… and my blood pressure is going up! OK that was a joke. Kinda. But this is the time of year when I see the most dubious information posted about Brigid and it hurts.
I get it, there are people out there that visit with the deity of the season through the years and that’s great. I love to see more people getting to know Brigid and this is one way for people to do so. What drives me cracked is people taking lore from all over the place and mashing it together into some sort of Franken-deity.
For me it’s simple – yes I can see links between Irish Brigid and Scottish Bride and even English Brigantia. And possibly, way back when, they were all the same deity. It’s possible. But we’re not way back when and we don’t know how our ancestors worshipped or dealt with that pre-Brigid deity. It’s like saying all modern Irish are the Milesians. Or actually it would need to be further back than the Milesians, it would need to be the first hunter-gatherers that came to this island. it doesn’t work.
Deity, no more than people, develop over time and that means lumping together a mishmash can prove detrimental if you’re looking to do deeper work with Brigid. (Or any other deity for that matter!)
As for the things I’m seeing going around the internet that have Brigid as both a solar and a lunar deity – I can’t bring myself to comment other than to say that Irish deities don’t tend to work that way. We can sometimes say that such-and-such a deity has a link with the sun or the moon because of this particular story and that’s about it. (Unless it’s the Dagda who’s good at it, whatever “it” is 🙂 ) And I think everyone knows my opinion of the maiden-mother-crone things. *Shudders*
Depending on your needs, there are a few places you can learn more about why I keep going on about this and what’s to learn from our lore. I focus on the Irish lore because there’s plenty there to keep me happy and I am Irish, it makes sense to me. I have some awareness of Scottish lore (at an extremely basic level) but if I’m speaking or teaching, it’s about Irish Brigid.
Here’s a link to my post on UPG and why it’s important to differentiate UPG and generally accepted gnosis
Here’s my post on native vs non-native Brigid
Here’s my free class on Brigid in the Irish lore in the Brigid’s Forge school
Here’s my introductory class to Irish Brigid in the Irish Pagan School
I will also be teaching my 5 week deeper dive into Brigid with the Irish Pagan School in early February. It’s best to sign up to their email list to keep up to date on that one as well!
But please, if you’re reading something on the internet and it seems a bit easy, or a bit strange or a bit too nice… it probably is. Check the lore. Question the writers, including me! Question and discern for yourself and then make sure you’re very clear about what’s your UPG/ headcanon and what’s generally accepted. We owe it to ourselves to keep these things straight!
4 thoughts on “Imbolc is coming…”
As a Scot and a Gael, I feel there is a clear distinction between the Gaelic Brigid, of Ireland and the Gaelic areas of Scotland and the more recent invention of a Scottish Brigid who is not based on any genuinely old folklore. I hear storytellers talking of the Scottish Brigid being an aspect of the Cailleach and vice versa – but this is a recent notion not based on any genuine tradition. I don’t think there is much to go on with regard to the goddess Brigid in Scotland but St Brigid of Ireland was and is honoured by the Gael’s of these lands in a way that she never was in outside of Ireland and Gaelic Scotland.
Interesting about Brigantia, I know Brigid was celebrated by Anglo-Saxons with Celtic connections but hadn’t really thought about this root much. I’m from the North West which historically feels like being positioned at the post-office for the British Isles, with traditions like fingers in every pie. There’s that much people movement between us that who knows if we are celebrating Imbolc because half our grandparents are Irish or because Lancashire people believed in water spirits or Anglo or Scandi or Roman or Candlemass etc.
I know there was a fair bit of influence from Irish saints like Colmcille in the north of England as well as Scotland alright and the Northumbrian Church was said to be closer to Ireland than to Rome at one point – and that’s before more recent waves of immigration! Just as a heads up, most of us in Ireland prefer people not to use the term “British Isles” as it indicates both islands are British, and we most certainly are not. The Atlantic Archipelago is an alternative to use 🙂
Thanks I will remember if I reference Ireland to say AA but for Cheshire it is still BI as common understanding.