Here in the west, in this day and age, most of us - and certainly people with the means to read this site - lead a life of relative health and prosperity. What can an old story about alleviating common ailments and poverty have to say to us? But Brigit’s gifts are not just physical. Everything she does has a spiritual message. This story, among other things, is a teaching story about the gift of healing.
The first part of this story is about a poor woman who has come to ask St. Brigit for help. And that is a hard thing to do. Especially for someone like me. I am an only child, and for a lot of my childhood I had to amuse myself and solve my own problems. Over the years I got into a mindset that I had to do everything myself. Including learning the ways of Spirit. It was very hard to finally go and find some help and guidance. But this woman puts her trust in Brigit and asks.
When I did go and ask a teacher for some help, I was indeed instantly given the means to help others. Going to a shamanic practitioner to learn the ways of shamanic journeying put me on the path of training to be a practitioner myself within a matter of months. A gridle is a symbol of empowerment. You put on a girdle or belt when you are ready for action. When you open to the blessings of the Goddes, she sometimes gives you so much power that it overflows and reaches others through you. She answers not just your need, but the need of all her people.
This girdle is extra special, though. It has been steeped in the waters of Brigit’s sacred well. Brigit’s well is the source of inspiration, and through the power of inspiration lives are made whole. When the woman in the story uses it ‘in the name of our Saviour Jesus Christ’, she can heal many lives. The power the shaman uses to heal is not their own power. They rely on the power of their spirits and don’t do anything without them. They act ‘in the name of Divine Spirit’.
And through that power that is gifted to her, the woman has her own needs met, sometimes in ways she never thought of. Through my training as a shamanic practitioner I have been given amazing teachings, challenging opportunities, and a connection with a whole community of people. These are all gifts I can share again with other people in need.
And then there is beer. Christ turned water into wine, but Brigit, being Irish and rather short of grapes, made beer - ‘good beer’ for that matter. I love that image. To my modern mind it gives her a sense of fun. This is a Goddess who enjoys a good knees-up. In reality, of course, beer was an everyday drink in the days that water couldn’t be trusted to be safe. But when I think of Brigit making beer, I think of a rather round, jolly woman who loves a good time with her friends. And of course she makes enough to give away. She is always giving away what she has. Her abundance is boundless. I drink my beer to her health.
Brigit also gives flavour to your life. If it’s all gone a bit samey, and the zing has gone out of it, you can ask her for help with that, too. And before you know it, you have more zing than you know what to do with. Like a portion of salt the size of a stone.
And she is especially good at clothing. If you feel vulnerable and afraid, you can ask for Brigit’s protection. She will wrap her mantle of protection around you. And there is enough protection for everbody, like the two beggars who asked for clothes.
Brigid’s protection is very strong. To finish I would like to share with you a traditional prayer for her portection. Without it, this part of the site would not be complete.
This is the genealogy of the holy maiden Bride,
Radiant flame of gold, noble foster mother of Christ.
Bride, daughter of Dougall the Brown,
Son of Oath, son of Art, son of Conn,
Son of Crearer, son of Cis, son of Carmac, son of Caruinn.
Every day and every night
That I say the genealogy of Bride
I shall not be killed, I shall not be harrowed,
I shall not be put in a cell, I shall not be wounded,
Neither shall Christ leave me in forgetfulness.
No fire, no sun, nor moon shall burn me,
No water, no lake, nor sea shall drown me,
No arrow of fairy nor dart of fay shall wound me.
And I under the protection of my holy Mary
And my gentle foster mother is my beloved Bride.
Main picture: Brigid from a web page by Nigel Suckling, artwork by Linda & Roger Garland
Westmalle Dubbel - possibly the best beer in the world - from a Belgian Beer site
Girdle from House of Scotland Celtic bridal dresses, which I can no longer find on the internet