I woke this morning after an uneasy sleep feeling very slightly anxious. I turned my daily affirmation card & saw myself & dog Max on my familiar Fool card. The Fool generally indicates new beginnings, potential with an underlying message of ignoring the myriad distractions, reconnecting to your true purpose. I went for a walk on this beautiful crisp morning & made a conscious decision to reconnect to the earth, as much as is possible in the hustle & bustle of Shepherd’s Bush. After speaking to some friends I realised that we are approaching the half way point between Winter & Spring, a time when the earth begins to warm & come back to life. I realised that I ALWAYS feel like this at this time of year & remember talking about it to my Irish family who explained that this period has been celebrated in Irish folklore since the middle ages. The NeoPagan faith also recognises this time of year by celebrating Imbolc which occurs at the beginning of February.
Imbolc, (pronounced “IM-bulk”), is also referred to by the Druids as Oimealg (“IM-mol’g), the festival of lactating sheep. Oimealg was created from the Gaelic word “oimelc” which translates to “ewe’s milk”. The period when pregnant ewes would start to lactate understanding new life is forming. Imbolc is among the four historic Celtic Holy Days. It is considered one of the Sabbats or Holy Days of religious witchcraft. Imbolc is also considered as I mentioned previously in the 8 Holy Days of Neo-Paganism.
Imbolc is among the list of cornerstones on the Celtic calendar. It is considered among the four “cross-quarters” traditionally commemorated as Sabbats in pagan cultures. Imbolc is the only traditional Celtic celebration explicitly identified with a female deity. It stands out as the day the Celtic Warrior Cailleach collects her fire wood for the remainder of the winter months. Imbolc is among the list of four key celebrations of the Celtic calendar, observed either at the beginning of February or around the earliest indications of spring. Imbolc signifies the midway point of the darker portion of the year. It is furthermore the first fertility holiday on the Wiccan liturgical calendar.
Imbolc signifies a period from the hearth fire as well as thawing and stirring of earth’s waters melting from the Sun. It also honors Brigit the three-fold goddess associated with fire, poetry and healing. Wiccans observe an alternative of Imbolc as one of four “fire festivals” which comprises half of the eight holidays on the Wheel of the Year. With the Christian calendar, this unique event was altered and renamed Candlemas. Christians light candles to reflect upon the purification of the Virgin Mary. Imbolc and Brigid are additionally believed to have a link with the Roman tales surrounding the celebration of Lupercalia as well as the Egyptian Feast of the Nut, they are both held on February 2. In the United States and Canada most likely you know Imbolc as Groundhog’s Day (February 2) when a groundhog emerges from his burrow to forecast whether winter will be for 6 more weeks or whether spring is just around the corner. Even though the practices and names for this celebration are different, the underlying messages are identical; the desire and anticipation of spring.
Imbolc is also recognized as Brigid’s (pronounced BREED) Day. Brigid is the triple Goddess in her new role as maiden departing the crone associated with winter behind. It is also a period when growers as well as fishermen rely on continuous improvement in the weather conditions. Imbolc marks the halfway period between the Winter solstice and the Vernal Equinox; a time when hope starts to stir accompanied by a yearning for the return of spring. It is commonly a celebration of newness; the promise of fertility, new life and fresh hope. In many instances it’s marked by the lighting of candles. Food dishes offered at Imbolc festivals are, not surprisingly, milk along with other dairy products. Other foods frequently served at Imbolc gatherings are tender baby vegetables and sprouts.
Imbolc is sometimes regarded as a Sabbat of fertility, inspiration, healing and purification. It may also be a white time, burning with inspiration and commitment or cooling with healing and purification. Purification clears the way for fresh, new life when spring begins Imbolc is an excellent time for self-purification. It may also be regarded as a time of revitalization and fresh starts. As a result Imbolc is a great occasion to release creative juices and permit them to flow through poetry, sculpture, painting or possibly anything signifying a facet of nature that may be most sacred to you. It is a wonderful chance to think about your objectives and resources; it’s an opportunity to clarify one’s aim and devote one’s self to the upcoming year. Imbolc is best reserved for commemorating and evaluating your connection with the Universe and Mother Earth.
Take a moment this Spring to really connect & consider how you want your year to unfold.
As always, I hope you manifest everything you desire
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