Do you really know why the beginning of Spring is celebrated? I wanted to share this lovely article by Sarah Jane Dennis, who writes regularly for Alchemical Voice. The article gives you a clearer meaning and insight into the Imbolc celebrations - perhaps you will be drawn to creating your own special celebrations!
As the wheel of the year turns again, we find ourselves at Imbolc: Pronounced: “EE-Molc” and celebrated on the 1st or 2nd of February, It is also known as Candlemas, or St Brigid's Day (pronounced BREED).
The words Imbolc or Oimelc means ewe’s milk, and it is one of the Celtic four quarter "Fire Festivals”, celebrating the seasonal rebirth of the Crone Goddess to her Maiden aspect Brigid as she brings in the first signs of spring stirring deep within the earth that has lain dormant over the winter months past and still yet to come. The Snowdrops and crocus start to push up from the frozen ground, and the welcome return of the Sun God brings with him the longer daylight hours.
This festival commemorates the successful passing of winter and the beginning of fertility, new life and the agricultural year.
The Celtic Goddess Brigid whose name is also spelt Bride, Brighde, Bridie, Bree-je and Brigit, was born the daughter of Goddess Danu: of the Tuatha Dé Danann. and chief of the Gods: The Dagda.
Brigid was and still is known as a Triple Goddess Maiden, Mother, Crone of great healing powers, fire, and the sacred wells with healing waters across the land, she was the patron of healers, poets, smiths, childbirth, children, inspiration, her name means "exalted one".
It is said that Bridget's flame was taken care of by nineteen virgin priestesses at her sacred altar in Kildare. And on every 20th day Bridget herself would be present to tend the sacred flame. In 1993 the Perpetual flame of Bridget was relit by Nun Mary Teresa Cullen, Leader of the Bridgine Sisters and in 2005 a sculpture was built in the town square of Kildare to house the flame which still burns today.
Some Imbolc activities I love to do, and you can create to celebrate this season are to make Bridie dolls, eyes, and crosses, imbuing them with all your hopes, dreams, good and happy memories as you sew or weave them.
Co-create ceremonies in honour of Bridie, welcoming her into your homes, speaking poetry to her. Go to her sacred places and pour libations of ewe’s milk, offering prayers of healing for ourselves and our families. Bake some Blessed Bride's Cake, a Honey Cake, or some Imbolc Moon Cookies to share with family and friends.
London has a church dedicated to Brigid which has a sacred well, however it has since been covered up and is under the foundations of the church itself now, but worth a visit if you are in the area.
It is also a good time for initiations, be they into new groups or communities, activities, or self-initiations.
Tune in to the energies of Imbolc, that of rebirth and renewal, and take time to think and dream of the new projects and activities you want to achieve and grow.
Imbolc holds the energies of excitement, innocence, inspiration, hope, fresh starts, and healing anything from childhood, embracing your inner child by doing or remembering the joyful and happy things of your childhood.
Article written by Sarah Jane Dennis ACHO, RP, ACCRT and featured in Jan/Feb 2022 edition of Alchemical Voice.
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