Lately I have been thinking of Brigid, known throughout Britain in Druidic times as the Divine Woman, although her worship predates the Druids by a vast stretch of centuries. She is particularly associated with this month, as her feast day falls on 1st February. From earliest childhood I have felt Brigid with me. Her presence is at once sublime and earthly, although she is centred in the mysteries of the sacred earth and lifts human perception far away from worldliness.
For me, she has always been the supreme symbol of the Sacred Feminine, the feminine aspect of Christ consciousness. I always knew that in so far as I could make it, my life would be dedicated to the service of Brigid. It was with this service in mind that I wrote my book on making angel blessing scrolls. The traditions of the Western Isles of Scotland, on which the book is based, are infused with the light of Brigid, more so than any other extant tradition in the world.
Fiona Macleod, the Celtic prophetess and writer who wrote with an otherworldly beauty and vision in the early years of the twentieth century, had many dreams and waking experiences of Brigid. She first came to Fiona in her childhood, as she came to me in mine. And yet it is not quite correct to say so. It was to William Sharp, contemporary of the poet WB Yeats, that Brigid came when he was a boy.
She appeared as a beautiful woman dressed in white who stood by a well, with a mist of blueness around her as of wild hyacinths. She touched him on the brow, and he fell into a deep sleep. When he awoke, he began his journey as a vessel for Fiona Macleod, for Fiona’s spirit spoke to the world through this rugged Scotsman, a gifted author in his own right. Their voices are entirely distinct, and although William Sharp was publicly disgraced as a fraud when his secret was discovered, and his own work and, tragically, Fiona’s, fell out of favour soon afterwards, his letters and notes and recorded discussions with friends testify to the genuineness of Fiona’s reality.
As William was a vessel for Fiona, so Fiona was a vessel for Brigid. Standing on the brink of the twentieth century, Fiona looked into the distant prospects of what I believe is the future that we are beginning to encounter today, and gave forth these words:
I believe that though the Reign of Peace may be yet a long way off, it is drawing near; and that Who shall save us anew shall come divinely as a Woman – but whether through mortal birth, or as an immortal breathing upon our souls, none can yet know.
Sometimes I dream of the old prophecy that Christ shall come again upon Iona, and of that later prophecy which foretells, now as the Bride of Christ, now as the Daughter of God, now as the Divine Spirit embodied through mortal birth – the coming of a new presence and power; and dream that this may be upon Iona, so that the little Gaelic island may become as the little Syrian Bethlehem. But more wise it is to dream, not of hallowed ground, but of the hallowed gardens of the soul, wherein She shall appear white and radiant. Or that, upon the hills, where we are wandered, the Shepherdess… Brigid the White… shall call us home.
As we ourselves stand at the threshold of a time almost upon us, perhaps in 2012 or shortly thereafter, it seems that indeed She – Brigid, the Bride, the Brightness – is drawing ever closer to human hearts. As I see her in vision, she holds up a gathering of snowdrops, the ‘fair maids of February’ which were the flowers that the angel offered to Eve as she and Adam were banished from Eden. Their meaning is ‘hope’, and they are a promise from Brigid that we will indeed regain Eden.
And she asks from us a libation associated with the sacred meaning of the season or the quarter-year that Brigid’s feast-day heralds: a libation of milk. She asks that we pour forth a plentiful libation of the milk of human kindness from the magical centre that is the human heart to all people, all living things, all circumstances of life. In this way, she assures us, we will be led safely and joyfully through the wondrous challenge that is coming.
©2011 Claire Nahmad