More on Embolc…

My apologies for posting a little late. February 1st was the Pagan holiday of Imbolc. That’s become an important day at our house over the years, partly because I have a lifelong fascination with holiday lore and partially because it’s a great opportunity to let the cycle of the season be our teacher – as it once was to our forbearers. You can read lots of things about Imbolc online, and I personally recommend two favorite books of holiday lore: The Magical Year by Diane Ferguson, Kindling the Celtic Spirit by Mara Freeman.

Selkie by Jen Delyth © 2007/2008

This image is featured in the Celtic Mandala, earth mysteries and mythology 2013 Wall Calendar. Selkie by Jen Delyth © 2007/2008

It is said that if the year is a woman, then Imbolc is the youthful maiden. To my mind Imbolc is about newness, youth, new growth, the first budding of spring. We’re definitely seeing those first signs here in Portland: the first buds, the first Snowdrops, and the very first blossoms on the trees.

One of the inspirations in my life around holiday lore is to use the changing season and our encounter with them as soul-crafting activities. For Imbolc we make corn dolls and set them out on the fireplace mantle surrounded by white or yellow candles. We burn white and yellow candles to symbolize purity and innocence. Just before bedtime we put our corn dolls in a basket by the front door, as a blessing to all who enter our house. We rest them on a blanket and cover them for warmth and set animal figures around them. This year it was a unicorn.

Another favorite activity is placing an article of clothing or an important item outside to be blessed by the goddess Brigit as she passes in the night. Again there’s a lot to read about Brigit, but to my mind she appears as an inspiring archetype and heroic example, as in Greek legends. She is the triple goddess of poetry, smithcraft and healing. Smithcraft is variously referred to as craft in general or wonderfully by Ms. Freeman as the ‘magical art of change.’

Happy Belated Imbolc!

From Tim Campbell – and all the Lotites

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