Posts Tagged ‘Imbolc’

8-Day Wheel of the Year Special

Here we are at 1/8/18, and I feel led to open this opportunity for the next eight days. Over the years, many clients, friends, and blog readers have inquired about my own personal holidays — or, rather, Holy Days — intrigued by the way that big events in David’s and my life seem to unfold in a cyclical order of richly layered meaning and inspired action. In private sessions, clients ask about opportune times for various tasks or intentions, as well as ways to deepen and enrich their journey.  So many times, Turns of the Wheel of the Year present themselves as powerful openings for conscious alignment.

Many cultures recognize some version of the Wheel of the Year. Just look at crossovers among holidays: Candlemas, Imbolc/Oimelc, Groundhog’s Day, and St. Bridget’s Day, around the beginning of February (in the Northern Hemisphere); Halloween, All Hallow’s Eve, Samhain, Dia de los Muertos, All Saint’s Day in late October/early November; all the festivals of light around Winter Solstice — Christmas, Hanukkah, Mother Night, Yule, Pancha Ganapati, Soyal, and Midwinter Christmas/Christmas in July and Inti Raymi in late June/early July in the Southern Hemisphere.

Honoring and celebrating the Wheel of the Year reclaims secular or religious holidays and seasonal shifts as eight windows of “time out of time,” when the veils grow very thin. Whether we use such times as a reflective pause or to align ourselves with natural cycles, the Wheel of the Year invites us to partner with the Dance of Life.

This $888 8-Day Special will run from 1/8/18 through 1/15/18 and includes eight 40-minute sessions (one scheduled before each Turn of the Wheel, beginning in late January 2018), plus a Reiki Healing Attunement at each Turn. These private sessions will be intuitively tailored to you (and your hemisphere), helping you to recognize synchronicities and supportive energies, as well as to clarify focus, intentions, meditations of your heart, rituals, Earth healing, personal healing, and/or discernment about how to make the most of these openings.

I will not repeat this offer again in 2018. In fact, I don’t know if I will ever repeat this offer, as it involves a year-long commitment on my part, and our lives continue to unfold in beautiful, expansive, yet unpredictable ways. Our own alignment with the Wheel of the Year ensures we continue evolving and embracing new opportunities, so I cannot promise I will offer this again next year.

If you’ve felt called to embrace a deeper connection with the Land and a more soulful experience of time, the 8-Day Wheel of the Year Special offers a discounted bundle of eight sessions and eight Reiki Healing Attunements in order to support and deepen your quest. This $888 bundle saves $968 off an individual investment of $1,856 and also represents my commitment to fit you in for a session prior to each Turn of the Wheel. Please contact me to sign up. Offer expires 1/15/18, because we will need time to schedule before our first Turn in late January/early February.

Disinfo Alert: What is Imbolc (Imbolg) and Who is Brigid?

Today’s post comes as a follow-up to yesterday’s shared post with Ann Kreilkamp of Exopermaculture. If you’ve not read that, please click through to both of our comments by following this link. We’ll begin with a comment bump-up from reader Kieron:

Y’know, in seeking out info on that ritual that took place last Sunday (and I forbade anyone in my house to watch it, BTW), I’ve found several references to the “sacrificial” or “blood sacrifice” date of “Imbolg,” with references to ritual killings to honor Brigid, Bride or any other spelling of Her name. Or “connections” to “Imbolg” (which is how it’s being spelled in these sites) as a Satanic holiday. Obviously there’s a lot of disinfo, not to mention idle speculation by people who have no idea what Imbolc is about. But it sorta fits with Ann’s remark about the increase in demonization of the awakening Divine Feminine. The disinfo controllers know their days are numbered so they’re opening the sewers to create a stink and keep people from finding the bits of truth in the mess.

