Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Wednesday - the start of Imbolc





Well today is the start of Imbolc, the day we can look forward to the growing season, as the light slowly returns to our part of the world.  I am not a pagan but I love the marking of the year into festivals, when people dress up in the most outlandish things and dance in the street.
Imbolc is the time when the sheep bring forth their milk, so early lambing starts at this time.   St.Brighid the goddess of Imbolc is thought to be a pagan goddess christianised into a saint.
 It is a time of fire and burning candles to welcome the returning year.

So light those candles for history once more to mark the day of Candlemas and those wild Gaelic Irish goddesses that  flit through the memory.  

And I still haven't remembered to go backwards down the stairs on this first day of the month repeating 'white rabbit, white rabbit'!

An Up Helly in the Shetland Isles in February 2010 @ Mike Pennington, Geographer.
Bride of the earth,
sister of the faeries,
daughter of the Tuatha de Danaan,
                                             keeper of the eternal flame.
In autumn, the nights began to lengthen,
and the days grew shorter,
as the earth went to sleep.
Now, Brighid stokes her fire,
burning flames in the hearth,
bringing light back to us once more.
Winter is brief, but life is forever.

10 comments:

  1. Correction Imbolc does not start until 4th February.
    Brighid is a title meaning exalted one and it was a priestess holding that title who converted to Christianity that was made a saint.

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    1. Hi Heron, The myth or story is the essence of Imbolc, if I was truly factual I would say that the day is moveable, but I bow to your superior knowledge. ;) X

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  2. Incidentally here in Ireland (where I live) the 1st of February is seen as the First day of Spring and for Christians the 2nd February is St. Brighid's Day.

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    1. Well there is an answer for the 4th February 'The basis is midway between solstice and equinox 90 days .45 days after solstice =4th' gleaned from someone who knows his prehistoric date lines. But just been reading Proinsias MacCana - Celtic Mythology, and he says 1st.
      Funnily enough he equates Brighid the goddess (she had two sisters called Brighid as well) with Minerva the roman craft goddess.

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  3. So please explain why you go down the stairs backwards repeating "white rabbit?"

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    1. Superstitious nonsense, or a sense of ritual? it is actually a well known thing to do, except for going downstairs backward which on the whole is dangerous. I shall do what Pat says and turn three times. See the wiki here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabbit_rabbit_rabbit

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  4. I was just about to write that I shall remember to say rabbits three times in the morning, as I always do each month, when I realised that it was February 1st today and I missed it, so I have just stood up and turned round three times!!

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    1. Good for you Pat, doing something nonesensical brightens the day. I also throw a pinch of salt over my shoulder, should I spill any. Also crack the bottom of my boiled egg to stop the witches sailing over ;)

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  5. I wrote about Imbolc/Candlemas today 2nd, and got questions on the date so I'm now extremely confused!

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  6. You are right it is the 2nd for Candlemas, the church would hardly be on the same day as a pagan Imbolc festival which is on either the 1st or 4th. As you say confusing ;)

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