Sun Among Stars – Mael Brigde’s devotional to Brigit is a remarkable and fascinating book. It explores Brigit the Goddess, Brigid the Saint, the folklore, modern practice and the author’s personal journey. If you have any interest in Brigit, this will be an excellent read.
My knowledge of Brigit (Bride, Bridget, and many other variants) is fairly superficial. I’m probably typical for a Druid who is not a devotee. I found the material here entirely accessible even when the poetic content was dealing with traditions and stories I wasn’t familiar with. My guess is that for the reader who is more involved with Brigit, this book will have even more to offer.
Brigit is a complicated figure(s) and this book really digs into the issues. As a Celtic Goddess and a Catholic Saint, Brigit is and has been honoured by many different people, but is it fair to think of her as one entity? Mael Brigde explores the many different Brigits and shares her personal experience of being a devotee, and how that’s evolved over time. This is handled through a selection of essays and poems, supported by a wealth of notes and references. It is always clear what has come from one of the various traditions, and what has come purely from the author.
What I loved most about this book was the room it has for complexity and multiplicity. There isn’t a single coherent Brigit tradition to tap into – although it looks like modern Paganism is closer to achieving that than any other take on Brigit. There are Goddess stories, and multiple Saint stories, and maybe in there somewhere, the history of an actual woman. There’s a vast amount of speculation as well. As someone without deep knowledge, I found this exploration really useful.
If you are already well informed about Brigit, historical and modern, then it will be the personal and devotional content that is likely to be of most use to you. This is an unusual book in that it offers considerable richness for the novice and the more experienced reader alike. It is a good read for anyone who is casually interested – it certainly doesn’t require you to be devoted to Brigit or on an Irish polytheist path. You could read it simply because you’re interested in the traditions and enjoy poetry – that was mostly it for me and I’ve found it to be a thoroughly rewarding process.
More about the book here – https://www.johnhuntpublishing.com/moon-books/our-books/brigit-ireland-devotional
~ Nimue Brown, Druid Life
Brigit is a deity I have to admit, I haven't worked with much. This may seem odd as my path is hugely influenced by Celtic practices, and so I was very intrigued to give Mael Bridge's A Brigit of Ireland Devotional a read. For those of you who don't know Mael, she is the founder of a group called 'Daughters of the Flame', who since 1993 have been tending the perpetual flame of Brigit (there is more information about the significance of the perpetual flame within this book). The connection Mael obviously has with the Goddess Brigit is inspiring no matter which deity you work with.
Many who know of the Goddess Brigit will also know of Saint Brigit of Kildare, who is one of Ireland's patron saints. Many believe that Saint Brigit is associated with the Irish Goddess Brigit and that the Saint replaced the Goddess as Christianity grew in Ireland. Some even believe that Saint Brigit was a follower of the Goddess Brigit, whilst some argue that Saint Brigit never physically existed. Christianity and paganism have often had a strained relationship, and it can be hard to reconcile the two, but this is one of the strengths of this book. It takes the Irish Goddess Brigit and Saint Brigit and shows how these two aspects of the same deity can work together to create a figure who can be loved and honoured by all in the modern world.
A Brigit of Ireland Devotional is a unique view into the historically complex but well loved figure that is Brigit through poetry written by the author. It provides a great mixture between historical fact with an extended glossary, pronunciation guide, resource list and bibliography in the book, and the authors own experiences and interpretations. I can't say I've ever read any other book like it - it's honest, inspiring, and very moving.
I'm a very quick reader, and it really doesn't take me long to finish a book. Ever since I was a kid people have been amazed at how I could just devour books! But this book was different; I found it impossible to read each poem without stopping to read it again and soak up the message it delivered. The imagery Mael evokes is enchanting (I especially loved Your People in this regard). It is difficult to read them and not feel the presence of Brigit around you, even as someone who doesn't really work with her all that much (the poem Why I Tend Your Flame is another which I feel deserves a mention in this regard).
I honestly can't find the words to really convey just how beautiful this book is, and how powerful a devotional it is to Brigit. All I can say is read it for yourself - you won't be disappointed. Poignant, raw, and incredibly emotive, this is a must-read for all those who have even a passing interest in Brigit. ~ Vervenna, The Cottage Mystic
A Review of “A Brigid of Ireland Devotional: Sun Among Stars”
By Robin Corak
Having recently finished my manuscript for my forthcoming book, “Demeter”, I was pleased to be able to spend some time returning to my other passion- reading. I was blessed to have the opportunity to read Mael Brigde’s forthcoming book entitled, “A Brigid of Ireland Devotional: Sun Among Stars”. While I do tend to write and work quite a bit with Greek gods and goddesses, I am also a devotee and/or priestess of multiple Celtic goddesses and Celtic lore and spirituality are firmly ingrained in my practice and my heart.
