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Brigid

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In Irish mythology, Brigid or Brighid ("exalted one") was the daughter of Dagda (and therefore one of the Tuatha Dé Danann) and wife of Bres of the Fomorians. She had two sisters, also named Brighid, and is considered a classic Celtic Triple Goddess.

Contents

Etymology of the name

Etymological lexical forms reconstructed in the University of Wales' Proto-Celtic lexicon [1] (http://www.wales.ac.uk/documents/external/cawcs/pcl-moe.pdf), suggest that the name is likely to be ultimately derived from the Proto-Celtic *Brigantījā or *Brigantīs, a word with the semantic connotations of ‘Loftiness, Elevated State', or 'Elevated One.'This apparent semantic connotation has led Dr. John Koch at the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh & Celtic Studies to suggest that this mythic personality may well personify “elevated state”. This theory, if it is correct, would account for the associations with physical and psychological states of elevation, whether of uplands, high-rising flames, good health or martial, metallurgic and artistic skills.

Titles

Some of her titles included:

  • "Fire of Inspiration" - patroness of poets
  • "Fire of the Hearth" - patroness of healers, goddess of fertility
  • "Fire of the Forge" - patroness of smiths, craftsmen and warriors

Familial relations

By Tuireann, she was the mother of Creidhne, Luchtaine and Goibniu.

Associations

Brigid possessed an apple orchard in the Otherworld; bees traveled there to obtain magical nectar. This orchard was associated with Avalon. The Lady of the Lake in Arthurian Legend may be based on Brigid.

Divine responsibilities

Brigid was the goddess of the Sacred Flame of Kildare and the patron goddess of the Druids. She was the goddess of all things perceived to be of relatively high dimensions such as high-rising flames, highlands, hill-forts and upland areas; and of activities and states conceived as psychologically lofty and elevated, such as wisdom, excellence, perfection, high intelligence, poetic eloquence, craftsmanship, healing ability, druidic knowledge and skill in warfare. She seems to have been the Celtic equivalent of the Roman Minerva and the Greek Athena (Encyclopedia Britannica: Celtic Religion), a goddesses with very similar functions and apparently embodying the same concept of 'elevated state', whether physical or psychological.

Incorporation into Christianity

After the Christianization of the Celts, Brigid was considered the foster mother of Jesus and was often called St. Brigid, daughter of the druid, Dougal the Brown. Some sources suggest that Saint Brigid was an Irish Catholic bishop.

Festivals

On February 1, Brigid was celebrated at Imbolc, when she brought spring to the land. It is also the feast day of St Brigid (who is honored by Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and some Anglicans).

Other names

Was this goddess the Celtic Minerva?

According to Proinsias Mac Cana, Minerva‘s closest parallel is the goddess Brigantis or Brigantia, who survives in Irish literature as Brighid, daughter of the divine king, Dagda. Both Brigantis and Minerva (MIN-erva, pro-MIN-ent-, e-MIN-ent-) have names which in their respective languages connote ‘exalted state’ and are concerned with higher places, states and activities such as healing and craftsmanship. Brigantis was the tribal goddess of the Old British tribe the Brigantes. Some toponyms such as Bregenz and Briganza provide some onomastic indications that she was worshipped in Celtic Europe, perhaps where Brigantes tribe members had settled.

Bibliography

  • Ellis, Peter Berresford, Dictionary of Celtic Mythology(Oxford Paperback Reference), Oxford University Press, (1994): ISBN: 0195089618
  • MacKillop, James. Dictionary of Celtic Mythology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN 0192801201.
  • Wood, Juliette, The Celts: Life, Myth, and Art, Thorsons Publishers (2002): ISBN: 0007640595

External links

es:Brigit it:Brigid pl:Brigid

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