Pagans: Plans for Imbolc?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 33 Old 01-12-2003, 07:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#2 of 33 Old 01-13-2003, 07:04 PM
 
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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.


"What will you do once you know?"
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#3 of 33 Old 01-13-2003, 10:30 PM
 
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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!

-ana
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#4 of 33 Old 01-14-2003, 01:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#5 of 33 Old 01-14-2003, 01:27 PM
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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.

DB
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#6 of 33 Old 01-14-2003, 01:47 PM
 
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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.

blessings
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#7 of 33 Old 01-14-2003, 04:11 PM
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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.
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#8 of 33 Old 01-14-2003, 11:52 PM
 
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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>
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#9 of 33 Old 01-15-2003, 03:35 AM
 
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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.

"What will you do once you know?"
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#10 of 33 Old 01-15-2003, 05:40 AM
 
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T

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
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#11 of 33 Old 01-15-2003, 10:27 AM
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Thanks Amy

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

D.B.
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#12 of 33 Old 01-16-2003, 06:48 AM
 
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Hi, for candlemas we are going to my sisters. We are having a yankee swap with candles. Warm food and drink .
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#13 of 33 Old 01-16-2003, 09:01 AM
 
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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?

: madrone - : SAHM to 12 y.o. DS, : 9 y.o. DD, and : 4 y.o. DS
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#14 of 33 Old 01-16-2003, 09:43 AM
 
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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.
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#15 of 33 Old 01-16-2003, 12:35 PM
 
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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?
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#16 of 33 Old 01-16-2003, 12:46 PM
 
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Iguanavere-

I bumped up the thread "resources on paganism" for ya!
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#17 of 33 Old 01-16-2003, 01:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#18 of 33 Old 01-16-2003, 04:49 PM
 
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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!
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#19 of 33 Old 01-16-2003, 08:11 PM
 
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Arduinna,


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.
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#20 of 33 Old 01-16-2003, 10:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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your welcome :-)
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#21 of 33 Old 01-17-2003, 03:10 AM
 
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Some groups time the celebration of Imbolc according to Moon. For the group I was in, this year it will be on the 20th of February, the first full moon in whatever astrological sign....

"What will you do once you know?"
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#22 of 33 Old 01-17-2003, 02:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by frodo
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!)
Whenever we move, we deliberately leave behind our old broom. They can become charged with the energy of the old place and it's considered bad luck to bring them into a new dwelling. I dont have a special broom though, just a plain old kitchen broom. I suppose if i had a beatiful besom i'd probably 'cleanse' it instead of tossing it.

Back on topic: Was just reading something about imbolc traditions that mentioned melting some snow in a bowl with a candle as a promise of the spring to come (kindof in reminiscence of the january thaw). It's too early to start garden seeds here, but i'm thinking it might be nice to plant some grass seeds or something like that anyways to bring some living plant energy in as another promise of the spring to come. We get a veryyy loooong winter here, so i can use all the promises of spring that i can get
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#23 of 33 Old 01-17-2003, 05:46 PM
 
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We have 'decorated' our home with garlic. It wasn't really for Imbolc, though - but it could be!
We've been having some issues with some people.

So I cleansed the house with a smudge, and put garlic around for protection, and did a little bit of a "spell," or what have you.
Interestingly enough, the problem with car can now be fix (for much less than we thought,) and we are feeling fine!

I feel really good about this 'spell' (for lack of a better word) it's the first one I've done, and it has worked so well!!!
I would like to leave the garlic up for Imbolc, however, I am having my brother & sister-in-law's baby shower at my house before then, and he is a pastor! I think Erich (my brother) would kind of understand if I explained it to him, but I'm not so sure about Angie (his wife)! The real problem would be the guest! Lots of stuffy Christain ladies (not that all Xians are stuffy!) who already think I'm out there! Perhaps I'll just bring the garlic back out for Imbolc, or keeps it in the kitchen.

Sorry for going on and on like that, but I just had to get that out!


I edited to say that I missed my 100th post, but this is 101 - hurray for me!
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#24 of 33 Old 01-20-2003, 02:47 AM
 
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(Aster wrote: )
Whenever we move, we deliberately leave behind our old broom. They can become charged with the energy of the old place and it's considered bad luck to bring them into a new dwelling. I dont have a special broom though, just a plain old kitchen broom. I suppose if i had a beatiful besom i'd probably 'cleanse' it instead of tossing it.

we usually leave or throw out the household cleaning brooms, and that's what caused the confusion with DH, who is atheist but tries. i had a $50 handmade twig broom, and a small altar-size besom that was also OUR HANDFASTING BROOM and he accidentally tossed those too. he knew i was really mad about the handfasting broom, so when he realized what he'd done he crawled from the front door to the bedroom all the way through our apartment on his knees begging my forgiveness! it would have been cute and funny if i hadn't been ready to throttle him.

i'm dropping hints that a new broom would be an appropriate gift for imbolg. he also owes me a new copy of laurie cabot's power of the witch since his evil psycho hell cat crawled into the box and shredded mine.

we finally tried our snowman experiment this weekend: we have a 6"-8" snow-gnome living in our freezer. i thought it would be a fun pre-imbolg, seasonal activity. i filled a bowl with snow, and ds and dd's goddess-mother sat at the dining room table with gloves on and made an indoor snowman, complete with button eyes, baby carrot nose and felt scarf and hat. we then set him on a plate in the freezer to see how long he'd last removed from his natural habitat. a domesticated snowman, if you will. i want him to make a second one to go on the balcony in view of the window, so we can see whether snowmen fare better in their natural environment or relocated to artifically controlled conditions. of course, the snowman may live longer, but we must take into consideration that since his mouth is made of yarn and he therefore can't talk, he will not be able to communicate his feelings about his new home to us. he may live a long time, but perhaps he will suffer severe chronic snowman depression. removed from natural light, seasonal affective disorder may be a problem. we explained the terms, conditions and risks of the experiment to our snowman, but as he has no arms he was unable to sign a consent form, we have to hope we won't be getting any calls from any snow attourneys. to be honest, we are a little unsure of scientific ethics in regards to snowmen. i do hope we haven't crossed any lines.
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#25 of 33 Old 01-21-2003, 07:30 PM
 
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I have a kind of silly question: What time of day do you celebrate Imbolc, or do you just take the whole day to celebrate?
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#26 of 33 Old 01-22-2003, 02:53 AM
 
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this is just our family, but we celebrate it at dusk, when you'd be turning on the lights to get through the evening.
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#27 of 33 Old 01-23-2003, 07:10 PM
 
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Okay - I have decided that we are going to spend some of the 1/2 hour of daylight that we will have with my husband planting a flat of seeds. Come spring, don't know where we will be living to plant them, so I will probably just get seeds that I know can do well in pots. I thought that I would prepare a special meal also. So, Frodo, would you want to share your recipes?

: madrone - : SAHM to 12 y.o. DS, : 9 y.o. DD, and : 4 y.o. DS
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#28 of 33 Old 01-24-2003, 03:46 PM
 
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Aaaaaaah ! I really, really, (really REALLY) identifie with Brigit :LOL

I "discovered" her a couple of years ago, and when I found out what she represented, wow, I fell on the floor. They are soooo many "coincidences" between her and my life that I immediatly made her my goddess. The more I read about her, the more I feel that the both of us are really connected in some mysterious way, starting with the name but there is so much more, and even if I wanted to write it down, I couldn't, there is just no words
KWIM ?

This year on Brigit Day, I am going on my first Reiki course
I didn't plan it that way, fate did I guess because I was supposed to go on Jan 11th. Since I knew that I wanted to take the course in October, I keep praying Brigit to pave the way, to make me ready to receive Reiki into my life. So she did...so it really feels special

Blessed Be !
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#29 of 33 Old 01-25-2003, 01:17 AM
 
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I recall in Catholic School going to church and having the priest put two blessed candles to my throat and praying over me so that I would not get a sore throat. It was called St. Blaise's Day. Sounds like something that came from a pagan practice to me.

To Amyrpk: DebraBaker may be correct about going to the place of worship on the 40th day for Jesus , Mary and Joseph. After all this was 2000 years ago and practices do change over time. Nothing is static, especially in a population as the Jews who have moved and adapted to many different situations over centuries.

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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#30 of 33 Old 01-25-2003, 01:54 AM
 
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I love the Pagan/Christian/Jewish connections.
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