Celtic Polytheism, Event, Holiday Celebration, Paganism, Prayer, Ritual

Imbolc!

 

This year for Imbolc, we helped to organize a ritual at our local UU church.  At home, our deities of the occasion are Cailleach and Brigid, and the group agreed to honor them for our ritual.  We used a shortened version of the ADF creation of sacred space and ritual center, honoring of the Hallows (Fire, Well and Tree), the Kindreds (Shining Ones, Ancestors, and Nature Spirits), and a short meditation to help us connect to the space between the worlds.

Then we invoked the Cailleach and Brigid.  Another participant read a prayer they’d found called “Prayer to Brigantia, Keeper of the Forge“, by Patti Wigington, substituting “Brigid” for “Brigantia”.  I wrote a poem for Cailleach following the same pattern, and Scott read it during the ritual.  I’ve reproduced both, below.

We also tied raffia to pussywillow branches for our hopes and intentions for the spring, similar to cloutie ties, and we sang Kelianna’s song Brighid’s Flame together.

It was a simple ritual, but poignant for many of the participants, and it’s proof that we can pull something together in less than a week.  Still, I think we’re going to plan farther ahead for the Spring Equinox!

 

Imbolc Prayer for Cailleach, by Aleja Nic Bhé Chuille

Hail, Cailleach! Bringer of ice and snow,
She who blankets the world in white,
She who freezes the world so time seems to slow,
She who encourages us to rely on each other,
She who is called the Blue Crone,
And teaches us the true meaning of survival.

Hail, Cailleach! Queen of Winter,
She who frosts the ground with her staff,
She who dropped rocks and made mountains,
She who shaped valleys and hills,
She who flies over the land as a great winter storm.

 

Prayer for Brigantia, Keeper of the Forge, by Patti Wigington

Hail, Brigantia! Keeper of the forge,
She who shapes the world itself with fire,
She who ignites the spark of passion in the poets,
She who leads the clans with a warrior’s cry,
She who is the bride of the islands,
And who leads the fight of freedom.

Hail, Brigantia! Defender of kin and hearth,
She who inspires the bards to sing,
She who drives the smith to raise his hammer,
She who is a fire sweeping across the land.

 

[Feel free to use my prayer to Cailleach for your own rituals, with proper attribution!]

 

Event, Holiday Celebration, Ritual

Imbolc 2018

Our Imbolc started on January 30th, with a small gathering of pagan friends on the night of the super blue full moon!  It was beautiful, but alas I did not remember to charge and bring my good camera, so I have no photos.  I shall endeavor not to make that mistake again.

We did a bit of moon gazing, and then did our usual around-in-a-circle sharing what we’d been up to, spiritually and otherwise, since last we all met in thunder, lightning, or in rain. It was too cold this time for us to be outside for long, so no fire to burn offerings in, but we offered Brigid and the Cailleach (our deities of the occasion for this holiday) a scone with some honey whiskey poured over it, on a rock near our host’s front door instead.

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I started with this box of blueberry scone mix (gluten free, of course), and added some lavender and lemon peel, and made them with buttermilk instead of whatever the box recommended.  They were pretty tasty!

I do think I really ought to start planning food for the holidays ahead of time, though.  I’d like to create something that the Acorn Sproutling can grow up with as a family tradition.  Scones seem pretty good for Imbolc – but maybe lemon poppyseed instead, with a honey glaze?  Made with buttermilk again, of course!

A few days later, we met another group of pagans at a restaurant for a meet and greet, sort of continuing the season.  On Imbolc proper we did a little bit at home, but not much, because our ritual was last Sunday, with the pagan group at our local UU Church.  That was organized by a woman who was just getting to know Brigid, and it was really heartwarming to see someone dive into the lore surrounding a goddess I’ve come to love.  The ritual itself centered on the participants writing “seeds” of things they wished to manifest on pieces of paper, which were then tied on sticks (to be shared) or tied around one’s neck (to remain secret).  It was quite creative, and the whole thing really brought together a few different strains of Imbolc traditions and lore about the goddess herself.

Now that Imbolc has passed, I expect I’ll begin to really feel the return of the light soon – Spring is almost here!

 

Divination

Imbolc Divination

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This is a tarot reading for Serendipities, based on this Imbolc tarot spread, using my Fantastical Creatures tarot deck.

1.   What is still frozen for Serendipities?

The Empress: The Morrigan.  We are still lacking in creativity, fertility, and bountiful prosperity.

2.   What will help keep us warm and comfortable?

Three of Pentacles: Hobgoblin.  We will need to learn new skills.  When an opportunity presents itself, we should take it.

3.   What clutter needs to be cleared out?

The Magician: Winged Cat.  Too much studying.  Time to put it into practice.

4.   What will the first signs of new growth be, this spring?

Three of Swords, Reversed: Jenny Greenteeth.  The relief of anxiety.

5.   What’s a project that we should begin now?

King of Pentacles: Lord of the Greenwood.  Organizing finances.

6.   A message of inspiration:

The Chariot: Centaurs.  If you sustain your efforts, you will succeed in the end.

These are really brief notes, I realize, but these are my very first impressions, and I’ll be returning to these cards to meditate further on their meanings in the coming days, and in the weeks up to the Equinox, when I plan to do a similar reading for the business.  It seems like solid advice and a good omen, though, so I’m happy with that.  I hope everyone who celebrated had a wonderful Imbolc!  Gwdihŵ and I are going to a little gathering tomorrow to celebrate more formally, but we’ve been celebrating in small ways at our own altar and hearth since January 31st.  Tomorrow marks the end of our festivities.

~Réaltán~