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Meandering Through the Past

Imbolc

This month we get to celebrate Imbolc on February 1st. It is and has been since ancient times one of the major Sabbats to celebrate the impending return of Spring. It also could be considered in those ancient times, a celebration of the New Year. For pagans with a Celtic lean, it was a time to celebrate Brigit which also means “bride”. Though now she is considered a Christian Saint, she began as a Celtic Goddess, meaning “Light-Bringer.”

The bringing of Light, the return of Spring, the return of flowing this after the thaw. The flow of water, of milk from mother giving birth, it is a celebration of what is coming, as opposed to what has happened. Spring is the time for rebirth and is celebrated with fire, which in many themes of celebration represents fire.

Imbolc back in the day, was an important time, for the beginning of February meant you were in the heart of winter, though the days were beginning to stay brighter longer. Soon you could look forward to planting and tilling the soil. Warmer days and warmer nights, and the end of dark times. Bon fires were erected and lit and danced around for the knowledge that soon, crops could be planted and the cold would retreat to further lands.

Also, way back during those ancient times, The Catholic Church adopted the Imbolc day of celebration and changed it for their members to a celebration on February second called Candlemas. It was dedicated to Bridgit the Saint and celebrated with processions of flames.

There were other interesting ways the day/night was celebrated that were used back in ancient years. Many writers believed her name meant “fiery arrow” which was incorrect, but supported the smith craft or one who returned the fire, creativity and growth of the land. It was also believed that Brigit had two sacred oxen each with a red ear which was common back in the day of the Celts. Legend tells that her mother would bathe her in milk where as she couldn’t eat anything else, she was fed the milk of these oxen. Later, Brigit performed a miracle by increasing the flow of milk for her peoples so they would not starve.

The most important thing to remember, is Brigit was associated with fire, regeneration, the return of life basically. Here are ways to celebrate her either as the Celtic Mother Goddess, or the Christian Saint.

The time for purification! Clean your house, little areas of clutter that have
taken residence in the recesses of your home…

If you still have a tree in your home, this is the time
to burn it…

Create your own Brigit’s crosses and put them inside your home,
the kitchen is a great places where her presence will bless your food…

Make cakes and sweets to place outside your door with a glass
of  milk for Brigit and her cows as they walk past your door.

Leave a silk ribbon on your door for Brigit to bless as she walks by, then
use it for healing purposes.

You can also meditate on things you’d like to leave in the past be it old habits,
old “things”, ways of thinking or doing things that are best left in the past for growth.

References:
http://www.chalicecentre.net/imbolc.htm
http://www.worldspirituality.org/imbolc.html
Celtic Magic by D.J. Conway