For those not aware, the ritual to which Kieron refers is the Superbowl half-time show, which for the past several years has been (or has at least been designed to appear) overtly Satanic. I don’t need to go through the ritual here. I didn’t watch it. I don’t have a television. I consider the Superbowl a barbaric embarrassment to America and to humanity in general. It’s one of the largest human trafficking events in the world, the hugest drunkfest, and an enormous waste of resources and for what? A bunch of men running around and getting concussions? Uh-huh, great stuff, even without the halftime “show.”

You can find innumerable analyses of that halftime show ranging from somewhat intelligent to completely hysterical, fundamentalist fear porn. Here’s the deal, and I said this about last year’s performance, too: the Illumi-snotty know they’ve been busted for their sick child sacrifices and other things beyond the imagination of normal, healthy humans. Will they fess up? No, not really, and these in your face rituals are not — as some people assume — designed as confessions. They’re designed to redirect public attention. As I have noted before, and as Ann notes again in yesterday’s commentary, conveniently, the demonized element becomes … wait for it … some “evil” Goddess, along with anyone who has ever showed any interest in agricultural/Earth celebrations like The Wheel of the Year, which originally celebrated the seasons and Mother Earth.

Of course, in a patriarchal, genetically modified, transhumanist-pushing, weather-warfared world, tuning into real mothers, natural feminine creative force, and actual, un-manipulated seasons becomes a threat. Aligning with Goddess energy, especially with Mother Earth, any Goddess associated with Sovereignty and the Land, or the mother aspects (think mama bear) of any people-loving powerful Goddess would be things the patriarchal pariahs want to discourage at all costs. We’ve had millennia of propaganda, genocides, book burnings, and witch burnings, and yet still, here She is. That pesky feminine force that will not be silenced.

If you can’t suppress from above, then what’s the next best thing? Start a revolution from below. Get the well-intentioned but still patriarchal and largely brainwashed New Agers to unite with born again Christians and start busting the “pagan” qualities in all these rituals. Nevermind that pagans (“country dwellers”) and heathens (“of the heath”) existed long before the “Holy” Roman Empire massacred anyone who wouldn’t accept their one, redeeming “truth.” It’s all Satanic, yep, that’s the ticket to complete domination. Begin it as a conspiracy and pretty soon, even the dumbed down masses will imbibe what their slightly more awake (but still controlled by the hidden hand) “peers” tell them about the self-appointed “elite” puppeteers.

Just like in the French Revolution, which the Illumi-snotty brag about orchestrating (talk about a blood sacrifice!), the “useless eaters” will begin demanding that anyone and everyone who sounds like a witch, a pagan, a heathen, even gardeners (now on the terrorist watch list, no lie!), and anyone who uses esoteric skills, works with Mother Earth, or honors  the Goddess in her many forms, should be burned at the stake, hung from the nearest lamppost, because they’re “just like George H.W. Bush or Queen Lizardbeth.” Those two will, no doubt, go into hiding or fake their deaths, not actually be affected the 21st century Inquisition. Meanwhile, the frenzied, fiery masses — if stoked enough — will demand a purge to usher in either a State sponsored official “rational religion” or an even more complete right-wing, fundamentalist backlash against women, the Earth and any individual connection to Spirit or Soul.

Guess who will be most affected by this New Age Inquisition? New Ager’s. Yep, just like Communists use their liberal mouthpieces like journalists, artists and intellectuals to whip up frenzied demands for Communism and then promptly kill all these people once they get in power, the very “Christ Consciousness” New Ager’s getting so frothy against paganism will likely be lumped into the “esoteric” purge. Already in the UK, there’s a movement to shut down “esoteric” websites, supposedly because some child pornography rings have hidden behind them as cover. This has gotten public approval, but it has also linked child pornography with esoteric learning. A very small percentage of occult or esoterically educated people have anything to do with the horrors of child pornography or child sacrifice. Those who do are usually in positions of power like police chiefs, presidents, Senators, princes, Secret Societies or their high-powered associates.

The people who probably are not involved are your friendly neighborhood gardeners, tarot readers or people who gather for Wheel of the Year feasts celebrating the harvest. Yes, the harvest … or the planting season, the first growth, the animals’ various stages of reproduction. The Land. The Elements. The cycles of time, birth, life, death and rebirth. This brings me to today’s title, “Disinfo Alert: What is Imboc (Imbolg) and Who is Brigid?”

Imbolc translates to “in belly” and refers to the ewes being nearly ready to give birth to their lambs, which in pre-modern times meant fresh milk after a long winter of dwindling rations. Another version of the word, “Oimelc,” actually meant “ewe’s milk.” Contrary to whatever disinfo the hysterical people are spreading around online, and contrary to whatever patriarchal perversions the self-appointed “elite” have twisted this cross-quarter day into, Imbolc (celebrated on February 1) traditionally honored aspects of motherhood. Gestation, milk, lambs. The Irish Goddess Brigid — patron of midwives, newborn children, mothers and the hearthfire — was also honored on that date. In fact, devotion to this powerful Goddess was so strong that the Irish refused to give her up. The Catholic Church needed to adopt her — pretty much as is — and honor her on the same day.

“The Christian Feast Day of St. Brigid of Kildare, one of the two patron saints of Ireland, is held on February 1, the pre-Christian holiday known as Imbloc.  It is well known that St. Brigid has the same name as a pre-Christian Goddess of Ireland, variously known as Brighid (pronounced “Breed”), Brigid, Brigit, Bride, or Bridie.  The name Brigid is from the Celtic ‘Brig’ meaning ‘High One’ or ‘Exalted One.’  Brigid like other Irish Goddesses was originally associated with a Mountain Mother, protectress of the people who lived within sight of her and of the flocks nurtured on her slopes.” (source)

In addition to all these mother-related associations, Brigid was a goddess of sacred wells — wells with healing water, not whirlpools for drowning! Associated with healing, poetry and smithcraft and the fire that inspires all three, Brigid was and is one of the most powerful feminine forces revered for ages. Originally, iron for smithworking was associated with the menstrual blood of the Earth. Smithing was a magickal profession that required Brigid’s favor. You couldn’t just rape the Earth of her innards and expect to survive; you needed to honor the Mother, ask for permission and follow protocols. You needed the blessing of a powerful midwife Goddess.

I haven’t read all the discussions of “Imbolg,” but as Kieron shared in his comment, they mostly focus on blood and fire “sacrifices.” I mentioned yesterday that the original blood offering came from women and was menstrual blood — something potent, nourishing, powerful and deeply, unequivocally feminine. If a patriarchal crew suddenly wanted to co-opt a peaceful religion and somehow associated blood with power, then the only way to do so without honoring women would be to turn a peaceful female blood offering into violent blood sacrifices. This does not and never did have anything to do with Brigid!  Anyone who says it does is either misinformed through propaganda; is referring to some patriarchal perversion of an original celebration of mothers, motherhood, milk and fertility; or is trying to foment a 21st century witch hunt. Please don’t participate in this kind of slander, which will only backfire on those perpetuating it.

The hearth flame of Brigid represents home and the nourishing qualities of fire, not the burn your house down or burn the nearest witch quality of fire. Each Element is a powerful force capable of nurturing or destruction. Originally, people honored fire at cross quarter days (the halfway points between each season’s start on the Wheel of the Year) for its life giving or nurturing properties, specific to the time of year. At Imbolc, halfway between Winter and Spring, fire meant “hearth fire.” At Bealtaine, cattle were run between fires in order to remove parasites. Bealtaine also celebrates the inner fire of passion and its outward expression of fertility. At Lammas (loaf mass) or Lughnassagh (for Lugh, the Sun God), they celebrated the baking of grain into bread and the hot, bright sun that allowed crops to grow. On Samhain, perhaps the most legitimately “scary” of the festivals, at least for people who fear death, it was time to honor the ancestors and to put the land to sleep for the winter. The final harvest festival of the year, Samhain acknowledges the importance of death as part of the life cycle. People lit candles for ancestors, with whom they still felt deep kinship.

