In the Footprints of Brighid:
A Gathering of Bridie Sites
I am immensely grateful to Heather Upfield from Ayrshire in Scotland for permission to publish here the third edition of her gazetter of Brighid sites in Scotland. Heather writes:
In the spirit of the Oystercatcher, whose fluting call accompanies this journey, and in the guardianship of the Hare, whose amber eye sees all, I offer this work to Brighid.
In April 2009, Paul Williment kindly allowed his Brighid Goddess and Saint site to be the home of "In the Footprints of Brihde", my gazetteer of sites dedicated to Brighid/St Bride/St Bridget in Scotland. That basic list of around 128 entries was the start of a mystical journey of discovery, as for the next two years, I delved into ancient records and texts and searched the Internet, coming into contact with some lovely people along the way.
The more I discovered, the more clear it became, that to the Scots, Bridie encompasses all that is sacred in the Saint and Goddess of the mainland, but also how much she glistens in the lustrous and mystical Bride of the Isles. Early in 2010, the second edition went up on Paul's site, this time with a new title of The Heart of the Hare, which expressed in the title, my own thoughts and feelings as the research continued. This edition was very much an exploration into my own development as a Servant of Brighid.
Now, two years on, in February 2011, this is the third, and for the time-being final, edition. The work is done! I have reverted to the original title (In the Footprints of Brighid), which places Brighid at the forefront of the research, and illustrates my own faltering journey in her footsteps, running to keep up! What this research has shown me, is that Brighid/St Bride was, historically, of major significance to the Scots (in her Churches, wells, sea features, islands, towns etc) but judging by the number of ruined chapels (I have identified 90+ ruins, remains or those that No Longer Exist) it might be thought she has disappeared from view altogether. However, her presence still lives on. Those wells, rivers, hills, place-names, sea features are still there and there are still 30 live and functioning Bridie Churches across Scotland. Everywhere you look, Brighid still sparkles in the landscape!
So in honour of Brighid, there are now 300+ entries in the spreadsheet, which include details of interior features of Churches, like St Bride windows and statues, as well as the record of the presence of Brighid in the Scottish landscape. My thanks go to some wonderful local historians and clergy around Scotland, who were so generous of their time, energy and spirit. In time, I will pick up the threads again, put the research into book form and dig deeper into history and come up with Edition #4! I am already working on a separate document, which brings together the functioning Bridie Churches (Circle of Bright Light - due later in 2011). But for the time being, this is where the journey ends.
My thanks to Brighid for being ever with me on this journey, for inspiring me and supporting me, for shaping me in the fire of her forge, for blessing me as her Servant and for welcoming me as her Oystercatcher. My beloved Brighid, this work is for you.
Download In the Footprints of Brighid here:
In the Footprints of Brighid