:: A Celtic Goddess of medicinal plants. It is said, from her tears all the healing herbs of the world sprung from the earth. A devotee of plant medicine, She is a wildcrafting Goddess of the Forest, inspiring the wildness within ::
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Airmid is an herbal healer, part of a family of healers among the Tuatha de Danann, one of the groups of Gods and Goddesses of Pagan Ireland. Together with her father Dian Cecht and her brother Miach, a God of surgery, she tended a sacred spring that brought the dead back to life.
As a healer, Airmid surpassed her father in power, for while Dian Cecht replaced the severed arm of the de Danann king Nuadha with one of silver, she and Miach regenerated the flesh arm to perfect health. The healing charm they recited remains in Celtic folk use even today.
“Bone to bone
Vein to vein
Balm to Balm
Sap to Sap
Skin to skin
Tissue to tissue
Blood to blood
Flesh to flesh
Sinew to sinew
Marrow to marrow
Pith to pith
Fat to fat
Membrane to membrane
Fibre to fibre
Moisture to moisture” (2)
As the origin of the charm was lost from memory, so the secret of the healing herbs was lost to the people as well. Dian Cecht, jealous because he could not compete with Miach’s surgical skills or Airmid’s powers of regeneration, killed his son and confused the herbs that grew from his grave so that mortal humans would not share in the power and immortality of the Gods.
After that, Miach was buried by Dian Cecht, and three hundred and sixty-five herbs grew through the grave, corresponding to the number of his joints and sinews. Then Airmid spread her cloak and uprooted those herbs according to their properties. Dian Cecht came to her and mixed the herbs, so that no one knows their proper healing qualities unless [she] taught them afterwards. And Dian Cecht said “Though Miach no longer lives, Airmid shall remain” (3).
Through our work in ritual with Airmid, we can strive to fulfill these conditions. In devotion to her, we can work to heal ourselves, and through the knowledge of her herbs, those close to us as well. Through our gardens and our devotion to the green world of plants, we can move the circle outward and work to heal our planet.
2. Carmina Gadelica, volume IV, pp. 215-217, Alexander Carmichael, Scottish Academic Press, Edinburgh 1970
3. Cath Maige Tuired: The Second Battle of Mag Tuired, p. 33, ed. Elizabeth A. Gray, Irish Texts Society, Naas 1982