For years I found it very hard to get a handle on Brigantia. That probably has something to do with the difficulty I have with the Summer season in general: I just don’t get on with long hot days. And Brigantia’s energy is indeed very strong. She is like a fiery arrow, ready to leave the bow. Her power has great focus. But I have come to appreciate her most as the Sovereign Goddess of the Sacred Land.
Brigantia is the green shout of joy at the beginning of Summer. She is the full flowering of the Land. In her, all things are held in their proper balance: all the elements combine to create the Year’s climax of growth and fertility. Under her rule, all of life revels in its creativity. All living things engage in a joyful dance of procreation. Brigantia holds all these things in her protective arms.
No actual stories about Brigantia have survived. She was the Goddess of the Brigantes, a Celtic tribe whose homeland was the North of England, with the Pennines at its heart. Brigantia personified their land and their nation. She represented the Sovereignty of the Land, and any male ruler was symbolically married to her.
Brigantia is closely related to Brighid as Goddess of the Land. The story of Brighid’s mantle shows that she is sovereign of her land. Brighid and her community live in harmony with the land, taking only as much as they need to live. In the Summer season, Brigantia ensures the same harmony and balance in the Land. The strands of her mantle, connecting all things in the Web of Life, are now filled with power and are vibrantly green. We humans have to learn to tread carefully on her body, and treat her mantle with respect, if we want to live.
From May Day onwards, Brigantia claims her Sovereignty and asks me to do the same. In my conversations with her, she pointed out some imbalances in my life, and showed me ways to balance them out. In the process I learned that claiming sovereignty over my life is the same as holding to my integrity. If I want to make my creative dream for my life come true, I can no longer afford to give power away to other people, no matter how important they have been in my life. I can no longer pretend to be someone I am not. If I am to claim my sovereignty, I have to become a warrior and stand my ground.
But Brigantia’s power is also the creative flame of my life. Hers is the fire of the forge. And with her help I am slowly putting my dream together. I am forging the life I long for. Claiming sovereignty over my life is expressing Spirit as best I can. With Brigantia’s guidance, I am creating Deer Tracks.
Creativity doesn’t always come easy, though, but Brigantia blesses those who live by their creativity. A poor woman made a crucial choice when St. Brigit and some of her nuns came to visit. She put her relationship with the Lady first and decided to cut up her weaving loom and slaughter the calf of her only cow so she could her honoured guests. St. Brigit blessed her for her choice and restored the sources of her creativity to her. You can read the full story in Brigit preserves creativity.
When we put our relationship with the Goddess first, she will support our endeavours. When we claim sovereignty over our lives and our creativity, she will help us prosper.
Main picture: Semele Brighid by John Duncan (1866-1945), though this particular picture no longer features on the page.