Blessed Imbolc Feb 1, 2007 16:52:14 GMT -5
Post by msraye on Feb 1, 2007 16:52:14 GMT -5
A Bit Of History[/u]
This cross quarter holiday and Greater Sabbat is celebrated by most Pagan traditions on February 2, although some groups celebrate on February Eve. It marks the center point of the dark half of the year and is the festival of the Maiden because from this day to March 21st, it is her season and a time for the earth to prepare for growth and renewal.
From Samhain to Bride (pronounced BREED) the Celts observed a time called "the period of the little sun". In old Scotland, the month fell in the middle of the period known as Faoilleach, the Wolf-month; it was also known as a' marbh mhiòs, the Dead-month. In Scotland, the Old Woman of winter, the Cailleach, is reborn as Bride, Young Maiden of Spring, fragile yet growing stronger each day as the sun rekindles its fire, turning scarcity into abundance.
Although our Mother Earth rests at this time and her stirrings are still hidden from us there is life nonetheless. At Imbolg the long winter is almost behind us, The coldest times have been experienced and survived and now the days are becoming longer. The earth is coming alive and once again, it is time to begin anew. This is the time for banishing winter and preparing for the coming spring.
On this day we celebrate the return of light, new beginnings, fertility of the land which is shown to us in things such as the the swelling of buds on bare branches and in many places the first Crocus and snow drops flower, springing forth brightly from the frozen earth.. We also celebrate agricultural fertility as evidenced by the livestock birthing new babes, the engorgement of udders and the planning and preparation for the coming planting times. For this reason many people chose this day to bless seeds and consecrate agricultural tools.
It is also felt by many traditions that the eve of Imbolc is the best time of the year to perform divinations specifically pertaining to the future welfare and prosperity of your family. While New Year's resolutions are often about letting go of habits or things that you no longer want, Imbolc is the time for taking the first active steps toward what it is you want to draw into your life-a time of new beginnings.
On this day, Christians celebrate Candlemas, blessing all church candles for the coming year. Catholics observe the feast day of St. Blaze and share in the blessing of the throats with candles and fire.
This sabbat is sacred to Brigit whose name means "The Exalted One," queen and mother goddess of many European tribes. She is also known as Brigid, Bridget, Brighid, Brighde, Brig or Bride and some scholars consider her name originated with the Vedic Sanskrit word brihati, an epithet of the divine.
She is Goddess of inspiration, dying, weaving, brewing, poetry, wisdom, healing, fertility, midwifery, reflection, meditation, lore, research, great knowledge, intelligence, understanding and smithwork who, in later times, became revered as a Christian saint. She is closely connected with livestock and domesticated animals. She had two oxen called Fea and Feimhean who gave their names to a plain in Co. Carlow and one in Tipperary.
She was also the guardian of Torc Triath, king of the wild boar, who gave his name to Treithirne, a plain in West Tipperary. These three totem animals used to raise a warning cry if Ireland was in danger. It is also said that Brighid's snake emerges from the womb of the Earth Mother to test the weather, and this is thought to be the origin of Ground Hog Day.
Brighid, the Celtic goddess of fire, healing, and poetry is considered the patron Goddess of Imbolc. Read up on her as a Celtic goddess and as her later incarnation, St. Brigit.
A Few Rituals
Blessing of seeds for this year's garden
Fertility and purification
Ritually cleanse your home and start your "spring" cleaning
"Bride's Bed" ritualsto ensure fertility of mind and spirit (and body, if desired)
Home hearth fires are put out and re-lit, and a besom is place by the front door to symbolize sweeping out the old and welcoming the new
Consecration of agricultural tools
All Virgin and Maiden Goddesses are honored at this time
Snow Hiking and Searching for Signs of Spring
Making of Brideo'gas and Bride's Beds (corn dollies to represent the maiden)
Weave "Brigit's crosses" from straw or wheat to hang around the house for protection
Making Priapic Wands
Rituals of initiation, transformation, new beginnings
Perform rites of spiritual cleansing and purification
Play a candle game where the men stand in forming a circle whole passing a candle quickly and the women stand on the outside of the circle trying to blow out the flame. The one who succeeds gets to claim a kiss.
Activities For Children:
Meditate as a family. Have everyone explore what it would feel like to be a seed deep in the Earth, feeling the first stirrings of life. Lie on the floor and put out tendrils. Stretch and bloom.
Help your kids go through all their clothes, toys, and books to find the unwanted and outgrown items. Donate everything to a charity that will give the items to children who need them.
Go for a walk. Search for signs of spring. Take off your shoes and socks and squish your toes in the mud!
Lead the family on a parade around the outside of your home, banging on pots and pans or playing musical instruments to awaken the spirits of the land.
Have your children hold some herb seeds in their hands. Talk to the seeds. Bless them with growth and happiness. Fill them with love. Plant an in-door herb garden.
White, Orange, Red, Yellow
Plough, garden implements
Angelica, Basil, Bay Laurel, Blackberry, Celandine, Coltsfoot, Heather, Iris, Myrrh, Snowdrop, Tansy, Violets, First Flower of the Year
Amethyst, Bloodstone, Garnet, Ruby, Onyx, Turquoise
Symbols & Decorations:
Candles, Lamps, Brooms, Yellow flowers, Brighid's Crosses, Priapic Wands (acorn-tipped), dish of snow, evergreens
All dairy products, curries, onions, chives, seeds, herbal tea, mutton or lamb, Poppyseed Cakes, muffins, scones, and breads, onions, garlic, raisins, spiced wines
For More Information: