This festival celebrates the re-awakening earth and the potential inherent in this time.
- Sap is beginning to rise in the trees and the bulbs are pushing through the earth
- The returning active phase of the solar year brings with it an opportunity to use the fire from within to activate the visions and dreams we planted during the autumn and winter – allowing them to re-emerge stronger and surer.
There are many stories and legends of love and sexuality told at this time – of beguiling spring maidens who initiate young kings in deeply spiritual/sexual experiences. Hidden in these tales lie the alchemy of Imbolc.
- The power of the unconscious represented by the young female is the spark of intuition from within
- The intellect of consciousness is represented by the sun King
- It is the union of these two aspects of energy which bring about manifestation and growth on all levels
The church incorporated this festival into their religion as Candlemas – which is celebrated on the 2ndFebruary. This removed all previous understanding of the power behind this ancient festival – Cande from the Anglo-Saxon or Kundalini from Sanskrit all bring association with the raising of energy in which the self merges with the infinite.
Imbolc, in the Celtic seasonal calendar marks the beginning of the lambing season and signals the beginning of Spring and the stirrings of new life. It is Feile Brighde, the ‘quickening of the year’. The original word Imbolg means ‘in the belly’. All is pregnant and expectant – and only just visible if at all, like the gentle curve of a ‘just-showing’ pregnancy. It is the promise of renewal, of hidden potential, of earth awakening and life-force stirring.
Here is hope. We welcome the growth of the returning light and witness Life’s insatiable appetite for rebirth.
It is time to let go of the past and to look to the future, clearing out the old, making both outer and inner space for new beginnings. This can be done in numerous ways, from spring cleaning your home to clearing the mind and heart to allow inspiration to enter for the new cycle. (‘Spring cleaning was originally a nature ritual’ – Doreen Valiente).
It’s a good time for wish-making or making a dedication.
Imbolc is traditionally the great festival and honouring of Brigid (Brighid, Bride, Brigit), so loved as a pagan Goddess that her worship was woven into the Christian church as St Bridget. She is a Goddess of healing, poetry and smithcraft. She is a Goddess of Fire, of the Sun and of the Hearth. She brings fertility to the land and its people and is closely connected to midwives and new-born babies. She is the Triple Goddess, but at Imbolc she is in her Maiden aspect.
There is also a beautiful connection made in this wonderful article to SARASWATI – the goddess of learning and the creative arts, who bears some striking resemblances to Brigid, as well as some important differences…
Ideas for Your Altar
Decorate your altar with snowdrops, swan feathers, a Brigid Cross, white and green candles…
Making a Brigid Cross
Brigid Crosses are traditionally made from reeds but can be made from several alternatives so long as they are pliable. Go for a walk, see what you can find in the hedgerows and on the river banks, use straws or even cut long strips of paper.
Brigid’s Cross is ancient Pagan symbol for Brigid. It’s also known as a Celtic Sun Wheel or Solar Cross.
At Imbolc it is said that Brigid walks upon the Earth, and by creating Her Sun Wheel we invite and welcome the Goddess, and Springtime, into our homes.
Imbue your work with magick and power
When making you cross do your best to maintain focus and intention as you work.
One way to do that is to chant. You can sing a song of Brigid, to bring Her essence into the ritual craft. Or you could sing something that relates to your intention for this object – for instance, a song calling for artistic inspiration or to invoke Spring.
If you’re not comfortable with singing, you could memorise and recite a chant that suit your work – either out loud or mentally.
For example …
Light-wielder, victorious Brigantia
Of the straight shining spear
Spread Thy verdant mantle of protection
Over all of us here
What to do with your Brigid Cross
A fresh-made Brigid’s Cross may be hung over a doorway (or elsewhere) in your house to offer protection throughout the year.
It may also be given as a blessing and protection to someone you care about.
Another option is to offer it to the Goddess. You can hang it on a tree (particularly hawthorn) or leave it in nature somewhere.
You could also hang it above your altar, to keep Brigid’s presence near you all year long.
An Invocation to Brigid
Blessed Brigid burning bright
Lead us through the dark of night
Triple Goddess of new light
Shine your flame on us tonight
Wise Guardian of the hearth
Bless our homes our lives our hearts
Keeper of the healing Light
Shine your light on us tonight
Shine on us in love and light
Sacred muse of poetry
Light our fire of creativity
Sing to us your sacred song
Lift our hearts to you tonight
Sacred flame of love and life
Blessed Brigid burning bright
Lady of Poetry,
Help our Souls to Sing
Lady of Smiths,
Make strong our resolve
Lady of Healing
Help our hearts to Open
Keepers of the Flame
If you are inspired to work with the Goddess Brigid then my dear friend and Sistar Heidi Wyldewood offer a 20 day vigil and journey each year – starting in February.
This self led course for women will deliver to your inbox throughout the days of vigil, inspiring you with meditations, songs, prayers, writing and self inquiry prompts, and crafting in a mixed media format. You will also be guided though the Fire and Water of the Three Cauldrons for personal insight, transformation and awakening.
For full information follow this link – keepers of the flame