Get Your Fire Back at Imbolc

Snowdrops at Imbolc

Wheel of the Year: Imbolc

Imbolc comes six weeks after Midwinter on the 1st February and is known as the festival of the returning light. It is also the start of the farming season when lambs are born and spring is round the corner. Indeed, its name derives from the Gaelic oimelc which translates as “ewe’s milk”.

Bridget at Imbolc

Maiden Fire Goddess Folk Art by Wendy Andrew
Maiden Fire Goddess painting by Wendy Andrew www.paintingdreams.co.uk

I love Imbolc! What a relief to have the wonderful returning light after the dark, cold, dampness of winter.

In the pagan tradition, Bridget is the young maiden who sweeps away the dross of winter. She takes what was the old Crone’s walking stick and strikes it on the ground, waking up the seeds, bulbs and plants from their winter sleep.

Much has been written about Bridget for she truly is an amazing goddess and one that is very close to our hearts here in Britain.

The Irish honoured Bridget as a saint, and she was often known as Brigit-Ana – this is where the British Isles get their name – Brittania.

She is a triple goddess of healing, poetry and smithcraft. This is her link with fire – just as the Smith strikes metal to purify and therefore strengthen it, so we can purify our souls through life’s lessons. Bridget helps us to release anything we no longer need, revealing our bright, shining essence.

Celebrate Bridget and work with her energies to transform your life with these five fabulous steps:

Imbolc: How to get your fire back

  1. On Imbolc Eve, simply light candles in every window of your home and leave overnight to welcome and honour the returning light (this year, Imbolc falls on Monday 2nd February, so light your candles this Sunday evening!)
  2. Clear out the cupboards, closets, garden shed, paperwork pile etc. – all those things that have been hanging around for far too long! Give your unwanted items to charity, or simply dispose of what you no longer need. These old things that hang around not only take up space but also your energy as well.
  3. Sweep and clean the path up to your front door, mentally clearing away any old, stagnant energy and welcoming new opportunities to come your way.
  4. Bridget, as the maiden, likes new things, new ideas and looking to the future. Plan to do something you have never done before, or go somewhere you have never gone, for later on in the year. This will move your mind to the future, to excitement, planning and hope.
  5. Place a picture of Bridget on your altar and invite her energies into your life. I particularly like this evocation that is at the White Spring in Glastonbury:

“Dearest Bridget please connect with me now. I invite you into my life to help energise and revitalise my mind, body and emotions. Help me connect with my creativity and enthusiasm.”

Connect with Bridget in our FREE guided meditation – included in our monthly newsletter. You will also learn about the uses of fire agate and receive a positive affirmation for February.

Winter Solstice Poem

Candle and holly wreath
Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver via Compfight cc

Winter Solstice

In winter’s darkness we are tired as we rush and rest,

Struggling with shopping and watching robins red breast.

We connect with the ancients who have gone before.

We remember family and friends whose cards come through the door.

 

In the stillness and the darkness the bulbs grow,

Deep within the cold, frosty earth below,

At the winter solstice we celebrate – we join together –

In this ancient custom that has lived forever.

 

And so the wheel turns and we look to lighter days,

Toward the light of spring and summer’s balmy haze.

Enjoy yourself and be of good cheer

For we are now entering the waxing year!

 

Suzi Dale

Dec ’09

The Essence of Yule

Altar with holly, goddess and pentagram

 

The Meaning of Yule

The Winter Solstice marks the longest night and shortest day of the year. From this point the sun’s strength waxes after the darkest days of winter. Evergreens are brought into the home to represent the green that will soon return to the land. Fire magic is important – think of the Yule log, candles and Christmas lights – as a way of honouring the sun god, whoever he is to you.

At Yule we meet Danu, the old woman of winter who has lost all her flesh, becoming light and insubstantial. The Crone of Samhain leads us into death and Danu is death itself – absolute stillness.

It is easy to become distracted by the commercialism of this time of year, however the celebrations we have at Midwinter are an ancient tradition, marking the shortest day and longest night of the year. After this time, the days become longer again and we feel we are over the worst of winter’s darkness.

To connect with the energy of Yule, why not choose to make your Yuletide gifts, rather than buying something mass-produced from the shops? If you don’t have time for this, remember that buying locally handmade gifts is a more meaningful and responsibile way to show appreciation for your loved ones.

At this time of year, pagans turn inward, seeking personal growth. In the meditation below, we meet Danu, an ancient goddess revered across the British Isles and Europe. It is said that those who worshipped her, the Tuatha de Danaan (the children of Danu), retreated into the hollow hills of Ireland when Christianity overcame the Old Ways. There, they became the immortal Fair Folk, and Danu’s legend lives on as the Goddess of faery ways.

Danu is the power that is in the land, never to be overcome by mortals.

Yule Meditation

Imagine that you are walking in a forest at night. The ground is cloaked in snow and stars shine above you, but you are dressed warmly. You come to a clearing, encircled by trees, in which the light of the moon shines down between the bare branches of a tree.

You wait, taking in the beauty and serenity of this place. The carpet of snow lends a stillness and a silence to the scene, and here and there it glitters with reflected moonlight.

You watch your breath billow and curl as it leaves your body. Cold air stings your face, but you are wrapped up and snug.

Then she appears between the trees, stepping into the clearing. It is Danu, Mother of All Life, Ancient Grandmother.

 

She is here to give you a Yuletide gift. She holds it out to you. You may recognise it at once, or perhaps it is a symbolic or abstract gift. Receive the gift with thanks. If you do not know what it is, ask for understanding.

Meditate on the theme of development within the darkness. Connect with your unique gifts and abilities that will flourish during the year ahead. Danu has given you a gift deep within your soul – ask her how you can develop it and bring it out into the world.

Give thanks for what you have received and what you will receive in the coming year. Say goodbye to the Mother of All Life and the forest, but know that you can return here anytime you desire.

When you are ready, open your eyes.

At Yule, ask Danu to be with you. May she help you hear the wisdom deep within yourself. May she help you make time for stillness, for in darkness, seeds germinate.

Bright Blessings xx

Valentine’s Day, Imbolc and Clearing the Clutter!

posted in: Ceremony, Cloaks | 0

Valentine’s Day (February 14th) is very close to Imbolc, the ancient celebration of the first stirrings of Spring.

Now is the time to honour the ones we love and think about being in a couple. We welcome the returning warmth to the earth and the first pale sunny days that are such a relief after the long winter. We are poised midway between Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.

Our Imbolc ceremony

This Imbolc, I took part in an outdoor ceremony in a friend’s woodland with some like-minded folk. It was cold and wet, and I was really grateful for my cloak, my winter one, that is made from a lovely wool fabric and keeps me very warm and dry. This helps me to really focus on the magical work in hand, and not get distracted by the cold. During the ceremoney, we each used the broom to symbolically sweep into the fire anything that we wanted to release.

Declutter and de-stress

At this time of year do you feel you want to make a fresh start? Clean and clear your space and sort out those cupboards, drawers and sheds that are full of ‘stuff’? Well do it! You are connecting with the Maiden Goddess who is sweeping clean the earth and our lives.

Use this energy productively and follow the Maiden – she knows the way. Declutter and make room for the new! Allow the energy of the young spring Goddess to help you release all that it old, outworn and not needed in your life. She loves new ideas and has the enthusiasm and energy for new ventures. Help her to help you, and watch your new life unfold.

Goddess Brigit by Caroline Gully Lir
Goddess Brigit by Caroline Gully Lir