Imbolc is here!
The festival of Brighid (pronounced Bree-id), the Maiden aspect of the triple Goddess. The Goddess returns to the land after her sojourn in the Underworld, recovering from the birth of her son at Yule.
With her return the land slowly reawakens, we see new shoots pushing their way through the cold Earth, birds begin to sing again, and we rejoice as the days grow longer. The legend says that with every step the maiden Goddess takes her footsteps warm the Earth, and snowdrops appear. She is a powerful Goddess, the champion of smiths, who can magically perform the elusive act of alchemy. She is also Goddess of healing, poetry and the protectress of women and children. Imbolc is a Fire festival, one of four Fire festivals in the Celtic wheel of the year. Brighid is honoured at Sacred springs and wells, where we can leave little gifts, or clooties in her name.
You may like to perform a ceremony to honour this important festival. It represents the inevitability of the turning wheel of the year, the return of Spring after winter, therefore light in the darkness. If you have been having a difficult time in your life, Imbolc reminds us that nothing ever stays the same, that there is always a pinprick of light in the darkness. Focus on that little star of hope, and it will grow brighter as your trust in it grows stronger.
I encourage you to look at what Imbolc and Brighid mean to you, and create your own ceremony around this time. You may wish to light a white candle and contemplate on bringing joy into your life. Or you may wish to celebrate with friends. Wrap up warm and go outside, bringing in your own awareness of your footstep upon the Earth, following in the footsteps of the ancestors. Open up your senses: feel the Earth beneath your feet, smell the freshness of the Air, hear the piping of the birds, see the new shoots striving bravely to continue their own cycle of life, death and rebirth. You may wish to trace a spiral as you walk, that ancient symbol of the continuance of life. Sharing food with friends after a ceremony or a walk is an act of Love. Little cakes or bread, elderflower cordial or sparkling wine are all appropriate. Sharing stories around a fire, taking a walk, giving a dear friend, mother or daughter a spontaneous hug bind us together as women at this time. Men too, of course can honour the Goddess as a true representation of womanhood in all her phases. Well-beloved are the men who truly respect and honour women as equals, while acknowledging and celebrating the differences between the sexes.