Thursday, February 2, 2012

Sabbats: Imbolc

Imbolc was one of the pastoral festivals of the ancient Celts. Takes place with the first rays of spring, when the sap rises through the trees and snowdrops poke their heads through the snow.

The Celts exalted this festival as the Goddess Brighid, who was later Christianized under the name of St. Bridget. At Imbolc lambs born early this year, a powerful sign of renewal, innocence and purity. In popular stories, Brighid Fairy appears as to expel the winter and regain the Sorceress spring.
Imbolc means "in the belly", it is the time when the seed is "in the womb" of Mother Earth, beginning to move to germinate. It is the time when winter still covers the ground, but spring is coming. Pagans celebrate this time with bonfires and with the blessing of the tools.

Mythologically, the Goddess has recovered from the birth of their son, who grows strong, ensuring survival. Imbolc also can be a time of opening and initiation. Some see this period as the time when the Goddess as Maiden is renewed after the birth of his son.

Another traditional symbol of Imbolc is the plough. In some areas, this is the first day of ploughing in preparation of the first planting of crops. A decorated plough is dragged from door to door, with costumed children following asking for food, drinks, or money. Should they be refused, the household is paid back by having its front garden ploughed up. In other areas, the plough is decorated and then Whiskey, the "water of life" is poured over it. Pieces of cheese and bread are left by the plough and in the newly turned furrows as offerings to the nature spirits. It is considered taboo to cut or pick plants during this time.

Various other names for this Greater Sabbat are Imbolgc Brigantia (Caledonni), Imbolic (Celtic), Disting (Teutonic, Feb 14th), Lupercus (Strega), St. Bridget's Day (Christian), Candlemas, Candlelaria (Mexican), the Snowdrop Festival. The Festival of Lights, or the Feast of the Virgin. All Virgin and Maiden Goddesses are honored at this time. 

This celebrations can be celebrate since the 31 January to the 2 February, it all depends in which culture you celebrate it. Is a good time to start new things, burn old stuff, and get rid of emotional chains that keep you bidden and don't let you move on.

If you  are a not Wiccan or a pagan, and don't like to do a whole ritual about it to a Goddess you don't follow, you can just burn something that makes you feel stuck, or write a letter with the things you don't want anymore in your life, no matter what God/Goddess you follow this is a festivity that happens in the world, the earth is preparing for a new season, is getting rid of all the dead stuff winter left by, so why don't you do the same? Start something new! And leave behind those old stuff which doesn't let you move on.

Deities of Imbolc: All Virgin/Maiden Goddesses, Brighid, Aradia, Athena, Inanna, Gaia, and Februa, and Gods of Love and Fertility, Aengus Og, Eros, and Februus.

Symbolism of Imbolc: Purity, Growth and Re-Newal, The Re-Union of the Goddess and the God, Fertility, and dispensing of the old and making way for the new.

Symbols of Imbolc: Brideo'gas, Besoms, White Flowers, Candle Wheels, Brighid's Crosses, Priapic Wands (acorn-tipped), and Ploughs.

Herbs of Imbolc: Angelica, Basil, Bay Laurel, Blackberry, Celandine, Coltsfoot, Heather, Iris, Myrrh, Tansy, Violets, and all white or yellow flowers.

Foods of Imbolc: Pumpkin seeds, Sunflower seeds, Poppyseed Cakes, muffins, scones, and breads, all dairy products, Peppers, Onions, Garlic, Raisins, Spiced Wines and Herbal Teas.

Incense of Imbolc: Basil, Bay, Wisteria, Cinnamon, Violet, Vanilla, Myrrh.

Colors of Imbolc: White, Pink, Red, Yellow, lt. Green, Brown.

Stones of Imbolc: Amethyst, Bloodstone, Garnet, Ruby, Onyx, Turquoise.

Activities of Imbolc: Candle Lighting, Stone Gatherings, Snow Hiking and Searching for Signs of Spring, Making of Brideo'gas and Bride's Beds, Making Priapic Wands, Decorating Ploughs, Feasting, and Bon Fires maybe lit. 

Imbolc Chant

Now I banish winter.
Now I welcome spring:
Say farewell to what is dead
And greet each living thing.
Now I banish winter.
Now I welcome spring.


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