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Pagans: Plans for Imbolc??

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
Hello to all our pagan moms. What does everyone have planned for Imbolc/Candlemas??

Only about 3 weeks to go, I have no plans myself. Procrastinator.
post #2 of 33
I'm planning to read up on how the Irish honor/honored this day, then do what I can of that. I know it involves welcoming the Goddess Bride(Bridget) into your house by setting up a small bed for her. I think we can handle that.

post #3 of 33
I know I'm always asking questions, but I'm really clueless!

What is traditionally done to celibrate Imbolc? What is the history, or mythology of it?

When I was growing up, close friends of ours (my best friend, in fact - very paganish people) always had us over for tea, but that was really for "groundhogs' day," and we didn't really 'celebrate' anything. But I'd really like to do something meaningful this year.

Some help, and advice would be nice!

post #4 of 33
Thread Starter 
I just have never been able to get into Imbolc. Maybe it's because I don't feel any connection to Brigit. I'm looking for my own meaning for this time.
post #5 of 33
OK, I'm the dumbblonde Christian with the obvious question....

I celebrate Candlemas. There are clear Biblical foundations for the celebration and they dovetail nicely with the beginning of a visible return of light in early February.

On a possible sidenote, this is my first winter training as a karate-ka and we will be observing a special training in honor of Kengeiko(sp?) which is a Japanese festival honoring the coldest part of the winter (early to mid-Feb.) Any connections?

Anyway, We make candles and read appropriate part of the Bible and I help my younger children notice the lengthening days (hurray.)

I'm curious about the Pagan roots of this holiday and anything "extra" (or missing according to perspective :-) you do for this special day.

post #6 of 33
for us, imbolg welcomes the returning light into our home, and also kicks off spring cleaning. we haven't done a brid's bed yet, but that's mainly beause (due to a number of circumstances) we haven't celebrated lughnasadh for the past 2 or 3 years and haven't had a brid's cross to place in the bed!

for us the focus is on purification and blessing rituals, light, and the triple goddess. we have a 3-tiered wrought-iron candle tree on the altar, with 3 hanging votives on each tier. right now, each of us who are old enough - me, dh, & ds will make a wish for each tier, which represent the maid, mother, and crone aspects of brid & light a candle. when dd is old enough to participate, the kids will each make a wish & dh & i will make one together for the family - i usually do my own thing after the kids are in bed anyway. we then have a houseblessing, carrying candle, incense, water, and broom into each room of the apartment. in the morning, there is a small cauldron of imbolg goodies - spice cookies, milk caramels & butter candies, bath toys, a new nightlight, mittens, etc. - waiting for the kids either on the altar or by their bedside. (dd is too little to care about it much, but she gets a cauldron anyway to emphasise to ds that the holiday is for her, too.)

this year, we've opted to leave the tree up (it's a white artificial "goddess tree") with just the lights on it until the day after imbolg. we also have electric candles and a couple of star-shaped lighted window sculptures to put up in the windows. i know people who use electric candles for yule, but we decided to save them for imbolg, as that is our "candlemas", our "feast of lights". we decorate brooms - although we can't do that this year because idiot dh ACCIDENTALLY THREW OUT MY RITUAL BROOMS WHILE WE WERE MOVING (he'd had 4 days of pure hell & no sleep, but i still ain't gonna let him forget it until he gets me a new one!) and hang a white glittery "snowflake pentacle" on the front door. this year, ds suggested making glittery paper snowflakes to hang from his ceiling. we also made banners from felt, one with snowflakes, one with candles, and one welcoming brid, with her crown of candles. we also continue to decorate pine cones and bare branches & similar crafts, like we do for yule. we do blue & white for colors, although some people use red & white.

for food, cunningham lists spicy foods - we usually do garlic and onions, because they're bulbs - and dairy. last year i think we had a creamy garlic-cheese soup, although we also make cheesy bread puddings sometimes. i make brid's biscuits, which are cheesy baking powder biscuits bruched with melted garlic-herb butter & parmesan - although since we've gone whole grain they've always turned out like rocks. hot posset or milk punch is also traditional.

imbolg is probably my favorite sabbat, appart from samhain, because it's so pretty. but even though traditionalists list it as one of the "greater" sabbats, not too many people seem to know how to celebrate it. i made my son a little activity/coloring book on imbolg, with puzzles & games about brid, spring cleaning, healing, signs of the approaching spring, and a snow maze. for us, the fall and wnter sabbats tend to be the most festive. it's the summer sabbats i have trouble planning - usually because i'm so horribly heat-sick & stressed i don't feel very festive. (i know we're "supposed" to be "worshipping" the sun & all but to be honest i hate heat & i hate summer!) i believe llewellyn has a book out about imbolg, and more can be found out in laurie cabot's Celebrate the Earth.

edited now that dd's been fed & put down for a nap:
DB: thank you for your interest in learning about our sabbat! imbolg, also called oimelc, imbolc, brid's day and candlemas is the modern pagan version of the ancient celtic festival of Brid (pronounced like "breed") or Bridget. it celebrates the very first stirrings of the coming of spring, and the strengthening of the light even in the cold of deepest winter. because of its almost exclusively celtic origins, it seems to be the toughest sabbat for non-celtic pagans to identify with. (Arduinna, you might think of it this way: yule celebrates the sun and god-light. imbolc focuses on goddess-light, and perhaps starlight, because february nights are so clear and cold and perfect for viewing the stars.) when the british isles became christianized, the goddess brid became st. bridget.

