Today we have a guest post from Sarah. She is 27 years of age and works as a nurse for children with learning disabilities. She has been following the path of eclectic Wicca for 4 years and is particularly interested in healing and alternate therapies.
Imbolc is celebrated on the 1st or 2nd of February. Imbolc, can also be referred to as ‘Imbolg’, ‘Oimelc’ or ‘Candlemas’. ‘Oimelc’ originally referred to the ewe’s milk and the first lambing of the year. ‘Imbolc’ means ‘in the belly’ and if signifies the pregnant earth that lays in wait for spring with the promise of new life and new beginnings.
It is the time of year to let go of the past and old burdens that no longer serve us. It is now time to look to the future, clear out the old and make space for the new.
Imbolc is one of the four fire festivals and fire is associated with the Goddess Brigid and also the God. It symbolises the fires of creativity, protection and life giving energy.
Symbols of Imbolc:
The Snowdrop – The first gift of spring and a gentle promise that the bleakness of winter will soon end.
The Swan – The symbol of loyalty, fidelity and faithfulness because they mate for life.
Brigid is the Goddess of the hearth fire (and is also a triple goddess of healing, poetry and smithcraft) in her maiden form she symbolizes fertility of the land, animals and people. She has a deep connection to midwifery and new born babies. The hearth was (and in some households still is) considered to be the heart and soul of the home because it provided warmth, safety and food for the family. In some cultures they believe that if the hearth is destroyed then the family will fall into ruin.
The God: *please note that some denominations of pagans do not worship the god at all, but I do, so I will tell you about him too 🙂 *
Herne/The Horned God is now a young baby, having being born at Yule on December 21st, He is lying dormant in the deep bossom of the earth, gathering his strength and waiting to step out of the darkness and bring with him the light of spring.
The God and Goddess are both young and innocent at this time of year, they will grow and mature together, taking their places as lovers at Beltane on May 1st.
- Crisp white and silver symbolise purity.
- Green for fresh life and rejuvenation.
This is the time to:
- Spring clean, open the curtains and welcome in the light.
- Start new projects.
- Plant seeds.
- Roasts and heart stew
- Sheeps milk/cheese.
- Seed cakes/breads
Ideas of things to make to celebrate this time of year are a Brigid Cross, paper snowflakes – to symbolise the next six weeks of winter, and a seed cake. Here is my recipe for a simple seed cake:
A pinch of salt
I teaspoon baking powder
caraway seeds 25gms/1oz
Two eggs, beaten
Four tablespoons of water
Set the oven to 400F/200C and grease and line a 6 inch cake tin.
Sieve the flour, salt and baking powder into your cauldron or a large bowl and then rub in the butter. As you do this think of family and friends. Think of the small personal things that you would have them benefit from as Spring flows into their lives.
Visualise light flowing into the mixture, fire of truth and illumination.
Stir in the seeds and sugar and then the eggs, mix with just enough water to give a mix that softly drops off your spoon. If you wish, use a rhyme such as this:
Continuous motion, May all things flow, Circles of magic, Let the power grow, Elements mixing, Accept my plea, As I wish, So mote it be. Stir in patience for the coming Spring, this is still a time of waiting.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for one hour, then reduce the temperature to 375F/175C and cook for a further half to one hour until the cake is golden brown and well risen. Leave to cool in its tin.