Brighid the Maiden
I, Brighid, am older than time itself and young as the earliest day of spring. I am breo-saigit, the shining one, a fiery arrow. My hair blazes from my head. My robes are white as the sudden snowdrops that spring up wherever I put my feet. I am a goddess of fire. I hang my cloak to dry upon the shafts of the sun. I inspire the smith, forging his magic weapons in the burning flames. I inspire the poets, forging their words within the fires of creation. I inspire the physician in the subtle arts of healing. I am threefold goddess.
The powers of fire and water are in my hands. I stand at the place where three streams meet. I come, pale out of the new sky, tender as the newborn lambs, my breasts milk-white. I come at Imbolc and wake the sleeping earth. I breathe life into the cave-black mouth of winter.
My hair is like the sun’s bright strands. I walk the cold earth and bless the warm hearth’s glow.
Hail reign a fair mad with gold upon your toe,
Open up the West Gate and let the Old Year go.
In the quiet, hidden place the still well waits for me. I blow softly on its shining waters.
Hail reign fair maid with gold upon your chin,
Open up the East Gate and let the New Year in.
I wear a crown of candles, their flames spiralling into the darkness.
I am a queen of making.
Levideu sing Levideu the water and the wine,
The seven bright gold wires and the candles that do shine.
For I am the white maid of the early spring – the goddess of hope and promise, treading the fields when the lambs struggle in the frozen dawn. I am also the yielding flow, the sweet warm ewes’ milk that sustains and comforts them.
Spring Maiden, Virgin Goddess am I, giving my name to brides in their milky, snowdrop gowns.
But I am also Mother and Wise-woman, protector and counsellor, bestowing on the earth bright blessings from the dawning sun.
Brighid of the mantles
Brighid of the peat-heap
Brighid of the twining hair
Brighid of the augury.
Brighid of the white feet,
Brighid of calmness,
Brighid of the white palms,
Brighid of the kine.
Brighid, my comrade-woman
Brighid, my maker of song,
Brighid, my helping-woman
My choicest of women, my guide.
Brighid the Crone
Early on Bride’s morn
Shall the serpent come from the hole.
I will not harm the serpent,
Nor will the serpent harm me.
I am Maiden, Mother and also Wise Woman. As Wise Woman I went into the darkness and now I wait there in my Crone-form. And while I wait my name is sung throughout the ages. And my flame is kept alive by nineteen maidens tending my ashless fire.
For I am the ancient goddess who waits in the darkness, the goddess who never dies. And in my two hands I hold the snakes of wisdom, curling about my fingers, their tight tongues flickering – symbols of new life, waiting to resurrect.
The gift of poetry is mine, and inspiration. Also the secrets of the seer. Power of prophesy I have, and foreknowledge. Curling my palm and looking through its ‘pipe’ I see the things that are to come.
For I was the lawgiver, and I will be again.
I was the enabler of women and will be again.
I was the originator of the whistle in the night for the protection of women.
I was the midwife of the child of light and will be again.
I was the peacemaker between men and women and will be again.
I was the bridge between faiths and will be again.
For through my ‘pipe’ I see the King of Life who teaches wisdom by the well.
I was born at sunrise when my mother put her foot over the threshold.
I was born neither outdoors nor in, neither in the daytime nor at night.
I stand at the point between the worlds.
And I am no sweet-milk goddess, for I wield the powers of fire and water, and raise my flaming torch against the cave of night.
But soon I shall rise from the realms of darkness, like the serpent from its hole. Then I shall wake the spring, and bless the harvest, and become the Corn Queen. And again I shall close the circle and become the Crone.
But then I shall become the maid again and bring the blessing of my wells and waters, my milk and my dew. And I shall save the Mabon, the sacred son. I shall save him by my fire, and by the ring of flames that burns above my head. The ring of flames that dances with the seasons.
For I am Brighid, born at the rising of the sun. I am Brighid who was bathed in milk. My breath revives the dead, oil is poured upon me, a fiery pillar rises above my head – the fire of the goddess Brighid that flares up to the heavens and can never be put out.
From Maiden, Mother, Crone, © 2005 by Claire Hamilton, published by O Books.