Brighid was my first love when it comes to goddesses. In my early years on my Pagan path, I was asked by my teacher to select a goddess to research and work with. Brighid came to me immediately. I think she had always been there, hovering in the background; I just didn’t know her name. In fact, one of my most treasured pilgrimages was to St. Brigid’s Church and Her holy well in Kildare, Ireland. I was therefore delighted to be given an opportunity to review Mael Brigde’s forthcoming book.
Though I did wonder, with all of the amazing books on Brigid already out there, what more was there to add? Plenty, it turns out.
As the founder of Daughters of the Flame, Mael has a long history with Brigid and is very knowledgeable about her subject matter. Her poems are both beautiful and informative. As the best teachers across many cultures are apt to do, Mael weaves information about Brigid in her many guises into her poems. Thus, not only do her poems touch the heart and spark the soul, they also feed the mind.
One of the things that I greatly appreciate about this book is its comprehensive nature. “Sun Among Stars” includes a pronunciation guide, information on how to dive more deeply into the Irish language and a multitude of resources for further reading. Her poems and writings encompass just about every aspect of Brigid that exists, including her presence in both Paganism and Celtic Christianity. Throughout her poems, Brigde recognizes the three primary aspects of Brigid as healer, smith, and muse. In fact, the author questions the triplicity inherent in Brigid that sets her apart from many other goddesses who have a triple aspect. In “One and Three”, Bridge writes,
Not meaning to pry but
Can we face the point of your triplicity?
...how do you figure in?
How truly do you differ?
How best can I approach
One who is three
Three who are one”
There are also chants and blessings such as “Suffering and Compassion (Chant)”, “Threshold Blessing”, and “Birth Blessing”. The tone of these chants and blessings are beautifully reminiscent of some of the blessings in the “Carmina Gadelica”. Some of the offerings also mark important passages in one’s life. “Initiation” and “Prayer for the Dead” are but two examples. The poem entitled “Bean Sidhe” explores Brigid’s association with keening, as Brigde beautifully illustrates,
“First there is shrieking
Then there is wailing
Then with us she weeps
The poet’s song of utter loss
Our hearts swept up
In Brigid’s keen”
Brigid’s association with the ogam is explored as well. Those who wish to develop a relationship will find the book’s ideas for a daily devotional to be beneficial. Brigid was a goddess and saint of the people, and Brigde reinforces this point in poems like “Who Tends Her Flame” and “Everywhere”; both of which express the diversity of Brigid’s followers and the ability to find Brigid in the most mundane- and sometimes unlikely-places.
Despite her long history and many years of existence, Brigid is still quite relevant today. As Mael states in her book,
“I offer you these poems, words cast into the green and healing pool that is
Brigit in the twenty-first century. May you find some of what you are looking
for among them. Drink well. For the parched soul is epidemic in our day, and
Brigid has much to offer those who thirst.”
Mael’s book is a charming and well rounded offering to Brigid and is a must read for anyone interested in learning more about the goddess and saint. In addition, it offers inspiration for anyone wishing to embody Brighid’s gifts of poetry as well as for anyone who simply needs to drink from her well of healing, compassion, fortitude, and wisdom. “Sun Among Stars” is scheduled to be released later this month and is available for pre-order. You can learn more about Mael Brigde at
https://maelbrigde.wixsite.com/brigitdevotional ~ Robin Corak, The Agora: The Central Hub at Patheos Pagan
Being a devoted follower of Brigid, I have been eagerly awaiting the publication of A Brigit of Ireland Devotional: Sun Among Stars, by Mael Brigde. It will be released on September 1st, 2021, published by Moon Books, and it is ready for pre-orders now. Don't hesitate, if you are a follower or have an interest in Brigid yourself.
Diving into the book, you can immediately see the care, research and thought behind this devotional. The author Mael Brigde is a devotee of the Irish goddess and saint, Brigit, and the founder of the Daughters of the Flame, which has tended Brigit’s perpetual fire since Imbolc 1993. She publishes a general interest Brigit blog, Brigit’s Sparkling Flame, and a Brigit poetry blog, Stone on the Belly. As well, she teaches courses and webinars on Brigit, including Journey with Brigit, Goddess of Poetry, an intensive class that explores reading and writing poetry as a sacred act. She resides in Vancouver, Canada.
