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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Imbolc

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

As the sun set on February 1st, Pagans everywhere began their preparations to celebrate Imbolc. This is an Irish word meaning “in the belly”, because lambs would be developing “in the belly” of the ewes (female sheep) at this time, waiting to be born in the spring. It is a fire feast because now we can truly see that the sun is growing stronger in the winter skies, and the days are getting longer.

But February 1st through 2nd (note: Irish pagans see the day as starting at dust the prior evening) is also sacred to the Celtic goddess known as Brigid or Bride. (The Celts were the tribes of people who eventually became the Welsh, Manx, Cornish, Scots, Irish, and people of Brittany). Her name means “Exalted (mighty) One”, as well as “Bright Arrow”. She is often seen as 3 goddesses in one, known as a “triple goddess”, because she had mastery over three things: fire and smith-craft, hearth and home, and poetry – which was thought of as magical, and born from the “fire” of inspiration. She is a goddess of fire, but also of water.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Imbolc, though most often observed on the first of February, approximately half-way between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, is more than a a1sx2_Thumbnail1_Brighid.jpgcelebration of a day. Historically it marks the season of lambing and lactation in the ewes – the old Irish Imbolg meaning in the belly, and the medieval Oimelc, meaning ewes milk. In this respect, Imbolc is a season and the heralding celebration was often observed as much as two weeks before or after the beginning of February.

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Last modified on

Now, I know a lot of people like to tout Samhain as the pagan new year, but for me, my year always sort of starts on Imbolc.  I think of it as "time to make the doughnuts," in a way.  It marks the end of my hibernation.

This year in particular is going to be a very big one for me- it marks the biggest Witchcraft 101 class I've taught in ten years, and it also marks the last of that series I'll be teaching for a while.  For the last decade, I've dedicated myself to the education of witches in the basics, teaching everything from healing and conjuration to ritual practice and different models of deity work.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Our Sabbats provide a framework of meditation and insight that can deepen and transform our lives if we pay them any serious mind.  Wiccan Sabbats have three dimensions, one links us to the universal cycles of the sun, another to our being people of the earth, and both take us to the experience of our own lives. Yule, Ostara, Midsummer (or Litha), and Mabon are our solar Sabbats. Brigid or Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh, and Samhain are our Sabbats rooted in the earth. They reflect the agricultural cycles of Celtic lands and so immerse us in the experience and blessings of living in this world.

As light and darkness and the changing of the seasons form parts of an eternal cycle within which life takes place, so life itself repeats this cycle with birth followed by childhood, the vigor of adulthood, the slow decline of old age, and finally death, to be repeated again.  In the process beauty, love, and delight are brought into being and repeat themselves in endless variety. 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    Thank you Rose. I liked it. It somehow reminded me of an adaptation of my favorite scene from Disney's second Fantasia. I do not
  • Rose
    Rose says #
    Very nice! I shared your response with Glenys. I think she'll like it.
  • Rose
    Rose says #
    Gus: I think yon may enjoy Glenys' work. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mRiI2Nz2go a Pagaian ritual from Down Under.

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Celebrating the flowers

Imbolc, when the little snowdrops emerge from the earth, the first flowers, and the first sign that spring is on the way. Except if you’re dealing with floodwater just now, you probably won’t see them because they will be submerged. If you are a bit further north than I am, there will be no sign yet. People in colder climates can’t expect flowers at this time of year – my other half, who originated in Maine, continues to be perplexed by anything trying to grow at this time. Not everywhere has snowdrops, and not everywhere has winter.

There are no doubt a lot of Pagans out there who feel they should be celebrating Imbolc this weekend, because it’s the ancient Celtic festival marking the first signs of spring, and it’s here. Some will no doubt go out with scripts that talk of things which simply are not happening in their lives. I’ve done that myself. I stood in a hailstorm one year, trying to picture the gentle, generous spring maiden and her magical wild flowers, whilst getting cold, wet, miserable and confused. It was one of those key moments in my journey towards rejecting a dogmatic approach to dates and festivals.

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Down to the Wire--Imbolc Eve Activities

So much to do tonight and wanted to share some of the prep--traditional and otherwise--as Imbolc rolls in.

In my world, tonight is Imbolc Eve (some of you may celebrate that tomorrow).  There's still tons to do to really celebrate, so here's a partial list.  I'm sure you'll find all sorts of things to add to it.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Imbolc ritual

There is so much transformational energy for this New Moon sisters! Where I live in the East coast of the United States we have been hurting from the Arctic winds and craving the warmth. So with that anticipation, I humbly gift you my Imbolc ritual. It is a four day ritual which starts tonight on the New Moon. Will you join me in these four days of ritual?

 

Ritual for Days 1, 2 and 3

 

-Start on the New Moon before Imbolc

-Choose whatever time works best for you. Close to or after sunset is recommended.

-I recommend setting up an altar to keep your jars in continued sacred space throughout these four days. A place where sunlight and moonlight will shine upon them is ideal.

