Brighid, Keeper of the Flame

Week 3 (B): Brighid, whose name means “exalted one”

Brighid, red-gold woman of flame and wave.
Brighid, honey combed sun of winter’s end.
Brighid, lead me home.

(invocation to Brighid, from an Imbolc healing ritual 2013, inspired by Patricia Monaghan)

When I was 14, I read about a Celtic goddess named Brighid (pronounced “breed”). From the moment her name touched my lips, I felt connected. I had been praying to the Goddess and the God, per my early understandings of what it was to be Wiccan, but I wasn’t explicitly naming them. After that, I started addressing the Goddess as Brighid. I was mostly interested in the fact that Brighid was described as a goddess of poetry. Given that I’d written a good deal of poetry since age twelve, this seemed as good a sign as any that I ought to claim Brighid as my patron goddess.

Two years later, as a junior in high school, I was pretty sure I’d settled on my life plan: I wanted to be a doctor. Specifically, I wanted to be an OB/GYN, though it’s more accurate to say that I wanted to be a midwife. I did not, however, know the midwives still existed. At the start of the year, I had read The Red Tent by Anita Diamant and was thrilled by the idea of being a woman who helped with birthing. It seemed like such a timeless profession, one in which I would feel connected to myself as a woman and to the millions of other midwives who had done the same thing. I shared my interests with my doctor, who very generously responded with an offer to let me accompany her to a few births. Sadly, I never took her up on her offer.

Once I felt solid in my future career choice of OB/GYN, the choice of Brighid as a patron goddess made even more sense; Brighid is often described as a healer. I went off to college, fully expecting to declare pre-med the following year. Sadly, it didn’t work out that way. I managed to contract a nasty case of chicken pox at age 19 a week before finals. Apparently mandatory quarantine didn’t qualify as a legitimate medical excuse to get extensions for my finals, so I failed all my classes. As a result of this, rather than be a year behind, I decided to step off my chosen path. I picked another major and ran with it, but always felt, in the back of my heart, like I’d missed an opportunity.

"Rise" by Silas Toball, Durwaigh Studios

“Rise” by Silas Toball, Durwaigh Studios

Now, almost a decade into my pursuit of that other path, things are changing yet again. I still have a strong connection to Brighid. I still write poems. But in questioning my current career path, I find myself coming back again and again to my deep interest in midwifery. I live just down the street from a midwife center, and the region I live in is rife with midwives. I am being eaten alive by indecision: do I continue to follow a path that is not making me nearly as happy as I was at the start of it because I have invested too much time in it to change, or do I follow an old path that has called to me for longer than the current one?

I feel lost, and I’ve been lax in my meditation. I can’t see any answers and I can barely form the questions. Brighid remains silent. Yet I have the sense that, regardless of which path I choose, I will always be a poet. I sense that I will also always be a healer, in one form or another, whether I am seeking to heal bodies or ignorance. And Brighid will always walk with me, her fiery presence at my back, my lantern in the dark.

8 responses

  1. Reblogged this on My Bardic Year and commented:
    Reblogging this post from Anonywitch as it is relevant to my own.

    January 16, 2014 at 4:44 pm

  2. Thank you for sharing your experiences with Brighid! I wish you much success and fulfillment as you continue your journey with her.

    January 17, 2014 at 10:52 am

  3. I find Brighid be to quite a lofty figure and a chaser of dreams. When I am in conflict I lean towards Morrígan to overcome such challenges in myself and find strength. I will mediate on a flock of crows. Why are they there? What are they waiting for? We are all like crows in a way, moving towards the next opportunity, but you never just see one crow. They stay within their family units and do what is best for their overall fitness. I think the question you are asking is if it is time to open yourself up to new inspiration or to build your psychic defenses and conquer the here and now.

    January 17, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    • I’m not surprised you’d choose a warrior Goddess to help you overcome challenges, being such a warrior Goddess yourself. 😉 That’s a good distinction to draw between the two. After all, you can’t chase dreams without being safe in yourself first.

      January 17, 2014 at 6:51 pm

  4. just lovely =)

    January 18, 2014 at 2:03 pm

  5. Thank you for sharing your reflections on the goddess.

    January 20, 2014 at 3:47 am

  6. Pingback: Favorite “B” PBP Posts | The Lefthander's Path

  7. Pingback: Kali, Dark Mother | Anonywitch

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