The book itself is book-ended with a foreword by Orlagh Costello (who runs the popular Facebook group, Brigid's Forge), and an afterword by Morgan Daimler. Morgan Daimler's Brigid book is a touchstone for many of us who follow the Celtic deity of Brigid (spellings of Brigid differ within the pantheon and are accepted). Noting the liminal space between Christian and Pagan Brigid, she notes: "It has been an education for me to seek her in so many places. I see a greater distinction now between the saint and the goddess, and I increasingly doubt that most of the associations of the one arise from the other. However, I recognise that there has been a relatively recent merging of goddess and saint, and when we address one, we are generally addressing both. You will see this blending in many of my poems." What is particularly joyful for me as a reader is that the author looks further afield than Ireland to experience Brigid, including Scotland and Wales, as well as other places.
This is a book that you can pick up and put down as needed, to seek inspiration and meditative moments in the personal exploration of what Brigid means to us. Not a follower of Brigid, and only vaguely familiar with what Brigid encompasses? Not a problem, as the themes covered in the poetry are universal to us all. You could read this book from cover to cover, but its path throughout the pages encourages bibliomancy: whenever you have a quiet moment in your spiritual practice, open the book randomly to a poem or passage, and spend some time ruminating on the words, the images it conveys, and the thought it inspires within you. Incorporate your journal in this practice, and you will then experience the devotional aspect of this well-written compilation.
A favorite poem from this book as we head into the inward spiral of the year:
who will tell the story
of the sisters Brigit
there is no harvest of tales gathered for them
as for their saintly heir
but shadows move
in the reeds and rushes
in the ashes and in the springs their deep voice wakens
the wild corners of the land in herb and bird and beast
in the fading rhythms of the folk
who will gather these shadows
weave for the triple goddess the ancient three-armed cross
In addition to the book release in September, you are also cordially invited to attend the launch party on August 28th. I will be virtually attending the celebration, and reading one of my poems that was published on Mael's blog, Stone on the Belly. Let's join together to celebrate a wonderful addition to books about Brigid!
Here's the link to the invite.
Patheos Blogger (Witch, Indeed) ~ Lisa Wagoner, Witch, Indeed at Patheos Pagan
As many of you know, I worship and serve the goddess Brigid*. One reason I wrote my novels is out of service to her; to portray modern, polytheistic devotion to her and other members of her godly family. So when I was given the opportunity, I jumped to review an ARC (advanced reader copy) of A Brigit of Ireland Devotional: Sun Among Stars by Mael Brigde.
This book, like the goddess herself, is multifaceted. Part devotional poetry, part mystical reflection, and part resource, this text belongs on the shelves of all who devote themselves to Brigid. I don’t have much space in my little home, and I tend to buy ebooks these days, but I plan to purchase a physical copy of this as I sense it will become an old friend.
The poetry itself flowed from the page to my heart. While not all pieces will impact readers equally, there are verses reflective of many life experiences. I can see myself revisiting the tome again and having a completely different reaction. Favorites of mine include: “Brigit’s Garden,” “Otherworld Gate,” “Ancestral Dream,” and “Ogam Reading.” Some jumped out as prayers I want to commit to memory such as “Threshold Blessing” and “Kindling.”
Those who are familiar with Irish lore will recognize when the author taps into some older poetic forms as in “Song of Brigit,” but other entries take on a more conversational tone such as the excited, childlike “Everywhere.” Some ask the same queries I have about her mysteries.
What really touched me about the author’s writing, poetry and prose, is her humility and love for the goddess. She repeatedly speaks with an adoring tone, and it’s clear she has felt this love reciprocated over many years. The book ends with footnotes and short essays describing how the author’s intellectual understanding of Brigid has shifted over time. She humbly admits that some of her older poems were written based on misunderstandings or concepts passed on from Victorians and modern Neo-Pagans rather than Irish and Scottish sources, but she wanted to preserve them as part of her journey. Her wording is never accusatory or belittling to those who may still embrace those ideas. She simply describes her process of sitting with new information, letting go, and finding her relationship with Brigid has only strengthened as a result. Seeing this process in print without a condescending tone is both refreshing and very needed.
No tome concerning Brigid would be complete without reflecting on the question we all encounter: where does the goddess end and the saint begin? Are they different or the same? She continues to help me heal after converting from Catholicism, but has also acted as a bridge between me and my monotheistic family members. Like other flametenders and priests of Brigid, the contradiction has become less of a hinderance and more of a meditative concept that deepens our compassion for self and others over time. When there seems to be some new drama in the online Pagan community every day, I felt a medicinal sort of kinship with Brigde while reading her words.
