Pagan Portals: Brigid by Morgan Daimler
Published by Moon Books, 2016
Morgan Daimler’s books tend to flutter around the higher reaches of the Amazon charts (other book sellers are available) and for good reason. She writes in a very accessible way whilst backing up her historical fact and mythology with sources, and pointing out when something is based solely on her own experience.
My last foray into her books was Pagan Portals: The Morrigan- Meeting the Great Queens. This appealed greatly to my own passion for Celtic spirituality and deities, in particular the different ways these deities are interpreted and honoured by different people. This volume whetted my appetite to learn more, and as we approach Imbolc, I wanted to find out a bit more about the goddess I always honour at this time of year.
Brigid is split into six chapters, some notes on pronunciation, resources and a bibliography (thank you, why is this missing from so many books?), and as such this makes it a handy reference volume as well as a book to read from start to finish. The first chapter explores the different ‘versions’ of Brigid, where they appear in Celtic mythology and the associations with each of these goddesses. In the next chapter, Morgan expounds upon her initial introduction by exploring Brigid’s counterparts Brigantia, Brigandu and more. There is a good deal of information about the conflation of St Brigid and Brigid the goddess, which I find particularly interesting.
Morgan ends each chapter with a section that relates her own personal experiences, from a flame that relights itself during an Imbolc celebration, to discovering Brigid in modern fiction. The reverence and fascination she holds for her chosen focus of study is evident in these passages, and really draws you in.
We learn about how and where Brigid appears throughout mythology, and what symbols and animals are associated with her. Morgan is very good at laying out all the key points of the source material, and encouraging you to make up your own mind based on the evidence given. Is Brigid one goddess, or three sisters? Were the Pagan Goddess and the Christian saint one and the same? Morgan doesn’t presume to tell you one way or the other, but cleverly explores all the angles and provides you with enough information to get you really thinking about those questions.
Pagan Portals are generally classed as introductory volumes, often covering quite a large subject field and just giving you a taster to inspire you to pop off and find out more. Brigid is a little different as the information is so detailed and focused, it can be used as a very concise reference book in its own right.
A really excellent read, thoroughly recommended for anyone interested in modern Celtic or Irish Paganism, Celtic or European mythology and history, or theology.
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Mabh Savage is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors. She is also a freelance journalist, musician, poet and mother of one small boy and two small cats. Find out more at http://soundsoftime.wordpress.com.