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SageWoman Blogs

At SageWoman magazine, we believe that you are the Goddess, and we're devoted to celebrating your journey. We invite you to subscribe today and join our circle...

Here in the SageWoman section of PaganSquare, our bloggers represent the multi-faceted expressions of the Goddess, feminist, and women's spirituality movements.

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Invocation

I stand in the center of the wheel, Goddess, and I ask for your guidance, your essence, and your blessings.

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Over the years, I've developed an organic way of reading. Rather than use the Celtic Cross, I now do three card spreads that are meant to develop outward from the question. That's a bit awkward. Let me explain.

Say you ask me, "What do I need to know about February 2018?" I would draw three cards. The first would be the Theme card. This is the energy that is going to resonate with you in February. Going further, I drew a card so we could have a reading to look at.

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Lemons Delight for Winter Doldrums

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Imbolc - Welcoming Brighid, welcoming Spring

The word Imbolc stems from the older Celtic Oimelc, which means "of  milk" or "in the belly". Traditionally it was a time when the ewes from the sheep flocks began to lactate, having just given birth. This was an incredibly important time for our ancestors, as the winter's stores would be running low and the fresh milk available would provide nourishment and sustenance to get people through until the first crops began to appear. Fresh butter, cream and cheeses could be made to supplement the restrictive winter diet. Imbolc occurs around the beginning of February, if we are working with the traditional gestation period of the ewes. Nowadays, farmers have the sheep give birth at times that are more convenient; for example, a few villages over, one farmer has his lambing season during the Christmas holidays, as that's when he and the rest of his family are home and can help out.

If we are following the calendar, the dates for Imbolc are 31st January to 1st February. As the Celtic day began at sunset, we start the night before. Imbolc is often confused with the Christian holy day of Candlemas, which occurs on 2nd February. No doubt this was intentional, in order to compete with the beloved Pagan celebration of the lambing season and Spring.

Imbolc is a holiday that is dedicated to the goddess Brighid. She is so entwined with the season and the time, that most traditions honour her in some way during this festival. She is the goddess of poetry, smithcraft and healing, and is also often seen as a goddess of Spring. She is the sacred waters of the wells and springs, and the sacred flame tended first by nineteen priestesses, and then later by nineteen nuns dedicated to her in the guise of St Brighid. In Wales, Brighid is known as Braint, and is connected to the river Afon Braint which floods around this time every year. [1] The name, Brighid, has been adapted all over Britain and Europe, and indeed Britain is named after her, in the form of Briganti (Romanised to Brigantia). There are also myths that link the goddess Brig with the Spring in the form of the maiden, who alternates with the winter goddess the Cailleach. At Imbolc, the Cailleach drinks from a sacred stream, or makes her way to the seashore before dawn, and there transforms into the young maiden, Brigid. Other myths tell of Brigid immersing a white wand into the mouth of winter, which awakens the earth and brings in the thaw.[2] Brighid's name might also come from the Gaelic Breo-Saighead, which means "fiery arrow", and many modern-day devotees of Brighid see this as her aspect in the flow of awen, the fire in the head of the poet and artist as well as the returning light of Spring. For those who celebrate Imbolc by the signs in the vegetation, it is when the first snowdrops appear, pale white and green against the stark greyness of winter.

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Some Musings on Growth

I have sat down many times in the last six weeks to write but never quite got there.  My last post was between Samhain and Winter Solstice, and now it is fast approaching Imbolc/Brigid.  It could be the way the cancer itself makes me tired, or the treatment that makes me even more tired, or the morphine I’m using for pain management that just makes me blissfully unaware of the passing of time. I am sleeping 12-14 hours a day, sleeping is healing. Somehow it is fitting that my body is paralleling the experience of the land Herself here in the Northern Hemisphere, after all between Samhain and Imbolc is time for quiet, for darkness, for the death of what grew last year being composted and metabolized so that new growth can happen as we move toward Spring.  

 

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