St. Brigid: Saint and Goddess

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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Intro Brigits role in Irish history is a complex, multi-layered one. Layers of separate traditions have intersected making Brigit out to be one of the most contradictory figures in Irish history.

But it could also be argued that it is this complexity which has allowed the figure of Brigit to move through thousands of years fulfilling different roles in different eras.

Brigit clearly had an international ancestry and the irish form of her name simply means 'high' or 'exalted one' I shall first look at Brigits connections with the ancient goddesses and the symbols they shared, whilst assess her role as Mother goddess in the Irish tradition and how that later shifted into a triple mother goddess imagery.

I shall then look at her transition into the Christian era and how her role of saint in the Christian tradition parallels with that of the goddess, in particular the sun goddess Vesta.and

its close associations with the monastery she founded in kildare Connection with Ancient Goddesses The stories and images connected to Brigit contain fragments associated with several ancient goddesses, among them belisama, juno, isis, vesta and sul (british equivalent) 3 of brigits most common symbols; the vulture, the serpent and the cow were all symbols of the goddess isis Her imagery was associated with the sun, moon, cows, milk, sheep, vultures, baths and sacred fires Brigit was also patroness of the poets and known as midwife One of brigits main symbols was that of a serpent and like the serpent she defied categories of analysis Her feast day Feb 1st is also that of the roman goddess juno - goddess of love and midwifery Her feast day, 1st Feb - Imbolc was a major feast day of the celtic spring. (others; bealtaine, lughnasa, samhain) January was a dead month and...