Home > B. The Living Artifact > Brigid, Goddess & Saint

Brigid, Goddess & Saint



Occasionally, RT remembers that this blog is called The Rag Tree. Why might this title be relevant today? Because today is Imbolc, traditionally the first day of spring in Ireland, and a day sacred to the celtic goddess Brigid, who, after Ireland was Christianized, became St. Brigid. Both incarnations of the lady were protectors of poets.

And in case readers might think the association with poetry idle, Brigid is credited with having inventing keening, a traditional lament for the dead sung by women at a funeral. The practice, discouraged by the Catholic Church, went extinct in the 19th century, and RT, on a quick inspection of the net, has found only this recording of keening at YouTube. As raw as the sound is on the recording, RT suspects that traditional keening was more disciplined and powerful. By all accounts, it was something amazing to experience at a funeral.

RT will digress briefly by noting that the goddess’s helmet appears to be surmounted by a goose and a horse-hair braid. Both geese and horses were important in celtic mythology. And, while we’re on the topic, Brigid has been identified with the Roman goddess Minerva.


RT closes with a further thought on his recent post on the state of the Unions: cultural rights attach not only to places but are in fact legal rights that have become ritual habit, for instance, the veneration of holy wells (or of certain pagan deities). Culture is world-view; law aims to improve world-view, and can succeed if it has the resources to effect change slowly.


Photo: Statue of a Celtic Goddess, probably Brigid (Brigantia). Author: Paul Barlow. WikiCmns; Public Domain.

YouTube Video: Standard YouTube License.


  1. February 2, 2014 at 9:52 am

    Today I wrote about February and Candlemas too. It´s a month full of hope. Fortunately winter is about to finish! Thanks for your St. Brigida

  2. February 2, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    maite: my pleasure,and hopeful the month is! RT

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