Imbolg

Imbolg

Halfway between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox we find the festival of Imbolg, a Gaelic traditional festival marking the beginning of spring most commonly held on 1 February.

This festival has its origins within the Celtic agricultural community. Imbolc is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature and there is evidence it has been an important date since ancient times.

The word Imbolc is Old Irish meaning “in the belly”, and may refer to the pregnancy of ewes.

It may also mean “to wash/cleanse oneself”, referring to a ritual cleansing

And others maintain that it derives it from a root meaning both “milk” and “cleansing”

Imbolg is also known as…

Saint Brigid’s Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Bríde, Scottish Gaelic: Là Fhèill Brìghde, Manx: Laa’l Breeshey), Gŵyl Fair y Canhwyllau (Welsh for  “Mary’s Festival of the Candles” – however in Wales it is generally not connected with Saint Brigid of Kildare, as it is in Scotland and Ireland) and Christian tradition, Candlemas.

Brigid is rather a complex figure. We meet her in Irish mythology as a member of the Tuatha Dé Danann, the daughter of the Dagda and wife of Bres, with whom she had a son named Ruadán. She may well have been a continuation of  an Indo-European dawn goddess. As the daughter of Dagda, she is also the half sister of Cermait, Aengus, Midir and Bodb Derg.

Brigid is the traditional patroness of healing, poetry and smithcraft, which are all practical and inspired  wisdom. As a solar deity Her attributes are light, inspiration and all skills associated with fire. Although She might not be identified with the physical Sun, She is certainly related to inner healing and vital energy

Also known as The Mistress of the Mantle, She represents the sister or virgin aspect of the Great Goddess.

Imbolg Celebrations

On the 31st Jan we held a celebration with graduates of The Craft and Druidry courses and on the 5th February we were invited to attend The Penwith Pagan Moot’s celebration at Sancreed Well.

Sarah, Dave, Paula, Adrian,Annabelle  and the core team of The Penwith Pagan Moot prepared and led a lovely afternoon ceremony which included a circular walk to Sancreed Well

Sarah,Paula and Annabelle celebrated the Poetry aspects of Bride; Adrian and Dave led the healing walk to Sancreed whilst Sue led the Healing Blessing – the Healing of Bride.

Sancreed Church, and thus by implication the well, is dedicated to St.Credan, a mythological saint who in the old texts supposedly accidently killed his father and became a swineherd in penance. Sancreed Church has a carving of him holding a pig above the porch door.

In Celtic mythology pigs were totem animals of the Otherworld, and swineherds often have an initiatory significance, representing contact with the Otherworld.

Whether a coincidence or not, this legend seems to be particularly apposite at this well that seems to lead down into the Underworld.

(http://www.cornishancientsites.com/Sancreed%20well.pdf)

Once back in from the walk, Adrian led a session of  the weaving of willow leaves.

In all a lovely celebration, an honouring of Brigid in all here facets and a welcoming of the light; the coming spring.

One of our new friends, John Gordon a man of many talents , offered us a poem (song) to share and we’re happy to do so here:-

A Villanelle For Bredes Day

In the dawning of Brede’s dear day,

Hear strong wing beats cleaving the air,

White birds of the old quicken way.

 

Homing arrows ‘gainst sky’s drear gray,

Swooping low o’er the flat machair,

In the dawning of Brede’s dear day

 

Loudly honking their ancient lay,

As they circle the file’s chair,

White birds of the old quicken way.

Chiding one and all to watch and pray,

Urging us on to will and dare,

In the dawning of Brede’s dear day

 

Their secrets we shall ne’er betrsy,

Their blessing we shall ever share,

White birds of the old quicken way.

 

Each passing year they come and stay,

Lifting our hearts from the fret of care,

In the dawning of Brede’s dear day

White birds of the old quicken way

Thanks to John Gordon for allowing us to share this poem,

From our groups celebration on the 31/01/17 can we offer these blessings :

For Brigid the Healer

We honour the gifts of healing and cleansing

We look to the young light with each of us and    so heal ourselves

Allowing us to bring healing to others

For Brigid the Smith

We honour the gifts of transforming and making

We look to those yet to be developed skills we each possess

Allowing us to manifest our plans and wishes for others

For Brigid the Poet

We honour the gift of word and music, our divine creativity

We look to our words, our inner music that can bring learning, comfort, wisdom

Allowing us to be mindful of our thoughts and words and their effect upon ourselves and others

For Brigid the Keeper of the Hearth

We honour the gifts of our home, our family and our community

We look to these things and notice that service is from Heart to Hearth

Allowing us to recognize the need to bring service to ourselves and others

 

Alan

 

 

 

 

 

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