What is Brigid?

It will be Imbolc on Friday, the feast of the hearth. A hearth is a fire, traditionally the central fire of the home. In ancient times it was the meeting place around which families would gather to keep warm, cook and tell stories on cold, dark winter nights. The feast is often associated with the ancient Celtic fire goddess Brigid. She was seen as the protector of the family hearth fire and the home.

forge, smith's hearth, fire, sparks Français :...

smith’s hearth fire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As a Naturalistic Pantheist, I obviously do not subscribe to the idea of a supernatural protective goddess that looks after my home, but is there still a reason to honour Brigid at this time? I think so. As I’ve written elsewhere, the gods can be understood not as supernatural beings, not as human-like entities which think and act like us, but rather as simply impersonal forces of nature. What if Brigid is not the goddess of fire or the hearth, but is actually the fire itself, the hearth itself? What if Brigid is not one fire but all the different hearth “fires” in our modern homes – the light bulbs, the fireplace and radiators, the boiler, microwave, toaster and stove? She is the heat that comes from them, she is the electricity that powers them. What if the flame is not an image or symbol of Brigid – its the very presence of Brigid? It is Brigid! What if she is not just the protector of the home but she is the home? What if she is the amalgamation (though not anything literal) of all the forces and things that protect our home? What if the is the embodiment of our hope and our intention that our homes be safe, warm, welcoming places? What if honouring her means we are being aware and grateful for the wonderful gift that fire, heat and light brings to our lives? What if honouring her means we are expressing our hope that our homes will be safe places? What if Brigid is the very flame on our candle?

As part of Friday’s celebrations I shall be honouring Brigid, but understanding her in the way I’ve suggested. What will you be doing?


10 thoughts on “What is Brigid?

  1. Very nice reinterpretation of Brighid. This is going to be my first Imbolc with OBOD, and I’ll be doing my first OBOD druid ritual! I have struggled with the idea of honouring Brighid as I don’t like talking to people who don’t exist (!) but I have come to a similar conclusion as you, honouring her as a symbol representing the fire and the new life of Springtime.

      • Thanks! I was leaving you a flattering full response to your answer about pantheism and monism, and my computer then decided to do something. Grr. But I have to say your blog is a keeper! I was really impressed with how you described divine/sacred. And how you are able to get deeper into your ideas when asked, you know? Anyway next time I do updates on my blog, this goes on the role – Glen at PostPagan has very similar ideas about what/who Deities are BTW. I am excited to have found you!! Oh I wish the Emma animism video was more audio friendly or I’d repost it. Did anyone transcribe it do you know? Does she have a blog? So many blogs too little time.

  2. Pingback: Happy Imbolc! | Endless Erring

  3. Pingback: Atheist Druidry revisited | Endless Erring

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