A Heritage of Kata

June 18, 2021

The Seven Nations



Kata was an essential energy for all early people. Fire stories, myths, and legends are ubiquitous in the history and heritage of every world culture. Many cultures honored the Sun as a major deity. Ireland is not among them yet the Fire Nation was a major influence in their cosmology and daily life.

Holding the energy of transformation, the forge is one of the Goddess Brigid’s, or Brigit’s, primary symbols and when Catholic influences arrived this was so deeply embedded in the psyche of the Irish people that the church simply made her a saint and the patron saint of blacksmiths. Historically, blacksmiths in Ireland held a revered position in the community as their alchemy was a sacred mystery. The flame is another of Brigid’s symbols, signifying the fire of inspiration manifest through poetry and writing. 

A sacred fire had burned in Kildare reaching back into pre-Christian times when priestesses gathered on the hill of Kildare to tend their ritual fires while invoking the goddess Brigid. When St. Brigid founded her Kildare monastery in 480 AD she continued the custom of keeping the sacred flame alight. Tended by the monastic sisterhood, it burned perpetually until the sixteenth century. It was relit in 1993 the Brigidine Sisters who keep it burning to this day.

The early Irish people celebrated their major festivals with fire. Most notable of these is Bealtaine on the Hill of Uisneach, the ancient sacred site at the geographical center of Ireland. Beal means bright or brilliant, taine comes from the Irish word for fire. It is a festival of protection, purification, and healing. Before the festival, all household fires would have been extinguished to be relit with embers carried home from the Bealtaine fire.

Although the Irish didn’t worship a Sun god, the Sun, along with the Stars and Moon, were fundamental to their most sacred sites and ceremonies. Newgrange, Knowth, and other megalithic monuments feature carvings of celestial movements and are aligned with these celestial energies. We are only now beginning to understand the depth of these cosmic relationships.

Granted. For those familiar with Ireland’s heritage and mythology, this is just a passing glance at the Irish relationship with Kata. Perhaps not even that. It is a rich and deeply rooted heritage of fire and I encourage further exploration. Yet this is but one heritage of Kata. That there are so many others, so many myths and legends, speaks to the fundamental and global importance and power of this amazing force of life and for life.

Judith – judith@stonefires.com