Imbolc and the Wolf Moon
Monday gratefuls: Easy Entrees bacon wrapped pork tenderloins. Green Beans. Kate’s no nausea days. House cleaning today. LLBean and my new shearling hurricane shirt. The Ancient Ones tell stories around the council fire. Tom’s story. 45 gone. 46 doing stuff I like. Feel better. Imbolc.
The Ewes, the pregnant Ewes. Milk for their Lambs. Means Milk for all. For Cheese. For children. Imbolc. In the belly. In Ireland this is and was the birthing time for Sheep. The Lambs came; the Ewes freshened; the family fed on food not stored over the long fallow time.
It was clear the promise of the day after the Winter Solstice was not false. There would be another spring, another freshening of the earth. All would be well, all manner of things would be well.
What a precious and delightful time. Lambs gamboling. Suckling. Milk squirted directly into children’s mouths. All delighted by the miracle of birth and renewal.
Hard to put ourselves in the place of people who subsisted on stored Grains, Vegetables, smoked Meats over the long fallow time begun on Samain, Summer’s End, and lasting until today.
Brigid, the Triple Goddess. Her day. This from a wikipedia article:
She is the goddess of all things perceived to be of relatively high dimensions such as high-rising flames, highlands, hill-forts and upland areas; and of activities and states conceived as psychologically lofty and elevated, such as wisdom, excellence, perfection, high intelligence, poetic eloquence, craftsmanship (especially blacksmithing), healing ability, druidic knowledge and skill in warfare.
Poetry, the smithy, and the hearth were her domains, thus the Triple Goddess. The often week long festivals the Celts celebrated on their four cross quarter days: Imbolc, Beltane (May 1), Lughnasa (August 1), and Samain (October 31st) gave villagers a break from their subsistence lives. A chance to play, to sing, dance, trade, honor their gods and goddesses.
Imbolc was also a time for discerning weather, peeking into the immediate future. Hoping for Spring, but knowing it could still be distant. It was this tradition that has translated in the U.S. into Groundhog Day. Here’s a Scottish proverb that suggests the link. Bride is Brigit.
Thig an nathair as an toll
The serpent will come from the hole
Imbolc is a good day to consider those freshened thoughts and projects you have. What came up for you during the dark, fecund days of Winter? Are there dreams or hopes or works you imagined then that need a push right now? You can ask Brigit for help. It’s her big day and she’s listening.
If you have an artesian well nearby or know of one, you could also follow the ancient Celtic practice of dressing the wells. On these holidays the Irish, the Welsh, The Scots, the Cornish, the Manx, and Bretons would, in ancient times, take flowers to the well, make corn dollies representing Brigit and leave them there, tie rags with wishes and prayers to shrubs and trees nearby.
These Holy Wells are pathways to the Otherworld, the world of Faery, and a place where the Holy Ones pay attention to the needs of the common person.
Brigit, the Triple Goddess, is a Fire Goddess, and at Kincaid in Ireland a double monastery, men and women, kept her eternal flame alive throughout the year. Might be a good day to have a Fire in the Fireplace, her hearth, and consider the creativity her Holy spirit represents.
Welcome all to the blessed season of Imbolc. May your projects blaze up and warm you and yours.