Brigid Emerging in Poetry

In the last posting, we looked at stories of Brigid that reflect her central place in the Celtic spiritual tradition. For the Irish, Brigid is the face of the Sacred Feminine.

On February 1st, Brigid’s Day, a frigid morning (-31 degrees celsius with wind chill)  some ninety women gathered in Sudbury Ontario to spend a day celebrating Brigid with story, song, dance and poetry. A gigantic Brigid created of coloured cloth and papier mache oversaw the event from the stage.

Was it our hunger as women for a powerful and radiant, compassionate and focused role model that drew us there? Or was it Brigid herself, and through her the Sacred Feminine presence, longing to enfold and embrace us? Surely it was a sacred presence that stirred the embers of joy and hope among us. Surely something sacred fanned the embers into a  fiery passion to transform our planet and all that lives in and upon her sacred body.

Jean Houston, one of the great women/ spiritual teachers alive today,speaks of the Rise of Women to full partnership with men as one of the most compelling historical happenings of our time, even of the last 5000 years. See the website: Rising Women, Rising World  (

Within this rising there is a powerful spiritual energy which we may name Sophia.

This is her time, and we are her partners.

Out of the mists of history, out of the fragments of ancient stories, out of the almost- but- never- quite- lost memories of a sacred feminine, a new-old presence is coming into our awareness.

The Irish poet Anne Frances O’Reilly writes of that emergence in the form of Brigid.


These words will never carve

your image out of bog oak

but that is what they want to do

to dig down into the moist wetness

to touch the layers of centuries

that have made you

woman, goddess, saint

to see your shape emerge intact

from the dark earth.

My instruments are crude for such a work

the bog resistant to intruders

as an ancient tribal memory

in its dark and secret places.

But I must search out these roots

this memory as vital as breath.

I must drag this ancient oak

from the centre of the bog.

I will wait as I must

until I can see

the shape of what you were

and what you are.

The fine coat of resin will preserve your beautiful shape intact

and I will call on you great woman

to grace me with a golden branch and tinkling bells.

And I will polish you then with images of

sun and moon, cows, sheep, serpents, vultures,

bags, bells, baths and sacred fires

so that you become a fiery arrow

and breathe life into the mouth of dead winter

O beautiful vessel still intact

where we have unearthed you,

remind us of your many manifestations

and let us smile again in memory

of when doddering Mel pronounced you bishop

or your cloak spread over the green fields of Kildare.

You who turned back the streams of war

whose name invoked stilled monsters in the seas

whose cross remains a resplendent, sparkling flame

come again from the dark bog and forge us anew.

Anne F. O’Reilly

For the added joy of hearing this poem read by the author, visit her website:

There you may listen to other tracks and find out how to order the CD of her spoken poetry: Breathsong

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