Imbolc also has associations with “spring cleaning” and taking stock of winter supplies. Halfway between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, Imbolc marked the time of checking if a family had enough food to make it through May. These seasons are based on British Isles and Old Europe, so obviously, in some areas like Northern Indiana, a household would need more than half their supplies to make it through early harvest. Our last frost date sometimes doesn’t occur until early June! In the most traditional sense, Imbolc celebrated the return of the ewe’s milk, which offered sustenance not only for the little lambs, but also for hungry humans nearing the end of their food stores. Imbolc was a celebration of life and the promise that Winter would not last forever. We don’t know a lot about it, except that rural people held this day as incredibly important. In a culture that recognized a spiritual and soulful connection in their food growth and harvesting, we can perhaps understand why this would be so.

I hope these descriptions begin to clarify some of the deep, targeted disinformation and slander making waves on the internet these days. Brigid is the Matron Goddess of Faery Healing. You can read more about that here. If you’d like to learn more about celebrating the seasons, you can find countless books on rituals to honor the Wheel of Year. One particularly nice one is Jane Meredith’s “Rituals of Celebration.” There are beautiful rituals ranging from simple solitary to complex group, but I’ve never seen anything advising human sacrifice. Even this pagan website called (a threatening to some) “Raise the Horns,” doesn’t consider Imbolc any kind of sacrificial event. The article traces the history of Brigid, Imbolc, and the simultaneous but differently derived Candlemas. If you’d like to read more about the bizarre lengths our culture has gone to from pretty much every direction to denigrate or suppress the Goddess energies, I highly recommend Monica Sjoo’s book, “Return of the Dark/Light Goddess or New Age Armageddon.”

My friend Mitch also has this to say of her other book, “Great Cosmic Mother: Rediscovering the Religion of the Earth”: While I appreciate and have learned much from Dark/Light Mother, Monica Sjoo’s calling  is ‘Cosmic Mother’, I cannot put it down. It’s hard to describe but it really feels like I’m reading a sacred text or a pivitol historic masterpiece, even though I don’t like that word but you get the gist, it just feels like ‘home’, sacred truth, kind of a ‘ahh so this is what it’s all about’ feeling. It truly is one of the best and most important books I’ve ever read. The only thing lacking is any knowledge of an (male) ET war on the divine feminine in Universe(?) and on Mother Earth but those holes are easily filled in. Almost every page has some incredible factoid nugget or connective wisdom I want to take an iphoto and send you so instead I urge you to order it and dive in, even if you have a pile of other books waiting, lol.

I do have a huge pile of other books waiting, but I ordered Great Cosmic Mother anyway. Other reference books would include Barbara Tedlock’s “The Woman in the Shaman’s Body” and, oddly enough, a belly dancing book called, “Grandmother’s Secrets.” The Illumi-snotty would have everyone reject the power of ritual as something evil or ridiculous, while keeping the power of ritual all to themselves. In our time of reclamation, let us also reclaim our own rights to live in harmony with each other and with Earth, Sea and Sky. May we heal them, and allow them to heal us!

Lisa Thiel ~ Song to Brighid

Lisa Thiel’s voice is always so lovely, especially combined with such exquisite artwork. Happy Brigid’s Day, Imbolc, and Candlemas! May you be cleansed, healed and renewed.

Note: this song is from Lisa Thiel’s CD, “Invocation of the the Graces,” which is pure love, healing and inspiration. Highly recommended. 🙂

Lots to Celebrate!

