“You are led through your lifetime by the inner learning creature, the playful spiritual being that is your real self.
Don't turn away from possible futures before you're certain you don't have anything to learn from them.”

~ Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull ~


Monday, January 31, 2011

Imbolg ~ February 2nd

Here in the northern hemisphere, most of us are still in the grips of winter. For our ancestors, snow covered the earth, the nights were still long, and the festivities surrounding Yule and the Solstice are long since past. Food supplies were beginning to dwindle and become moldy and the promise of spring seemed far away. Yet with all this, they still celebrated. In the cold darkness, they found reason for hope, thus creating a holy day, a festival, a feast.

Imbolg became an important festival to the Celts who were pastoral herders. Imbolg (pronounced em-bowl/g) means 'in the belly' and refers specifically to the pregnant sheep and more broadly to Mother Earth who is beginning to show signs of life. Another name for this holiday was Oimelc which means 'ewe's milk', an important life sustaining beverage for the family. Because it was so important, an offering of ewe's milk would often be left overnight for the God/dess as a libation to encourage bounty.

Imbolg is also considered a great fire festival with the emphasis on the light of the fire rather than on the heat it gives. The sun's light is noticeably with us longer each day and is our assurance that the Wheel is turning and that spring and summer will return.

Other traditions observed during Imbolg are meditation and divinations to determine what a person should focus on magickally or spiritually for the year, writing poetry or weaving (crocheting for me) in honor of Brigit, rituals to ask Brigit or another personal diety for inspiration, or simply rituals of gratitude for the growing light. In many Wiccan traditions, Imbolg is also a time for initiation.

Imbolg is about the first signs of spring, the promise of returning life, about sunlight and ripening and the growing conviction that the community will survive another year. Perhaps so but in my neck of the woods we're expecting up to 13 inches of snow with wind gusts of 40 to 50 miles an hour over the next two days. Spring may be on its way, but it sure is taking its damn time about it!

Have a blessed Imbolg!

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9 comments:

Monique Elisabeth said...

Have a wonderful Imbolc. I love your decorations, so very beautiful !!

Monique aka Moncha

Kiki aka Victoria said...

Hi Tereza..an absolutely beautiful tribute to Imbolg...Blessings to you! Gorgeous photos and words!
I wanted to share...in case you ever would love to share your beautiful altars and dedications..I may begiun a weekly or monthly mclinky -post of altars/dedications! feel welcome if you like!
Have a wonderful week!

Amanda said...

it's very beautiful!!

vflower said...

A very beautiful and warming tribute to Imbolc. Thanks for sharing your altar! It's very inspiring. :)

Mina said...

Magnificent post! Your photos are absolutely beautiful as well.

aradia's cauldron said...

ok, i'm drooling over your altar decor. beautiful!!! i love it.

The Blue Faerie said...

You always have such beautiful altar set ups. I hope you're having a happy Imbolg and are surviving the MOUNTAINS of snow! I fully plan on going out tromping to the store later today. If you see a short person stuck up to her thighs in a snow bank screaming, "Help me Freya!" it's me. :)

Shell said...

Your altar is luminous!!

Aine O'Brien said...

I just love your altars. Do you mind if I repost pics in my "altar" page (complete with link) ??