Mael Brigde’s conclusions may surprise you, but she does not insist other’s embrace her perspective. She leaves it open, as each devotee must figure that out with Brigid herself. The figure(s) loom so large in Irish culture, both on the island and among the diaspora, that surely she(they) evolve with the times. She loves her devotees, whether Druid, witch, nun, Wiccan, Catholic, or polytheist. This book of poems will provoke your meditations but ultimately comfort you on your journey with Brigid. You are not alone, and the goddess is here to inspire and guide you on the way to be both a better priest to her and your community.
…and like the wild fox
race across the plain
leap into the jumping chariot
beneath her cloak
prepare to do anything she wants of me because I love to do as she has asked
You can read more about the author, Mael Brigde, here. She also regularly updates a blog (here) with reflections on Brigid, including more poetry, Pagan practice, the goddess in contemporary cultures, and book reviews (fiction and non-fiction).
* You’ll notice I spell the goddess’ name differently. The name can vary depending on region, culture, time period, colonial influence, etc. This is just another example of how multifaceted she is. ~ Ditzy Druid, M. A. Phillips
The Illuminating Spark: A Brigit of Ireland Devotional - Sun Among Stars Review
A review of an upcoming book that honors Brighid in Her many different forms.
Mael Brigde’s poetry and informative insights shine brightly on her journey with Brigit, goddess, saint, friend, and other figures bearing Her exalted name!
When Mael Brigde announced that she was putting out a devotional, I was eager to read it and requested a PDF copy of the new book. As a note, she uses the Brigit spelling, while I spell the name Brighid; I will use Brigit for titles found in the book or when it’s referring to the author’s relationship with Her.
Mael Brigde is well-known in Brighidine circles through her blogs, as a speaker at conferences, a teacher of three Brigit courses at the Mystery School of the Goddess, and as the founder of the flamekeeping group Daughters of the Flame, who rekindled Brighid’s flame during Imbolc 1993 concurrently as the Catholic Brighidine Sisters in Kildare, Ireland did.
A Brigit of Ireland Devotional – Sun Among Stars is mostly comprised of her poetry, and there are many useful articles in it as well. She included a daily devotional, a breakdown of different Brigit figures, glossary, pronunciation guide, and commentary of how the poems reflect her journey with Brigit over time. Resources on Irish Polytheism, the Irish language, general Irish topics, and Brigit are listed as well. The book will be released in online bookstores on August 27th in the UK and on September 1st in Canada and the US.
Some of the themes featured in the poems remind me of ideals I aspire to or experiences I resonate with. I have selected a handful of poems that really grabbed my attention and am sharing my thoughts on them.
“Brigit’s Hermit” conveys the simplicity and joy found in seeing the home as a monastic cell. Mael Brigde sees herself as a self-ordained monk of sorts, tidying her cell, welcoming in her animal neighbors, and leaving her cell to venture into the wider world and returning as needed. Her fondness for her sacred space is apparent, and I hope to view my home in this manner the further I go along on this path.
“Cill Dara- Cell of the Oak” reminds me of the physical and spiritual qualities found in oaks. It recalls the past of Irish myth and shows its closeness to Brigit’s heart. It also grounds the oak’s place in nature, being a home for different animals. Given my affinity for the oak, the poem beautifully illustrates the tree’s important traits.
“Prayer with Cancer” is both a somber and hopeful piece. It recalled my own scare I had with cancer earlier this year and mirrored the refuge that Brighid provided during that difficult time. I also asked for Brighid’s healing and for Her to help me in coping with all of the uncertainties found with the disease.
“Everywhere” encourages seeing Brighid’s presence in unlikely places. In the poem, three ordinary people in a marketplace represent some of Her different aspects as they go about their tasks. The poet goes on to express her understanding that Brigit is visible in the most mundane of places, breaking past the everyday gloom with Her radiance!
“Contemplations” expresses the doubt and shortcomings many devotees feel when they attempt to match up to their deities’ measure. Mael Brigde is no exception in her feeling that her contemplation and extolment for Brigit may not be enough. The poem serves as a good reminder of that recurring emotion and of the happiness that can still be found with our deities, even with our perceived inadequacies.
