A Poem For Bridget

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I often find myself discussing religion, or religious philosophy, or religious metaphor with people. I practice a non-mainstream religion, and even inside Paganism my beliefs are archaic and esoteric. So when I use a term (such as: Jungian Archetypes, Liminal Edge, the Second Battle of Magh Tuireadh) I pause and tip my head questioningly at whomever I’m speaking to: “Do you need that explained?”

Sometimes yes, sometimes no, but it makes the conversation go smoother.

I was thinking about the Goddess Bridget (because of the season, neh?) in my morning meditation period (which could also be described as ‘dozing’) and I realized that I rarely have to explain a reference to Her, even to people that I do have to explain “Lugh” or “An Dagda” references to. Bridget is described in the good books (modern explications of lore and Pagan thought) as “pan-Celtic.” Generally I take issue with the term “Celtic” because some people use it as a religious descriptor (“I follow a Celtic Path”). In my world, the response to that is an automatic: “Which hearth-culture?” This is because, like the tribes of the First Peoples, the Celtic cultures are different. Strictly speaking, “Celtic” refers to a common group of languages that derive from a non-Romance root. The cultures of the peoples and countries that speak those languages are not analogous; one bit of one culture cannot be popped into a similar-but-not-identical slot in another.

But Bridget is actually pan-Celtic in that She appears in almost all of the Celtic cultures in one personification or another. Sometimes more blacksmith-y, sometimes more midwife-y. Sometimes drinking only the milk of a white, red-eared cow (do you know what “red-eared” refers to?), sometimes hanging Her cloak/brat on a sunbeam.

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Bridget is more than pan-Celtic—even people who are not referencing Celtic lore in their religions (“I am spiritual, not religious’) recognize Her. “Well,” says Other Meditative Mind, “you are speaking mainly to white, European-derived, middle-class people when you discuss religion. Your reference group is skewed.”

Very true. So I think about, for example, the Chinese. What about Vodoun?

Then I realize the truth behind the meditative mind—

Religion has a Goddess of Kindness.

(Sometimes also a little Firmness or Kick-Your-Assness stirred in.)

Because we need Her to listen to us.

Imbolc 2016

Her hand over the refugee,

Bridget is there.

The hunters find a honey-tree,

Bridget is there.
Inside the tiny cardboard shack,

Bridget is there.

The beaten spouse will not come back,

Bridget is there.
Street-child finds a coin in the dirt,

Bridget is there.

Aid-centre hands out a clean shirt,

Bridget is there.
“Wait, we’re really not that different!”

Bridget is there.

Cop fails to see the homeless tent,

Bridget is there.
A human being cries out in pain,

Bridget is there.

Fire ignites the artist’s brain

Bridget is there.
Somewhere a child goes to school,

Bridget is there.

The people rise up against misrule,

Bridget is there.
We all have something that we fear,

Bridget is here.


Judith O’Grady

judithis an elderly Druid (Elders are trees, neh?) living on a tiny urban farm in Ottawa, Canada. She speaks respectfully to the Spirits, shares her home and environs with insects and animals, and fervently preaches un-grassing yards and repurposing trash (aka ‘found-object art’).