Across the lands that lie between the town of Nottingham and that of Leeds, nearly all the lands that now comprise the province of Yorkshire, the Gaelic Brigantes, driven from the shores of Gaul, called upon the name of the Great One, the Mother who was known as Mighty - as Brigantia, Briginda, Brigidu and Bridget, Divine Ancestress of the Brigantes who had given them so much for which to be grateful.
Some say that Bridget was born exactly at sunrise, and that a great tower of flame reached from the top of Her small head all the way into the heavens - thus signalling the birth of a holy babe. It was this very same fire that was tended by the Daughters of the Flame, the nine who are Ingheau Anndagha, those who lived inside the fence of Bridget's shrine and could be looked upon by no man, to ensure that the purity and sanctity of the fire would be protected.
It was through these sacred women that the wisdom of Bridget was spread among the people, spoken by the priestesses to the women of the village, those who brought them food, and in this way heard of the healing herbs and which would cure what ailment. It was in this way that women also learned of the sites of the healing springs which became known about the countryside as Bridget's wells of healing, for the water of these wells could cure the leper or make the impotent husband able to join his wife in bringing children into their lives.
Bridget's wisdom reached the smithy, so that he learned how to forge the iron that would soften in the heat of the fire, and even how that fire might best be built and kept. And from Bridget came the tales that none had known before, and the Gaelic trick of painting pictures with words. With Her wisdom She revealed that sounds might be turned into written marks, so that another, though many miles away, could hear them with their eyes. Some poets call upon Her yet, inviting Her to speak inside their heads with her tongue so sharp and sweet.
. . . Bridget's fire, carried from the land of Brigantia upon the British Isle to Hibernian Kildare not far from Dublin, burned brightly with the caring of the Daughters of the Flame - and even later when it was tended by sisters of the newer Christian faith who called upon the Goddess as Saint Bridget. But there finally came a time when its flames were extinguished by those of the church who knew of its beginnings and spoke of it as pagan. How dark it was after the dousing of the ancient fire.
From Merlin Stone's Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood: A Treasury of Goddess and Heroine Lore from around the World, Beacon Press, 1990. Reproduced without permission.