Brigid, Goddess of Healing

Brigid, Goddess of Healing

How it started

Like many others, my journey to alternative spirituality and ultimately my priestesshood began through the physical. In 2001 I had to rest for six weeks (hernia), and I started reading about modern day druids and witches. Perhaps inspired by this, I decided after that time not only to use allopathic medicine, but also to follow the ‘alternative’ path.

I made an appointment with Rita, a reflexology therapist. I had heard from a friend that such a massage was not only relaxing, but that it also had a positive influence on your entire body. Since my body was in quite a state of shock from the hernia, I thought it was a good idea. So, under the motto: ‘you never know until you try’ I made an appointment.

I’ll never forget what happened that first treatment. As I was laying there comfortably in the chair and Rita was treating my feet, storms of emotions arose. I had no idea that I had been holding all those emotions in my body all those years. I couldn’t stop crying, and not just a little tear… Rita didn’t seem surprised at all and knew exactly how to guide me through this, she was completely present for me, didn’t try to solve or soothe anything, but let me cry and continued to lovingly massage my feet.

I was completely exhausted after this experience, but it also felt so good! It was as if a heavy burden, which I had apparently been carrying around emotionally, had been lifted from my life. I therefore immediately made a new appointment for the following month. Rita warned me that I had to drink a lot and that there could be reactions in my body. That was an understatement! For the next three weeks I had one migraine after another. I called Rita and she referred me to an energetic healer who happened to live across the street from us. I was treated by someone who gave ‘Universal Energy’, an energetic healing system that is very similar to Reiki. After two treatments the migraines disappeared, which at that time in my life seemed miraculous to me, and I continued to return regularly. It turned out that they also provided training, which immediately interested me. And so began my personal path as a healer.

What followed were a myriad of courses in Universal Energy, Reiki and Magnified ‘Kwan Yin’ healing, Lemurian healing and different types of massage and shiatsu. I also continued to receive ‘alternative’ healings myself: I learned to trust my body again through chiropractic treatments, osteopathy and homeopathy, I was guided in ‘The Journey’ (by Brandon Bays) by a shamanic psychotherapist and with hypnotherapy I healed from lack anxiety. When menopause occurred, I received great help from an herbalist and acupuncture practitioner. And up to now massage and reflexology are still regular therapies which support me.

Although I gradually started to gain a lot of experience in healing, I still didn’t really feel like a healer. Yes, I could massage people, I could give them energetic healing, and sometimes those treatments had a great effect on their health and even their lives, but it never felt like enough. I couldn’t cure them…. It wasn’t until I started walking my pathways with Brigid that the difference between healing and curing started to become clear and that I started to realise that there are so many different ways of healing.

Goddess of Healing

Because there have always been illnesses, diseases and disabilities, we as humans have always called upon the help and healing of Goddesses and Gods. Often there were certain people in the community who had been chosen and trained to invoke this healing through the supernatural. They did this through knowledge, for example of herbs and how to treat the body, but also through ceremony and ritual, in which the Divine was involved.

It is therefore that all over the world, in all different cultures and pantheons, healing is one of the most important qualities of the Goddess and there are many Goddesses of Healing. There is Kwan Yin, a Bodhisattva in Eastern culture (Buddhism), Hygieia in the Greek pantheon, Ixchell in Mayan culture, Eir in Norwegian Asgard, Coventina as Goddess of healing springs and many more.

In the Celtic pantheon, Brigid is traditionally seen as one of the great Goddesses of Healing. But strangely enough, as I started working more and more with Brigid, it wasn’t really clear why, other than describing how traditionally Brigid was invoked as Goddess of Healing by the Druids, or how Her healing waters were used for treatments.

Later, Saint Brigid(a) also became the Saint of Healing, a continuation of more specifically described miracles that were also attributed to the Goddess before her. There are many miracle stories about lepers being healed, the healing of eyes, and there is a story in which a woman who only sat in the shadow of Saint Brigid was suddenly cured of her illness. So, it seems that the healing attributed to the Goddess Brigid and Saint Brigida is sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Healing or curing

Over the years I have learned that it is important to recognize the difference between healing and curing. In the spiritual context we mainly talk about healing, while in the allopathic world we talk about curing. What curing is seems clear to me, you have an illness or disability and after receiving the cure, you no longer have it or it has been brought to a level that it no longer determines or influences your life. But unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way and people often switch to or supplement with alternative medicine. The alternative path can certainly cure, but there are also alternative paths that aim at healing.

