Merry Meet All,
Imbolc is almost here. It is the first of the three spring Sabbats. Winter is slowly grinding to a halt and spring is ready to take the reins. Soon the crocuses and snowdrops will push from the earth and thumb their noses at Old Man Winter.
The Goddess Brighid is honored at Imbolc. Brighid is the goddess of poetry, smithcraft and healing. Imbolc occurs on February 2nd in the Northern Hemisphere. It is known as Candlemas, Imbolg, Brigit’s Eve. The light returns and brings hope of spring. The ewes swell with new life. THe other name for this holiday is Oimelc (“oy-meil”), ewe’s milk. The ewes were lactating for their lambs. Imbolg is one of the four great Celtic fire festivals.
The light returns and each day the light lasts longer. The Crone turns to the Maiden with the first signs of spring. Farmers check their grain supply and their wives check the pantry. Brighid is a fire goddess. She is a fertility goddess and connected to the fire of creation in the spring.
It is a good time to perform a ritual to honor Brighid and Imbolc. Make a corn dolly and decorate your altar. Make Brigid’s crosses and dedicate them on your altar. Light white candles and perform a house cleansing ceremony. The animals, plants and symbols sacred to Brigit are the cow: a white cow with red ears, fish, sheep since it is the season when sheep give birth, a snake and wolves, bears and badgers. The swan was sometimes a deity in disguise. Plants like blackberry is associated with the Goddess for its healing powers. Early spring flowers such as crocuses and snowdrops and primroses are sacred to Brigit. Grains and hops, hazel, oak, rowan and willow are sacred to her. The symbols sacred to her are iron, the flame, the Brighid’s Cross, the moon, nine white stones, the trinity of the maiden, mother and crone, two crescents and water. The triskellion, or three-armed cross, relates to her triple nature. Water represents both healing and divination.
Imbolc is a perfect time to cleanse and cast off winter’s heavy cloak of stale energy or whatever you are harboring internally that you wish to be rid of. Take a long hot soak and at your altar, perform a self-cleansing ceremony and get it all out of your system. You might feel revived at the end of it. Get rid of clutter or donate items. Clean your house and do a cleansing and house blessing ceremony. Perform a re-dedication and re-consecration of your tools.
About.com would have good information on Imbolg. If you are quick, you may find a good book on Imbolc and Brigid at your local metaphysical store. May you enjoy Imbolg and be blessed by the Goddess.