This liminal time, between the dark and light, the cold and warmth.
Welcome to this edition of Liminal Walker Musings!
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If you are a new subscriber, a special WELCOME! I follow the Pagan/Celtic seasonal wheel of the year, entering into and participating in each Sabbat. On February 1st Imbolc arrives. Today I am sharing with you its meaning, its magic and ways to celebrate it. Then ending with a ritual meditation, where you can receive a gift from Brigid. Love to all!
Welcome to Imbolc
According to the Celtic calendar, Imbolc is the commencement of Spring. Where I live it is more of a temperate climate, if we get any snow, it’s only a powdering. Right now it still feels like winter, a stinging coolness is in the air. Yet, the narcissus and daffodils are blooming. Bright colors against this dull grey background of dormant life. What a joy to see these gifts of sunshine, it surely has been a rainy, gloomy January.
The meaning of Imbolc is “in the mother’s belly.” I love this! As I sense into the ground beneath my feet, I perceive this sacred dark cave of life. A concealed gestation where the power of creation is quietly working behind the scenes. The potentiality and promise of new beginnings is palpable! An expectancy of the upcoming birth.
And this is not only for nature. I look to myself… I feel something deep within is asking to be delivered, given life. January has been a very challenging month for me! The outer darkness reflecting to me my own grief. Grey clouds weeping soft tears when my brother’s death revisited me. This chill and bite in the air inviting me to curl up in warm blanket and rest from the crazy polarities that are running rampant in our world right now.
Winter is about pausing, slowing down and resting. Ironically, January is my busiest month of the year work wise. Making it tough for me to deepen into this offering. Yet now that January is closing and deadlines have been met, I do feel a greater calm. More available to sense into these new beginnings.
In the southern hemisphere, blessed Lughnasadh to you! May your fires burn brightly!
Imbolc was first mentioned in early Celtic/Gaelic literature. It is speculated that the celebration of Imbolc arose from the breeding cycle of sheep. This time of year is when the first lambs are born. A reverence to the life-giving lactation of the ewe’s milk. A time that honored the fertility goddess Brigid (pronounced bridge’id).
Brigid means bright! She is the goddess of fire, that of inspiration and passion. Her blessings kindle all sorts of creativity and arts! Known as the triple goddess. She is the maiden ruling over poetry and music, the mother as fecundity and healing, the crone with her fire skills like blacksmithing. Brigid is the fire in our hearths as well as our hearts. This time also marks the transition and transformation of the winter Hag as the Cailleach to the Spring maiden as Brigid.
Even though Christianity around 450 A.D., absorbed and colonized Brigid into Saint Brigid, she’s still being celebrated and honored.
HOLIDAYS AROUND THIS TIME… *Imbolc: February 1st, Midpoint between the winter solstice and spring equinox, first day of spring. (Celtic/Pagan) *Saint Brigid Day: February 1st, Honoring St. Brigid. (Christian) *Candlemas: February 2nd, Purification, and holiday of the returning light after winter’s darkness. (Christian) *Groundhogs Day: February 2nd, American observance. Imbolc correlations suggested.
BRIGID AND SWANS
In Celtic mythology and legends Brigid is also correlated with swans. Swans return to Ireland at the beginning of spring, as does Brigid. Both move within the liminal, being shapeshifters. Brigid as maiden, mother and crone. As well as the transition from the Cailleach to the spring maiden. The swan living life on land, air and water. Both are associated with healing, purity and fertility.
A pair of mystics. The swan metaphysically representing the flight of the soul. Whether as an aid for traveling to the other world or in our dreams. Brigid as a means of transformation through her fires of inspiration.
Swans have deep meaning for me. They are both majestic and graceful, even when they waddle, they are dancing. They seem to live both in time and out of it. I have always put swan feathers on my Imbolc altar even before I knew of their correlation with Brigid. They just seem to go together.
Imbolc occurs on February 1st and 2nd. Starting as a Disseminating moon becoming the Last Quarter moon on the 2nd, moving from the sign of Libra into Scorpio.
Usually during waning moons, it is time to focus on letting go. Whereas intentions and building are mostly for waxing moons. Here during Imbolc, it is both simultaneously. And a good time as Libra to focus on balance and healing. Moving into Scorpio, to examine our dreams and soul movements.
There are many ways to celebrate:
Create a Imbolc altar.
Light candles or make a fire inside or outside. Remember Brigid is the goddess of fire.
Purify yourself with a ritual/spiritual bath of milk & herbs.
Clean and declutter your environment.
Set an intention. This is one of the four fire sabbats, harness this energy.
Make a corn doll and/or a Brigid cross.
Make pancakes or skillet bread (like scones). Serve with milk.
Do an oracle/tarot reading.
Take a walk in nature.
Pay attention to your dreams, start a dream journal.
I have already created my altar. On Imbolc I plan to do two tarot readings. One for the outgoing Cailleach and one for incoming Brigid. Asking questions similar to what I list at the end of this post. And of course, being in nature is a must!
Here in this Imbolc meditation, it brings you into the liminality of this time. And is an opportunity to receive an inner message from life, love, Brigid.
It starts with creating sacred space. Then a ritual along with some pauses so you may integrate and receive. Ending with a blessing.
PRAYER AND BLESSING
May this time of Imbolc, this sacred juncture of the liminal, be a deepening into the gifts that love, and life are. Recognizing the cycles of nature and existence as this holy impermanence. There is always a withering and dying happening. And a forming and birthing unfolding. Resting at this midpoint between the winter solstice and spring equinox, know a gestation is taking place. Something is developing, just not yet knowable. For now, let the potentiality and possibility fill your body space with wonder. May this period of Imbolc be a reverence to the sanctity of the liminal. Gratitude for the marvels of love and life. Blessed Be.
Questions for you, to use in a tarot reading or to contemplate:
What seeds have I planted?
What needs nurturing?
What is revealed as the snow melts?
What is still buried?
How can I best embody this transitional, liminal time?
Would love to know your thoughts and feelings. Let’s have a conversation…
For more information about the liminal and my offerings:
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