St Brigid of Ireland, Moorish Goddess of Ireland: The FoMuurs, the Original Muurs of Ireland

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Commemorated on February 1

St. Brigid, “the Mary of the Gael,” was born around 450 in Faughart and died 525, about two miles from Dundalk, in County Louth, Ireland. According to tradition, her father was a pagan named Dub-thach (meaning: the black man), and her mother was Brocessa, one of his slaves.

As a child, Brigid was known for her compassion for the poor. She would give away food, clothing, and even her father’s possessions. …

St. Brigid received monastic tonsure at the hands of St. Mael of Ardagh. She established a monastery on land given to her by the King of Leinster. The land was called Cill Dara (Kildare), or “the church of the oak.”

This was the beginning of women’s cenobitic monasticism in Ireland.

There also used to be a Brigit, who was an old Celtic goddess of Ireland. She might have been the prototype of the christian Saint Brigit. And just like the christian Saint Brigit, Brigit the Celtic goddess was also a muur. She was often depicted as a black woman…

Brigit the Muurish Goddess of the Celts


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12 thoughts on “St Brigid of Ireland, Moorish Goddess of Ireland: The FoMuurs, the Original Muurs of Ireland”

  1. Well Don Jaide, thanks for introducing this marvellous person, I am fascinated by her, even devoted to her. Brigid is both the highest ranking female saint in Ireland, and in her spare time a top ranking pagan goddess. She was anciently and is currently revered in many parts of western Europe. Brigid’s feast day is also the feast of Imbolc, the non-Christian Feast of Spring. More than St. Patrick, St. Brigid is the true representative of Irish identity. Women and poets were very highly regarded in ancient Ireland, I think that Brigid is a patron of poets.
    Poets have exalted understanding, sensitivity, and the ability to bring the very finest of thoughts to the most ordinary of people. I sometimes wonder how pre-Christian Irish understood their devotion to Brigid (Why they felt so devoted.), and I also ask the same for the later devotion to St. Brigid. An eternal flame was tended by nineteen celibate females at Coill Dara, (Oak Grove/Oak Church). The eternal flame, which had burnt for over a thousand years, was extinguished by a foreign archbishop in the twelfth century, in order to prevent a resurgence of paganism. In recent times some Christian ? nuns have relighted the eternal fire.
    Again Don Jaide thanks for introducing such a worthwhile person.

  2. A little more background….. The pre Christian religion of Ireland was accommodating and tolerant, it shared many of the virtues and aspirations of Christianity, and no violence was shown to the Christian missionaries. It was safe for St. Patrick to Christianize Ireland, as the new faith was already known and respected, having been introduced from the Desert Fathers of North Africa, over the previous two centuries or so. This early Christianity was taken directly from the Coptic Church in Ethiopia, and it was monastic in character, it was not bound in any way to the Roman Catholic church, it took Ireland like a storm. The church which St. Brigid knew was not for the fainthearted, everybody lived in severe simplicity, prayer, work, equality, and as independent respected outcasts from mainstream society.

    The centralized Universal church which St. Patrick established in Ireland, was much better at collecting and holding congregations than the monastic style of church and after about five centuries it overtook and superceded the native church. It would be fair to say that St. Brigid and St. Patrick represent two very different types of Christian church. St. Brigid’s independence, mysticism, closeness to nature, and simplicity would surely impress those people who are enthusiastic followers of the New Age and the Neo-pagan movements. It is true to say that the authentic Celtic Church drew much of its energy from North African spirituality.
    One Love Don Jaide, I hope I’ve saved you an hour or two of research.

    1. Hi

      I have cut and paste this info from an essay I wrote on the links between Ireland and Egypt. Similar to what you are saying.

      The first dated mention of Ireland in Roman mandate is found in the Chronicle by Prosper of Aquitaine, 431AD, he mentions ……….. ‘ Palladius was ordained by Pope Celestine, and sent to the Irish believers in Christ’ (ad Scotos, in Christum credentes) ‘as the first bishop’ .

      Please note that up until the 12th Century Ireland was known as Scotia and the Irish as Scotti, to Irish and continental writers. The Irish Gaels gave their name to current day Scotland, then Caledonia, with the formation of the Kingdom of Scotland, along with the Picts in and around 490AD, Ireland thereafter became known then as Scotia Major and Caledonia as Scotia Minor. In the bureaucratic world of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Leo X (1550) eventually granted Caledonia exclusive right over the word Scotland, and this led to Anglo-Scottish takeovers of continental Gaelic monasteries. (Benedict’s Fitzpatrick’s Ireland and the Foundations of Europe).

