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Does anyone celebrate Imbolc?

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  • Does anyone celebrate Imbolc?

    I'm getting ready to do something earth based by using a bear mask. I'd like to hear what anyone else is doing? I know it's a cross quarter...
    The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us.
    --Bill Watterson

  • #2
    I observe the cross quarter, but not as Imbolc.

    Winter Solstice feels like anything but the return of the sun to me. Days are still short and dark, and nights long and cold. By Feb 2...I am about pulling out my hair, I am so ready for Spring...but it isn't here yet. I feel like I am running out of resources...my coping mechanisms starting to wear thin. So for the past several years, I have come up with this version of "when life hands you lemons...make lemonade" to get me through to Spring Equinox when the world is a brighter place again.

    On Feb 2 I begin my "season of austerity". I simplify things, strip my life down to essentials. For six weeks I get the chance to sort through what in my life is a need, and what is a desire...not because one is better than the other, but just for clarity. I fast from different things...sometimes food, sometimes thought processes, or actions. I allow myself to experience me without something in my life, and see what that is like.

    I usually wear something on my person to remind myself...a ring, or bracelet, or something that keeps my intent in mind.

    It is like an annual molt for me, shedding the old fur, feathers and skin...to see if a new pattern is emerging beneath.

    cheddar
    In a love affair with sunshine

    Live this day like an altar to what you believe

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    • #3
      There's a thread in the Wicca-Path forum about what people are planning to celebrate Imbolc and the return of Spring.

      I was doing research for my Grove's Imbolc celebration and read something about how difficult it can be to appreciate the coming changes when you live here in the heartland (the center of the U.S.), with the skies being gray and the ground either covered with dingy snow or bleached out grass. But if you look for them, you will see signs of change. Last week I noticed one of my trees starting to bud out. This one tree is my constant joy, it's the first one to bud out and the last one to change color and then loose it's leaves.

      But the old meaning of Imbolc is "in the belly", meaning a pregnant critter like an ewe. The first sign of pregnancy in us humans is often falling asleep every time we sit down, and Mother Earth has been napping quite a bit the last month or so. But just as with a pregnant mammal, the belly begins to swell and soon you can see the baby kicking away in there. Watch for it... :hehehehe:
      ____________
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      If he's not happy, he'll tell 20 others.



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      • #4
        I do, and I even see it as a return to spring. It's when I start looking for the little signs.

        February is the coldest, snowiest time in Colorado, and while that seems to put a damper on things, the mornings are slowwwwwwly brightening earlier and earlier and evenings getting dark later and later. I'm more aware of this because of the times I get up and get home, so while it otherwise wouldn't be terribly apparent, I can see it. Some trees are budding out past their post summer trimming, preparing to leaf as soon as they can. Sometimes they'll be surprised by that last late snow, but for now it's the straining at the bit that is interesting.

        I don't know what I'll do this year, honestly. Hope for snow, stare out at the blue sky, enjoy the meeting of Grandfather Frost and the Goddess of Spring that creates the turmoiled weather we get but that is definitely pointing toward spring.

        This time of year for me doesn't point toward Brighid, but toward Snegourochka, the Snow Maiden. She is of winter surely, but equally of spring. And she is striving for the warmth of love and the love of life...

        Peace
        Working for Peace Pruning the Rambles

        :hahugh: Banner made by me :hahugh:
        Definition of skepticism: Don't believe everything you think.

        In wildness is the preservation of the world ~Henry David Thoreau

        Pantheism Path Forum Guide

        In memoriam, Basha: 4/1996 - 12/2007 * * * In memoriam, Tika: 9/1996 - 3/2008

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Eleisawolf View Post
          I do, and I even see it as a return to spring. It's when I start looking for the little signs.

          February is the coldest, snowiest time in Colorado, and while that seems to put a damper on things, the mornings are slowwwwwwly brightening earlier and earlier and evenings getting dark later and later. I'm more aware of this because of the times I get up and get home, so while it otherwise wouldn't be terribly apparent, I can see it. Some trees are budding out past their post summer trimming, preparing to leaf as soon as they can. Sometimes they'll be surprised by that last late snow, but for now it's the straining at the bit that is interesting.

          I don't know what I'll do this year, honestly. Hope for snow, stare out at the blue sky, enjoy the meeting of Grandfather Frost and the Goddess of Spring that creates the turmoiled weather we get but that is definitely pointing toward spring.

          This time of year for me doesn't point toward Brighid, but toward Snegourochka, the Snow Maiden. She is of winter surely, but equally of spring. And she is striving for the warmth of love and the love of life...

          Peace
          Yes, what I love most about being in tune with the Wheel of the Year is noticing the natural changes, especially the way the days begin to lengthen following the Winter Solstice. I used to have a real hard time with seasonal affective disorder, but simply being aware of how the days are getting longer and spring is getting closer has helped me through many a cold and gray January and February.

