Witches, don’t balk at Imbolc….the next Sabat is coming to re-birth your vibe!
Hello my friends, and a Happy 2019! I have returned to my road and almost my physical body…the latter, a work in progress. Apparently, and according to my healer, I’ve tried to follow my Father into the After Life, leaving my body and existing somewhere in betwixt these two places. I know this to be true, primarily because it’s been so blankety blank but really because in my sorrow, I’ve craved an earthly departure, wishing fiercely to be in Dad’s company again. But not in an ordinary where’s the wrist cutter/noose/pills way, I don’t wish to kill off my current life and leave my kids. It’s not as simple as that….So don’t call 111 just yet, I am definitely not suicidal!
Nothing in this grief has been clear cut or looks like it will be for a while yet…. I hadn’t appreciated, in my former far more comfortable ignorance, what a seismic transformer death could be. I thought, someone dies, you grieve and time heals — slowly. And perhaps for some it never goes beyond that. But for me, this is monumental and has blown a massive crater in my aura, which now needs a whole heap of deep processing to heal. We’re talking the Tower in Tarot terms, with elements of The Fool and me needing to channel my inner King of Cups.
So my main focus now has to be upon on calming this hornet’s nest of unprocessed with emotions, I didn’t even know I grown. For this, I have found a lovely therapist, to help me spin the cotton candy of my mind. I promise to share what I can of my dark candyfloss, in case it can be of use and support to you. But as I can’t say much more than that at this moment, as the King of Cups, I am going to further enlighten your spiritual self with deets (agreed, hideous word but couldn’t resist) upon the up and coming Sabat…Which, incidentally, is all about spiritual purification and dedication….perfect synchronicity, ‘tous jours’. And I know a lot of you out there are feeling rather glum at the moment, so here’s to hoping this brings you some light…if you want it…some of us love to wallow in the darkness…and that’s fine…we’re our own responsibilities!
From sunset 1st February until Midnight on the 2nd February, we can celebrate Imbolc, or Groundhog’s Day to the Americans….yup not just an annoying movie title! This celestially, is the halfway point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, ‘and so above’. We’re nearly there folks! In Paganism/Witchcraft, it symbolises Earth/Mother Nature akaThe Goddess, in puberty with her belly full of ripening seeds….’and so below’. FYI, we Witches frequently express, ‘and so above and so below‘ to reaffirm the link between the sun, moon, stars, ourselves and the Earth….The origins of this truism can be seen on the ‘Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus’, no less. Tell me have you seen it? (last bit sung MilliVanilli style — because we know it really wasn’t them)
Historically, and I always like to prove provenance with a little pragmatism, this was the traditional lambing season in the old World. Whence this celebration was known as Oimelc, meaning milk of ewes, which really was coming in or flowing at this point in the year. One famous ancient we all know, Cleopatra, was a keen disciple of milk cleansing! Farmers consecrated their tools at this time and blessed their seeds. Not sure why this is not still the case? Do remember to ask your local farmer….If you are a farmer, please do let us know.
Imbolc, is a ‘proto-Indo-European’ word, meaning both “milk” and “cleansing” (Cheers Wiki), but in Irish Gaelic, means ‘in the belly’. The Goddess is referred to as Brigid/Brighid for this time, she the Celtic Fire Goddess, patron of smithcraft, healing, midwifery and poetry. It’s her season until the 21st March, to prep for growth and renewal, she is the Bride and manifestation of protection and prosperity.
I am sure the Christians morphed this into their Holy Communion, with young virgins wearing white and pledging themselves to God, it’s too uncanny. They certainly superimposed Imbolc, making it St. Brigit’s Day and February 2 became Candlemas, the day to make and bless candles for the liturgical year or take down your Christmas decs in some countries. It also became known as their festival of the ‘Purification of the Virgin Mary’, a time which, according to judeo-christian rule, a woman must be purified forty days after childbirth as she had been made unclean by the event! How fucking rude!!!!
Have you ever seen a corn dolly? This is an earthly manifestation of Brighid, traditionally fashioned from oat or wheat straw by young maidens and laid in a basket upon a blanket of white flowers/shells etc, like a bride. On the eve of the 31st January, when it was reckoned that Brighid was wandering on earth, all these young girls gathered together in 1 house and stayed up all night….’party’! On that night, each member of the household placed bit of cloths on the hearth for Brighid to bless and bestow with healing and protective powers, as she passed; the morning’s ashes were closely examined for signs of her presence. On the 1st February, those young maidens would then, in procession, take their dollies on a village ‘knock round’ with the adult women placing gifts of food or money in their baskets. The head of the household was responsible for putting out the home hearth fire and then relighting it, whilst placing a broom by the front door to symbolise sweeping out the old and welcoming in the new. Candles would be lit in each room to honour the re-birth of the Sun. Given the cost of candles in those days, you can see how important this festival was.
Today, Brighid’s Crosses are still fashioned from wheat stalks and exchanged as symbols of protection and prosperity in the coming year.
To mark this occasion yourself, I can give you a couple of options and you can choose how far you’d like to take this, there are many more but I need to keep this brief. Know that Imbolc is the time for initiation and healing, for reclaiming what has been forgotten. To maximise your power and the magical alchemy of Imbolc, use the collecting energy manifesting from this change in seasons, (we’re entering the active phase of the year, nature is ripening), in conjunction with your intuitive unconscious energy; the inner wisdom you gained during your winter months of soulful contemplation…You chose that instead of submitting to the social pressure to climbing aboard the festive merry-go-round didn’t you? Ha, she cackles, you didn’t know but next time you will! And perhaps next Winter you won’t fight your inherent desire to baton down the hatches, look your true self in the mirror, love, learn and accept, to re-emerge as a brand new butterfly, in time to party at Winter Solstice.
Our intuitive flashes and sparks of inspiration are needed more than ever to complement the active rational approach which dominates our western life-style. (Source: EarthPathway’s Diary)
At the most accessible level, you could light a candle or lamps in each room of the house right after sunset for a few minutes to honour the Sun’s rebirth on the eve of the 31st January. Use candles of either white, pink, red, yellow, green or brown, to light the way for Brighid. And on the 1st February, take a walk in nature to hunt crocuses and or snowdrops, the first heralds of spring, and take time to consider any spiritual vows or commitments you would like to make or reviews previous ones.
If you happen to possess an established altar, clean it and carry out a self purification rite with Elemental tools, invoking Brigid for creative inspiration. Use your salt (Earth) to cleanse your body, incense (Air) for your thoughts, a candle flame (Fire) for your will, water (Water) for your emotions and a healing crystal (Spirit) for your spiritual body. Semi precious stones and crystals of Imbolc include Amethyst, Bloodstone, Garnet, Ruby, Onyx, Turquoise. Bless any candles you plan to use for the remaining annual rituals.
Onwards and upwards mes Chers! xx
Originally published at celticwitchmama.com on January 11, 2019.