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Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Goddess Brighid

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Brigit was one of the great Triple Goddesses of the Celtic people. She appeared as Brigit to the Irish, Brigantia in Northern England, Bridein Scotland, and Brigandu in Brittany. Many legends are told about Brigit. Some say that there are three Brigits: one sister in charge of poetry and inspiration who invented the Ogham alphabet, one in charge of healing and midwifery, and the third in charge of the hearth fire, smithies and other crafts. This actually indicates the separate aspects of Her three-fold nature and is a neat division of labor for a hard-working Goddess.

Actually, the Goddess Brigit had always kept a shrine at Kildare, Ireland, with a Perpetual Flame tended by nineteen Virgin Priestesses called Daughters of the Flame. No male was ever allowed to come near it; nor did those women ever consort with men. Even their food and other supplies were brought to them by women of the nearby village. When Catholicism took over in Ireland, the Shrine became a Convent and the virgin Priestesses became Nuns but the same traditions were held and the Eternal Flame was kept burning. Their tradition was that each day a different Priestess/Nun was in charge of the Sacred Fire and on the 20th day of each cycle, the fire was miraculously tended by Brigit Herself. For over a thousand years, the Sacred Flame was tended by Nuns, and no one knows how long before that it had been tended by the Priestesses.

In 1220 CE, a Bishop became angered by the no-males policy of the Abbey of St. Brigit of Kildare. He insisted that nuns were subordinate to priests and therefore must open their Abbey and submit themselves to inspection by a Priest. When they refused and asked for another Abbess or other female official to perform any inspections, the Bishop was incensed. He admonished them to obedience and then decreed that the keeping of the Eternal Flame was a Pagan custom and ordered the Sacred Flame to be extinguished.

In 1220 CE, a Bishop became angered by the no-males policy of the Abbey of St. Brigit of Kildare. He insisted that nuns were subordinate to priests and therefore must open their Abbey and submit themselves to inspection by a Priest. When they refused and asked for another Abbess or other female official to perform any inspections, the Bishop was incensed. He admonished them to obedience and then decreed that the keeping of the Eternal Flame was a Pagan custom and ordered the Sacred Flame to be extinguished.

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