Monday, 2 February 2015

Imbolc

Bright blessings on this most beautiful of days.


Yesterday was Imbolc, or alternatively today is Imbolc - it depends who's calendar you are looking in.  Either way it's a day to celebrate the turning of the year - Spring is starting to un-wind from the frozen winter earth.  The snowdrops are out, the catkins are hanging in the Hazel trees.  Traditionally this is a day to 'break the ground' ready for the earliest seeds to be planted - the one's that relish a bit of ice and frost.  It began with the kind of blazing sunrise that seems to set the trees on fire and bring every spirit of every living thing loud and lively to the fore, dancing in the winter sun.




 It is said that the Cailleach  gathers her winter wood on Imbolc.  If the day is bright and sunny then winter is far from over, she has made the day fine so that she can go out and gather wood for the fires that she's going to need to keep herself warm for in the continuing cold.  If the day is misty or dull then she's sleeping - winter is over and spring will be here in earnest soon.  Yesterday was exquisite.


We celebrated Imbolc with a little family ritual. It goes like this - Brid (her feminine energy symbolised by a doll made of sticks for the purposes of this endeavour) is the guardian of the land hereabouts and of our house in particular.  She is dressed in a beautiful robe and ribbons and she is put to bed (a willow basked made years ago by me with the first willow I had ever grown for myself) with a carved phallus - this is Brod, he is the masculine half of that energy.  In the bed with them go offerings from each member of the household.  These are usually a 'thing of beauty' that has either been made or found and also a small rolled up piece of paper.  On our pieces of paper each of us writes what they would like to bring to birth in the coming spring; our dreams, our ambitions. These things all spend the night in the bed together in front of the heart fire which is kindled afresh for the occasion.  In the morning the offerings and the wishings - or more accurately willings - are burned in the fire.


It was incredibly beautiful for me to watch my tall loose-limbed sons bend knee and head to this little ceremony, something we've been doing since they were children but something that has never lost it's magic or it's power to transform. There is no Father Christmas here to give up believing in, only the heart-full acknowledgement of the Spirit That Lives In All Things.


Today the Cailleach's wood gathering was over and the day was full of sprinkley showers of snow which brought the endless preparing of drum skins to a frozen halt while I laughed by the fire inside making drums with a lovely woman from 'not far away'.


When she had gone, drum happily in hand, I took to the fields with my camera.....













May what you wish to bring to birth this spring be yours, and may it be for the good of all of us.







12 comments:

  1. Beautiful photos of the trees burning with the sunrise light!

    And I adore that ritual...I may have to partly pinch it for this household...:)
    Imbolc love

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pinch away - that's what it's here for. :)

      Delete
    2. How lovely..such beautiful photographs...and i love the ritual...
      Thanks for sharing

      Delete
  2. I love how, while you are breaking ground there, we are bringing in the first harvest. Mythically speaking, of course, for on the land the old rhythms have been lost. Your photos are wonderful! Blessings to you at this beautiful time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, and blessings to you. It always tickles me too - to see summer blazing away over there, while we freeze over here. Most strange and amazing and entirely commonsensical.

      Delete
  3. yummy yummy yum. i roll in your snow!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow, yes, be proud of these photos. We have little rituals too, although big in the willing, as yours clearly is.
    I love your blog. We should hang out.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you muchly and I love yours! Yes we should hang out, it's pooh just seeing you in passing.. I'll message you. xx

    ReplyDelete