate is there to support and show you the way.

She gives you the needed tools to see what’s been forgotten, lost or even hidden, and helps you set your feet upon your path. At times she “shines her torch” to guide you while you are dreaming or meditating.
Hecate teaches us to be just and to be tolerant of those who are different or less fortunate, yet she is hardly a “bleeding heart”, for Hecate dispenses justice “blindly” and equally.

Whether the Greek goddess Hecate visits us in waking hours or only while we sleep, she can lead us to see things differently (ourselves included) and help us find greater understanding of our selves and others.

Although her name may mean “The Distant One”, Hecate is always close at hand in times of need, helping us to release the old, familiar ways and find our way through new beginnings.

 

Invocation To The Queen Of The Witches

Hecate
Goddess of the cross-roads,
Goddess of Manic-Depression,
Dweller in the deep places of the earth and mind,
Traveller in the land between worlds!
Torch-bearer! Protectress of the very old and the very young;
Protectress of those used and abused;
Healer of those who are torn apart;
She will be there for us when we call on her and at the end.
Grandmother to lost children and to the downtrodden.
Nurse to the suckling infant,
Comfort to the lone man or woman in the darkest night.
She who seeks vengeance for her children who are wronged!
Wanderer and prowler!
Sorceress who lives at the edge of the mind.
Drawer-up of the secret compost from the unused internal well.
She who has no relatives on the earth save for her children.
Without Mother or Sister.
Lady on the brink, both bi-polar and uni-polar!
They call her mad, and it is she who terrifies the disbeliever and the
unworthy!
Bringer of nightmares!
But she it is who sooths the sleepless and disheveled spirit.
Mother of night!
Dark Power of the moon!
Keeper of the shadow!
Walker of the endless highways!
She unites those who follow her as her children; the Hekite.
Bearer of the sacred poppy.
Shape-shifter, Transformer.
Keeper of the hounds of Hel and the three-headed dog Cerebus!
She walks abroad in the hour of the wolf and under the Dark Moon!
Hear my call O Lady and cover us with your starry cloak.
Let the unborn moon seed in my heart this night.
And let her growing light shine upon our intention;
That she be at our full deliverance,
So Mote it be!

Erhard Hans Josef Lang

 

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

 

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