      According to Muirchu, who lived two centuries after Palladius, in the Book of Armagh it is said……. God hindered Palladius, and neither did those fierce and cruel men receive his doctrine readily, nor did he himself wish to spend time in a strange land, but returned to him who sent him

      I suggest that the original Christian Church in Ireland and henceforth its educational achievements, owes its foundations to the Egyptian desert fathers and not Rome.

      The link between the Irish Celtic Church and the monastic tradition of the Middle East is supported by a number of scholars, De Lacy states
      “The formation and development of monasticism did not take place in Alexandria which was Greek-speaking and participated in Greek culture, but amongst the native Coptic-speaking Christians of Egypt, which strictly denotes the Delta, and Thebais or Upper Egypt, the whole area watered by the Nile between Aswân and the Mediterranean coast. The formation of monasticism took place in two stages: first came the solitaries, some, but by no means all, of whom were hermits or ‘desert men’; then came the formation of coenobia or monastic communities, at first simply groups of disciples gathered round some well-known and revered teacher.…The monastic life of Egypt became famous throughout the whole Christian Church, and for a long time Egypt was regarded as the ‘Holy Land’ in preference to Palestine, because there could be seen the multitudes of saintly ascetes, and Christians came as pilgrims from all parts to see and hear them. Amongst these were St. Basil the Great, the founder of Greek monasticism, Hilarion, who introduced monasticism into Palestine, Rufinus and a Roman lady named Melania who spent six months in Egypt in 373. In due course monasticism spread abroad and was copied in other lands; indeed one of the most striking features in its history is the rapidity with which it developed and then spread. As the movement passed westward along the Mediterranean various settlements were founded in some of the islands, the most secluded places available where there were no deserts. One of these was founded about 400 at Lerins (St. Honorat) and became a great centre of monastic activity, sending out missionaries and founding monastic colonies in other lands. ………………. the presence of several Egyptian details in the Celtic Church of Ireland, for the monastery of Lerins was organized and conducted on Egyptian models. Thus it came about that the Irish Church was monastic rather than diocesan. There were a few diocesan bishops, but the ruling dignitaries of the Celtic Church in Ireland were abbots who kept a bishop in their monastery ready for use at ordinations and consecrations, but otherwise living as an ordinary monk. The old Celtic monasteries of Ireland did not resemble the medieval abbeys of England: like the Egyptian coenobia they were simply villages where the huts of the ascetes were gathered round a modest oratory used for the week-end Eucharist. There were no deserts in Ireland, but it was the fashion to call the place where a monastery stood a desert, and so we find the term ‘Disert’ or ‘Desert’ in many Irish place-names, as Disertmartin, Disert in Westmeath, Killadysert in Clare, and many others….In spite of its remoteness the Celtic Church of Ireland retained direct contact with the monasteries of Egypt. In the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris there is still preserved a guidebook for the use of Irish monks travelling to Egypt in order to visit the Fathers of the desert. As late as 1320 Simon FitzSimon and Hugh, Franciscans of Dublin, made the pilgrimage to Egypt and left us a record of their journey.”

