Brigid is a Celtic goddess of pre-Christian Ireland, sometimes called Bhrigid, Bridie or Brid her name means "exalted one". She was a member of the Tuatha Dé Danann, a supernatural race who appear a great deal in Irish mythology. She was of noble blood as the daughter of the Dagda (the Great God), wife of King Breas and mother of Ruadan.
Brigid was often referred to as the Triple Goddess, three sisters in one. Sister of poets and singers, sister of healing and midwifery and sister of smiths and creative expression. As such she was one of the more universal deities of the pagan Gaelic world. A woman of wisdom and protector of home and family, her powers were legendary. Brigid is associated with the pagan celebration of Imbolc, which is sacred to her. The first day of spring signifying fruitfulness, new beginnings, and rebirth.
In pagan folklore people would hang a cross in their homes which was made of rushes or straw. It was a central square with four arms, representing healing, nourishment, abundance, and inspiration. It was also thought to ward off fire and evil. This custom is still used today.
BRIGID - From All-Healing Goddess to Saint
As well as the cross, Brigid is often seen with images of a hammer and a cup. The hammer signifies the blacksmith and creativity and the cup, healing, and care. Brigid was also a midwife and was known as the protector of women in childbirth. As the goddess of fertility she is said to look over every cradle.
Brigid was the guardian goddess of all nursing animals, in particular cows and sheep. People sought her blessing for home and livestock and an abundance of milk and nourishment.
The Celtic goddess and Christian saint have many of the same associations. St. Brigid is considered a patroness of healers, poets, blacksmiths, livestock, and dairy workers. She is associated with many holy wells in Ireland and Britain, where small strips of cloth or ribbon are left as part of a healing ritual. The goddess Brigid was always associated with fire and it is said she kept an eternal flame burning in her temple at Kildare. The remains of this temple can be found within the grounds of the Cathedral in Kildare and is now dedicated to St. Brigid.