Thursday February 2, 2012

Our Resident Witch

Blessed Imbolc: Finding Joy In Small Things

Gaelic Saint Brigid heralds warmer spring days ahead

Submitted by Sorcha Kincaid, Wiccan High Priestess, Chilliwack

 

his time of year can be tough for people. The gloom of winter still has a firm hold and the days are not growing dramatically longer yet.

 

Snow is still a threat in most weather forecasts and the lack of sunlight can be felt physically and emotionally. Imagine for a moment what this time of year must have been like for our ancestors. Food would have been scarce, the dark and cold would have been felt much more intimately, and there was very little to be joyous about.


That is what Imbolc is all about, finding the joy in the small changes all around us. Imbolc is a traditional Gaelic holiday, the literal translation of the word means 'ewes milk'. Odd name, I know, but it is at this time that sheep would begin to produce milk in anticipation of the lambs soon to come.

 

With so little left in the pantry and plants still mostly dormant, nutritious milk was a very important part of the diets of our ancestors and could literally save lives. Some plants are beginning to stir at this time too, though. The first spots of green poke their heads through the snow and these tiny morsels are packed with nutrients that would have been invaluable to people struggling through the last bit of winter.

 

So, Imbolc is also a celebration of the return of hope for the next year. Warm days and plentiful food are not too far ahead and that is definitely something to be joyous about.


Imbolc is also known as Candlemas and The Feast of St. Brigid. Brigid was a Gaelic goddess of poetry, blacksmithing, and healing among other things. Her followers were so devoted to her that when Christianity came to Ireland she was made a saint so she would not be lost to them. In modern Wiccan Imbolc celebrations she is honored and remembered still. Candles are also commonly used symbolically as an acknowledgement of the sun and a way to coax it into staying out in the sky longer.
 

Sorcha Kincaid is a practicing Wiccan High Priestess, mom and works in Chilliwack.

 

You can contact her by e-mail here for more details. For more information on the local chapter of pagans, visit: www.chilliwackcoffeecauldron.webs.com She also makes wonderful wands with precious gems and more at: www.ambrodelwands.com

 

 

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