Airmed – Healer, warrior, wench
Airmed – also spelled Airmid
Pronunciation: AIR em ed
She is the premiere herbalist among the Tuatha Dé Danann and was also known as a banliaig which means female physician. She is the daughter of Dían Cécht the physician and sister to Míach, who learned his father’s trade and eventually surpassed him in skill, and was killed by his father in a fit of jealousy because of that.
Here’s the relevant passages from the Cath Maige Tuired – The Second Battle of Mag Tuired (Moytura)
Now Núadu was being treated, and Dían Cécht put a silver hand
on him which had the movement of any other hand.
But his son Míach did not like that. He went to the hand and said
‘joint to joint of it, and sinew to sinew’;
and he healed it in nine days and nights.
The first three days he carried it against his side,
and it became covered with skin.
The second three days he carried it against his chest.
The third three days he would cast white wisps of black bulrushes
after they had been blackened in a fire.
Dían Cécht did not like that cure.
He hurled a sword at the crown of his son’s head
and cut his skin to the flesh.
The young man healed it by means of his skill.
He struck him again and cut his flesh until he reached the bone.
The young man healed it by the same means.
He struck the third blow and reached the membrane of his brain.
The young man healed this too by the same means.
Then he struck the fourth blow and cut out the brain,
so that Míach died; and Dían Cécht said
that no physician could heal him of that blow.
After that, Míach was buried by Dían Cécht,
and three hundred and sixty-five herbs grew through the grave,
corresponding to the number of his joints and sinews.
Then Airmed spread her cloak and uprooted those herbs
according to their properties.
Dían Cécht came to her and mixed the herbs,
so that no one knows their proper healing qualities
unless the Holy Spirit taught them afterwards.
And Dían Cécht said, ‘Though Míach no longer lives,
Airmed shall remain.’
From the Cath Maige Tuired,
translation by Elizabeth A. Gray
So, while we might have had the proper herbs to heal everything from colds to cancer to even death itself, the continuing jealousy of her father over his son’s greater ability in healing caused the loss of the full knowledge of the herbs. But she remembers, so that when we have need we can call on her for healing.
So what does she mean to/do for me? Especially since the two I work with most often and have as my guides/co-workers are Brighid and Oghma?
Well, I have studied herbs in the past, I go for natural remedies as much as possible so there is a connection with her. I do have a small place for her off my main altar, and we ‘talk’ occasionally, mainly when a friend or even I have a health issue.
Yes, Brighid is a patroness of healing as well, but I see her more as the mental/emotional healing one, where as Airmed deals with the physical.
The Tuatha Dé Danann aren’t one faceted though, like some people would believe. Airmed is a warrior as well, and if you tic her off, beware of either the sword in her hand, or the tincture she deposits in your drink.
My workings with her have also shown me that unlike flower/herb members of other pantheons, she’s quite the wench as well. Equally likely to down pints with you, drag you to her bed or both.
No, I’ve never experienced the second, though we have downed pints together.
My physical offerings to her have included herbs, flowers and/or mead.
My small place for her contains an antique apothecary jar usually filled with Lavender, a mortar and pestle set and an image that fits with my view of her. (click on pic for larger view)
She can be comforting, protective, instructive and fun. All depends on what you need/ask for and how nicely you approach her.