DB, i'm not that familiar with the christian candlemas, because i was raised in a fundamentalist protestant household that did not celebrate anything other than christmas and easter. how do christians celebrate candlemas? i'll bet we can learn a lot from each other's celebrations, and i'm curious.

post #7 of 33
In Christian tradition, Jesus is considered the "Light of the World."

Now, I don't know if He was *really* born on Christmas (25 December) but that's when people *celebrate* His birthday. It's around the darkest day of the year (winter solstice)

According to Jewish law, 40 days after the birth of a male child the mother goes through a purification. If it's a male who opens the womb there is a special ritual to redeem the child because, according to Jewish tradition, the child belongs to G-d. (I can't remember this name to my shame but it's Pideyon something, one of our observent Jewish moms please help me!!)

So, in Luke 2:22-32, we read about Jesus being presented in the temple for the Purification ceremony. There was a man in the temple named Simeon who was very devout. When he saw the baby Jesus he said, "My eyes have seen thy salvation which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel."

40 days after December 25 is Feb2.

I don't have the Candlemas tradition but I believe in older times a household would take this opportunity to take stock of its supply of candles and make enough to last the rest of the winter.

I like making beeswax candles with my younger children and relate how all these things seem to be interconnected.

Spring cleaning, oy!! don't remind me.
post #8 of 33
well we usually cheat and buy candles altho I do cleanse them and bless them by colour in scented oil -I try and get my candles together for the whole year. I also save all the birthday and old candles from the year before and melt them down to make a family heart kind of candle that I often burn when I need strength or in the mornings to get the essennce of the family in the air...
I think of personal cleansing at Imbolg -I will fast some and probably do a bathing ritual, maybe shave my legs -or under arms -a ritual I undertake only a few times( <3x )a year...
Thanks Deb for sharing, I like that story, it has synchronicity~ <smile>
post #9 of 33
A connecting point between the preChristian Celtic tradition and the Christian... According to the Celtic Traditionalists I've been learning from at Beliefnet the belief is that Bride/Bridget was the fostermother, or is it midwife?, of Jesus. Their way of incorporating Christianity into their culture was to fit Jesus and Mary and company into their already existing beliefs.
post #10 of 33

DebraBaker ... the purification thing you're talking about ... I believe you're referring to the mother's immersion in the mikvah (ritual bath) which is not something done with the child (unless the mikvah lady wants to meet the baby ) ... that's purely for the mother & her husband, nothing to do with the child ... though there's a different time period with a girl baby ...
& if I'm missing the boat on this, I'm sure I'll be corrected.

And the redemption of the first-born is called a Pidyon haBen. That's done at the 30-day point.

Now back to your regularly scheduled thread, ladies ...

- Amy
post #11 of 33
Thanks Amy

When are they going to get a Homer Simpson "D-uh" icons???

post #12 of 33
Hi, for candlemas we are going to my sisters. We are having a yankee swap with candles. Warm food and drink .
post #13 of 33
I've really been developing an interest in the pagan festivals. Now that we live in an area with hundreds of menhirs, I have a stronger desire to acknowledge them somehow. What is the date for Imbolc?
post #14 of 33
frodo--thanks for your long and interesting post. Very helpful, great ideas.

I like the idea of Imbolc for the first signs of spring, but didn't get the candle idea, as Yule is all about candles and light too. So, the distinction of one being the God and his light, and the other, the Goddess and hers, helps me.

For me, it is about the sap rising in the maple trees.
post #15 of 33
This is such a cool thread! I would love to learn more about all of these pagen "holidays"....is there a good book that I can read?
post #16 of 33

I bumped up the thread "resources on paganism" for ya!
post #17 of 33
Thread Starter 
madrone~ assuming your in the northern hemisphere Imboc is typically celebrated on Feb 2nd. But Imbolc is a cross quarter day, meaning it's a 1/2 way marker between winter solstice and the spring equinox, so some people celebrate it on it's astrolgical date which would be February 4th this year.
post #18 of 33
I love Imbolc because where I live its already green and flowers are starting to grow and its nice and warm outside...I am going to take dd on a nice hike since we live in a big city. Its so special for us just to get out in nature and get connected to mama Earth. I love reading about what you all have planned. I am going to try and take dd on a night hike this saturday on the full moon. I am so excited!
post #19 of 33

Thanks for the astrological date. I will be on an airplane on the 2nd, but wanted to do something to prepare for spring. So the 4th it is.
post #20 of 33
Thread Starter 
your welcome :-)
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