Imbolc is upon us as the wheel of the year spins once again, sounding the chimes of Springtime. This is Brigid’s day, the Celtic triple Goddess of poetry, healing and smith craft. She is a fertility Goddess of fiery inspiration, representing the coming of the new season and the fading away of the darkness and cold of winter.
It is a time that expresses the movement of duality, dark to light, hate to love, night to day, winter to spring. As the masculine and feminine, the God and Goddess reside within everything, always coming together again in their eternal union as one. We remember the profound truth that we cannot have one without the other. That two opposites exist within every whole. It is the growing rays of sunshine, the first chirping of the birds, the first bud nuzzling its way out from beneath the melting snow. It is the scent of fresh rain, as the snowflakes shape shift, singing to us the song of a circle within a circle. We feel the fresh blooming of creativity alive in our spirit. The snow melts with the warm breath of Brigid’s poetry and the serenade of her wisdom. The excitement of spring in all of its rich sweetness and fruitful abundance graces the air with rejuvenated hope of all that is already on the way. It is a time of gentle nurturing and harmonious transition. It is the time when the seeds of our desires stir from their dark slumber. Persephone returns from the underworld, the fertility back to the land, and Hecate retreats from her reign as crone. The birthing of the sun child, or spiritual self, that took place at Winter Solstice begins to come into being. The young maiden is coming into her full expression.
It is the time of crossing over, the perfect balance between Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. For this reason, many rituals involve the weaving of a Brigid’s cross, often made of rushes and hung over doors as an invitation to the Goddess. It also represents a portal to walk through and be blessed by the Goddess and the sacred transition that is this time of Imbolc.
Cleansing and purification with fire are also a great focus at this time, representing the increasing sunlight upon us and the burning away of the remnants of shadow that linger.
“A Candlemas initiation ritual begins with purification, the cleansing away of the winter by salt water, cedar smoke or incense or myrrh, rosemary or frankincense. Negativity and the past, the dead of winter, are dispelled. More incense burns in a cauldron at the center during the meditation and ritual, and one white candle is placed there – the rest of the room dark – when casting and invoking the circle.
The high priestess says,
This is the feast of Candlemas,
The time of returning light.
Behold the three-form goddess,
The maiden mother and crone.
Without light there comes no darkness,
Without darkness no light.
Without spring there comes no summer,
Without summer, no winter,
Without winter no spring.
Blessed be the great mother –
Persephone, Demeter, Hecate.
Blessed be the moon in all her forms.” (Stein, Diana. The Women’s Spirituality Book. P 85)