Breath of Life: The Triple Flame of Brigid

by Kathryn Price NicDhàna and Treasa Ní Chonchobhair

Gaol Naofa is proud to present our stance on the practice of flametending and Brigid’s threefold-flame. It’s been a bit of a challenge to write about this, as some of our reasons for our traditions are more private and not something we want to post on the Internet. However, as there are many people out there arguing against tradition, and we heard they were going to be publishing, we made the choice to discuss this. We have only used liturgy that is in the public domain, not the private or women-only liturgy we use.

In our FAQ we mention the struggle around whether to participate in a project with questionable material, and whether it’s worth it to be in that company to provide an alternative voice. We had to face that issue with this piece. We wrote it in summer 2012 for an anthology, and the editors accepted it for publication and sent us the contracts.

Then we did some research into the backgrounds of one of the editors… and found she was involved in some pretty offensive cultural appropriation, namely, stealing songs and stories from Native Americans and misrepresenting them; some pretty serious misappropriation has been going on due to her writings. So we realised we could not be associated with that, and elected to publish one version on our website, with a more thoroughly footnoted and expanded version to come later.

One of the reasons there aren’t as many footnotes in this piece is that the editors of the anthology didn’t want footnotes. We will fix that in the future. Though we are kind of dreading what will appear in a book edited by appropriators and exploiters, we are grateful that the project inspired us to write this piece. So, silver lining and all :)

Breath of Life: The Triple Flame of Brigid is copyright ©2013 Kathryn Price NicDhàna and Treasa Ní Chonchobhair. All Rights Reserved.