Having recently finished my manuscript for my forthcoming book, Demeter, I was pleased to be able to spend some time returning to my other passion – reading. I was blessed to have the opportunity to read Mael Brigde’s forthcoming book entitled, A Brigit of Ireland Devotional: Sun Among Stars. While I do tend to write and work quite a bit with Greek gods and goddesses, I am also a devotee and/or priestess of multiple Celtic goddesses and Celtic lore and spirituality are firmly ingrained in my practice and my heart.
Brighid was my first love when it comes to goddesses. In my early years on my Pagan path, I was asked by my teacher to select a goddess to research and work with. Brighid came to me immediately. I think she had always been there, hovering in the background; I just didn’t know her name. In fact, one of my most treasured pilgrimages was to St. Brigid’s Church and Her holy well in Kildare, Ireland. I was therefore delighted to be given an opportunity to review Mael Brigde’s forthcoming book.
Though I did wonder, with all of the amazing books on Brigid already out there, what more was there to add? Plenty, it turns out.
As the founder of Daughters of the Flame, Mael has a long history with Brigid and is very knowledgeable about her subject matter. Her poems are both beautiful and informative. As the best teachers across many cultures are apt to do, Mael weaves information about Brigid in her many guises into her poems. Thus, not only do her poems touch the heart and spark the soul, they also feed the mind.
One of the things that I greatly appreciate about this book is its comprehensive nature. Sun Among Stars includes a pronunciation guide, information on how to dive more deeply into the Irish language and a multitude of resources for further reading. Her poems and writings encompass just about every aspect of Brigid that exists, including her presence in both Paganism and Celtic Christianity. Throughout her poems, Brigde recognizes the three primary aspects of Brigid as healer, smith, and muse. In fact, the author questions the triplicity inherent in Brigid that sets her apart from many other goddesses who have a triple aspect. In “One and Three”, Brigde writes:
Not meaning to pry but
Can we face the point of your triplicity?
…how do you figure in?
How truly do you differ?
How best can I approach
One who is three
Three who are one”
There are also chants and blessings such as “Suffering and Compassion (Chant)”, “Threshold Blessing”, and “Birth Blessing”. The tone of these chants and blessings are beautifully reminiscent of some of the blessings in the Carmina Gadelica. Some of the offerings also mark important passages in one’s life. “Initiation” and “Prayer for the Dead” are but two examples. The poem entitled “Bean Sidhe” explores Brigid’s association with keening, as Brigde beautifully illustrates:
“First there is shrieking
Then there is wailing
Then with us she weeps
The poet’s song of utter loss
Our hearts swept up
In Brigit’s keen”
Brigid’s association with the ogam is explored as well. Those who wish to develop a relationship will find the book’s ideas for a daily devotional to be beneficial. Brigid was a goddess and saint of the people, and Brigde reinforces this point in poems like “Who Tends Her Flame” and “Everywhere”, both of which express the diversity of Brigid’s followers and the ability to find Brigid in the most mundane – and sometimes unlikely -places.
Despite her long history and many years of existence, Brigid is still quite relevant today. As Mael states in her book:
“I offer you these poems, words cast into the green and healing pool that is Brigit in the twenty-first century. May you find some of what you are looking for among them. Drink well. For the parched soul is epidemic in our day, and Brigit has much to offer those who thirst.”
Mael’s book is a charming and well-rounded offering to Brigid and is a must read for anyone interested in learning more about the goddess and saint. In addition, it offers inspiration for anyone wishing to embody Brighid’s gifts of poetry as well as for anyone who simply needs to drink from her well of healing, compassion, fortitude, and wisdom. Sun Among Stars is scheduled to be released later this month and is available for pre-order. You can learn more about Mael Brigde here.
Be sure to read my book, Persephone: Practicing the Art of Personal Power, available now!