It is that time of the year again, the wheel moves once more, this time around to Imbolc, Oimlec or any number of other names that this midway point can and does get called. This point on the wheel is exactly the halfway point between Yule and the Spring Equinox.
Brigid, Brighid, Bride is an old Goddess, maybe not as old as others but she has been venerated for a very long time. She is the promise that Spring is on its way, that the earth is waking up, that the animals and birds are getting ready to breed (or in the case of sheep, give birth), she is of new beginnings, she is a midwife, she is of the forge and fire. She has many aspects, she is often referred to as the opposite half of the Cailleach, the old lady of Winter gives way to the younger woman of light and life, she has that many aspects that it is no wonder the Church sought to canonize her into St Brigid to help convert pagans.
This morning was another very cold and icy one, the unexpected snow from the day before had frozen overnight in the sub zero temps, everything was wearing diamonds and crystals and this meant I had to go out with my camera whilst collecting reeds to make my Crois Brigid for this evening.
It was a bit slippery underfoot but the park was very empty, quiet and very peaceful to be in, it was wonderful! Even when I fell over in quite deep snow and couldn’t get myself back up again, I was laughing out loud at my own antics.
I wandered about the park, thinking about Brigid and how I was going to mark Imbolc and honour her, noticing all the details that had been brought to life with a covering of hard frost, last years seeds heads given a new lease of life, showing off their intricacy. Details, its always the little details that I find stunning.
Eventually I decided to make my way over to the lake to collect the reed grass I was after for making the cross, here is a view of a quite Wintry inner city park lake!
I managed to get down to the shore line to collect my reeds without falling in, to my great relief I might add. I turned around to scramble back up the path when I saw this little fellow in the tree looking at me.
It was being incredibly brave or brazen, not sure which, I only had crumbs left in the dog biscuit bag so I shook out these crumbs and it was down on them so fast. It got so close, as long as I move slowly it wasn’t scared off. I had plenty of opportunity to take pictures and even some video (which I cant upload on to this blog apparently!)
It was a a truly magical moment for me, there is a lot of symbolism attached to robins, often considered messengers from spirits. They are a psychopomp, the herald of Spring (although maybe not just yet!), they symbolise family connections, new ideas, new starts, they can be an animal totem, a spirit guide, to name just a few. I will spend some more time exploring this encounter over the next few weeks.
I got home and started to make my Crois Brigid, I like to make the triple armed/triskele style cross instead of the better known four armed cross, for some reason it just feels more right to me and I feel it represents the triple aspects of Brigid. I set up my altar;
I lit several candles around the room to symbolise the returning warmth of the sun, I had on my alter a bowl of ice that would melt overnight, I had a pot of soil which had a candle sunk into it that was lit to symbolise the warming of the Earth and under the pot of soil was a packed of seeds that I intended to sow.
I left out a cloth/scarf outside as is tradition for Brigid to bless as she wanders the land overnight, this cloth can then be used to treat ailments like headaches and sore throats by getting the patient to wear the cloth on the affected area.
Today is Imbolc itself, the weather here is bright and sunny but cold, which could imply that the Cailleach is out collecting more firewood to keep herself warm so Winter might not be over yet!
I went to my altar and I collected my seeds, soil and water, the water was poured onto the soil, as I sowed the seeds , I envisaged future plans germinating, taking root and growing as these seeds do. I went outside to collect my (very cold!) scarf that had been passed over in the night to put it in safe place for future use.
Tonight we had a hearty soup, made from root vegetables, full of goodness from Mother Earth, I am looking forward to the future, there is plenty of possibility so I would like to take this opportunity to wish you Imbolc greetings and blessings, x