Imbolg: the constancy of change, and the ‘end-of-history’ illusion

As we approach Imbolc, the next turn of the Wheel of the Year, I enjoyed Dr. Sharon Blackie’s additional history of this festival, as well as her important musing on change. Indeed, the times they are a’changing. It helps to root to the cycles of the Earth, which do continue their cycle regardless of who does what in the news or otherwise.

Imbolc is often celebrated sometime between January 31st and February 2nd. This year, the actual crossquarter day (when the Sun reaches 15 degrees Aquarius) falls on Friday, February 3rd. Anyone interested in hearth and home, inspiration, metal working (including jewelry), healing, poetry, wells and/or fire might find this week a lovely time to make a Brigid’s cross, light a candle, clean house, or just connect in gratitude. Wherever you are and whatever you celebrate this week, Blessed Be!

The Art of Enchantment

Imbolg, sometimes written as Imbolc, is probably derived from the Irish word bolg, for ‘belly’, so meaning ‘in the belly’; it has also been speculated that it might come from the word oimelc, meaning ‘ewe’s milk’.  (And please note: contrary to what many helpful sites on the web try to tell you, you don’t pronounce the ‘b’: the word is pronounced ‘i-molg’.) Imbolg is one of the festivals known as ‘cross-quarter days’; it comes midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. Although it’s sometimes called St Brigid’s Day, or Lá Fhéile Bríde, this festival is ancient, and predates the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. It’s likely to have been associated with the old goddess Brigid, who was later appropriated into the new religion.

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