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Author Topic: Brighid of the Forge  (Read 24851 times)
darashand
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« Topic Start: August 27, 2009, 07:18:32 pm »

There's a lot of talk on Brighid the Healer and Brighid the Poet, but not much on Brighid of the Forge.  What does Brighid do in this role?  What does the forge represent?  How would the forge be used in this case--literally, symbolically?  Does the Forge have any symbolic meaning?  What purpose does it serve?

Thanks.
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« Reply #1: August 27, 2009, 09:08:49 pm »

There's a lot of talk on Brighid the Healer and Brighid the Poet, but not much on Brighid of the Forge. 

I'm not sure exactly what kind of answers you're looking for.  But I'll jot down some thoughts and you can respond and that will help clarify the questions.

I think there are a lot of levels to the symbology of the forge. 

I think it's about craftsmanship -- the act and art of creating. 

I think it's about fire and the purification and "crucible-ness" that happens with fire.

I think it's about Brighid's role as a creator and as one who shapes events and people.

In combination with healing and poetry (I use "poetry" in this context as symbolic of learning and knowledge), I think smithcraft is about creating situations that foster personal growth and social justice.

I think there is also the very straightforward meaning of Brighid as patroness of those who make things.

Does any of that trigger thoughts for you?   Cheesy
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« Reply #2: August 27, 2009, 11:43:49 pm »

In combination with healing and poetry (I use "poetry" in this context as symbolic of learning and knowledge), I think smithcraft is about creating situations that foster personal growth and social justice.

In addition, I often think of smithcraft in a warlike context: the forging of weapons, the possibility of real danger and pain. Brigantia is more warlike than Brighid, I think, but I think she definitely has a readiness for battle that may be seen as a companion to her roles as a judge or healer. She can be a warrior.

Which ties in really nicely with the social justice bit: Brighid wouldn't make physical war on something she didn't believe needed to be fought.
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« Reply #3: August 28, 2009, 02:19:22 am »

There's a lot of talk on Brighid the Healer and Brighid the Poet, but not much on Brighid of the Forge.  What does Brighid do in this role?  What does the forge represent?  How would the forge be used in this case--literally, symbolically?  Does the Forge have any symbolic meaning?  What purpose does it serve?

Thanks.

The forge is a place where one thing becomes another, greater thing.  It is a place of change, where that which is brittle and fragile becomes flexible and strong.  The forge is where impurity is burnt away and usefulness is hammered in.

It is not a delicate procedure.  It is hot, grueling, and when it is is finished, what was before is so changed as to be unrecognizable.  Raw material becomes a tool for getting the job done.

And once it is done, it can never be undone.
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« Reply #4: August 28, 2009, 11:30:22 am »

I'm not sure exactly what kind of answers you're looking for.  But I'll jot down some thoughts and you can respond and that will help clarify the questions.

Actually, I had no real "jumping off point".  Whenever I look for info on Brighid, I usually run into the other two ascpects, so I was looking for a little bit of information about this aspect.  Reading everyone's very helpful responses, I am grateful to discover a glimpse of the other side of Brighid that I am so unfamiliar with.  I usually see Her as a very benevolent Goddess who bestows gifts and looks after the poor, but for lack of better words, I suppose I was looking for a "tougher side" as seeing such goodness reminded me more or less of the Saint. 

So basically, the Forge is something that shapes and creates something, but can also change.  She can conform people to the image She would like or want?  I suppose a "long-reaching" answer could suggest that Brighid could be associated with fate as She bends and shapes events and people.  Fire is most definitely a cleansing tool--cleanliness being stressed by Brighid--lending itself also to Her other aspects of poetry (fire in the head) and healing (burning away impurities, bacteria, and sickness; also sterilization). 

Does any of that trigger thoughts for you?   Cheesy

Oh yes!  *goes off to mutter*
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« Reply #5: August 28, 2009, 12:50:23 pm »

In addition, I often think of smithcraft in a warlike context: the forging of weapons, the possibility of real danger and pain.

Speaking of this have any of you seen the discussion on the Celtic Reconstructionist livejournal community, where they were talking about Brigid forging weapons for the Morrigan, and the general relationship between the two.

I think her smithing aspect gets discussed less simply because few of us in the modern era are smiths- though I know a couple people in ADF work with metal, my uncle does as well, as do many in medievalist groups. I relate this aspect to crafts in general, especially anything involving metal such as jewelry making.
I also see it as symbolic- the Goddess hammering and shaping you into a better person with life experiences, esp. difficult ones.
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« Reply #6: August 28, 2009, 01:41:31 pm »

Speaking of this have any of you seen the discussion on the Celtic Reconstructionist livejournal community, where they were talking about Brigid forging weapons for the Morrigan, and the general relationship between the two.

I think her smithing aspect gets discussed less simply because few of us in the modern era are smiths- though I know a couple people in ADF work with metal, my uncle does as well, as do many in medievalist groups. I relate this aspect to crafts in general, especially anything involving metal such as jewelry making.
I also see it as symbolic- the Goddess hammering and shaping you into a better person with life experiences, esp. difficult ones.

I think I vaguely remember that conversation actually.

It's true though that we are pretty removed from smithing in the modern era: most of the forging I do is of the mental type. Writing itself can be a painful and difficult process, starting from a lump of an idea, and then refining.
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« Reply #7: August 28, 2009, 08:28:23 pm »

She can conform people to the image She would like or want?

Purely my own experience and UPG:  I think She can and does hammer us (with experiences, ideas, etc.), but we do the actual changing ourselves.  So it's a collaborative process.

