Statue of Saint Gobnait at Ballyvourney
standing on top of a hive
with bees all around it
|Gobnait written in a Gaelic typeface|
Gobnait, (pronounced GAWB-net) was a female saint of medieval Ireland. Her church was Móin Mór, now Bairnech, in the village of Baile Bhuirne (Ballyvourney), County Cork.
Here is an article about Gobnait: Woman of the Bees by Siofra Geoghegan.
One story tells how she kept the plague out of Ballyvourney by designating it consecrated ground. She had a strong relationship with bees and used the properties of honey in the treatment of illness and healing of wounds. Her name is the Irish equivalent of the Hebrew name Deborah, which means "Honey Bee." The Bees have long been important in Irish society and were part of the ancient laws called the Bech Bretha (Bee Judgments). In prehistoric times the soul was thought to leave the body as an insect, either a bee or a butterfly.
Gobnait was born in County Clare in the 6th century. Fleeing from Clare, she took refuge in the Aran Islands, where she encountered an angel who instructed her to go on a journey. The angel told her that when she came upon nine white deer, that would be her place. Read more... at MatriFocus, Cross-Quarterly for the Goddess Woman