Imbolc

By LaVonne (LaVonne) on February 2, 2011

Half way through Winter so get ready for Spring

  

IMBOLC

Aka Bridget’s Day, Candlemas

February 3, 2011 

2011-02-01/LaVonne/6811ab


Spring, that glorious season of renewal, is starting now according to Pagan tradition. Despite the Northern Hemisphere's snow and cold, Pagans celebrate Imbolc and the returning light. Imbolc is a time to consider intentions and tools; it is a time to clarify aim and dedicate one's self for the coming year. Now is the time to consider spring cleaning, to let go of clutter of the physical and mental varieties, and to prepare for the season of growth. Spring cleaning is better done before the warmth of a fresh spring breeze calls us outside.

For many this holiday is dedicated to Brigid, the three fold Celtic Goddess of smithcraft, poetry and healing. Hers is a complex and powerful combination of attributes -- the forging of tools, the insight of poetry and the ability to render whole and holy that which has been hurt. Many dedicate themselves to Her each year, both giving and receiving in relationship throughout the year. Offerings are left at Her wells across Ireland, considered to be sources of healing and portals to spiritual realms. Chants are offered to Her: We are shaped in your fire, and cooled in your waters ... Brigid, Brigid we call your name.

For some, this holiday is most closely connected with the agricultural cycle, with the early birthing of lambs and the ewe's milk, and with the planting decisions to be made now, well in advance of the warmer days to come. We can nurture the seeds of intention for the coming year. Letting go and focusing, cleansing and clarifying, are most appropriate activities for this cold part of the spring quarter. Every day is longer, offering more sunlight and the promise of greater warmth to come. Surely, this is reason to celebrate.

Imbolc is an ancient festival, Celtic in origin, and considered one of the greater Wiccan sabbats.  It is celebrated on the night of February 3rd in the northern hemisphere. 

Fertility, of course, plays a part here.  The frozen earth is incapable of growing things, just as the old crone has grown incapable of producing offspring.  This barrenness is replaced by the warm return of Spring, making the earth once again fertile, symbolized by the fertile young maiden.

How to Celebrate Imbolc

Since this is a celebration of the returning of the sun, decorate your altar with a ring of white candles, the first greens of spring or a vase of red flowers (roses or carnations would be good).  Invite friends, go for a walk and see how much you can find of the showings of Spring beginning, make a potpourri and set it around the living room, bed room and even in the kitchen.

An evening feast is in order, since Imbolc represents a return to liveliness and all the bounties of Nature.  Americans might best grasp the concept of Imbolc by thinking of it as a Thanksgiving celebration for what is about to happen.  Celebrants can be happy feasting, knowing that winter is passing and that food will once again be growing and plentiful.  The feast begins with a short prayer, or toast:

Blessed be the earth, and all who dwell upon it.
We give thanks for the season now departing from us,
For the blessings it has bestowed upon us,
And upon those with whom we share this world.

 Blessed be the new season.
We pray that it will be a time filled with peace,
With abundance, with prosperity,
With wisdom,
With love.

Blessed be all who share this feast.
Let us now prepare for the time ahead
By opening our hearts, and our minds, and our spirits.

Blessed be.


Imbolc Menu 

The table should be set with white candles.  Since ewes begin lactating at around the time of Imbolc in many locations in the northern hemisphere, the sabbat is connected with ewe's milk.  For this reason, some sort of dairy product - cheese, for example - should be included in the feast.  Other than that, there are no specific food requirements, except that food should be plentiful!  Something green and fresh, such as a salad, would indicate the coming of spring, but since winter is yet with us, the main fare should be hearty, served with a nice, crusty bread.  Mead, ale, spiced wine or non-alcoholic equivalents would all be appropriate beverages. 

Who was the mythological Bridget?  Bridget is the Daughter of the Dagda, one of the more universal deities of the pagan Gaelic world and one of the Tuatha Dé Danann. She is known as the Goddess of Healers, Poets, Smiths, Childbirth and Inspiration; Goddess of Fire and Hearth and a patron of warfare or Briga. Her soldiers were called Brigands. Her name means "Exalted One." She is also known as Brigantia, Brid, Bride, Briginda, Brigdu, and Brigit. She is said to lean over every cradle. The lore and customs have continued to this day regarding Brighid, more vividly than all the other Gaelic deities combined.

Sources for this article:

http://www.godchecker.com/pantheon/celtic-mythology.php?deity=BRIGIT

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/grove-harris/imbolc-2011-the-spring-qu_b_816566.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brigid

http://inanna.virtualave.net/brighid.html

http://www.worldspirituality.org/imbolc.html

I hope you enjoy this article

La Vonne

Related articles:
Feb., festival, Imbolc

About LaVonne
I am still learning who LaVonne/Dorothy is.

Statistically I am a 65 y/young mother of 3, grandmother of 9, and great-grandmother of 3. I am a High Priestess and founder of the College of the Boundless Truth, am an Ordained Minister and perform Handfastings, marriages during the Spring and Summer season. I am enjoying my Crone years.

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Comments and discussion:
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LaVonne/Dorothy AlohaHoya Feb 7, 2011 9:53 AM 7

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