Thursday, February 2, 2012

Imbolc, a bedtime story

It has been my observance that Imbolc seems to be the "red headed step-child" of the popular Pagan Sabbat family. Perhaps its just the dreary weather of the season that's responsible, but I've also seen that most people don't seem to know how to celebrate Imbolc.

While I strongly assert that we as Pagans be well versed in our rich and diverse heritage, I am also fairly progressive as Pagans go. It's important to know what our ancestors did and why, but as contemporary Pagans, we're not so agriculturally invested in our practices.

So I prefer to focus on what we can do nowadays to acknowledge not only our heritage and the ever turning Wheel which we should seek to attune ourselves with, but also the rhythms and cycles of our own lives and spiritual practices.

Our tradition acknowledges Imbolc as the season of Procreation and Pregnancy before the Birth of spring. It has been a long held tradition of Imbolc to dress a doll of Brigid and lay it to bed, along with a phallic representation of her consort. I found this great bed for about $30 bucks on ebay a few years ago and did the wood burning work myself. There's a triquetra on the headboard to represent the Triple Goddess aspect of Brigid and our Coven crest at the foot.

A Corn Dolly is made every year at Lammas and kept on a kitchen altar space until the following Lammas. But Imbolc is a special day for her, she's taken into a ritual space, blessed and clothed in a handmade dress for the special occasion. She is adorned with a painstakingly small hand beaded necklace and a second beaded stole.

During the Imbolc ritual she travels from person to person in the circle, each participant takes a moment to consider her impending pregnancy. Like any other expecting mother she must be mindful of what she takes in, everything taken by the mother is passed the coming child. The participant holds a small strip of clothe, taken from the same fabric as Brigid's dress. The clothe is imbued with the wishes and desires for the coming spring, and tied to her beaded stole before she is passed to the next person.

Some of use were silent when she accepted our offerings, and some of us were not so shy. We thanked her for taking on the heavy burden of our desires, and laid her to bed. There was a whispered prayer as her consort was laid beside her. There was a silent moment of appreciation before they were draped and given their privacy.

Imbolc

Fetal stirring in the womb

Spill mothers’ milk to flowers bloom

Light the fire and sweep the broom

The cleansing time is coming soon

Alms for Biddy one and all

Time has come to stretch and thaw

Cross the rush and braid the straw

Salt the flames and dress the doll

Candles crown the maidens brow

Lay the bed and bless the plough

The feast of wives has come to now

So save the bones from the sow

Hail to Mary of the Gail

To maiden lamb we now wassail

Barren crone and dragon’s tail

We leave behind upon on the dale

Volvitur In Rota!

Thank you Lord and Lady for another Divine Union, Blessed Be.


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