Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Brigid, A Flame for the Future 

The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book, Lady of the Sea: The Goddess Who Births the New Age, and it has to do with Brigid’s role in the future. I have provided translations for the Gaelic words.
An interesting story concerning Brigid is found in the writings of 19th century writer Fiona Macleod (William Sharp). It comes from a little volume called Winged Destiny: Studies in the Spiritual History of the Gael. In this story the author encounters an elderly woman named Mary MacArthur who tells him of a dream encounter she’d had with St. Brigid many years before. Brigid was very precious and dear to the Celts; they regarded her as the foster mother of Christ, and this dream encounter touched Mary MacArthur deeply.

This was the dream that Mary MacArthur recounted to Fiona Macleod. A woman of great beauty came up to Mary as she was at the seashore gathering driftwood to  kindle her fire. The woman threw the wood into the sea, saying she was throwing away Mary’s sorrows with the wood. She identified herself as Brigid, and Mary exclaimed aloud in wonder and praise, and went down on her knee. Brigid looked at her and said:

I am older than Brighid of the Mantle, Mary,
and it is you that should know that.
I put songs and music on the wind
before ever the bells of the chapels were rung in the West
or heard in the East.

I am Brighid-nam-Bratta (Brighid of the Mantle),
but I am also Brighid-Muirghin-na-tuinne (Brighid of the conception of the waves),
and Brighid-sluagh (Brighid of the immortal host),
Brighid-nan-sitheach seang (Brighid of the slim faery folk),
Brighid-Binne- Bheullbuchd-nan-trusganan-uaine (Brighid of sweet songs and melodious mouth),

and I am older than Aona (Friday)
and am as old as Luan (Monday).

And in Tir-na-h'oige (Land of the Ever Young)
my name is Suibhal-bheann (Mountain traveler);
in Tir-fo-thuinn (Country of the Waves
it is Cù-gorm (Grey Hound);
and in Tir-nah'oise  (Country of Ancient Years)
it is Sireadh-thall (Seek-beyond).

And I have been a breath in your heart.

And the day has its feet to it that will see me
coming into the hearts of men and women
like a flame upon dry grass,
like a flame of wind in a great wood.

For the time of change is at hand, Mairi nic Ruaridh Donn—
though not for you, old withered leaf on the dry branch,
though for you, too, when you come to us and see all things in the pools of life yonder.”

*  *  *

This interesting passage, wherein Brigid refers to a time of change close at hand, would seem to speak of the Aquarian Age which will soon arrive, as well as the major time of changes we are now experiencing and which are leading us into the new age.

Older than Friday—creation’s final day, when all living creatures came into being—and as old as Monday—the second day of creation, when God began the work of creation by separating the waters of above and below, thus creating sky and sea, Brigid is telling us she is older than earthly life and was there at the very beginning, much like the feminine figure of Wisdom in the Bible.

She is Lady of the faeries, the sea, and the songs in the wind. Brigid says that she has previously been like “a breath in your heart,” but that the time is coming when she will enter into people’s hearts like a flame upon dry grass and a flame of wind in a great wood.

Thus she identifies herself as a major player in the future; a powerful being who will help bring about, in the age to come, the very changes she foretells.



Blogger Janina Renée said...

Hi Margie! I’ve been re-reading your lines on Brigid, and apologize for my late response, as I am behind on everything these days. In association with the days surrounding the Brigid feast, I want to comment on St. Agatha on February 5th, though I am also behind on that. Among St. Agatha’s other domains, she is concerned with fire, hence a patron saint of firemen and invoked against volcano eruptions. Of course, candle carrying processions are a big part of her festival. The saint’s martyrology involves the amputation of her breasts, which is why she is often portrayed contemplating a pair of breasts on a salver, and Italian bakers honor her with sugar buns in the shape of breasts.

Knowing that the ancients liked to spread their major festival celebrations over the course of a week or octave, and considering all of the calendar displacements over time, I think you can make connections with Brigid. Breasts give milk, so one thinks of Oimelc. Also, as the volcanoes suggest volcanism, hence Vulcan, god of the forge, there is a peripheral link with smithcraft.

A little further out, the name Agatha suggests the Agathos Daimon, the “good spirit,” that the Greeks and Romans regarded as a personal spirit of luck, protection, and guidance. This Daimon was often portrayed as a snake, hence an earth spirit and spirit of healing energies. In Italy and Spain, Agatha, also known as Agato, has come to be associated with cats, so think of the cat as the genius of the hearth. This, in turn, reminds me of St. Lucia, another fire saint, who Swedes honor at winter solstice with Lussekatter, which are spiral-shaped buns. It seems like the spiral buns could also be baked in honor of Brigid, along with hot cross buns and breast shaped buns.

4:34 PM  

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