The Faery Healing Goddesses

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Brigid: Matron Goddess of Faery Healing

Aine: The Bright Spark

Airmid: Keeper of the Herbs of Healing

Morgen:   Faery Queen of Avalon



Faery Healing: the Lore and the Legacy



Brigid  ~   Matron Goddess of Faery Healing 

deco-ccross-sm.gif (3529 bytes)  Brigid, beloved Celtic goddess, was well-known throughout the British Isles as the three-aspected goddess of poetry, smithcraft and healing. Occasionally the three aspects were portrayed as three sisters, all named Brigid - an example of the “triple” form so beloved of the Celts. She was sometimes said to be the daughter of the Dagda, the “All-Father” of the Tuatha De Danaans. In Ireland she was known as Brigid, in Scotland, as Brigid or Bride, and in Britain, she was known as Brigantia, goddess of the Brigantes of Northern England. In spite of the fact that not many tales seem to have survived about her, she looms larger than life in the psyche of the Celts of the British Isles, and it is likely that her legends were juxtaposed onto those of the early Irish Christian saint of the same name, who, in Wales, was known as St. Ffraid.

     She was, and is, the Goddess of poetry, smithcraft and healing, and the Fire that is behind them all: the fire of the mind and mind’s inspiration that sparks and ignites the poet’s creativity, the fire of the forge and skill of the craftsman/woman, and the fires of life that must burn properly so that life may continue, and healing occur. Each of these show themselves to be fires of creation and transformation. Thus, she is the pre-eminent deity-saint of Celtic Healing.

     The stories, but particularly the customs and lore about Brigid in either her Pagan or Christian guise, inform us that we are dealing with a very powerful Being, one of the “Old Ones,” deeply connected with the primal powers of Life itself - fire, water, air, earth, origination, creation, formation, and manifestation, fertility and abundance. (Chapter 1)

      The legends of Brigid show her to be associated with that borderlands/liminality/threshold state, which clearly links her to the Otherworlds, including faery. Her association with liminal states is shown in her St. Brigid legends by the fact that she was born at sunrise, and while her mother was straddling a threshold; it is shown in her Goddess legends by the fact that she was of the Tuatha De Danann, yet married to a Fomorian.

      Brigid is associated with water as well as fire, and many healing wells are sacred to her throughout the British Isles. Places where water emerges from the earth are always considered thresholds between the worlds, the underworld and middleworld, in this case. As a goddess of healing associated with seership and liminal states of being, she is uniquely suited to be the especial matron goddess of faery healing. (Chapter 15)


Aine ~ The Bright Spark

deco-sun.gif (4523 bytes)<    The Irish Goddess Aine was extremely popular in the area of southern Ireland known as Munster, where she was considered the Queen of the Faeries. She is thought to be a regional version of Anu, in whose honor two local mountains were named. Quite likely, Anu is the same being as the great Celtic Mother Goddess Danu for whom several rivers in Europe are named, and who was known in Ireland as Dana. Aine’s lore links her with earth, air, fire and water. The two mountains were thought to be her breasts; she had a home in a special hill named Cnoc Aine (Aine’s Hill), and was thought to have created the enchanted lake known as Lough Gur, over which she sometimes appeared in the shape of a faery whirlwind. Aine is very much associated with the sun, and was known as the wife of the sea god Manannan MacLir, from whose bed she arose every morning.

     She was worshiped at the Summer Solstice, at which time people lit torches of hay upon her hill of Cnoc Aine, carried them around the hill in a counterclockwise direction, and conveyed them home, bearing them aloft through their fields, while they waved the blessed fire over livestock and crops.  Not surprisingly, Aine is also linked with the fertility of the land. Because of her associations with fire and water, she was also associated with healing. It was believed that she regulated the vital spark of life's fire, which, like the sun's daily traversal of the sky, circulated through the body every 24 hours. If bloodletting occurred on her sacred days, which were the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday prior to Lughnasadh, it was thought the sacred life spark would flow from the body and the patient would die.

     Aine is therefore associated with both the life-giving sun itself, and the sun's power in the human body, through which the spark was thought to travel by means of the blood. These folkloric remains point to the fact that in days past there must have been a full, rich tradition of healing in which Aine - as the spark of life, the sun-spark within the blood - played a significant part.  (Chapter 15)


Airmid ~ Keeper of the Healing Herbs

    The Goddess Airmid is best known as an herbalist, and therefore, may be associated with these green gifts of the earth. Airmid was the daughter of the Tuatha physician Dian Cecht, and her brother Miach was also a skilled healer whose powers exceeded those of his father. Airmid's association with herbalism is illustrated in the story of her discovery of the 365 healing herbs growing upon her brother's grave - one herb to cure illnesses of each of the 365 nerves of the human body as well as one for each and every day of the year. She gathered these carefully in her cloak, but unfortunately, her jealous father mixed them up so that their applications would not be known.  I like to think that Airmid, wise healer that she was, already knew these herbs and their uses  and had them firmly in her heart and mind before her father mixed them.

     Airmid is also associated with the healing powers of water and sound. At the Second Battle of Moytura, her father placed healing herbs into the Well of Slaine, and Airmid, her brothers, and her father  chanted incantations over the Well to empower it. These waters were used to heal dead and wounded warriors.  (Chapter 15)


Morgen ~ Faery Queen of Avalon    

  apple.gif (190102 bytes)   The British goddess Morgen was known as a skilled herbal healer. With her eight sisters she lived on holy isle reached only by traveling on the Otherworld Sea. This island may well have been the prototype for the legend of the mystic Otherworld Isle of Apples known as Avalon. Apples were the Celtic fruit of life, death, and immortality. Morgen dwelt on this Isle with her sisters, practicing the arts of healing, and was the ruler of the island, which was also known as the Fortunate Isle.

     Morgen was sometimes said to be a daughter of the island's king, Avallach, whose name is derived from the Celtic word Abal, which means apple.

     According to the Vita Merlini  (Life of Merlin) by Geoffrey of Monmouth, King Arthur was taken to her isle to be healed after his last battle. In other accounts, Morgen was one of the "three queens" who came in a barge to fetch him to their isle of healing. 

     Morgen has also come down to us in somewhat different form as the Morgan le Fey of the Arthurian tales. The name Morgen itself is thought by some to mean sea-borne, as in one who comes from the sea, while other scholars say that it is related to the Irish Morrigan, meaning Great Queen.     (Chapter 15) 



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