Well, it’s a festive time of year, indeed. Just this weekend, we’ve got lots to celebrate, so take your pick, and please add more if I’ve missed any:

Happy Chinese New Year (Year of the Horse)! (Asian New Year)

Happy Candlemas! (Christian)

Happy Groundhog Day! (American)

Happy Imbolc! (Pagan/Wiccan Cross Quarter Day)

Happy St. Brigid’s Day! (Christian grown out of Pagan tradition)

I couldn’t resist posting the ever lovely and informative Laura Daligan (lots of Laura’s lately!) talking about Imbolc, St. Brigid, Bride, Candlemas and the “festival of new beginnings.” She also doesn’t mention Groundhog Day, but her story about the Cailleach sounds awfully familiar.

Happy, Happy!

Happy Imbolc, Candlemas and Groundhog Day

Don’t you just love how all the holidays overlap? Hmmmm, whatever can it mean? That we are all, somehow much more in tune with each other than most people realize? Despite all the different religions and philosophies, as Joni Mitchell says, “We are stardust, we are golden …” and, as Robert Blum reminds us in “The Healing Runes,” “…what is eternal cannot be separated from its Source.” Blum’s are not the most accurate books I’ve found on Runes, but he sure got that right! I love linking these two ideas together, as in this 2010 painting I did in Hyde Park:

We are stardust

The time period between February 1-3 marks various religious and secular holidays, including the pagan Imbolc, Christian Candlemas, and, perhaps the most famous in the US anyway: Groundhog’s Day. This year’s Imbolc actually falls on February 3, but most people started celebrating on the first. Imbolc is a cross-quarter day between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, celebrating the Ascent of Spring from the days of darkness. As such, Imbolc asks us to consider leaving behind what no longer serves us. Sacred to the goddess Brigid/Brigit/Bridhe (pronounced Breed), this holiday can also emphasize her three attributes: healing, craft and inspiration. (Druid Magic, p. 99) It’s a wonderful time to bless your home, ponder core issues, and ask for the Divine Feminine energies to aid your quest.

Synchronously, when I drew four Wildwood Tarot cards yesterday, I found that two out of the four directly mentioned Imbolc: The Pole Star and The King of Arrows (Kingfisher).

The Pole Star (#17 from the Wildwood Tarot)

The Pole Star (#17 from the Wildwood Tarot)

Wildwood’s Pole Star description, meaning and reading points share some lovely little tidbits about this time period:

“The Pole Star is placed at Imbolc, on 1 February. It is associated with the new moon and universal lore and stands between the elements of Earth and Air.” The Wildwood Tarot, p. 70

“The blessing of the Pole Star radiates to the Earth across the abyss and reminds us that the same stuff of creation that duels and binds these mighty sentinels of the night sky burns within us. Latest research shows that stars are initially formed as a sphere within a ring or circle of matter, echoing the cup and ring symbols found carved on the stones of prehistory that may represent the seed of manifestation and the source of creation itself. The blessing of the stellar world bathes the Earth and the human spirit with healing and regenerative energy.” The Wildwood Tarot, p. 70

“The Pole Star symbolizes universal law, higher spiritual knowledge and power. … Mythical stories of great hunters and slain warriors honoured by the gods and placed forever in the night sky were handed down through time and developed into ancient religious practices.” The Wildwood Tarot, p. 70-71

“The power of universal lore is at work here, either within the individual or permeating a web of circumstance that will bring profound change and new spiritual hope. … Whenever you are feeling lost in the dark labyrinth of life, remember that the same laws and primal matter that bind the Pole Star and fuel its giant heart also formed you.” The Wildwood Tarot, p. 71

I’ve been in Wildwood, Tolkien, portal painting, elf and faery mode lately, so I loved all the integrated references to stars and humans. One of my favorite “faery messages” from my Faery Wicca tarot deck is “We come from the stars, we come from the stars, shining down on the Earth.” I think it’s from the Three of Domhain (pronounced Dow-en), which corresponds to the traditional Three of Pentacles card. The Wildwood’s Pole Star is the traditional Star card, and the King of Arrows/Kingfisher=The King of Swords. This card, too, mentions Imbolc, as its position on the Wheel is “Departing Imbolc towards Spring Equinox.” “Reading points: You may need to exercise judgement, power, force of will. The king is impartial and helps you to see clearly what you no longer need to hold onto. Use your strength to cut yourself free of what weighs you down.” (The Wildwood Tarot, p. 81)

