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13 April 2007 @ 12:52 am
Another Question about Brighid Sources  
Following up on my earlier question about sources of information on Brighid as goddess, I wonder if I could ask the experts in Irish mythology a specific question.

Brighid is not mentioned often in the myths. Which ones DO mention her?

I'm attempting to compile for myself as complete a collection of Brighid reference materials as possible, and don't want to overlook anything. And I'm a far cry from an expert on Irish mythology.

Thank you.

alfrecht on April 14th, 2007 09:33 pm (UTC)
Re: Assumptions about All Brighid Associations
The thing about the three Brigits, daughters of the Dagda, being the patronesses of smithcraft, poetry, and healing does come from Sanas Cormaic ("Cormac's Glossary," c. late 9th-early 10th century, by the king-bishop of Cashel, Cormac mac Cuilleanain). In a few bits of Sanas Cormaic, there are some short narratives, e.g. the one relating to Finn and imbas forosnai. However, under Brigit, there is simply the statement that she was the daughter of the Dagda, a female poet (banfile) who was the goddess of the poets, and that she had two sisters who were also daughters of the Dagda called Brigit who were a female physician (be legis) and a female smith (be goibne).

While this has been taken as pretty definitive of Brigit's pre-Christian origins, and there are certainly miracles and associations in the hagiographies of St. Brigid which connect her to these various things, there are no narratives as such relating to these aspects. Cormac was pretty knowledgeable about language and history, but he was also--like most of the Irish monastic and clerical writers of the early middle ages--steeped in the works of Isidore, who essentially "made up" etymologies using homonymy (e.g. the word for poet, fili, coming from fi ("poison") + li ("splendor"), because a poet is splendorous in his praise, and poisonous in his satire, when really the word is from a root meaning "to see"), so it's tough to say whether every instance he cites of something being pre-Christian/pagan-related is true or not. However, as there doesn't seem to be any clever tricks being played here with Irish puns, it does seem more likely that this is a legitimate piece of traditional Irish paganism.
sunburst39 on April 14th, 2007 09:58 pm (UTC)
Re: Assumptions about All Brighid Associations
OK, so I haven't missed any *stories* that connect Brighid (as goddess) to those arts. There's only the reference in Cormac's Glossary, and everything else is extrapolated from that.
alfrecht on April 14th, 2007 10:01 pm (UTC)
Re: Assumptions about All Brighid Associations
Yes, exactly.