I suppose I was looking for a "tougher side"

You might want to think about Brighid Ambue.  There is only one source of info that I'm aware of, but basically She is mentioned in the law tracts as a law-giver/judge who aligns Herself with the ambue, or "cow-less ones".  Since wealth was measured in cattle, to be cow-less is to be quite disadvantaged, which makes Brighid Ambue basically a social justice advocate.  Pretty cool.
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« Reply #8: October 01, 2009, 09:57:01 pm »

What does Brighid do in this role?  What does the forge represent?

I've always felt that blacksmiths were the engineers of medieval times. They could build just about anything out of metal and kept things running. Civil engineers, perhaps.

Maybe this engineer thing is just because I am one (aerospace, not civil)... but I see that forge energy driving today's creative problem solvers. In that respect, I see Brigit involved in science and technology as well as the arts. Science needs creativity and inspiration to give it direction and purpose.

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« Reply #9: October 01, 2009, 10:23:58 pm »

I've always felt that blacksmiths were the engineers of medieval times. They could build just about anything out of metal and kept things running. Civil engineers, perhaps.

Maybe this engineer thing is just because I am one (aerospace, not civil)... but I see that forge energy driving today's creative problem solvers. In that respect, I see Brigit involved in science and technology as well as the arts. Science needs creativity and inspiration to give it direction and purpose.

How interesting! I hadn't thought of it really before, but I can certainly see this connecting to something said in another convo about Brighid: how she was a "fixer of things".

Scientists and engineers have to get to the heart of things, and want to understand how they work, not just to build thing, but to fix them as well. Blacksmiths spent most of their time fixing horseshoes, blades, etc. Being creative is also understanding how things work, and how they can be put together again.
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« Reply #10: March 16, 2010, 01:20:57 pm »

In addition, I often think of smithcraft in a warlike context: the forging of weapons, the possibility of real danger and pain. Brigantia is more warlike than Brighid, I think, but I think she definitely has a readiness for battle that may be seen as a companion to her roles as a judge or healer. She can be a warrior.

Which ties in really nicely with the social justice bit: Brighid wouldn't make physical war on something she didn't believe needed to be fought.

Sorry to drag up this older thread but the above statement really sings to me.

When I was introduced to Bride she was battling a Formorian.  Her warrior qualities were very, very evident. 

I suppose that personal perspective is influenced by what your definition of "warrior" is.  As an Abtaazihnkwe



In her actions of both creating weapons and choosing young men to enter into battle she shows herself (to me) as a warrior.  At the very least she "knows" war. When I think of her in this guise I am moved to think of balance.  Yes war is a necessary entity but kindness tempers the extreme.  She also represents kindness and generosity.  She provides the opportunity for me to both "go to war" and "to extend hands".  My teacher speaks of her as the goddess whom will take you from cradle to grave.

I respect her other aspects and often find myself inspired in those areas.  Most particularily in healing practices. 

The forge, to me is the underpinning of all healing work.  It is the transformational tool.   
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« Reply #11: October 17, 2010, 06:46:00 am »

Fascinating thread. I've just kinda stumbled across Brighid of the Forge in a guided meditation which was supposed to be about protection.

In my UPG the forge is the center of housing and civilisation as we know it. It felt to me like Brighid helped us make a bond with metal as a material to build and protect our homes. A lot of important things are forged from metal: gates, (heavy) doors, scaffolding etc. We also need metal to plow and we need metal to forge weapons and shields for a more active protection of our homes.

For me it was very impressive to experience this fierce, strong and unbendable 'spirit' of metal which is guided and shaped by the fire of the forge. The forge is like the inner center which knows what to do, which kind of shape is needed, what needs to protected, where the center of our life lies... The forged metal is kind like the protective outer hull around the inner center. It protects the inner fire, but is also shaped by it.

I'm not sure if I'm making any sense, it's hard to put that into words. And I'm not fully sure why she showed me this. I don't work with metal although I've practiced martial arts with a sabres a few years ago. But the 'spirit' of this kinda resonated with me and I was also astonished to realize the bond between humans and metal. It should be obvious, but I never saw this on a spiritual level. I always thought of metal as something cold, kind of "unnatural" and alienating from spirituality, but now I think (in my UPG) it's very close to our core as (western civilized) humans.
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« Reply #12: October 17, 2010, 06:55:39 am »

I forgot to mention that metal gives us also tools. A smith uses grippers to deal with the fire because he can't touch it with her/his bare hands.
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« Reply #13: October 18, 2010, 09:31:13 am »

For me it was very impressive to experience this fierce, strong and unbendable 'spirit' of metal which is guided and shaped by the fire of the forge. The forge is like the inner center which knows what to do, which kind of shape is needed, what needs to protected, where the center of our life lies... The forged metal is kind like the protective outer hull around the inner center. It protects the inner fire, but is also shaped by it.

I forgot to mention that metal gives us also tools. A smith uses grippers to deal with the fire because he can't touch it with her/his bare hands.

I think you are onto something here.  Keep working on your thoughts. Smiley

Thank you for this.
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« Reply #14: November 07, 2010, 09:44:03 am »

How would the forge be used in this case--literally, symbolically?  Does the Forge have any symbolic meaning?  What purpose does it serve?
This might be a bit off-topic, but I love the Star Trek Next Generation episode 'Birthright' where two characters discover something about their missed fathers. The androit Data get's an energy shock and has a vision with his creator as a blacksmith. Afterwards he tries to interpret the meaning of the blacksmith's hammer researching various cultures. It's a pretty cool episode with fascinating imagery. Wink
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