Archetypal Energy: Light-Solar-Feminine
Archetype: Brigit, The Solar (Spiritual) Mother Goddess
Imbolc is the season between Feb.1 st and March 21 st. Imbolc marks the beginning of spring and is dedicated to the sun goddess Brigit, the patroness of the hearth and home; of poets and craftspeople. Sowing and planting begins in this season and it is a time for purification and hatching new ideas. Imbolc means “first light of spring” and is a time to connect to the archetype of Brigit; she is the goddess of the forge, of the balance between the elements of fire and water. She was a Celtic goddess dedicated to human civilization including the arts of poetry, music and dance; she is a solar goddess of inspiration; she is complete in herself as a feminine goddess; she is like the goddess Athena and is a maiden who is pure and cannot be touched by men; she represents the maiden aspect of the tripartite goddess composed of Mother, Maiden and Crone. This is the most purely feminine season of the year. We shall be connecting with and exploring the archetype of the maiden through Brigit.
In the Roman and Greek tradition the goddess associated with the stars and the web of the stars which the shamans travel upon is Ariadne, the spider goddess. She is similar in some of her properties to Brigit and we shall be working with the star goddess and her web of stars during this season. In the Judeo-Christian tradition Mary, the mother of Christ is an expression of this light feminine, solar goddess archetype.
Associated energies and symbols for the season of Imbolc
1. Associated Element: Air and Wind
2. Direction: Northeast
3. Season: Spring
4. Faery Realm: Gorias, the realm of the faery sylphs.
5. Animal: Wolf and Spider
6. Plant/Tree: Rowan and Ash
7. Color: White
8. Earthly Realm: Human
9. Arch Angel: Rafael
10. Polarity: Feminine/Receptive
11. Energy: Light/Positive (+) /Solar
12. Focus: Outer/Extroverted
13. Sacred Tool: Sword (King Arthur’s Sword Excalibur)
14. Stage of Life: Childhood
15. Time of Day/Night: Dawn
16. Body Consciousness/Chakra: The Head (Celtic); Third Eye (Hindu)
17. Consciousness: Star Consciousness
18. Jungian Personality Function: Thinking
At Imbolc, it is the first light of spring. It is the time of ewe's milk beginning to flow, a symbol of Bridget, the Star Goddess of the Milky Way, readying for conception in the following season. It is the time when the spiritual self that was born at Winter Solstice becomes an un-impregnated ovum within the Maiden's womb. The notion of the un-manifest as opposed to the manifest is important here. There is a spiritual reality and a physical reality associated with each season. This is the Goddess Bridget's holiday season. She is the Maiden Goddess at this time of year. Her womb becomes ripe with sovereign fertility, filled with countless eggs ready to be fertilized, without the male energy present; she symbolizes the great potential of everything,
In many ways the un-manifest is more powerful than the manifest because there are limitless possibilities in the un-manifest. Once a reality has become manifest, it is defined and infinite possibilities have been eliminated. Nonetheless, in the manifest, the potential is again containing a new infinity of possibilities.
The sacred tool that group members begin looking for is the tool of the element of air and wind, which is the Athame, which is a sacred double bladed knife. We are working in the Fairy tradition in which the Athame may be made of stone, copper, bronze, silver, or wood, etc., but not of iron or steel. Group members must find it and purify it in salt for a complete lunar cycle, 28 days. It will then be empowered in the next season of spring equinox.
The personal focus of ritual during the season of Imbolc is the following: Imbolc is the time to focus upon one’s light, feminine nature. This is a time to focus upon imagination, creativity, and artistic expression. This time is the first light of spring when the Ewes (female sheep) lactate preparing for new life and birth. This is the time when the initial creativity and rebirth of the Winter Solstice begins to manifest in the womb. It is not yet born into the outer world which will occur at spring time. This is a time to talk about and focus upon clarifying new intentions and goals in one’s life. This is the time to focus upon one’s relationship with the divine feminine. One can work upon connecting to the light goddess archetype during this season with mother Mary or Brigit.
Ritual for Imbolc
The ritual for Imolc is Bridget's ritual, honoring the divine feminine, the spiritual feminine. The ritual usually involves lighting candles to Bridget, emphasizing the balance between fire and water, thus the candles are usually placed to float upon water. The ritual focus is upon lightness and white. Special emphasis is placed upon the Milky Way of the stars and the Star Goddess. This is the time of the virgin and pure Goddess within and without. So it is a time to focus on the divine feminine within oneself. This is a time to focus on ones spiritual womb, which will allow new fresh things to begin in the next season; it is about shaping yourself up for the potential of new things to happen. In New Age philosophy there is a lot about thinking about having a new life. But, in the ancient ways it is about actually making space in your life to make way for new things to happen.
For example, if you were an artist, you would need to prepare a canvas before you could begin to paint. Sometimes there may be a sacrifice of something to make room for something new to come into your life. In the Buddhist conception, this is the place of having a still mind.
It is a time of pouring milk on stones. A time of inner contemplation, a carrying over of the time of Winter Solstice and preparing for the Spring Equinox. The Dark Goddess birthed the soul light at the Winter Solstice and sent the soul light on a journey towards incarnation. At Imolc, the Light Goddess prepares her womb to receive the soul light and birth it in the future.
In Celtic Shamanistic Traditions, each of the different directions has different elemental and energetic and behavioral associations.
Begining about Nov. 1st -- Samhain is the Pagan New Year. It literally means "summer's end" in Irish Gaelic, and is the hallmark of the feminine half of the year. It is the time we honor those beloved who have died, particularly in the last year.
Yule is the celebration of the rebirth of light. It is humanity's oldest celebration which honors the Goddess giving birth to her son - the God, the Sun, and the Light.
February 1st - Brighid honors the time just before spring, when the earth is preparing to burst forth in productivity. It is the time when ewe's milk begins to flow in preparation for birthing, a symbol of the mother's milk of the earth.
Marks the shift from the lethargy and darkness of winter into the fruitfulness of Spring. The festival honors the time for new beginnings, as we travel into the light and action of spring, in gratitude for its warmth and light.
May 1st - Beltaine is the hallmark of the male part of the year, and honors the fecundity of earth. The God and Goddess are in sexual union - the maypole represents the phallus of the God planted in the Earth Goddess. The plants and flowers we lash to the maypole with ribbons represent the fertility of the Goddess. The festival celebrates vitality and passion - we cherish the joys life has to offer.
A festival in honor of the sun, of passion, and of the ripeness of the earth. The Goddess and the earth are heavy with pregnancy. This is a time when sacred and magical plants are gathered, dried, and stored for the coming winter.
August 1st - A time of thansgiving for the first fruits of the harvest. The God, a metaphor for the grain, is sacrificed - cut down in the fields to feed us. We make offerings of gratitude, ever mindful of the bounty the earth provides.
The light and darkness again are equal, but light grows less. The God, sacrificed in the harvest to nurture us, begins his journey into the Underworld. Mabon is a celebration of the completion of the harvest begun at Lughnasadh.