Celebrate Imbolc with the Goddess
“In the wisdom teachings of the Divine Feminine, there are certain earth cycles, which open a gateway between the higher planes of existence and the earth plane. These moments of enhanced connection allow us to view the rhythm and timing of the goddess in her form as mother nature.
We are experiencing one of these magical moments this week, marked as the mid-way point of the season of Winter around February 2nd. This celebration is most popularly known by the Celtic reference of Imbolc. Imbolc, a gaelic word, means in-milk, derived from the gaelic pronunciation ‘oimelc’, meaning ewe’s milk.
While Imbolc is the most well known celebration of this holiday, its origins stem from a powerful universal wisdom teaching known as – ‘As Within, So Without’.
During the barren frozen winter days of early February in western Europe, the celebration of Imbolc was a symbol of hope and represented the good things to come. When surveying the landscape (without), everything appeared bleak, and lifeless yet (within) the dairy animals, hints of Spring were returning as the animals began to lactate and milk began to flow again.
There is a Goddess assigned to this quickening and universally she symbolizes the seeds of life planted (within) the earth and within each person and how when nurtured and cared for, they blossom (without) producing the life affirming milk and awakening of life and hope.
In the Celtic celebration, the Goddess is known as Brigid, also spelled as Brighid. Brigid is revered as the Goddess of healing, writing and prosperity. As a solar goddess, she represents the fire and light that burns within each living being and how when cared for, this eternal light creates inner healing, restores vital energy and stirs life within. She is also represented in the phases of the Goddess as the maiden and the bride. Wise women around the world work with this goddess energy, helping others to launch new projects and beginnings, to stimulate powerful healing energies within the body and perform weddings, as this is the most advantageous day of the year to be married.
Brigid is referred to as the bride, which in modern times is recognized in the form of a young woman being joined in matrimony. This is but one derivative of the wisdom teaching and rituals. The Goddess Brigid is recognized as one of the Queens of Heaven who is being transmuted during this time and reborn. The Wise Woman of Winter, who has journeyed deep within herself during the darkest days of winter, is now ready to emerge and be reborn as the Young Maiden. This maiden carries the hope and promise of new life along with the wisdom and discernment of the wise women, giving herself the gift of intuition, healing, abundance and love. She is a bride of the light, participating in her own unification of this energy in a marriage ceremony of the heart and mind.
Would you like to connect with this energy and connect with the loving energy of the light without and stir this energy within your heart and mind?
Seven Sacred Ways to Connect with the Energy of Imbolc and the Goddess:
1. On February 2nd, light candles and lamps in the home to welcome the return of the Light. Yellow, white and orange candles are the best colors to use. As you light each candle, focus your energy with the flame and ask that the light burn clear and bright, bringing clarity to the home, burning off any residual gloom or negative energy within the home.
2. White flowers symbolize the purity within and the promise of blooming to come. Place a beautiful bouquet in the heart area of your home and breathe deeply into the flowers, allowing their essence and fragrance to be experienced by all of your senses.
3. Reminiscent of the milk flowing, sharing dairy products is abundant, the most popular choice being milk chocolate. Hot chocolate warms the body and when stirring the chocolate, imbibe the mix with loving thoughts and warmth.
4. Place a silk ribbon or piece of fabric on a window sill, often referred to as Brighid’s Mantle. It is said overnight, it will be blessed with the healing, intuitive and abundant energy flowing at this time. Use this fabric to wrap your deck of tarot cards, to wrap herbs in or create a special pouch to hold treasured items.
5. Leave an offering outdoors of bread for birds and other small creatures who may be having a difficult time finding sustenance in the barren landscape. While outdoors in the cold, give thanks to the beauty surrounding you. Stand with your feet firmly grounded to the earth and raise your arms in the air, bring the light from above around you and allow it to flow deep within you.
6. Gather the seeds that you will be planting in your Spring garden. Hold your hands over the seeds and ask for the energy of the Goddess within to bless the seeds and nurture them. Take a small quartz crystal and charge this crystal with the same intention. When planting these seeds in the spring, plant the quartz crystal into the earth next to the seeds.
7. Reflect on the seeds of thought you planted in the Fall within yourself and the goals you are affirming in this new year. Ask for the quickening of the seeds within you, that they may blossom and grow. Take a quartz crystal and charge this crystal with the same intention. Keep this crystal on your desk or in a spot where it will remind you of your goals and intentions.
The Goddess in her many forms, teaches by example through nature. Use this time wisely, as it creates a sacred opportunity to plant new seeds of thought in the mind and heart. In the circle of life, there are adversities (within and without), representing a time of darkness and Winter, which are always overcome through the journey. The return to the light in the Spring, offers the opportunity to be reborn and move forward on the path, having learned from the time of adversity. Offerings of gratitude are given at this time to one’s adversaries, as they represent lessons and growth opportunities in disguise.
There is a powerful Norwegian proverb which states: ‘In every woman there is a Queen. Speak to the Queen and the Queen will answer’. As the traditions of the Goddess and Divine Feminine resurge in the light again, celebrate with the seven sacred ways listed above. The powerful life-affirming magic of Spring is around the corner. Should you wish to change something in your life, this is the moment to set that intention and ask for your dream to bloom, grow and rejuvenate!”
Article excerpt by Kala Ambrose at examiner.com
“Imbolc, (pronounced “IM-bulk” or “EM-bowlk”), also called Oimealg, (“IM-mol’g), by the Druids, is the festival of the lactating sheep. It is derived from the Gaelic word “oimelc” which means “ewes milk”. Herd animals have either given birth to the first offspring of the year or their wombs are swollen and the milk of life is flowing into their teats and udders. It is the time of Blessing of the seeds and consecration of agricultural tools. It marks the center point of the dark half of the year. It is the festival of the Maiden, for from this day to March 21st, it is her season to prepare for growth and renewal. Brighid’s snake emerges from the womb of the Earth Mother to test the weather, (the origin of Ground Hog Day), and in many places the first Crocus flowers began to spring forth from the frozen earth. The Maiden is honored, as the Bride, on this Sabbat. Straw Brideo’gas (corn dollies) are created from oat or wheat straw and placed in baskets with white flower bedding. Young girls then carry the Brideo’gas door to door, and gifts are bestowed upon the image from each household. Afterwards at the traditional feast, the older women make special acorn wands for the dollies to hold, and in the morning the ashes in the hearth are examined to see if the magic wands left marks as a good omen. Brighid’s Crosses are fashioned from wheat stalks and exchanged as symbols of protection and prosperity in the coming year. 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. Candles are lit and placed in each room of the house to honor the re-birth of the Sun.
Another traditional symbol of Imbolc is the plough. In some areas, this is the first day of ploughing in preparation of the first planting of crops. A decorated plough is dragged from door to door, with costumed children following asking for food, drinks, or money. Should they be refused, the household is paid back by having its front garden ploughed up. In other areas, the plough is decorated and then Whiskey, the “water of life” is poured over it. Pieces of cheese and bread are left by the plough and in the newly turned furrows as offerings to the nature spirits. It is considered taboo to cut or pick plants during this time. Various other names for this Greater Sabbat are Imbolgc Brigantia (Caledonni), Imbolic (Celtic), Disting (Teutonic, Feb 14th), Lupercus (Strega), St. Bridget’s Day (Christian), Candlemas, Candlelaria (Mexican), the Snowdrop Festival. The Festival of Lights, or the Feast of the Virgin. All Virgin and Maiden Goddesses are honored at this time.”
Imbolc Lore Article excerpt from Akasha at wicca.com/celtic
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