Book Review: Brigid by Courtney Weber

Brigid by Courtney WeberBrigid: History, Mystery, and Magick of the Celtic Goddess by Courtney Weber was published in 2015 by Weiser Books. I picked it up in 2016, but only got around to reading it recently. The book is divided into ten chapters ranging from about 15-30 pages each. I picked this book up off my shelf as Imbolc loomed large over the horizon. Having already read a couple of books on the Sabbat itself, I decided to learn more about the goddess associated with it: Brigid.

On the whole my feelings about this book are positive, but I did struggle to read it at points, and for multiple reasons. I found myself getting a little bored at parts, forgetting what I had just read, or letting my eyes flit around the page. I started out really enjoying the book, but early on, the author confides that the book is part of a ‘deal’ that she made with the goddess. Forgetting the deal and not holding up her end of the bargain, the author says that Brigid became cold and vengeful, culminating in the priestess doing Weber’s dedication hitting and berating her. Finally, a friend channels Brigid who, again, vengefully leaves the newly-pregnant woman with twins who resemble the goddess as punishment for the friend’s resistance. There’s something about 1) speaking the mystical aloud, and 2) this vengeful idea of Brigid, that cooled me on the book somewhat. I’m all for warrior goddess – all for them – but the idea of Brigid as petty and cruel over what amount to human error or misunderstandings just doesn’t resonate with me. Also, as witches and pagans we all have unusual mystical experiences, but when they’re stated aloud they lose something to me. I feel like the author’s personal stories about Brigid were a roadblock to me fully appreciating the book, and the research that went into it. All that being said, there’s quite a lot of good in the book as well, so let’s get to the content of the book itself.

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Athena Collage Altar Card

Athena Collage

After I made the High Priestess tarot card I immediately started on this small altar card. Collage is one way I practice ‘active meditation’, one of the few times I truly feel like I am living in the moment.

I named this collage “Athena” even though the goddess doesn’t resonate with me personally, and I’m so glad I chose that title, because it found it’s home with a wonderful person who feels connected to Athena. Here’s a little more information about the goddess herself:

Athena was the Greek virgin goddess of reason, intelligent activity, arts and literature. She was the daughter of Zeus; her birth is unique in that she did not have a mother. Instead, she sprang full grown and clad in armor from Zeus’ forehead.

She was fierce and brave in battle; however, she only took part in wars that defended the state and home from outside enemies. She was the patron of the city, handcraft, and agriculture. She invented the bridle, which permitted man to tame horses, the trumpet, the flute, the pot, the rake, the plow, the yoke, the ship, and the chariot. She was the embodiment of wisdom, reason, and purity. She was Zeus’ favorite child and was allowed to use his weapons including his thunderbolt. Her holy tree was the olive tree and she was often symbolized as an owl.

However, what this blurb leaves out, is that Athena testified against Clytemnestra in the trial of Orestes. Clytemnestra was the wife of Agamemnon and the mother of Iphigenia and Orestes. Before leaving for the Trojan War, Agamemnon sacrificed Iphigenia to the gods. When he returned from the war (with Cassandra, his prize), Clytemnestra murdered him for the killing of their daughter. In turn, Orestes killed his mother (Clytemnestra) to avenge the death of his father (Agamemnon). Because of this Orestes was pursued by the Furies, who torment those who commit blood killings, until he was put on trial by the gods. Athena testified that, because of her birth, women had nothing to do with the child’s blood line, but that fathers were the only important parent. After Orestes was pardoned the Furies transformed into the Erinyes and the matriarchy was officially dead.

Regardless of what I wrote above, Athena is still remembered as a powerful and more masculine goddess, which appeals to me, and she’s the goddess of intellect, so what’s not to like?

I hope you enjoy my card and lecture; have a lovely Yule. Blessed be!

Sources

Greek Mythology