I just watched this morning a fascinating video from Ireland detailing how the Irish conceive of and engage with Brighid as a neolithic mother goddess having adapted to the triple invasions of the patriarchal Celtic tribes, the monolithic Catholic church, and the colonization of the imperial English. I am especially struck by the deep streak of animism evident here, as I conceive of and engage with Her in this manner myself.
I wanted to include this as an addendum to the First Sunday when we’re honoring Brighid the Poet to include the perspective of this program on this aspect of Hers. Here, poetry is said to be a gift from the Sun, the earliest manifestation of Brighid. In the beginning, they say, was the Word, a divine spark of inspiration. Poetry was the manner in which the indigenous laws of the Irish were rendered, and Brighid is known in this regard as both poet and lawmaker.
In this, I see laws inspired by the great life-supporting power of Sun, and made to ensure the people remain in harmony, or right relationship, with all Life, in order to support Life and its life-supporting systems as does Sun. During this week of Brighid the Poet, we might then contemplate what ‘cosmic laws’ we might consider keeping and supporting in order to ensure Life is honored, protected, and supported.
Irish philosopher John Moriarty wrote in prose heavily flavored by poetry, and remarked himself on the nature of nations and laws and harmony with all beings and ability to support life. One of my favorite quotes is his:
“To Plato I say:
An Énflaith not a Republic, a thing too unetymologically and exclusively human to bring out the best in us. It doesn’t suit us. Worse, it doesn’t suit the Earth. And that, in the end, must mean Hell-Upon-Earth.”
The Énflaith in English is called ‘the Bird-Reign,’ and refers to an Irish mythic king who was known as the most just king in Ireland. Moriarty postulates that his justice derives from his ecumenical right relationship with all beings from having been magically turned into a bird for a time, and that this relationship is what is needed in order for our laws and nations to truly be just. True justice honors and supports all life, and lives in harmonious relationship with all beings.
This program suggests too that Celtic Brighid expresses this same sentiment, noting how the Celtic tribes worked Her into their mythic families by marrying Her to the Fomorrian prince Bres. Later, their son was killed in a battle between their people, and Her caoin (English, ‘keen’), or cry at his death, was the first cry heard in Ireland. Brighid as Leinster’s sovereignty goddess cared for the tribespeople so long as the chieftain, whom She ritually married, ruled justly. Unjust rulers caused Her to revoke Her blessings of fertility, peace, and prosperity, however. To be unjust is to stand outside the cosmic order of harmonious right relationship, and cause upset to the balance which harmony and justice foster. The seasons of the Sun also teach us balanced living, celebrated in Celtic holidays like Imbolc. Brighid the Lawmaker reminds us that justice is a poetic virtue to be upheld in all our interactions. Reflect this week on how you can bring the light of justice more fully into your life and the world.
Enjoy the program!