          I had not heard of Snegourochka, and did a Google for her. I had a hard time finding anything in English that wasn't about the opera, but finally found this interesting page: http://www.passportmagazine.ru/article/983/
          ____________
          If you make a customer happy, he'll tell 3 other people.
          If he's not happy, he'll tell 20 others.



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          • #6
            Thanks, Lunacie, I know about the thread. I am also looking for ideas that aren't Wiccan and that don't include Brigid. I also just like hearing what Pantheists have to say about the passage of the year, which for me is a big part of Imbolc (or whatever you call it) Samhain is looking back, and for me Imbolc is looking forward. I like your ideas of making ready, Cheddersox. It's sort of making a ritual away from the altar as it were. Thanks for sharing everyone! Maybe we'll hear a few more ideas and impressions!

            Here's the text I used for a page swap on this forum. It's written for Imbolc.

            ----------------------------------
            Rite for Waking the Earth

            Masks are powerful ritual tools. They signal to the deeper mind that something magical is about to happen. Come take up this mask and become the essence of the Bear to call winter toward spring. As you follow these words use gesture and movement to awaken yourself!

            Lay on the floor or in a chair. Hold the mask in front of your face. Breathe. Feel the Earth holding you. Know that you sleep safe. Breathe deeply. Sleep.

            Feel yourself begin to awaken. Your blood stirs within you. Something is in the air! Feel the Earth holding you, but you know that it’s time to awaken. Uncurl and stretch.

            Holding your mask in front of you, move toward the surface from your cave within the Earth. Stooping, moving slowly. The Earth speaks to you. You have a purpose: winter needs to become spring!

            Emerge into the light and stand up. Blinking you look around. Breathe the winter air. Now is the time to call spring to you! Shout, stomp your paws, growl. Say what you feel—be bear-like, do not be sweet. You crave spring—demand it!

            When you are ready, breathe deeply again. Know that power of the bear is with you when you lower your mask. Ground and center. Take another deep breath, exhale slowly. Smile, spring is on it’s way!
            -------------------------------

            It's a nice rite but I'm looking for other inspiration. It's kind of short and I like my rituals to be longer. BTW the mask stuff really works!
            The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us.
            --Bill Watterson

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            • #7
              Ah, I love that meditation. Very short but very powerful.

              We are going to take small twists of straw or wheat, charge them with the things we want to banish along with Winter (bad habits, shortcomings, negative thinking), and then burn them in the cauldron. Then we will take a small silver coin (or you could use a packet of seeds) and we will charge them with what we want to bring into our lives along with Spring (creativity, inspiration, a certain emotion), and drop those into the cauldron on top of the ashes of the strawman, saying "We build our future on the ashes of the past." Then the ashes and the coins (or seeds) will be planted in the garden, or placed beneath a tree if the ground is too frozen for planting. Seeds could also be started in a flower pot for transplanting into the garden at Ostara.
              ____________
              If you make a customer happy, he'll tell 3 other people.
              If he's not happy, he'll tell 20 others.



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              • #8
                I was originally going to do just Brigid (I just read you didn't wanna hear 'bout people who were gonna have her in their Imbolc plans, 'cause most of the wiccans are doing that...but despite not being wiccan, I'd never acknowledged her for Imbolc before, and wanted to do that this year)...and now reading about the Snow Maiden that Eliesawolf mentioned, I think I may look into more aspects of the Snow Maiden. (In particular I'm leaning toward the Snow Goddess of Hawaii, who seems to have four faces).

                I happen to be one of those odd pagans who believes that all deities are simply faces, different aspects, humanity's attempt to grasp...the force that runs the universe. So I have no personal problems with honoring two faces (or six lol) for Imbolc.

                If I keep Brigid in my plans, then I was gonna have a write-off day, to forge my emotions into something lovely..if possible. Stories, songs. Because I'm a writer, and she's often described as a Goddess of the forge, and the written word (though particularly poetry).
                But the Snow Goddess of Hawaii is depicted, in all her faces, as taming the fires -- the light and warmth of the Volcano. When she/they wore the white cloaks the land was cold, but during the spring they'd throw them off and don golden cloaks of sunshine. Embodying winter's cold melting into the spring's warmth.
                Which would work well with what I've always felt Imbolc was about...it's more of a...preparation for the return of the spring, not its actual return.
                So to honor the Maiden who's preparing to do so, it seems fitting.

                And the Goddess of fire (Which Brigid is) is the enemy of the Snow Maiden in many legends..and to honor the duality seems right to me. Though perhaps the make it more fitting, I will honor Pele instead, since she's the Volcano Goddess of Hawaii who's the true enemy of those particular Snow Maidens.
                I'd still do the write-off, since they're very similiar..and probably a retelling of the same face. Though to borrow upon the mutable element which Pele herself embodies...the creative and sometimes destructive fires of the volcano.
                Along with my shedding of old ideas and aspects of myself which served me well during the previous year and through the winter, to make way for the renewal of myself in finding new parts of me and grow when the sping does return.
                Which means major divination and meditation time!
                Ah, I do love taking peace and quiet where I can get it.

