Sunday, February 03, 2008

Happy Imbolc!

There is a lot going on for this fire festival. Called Candlemas by Christians, we continue the lighting of fires or candles to help bring back the warmth of the sun. We also celebrate the first signs of Spring with early flowers and sheep's milk (seasonally, this is the time of lambing). The Maiden is the Goddess of this festival, usually personified in the Irish Goddess Brigid.

This festival is good for performing acts of divination, symbolized in the crossroads, and many things that involve purifying and protecting the home. In some traditions, this is the marriage festival, we see the Maiden Goddess on her marriage bed.

This is an important festival to me. My patron Goddess is one of the Maiden Goddesses, so I celebrate with her on this day (I also have an affinity for Brigid). It also occurs opposite my patron God's festival day. Interesting that it works out this way! By sheer timing circumstance, I was able to do something much more elaborate for this Sabbat than the smaller scale that I am often restricted to doing.

My first act of celebration began on the eve. Since we welcome the coming Spring, this is a good time for Spring cleaning. There is more cleaning than can actually be completed in one day in my current living conditions, but a little here and there helps. What couldn't get more specialized attention got a symbolic sweep from my besom.

My altar was set on my tarot chest for this ritual and I cast my circle around it. On a lacy white altar cloth, I placed a bayberry candle to continue to bring in the light in the center of the symbols of the elements: a quartz crystal for earth, rose incense for air, a lava rock for fire, and a special shell for water. A basket for Brigid's bed was set to the left of the altar, and within it I placed two corn dollies from the harvest at Lughnasadh, one for the Goddess, and one for the God. Using strips of hay, I wove a kind of sunwheel called Brigid's Cross. This symbol has come to mean many things through the years, most agree it is a reflection of the cycle of seasons. They are hung in the home for protection and blessings. For now, mine will sit on my altar.

I followed the making of my sun cross with some pendulum divination. Since this festival has much to do with the home, my questions were home-related. This is also quite appropriate as I have been in search of a new place to live.

I hope this fire festival, and the blessed marriage, is a wonderful day for everyone!

No comments :