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Post by Lunar on Sun Sep 25, 2016 2:03 pm

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IMBOLC or BRIDE - 1st FEBRUARY

The Festival of Imbolc or Bride, is celebrated around 2nd February by Pagans, and by Christians who call it Candlemas. Imbolc is Irish- Gaelic, translated variously as "in the belly" and "ewe's milk", and represents the quickening of Light and Life.

The first stirrings of the coming of Spring can be seen, as the first flowers (snowdrops and winter aconite) begin to appear. Seeds which have lain dormant within the Earth over the cold Winter months begin to stir with life, as yet unseen. At Imbolc we celebrate the Waking Light of the soul. Our spirits begin to quicken as we anticipate the rebirth of Nature. In Wicca it is the traditional time for initiation. Now is the time for the banishing of Winter and the welcoming of Spring. We welcome the Goddess Who is renewed, reborn as the Flower Maiden. She has passed through Her phase as the Hag, Crone or Wise One, and is a Maiden again. Bride or Brigid is a three-fold Celtic Goddess who has been christianized into St. Brigid, whose day is celebrated on 1st February.

In Ireland, St. Brigid's cross is made of rushes and straw, and goes back to pre-Christian times, representing the Sun Wheel or Fire Wheel. It may also be linked to an ancient ceremony connected with the preparation of the grain for sowing in the Spring. It was believed that the Spirit of the Grain, or the Goddess Herself, resided in the last grain harvested, and the last grain from the Harvest Festival was ritually brought into the house at Imbolc, blessed and planted as the first seed of the next harvest.

The grain may also be made into a female figure, the Brideog (little Brighde) and dressed. Bride's bed is made, and She is welcomed in. The Goddess is seen in Her three aspects at Imbolc, as the new-born Flower Maiden; the Mother, or bride of fertility, awaiting the fertilizing Sun God, and the Dark Crone of the dark half of the year. The sun is growing in strength, the Child of Promise, re-born at Yule, is now the Conquering Child.

What was born at the Solstice begins to manifest, and this is the time for individuation, as we each light our own light, and set ourselves tasks and challenges. We nurture and kindle our resolutions and begin to look outwards again, do outer activity, although first we look deep within to discover what potential lies there waiting to be fulfilled.

Through the weeks ahead the days grow gradually longer, but we are still in the dark half of the year (until Beltaine) and this is the time to develop non-physical skills, such as psychometry, clairvoyance and precognition.

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