Brigit Prayer Beads

by Patricia Monaghan

Brides Mound, Glastonbury - photo, Paul Williment,
Bride's Mound, Glastonbury (photo: Paul Williment,

This was very kindly sent to us just a couple of days ago by Michael McDermott, Patricia Monaghan’s husband. He writes:

Brigit prayer beads were developed by my beloved wife and partner in all things for comfort while she was on her journey of hope and disappointment with cancer. She always upheld the importance of daily prayer and stressed the creativity and peace of craft work.  These led her to create these beads.  She felt it important to seek the goddess in her own Irish heritage and this is one result. We prayed with these refrains on the beads (even called them Brigit rosaries) daily and had profound love and hope as we spoke the words and let the connections sink in.  We took the beads to Kildare last year for the Brigid festival and felt great connections and gratitude.  May you find the same peace and grounding that we did when you use the prayers. Please credit Patricia if these are republished.

Michael McDermott

To make Brigit Prayer beads: put three units of three beads each, with divider beads between.  You may put any number of divider beads between individual beads; place a larger number between the units of three beads.  Place one large bead at the point you wish to indicate as the “beginning.”  When using, you can repeat each of the following prayers either three times each, or nine times (in the latter case you will go round the beads three times to complete).

(Iona Prayer)
Deep peace of the running wave to you
Deep peace of the flowing air to you
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you
Deep peace of the shining stars to you
Deep peace of Brigit to you(Brigit invocation)
Brigit, red-gold woman,
Brigit, flame and honeycomb,
Brigit, sun of womanhood,
Brigit, lead me home
You are a branch in blossom
You are a sheltering dome
You are my bright precious freedom
Brigit lead me home
(Brigit prayer)
O Brigit, Mary of the Gaels,
May your protection never fail
Spread your mantle over me
Where’ere I pass, where’ere I be,
Weather foul or weather fair
Keep me in your loving care
Until I rest, my journey o’er
In your heart for evermore.

(Shield of Brigit)
Every day, every night/That I praise the goddess
I know I shall be safe:/I shall not be chased,
I shall not be caught,/I shall not be harmed
Fire, sun and moon/Cannot burn me. Not
Lake nor stream nor sea/Can drown me.
Fairy Arrow cannot pierce me./I am safe, safe, safe,
Singing her praises.

For clarity – the first (Iona) prayer – goes with the larger bead and the other three with the three beads in each triad.

All translations and adaptations © Patricia Monaghan


Patricia Monaghan

Patricia Monaghan died in November 2012.  She had been professor of interdisciplinary studies at DePaul University and was a widely-published author, a winner of the Pushcart Prize and the Friends of Literature award for her work. She produced four books of poetry, including Dancing with Chaos (Salmon Poetry), a book that explores chaos theory through poetic images. Her most recent book of poetry is Homefront (Word Tech Editions), a book that explores the lasting impact of war on families of psychologically-wounded veterans.
She was a frequent collaborator with musicians who set her work to music, most recently folk composer Michael Smith, whose Celtic-inspired art-song settings of Patricia's poetry have been released on the CD, Songs of the Kerry Madwoman, while the Alaska a capella group the Derry Aires did a two-CD compilation of Patricia's poetry under the title, Seasons of the Witch.
In nonfiction, Patricia was an active scholar and author. She wrote two encyclopediae of mythology: The Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines (Greenwood Press) and The Encyclopedia of Celtic Myth and Folklore (Facts on File). Her most recent nonfiction book, The Red-Haired Girl from the Bog , explores ecology, myth and folklore in Ireland. She was also author of an introduction to goddess spirituality entitled The Goddess Path (Llewellyn Worldwide), a book of translations of classic goddess poetry (The Goddess Companion, Llewellyn Worldwide) and a book of goddess stories for girls (Wild Girls, Creatrix Press).
Patricia was also one of the founders of Black Earth Institute: connecting earth, spirit and society through the arts.

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