St Bridgetor BRIDE

Milk-yielding plants like the DANDELION, which, though in bloom virtually throughout the year, has its great burst of colour in spring, so it is naturally an associate of the spring goddess, Brigid, sanctified as St Bridget, or Bride. It was a logical connection; as a cowherd in one of her aspects, she would be associated with cattle, and so with flowers like the dandelion, yielding a milky juice which was believed to nourish the young lambs in spring (E E Evans). It is said in the Scottish Highlands that "the plant", i.e., the dandelion, "nourishes with its milk the early lamb" (F M McNeill). The flower is one of the three insignia of Bride, the other two being the lamb and the bird called the oyster catcher (Urlin). Its names in Gaelic are: "Bearnon Bride", the little notched flower of Bride (F M McNeill), "The little flame of God", and "St Bride's forerunner". St Bride of the shores wears it at her breast, and the sunlight is said to follow.

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