Monday, December 4, 2023

4th December 2023 'F'

Today is 'F'  Though the name I pick is known by a more popular name.  It is Ffraid, better known as Bridget (Sant y Brid) of Irish fame and of course keeper of the everlasting flame.  Her dates are c.450-c.525.  She founded the first abbey of nuns at Kildare in Ireland.  But in Wales she was known as Ffraid Santes, also interestingly, Bride's Bay that encircles so much of the coast line I love in Pembrokeshire, is named because of the links between Ireland and Wales.

Breverton say of Ffraid that probably because of the large dedications to this saint in Wales is because she replaced the Celtic Goddess of fire at earlier times.  Therefore the legend (or truth) of the perpetual fire at Kildare was kept burning for a thousand years may have some significance.  It is said (a lovely turn of phrase) that Brighde, is the Celtic mother-goddess.  She is invoked at the pagan festival of Imbolc on the 1st February at lambing time.

The fire-festival was called Brigantia, a tribe Up North was also called Brigantes and  probably covered the same area as Yorkshire, though on reading the etymology on the name, it could have had a different meaning.

The story goes that whilst talking to a dying pagan, she took the rushes from on his floor and wove a cross, these Saint Bridget crosses we still have today.  They protect the home from evil and want.

I have been listening to 'Witch' on BBC Sounds, a modern discussion of how today's witches live in our society.  No, no witchy hats or sexual cavorting round fires, they operate just as ordinary females.  Perhaps their role as midwives and healers did become the focus of misogyny and then the dreadful purge of supposed evil witchery.  I notice Professor Ronald Hutton has written a book on the subject, and it is on Audible.  So I shall listen to it, it is long, he is a very erudite writer.

I am at the moment listening to Wendell Berry, I always think of him as an American pioneer, he is an environmentalist, writer and poet and also a farmer.  The book is called 'A Place on Earth'.  So often quoted the following......................

I shall have to stop, Mollie has worked out how to leap from the settee to the desk, and paws on keyboard leave long lines of double dutch.


  1. Tim has taken to watching long you tube videos of the Russian-Ukraine war. And the thing that moves me every single time is this: When the shelling stops, when the noise and the flashes cease, there is the sound of crickets. (I assume these were done earlier in the year). And I find myself thinking of this poem and also that I want to be a cricket, moving unbothered in my small world.

  2. Perhaps crickets have no hearing, I know they love the warmth of the grass. We still have that feeling for the land, buried deep within us, war scars the surface but the birds still sing.

  3. Was Mollie by any chance the principal speech writer for Boris Johnson?

    1. She didn't have time for any writing, too busy catching rats!

  4. Cats love to type gibberish! I love Wendell Berry's work. A man of the landscape.

    The St Bridget crosses immediately reminded me of the Manx 3-legged symbol more generously wrought. Makes you wonder if there is any connection since there is a lot of Irish blood amongst the Manx (Keith's deepest roots being Donegal.)

    You've got me listening to Ronald Hutton's "Witches" on Audible now!

    1. The radio episodes on 'Witch' on BBC Sounds is also good. Ronald Hutton must spend all his life just studying and writing, his book is about 16 hours. Three legged, four legged, sounds like that riddle. Funnily enough Mark is on the Isle of Man this week. He normally works at home, but then flies our every so often to the company he works for there.


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