So here we have Imbolc, emphasizing inner knowing of what to claim and what to leave behind. How do these ideas relate to Candlemas and Groundhog’s Day? I awoke this morning with one of those aha moments about a Hollywood film. Another favorite line that jumped out at me from a random YouTube video, btw, is: “Hollywood is a wand. They cast spells with it.” Why, yes, they do, sometimes to viewers’ detriment and sometimes in ways that heal. When I awoke this morning, it occurred to me that the movie “Groundhog Day,” in which the jerky newscaster gets caught in a time loop on February 2 in Punxatawney, PA until he becomes a nice guy, could actually be better understood as an Imbolc spell. As Wikipedia puts it, “[Bill] Murray plays Phil Connors, an arrogant and egocentric Pittsburgh TV weatherman who, during a hated assignment covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxutawney, finds himself in a time loop, repeating the same day again and again. After indulging in hedonism and numerous suicide attempts, he begins to re-examine his life and priorities.” Interestingly, Wikipedia also notes, “In 2006, the film was added to the United States National Film Registry as being deemed ‘culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.'” On the magickal level, the circle casts itself around Phil Connors, and the circle (of time) won’t break until the letting go, healing and renewal are complete.

In American tradition, if the groundhog, Punxatawney Phil sees his shadow on February 2, then we can expect six more weeks of winter. I find even that tradition ripe with symbolism! What happens when we catch a glimpse of our own Shadow? For most people, seeing our Dark Side, also known as those parts of ourselves we have not yet integrated, initially sends us away from the Light. We don’t want everyone staring at us when we feel vulnerable, but it takes a certain amount of Light even to reveal a Shadow. Just as a sunny day on February 2 can mean “six more weeks of winter,” so viewing the increasing Light in our world and in ourselves can reveal some scary truths. We can run back into our holes, but eventually Spring will come. Warmth, growth and comfort will return, and just like Punxatawney Phil, we can grow brave enough to participate.

Candlemas also reflects upon darkness and Light, using candles during mass to symbolize the returning of the Light. Traditionally, Candlemas honors three occasions: “the presentation of the child Jesus; Jesus’ first entry into the temple; and it celebrates the Virgin Mary’s purification (mainly in Catholic churches).” The emphasis on purification, dedication and Light connects Candlemas to the pagan and secular celebrations at this time of year. According to Maya Sutton and Nicholas Mann in their book, Druid Magic, there’s a connection between Mother Mary and the goddess Brigit: “Our sources mention Brigit in the same breath as Danu, first Mother of All, and so she takes on the attribute of Mother. This thread linking thousands of years serves to exalt Brigit to the greatest position of any Celtic goddess. So great was her influence and revered status that the Christians could not displace her with Christ or Mary. Consequently, the Irish Catholics again gave her the position of Mother,t his time as foster Mother to Jesus and relative-friend to Mary. According to legend, St. Brigit was born of a Druid father in 453.” (Druid Magic, p. 97)

We also see Brigit/Bridhe/Brigid connected to the later Christian tradition via the cross. Pictured below is one of the handcrafted crosses by Colette of the mystical permaculture holding, Bealtaine Cottage Blog:

Brigid's Cross from permaculturecottage.wordpress.com

Brigid’s Cross from permaculturecottage.wordpress.com

Colette shares a lovely tribute to Brigid and her relationship to the rising Collective Consciousness of Hope. Filled with gorgeous photos and quiet strength, her post is definitely worth a click and read. However you choose to honor this weekend, I wish you:

Healing, protection, love and the warmth of a heart(h) fire.
May you leave behind you that which no longer serves.
May you face your Shadow and shine like the star you are!
And may you, too, find heartfelt blessings everywhere you turn.

Happy Imbolc and Blessed Be!