We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Imbolg: Honoring the Goddess Brigit

Imbolg, also known as Imbolc, Festival of Lights, Lady Day and Oimelc, is a fire festival which celebrates the on-coming of Spring. The word Imbolg literally means, “in the belly” (of the Goddess) and it honors the Celtic Goddess Brigit. She was the Goddess of fire, wisdom, poetry and sacred wells. She was also a deity associated with prophecy, divination and healing. Because the Goddess is in her maiden aspect as Brigit, the word "bride" was derived from her name. To symbolize her, we craft corn and grain dollies and make a "Brigit's bed" in which to place her in as a way to encourage her return and the return of the sun.


This sabbat represents new beginnings and spiritual growth.  The “sweeping out of the old and bringing in the new” is symbolized by the sweeping out of the circle with a besom (or broom) which is traditionally done by the High Priestess of the coven who wears a brilliant crown of 13 candles on top of her head. Also, Brigit’s Cross, one of the archetypal symbols of Ireland, while it is considered Christian, has its’ roots in Paganism and the Goddess Brigit. It was traditionally hung on the kitchen wall to protect the house from fire and evil.   It is usually made from straw, but can also be made with various colors of pipe cleaner sticks. It is woven counter-clockwise into a center square and four radials tied at the ends. These are easy to make and are a lot of fun for kids as well!
In  ancient Europe, Candlemas was celebrated as a torchlight procession to purify and fertilize the fields before the seed-planting season and to honor and give thanks to the various associated deities and spirits. Even the Christians adopted this sabbat celebration, giving honor to the Virgin Mary.
An Imbolg Poem

In the bitter cold of winter
Spring seems so far away
How long  ’til the Imbolg candles
Urge the sun to come to stay?
To help you count the nights so long
Are these little candles of white
Ignite one each eve at dream time
And it will soon be Imbolg night!

(Poem taken from Edain McCoy’s book, “The Sabbats"; image credit)

2 comments:

  1. Enjoyable read! Blessings. ~)O(~

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  2. Such a nice post. I love the Goddess in ALL of her aspects.

    Happiness to ALL !

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