                You can tell I've just these days been finalizing my plans, huh? Lol.

                Normally I just wing it, but I decided to do some actual planning this year =)

                Anyway, and after that I'll work on some Imbolc-y recipes (which aaaahhh I still haven't found any I like and can afford yet! *panic*)...and once I'm done with all my merrymaking and thinking, I'll go out (and yes, it'll be really cold)...and leave an offering of said food I prepared, for the winter spirits..Jack Frost and the ice fairies and whoever else may be by, to hope that maybe with full stomachs they'll be a little less harsh on us on ol human beings, and maybe feel inclined on leaving punctually for spring.
                His:


                Mine:

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                • #9
                  At this time of year, our ancestors were eating the last of the food they had stored last fall, the oats and the apples and stuff like that. Some fruit had been dried and was now something like raisens. And they were also starting to have fresh milk as the ewes were lambing, so anything made from milk was a delight to their taste buds. The chickens were starting to lay eggs again. And they were adding lots of spices to their food to cover the fact that some of it was getting past it's "sell by" date.

                  Our group is planning to have a curry (spicy), some homebaked raisen bread, baked mac & cheese made with feta and other cheeses, deviled eggs, and oatmeal cookies. But what I just realized would be great for a solitary who doesn't want to do a lot of baking... would be a grilled cheese sandwich on raisen bread. **drools** Maybe my family will have a little Imbolc celebration the night after my Grove has it's celebration. I'll have to make an extra loaf, eh.
                  ____________
                  If you make a customer happy, he'll tell 3 other people.
                  If he's not happy, he'll tell 20 others.



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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Lunacie View Post
                    I had not heard of Snegourochka, and did a Google for her. I had a hard time finding anything in English that wasn't about the opera, but finally found this interesting page: http://www.passportmagazine.ru/article/983/
                    She's easier to find if you call her the Snow Maiden.

                    Here's her fairy tale.

                    Enjoy!
                    Peace
                    Working for Peace Pruning the Rambles

                    :hahugh: Banner made by me :hahugh:
                    Definition of skepticism: Don't believe everything you think.

                    In wildness is the preservation of the world ~Henry David Thoreau

                    Pantheism Path Forum Guide

                    In memoriam, Basha: 4/1996 - 12/2007 * * * In memoriam, Tika: 9/1996 - 3/2008

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                    • #11
                      part of my imbolc ritual is to go for walks, and LOOK for those tiny little hints... the wetter smells on the snow... maybe a dripping icicle... tiny things... soft ness in the gorund, or the scent of earth.

                      Imbolc is my favorite holiday because it is subtle... it has to be looked for to be found...it is the seed of hope for spring.
                      Mitakuye Oyasin

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by RavenStart
                        Does anyone celebrate Imbolc?
                        No. No-one celebrates Imbolc.

                        Xentor, your friendly-neighbourhood Checkerist
                        Contact me | The Dialogues on Checkerism

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                        • #13
                          Imbolc is the "Art Holiday" for our family. We use the cross-quarter days as a time to celebrate the ways that we interact with the world around us (as opposed to the Equinoxes and Solstices, where we celebrate events that take place whether or not we're here to observe them). As the Earth is showing the faintest signs of waking up again, we start to wake from our Winter lethargy and feel the urge to be doing things again. To be creating.

                          Imbolc this year is on the performance day for the 24-Hour Play Project. Most every year, I'm part of a group of 12 playwrights, broken into pairs, who get together at 9:00 on a Friday night and have 8 hours to write a 10-minute play. We stagger home and fall into bed, and the scripts are passed to writers and directors who have 8 hours to stage, rehearse, and perform the plays at 8:00 that night. That's our ritual this year.
                          If you're lucky you'll find something that reflects you,
                          helps you feel your life protects you,
                          cradles you and connects you to everything.
                          Dar Williams, "The Hudson"

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                          • #14
                            Wowa. What an exciting project!

                            I've decided on continuing the bear theme and will have bear foods for dinner with my family: smoked salmon with crackers, dried berries added to salad, honey added to yogurt.
                            The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us.
                            --Bill Watterson

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                            • #15
                              A curiosity... for those of you that mark the cross-quarter, do any of you actually calculate it out so it is the 'true' cross-quarter (or really halfway between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox?). I'm just curious because I'm aware that Feb 1st is a bit too soon to be the real halfway point between these two holidays. I've heard that some calculated based on a number of degrees from a fixed astrological sign, but I don't know much more than that about this method.
                              I find signatures distracting, thus I have them turned off. So if you can see this, I can't see yours.

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