Spirit Message of the Moment – Ideas to Honor and Celebrate Imbolc 2013

IMBOLC – A SPIRITUAL SABBAT
By February, most of us are tired of the cold, snowy season. Imbolc reminds us that spring is coming soon, and that we only have a few more weeks of winter to go. The sun gets a little brighter, the earth gets a little warmer, and we552996_437260819678953_875035806_n know that life is quickening within the soil. There are a number of different ways to celebrate this Sabbat.

Rituals and Ceremonies
Depending on your particular tradition, there are many different ways you can celebrate Imbolc. Some people focus on the Celtic goddess Brighid, in her many aspects as a deity of fire and fertility. Others aim their rituals more towards the cycles of the season, and agricultural markers. Here are a few rituals you may want to think about trying. Imbolc is a time of celebration and ritual, often honoring Brighid, the goddess of the hearth. This is also a time of new beginnings and of purification. Celebrate the Imbolc season by performing rites and rituals that honor the themes of the end of winter.

Imbolc House Cleansing Ceremony
Many people have gotten into the habit of doing a spring cleaning, and it’s a good way to get yourself inspired. Once you’ve done a physical cleaning, invite your loved ones to join you in a spiritual cleansing as well.

Hold an Imbolc Candle Ritual (for Solitaries)
Imbolc is also known as Candlemas, and is considered a festival of fire. If you practice as a solitary, this ritual is a good one to do if you want to honor the aspects of fire and light that are observed on this day. Celebrate Imbolc with this fiery (yet simple) ritual.

Hold a Farewell to Winter Ritual
Tired of the snow and cold weather yet? At Imbolc, you and your family can do this simple rite to say goodbye to old man winter, and encourage the spring thaw to come along a bit sooner.

Imbolc Prayers – Prayers for the Imbolc Sabbat
If you’re looking for The Goddess Brigidprayers or blessings to celebrate the Sabbat of Imbolc, here’s where you’ll find a selection of devotionals that bid farewell to the winter months and honor the goddess Brighid.

Imbolc Meal Blessings
Imbolc is the celebration of the hearth goddess Brighid. Use one of these meal blessings as part of your Imbolc celebrations.

Brighid’s Fire Meal Blessing
Use this meal blessing to celebrate the fires of hearth and home.

Giving Thanks to Brighid Meal Blessing
Use this meal blessing in ceremonies honoring Brighid, the Irish goddess of hearth and home.

End of Winter Meal Blessing
Use this meal blessing in your ceremonies celebrating the end of winter.

Smooring the Fire – A Prayer to Brighid
The folklorist Alexander Carmichael collected hundreds of poems in prayers in his Carmina Gadelica. This is one variation on the theme of smooring the fire at Imbolc.

Brigantia, Keeper of the Forge
In her aspect as a goddess of the forge, Brighid is often seen as Brigantia, a warrior protectress of those who would swear her loyalty.

Brighid, Bride of Earth
In her role as the bride, Brighid is the patroness of domesticity and home. She also is associated with the Fae and the Tuatha de Danaan in Irish legend.

Brighid, Keeper of the Flame
Pay tribute to the hearth goddess Brighid, with this prayer honoring her role as the keeper of sacred flames.

Imbolc End-of-Winter Meditation

Say Farewell to the Dark Half of the Year

This meditative journey is one you can read ahead of time, and then recall as you meditate, or you can record yourself reading it aloud, and listen to it as a guided meditation later on. You can even read it alo2022_183499725124907_505103386_nud as part of a group ritual. The ideal place to perform this meditation is somewhere outside — try to pick a day that’s warm, or at the very least sunny. Go out in your garden, or sit under a tree in a park, or find a quiet spot near a stream.

Visualize yourself walking along a path. You are traveling through a forest, and as you walk, you notice that the trees are covered with the vibrant hues of autumn. There are reds, oranges, and yellows everywhere. A few leaves have fallen on the ground beside you, and the the air is cool and crisp. Stand for a moment, and take in the scent of fall.

As you continue down the path, you see the sky getting darker. The air has become more brisk, and the leaves are gently falling around you. Soon, the trees are bare, and there is a crunching sound beneath you. When you look down, the leaves are no longer bright with autumn’s colors. Instead, they are brown and brittle, and there is a light touch of frost on them. Winter has arrived. Breathe deeply, so that you can smell and taste the difference in the air.