-Materials needed: altar, votive candle, matches, small jar with lid filled with water for each participant, music player, 4-6 minute long song for meditation time

 

    • Hum while holding your hand to your heart to tune in to your body. For a group, you may put a hand to the back of the person next to you where their heart is. In a circle, hum together.

    • Welcome the directions & elements. You may do this however you feel called or comfortable doing so. Here is a simple welcome that I use for my New Moon Intention Circles:

        • Turning to the East, we welcome Air, freedom and the power of thoughts. Welcome Air from the East!

        • Turning to the South, we welcome Fire, sensuality and the power of action. Welcome Fire from the South!

        • Turning to the West, we welcome Water, emotions and the power of cleansing. Welcome Water from the West!

        • Turning to the North, we welcome Earth, grounding and the power of home. Welcome Earth from the North!

      • Welcome any Ancestors/Goddesses/Guardians

      • Light a votive candle & read the Imbolc Intention: “Imbolc--in the belly, Mother Earth pregnant with Spring and new life. What are we holding inside ourselves that we wish to see birthed this Spring?”

      • Play a song 4-6 minute long softly while  meditating on the question and holding your small jar filled with water. I recommend Shawna Carol’s Blessed Be.

      • Extinguish the votive candle.

      • Goodbye to any Ancestors/Goddesses/Guardians who joined you.

      • Goodbye to the directions & elements. Again you may do this however you feel called or comfortable. Here is what I use:

o    Turning to the East, farewell Air, freedom and the power of thoughts. Thank you and Farewell Air from the East!

o    Turning to the South, farewell Fire, sensuality and the power of action. Thank you and Farewell Fire from the South!

o    Turning to the West, farewell Water, emotions and the power of cleansing. Thank you and farewell Water from the West!

o    Turning to the North, farewell Earth, grounding and the power of home. Thank you and farewell Earth from the North!

      • Hum while holding your hand to your heart to tune in to your body. For a group, you may put a hand to the back of the person next to you where their heart is. In a circle, hum together.

         

Ritual for Day 4- Imbolc

 

-Choose whatever time works best for you. Close to when the sunset is recommended.

-Materials needed: altar, votive candle, matches, small jar with lid filled with water for each participant, music player, 4-6 minute long song for meditation time, divination tool you know how to use, paper, pencils/pens.

 

      • Hum while holding your hand to your heart to tune in to your body. For a group, you may put a hand to the back of the person next to you where their heart is. In a circle, hum together.

      • Welcome the directions & elements. You may do this however you feel called or comfortable doing so. Here is a simple welcome that I use for my New Moon Intention Circles:

        • Turning to the East, we welcome Air, freedom and the power of thoughts. Welcome Air from the East!

        • Turning to the South, we welcome Fire, sensuality and the power of action. Welcome Fire from the South!

        • Turning to the West, we welcome Water, emotions and the power of cleansing. Welcome Water from the West!

        • Turning to the North, we welcome Earth, grounding and the power of home. Welcome Earth from the North!

      • Welcome any Ancestors/Goddesses/Guardians

      • Light a votive candle & read the Imbolc Intention: “Imbolc--in the belly, Mother Earth pregnant with Spring and new life. What are we holding inside ourselves that we wish to see birthed this Spring?”

      • Put your chosen song on repeat so it plays until it’s time to extinguish your candle. Meditate on the intention and write down your answers.

      • Imbolc is also a time for divination- an in between time. Use the divination tool you have brought to ask, “What am I holding inside myself that will come forth this Spring that I’m unaware of?”

      • Hold your jar filled with water to your heart. Feel the energy of your Imbolc intentions held within it. Drink the water and feel it nourishing you. Supporting you in manifesting this Spring what will most benefit you. Take at least three deep breaths.

      • Extinguish the votive candle.

      • Goodbye to any Ancestors/Goddesses/Guardians who joined you.

      • Goodbye to the directions & elements. Again you may do this however you feel called or comfortable. Here is what I use:

o    Turning to the East, farewell Air, freedom and the power of thoughts. Thank you and Farewell Air from the East!

o    Turning to the South, farewell Fire, sensuality and the power of action. Thank you and Farewell Fire from the South!

o    Turning to the West, farewell Water, emotions and the power of cleansing. Thank you and farewell Water from the West!

o    Turning to the North, farewell Earth, grounding and the power of home. Thank you and farewell Earth from the North!

      • Hum while holding your hand to your heart to tune in to your body. For a group, you may put a hand to the back of the person next to you where their heart is. In a circle, hum together.

         

So sisters that concludes the four days of ritual leading up to Imbolc. If you choose to use the rituals above, I would love to know if anything came up for you. I am sending so much love and light your way during this time of gestation. Blessed Imbolc!

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Molly
    Molly says #
    Thanks, Paola!
  • Paola Suarez
    Paola Suarez says #
    Thank you Molly! I was inspired to share my ritual by your posts from your personal blog where you did the same. I felt brave enou
  • Molly
    Molly says #
    I wondered about the humming! It works very well!
  • Paola Suarez
    Paola Suarez says #
    Thank you Molly! We had usually started rituals by chanting Om / ॐ but the humming is a good alternative.

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