So, the wheel of the year keeps turning...
I heard that if it's a bright, sunny day, that means the Cailleach can go out and fetch more firewood to keep her warm so she can keep winter going for a bit longer, but if she forgets and oversleeps, the day will be gray and stormy, therefore signalling an end to the cold days - well, today was a beautiful sunny day here (though cold) so I am assuming we need to snuggle up and keep hibernating a little longer!
The Cailleach - she's known as The Veiled One and The Queen of Winter. She's a hag and, in some legends, a shapeshifter. She's a powerful old woman, filled with the wisdom of the ages, the ancients and the ancestors. Her skin is deathly pale and her teeth are red. She can leap across mountains and ride the storms. She's a true force of nature, wild and destructive but not evil. She cares for animals both wild and domestic during the winter and is the patron of wolves.
The Cailleach is ageless and immortal and, as winter gives way to spring at this time of Imbolc, she is said to drink a drought which returns her to her youth. The changes of the seasons highlight the relationship between The Cailleach and Brigid, who comes to the fore during the warmer months. This young and beautiful goddess is said to be the younger incarnation of The Cailleach.
Brigid - the goddess of Spring, fertility and life. She is filled with passion and fire. But she's also associated with serenity, healing and motherhood. Like many of us, she is filled with contradictions - maybe why we can identify with her so much! She wears a cloak of sunbeams and is a beautiful fiery haired maiden - sometimes depicted as a young mother - and she cares not just for people but for animals too. She is inspirational and inspired, learning well the teachings of her wise and magical father, The Dagda. She always knows what is needed and is ready to offer her wisdom as one of her many sacred gifts.
Because Brigid is a water goddess, she is sometimes known as Goddess of the Wells but she also has another symbol going back into prehistory: The Brigid Cross. This is usually made of rushes or grass and is hung above doors or kept near the hearth. I made my Brigid Cross today from some rushes I managed to gather from the edge of a local pond...
|My Brigid Cross 2021|
reeds found at the pond at "Top Forest"
Brigid, being a kind and fair goddess, will give her inspiration and blessing freely to those who come to her pure of heart and intention. But for those that come to her with cunning and ulterior motives, she is more likely to give her gifts at a price: a lesson in how to act better and be better.
Sometimes, in antiquity, writers have linked Brigid with the Greek goddess Athena (or Minerva, if you're a Roman). That makes a lot of sense because I have long regarded myself to be aligned with Athena but the more I read about Brigid, I resonate deeply with her as well!Because of her many aspects, Brigid is regarded as a triple goddess and her holiday is Imbolc - February 1st & 2nd...
Imbolc - it's the mid-point between the sabbats of Yule (the Winter Solstice) and Ostara (the Spring Equinox) - and marks the awakening of the Earth... The word means "in the belly" and echoes the first stages of a pregnancy, when the swell is only just showing. It signals renewal and potential, life force and rebirth. It signals the return of the light. It echoes sentiments of perseverance and new beginnings.
Out with the old, in with the new!
You can honour the Imbolc sabbat by doing a few simple things: spring cleaning your home or taking some time to simply sit and meditate to "spring clean" your head and your heart ready for the new possibilities that await you.
You can make a Brigid cross and hang it in your home or you can honour Brigid by lighting a candle and acknowledging her fire aspect. Gaze at the candle and make wishes for your family and friends, or meditate on releasing what no longer serves you to allow you to concentrate on the future... actually tonight, I burned my Brigid Cross from last year and sent out with the smoke all the negativity of the past year and asked for the strength and inspiration to carry on with my plans for this year...
|burning last year's Brigid Cross|
You could also plant some seeds or make a seed cake to share. Seeds represent hopes and dreams and once sown, they are open to all possibilities!
You might even go off in search of snowdrops. A simple walk in nature is a fantastic way to honour this Sabbat.
Imbolc's colours are white or silver for purity and green to represent the Earth and new life!
love and light to you all...