The darkness is full now, but above you there is a full moon lighting your way. A snowflake falls in front if you, drifting down ever so slowly. Soon anoth8003_235841496519175_503883171_ner drifts down, and another. As you walk further, the snow begins to fall heavily. The crunch of your feet on the leaves is muffled, and soon you can’t hear anything at all. A blanket of pure white snow covers the forest floor, and everything is quiet, and still. There is a sense of magic in the air — a feeling of being in some other, special place. The real world has vanished with the sun, and all that remains now is you, and the darkness of winter. The snow glistens in the moonlight, and the night is cold. You can see your breath before you in the moonlit air.

As you continue through the forest, you begin to see a faint glimmer of light ahead. Unlike the silvery light of the moon, this is red and bright. You are beginning to get colder now, and the idea of warmth and light is promising. You walk on, and the red light draws closer. There is something special about it, something of relief and change and warmth.

You walk through the snow, up a steep path, and the snow is now up to your knees. It is becoming more difficult to travel, and you’re cold. All you want, more than anything, is a warm fire, and some hot food, and the companionship of your loved ones. But it seems that there is nothing but you and the snow and the night. It seems as though the light has grown closer, and yet is still unreachable. Eventually, you give up — there’s no reaching it, and you just keep walking through the snow.

As you come over the hillside, though, something happens. The forest is no longer surrounding you — in fact, there are only a few trees left on this side of the hill. Off in the distance, to t197321_430962586966295_1439268241_nhe east, the sun is rising. You continue on the path, and the snow fades away. No longer are you walking through great drifts — instead, you are on a muddy track, crossing an open field. In the meadow are tiny buds. Grass is peeking up from the dead, brown earth. Here and there, a cluster of bright flowers appears beside a stone, or beside the path. As you walk, the sun rises higher and higher, bright and orange in its glory. Its warmth embraces you, and soon your night of cold and darkness is forgotten.

Spring has come, and new life abounds. Flowers and vines are beginning to grow, and the earth is no longer dead and brown, but vibrant and fertile. As you walk in the sun’s warmth, you realize that winter has truly left you, and that you are renewed and reborn once more. Stand and bask in the light for a few minutes. Meditate on what sort of abundance you are looking forward to this season. Think about what you will plant in your own garden, and what new life you will bring forth.

Imbolc Traditions, Customs and Folklore
Ever wonder why we celebrate Imbolc the way we do? From the ancient Roman festival of Februalia to the legend of St. Valentine, this time of 538612_484567574933186_1050278486_nyear is rich in custom and tradition. Learn about some of the folklore and history behind today’s Imbolc celebrations.

Lupercalia: Celebrate the Coming of Spring

The ancient Romans celebrated the festival of Lupercalia in the middle of February. Learn how this Pagan celebration was an early version of Valentine’s Day.

Februalia: A Time of Purification

As times and spiritual needs changed, a number of different gods and goddesses were honored during the celebration of Februalia. This is a time of purification and cleansing, as well as of making offerings to the divine.

The Festival of Sementivae

Learn about the Roman festival of Sementivae, which falls every year during the Imbolc season.

All About Brighid

Brighid was an Irish hearth goddess who is still celebrated today by many Pagans. Learn about the different myths and legends associated with her, as well as rituals, prayers, and craft projects you can do in her honor.

All excerpts from Patti Wigington on about.com

To learn more about Imbolc – click here to read my other Blog

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Spirit Message of the Day – Heart, Hearth, and Home

CELTIC GODDESS BRIGHID
In many traditions of Paganism, the Celtic goddess Brighid is celebrated at Imbolc. A protector of hearth and home, Brighid is a fire goddess who is typically associated with poetry, smithcraft, and inspiration. She was especially honored when it came to matters of prophecy and divination. A sacred flame was maintained by a group of priestesses, and her sanctuary at Kildare became the home of a saint.

Origins of Brighid
In Irish mythological cycles, Brighid (or Brighit), whose name is derived from the Celtic brig or “exalted one”, is the daughter of the Dagda, and therefore one of the Tuatha de Dannan. Her two sisters were also called Brighid, and were associated with healing and crafts. The three Brighids were typically treated as three aspects of a single deity, making her a classic Celtic triple goddess.
 
