This weekend is the sabbat of Imbolc/Oimelc. In the northern US, this is a time of winter and snow. Imbolc marks the beginning of Spring or the eventual return of Spring, depending on how you look at it. But here in Louisiana, we really haven't had a winter. At most, we had a week of winter with temps in the 30-40's. The rest of the time the temps have ranged from 40-70. Not exactly winter weather :). So sometimes it is a little harder for us to envision the coming of Spring, when it actually is here already. But we still find ways to celebrate the holiday.
Many people differ on what this word actually means. Some say "in the belly" or "ewe's milk". I think either can be used since this is a time that animals such as sheep and cows are pregnant and almost ready to give birth. The animals will of course begin lactating so they can feed their new broods. The Ancient Celts or at least a good portion of them were farmers and herders. Imbolc was one of their holidays celebrated. Probably the most celebrated deity at this time was Bridgit, goddess of "fire". Fire however is not necessarily referring to the heat of the fire or sun, but more along the lines of "light" or "enlightenment". She is also linked to water as well due to the many sacred wells blessed in her honor.
Many pictures of Bridgit show her with fire coming out of her head. This can be interpreted as the fires of inspiration and creativity. She is considered a triple goddess as she is the Goddess of Healing, Goddess of Inspiration (Poetry) and the Goddess of the Forge.
There are many ways we can connect with Bridgit today. For example:
Healing: making your own tinctures or salves; learning about and growing your own herbs; energy healing, spiritual healing, midwifery (I actually have a coven sister who is in school for this now) :)
Inspiration/Creativity: of course writing or reading poetry, enjoying music and/or dance, learning something new, divination, etc.
Forge- includes smith-crafting, gold-crafting: which would include things like making your own jewelry, and any crafts you make for your home or practice.
Fire or water magic would also be appropriate at this time or any time when working with this goddess.
Imbolc is also a time of new beginnings. This year my coven has decided to study the Celtic Pantheon. So of course for this sabbat we will be honoring Bridgit. We are also cleansing our sacred circle (which is located at my home) as well as ourselves, opening up to new beginnings. Dedication to the ancient gods is also on the agenda for this ritual.
I hope this new year brings you many new beginnings filled with happiness and beauty. May Bridgit always shine her love upon you.
Blessed Imbolc to all.