Brìde (pronounced, “BREE-zhuh”) is a numinous goddess of the Celtic peoples found in Irish and Scottish myth and folklore. As the spirit of the Living Flame, She is the Cosmic Fire of All Life, and the Great Transformer. Brìde the Poet’s Fire in the Head inspires inner wisdom and its outward expressions; Brìde the Smith’s Fire of the Forge drives all creative endeavors; Brìde the Healer’s Fire of the Hearth empowers healing modalities and the body’s vitality, and reminds us of sacred Hospitality; and both the goddess Brìde, mother of Ruadan, and the later St. Brìde point to the Fire of Compassion, of the heart, which guides us in right relationship with all beings, and in support of Life and its systems.
Hers is the contemplative shine of starlight, the hospitality of the hearth, the generous warmth of summer sun, the eternal gift of morning, and the regenerative force of the land.
Her healing and wisdom have also traditionally been imparted through Sacred Wells. The nourishing power of water brought deep powers from the Otherworld bubbling up to the surface for those in need to partake. Wells must be approached respectfully by walking solemnly around them three times in a sunwise (clockwise) direction, in harmony with the movement of the sun, and leaving offerings of flowers, rags, food, or drink beside the Well before its waters are drunk. In myth, the Well of Wisdom is visited by poets to receive the imbas, or inspiration, and so we too visit the Otherwordly Well of Wisdom for our own spiritual nourishment and illumination.
As Brighidine Flametenders, we honor Her central place in our lives as the Guiding Star who lights our way.
While Brìde’s inspiration, guidance and healing are available to all who seek them, she has a special relationship with women as protectress of women in childbirth, connecting her with other aspects of women’s natural transitions as well. As a goddess of the hearth, She points to a sacred female space, as traditionally in Gaelic culture only the women were to raise and smoor the hearth fire, the heart of the home, a domestic microcosm of the Great Fire that is Her Sun, source of nourishing, life-giving power.
Nigheanan Brìghde’s working relationship with Brìde is grounded in the traditional Celtic religious framework of hard polytheism and animism, aside from how each sister honors her personally, as a goddess of unique identity and personality, rather than as an aspect of an all-encompassing great goddess or the maiden/mother/crone triplicity, as these concepts are not a part of the traditional Celtic worldview. We also honor Brìde as she is found within the context of native Celtic traditions, myths, and folklore. Traditionally, she is foster mother to the Gaelic peoples, and as her daughters within Nigheanan Brìde, she is spiritual foster mother to us all.