Patron and Protector
Brighid was the patron of poets and bards, as well as healers and magicians. She was especially honored when it came to matters of prophecy and divination. She was honored with a sacred flame maintained by a group of priestesses, and her sanctuary at Kildare, Ireland, later became the home of the Christian variant of Brighid, St. Brigid of Kildare. Kildare is also the location of one of several sacred wells in the Celtic regions, many of which are connected to Brighid. Even today, it’s not uncommon to see ribbons and other offerings tied to trees near a well as a petition to this healing goddess.
 
 
Celebrating Brighid
There are a variety of ways to celebrate the many aspects of Brighid at Imbolc. If you’re part of a group practice or a coven, why not try Honoring Brighid With a Group Ceremony? You can also incorporate prayers to Brighid into your rites and rituals for the season. Having trouble figuring out what direction you’re headed? Ask Brighid for assistance and guidance with a Brighid’s Crossroads Divination Ritual.
 
Brighid’s Many Forms
In Britain, Brighid’s counterpart was Brigantia, a warlike figure of the Brigantes tribe near Yorkshire, England. She is similar to the Greek goddess Athena and the Roman Minerva. Later, as Christianity moved into the Celtic lands, St. Brigid was the daughter of a Pictish slave who was baptised by St. Patrick, and founded a community of nuns at Kildare. In addition to her position as a goddess of magic, Brighid was known to watch over women in childbirth, and thus evolved into a goddess of hearth and home. Today, many Pagans and Wiccans honor her on February 2, which has become known as Imbolc or Candlemas.
 
Crafts to Honor Brighid
In many Pagan traditions today, Brighid is celebrated with crafts that honor her role as the protector of the hearth. You can make a Brighid corn doll, as well as a Bride’s Bed for her to sleep in. Perhaps the best known decoration is the Brighid’s Cross, whose arms represent the place where a crossroads comes together, the space between light and dark.
 
Brighid and Imbolc
Like many Pagan holidays, Imbolc has a Celtic connection, although it wasn’t celebrated in non-Gaelic Celtic societies. The early Celts celebrated a purification festival by honoring Brighid. In some parts of the Scottish Highlands, Brighid was viewed as a sister of Cailleach Bheur, a woman with mystical powers who was older than the land itself. In modern Wicca and Paganism, Brighid is sometimes viewed as the maiden aspect of the maiden/mother/crone cycle, although it might be more accurate for her to be the mother, given her connection with home and childbirth.
 
Excerpts from about.com
 
THE LEGEND OF BRIGHID’S MANTLE
Brighid is the Celtic goddess who is the keeper of the hearth, the deity who watches over nursing mothers and pregnant women, and who is the overseer of all things domestic. She is also connected to healing and wisdom. One commonly found symbol of Brighid is her green mantle, or cloak. In Gaelic, the mantle is known as the “brat Bhride.”Although her origins are that of a Pagan goddess, at one point she became associated with Christianity and St. Brighid of Kildare. The legend has it that Brighid was the daughter of a Pictish chieftain who went to Ireland to learn from St. Patrick. In one story, the girl who later became St. Brighid went to the King of Leinster, and petitioned him for land so she could build an abbey. The King, who still held to the old Pagan practices of Ireland, told her he’d be happy to give her as much land as she could cover with her cloak. Naturally, her cloak grew and grew until it covered as much property as Brighid needed, and she got her abbey. Thanks to her roles as both a Pagan goddess and a Christian saint, Brighid is often seen as being of both worlds; a bridge between the old ways and the new.

In Celtic Pagan stories, Brighid’s mantle carries with it blessings and powers of healing. Many people believe that if you place a piece of cloth out upon your hearth at Imbolc, Brighid will bless it in the night. Use the same cloth as your mantle each year, and it will gain strength and power each time Brighid passes by. The mantle can be used to comfort and heal a sick person, and to provide protection for women in labor. A newborn baby can be wrapped in the mantle to help them sleep through the night without fussing.

To make a Brighid’s mantle of your own, find a piece of green cloth long enough to comfortably wrap around your shoulders. Leave it on your doorstep on the night of Imbolc, and Brighid will bless it for you. In the morning, wrap yourself in her healing energy.