Thursday, February 2, 2012


Okay so i completely missed Imbolic this year, im sorry guys, ive been so stressed about some stuff and fighting sinus colds and truth be told those are more miserable than flues sometimes. Here's some random information i have had sitting around waiting to be used

Imbolc, The Spring Quarter Begins
By Grove Harris altered just a tad by me.
Whatever the ground hog does or doesn't do, we're half-way there. Early February marks the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. 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.
While still in the dark time, the inner focus can be brought on the year to come. We are poised in a reflective moment, at a time to set aim. Caitlin Matthews offers this Threshold Invocation for the Festival of Imbolc in her Celtic Devotional:
"Midwife of Mystery, open the door,
Infant of the Infinite, come you in.
Let there be welcome to the newborn truth,
Let there be welcome to the Spring of the Year.
In cold and darkness you are traveling,
In warmth and brightness you will arrive.
May the blessed time of Imbolc
Kindle the soul of all beings,
Bringing birth to innocence and integrity
From the depths to the heights,
From the heights to the depths,
In the heart of every soul."

The New Year is taking form. Now is the time to nurture intentions, to feed and fuel and retool according to those intentions. Are your tools ready at hand, and honed for the work ahead? What gets in the way of your fullest creative productivity? How can you minimize obstacles, both inner and outer? What help do you need? What simple joys fuel your work?
How can you make sure you dance enough to keep yourself happy and inspired in the seasons to come?
Dancers use a focal point, so that as they spin on the dance floor, they can stay oriented and not lose their balance or spin off in dizziness. Ritual at points on the wheel of the year can serve the same purpose.
This is a time of affirmation of connection with the divine, of asking for help to overcome fears, to keep on walking each step without turning aside. It is a time of forging simple aims and tools to cut through the excesses of our lives: the material clutter, the informational clutter, the clutter of excess demands, of websites and applications, of upgrades and learning curves, the clutter of excess stuff and excess wants, anything that gets in the way of hearing Spirit and acting on our own best intentions. Now is a great time to focus intention and check on our tools. Sharpening one's insight can help maintain one's aim in the months to come.
For many this holiday is dedicated to Brigid, the three fold Celtic Goddess of smith-craft, 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. For other still, there is a blending of both Brigid's powerful combination of attributes, and the closely connectedness with the cycles of the earth.
Surely, this is reason to celebrate.

Imbolc Customs & Lore
by Selena Fox
Other Festival Names:Candlemas, Oimlec, Brigid's Day, Groundhog's Day; merged with Lupercalia/Valentine's Day
Festival Dates: January 31, February 1, February 2, February 6, February 7.
Multicultural Parallels: Ground Hog's Day (USA); Aztec New Year; Chinese New Year; Roman Lupercalia; Valentine's Day (USA); Armenian Candlemas.
Flames: Sacred Fire
Torchlight processions circling fields to purify & invigorate for the coming growing season (old Pagan)
Lighting & blessing of candles (11th century, Christian)
Sacred fire of Brigid (Celtic Pagan)
Torchlight procession to honor Juno Februata/Regina (Pagan Rome; Christianized, 7th century)

Brigid:Celtic Goddess
Triple Aspects
Goddess of Inspiration - poets, poetry, creativity, prophecy, arts
Goddess of Smithcraft - blacksmiths, goldsmiths, household crafts
Goddess of Healing - healers, medicine, spiritual healing, fertility (crops, land, cattle)

Fire - flames, candle crown, hearth  
Water - cauldron, springs, wells
Grain - Brigid wheels, corn/oat sheaf Goddess effigy, Brigid's Bed
Creatures - white cow with red ears, wolf, snake, swan and vulture
Talismans - Shining Mirror to Otherworld, Spinning Wheel and Holy Grail

Name variations: Brighid; Bride (Scotland), Brid, Brigit, Bridget, Briganta (England), Brigan, Brigindo (Gaul), Berecyntia, Brigandu (France)
Name means Bright One, High One, Bright Arrow, Power.
Christianized forms: St. Brigit (Irish), St. Ffraid (Welsh), St. Bridget (Swedish), Queen of Heaven, Prophetess of Christ, Mary.
Pictish Pagan Roots
Bruide, the Pictish royal throne name, is said to derived from the Pagan Goddess Brigid. The Bruide name was given to each Pagan Pictish king who was viewed as the male manifestation of the spirit of the Goddess. The most sacred place of the Picts was Abernethy in Fife. It was dedicated to Brigid, in Pagan times, and to St. Brigid, in Christian times. Columban monks tended a Celtic abbey there and hereditary abbots were of the Earl of Fife branch of the Clan MacDuff, which survived to the present day as Clan Wemyss (Weems).
Irish Transitions and Traditions
When Ireland was Christianized, veneration of the Pagan Goddess Brigid was transformed into that of St. Brigit, said to be the human daughter of a Druid. St. Brigit became a saint after her "death" and was supposedly converted and baptized by St. Patrick. Pagan lore was incorporated into the Christian traditions and legends associated with Her as a saint. For example, as St. Brigit, She had the power to appoint bishops and they had to be goldsmiths. She was associated with miracles and fertility. Into the 18th century a women's only shrine was kept to her in Kildare (meaning Church of the Oak) in Ireland. There, nineteen nuns tended Her continually burning sacred flame. An ancient song was sung to Her: "Brigid, excellent woman, sudden flame, may the bright fiery sun take us to the lasting kingdom." Brigid/St. Brigit was said to be the inventor of whistling and of keening.
Blessing rushes/straw and making Brigid wheels
Putting out food and drink for Brigid on Her eve (such as buttered bread, milk, grains, seeds)
Chair by hearth decorated by women; young woman carries in first flowers & greens, candle.
Opening the door and welcoming Her into the home. "Bride! Come in, they bed is made! Preserve the House for the Triple Goddess!" Scottish Gaelic Invocation: "May Brigit give blessing to the house that is here; Brigit, the fair and tender,Her hue like the cotton-grass, Rich-tressed maiden of ringlets of gold."
Brigid's Bed (Scotland): Putting grain effigy and a phallic wand in a basket next to the hearth/candles at night and chanting three times: "Brigid is Come! Brigid is Welcome!"

Removing Yuletide greens from home & burning them (Celtic)
Cleaning up fields and home (old Roman, Februa "to cleanse" month)
Mary purification festival (Christian, Western church)
Burning old Brigid's wheels and making new ones (some parts of Ireland)
Placing Brigid's wheel above/on door to bless home (Celtic, Wiccan)

Signs of Spring: Ground Hog's Day
Seeds as a symbols of new life to come
First greens and flowers as offerings
Weather - bright or grey
Hibernating animals - groundhog, bear, badger

If Candlemas day be sunny and bright, Winter again will show its might.
If Candlemas day be cloudy and grey, Winter soon will pass away. (Fox version)
If Candlemas day be fair and bright, Winter will have another flight.
If       Candlemas day be shower and rain, Winter is gone and will not come again. (Traditional)

Spiritual Awakening: Spirit Within
Initiations - self, group (Dianic & Faery Wiccan); Christchild in temple (Christian, Eastern church)
Dedication - shrines, temples (contemporary Pagan)
Self blessing and spiritual dedication
Inner journey for Divine inspiration
Affirming the artist/innovator within; energizing creative work.

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