The poetry is verdantly rich and inspiring for contemplative purposes, and I can see myself coming back to the book again and again. The academic resources on Brighid are useful for everybody and are helpful to comprehend the multi-faceted goddesses and people known as Brig or Brighid. I highly recommend A Brigit of Ireland Devotional-Sun Among Stars for Pagan or Christian devotees of Brighid, Celtic Polytheists of any kind, poetry lovers, and contemplative types who are always on the lookout for sources of inspiring beauty! ~ Ashli Hall, The Illuminating Spark, Oaken Roots Hermitage
It is a unique challenge to bridge the ancient past with the modern, and the Christian with the Pagan, but Mael Brigde does so with ease and grace. She tells the story of Brigid through remarkable poetry that is as much prayer as it is verse. This gorgeous text could be used as a guidebook for a Brigid devotee through different holidays and times of life. A must have for all lovers of Brigid. ~ Courtney Weber, author of Brigid: History, Mystery, and Magick of the Celtic Goddess and The Morrigan: Celtic Goddess of Magick and Might
[Sun Among Stars] reflects the long and deep journey that Mael Bridge has made with Brigit in her many guises … [Her] journey is a deeply embodied one, reflecting insights gleaned during her studies which have become a living part of her. She encourages readers/students to grasp this possibility for themselves as they engage with the material.
This work offers a portal into the mysteries of Brigit and the possibility of readers grounding her qualities of compassion, courage, love, wisdom and fearlessness in their own unique ways in their current lives.
Thank you for this important and comprehensive work.
[NOTE: If Dolores's credit is too long, please use Ever Ancient, Ever New, rather than Brigid's Way.] ~ Dolores T. Whelan, author of Ever Ancient, Ever New – Celtic Spirituality in the 21st Century, and co-founder of Brigid's Way Celtic Pilgrimage
Sun Among Stars is an expression of one woman’s devotion to a goddess who contains multitudes. Brigit is healer and muse, soul-smith, midwife at the threshold of transformation. In these pages you will find prayers to form a daily liturgy, poetic tales to tell by candlelight, woven words to reach for when the soul falters in its faith. Read them aloud. Let their internal music take you swirling through time to the hearthside of the bards. Mael Brigde is their kith and kin, and her work here is as multitudinous as Brigit herself. ~ Lunaea Weatherstone, author of Tending Brigid's Flame: Awaken to the Celtic Goddess of Hearth, Temple, and Forge (2015)
Mael Brigde has meticulously researched the life, myths and legends of Brigit, Goddess and Saint to create this beautiful heartfelt book of contemplative poetry. The prose in her introduction and conclusion are both eloquent and honest. We, the readers, are gifted myriad ways to rekindle the eternal flame of Brigit in our hearts and homes. Míle buíochas - a thousand thanks.
[NOTE: If Karen's credit is too long, please use the Celtic Way Pilgrimage rather than the Soul Seers co-editorship.] ~ Dr Karen Ward, Moon Mná Ireland, co-editor of Soul Seers - an Irish Anthology of Celtic Shamanism, and co-founder of Brigid's Way Celtic Pilgrimage.
Poetry is sacred to Brigit, so I can't imagine a more lyrical or lovely way to enter into her heart. Meet these devotions with a contemplative spirit, and allow their wonder and joy to sing to your soul.
[NOTE: If Carl's credit is too long, please use Christian Mystics rather than An Invitation to Celtic Wisdom.] ~ Carl McColman, author of An Invitation to Celtic Wisdom, and Christian Mystics
I have had the honor of speaking alongside her at a number of online conferences dedicated to Brigit. The last presentation of hers that I experienced was an hour-long reading of her poems, each blending into the next. It was an amazing experience that will always stay with me. ~ Gemma McGowan, Priestess of Brigit, Kells, Ireland
Mael Brigde is a long-time friend and a deeply dedicated devotee of Brigid. Her work with the Daughters of the Flame has been an inspiration to me for decades, and her poetry is clear and powerful. Her writing has consistently been a beacon for me, like the sunlight upon which Brigid hung her cloak. If you love Brigid, whether as Goddess or Saint, Mael Brigde’s poems will have words to deepen and broaden your connection with her. ~ Erynn Rowan Laurie, poet, essayist, and priestess. Author of Fireflies at Absolute Zero and Ogam: Weaving Word Wisdom.
I can’t imagine reading this poetry and remaining untouched. I can’t imagine allowing this book to lie, languishing and ignored, at the back of the shelf. I can’t imagine allowing this book to pass you by. ~ Orlagh Costello, founder of Brigid's Forge, Facebook, From the foreword to this book
Mael Brigde’s Sun Among Stars is an essential weaving together of poetic inspiration, personal experience, and Brigid herself. Having read this book, you [will] have travelled along a pathway with the author, learning about who this enigmatic and powerful goddess is not from cold facts but from the heart of someone who has a strong connection to the source. It is at once contemplative and deeply personal, educational and reflecting the evolution in understanding and belief that we all go through over time. For this alone it is an invaluable addition to the corpus of material on Brigid. ~ Morgan Daimler, author of Pagan Portals - Brigid: Meeting the Celtc Goddess of Poetry, Forge, and Healing Well (2016) and A New Dictionary of Fairies, Afterword of this book