The Goddess Brigid and the Star Tarot Card
Messages of Hope and Resilience
The goddess Brigid—widely celebrated on February 1st—and the Star tarot card have much in common. Explore how these two figures represent resilience after collapse.
The Star tarot card is a beautiful, calm, and hopeful image. In the classic Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot deck, the card shows a naked woman kneeling by a body of water, surrounded by lush green rolling hills, with one large star and several smaller stars shining above her. She is typically holding two jugs of water, pouring one onto the ground and the other back into the water.
Numerically in the tarot, the Star follows the Tower (a card indicating serious collapse), indicating the hope and rebirth that can happen after trauma or destruction. It is also associated with the astrological sign of Aquarius, which lands between January 20 and February 18, the transitional time between deep winter and early spring.
The Star and the Goddess Brigid
Brigid is an ancient Celtic goddess who is honored and remembered on her feast day, Imbolc, on February 1, right in the middle of Aquarius season and roughly halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. (Read more about Imbolc here.)
Brigid is a goddess of the hearth, fertility, blacksmithing, poetry, domesticated animals, and early spring fire. She is often depicted with green eyes and red hair, a candle or a bowl of fire, a chalice (or two) reminiscent of the Star’s jugs, and green rolling hills behind her—a very similar scene to that of the Star.
Brigid represents resilience after difficulty, and the fire of inspiration, conception, and survival. She reassures us that the Wheel of the Year continues to turn, that the heaviness and darkness of the winter will not last forever, and that spring’s rebirth always follows the apparent death of winter.
The Star, Brigid, and Rebirth
Rebirth is very much the archetypal life event represented by the Star tarot card. It is a reminder of hope and healing after devastation, loss, or trauma. The Tower card, which immediately precedes the Star, represents a moment when the stabilizing structures of our lives get taken down. It can feel devastating in the moment, but it’s always an opportunity for growth, healing, and letting go of what no longer serves you. The Star is a soothing reminder that you’ll get through this, and that new life will, indeed, come through this loss.
The goddess Brigid’s story also reflects this pattern of loss and rebirth. When the Christians arrived in Ireland, they intended to convert the people away from local gods and goddesses and toward the one Christian god. They were majorly successful, but Brigid was so beloved that scholars now believe the Irish wouldn’t have converted without some way to keep worshiping her. Enter Saint Brigid of Kildare, a likely Christian continuation of the goddess Brigid.
It’s unlikely that Saint Brigid was a real person, as she only shows up in historical records after Ireland’s conversion. Further, the two Brigids share more than their name. The pagan goddess Brigid is said to have been born at sunrise and drank the milk of the cow of the spirit world, who provided her with magical powers. The Christian Saint Brigid couldn’t drink breast milk as a baby, so a white cow with red ears appeared to nourish her.
While the goddess Brigid has magical powers, Saint Brigid performed miracles, and could calm the wind and rain (an appropriate skill for someone associated with the springtime). She could create food and clean water from thin air through prayer. She could even turn water into beer. Saint Brigid died on February 1st, which is also the feast day of the goddess Brigid, so they could be celebrated, essentially, on the same day.
The Star and Brigid as Representations of Resilience
The energy of the Star tarot card, the goddess Brigid, and Saint Brigid all represent resilience, inner power, faith, and trust that rebirth can happen after apparent death. Even the goddess herself found a way to survive as a Christian saint for thousands of years before being remembered as a goddess again in the modern era.
On February 1, let’s remember the messages of the Star and Brigid. Take courage: the energy of spring is coming, even if you can’t quite feel it yet. Remember the fire burning in your own heart, and let it show you the way forward.
Read more about the spiritual meaning of Imbolc.