I have to admit then when I first picked up this book my first thoughts were “oh no, not another book about my beloved Brigid” Being from UK and with Irish roots I have a great affinity with the Celtic Goddess and was a little wary of what I may find. Hadn’t it all been written about before in the many books I had on my shelves?
I had not finished chapter one “Who is Brigid?” before I realized that the author Courtney Weber had researched Brigid extremely well and also had a great love for her. She discusses in great detail the different roles that Brigid/Brig/Brid/Brigantia/Brigette has had all over the world. How she was, and still is, “The Exalted One” in Ireland and how she became St Brigit after the Christianization of the emerald isle.
As I read on, captivated by the author’s obvious love for her subject, I discovered associations with the oak – which is my favorite tree – and the raven which for obvious reasons is my favorite bird. There are references to myths and legends as to the origins of Brigid. I appreciated the author’s acknowledgment and honesty when she says that she is not an expert in Iwa Maman Brigitte and the Caribbean culture surrounding this version of the Goddess. But she does refer to her personal experiences in the back streets of New Orleans searching for images of Brigid. For readers interested in this persona the author recommends other books to read. I did not realize that Brigitte is the only Goddess in this culture who is white skinned with red hair.
There are several relevant photos in the book that, although black and white, show sacred wells, rivers, artifacts, rituals, images, statues and crafts. The author has extensive personal knowledge of “Brigid the Healer” and “Brigid the Bard” as she was a guide for several years of the sacred sites of Ireland, and so the photos are mainly from her own camera.
The spells and rituals in the book are simple and creative. There is one for inspiration, one for releasing writer’s block – which I wish I had known about two months ago when my own words stumbled to a halt. The book details different practices and rituals, with photos that help to explain and illustrate the words.
I love that there are some of my favorite quotes and poems in this delightful book. Some of these are worthy of meditation but there are also detailed meditations in the book. My favorite guided meditation is the one called “Journey to the Grove” in chapter six, Goddess of the Oak: The Sacrificial Brigid.
So really all the different personas of Brigid are explored. The roles of healer, smith work, arts and poetry, as the embodiment of spring, patroness of sheep and cattle, Goddess of Fire and of Water, as a Goddess of War, protector of the poor and justice for all. In all these roles across the globe Brigid’s fierce passion erupts to the surface every time.
No book about Brigid would be complete without reference to her holiday/Sabbat Imbolc. Imbolc marked the end of wintertime for the ancient Celts and so it was a time of relief and celebration. Again there is reference to similar rituals around the world. As “The Lady of Springtime,” Brigid’s myths are discussed by using traditional Irish myths and tales. There are prayers and blessings in chapter eight “Imbolc: Brigid the Springtime Goddess, the Mother, and the Midwife.” The rites of spring and the myths associated with them are also found in this chapter.
I mentioned there were photos of various crafts in this book and there are some great pictures explaining how to make a St Brigid’s Cross. The information about Imbolc includes divination, spells, and rites of Imbolc for just one person and another for a group. Again these are simple and creative. There is also a lovely Baby Blessing in this chapter.
Finally there is a chapter is dedicated to “Brigid and Animals” which starts with a beautiful blessing. This traditional charm called “St Bride’s Charm” is accompanied by one of my favorite images of Brigid “Brigid at Imbolc” by Carey A. Moore. This is how I first envisioned Brigid when I was young. All of her associations are in this chapter, including the traditional tales for each animal. It concludes with a creative visualization to help you to discover your Brigid animal or totem.
Throughout the book there is magick, recipes, spells and rites for the reader to try for themselves. The final chapter, chapter ten, called “Brigid Magick” has a lot of these as a conclusion to the book. They are easy to understand, easy to do and effective. I thoroughly recommend that the reader try the home protection spell and rite.
Do I recommend this book? Totally. It gets five broomsticks from me and is a worthy addition to any Pagan bookshelf.