Growing up in Ireland I was always aware of Saint Brigid. Each year rushes would be gathered and strewn over school desks where my classmates and I would weave Brigid’s crosses. The crosses would then be brought home and hung over the doorways of our houses as talismans for blessings and protection for the year ahead.
As a child when my hands became covered in warts my mother promptly brought me on a pilgrimage to Brigid’s Holy Well to ask for a blessing and a cure for my unsightly growths. The warts vanished and as a result my deep respect for Brigid was born.
However it was only as an adult that I fully came to realize who exactly I had been praying to as a child. It was a revelation to discover that Brigid was not only Saint but Goddess and as a result a whole new chapter of our relationship began.
It is said that Brigid was born at the precise moment of daybreak. She rose into the sky with the sun’s rays of fire shining from her head, the daughter of Dagda, the great father god of Ireland. She is the goddess of fire, blacksmiths, healing and childbirth whose celebration at the festival of Imbolc marks the first day of spring. She has been described as Poetess, Priestess and Peacemaker, her sacred fire reminding us to kindle and care for our own sacred inner flame.
So as a grown woman when I once again needed her assistance, I returned to her Sacred Well. I had been trying to get pregnant, but my body scarred from years of endometriosis did not seem willing or able to be a container for a child.
I prayed and purged and asked for her blessing. I meditated daily with Brigid as my guide. And in the process I learned a really valuable lesson about what happens when you travel through life with a goddess by your side.
Brigid unraveled me. My defenses, my stories, my strong independent quite masculine way of being in the world all began to crumble away. She grabbed me by the coat tails and took me on a deep deep dive into the world of the sacred feminine, deep into the caverns of my body where my endometrial scar tissue lived.
She showed me my inner flame, dampened from abuse and unwanted attention; imprisoned behind bars of fear and shame. She showed me the land of my ancestors, and allowed me to experience the fire of passion that was in their bellies and the twinkle of aliveness that danced in their eyes. She reconnected me to the Sacred and initiated me into the ways of the Maid, the Mother and the Crone. She reminded me of who I was, as opposed to who I thought I should be.
And then she asked me “What do you really want? What is your true prayer?”
The answer poured out, unbridled, untamed.
“I want to be happy, I want to live a life of passion, and be the true embodiment of my own sacred flame”.
And then reality kicked in. I was trying to get pregnant because I really wanted to make my husband happy; he so desperately and longingly wanted to be a dad. I had been working so hard to manifest his desire. My desire was to be me, fully, truly and wholeheartedly, to embody the sacred feminine and to be a conduit for her in the world. I did not want to birth a baby. I wanted in truth to birth myself.
It is said that Brigid has three great talents, the gift of healing, the gift of giving exactly what is needed, and the gift of wisdom to inspire change.
She hears your prayer, your real prayer and then invites you to walk through her alchemical fire of transformation so that you can hear that prayer for yourself. She then fans the flame of the fire in your belly so you have the courage to take those next essential life changing steps. She is a midwife for your soul.
My life is very different now; my husband became my ex-husband and has a gorgeous daughter with his new love; Brigid heard his prayer.
I no longer live in Ireland, but among the mountains of southern Italy where I am surrounded by the wildness and beauty of nature every day and share my life with an incredible man. My body is alive and healthy and vibrant all signs and traces of endometriosis long gone.
Little did I know as a child with wart riddled hands that a Saint would become my Goddess, my Guide and indeed my friend. I wish you the Blessings of Brigid as we enter the season of Imbolc, may your fire burn bright and illuminate the beauty of your soul.