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Author Topic: Brighid and Hecate  (Read 12608 times)
Gillyflower
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« Topic Start: April 14, 2011, 08:39:36 am »

I came across this as I was browsing the net last night:

Quote
In some traditions January 31st is the night that Hekate hands Her torch to Brigid, whose arrival is celebrated at Imbolc.

This seems to parallel the cycle of the Holly King and the Oak King, who each rule one half of the year: Hekate carries the torch through the dark half of the year, while Brigid takes it for the light half. Some suggest that Hekate and Brigid are sisters who share the torch.

All this may seem very odd, given that Hekate is Greek and Brigid Celtic. But traditional beliefs that evolve over time may have little to do with historical origins.

Both Goddesses are very ancient, and have been worshipped in Britain for centuries, so who is to say what relationship may have developed between them?

Now, whether there's scholarship or not supporting this, it certainly explains why I, as a follower of Hecate without any other interest in the Celtic pantheon, felt called to start keeping flame and join this Cill. I'd love some perspective from the rest of you, though.
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« Reply #1: April 14, 2011, 12:11:54 pm »

I came across this as I was browsing the net last night:

Now, whether there's scholarship or not supporting this, it certainly explains why I, as a follower of Hecate without any other interest in the Celtic pantheon, felt called to start keeping flame and join this Cill. I'd love some perspective from the rest of you, though.

I'm curious as to where you found this? And exactly what tradition it allegedly comes from.

I work with Brighid and Hekate, and while they have some similarities/overlap of interest, I don't think that necessarily means anything, nor that a follower of one would be especially inclined to become a follower of the other. Sometimes that's just the way it works out.
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« Reply #2: April 14, 2011, 12:38:57 pm »

I'm curious as to where you found this? And exactly what tradition it allegedly comes from.

I work with Brighid and Hekate, and while they have some similarities/overlap of interest, I don't think that necessarily means anything, nor that a follower of one would be especially inclined to become a follower of the other. Sometimes that's just the way it works out.

The page came up on a search for chthonic deity symbols.

http://www.fortunecity.com/marina/pontoon/2457/id110.htm

I don't know if it's cached, but no link from that page will work for me.
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« Reply #3: April 14, 2011, 12:50:45 pm »


The site is active, you just have to click on the "skip this ad" link to get back to the main page. As for the site itself...oof. I could have done without the music! While her history isn't as atrocious as it could be, there are several places where she contradicts herself, and I couldn't find a single citation anywhere I looked, nor reference to whatever tradition she seems to be speaking of. All I can deduce is that it is some brand of Neo-Wicca.

At any rate, if you find it inspirational, great, but I wouldn't put any more faith in the information provided than that.
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Aster Breo
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« Reply #4: April 14, 2011, 01:23:31 pm »

Now, whether there's scholarship or not supporting this, it certainly explains why I, as a follower of Hecate without any other interest in the Celtic pantheon, felt called to start keeping flame and join this Cill. I'd love some perspective from the rest of you, though.

What Juni said.   

The obvious point to make is that Hecate and Brighid come from different cultures/pantheons.  The website author gets around this by saying both goddesses were worshiped in Britain, so there were probably stories of them interacting.  While that might be true, I'm not aware of any stories about the two of them interacting from the pre-Christian period.  (If anyone knows of any, please give sources.  I'd love to read them)  A story like that would probably be a much more recent invention, I'm guessing no older than the 1900s and possibly much more recent.

Also, my first thought when I read your post is that this story sounds a lot like the Scottish myths about The Cailleach and Brighid.  Basically, The Cailleach (sometimes called Beira) is the winter hag who imprisons Bride during the winter.  Spring can't come until Bride is rescued.  One version of this story is "The Coming of Angus and Bride", from Celtic Wonder Tales, Donald MacKenzie.)  The idea of Hekate (often considered a crone goddess in more recent stores, although, IIRC, She was not thought to be a crone by the ancient Greeks) carrying a torch during the winter and handing it off to Brighid in the spring echos this theme. 

Personally, I wouldn't put much faith in this claim.  If you find it inspirational, though, use it.  Smiley

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« Reply #5: April 14, 2011, 01:49:56 pm »

While that might be true, I'm not aware of any stories about the two of them interacting from the pre-Christian period.  (If anyone knows of any, please give sources.  I'd love to read them)

That's exactly what I was hoping to get, too :-) Whether someone does find sources, though, I got pointers to some extra reading material into the bargain. Thanks!
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« Reply #6: April 14, 2011, 01:53:58 pm »

I could have done without the music!

I got told I needed extra plugins to display the page properly. I think I'll do without them! Cheesy
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« Reply #7: April 14, 2011, 02:00:22 pm »

That's exactly what I was hoping to get, too :-)

Yeah...  Don't hold your breath.  Cheesy

I'm not expecting to find anything any more reliable than the website you linked to.  I'm pretty sure there aren't any pre-Christian stories that link Brighid and Hecate -- I think I would have run across them by now in my Brighid research.