So then, what is healing? The most beautiful description I have ever heard is: ‘healing is the journey towards wholeness’. Healing often involves more than the physical, it is a holistic approach, for body, mind and emotions. It is recognising that the well-being of our entire system requires a healthy interplay of emotions, mind and body.

In the Goddess tradition, we mainly work with this holistic principle, which looks at how the mental (psychological), emotional and physical work together in our lives. If something does not function or is blocked in one of the areas, this can result in illness, which can be experienced either physically or mentally. Depending on what this blockage relates to, healing can be applied. This can be done by calling in allopathic experts (e.g. doctor, psychologist, dietician) or by an alternative medicine practitioner (e.g. homeopath, massage therapist, hypnotherapist, herbalist) or by a spiritual professional (e.g. shaman, priestess, druid) who performs ceremonial can provide healing.

Brigid’s healing

As a teacher of the Brighde-Brigantia training in Glastonbury-Avalon, it quickly became clear to me that a healing module should also be included in the priestess training. As I mentioned earlier, I still did not feel like a healer, even though my students had often given me feedback that the entire training alone was already a healing journey.

In designing the ‘healing weekend’ of the second year of the training, I consulted with Brigid herself, in other words: I meditated to feel into what was needed and trusted what She would show me, in the way She had inspired all my teachings before. The image that came back immediately and over and over again was the ‘Brigid Cross’. This special cross with the legs dancing around each other in the centre is one of the most famous symbols related to Brigid.

It soon became clear to me that the four legs of the ‘Brigid Cross’ represented the four elements and the centre related to Brigid as Goddess. From there the inspiration started to flow and a healing module was created in which the Priest/esx as well as the receiving client, work on different layers.
It is a healing in which the client is also involved and must take responsibility for their healing.

In the beginning a connection is made, where the intention of the healing is expressed and presented to Brigid. With each element a connection is made through breath and intention and the client is consciously present until almost the last part of the healing. This energetic intention has to do with how I have experienced that in working with Brigid, you are always asked to take responsibility for what happens to you. Brigid is a down-to-earth Goddess, and giving and receiving are in harmony whenever we work with Her energy.

The Brigid Healing works with Fire and the Spiritual body (aura), with Water and the Emotional body, with Earth and the Physical body, with Air and the Mental body, after which it all comes together in the Holistic body. Each part involves certain treatment methods, whereby the ‘earth’ section offers the opportunity for the personal expertise of the therapist. All elements work with the energy of Brigid that comes through us, as Priest/esx we convey Her healing.

I felt quite anxious when I first taught this healing module inspired by Brigid to Priest/esxes in training, but it soon became clear that the experiences and effects of the healing were very soothing, supportive, insightful and sometimes even were experienced as curing. It was so beautiful to hear how Brigid’s healing had been given a form that could be used by Her Priest/esxes and help others on their path of healing.

Looking back at how Her healing works, it actually makes sense that the Brigid Healing is an elemental healing. She is the Goddess of healing springs: Her water is often used for healing, cleaning wounds and purifying drinking water; She is the Goddess of sacred fire: one of the most important ways to cleanse (symbolically & literally, like instruments), but also necessary to make healing (herbal) drinks and food; She is the Goddess of the Air: our breath, but also the energy of soothing words, sayings and songs; She is the Goddess of the Earth: of the crystals, trees and plants that bring us healing and Her green cloak that protects us.

She makes me whole!

This year during ‘The Goddess Conference’ in Glastonbury, England (July 30 – August 4), the theme is ‘Goddess of Healing’ and this year I get to work with the energy Brigid as Goddess of Healing. And now because of the healing journey I have been through with Her over the past 19 years, I have learned to embrace myself not only as Her Priestess but also as Her Healer, it only feels like an honour and a celebration to be able to share the gentle loving power of Brigid’s healing during this beautiful Goddess Festival!

And why is Brigid the Goddess of Healing? I can only conclude that the Goddess tradition is a nature tradition and Brigid as the great Celtic Goddess is holistic in Herself: She is all of nature and all the energy that surrounds us and is within us. That is what makes Her the Goddess of Healing: I am part of Her and She is part of me; She makes me whole!

Bright Healing Blessings
Marion ‘Brigantia’ van Eupen