Imbolc, in the belly, the quickening of the year. The waxing, melting, sparkling promise of spring. This sabbat is not overly bold as many pagan celebrations are. It’s a time of celebrating something that is just about to emerge and be noticed but not quite yet. It says, your waiting is about to come to an end but not quite yet. So close though, so don’t lose faith.
It’s the subtle bump of a just showing pregnancy, it’s the suns’s light on your face a little earlier in the morning, it’s going out to walk the dog in just a sweater and toque.
It’s the quiet drip drop of icicles melting , or seeing the stream flowing by under a paper thin layer of ice. It’s still winter (in Canada anyway) but we’re starting to believe that it won’t actually last forever. Maybe it’s time to come out of hibernation and leave the house when it’s not absolutely necessary.
There are still vast fields (I live in the prairies) of flawless unmarred snow that are almost painful to look at. Their brilliance is so intense and unrelenting. Their sparkling purity almost seems sacred. Sometimes I avoid walking on these snowy fields if I can, to do my part in preserving their purity.
Imbolc is also strongly tied to the goddess Brigid. Even the crusades couldn’t do away with her.You can take the pagan out of a goddess but you can’t take that goddess out of the pagans.
She was almost a catchall goddess in Ireland said to be the goddess of many things but most notably, healing, protection, poetry and the sacred flame. She either tended the sacred fire at home in the hearth or at the forge depending on the variation. She was so loved and widely worshiped that even after the Catholics invaded they couldn’t get rid of her, so they turned her into a saint. Her monastery is in Kildaire, and if you think that’s interesting then you should read Confessions of a Pagan Nun by Kate Horsley. It’s an incredible piece of historical fiction and also happens to be my favorite book of all time. It tells the story of the crusades in Ireland from the perspective of a pagan woman forced to become a nun at Brigid’s monastery.
So here’s to Brigid and to a sabbat that is quiet and hopeful and to making medicine with friends and lighting candles and melting snow.