But you never know, right?   Wink

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« Reply #8: April 14, 2011, 03:01:49 pm »

Also, my first thought when I read your post is that this story sounds a lot like the Scottish myths about The Cailleach and Brighid.  Basically, The Cailleach (sometimes called Beira) is the winter hag who imprisons Bride during the winter.  Spring can't come until Bride is rescued.  One version of this story is "The Coming of Angus and Bride", from Celtic Wonder Tales, Donald MacKenzie.)  The idea of Hekate (often considered a crone goddess in more recent stores, although, IIRC, She was not thought to be a crone by the ancient Greeks) carrying a torch during the winter and handing it off to Brighid in the spring echos this theme. 


I agree with this - when I've heard this (a link between Brigit & Hekate), it has always included a view of Hekate-as-crone, and the link seems to be rooted in a confused conflation with the Cailleach.
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« Reply #9: April 14, 2011, 07:40:23 pm »

Also, my first thought when I read your post is that this story sounds a lot like the Scottish myths about The Cailleach and Brighid.  Basically, The Cailleach (sometimes called Beira) is the winter hag who imprisons Bride during the winter.  Spring can't come until Bride is rescued. 

This is what I thought of as well.
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« Reply #10: April 14, 2011, 10:49:51 pm »

I came across this as I was browsing the net last night:

Now, whether there's scholarship or not supporting this, it certainly explains why I, as a follower of Hecate without any other interest in the Celtic pantheon, felt called to start keeping flame and join this Cill. I'd love some perspective from the rest of you, though.
What everyone else said.  I'm especially annoyed-amused by the handwaviness of the "both worshipped in Britain" part - I s'pose, if one doesn't distinguish between Hellenic Hekate and Roman Hecate, and if one either elides/is ignorant of cultural geography in the Isles or doesn't distinguish between Brigid and her cognate-sisters (Brigantia, Ffraid, etc), it sort of works.  (I think I'd be a little less annoyed if the site had said, "worshipped in the British Isles" rather than "worshipped in Britain" - as I'm sure you're well aware since you live there, but it appears the site author isn't, the two are not synonymous.  That raises the likelihood of the site's material coming from a place of ignorance - either not knowing about the cultural geography at all, or not knowing why it'd matter - rather than from the position of considering cognate names to refer to the same deity, which isn't necessarily unscholarly.)

On the matter of why a follower of Hecate with no particular interest otherwise in Celtic deities might be called to the Cill, I favor a purely modern perspective:  because neoPaganism doesn't require restricting oneself to a single cultural pantheon (and neither, apparently and by SPG, do the deities).  It doesn't matter if there's ancient precedent; the point is that it can happen now, and does - there are, I think, several of us in the Cill who also work with and/or honor Hekate/Hecate in some way.

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« Reply #11: April 15, 2011, 11:16:59 am »

On the matter of why a follower of Hecate with no particular interest otherwise in Celtic deities might be called to the Cill, I favor a purely modern perspective:  because neoPaganism doesn't require restricting oneself to a single cultural pantheon (and neither, apparently and by SPG, do the deities).  It doesn't matter if there's ancient precedent; the point is that it can happen now, and does - there are, I think, several of us in the Cill who also work with and/or honor Hekate/Hecate in some way.

This.
And maybe it's a question of balance sometimes?

I was focused on the Dark Goddess thing a long time. Studied Hekate and made offerings twice a month.

Then Kuan Yin silently made her way onto my radar.
(Not a goddess per se - depends on who's asked - but definitely not a dark lady.)

You never know. *shrugs*
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« Reply #12: April 17, 2011, 03:27:11 pm »


Then Kuan Yin silently made her way onto my radar.
(Not a goddess per se - depends on who's asked - but definitely not a dark lady.)

You never know. *shrugs*

Funnily enough Kuan Yin appears to be making a silent entrance on my life of late judging from the two carvings currently sitting on my desk

and I would describe my honouring of both Hekate and Brigid as a question of balance I find if I stick to one or the other I feel off centre and overwhelmed by the one deity or the other. Strange really anyone else get this?
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« Reply #13: May 02, 2011, 05:00:38 pm »

there are, I think, several of us in the Cill who also work with and/or honor Hekate/Hecate in some way.

Yep - I'm one of them.
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« Reply #14: May 03, 2011, 12:29:10 pm »

What everyone else said.  I'm especially annoyed-amused by the handwaviness of the "both worshipped in Britain" part - I s'pose, if one doesn't distinguish between Hellenic Hekate and Roman Hecate, and if one either elides/is ignorant of cultural geography in the Isles or doesn't distinguish between Brigid and her cognate-sisters (Brigantia, Ffraid, etc), it sort of works.

Honestly, I blame the modern educational system for this. We all get taught that the Roman and Greek gods are essentially the same, and the Romans carried that Paganism all the way up into England before Christianity miraculously became the dominant religion in the world. Because, well, no one has time to get into specifics. [/sarcasm]

On a related topic, in Ireland there's the Hag of Beara, which is sometimes given the title Cailleach. This Goddess doesn't appear to be well-known outside of southwest Ireland (which is where I met her) but that may be another reason why we get people bodging together this connection. I've run across people in the past who think Brigit and Hekate must be related because of the triple goddess thing... *facepalm*

Karen
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