In the Belly

Some Sabbats are more equal than others.  No, not really, but some Sabbats seem to get a lot more attention than others.  Two of them — Beltane and Samhein — always appear larger than life while others can sometimes slip past without much celebration at all.

Imbolc may  not be the least-noticed Sabbat, but it comes at an awkward time.  We’re still recovering from the huge Thanksgiving-through-New-Years secular holiday season and, somehow, getting excited about another holiday can just seem like too much work.  While the change in the light is there, it’s a subtle change; the nights are still pretty long and the weather is still pretty unpleasant.  So it’s not surprising that Imbolc sometimes seems to get short shrift.

But this year, for some reason, more Pagan writers appear to be thinking and preparing for Imbolc.

Byron Ballard discusses how the weather can impact Imbolc rituals.   She also offers some prayers to Brigid.   Is Brigid a big part of your Imbolc?

Rhyd explains why, this year, he’s eagerly anticipating Imbolc:

That first Imbolc changed the very direction of my soul. I suspect this next one may do the same. I’ve gotten turned around somehow, a little lost, a little confused. I’m where I was going, here in Europe, here with my words and magic and gods. But I don’t remember where I was going after that, once I got here. Like a traveler visiting a friend, arriving at the station of the city they inhabit, the longest part of the journey complete. But there’s some walking to do from here to there, transit to negotiate, a specific address to find.

That’s what Imbolc’s always been good for. Under the earth roots have been sleeping, seeds waiting. They’re were they’re supposed to be, have done what was needed. But there’s always something next, another destination, another role. From the ground they’ll soon begin to waken, stretch out their tendrils and shoots like we stretch our bodies after slumber, reaching towards the light.

Imbolc is coming.

Byron reminds me of this lovely piece from Cari,written a few years ago.

Over at Gather Victoria, Danielle Prohom Olson is baking a lavender, rosemary, and poppyseed cake to celebrate Imbolc. She notes:

This is the time the earth stirs,  preparing to give new life, and it offers us an opportunity to awaken from the quiet of winter and start making plans for the future.  Making this cake can be a quiet ritual time, so when you’re creaming, beating and stirring, contemplate the seeds you wish to plant in the coming year. What will you nurture and bring into the world? Bake your intentions into this cake – and then ceremonially eat with friends – or alone!  (Magical Baking Tip: stir batter clockwise for good luck and good health and counter-clockwise for banishing bad ju-ju.)

In our modern calendar, Imbolc falls at the halfway point between Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, which means even if you’re still buried in snow – spring is officially on its way. So consider celebrating the coming of spring with a magical cake fit for a goddess! May Brigid’s blessings be with you!

She also offers a recipe for a rosemary oat bannock, in case you’re really in a baking mood.  And maybe some lavender tea-milk punch to go with that.

Solitaries celebrate Imbolc, too.

And the town of Derry will be having an Imbolc International Arts Festival.

What will you be doing?

PS:  Pretty sure the Druids did not dance like that, but you know me and dance.

3 responses to “In the Belly

  1. I call this Sabbat “The Awakening Time”. After a prolonged slumber, Earth awakens with a hunger, so I leave Her an offering of veggies, fruits, eggs, water, and flowers. I probably should add an oblation of coffee or tea.
    all the gods know I need caffeine first thing in the morning.

  2. I just dug in another load of coffee grounds and a good sprinkling of Epsom salts through the sleeping garden! My usual offering to the Earth on Imbolc is mead and milk! We always put lots of bits and pieces of veggies across to the Greenbelt for the various animals!

  3. I admit, as I have aged, the sabbath that matter most to me have changed. Beltane has somewhat fallen away to wistful memory status. We used to celebrate a hybrid of Imbolc and Lupercalia later in February, but as I’ve passed age 60, I’m leaning back towards Imbolc alone. This year it is of vast import to me. My husband and I are wakening/rising/resisting a year’s passing of severe grief over a family sundering. This Imbolc we will formally mark our return to life and intent to endure – like the very Earth herself.

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