Brigid: The Goddess and The Saint

Today Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter. The famous Pennsylvanian groundhog has his antecedents in ancient European weather lore. During the Celtic festival of Imbolc, people watched to see if serpents or badgers ventured from their winter dens:

The serpent will come from the hole

On the brown Day of Bríde,

Though there should be three feet of snow

On the flat surface of the ground 

February 1 marked the halfway point between winter solstice and spring equinox. Also called Brigid’s Day, the pagan celebration honored the goddess of the same name. The patroness of poetry, smith work, medicine, livestock, sacred wells, and the arrival of early spring, is also associated with the Irish Saint Brigid of Kildare.  Whether the saint really existed or
 was a Christian transformation of the goddess is unknown. 

Peasent Cross of Saint Brigid's 
Harry Clarke, Irish, 1889-1931
Saint Brigid
Patrick TuohyIrish, 1894-1930
Saint Bride
John Duncan, Scottish 1866-1945