Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Bridget of Ireland

  • Pamela Cooper-WhiteEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_9053

Two female figures share the name Brigid, the Christian Saint Brigid of Kildare, Ireland, in the fifth to sixth centuries CE (in Gaelic, Naomh Brid or Mary of the Gael) and the ancient Celtic goddess “Brighid.” The name, whose root means “power” or “exalted one,” has many variations throughout northern Europe including Bride, Bridgit, Bríd, and others. Different was St. Birgitta of Sweden, whose name is sometimes anglicized as “Bridget.” Birgitta was a fourteenth century abbess, and is not associated with Brigid of Ireland or the ancient Celtic goddess.

Celtic Goddess Brighid

Brighid’s lore and ritual practices are said to extend back to Neolithic times. She was associated in Celtic and Irish mythologies with two primal elements necessary for life including fire (Breo-saighit, “fiery arrow”) and wells of healing water. As goddess of fire or keeper of the sacred flame, she was associated with both bonfire and hearth, craftsmanship (especially forging and smithy), and therefore also...

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Union Theological SeminaryNew YorkUSA