Today is the day for Bride;
the serpent shall come from the hole.
Kisma Stephanich, Faery Wicca: Book One
At dusk on February 1, commoners gathered and ignited their torches. Donning heavy wool cloaks, they entered the darkness. The jolly days of Yule were behind them, and honestly, for a peasant, it was not quite jolly. Food was hard to come by and it was hard to scrape up enough for a meager feast. However, Imbolc arrived. Bride’s Day. The day of honoring the Great Smith Goddess. Out into the cold February winds they went, and the once dark and ominous village transformed into a magickal Festival of Flames. Of all the sacred days of the year, it has been recorded that this was the most sacred of days (surpassing Yule and what would later be called Easter). Fire and Ice, Light and Darkness. Again, consider the treacherousness of Winter and loss of life that was so common for ancient villages. This was about the hope that warmth was just around the corner and this was about community.
The Celtic Goddess Brigid was worshiped on Imbolg and was such a beloved deity that Catholics had to make her a saint to maintain the peace. It became commonplace to honor her on Candlemas (the Catholic version of Imbolg that traditionally honors the Virgin Mary, still a goddess-centered holiday). Imbolc is a time of fire and ice. Winter is fading away, slowly but surely, and little glimmers of Spring are revealing themselves. The world seems to awaken from the darkness to greet the Sun. Brigid is quite perfect for this sabbat. She is full of dualities; one side of her face was scarred, the other unharmed. She was a patron of poetry and she taught and fought in the art of war. She is one of the few Goddesses who forged her own blade to use in the battles she fought in. Her own brigand was formed of outlaws and she had a soft spot for the wayward. Young women (and sometimes boys) would dress as her and go house to house begging, and it was considered good luck to donate to their cause.
She truly represented, and still does, the complexities of womanhood.
On this Imbolc remember the Divine Feminine as a force of Fire and Light.
- Create your own candle procession I like the big pillar candles on little plates for this and you can just parade around the house outside/inside
- Spar with each other with wooden swords or cardboard tubes (in preparation of this look up fighting patterns)
- Have a poetry reading- make poetry together to share and try all the different kinds (haikus, metered, etc)
- Donate or volunteer at a women’s center or youth center in honor of Brigid
Imbolc blessings, all.