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Thread: Imbolc

  1. #1
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    Default Imbolc

    please share anything you may have on this holiday as well.

    Imbolc


    Literally, it means "in the belly of the mother," while its original Celtic name, Oimelc, translates as "ewe's milk" or "the feast of ewe's milk". Both refer to the turning of Winter to Spring, which is marked by the first milk of ews and lamb to be born. Other names for this sabbat include Gwyl Fair, the Feast of Pan, Festical of the Ewe's Milk, the Festical of Lights, The Feast of Lights or Torches, Feast of the Waxing Light, Imbolgc, Candlearia, Brigantia, Lupercus, and Snowdrop Festival.
    The dates it is said to fall on varies from different sources and traditions. It is celebrated in the middle of the dark part of the year. some say starting at sunset on January 31st, and others saying as late as February 6th. However, some disredard the restraints of the calendar altogether and mark at first snowdrop and the beginning of the crocus blossoming, as they signify the first emergence of spring. In the southern hemisphere, Imbolc is on July 31st.
    This pagan solar festival festival is celebrated by witches, druids, celts and other pagans as part of the wheel of the year. It is know as a time for purification and fertility, "when the milk begins to engorge the udders of livestock in preparation for the first births of spring. Nature has begin to come to life and the new agricultural season. The first sheep's milk and cheese wouldv'e been of enourmous importance with no other fresh foodstuff available and stored meat and grain perhaps starting to run low.
    It is the special day of Brighid, the Celtic goddess of fire, and thus is deemed a fire festival. Its transformative powers of the flame signify change and the setting of new goals. As the Crone of winter gives way to the Maiden of spring, this festival of light cleanses to make way for the new. She is the archetype of the great mother-goddess and protector of women, esp. in childbirth. Brigit was later transmogrified into the Christians' St. Brigid. The element of the mother goddess and her son survives in Christian tradition of Candlemas, which is hels on Feb. 2nd and commemorates the purification of the Virgin Mary, and the presentation of Christ to the temple. The name Candlemas is also likely related to the Roman festival of Lupecalia, formerly held on Feb. 15th, and was a festival of lights. It gained some contreversy within the Christian church, as it was considered "popish" by Protestants.
    Traditional celebratory fare includes dairy products, curries, onions, leeks, shallots, garlic, bell peppers, poppy seeds, breads, muffins, scones, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, raisins, herbal teas, spiced wine, ale, mead and herbal teas. Greens symbolize spring’s return.
    As far as divination goes, it's useful to focus on the future welfare and prosperity of your family.

    Here are some traditional things people may do on Imbolc:

    -Spring Cleaning
    Now is the time to begin thoroughly cleaning the house inside and out, as well as conducting a house blessing to remove any negative energies or spirits left over from winter

    This is the time to give your home a good thorough cleaning in preparation for a visit from Brigit. If you happen to have a fireplace, it especially should be cleaned very well. As a part of the magical purification of the house a birch branch should be used to symbolically sweep the floors. Birch has strong associations with Brigit, and has long been used for rites of purification and new beginnings.

    All of this work should be completed prior to the eve of Imbolc, when a small dish of butter should be placed on a windowsill and a fresh fire kindled in the hearth or a candle lit in honor of Brigit.

    Brigit's Crosses
    This is the most widely practiced custom associated with Imbolc. extra straw should be gathered up and saved, for use at the family or grove feast on the eve of Imbolc. For the best results, the straw should be soaked in water for a couple of days prior to the feast. Pan of that evening should be devoted to making Brigit's Crosses. These are weavings of straw that can be as simple as a few strands or amazingly elaborate. Most folks are familiar with the three or four-armed variety but there is a great number of different regional patterns including what most people in America know as a "God's Eye" pattern woven around two sticks. At the end of the evening each person should take their cross home, sprinkle it with a bit of sacred water and speak a request of Brigit for blessing and protection of the home and family members. Old crosses from previous years should be moved to the rafters or attic of your home, and the new crosses hung in their place near the entryways to the dwelling. Crosses that were woven by the children should be hung on the wall over their beds, and if you happen to have a barn or out-building you should hang one there as well. They are especially effective in protecting the household and its inhabitants from fire and lightening.

    Throughout the year, the crosses may be taken down temporarily when a Brigit blessing is needed: the a healing of a sick child; tucking between the mattresses to assist in conception; placed upon a basket of seed being carried out to the garden for planting, etc.


    Imbolc Feast
    On the eve of Imbolc, a family or community feast should be held. When all is prepared, and the table is set, the persons who were involved in the making of the Brideog should go outside and retrieve her. The doll should be placed on the outside of the building next to the open door. The men should get on their knees before the doll (the traditional gesture of respect for the Brideog) and shout into the house, "Go on your knees, open your eyes, and admit Brigit!" The celebrants inside should answer, "Welcome! Welcome! Welcome to the holy woman!" The Brideog should then be carried into the house and leaned against a leg of the feasting table. Begin the feast with a prayer of thanks.

    Brid's Bed
    As the evening of the Imbolc £east winds down, the women of the household or grove should gather up the last of the straw and fashion an oblong basket in the shape of a cradle called "leaba Brid" (LAWA BREE) or "the bed of Brid". Place the bed near the hearth If you have one. Then place the Brideog into the bed and place a small straight wand of birch with the bark peeled in the bed beside the figure. This wand is called "slatag Brid" (SLAH-TAHG BREE) or "'the little wand of Brid. If you have burned a fire during the evening the ashes of the fire should be scraped smooth. In the morning check the ashes for marks of Brigit's wand or better yet, her footprint to prove that she had visited during the night. If no marks are found, burn some incense in the hearth or near the spot where the bed was placed, as an offering.

    BIBLIOGRAPHY
    1. Imbolc Traditions - ADF Neopagan Druidism
    2.Paganism/Wicca
    3. Pagan/Wiccan Practice
    4. The Celtic Druids' Year: seasonal cycles of the ancient celts by John King

  2. #2
    Z
    ZeldaFitz Guest

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    Good post.

  3. #3
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    Good post!
    When the listening is good, life is good
    He who listens is the master of what is beneficial
    Listening is beneficial to the listener
    Listening is better than anything else
    That is how perfect love is born.

    -- Ptahhotep

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