Friday, June 10, 2011

Brigid of Ireland

Yup, patron saint of chickens, chicken farmers (& blacksmiths & cattlemen & fugitives Oh My), Come on Down!  Brigid hailed from Ireland, died in Ireland.  & then they took her head to Portugal.  Those crazy Jesuits!

Everyone seems in agreement that her pagan father was a freeman or lord or king & her mother one of his slaves.  Just before her birth her mother was sold & when she could live apart from her mother, Brigid was returned to her rightful owner, her father.  He in turn sold her to a christian.  While they were haggling over the price, she gave away her father's sword to a leper; when her father tried to punish her, her new owner prevented him. Babies & bastards (the kind with parents who are not married), mariners & midwives, poets & poultry farmers, sailors & scholars all call on Brigid for aid & comfort.  You know who doesn't?  Fathers. 

Aside from her own father, Brigid seems to have clicked with virtually everyone she met, hard working, intelligent & famous for her patience etc. etc.  Turned down legions of marriage offers or walked away from the one her father arranged, Brigid is one of the chaste saints.  No big ugly martrydom here.  Instead, she somehow became a teacher, then an abbess & then a saint.  It is all very murky in the way these things are & I get rather a sense that more than one person might be mixed in there.  Aside from pissing off her father. 

In that holistic way of these things, Brigid is also the celtic goddess of poetry, healing arts & metalwork (c'mon, dontcha love the old gods?). Both the saint & the goddess,when appearing in pictures are beautiful young women with red, red hair. 

& just in case you weren't sure she was an irish saint/goddess let me leave you with a lines from her "readings":  I would like a great lake of beer for the King of Kings.

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