Category: Irish Mythology, Folklore, and Deities

Brigit – Goddess of Poetry, Healing, and Smithcraft

Brigit – Goddess of Poetry, Healing, and Smithcraft

Brigit i.e. a poetess, daughter of the Dagda. This is Brigit the female sage, or woman of wisdom, i.e. Brigit the goddess whom poets adored, because very great and very famous was her protecting care. It is therefore they call her goddess of poets by this name. Whose sisters were Brigit the female physician [woman of leechcraft,] Brigit the female smith [woman of smithwork]; from whose names with all Irishmen a goddess was called Brigit. Brigit, then, breo-aigit, breo-shaigit ‘a fiery arrow’.

Translated from Latin by John O’Donovan, LL.D. You can find the full text here.

Daughter of the Dagda, Brigit is one of the most influential and well-known Goddesses in Irish lore. When Christianity came sweeping through the nation, Brigit was such an icon in each household that the church had no choice but to make Brigit a Saint in their faith to win the people over to Christianity. You can even see in the writing from Carmac’s Glossary that he heard the name Brigit so many times that he appeared to think that either every deity was named Brigit, or that Brigit was a title given to the Gods. Now known as St. Brigit of Kildare, we have to look to writings about her from a Christian perspective since that is all that is available.


Brigit has two sisters – both of the same name – and the three are Goddesses of poetry, smithcraft, and healing. Many believe that instead of having sisters, Brigit is a triple-goddess, presiding over the three things listed. She also had several animals that were sacred to her. These include the cow, the ox, and the boar. She is also celebrated at Imbolc where Brighit’s Crosses are made and hung above the door of the home for protection in the coming summer.

Brigit the poetess, daughter of the Dagda, she had Fe and Men, the two royal oxen, from whom Femen is named. She had Triath, king of her boars, from whom Treithirne is named. With them were, and were heard, the three demoniac shouts after rapine in Ireland, whistling and weeping and lamentation. She had Cirb, king of the wethers, from whom Mag Cirb is named.

Lebor Gabala Erenn – The Book of the Taking of Ireland
Associations
  • Poetry, inspiration, protection
  • Sun, flames, hearth
  • Creativity, crafts, smithing
  • Healing, abundance, prosperity
  • Magic, the Fae, warriors
Animals
  • Boar
  • Oxen
  • Cow
  • Some say the swan, but I haven’t found a source for that
Sources and Further Reading

Abnoba

Abnoba


Left: Statuette combined with an inscription to the Celtic goddess Abnoba. In the Badischer Landesmuseum de Carlsruhe. RG, Germ., 345 ; LIMC, II.2, n°418, p. 628. Right: Statuette in bronze of Artemis/Diana wearing a chiton*, boots and a quiver in her back. In the Musée des Beaux-Arts of Lyons. LIMC, II.2, p. 603, n°85

“Celtic goddess. Known in both Britain and on the Continent, Abnoba gave her name to the many rivers named Avon, including the famous one in England that flows through the the town where playwright William Shakespeare was born; she also ruled the source of the Danube River in central Europe and was associated with the Black Forest, perhaps because of its numerous rivers. Sometimes this goddess was called Dea Abnoba, which means simply “the goddess Abnoba.” Inscriptions to Abnoba from the Black Forest suggest that the Romans identified her with their woodland goddess Diana. She is sometimes depicted as a huntress accompanied by a hunting dog and a stag.” – The Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore by Patricia Monaghan

There is little information available about Abnoba, and any real information is scattered, diminished, or lost altogether. We do know that the Romans equated Her with their goddess Diana. She is thought to be a goddess of childbirth, protector of woods, waters, and wild animals.

It is said that you can petition Abnoba to help preserve wild nature, forest plants, and animals. If you want to dedicate an altar or space to Abnoba, it should be decoarted with forest items like pine cones, fir boughs, and animal imagery. You can also leave offerings of spring water.


Altar of Diana Abnoba in the Roman bath ruin of Badenweiler. Badenweiler / Southern Black Forest / Germany


Altar of Diana Abnoba in the Roman bath ruin of Badenweiler. Badenweiler / Southern Black Forest / Germany

Links and Sources
* Theses

* The Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore by Patricia Monaghan

* Sacred Haven


This post does NOT contain affiliate links. I own a copy of the book used as the source and highly recommend it for anyone interested in Celtic mythology and folklore.


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