Saturday, 1 February 2014

Feast of St Brigid

Sure and doesn't the Catholic Online website omit all Druidic references to St Brigid?  Just gives her saint number 453 in the url. I don't know whether that is her official Vatican number, or just a function of the site's Content Management System. But I notice that #1 is St Monica, rather than Our Lady or St Peter, so I'm guessing the latter.

According to assorted legends, Bride was born to the Catholic slave of a pagan lord, raised by a druid and baptised by a bishop. As well as being the midwife of Our Lady and a Pagan Goddess.

See, I'm reckoning a few stories have got mixed together there. I reckon she wasn't "also" the pagan goddess, but more likely "named after". And unless one of her saintly gifts was time-travel then Our Lady more likely had a totally different midwife. St Joseph, I reckon, in those circumstances.

Still, she's certainly one of those brilliant Celtic saints that stand on the edge of faiths - rejecting the old one while still being remarkably adept at absorbing its traditions and powers. Today we are renaming the Well the Bride Well, dressing it with waterlogged snowdrops and last year's fuchsias, and praying that Storm Brigid doesn't blow us all the way to Ireland.

Note that as Brigid was associated with milk, not beer, we shall not be celebrating her day with Guinness, as with other Irish saints. Nope, today it's milk stout. Except for the lactose intolerant, who can have Guinness. And the barley intolerant, who can have wine.

1 comment :

  1. Never sure about these 'reputed' Saints. Oral history has a habit of expanding, enhancing and exaggerating people and events and over time this tends to attract all sorts of add-on's.

    And example is the 'reputed local hero "Rupert" here in Kent. The story goes that he saved the life of a witch who was being given the trial of the ducking stool and while going down for the third time, Rupert (a local lad, whose only previous claim to fame was being caught with a stolen chicken under his smock and getting 400 lashes for his trouble) dived in from the other side of the village pond and after swimming underwater, came up under the ducking stool, freed the witch and swam across the pond and escaped into the weeds and fields beyond.

    Now, this action caused some consternation among the folk out admiring the entertainment, in fact it spoiled it entirely for the inn keeper who was running a book on how long before she either drowned or confessed!

    A posse was organised to chase Rupert and to recover the entertainment, but returned five hours later, having searched every hovel/inn/ale seller within 10 miles. They didn't find Rupert or the Witch, but apparently had such a good time doing the searching that it became an annual event. And Rupert was given the credit for creating such a fun, lively event.

    Rupert himself is reputed to have known the witch carnally at her place of business (a brothel) before the accusations of witch craft were made (by a local resident, who not being willing to pay for the services he'd received has sought an easy way out). And it's said that the moved to Chatham where the Witch opened a Counseling service for abused Witches and Rupert became her loyal door keeper and body guard. They named the place after the Story and the Witches role to Chatham?


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