Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Brigid of the Songs

"When, to-day, a Gaelic islesman alludes to Briget of the Songs, or when a woman of South Uist prays to Good St. Bride to bless the empty cradle that is soon to be filled, or when a shennachie or teller of tales speaks of an oath taken by Briget of the Flame, they refer, though probably unconsciously, to a far older Brighid than do they who speak with loving familiarity of Mume Chriosd, Christ's Foster Mother, or Brighid-nam-Bratta, St. Bride of the Mantle. They refer to one who in the dim, far-off days of the forgotten pagan world of our ancestors was a noble and great goddess... They refer to one whom the Druids held in honour as a torch bearer of the eternal light, a Daughter of the Morning, who held sunrise in one hand as a little yellow flame, and in the other held the red flower of fire without which men would be as the beasts who live in caves and holes, or as the dark Fómor who have their habitations in cloud and wind and the wilderness. They refer to one whom the bards and singers revered as mistress of their craft, she whose breath was a flame, and that flame song: she whose secret name was fire and whose inmost soul was radiant air, she therefore who was the divine impersonation of the divine thing she stood for, Poetry."

-Fiona Macleod

* * *
Thrice-radiant maiden of flames, golden red
To your keeping is given the home, warm seat of kin,
The health of children and lowing cattle,
The bounty of kettle and hay,
The protection of houses from wicked powers,
And the comfort of weeping hearts.
Thrice-beautiful daughter of morning,
A sacred ground for you there is, where fire is built

And bulls and cows have trodden down the grass;
Where women weave and smiths beat metal;
Where poets make art with words;
Where men carry weapons in strife;
Where healers collect water and herbs;
Where children sleep after drinking milk.
Brigid bless them each fairly like the hearth fire
Which offers warmth and light to all.

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