Brigid is an Irish goddess of smithcraft, poetry, wisdom, and healing. Said to be born with a flame emerging from the top of her head, she may also have been a kind of triple goddess. As time went on, she became absorbed into Catholicism as Saint Brigid of Kildare.
Brigid is a member of the Tuatha Dé Danann, the Irish pantheon. She is a daughter of the Dagda, and her name means “exalted one.” Her mother may have been Danu, but this only appears in some sources.
In some depictions, she is a single, multifaceted goddess. In others, she’s a triplet — there’s Brigid the poetess, Brigid the healer, and Brigid the smith.
She is also connected to prosperity and domesticated animals, since she owned two oxen named Femen and Fea, the “King of Boars” Torc Triath, and the “King of Sheep,” Cirb.
Each of these have lent their names to different locations in Ireland, and were said to scream whenever the country was plundered.
Brigid is also a sun goddess. She was born with a flame — though this is more likely intended to be metaphorical as a “flame of inspiration” — at the top of her head.
Her sacred day is Imbolc, February 1st, which marks the beginning of the year and the time when lambing begins. The days become longer, and the first flowers start poking through the snow.
One Imbolc custom involves creating a representation of the Goddess in the form of a corn dolly. (In this case “corn” doesn’t refer to corn the grain. It’s a general term for grains consumed by animals.) These are put around the home for blessing and protection.
Traditionally, they may be dressed as brides and put in a small bed with a representation of male fertility. This is a form of sympathetic magic intended to ensure fertile flocks, fields, and families for the coming year.
In some legends, Brigid married Bres and had a son named Ruadán. During the second battle of Moytura, which pitted the Tuatha Dé Danann against the Fomorians, a race of terrible, frightening-looking giants.
Though the Tuatha Dé Danann won, this victory was costly — Brigid lost both her father and her son. Brigid wept and keened on the battlefield, which created the Irish tradition of keening for the dead.
In other legends, she was the wife of Tuireann and birthed three sons: Brian, Iuchar, and Irchaba.
Brigid is associated with sacred wells and sites. Over time, as Ireland was Christianized, Saint Brigid took over many of these.
Saint Brigid was also remarkably similar to Brigid, to the point where it’s strongly suggested by academics that Saint Brigid was an attempt to convert Pagans by assimilating the Goddess into the roster of saints. Saint Brigid’s feast say is February 1st, the same as Imbolc.
As Catholicism spread around the world, often by force, Brigid was further assimilated into other belief systems. In Vodou, she is known as Maman Brigitte — one of the few loa portrayed as white.
Symbols & Associations
Brigid is often represented by a Saint Brigid’s cross, which is a cross with four equal-length arms. These are often made of sheafs of grain folded over each other and tied with string.
In other situations, she may be represented by a corn dolly.
She’s also associated with:
- Farm animals, especially oxen, boar, and sheep.
- Wells and springs.
- Fires, from hearths to bonfires.
- Healing herbs.
Brigid is known for her many talents. She could:
- Create powerful poetry.
- Heal any illness.
- See hidden knowledge.
- Control the weather.
- Grant fertility.
The best offerings to Brigid are:
- Poems and stories.
- Milk, cheese, yogurt, or butter.
- Healing herbal tea.
Poetry, metal objects, and food offerings are particularly appropriate. Much of Brigid’s power boils down to being fruitful, whether that’s creatively, physically, or through her interactions with the land. Regardless of what you choose to offer her, objects that you have created are best.
Signs Brigid is Calling You
One sure sign of Brigid’s call is when you feel drawn to one of her talents. If you suddenly develop an interest in poetry, metalwork, healing, or skills using fire, it may be her doing.
You may also dream of her, or of performing one of her skills.
Brigid may even appear to you in meditations. She can offer you inspiration for writing or other creative projects.
You may see her symbols with increasing frequency, like fire, serpents, or Saint Brigid’s cross.
Crystals Associated with Brigid
Brigid is chiefly connected to metals, rather than crystals. Nonetheless, there are several that you can use to feel more connected to her:
Herbs Associated with Brigid
Brigid is associated with all healing herbs and herbs of springtime. She’s also tied to:
- Oak. One sacred site was at Cill-dara (modern day Kildare), which means “cell of the oak tree.”
- All grains.
- Early spring flowers, like snowdrops or crocuses.
Working with Brigid
One of the best ways to work with Brigid is to acknowledge her on her day, Imbolc. Make a corn dolly, cook seasonal foods and offer some to her, pick early flowers, and put energy toward sowing what you hope to harvest later in the year — either literally or metaphorically.
You can also acknowledge her at Samhain, when she’s said to be in her crone aspect.
It’s also great to acknowledge Brigid when you’re beginning a creative project, especially one that involves writing or metalwork.
If you have a workspace for these things, you may even want to make an altar to her. It doesn’t have to be large and fancy (especially if it’s in a working area). Just be sure to include a candle, a dish of water to represent a sacred well, and a bowl for offerings.
You may also want to add a statue, corn dolly, or other representation of Brigid, images of her sacred animals, a container for her flowers and herbs, or some crystals associated with her. Before you start working, light the candle and sincerely ask her for her help and inspiration.
If you don’t think you’re a creative person, now is the perfect time to pick up a new skill. Dedicate your efforts to Brigid and ask her for help as you improve.
You may want to make a ritual of tending Brigid’s fire. In Cill-dara, it was said that 19 nuns tended her fire to keep it burning day and night. On the 20th night, Saint Brigid tended it herself. Before that, people would gather to light sacred fires for protection and fruitfulness.
Like many European deities, much of Brigid’s history has been lost through Christianization and cultural suppression. Still, she is a resilient goddess who survives — and even flourishes — in multiple pantheons.
Work with her when you desire more creativity, skill, healing, and abundance in your life. She is a deep well of inspiration, talent, and power.