Day 2 – Behold Thy Mother

Holly_Sierra-MoonThe Chrysalis Moon card is an appropriate symbol for the Celtic goddess Brighid. Here’s the reason why.

The ancient Indo-Europeans and Proto-Celts knew the goddess as The Great Mother. Since those days she has been known by many other names. The Israelites call her The Shekinah, the feminine presence of God. The Celtic tribes that left Anatolia in Eastern Turkey to migrate throughout Europe and beyond knew her as the Goddess Danu. They named the River Danube for her.

The names of other Celtic tribes are similarly recognizable by place names on modern maps such as the Parisii (Paris), the Belgae (Belgium) and the Britannia, Galatians, Gauls and the Hibernians (Ireland), who today still celebrate both the Old Gods and the New. Brighid, pagan goddess and Christian saint, belongs to both camps.

The Catholic Church, as we all know, sought to stamp out paganism wherever it was found. They built churches on top of pagan holy sites and made saints out of goddesses that were particularly difficult to get rid of. The goddess and the saint were, as we say, syncretized.

The supernatural family of the Celtic Danu was known as the Tuatha Dé Danann – the People (or tribe) of the Goddess Danu. The Tuatha were highly skilled in the magical arts and were banished from Heaven because, well, they knew too much. Among the deities that came down from Heaven on a cloud of mist was Brighid who, like many other goddesses, is akin to The Great Mother – the Shekinah or Divine Feminine.

The principle attribute of all Great Mother goddesses is the Moon just as the Sun is the principle attribute or symbol of their male consorts. The return of the Divine Feminine to share dominion with the masculine are central themes of the New Paradigm – not to replace the patriarchy, mind you, but simply to restore proper yin-yang ☯ balance. You can easily anticipate how much turmoil such “balance” might create in the corridors of patriarchal power, most notably The Vatican.

St.Brigids-Flame-Christmas-2009Brighid is the Goddess of Home and Hearth. In olden days she along with her 19 priestesses tended Brighid’s Flame, a tradition that lives on. Today Brighid’s Flame burns bright in a town square in County Kildare (left).

Throughout the British Isles and Ireland you will come across Holy Wells and other monuments dedicated to Brighid. Many wells are decorated with “clooties” like the ones on the Chrysalis Six of Spirals card. The clooties represent the intentions of the faithful.

My personal favorite Brighid tradition is her Cauldron of Rebirth, which is actually a Welsh tradition. Like Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany, Scotland the Isle of Man were once Celtic countries.

We celebrate Brighid in February because according to the Celtic lunar calendar Feb. 2, 2019, is Imbolc, one of the major festivals of the year. From the link:

“It is time to let go of the past and to look to the future, clearing out the old, making both outer and inner space for new beginnings. This can be done in numerous ways, from spring cleaning your home to clearing the mind and heart to allow inspiration to enter for the new cycle. It’s a good time for wish-making or making a dedication.” Or a novena!

imbolc-candlemas-nichol-skaggs
Imbolc art by Nicol Skaggs

© Toney Brooks, 2019

 

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