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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Imbolc

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

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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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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Bride's Breastplate

What follows is a modern prayer cast along traditional lines.

As a magical prayer of shielding and protection—hence the title—it could, of course, be made to any god or goddess.

But in this midwinter season, to Whom better should one make it than to Herself, Bride of Brides?

And even better it be, made thrice.

 

Bride's Breastplate

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
New Year New Moon

What do we need? What shall we seed?

Hindsight, foresight,  20/20 vision.

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Energy Clearing: Week 1—The Wyrd (Karma) of Used Things

Used things can be a boon or a bane. Often, it’s a bit of both.

Ritual purification was (and still is) a huge thing in many polytheist traditions, including Heathenry. For a few weeks, I’m going to focus on simple ways to examine the energy entering our lives and help keep it clean. For me, that’s a part of preparing for and welcoming the purifying aspects of Imbolc (Disablot/Tyr’s feast for some Heathens), prior Spring Equinox’s renewal.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Bride of Light

In Sweden, she comes on Old Solstice Day

But elsewhere in Witchdom, she comes in early February.

The Bride of Light.

Singing she comes. Crowned with candles and greenery she comes. Gowned and veiled in white she comes.

Before the Sun, she wakes us.

We rise, dress, and follow to where she leads us.

To breakfast.

And to sunrise.

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In the season of Imbolc, change can be scary. Especially since it's Women in Horror Month!

As we move past the Sabbat of Imbolc, we feel its energy of new beginnings. As we have learned from the recent events on the American political and social landscape, change can be both a wondrous and a terrifying thing. In either case, it galvanizes our sense of purpose and moves us down the path of our chosen desires. Whether we are promoting a change or resisting it, the energy of Imbolc calls us to action.

The bat is a wonderful totem for initiation and transformation. When these little Goth mascots come flitting out of their night time sanctuaries, they symbolize rebirth. Again, they symbolize both the beautiful and the frightening within the archetype of transformation. They tend to be stigmatized due to their habitat and their nocturnal ways. Since we associate them with creepy haunted houses and dreary caves, we see them as symbols of death. In reality, bats are important pollinators. Their control of insects like mosquitoes also protects us from disease. I will go into the bat in more detail in an upcoming issue (probably issue 92) of SageWoman. For now, let's suffice it to say that the bat is a really good representation of the scary side of change.

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