B is for Brighid

“Lá Fhéile Bríde is a very appropriate time to dedicate to writing or performing poetry in general, especially praise-poetry for Brighid and other liturgy. Whereas most of the other festivals involve travel and feasting with large groups of friends and extended family, Lá Fhéile Bríde is often the festival which focuses the most on the hearth and home, and quiet activities with one’s household or local community.”

With Imbolc just around the corner, I felt that this post would be an appropriate time to talk about Brighid. I’m not going to write up a big informative post about her because there are lots of those out there, I just want to ramble about things because she has a large place in my life, and that’s a place I only see getting bigger with time.

To be clear, the deity I honor most frequently in my practice is Lugh, hands down. I am devoted to Him and there are things I do regularly in honor of that. But out of the rest of the gods, the one I honor most frequently is Brighid. I first approached her to ask for her help in something, but honoring her became a natural part of my practice and it never felt right to stop.

I’m always hesitant to talk about my experiences with deities, because things start crossing into UPG areas that I don’t feel comfortable advertising. But at the same time I think it’s necessary, or at least beneficial. This is because the way some people approach deity in the pagan spaces on the internet makes me uncomfortable. It’s the way some people talk about, and interact with, deities as if they were no more than psychic pets rather than gods.  I see it most often on Tumblr, but I’m sure other places get it too, and I guess what bothers me is that I’m seeing it more frequently. I think that new pagans are coming in to the communities and are seeing this attitude and then adopting it. And it’s hardly surprising because that approach seems so much more “exciting” and involved compared to the more quiet devotion that I think is more common – and that approach is probably talked about a lot more, so newbies see it everywhere.  But it’s not an approach I can connect to, and it makes my skin crawl when I see others behaving that way. But since I am neither these practitioners nor their gods, it’s not my place to say anything to them about it. Instead, all I can do is add my voice and my experiences to the mix.

Alright, with that bit of rambling out of the way (maybe this post should be B is for Babbling instead) let’s get back to Brighid.

Our relationship, right now, is one based on quiet acknowledgement rather than regular devotion and tasks. The first time I approached Brighid, it was in her capacity as a healer. I had been struggling with my health, and was looking for help. I had a charm planned to make, and planned to ask for Lugh’s help, but others suggested Brighid as well.

The response I got was overwhelming. The charm I worked was successful, if not in the way I expected, and I am eternally grateful for her help. It’s easy for me to see why she has so many followers from all different walks of life. The feeling I get from her is warm and caring … but I can feel the hard edges as well, a fury reserved for those that hurt what she cares for.  I feel that her most-appreciated offerings are dairy products – but local, whole ones. Having such things in the house for offerings actually got me to try milk again – which I thought I hated. As it turns out, I just hate skim milk, haha. Now I’ll drink a glass of local whole milk, no problem.

I now honor Brighid in my daily devotions as I do Lugh, but despite that, at this point in my life I feel no need to formally devote myself to her as I have to Lugh.  But that may change. I have aspirations for my life that I feel may cause me to desire a closer relationship with her.

For example, as the quote above illustrates, Brighid has some heavy associations with poetry and a lot of people draw further connections to other kinds of creativity and writing (also from her work as a smith – crafting + fire of inspiration). I have always enjoyed writing, and am looking at the possibility of self-publishing some short stories. Gaelic polytheism doesn’t approach patrons like Hellenic polytheism does (deities are patrons of careers/areas of interest) – but even so, I feel like if I pursue writing as a career, it would behoove me to honor a deity with some control over that.

Another thing I am looking toward cultivating is a strong sense of home. I’ll save most of my rambling about that for when we get to H, but suffice to say that Brighid’s associations with hearth and home mean that I may want to cultivate a relationship with her for those reasons as well.

So Brighid is sortof in this odd middle place in my practice … but I think we’re okay with that. I don’t seek out messages from her, and I don’t think she sends them. I really enjoyed the monthly metaphorical flametending that some Brighidines on tumblr were doing, but the blog for that has since closed, so I’m not sure whether or not to continue on my own. Sharing with other people was part of the joy of that. I’m definitely looking forward to being able to take some more time for Brighid on Imbolc and I think I’ll take a look at our relationship then. I just feel that until I move later this year and my life really starts changing gears, there is little reason for me to call on her.

And that’s okay.

It took so long for me to feel the presence of deity in my life that, now that I’ve experienced it, it can be hard to accept quiet and be satisfied with silence … but if I want to honor deities as I feel is correct – as powerful being worthy of respect – then I need to be okay with it. The gods are not my personal psychic pets to drag around.