Some time ago, I posted pictures from our visit to St. Brigit’s Well in the west of Ireland.
Tucked away on the road between the Cliffs of Moher and Liscannor, St Brigit’s Well never fails to amaze me. It’s less of a Catholic site than a Christian veneer on older beliefs – Brigit was never a saint, she was Brid, an ancient fire goddess, apparently.
While ostensibly a site of Christian – and by extension, Catholic practice, St. Brigit’s Well manages to convey a sense of ancient custom – a place of sacrifice and votive offering. All kinds of memorabilisa and keepsakes form the stacks of mouldering deitrious that line the entrance cavern. Toys, photographs, statues, masscards… and objects that defy any logic, like ATM cards.
I try and visit every year, as the collection constantly changes. I’m simultaneously horrified, amused and saddened by the things I find there. Bizarre juxapositions of Pokemons and Padre Pio. A small photographs of a missing 9-11 New York Fireman lodged in the rafters of the tunnel. The Virgin Mary wearing a childs bib. Words don’t do the visuals justice – I’ll leave it to my photographs to tell the stories.
From entry on ‘Brigit’ on Wikipedia:
In Irish mythology, Brigit or Brighit (“exalted one”) was the daughter of Dagda (and therefore one of the Tuatha DÃ© Danann) and wife of Bres of the Fomorians. She had two sisters, also named Brighid, and is considered a classic Celtic Triple Goddess.
Brigid was the goddess of the Sacred Flame of Kildare and the patron goddess of the Druids. She was the goddess of all things perceived to be of relatively high dimensions such as high-rising flames, highlands, hill-forts and upland areas; and of activities and states conceived as psychologically lofty and elevated, such as wisdom, excellence, perfection, high intelligence, poetic eloquence, craftsmanship, healing ability, druidic knowledge and skill in warfare. She seems to have been the Celtic equivalent of the Roman Minerva and the Greek Athena (Encyclopedia Britannica: Celtic Religion), a goddesses with very similar functions and apparently embodying the same concept of ‘elevated state’, whether physical or psychological.
After the Christianization of the Celts, Brigid was considered the foster mother of Jesus and was often called St. Brigid, daughter of the druid, Dougal the Brown. Some sources suggest that Saint Brigid was an Irish Catholic bishop.
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