A full moon last night, or more accurately this morning, at 12:45.
I love the images of Imbolc: White pillar candle in a silver bowl of snow. Berries in the offering bowl. Brid’s crosses, half-woven by candlelight.
Imbolc for me is about ten days of honoring. A few years ago I realised that the actual second of February doesn’t resonate with me as much as the days following it. Like other sabbats, the changing energy that the festival honours doesn’t happen all at once on a single day; energy is in constant motion, of course, and the sabbat is a day set aside to observe that ongoing change and to examine how one is responding to it. There are very few sabbats for which I can do this in a single day, however, and so the day of the sabbat often represents the beginning of ten or so days of introspection and reconnection.
We did our Imbolc ritual after Liam’s dinner. He watched me scoop freshly fallen snow up in the silver bowl and put it on the altar, then place the candle in the centre of it and put the bowl of berries next to it as an offering. We lit it and talked to him about how even though it was very very cold and snowy, the earth was already thinking about spring deep inside. “Candle,” he said, pointing to it, so we talked about the importance of light and warm hearths in the home too, and how Brid helps us make our home a loving one. Then he decided he wanted berries, so we went back into the kitchen and he ate most of what was left over. The last one he held in his hand and thought hard. “Do you want to give that to the Goddess?” I said. He nodded and ran into the living room to stand in front of the altar, reaching his hand up as high as it would go. I lifted him up, and he pointed to the goddess statue we have. “Lady!” he said, and put the berry in the curve of her arms. He’s a natural.
I have some very welcome meditation and honouring planned during this upcoming week. And I’ll be making my Brid’s crosses again, once I find appropriate material. I have to check to see if the corn husks I saved and dried will work properly. I think they will, once I soak them a bit to make them pliable.
And as my contribution to this year’s Imbolc poetry web, this poem about light returning:
A Winter Dawn
Above the marge of night a star still shines,
And on the frosty hills the sombre pines
Harbor an eerie wind that crooneth low
Over the glimmering wastes of virgin snow.
Through the pale arch of orient the morn
Comes in a milk-white splendor newly-born,
A sword of crimson cuts in twain the gray
Banners of shadow hosts, and lo, the day!
~ Lucy Maud Montgomery, 1899
(Editor’s note: For some reason this didn’t publish last Friday night, and as this is the first chance I’ve had to sit down since then I didn’t notice until now. Fixed.)