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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Imbolc, Brigid, and Groundhog Day

We often talk about the connections of astrology with the season cycle. The Solstices and Equinoxes mark zero degrees of the Cardinal Zodiac Signs. The midpoints in time between Solstices and Equinoxes are "Cross Quarter Days," holy days based on the seasons.

The middle of Aquarius comes early in February and brings Imbolc or Brigid ~ Candlemas (February 2) ~ the newborn Sun God is seen as a small child nursing at the breast of the Mother. Energy is directed toward blessing and empowering new beginnings. At this Holy Day the Goddess of Fire and Inspiration, Brigid, is honored. To the Irish she is the Triple Goddess of Poetry, Healing, and Smithcraft. The Light of the days continues to increase.

Aquarius tells us it is a time for our unique individuality to manifest as well. It is a time of Initiation ritual, of beginnings. Coming at lambing time, Imbolc (or Oimelc) celebrated the beginning of the end of winter. New lambs were born, and a dish made from their docked tails was eaten. This survived into Christian times as the Feast of Brigid: the saint was a Christianized version of the pagan goddess of the same name.

Brigid's festival is Imbolc, when she ushers Spring to the land . . . This mid-Winter feast commences as the ewes begin to lactate and is the start of the new agricultural cycle. During this time Brigid personifies a bride, virgin or maiden aspect and is the protectoress of women in childbirth. Gailleach, or White Lady, drank from the ancient Well of Youth at dawn. In that instant, she was transformed into her Maiden aspect, the young goddess called Brigid. Wells were considered to be sacred because they arose from oimbelc (literally "in the belly"), or womb of Mother Earth.

Imbolc also is known as Oimelc, Brigid, Candlemas, or even in America as Groundhog Day. As the foundation for the American Groundhog Day, Brigid's snake comes out of its mound in which it hibernates and its behavior is said to determine the length of the remaining Winter. "Brigid." Encyclopedia Mythica from Encyclopedia Mythica Online.

-- from handout material at a January 2005 talk I gave. Although there are a couple of sources given, I'm not certain where I got some of this. It didn't just pop out of my head or from the belly of Aquarius for that matter even though I have Venus quite near that place. -- Tim

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