      The nexus between the early Irish Church and the monastic tradition of the Middle East has also been noted by the Rev. John Stirton, in which he relates:
      “The illuminations of those splendid manuscripts the Book of Kells (seventh century), now in Dublin, and of the Gospels of Lindisfarne (seventh century) are all Eastern in character. In these, and in the Book of Deer, the figures of the Evangelists reflect the Eastern type, and the Egypto-Greek title o agios is attached to some of them. A Roman origin is impossible, because not a single Italian MSS can be produced, older than the ninth century, having a close resemblance to those of this country. The illuminations resemble Assyrian or Egyptian work. Much of the Celtic ornamentation is similar to that found in early Syriac, Egyptian, and Ethiopic MSS by a resemblance in the delineation of birds and animals to Egyptian fresco painting, in the manner of drawing the wings, in the conventional representations of eagles, lions, and calves, also in the swathed mummy-like figures of Christ. The theory of such an origin is facilitated by the early commercial intercourse which is known to have existed, and to which reference has been made, between this country and the East, and by the frequent expeditions recorded to have been made by early Christian pilgrims of the Irish Celtic Church to the Holy Land, and by the immigration of foreign ecclesiastics.”
      The Rev. John Stirton further says: “No church is known to have existed in Ireland before the Norman Conquest that can be called a basilica, none of them being divided into aisles either by stone or wooden pillars, or possessing an apse, and no circular church has yet been found; there is nothing, in short, that would lead us to believe that Ireland obtained her architecture direct from Rome. Everything, on the contrary, tends to confirm the belief of an intimate connection with the further East. In Greece and Ireland and in the Hebrides of Scotland the smallness of the churches is remarkable. They never were, in fact, basilicas for the assembly of large congregations of worshippers, but oratories, where the priest could celebrate the divine mysteries for the benefit of the laity. It is not only at Mount Athos, and other places in Europe, but also in Asia Minor, that we find the method of grouping a large number of small churches together, seven being the favourite number and one often attained. The circular domical dwellings—which are older than the churches, and which are, in the western islands, constructed of loose stones, in horizontal layers, approaching one another till they meet at the apex, like the old so-called treasuries of the Greeks, or the domes of the Jains in India—are also traceable to the East. Similar Christian architectural remains have been found in Cornwall, and in the remote Highlands and Islands of Scotland….The earliest type of monumental cross in Scotland (brought by the Gaels) is an Egyptian or Coptic wheel cross. It appears on several stones at Kirkmadrine in Wigtonshire, along with the Alpha and Omega….The Crux Ansata, the emblem of life in Egyptian hieroglyphics, is found on a stone at Nigg in Ross-shire, and on another at Ardboe, in Ireland. There are many symbols on the Celtic stones of Scotland and Ireland which are still unexplained….The Crescent, the Serpent, and the Elephant must all be Eastern in origin, and these are commonly met with on the Celtic symbol-bearing stones.”

      A possible ancient Egypto-Celtic connection is also indicated in Egyptian Belief and Modern Thought (1878) by James Bonwick, F.R.G.S., who states: “It is singular to find a white race spoken of in the ancient monuments. Dr. Brugsch, the learned German, notices the word Tam-hou or white men. As it occurs on tablets dating 2,500 years before Christ, it is puzzling to indicate the people. Brugsch traces them to Libya. Champollion recognized in the Tamh’ou a type of European ancestry. M. Deveria remarks upon hieroglyphics recording the fact of Horus, the god, leading and guiding a white race. As there are still many Celtic monuments in the north of Africa, over many hundreds of miles, he contends for the existence of an original Celtic people in Egypt, or, in modern language, that the Irish were once in Egypt.”
      One of the ways the Irish Monks sought to separate themselves from the Roman Monks was the shaving of the head. Irish monks shaved the front of the head to distinguish them from the Roman monks who shaved the head in the form of a corona. The Irish haircut was known as the Eastern or St. Paul tonsure.

    1. Don Jaide,
      A little further on the the Irish facets. It seems to me that Fomoire is probably best translated as “From the sea”. The more so given that the Fomoire are labelled as “Fomoire Affraic” (= F. from Africa). Fomoire kings are held by Irish legends to have ruled in Mag Mor (= Great Plain = Iberia) besides Ireland. When it is realised that Clyde Winters wrote that the African word of silla had/has a general meaning of road/route and taking on the meaning of Mons Silurus in southern Spain, Silura (now the Scilly Isles off Cornwall in southwest Britain/England and/or the island now called Grasholm off the Welsh coast). There are the people called the Siluresof south Wales who are described as curly-haired and swarthy by the Roman writer named Tacitus.
      Thus it seems that there are sources telling us that African-derived groups came via Iberia to west Britain plus west Ireland. There is more of this in my unposted articles that hopefully will be posted before end of 2013.

  3. thanks you all…i’va learned a lot on your different posts.

    Here are meanings of some words in wolof (bantu language of West Africa/senegal, Gambia..)…
    Dara= the place where religious studies are held under the guidance of spiritual leader
    Dooley= strengh/ indeed warriors have it
    Mag= the great/the elder

    We’re on a incredible journey 🙂

  4. At a slight tangent to the thread above – I had a powerful dream a while back, in which the Isle of Anglesy, (Inys Mon), between Cymru (Wales) and Ireland was a very significant place of spiritual power, there was something going on there that would affect many lives.

    I knew nothing at all about Anglesy, so I looked it up, and discovered that it was considered to be the cultural centre of ancient Britain, a centre of druidic power, and a holy island, the port nearest Ireland being called Holyhead. Not far across the sea on the Irish side is the Wexford coast, then known as the Sacred Coast. The Silurians (Silures) are said to be an ancient dark people and to have lived near Holy Island. the Roman Empire is believed to have invaded and destroyed this sacred centre just before the fall of Rome. I would love to know more about all of this.
    Thanks to Sinead for her careful research.

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