St. Brigid of Kildare is my homegirl. I love her so much that I chose her name for my Confirmation name a few years ago. That’s right, my name is Maureen Teresa Brigid O’Leary Wanket. Better recognize.
I based a whole series of books on Brigid, who is in fact an ancient Celtic fertility goddess, as well as one of the three patron saints of Ireland. Her lore is vast and complex, way more than can be handled in a single blog post, or even a single blog site. My laptop would explode if I tried. I had to write three novels in order to express even a smidge of my fascination for this mythological figure of yore.
So today I’ll just settle on one aspect of Brigid that speaks to me particularly today as a woman of modern times, which is her ability to shape shift. One story tells of when a young Brigid was going to be forced to marry a king who had heard of her great beauty. She didn’t feel like marrying this guy, but nobody was listening to her. So when she went to his castle to present herself to him, she turned herself ugly. Oozing sores covered her skin. The king, grossed out, turned her away. By the time she returned home, she was cute again and that was that.
Brigid is the goddess of metalwork, artistry, archery, fertility, among many others. She has so many aspects that she is frequently depicted as three women, in three stages of life.
I love the idea of controlling who you are and how you appear based on your audience. And I honor the notion of one person encompassing many different aspects in one life. In my novel The Arrow, the modern incarnation of Brigid has many roles to fill, as do most people in the modern age. She is a daughter, a professional, an academic, a lover, a warrior, a healer, a sister and a friend. As a writer, academic, leader, teacher, wife, mother, daughter and friend, I look to Brigid for inspiration. I am all of these things, shape shifting into each role as needed.
Brigid says to you that you have many talents, strengths, and powers. She says that there are few limits to what you can achieve. Your very life is of service to so many. Appreciate and celebrate all aspects of your gifts. The world is better because of them.
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