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Becoming maiden. Again. | Pilgrim's Moon

Becoming maiden. Again.

SnowdropsI love the sense of movement through the year as the earth turns and, in the Northern hemisphere, we begin to see the first signs of green returning. The trees are in bud and snowdrops are shouldering their way out of the ground.

Tomorrow, 2nd February, is Imbolc, one of the “cross-quarter” days in the Pagan and Celtic calendars, meaning it is midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.

At this time it is said the Crone turns away and the triple Goddess shows us the face of the Maiden.

The day is also a celebration of Bride (pronounced Breed) or St Brigid, understood either as the Celtic Goddess of Smithcraft, or the Christian saint.

Christians celebrate the day as Candlemas, commemorating the ritual presentation of the baby Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem. It is so-called because it is the day upon which candles are blessed for the year.

Tomorrow is a festival of light, symbolised by the colour white, and the lighting of candles, and quiet ceremonies at hidden sacred wells.

And now I have a feast of Imbolc treasures for you to explore:

Jan Richardson tells us of Brigid of Kildare, the saint

Judith Shaw at Feminism and Religion talks of Brigid in her Goddess aspect

Christine Valters Paintner at Abbey of the Arts gives us a free mini-retreat in which she asks what is stirring in your belly at this time of change and growth.

Enjoy!

How do you celebrate the changes of the year?

Photo credit: Richard Seely

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12 Responses to Becoming maiden. Again.
  1. Em
    February 1, 2013 | 11:09 pm

    Lovely! and there is also a long-time Poetry Festival (8th year apparently) happening on blogs all over blogland, in honour of Brigid and her rulership over poetry.

    I have so many things that are ready to be born and more that have to gestate longer.

    So this year, I will be celebrating with poetry and with a bit of preparation and planning for the birthing of a couple of projects just a small ways down the road.
    Em recently posted..Invitation: Annual Brigid Poetry Festival: A Bloggers (silent) Poetry ReadingMy Profile

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      February 3, 2013 | 4:27 pm

      Em, how lovely the Poetry Festival is – I’m making a note of that for next year.
      I hope your gestating is fruitful!

  2. claire bangasser
    February 2, 2013 | 2:43 am

    I love the idea of the Crone giving her place to the Maiden, for a while at least.
    And to be green again. Agh…
    Thank you for the feast :-)

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      February 3, 2013 | 4:28 pm

      Thanks claire – I always thing green is such a happy colour.

  3. WOL
    February 2, 2013 | 7:20 am

    It is good feng shui to start the (Chinese) new year (Feb 4) with a clean house, so I have been cleaning house and rearranging furniture and getting rid of things I don’t need any more. One thing, I’ve gotten rid of a huge old clunky computer desk I don’t need any more, which has opened up more space in my office for a “reading nook”/chair to sit and knit or crochet, with a good light and access to all my “gear.” I’ve still got my bedroom/bath and my kitchen/dining room left to do, so I’d best stop sitting here reading blogs and get cracking!
    WOL recently posted..Off to a Slow StartMy Profile

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      February 3, 2013 | 4:30 pm

      Sounds great WOL, and I love the idea of your reading nook. I’m looking forward to this Chinese year – it’s my sign, the Snake.

  4. Sarah
    February 2, 2013 | 12:49 pm

    There’s a beautiful CD Recording by a group called Altamar which celebrates Bridget of Ireland. It’s called “Crossroads of the Celts” and includes three Renaissance chants dedicated to the Goddess. I first learned about Imbolc from the CD. The liner notes have all the lyrics translated into English, amazingly interesting.

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      February 3, 2013 | 4:30 pm

      Thanks Sarah, I must look out for this, sounds fascinating.

  5. Betty
    February 2, 2013 | 1:06 pm

    Thank you for this lovely post. How do you pronounce Imbolc? I have only read the word so don’t know. I just found out yesterday, Feb 1, that my first grandchild is to be a girl! I love that the news came at this cross-quarter time. I plan to take a slow walk on the farm today. It looks as though it’s still in it’s winter sleep, but there are rumblings of things to come!

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      February 3, 2013 | 4:34 pm

      Betty, congratulations on the news of your first grandchild, and the timing. I’ve always heard Imbolc pronounced Im’olk, with the Im like Impossible and the b silent. But there are different spellings as well – it can end with a g I believe.

      • Hawthorne
        February 4, 2013 | 8:32 pm

        I’ve seen/heard it pronounced as ‘Oimelc’. Happy Candlemas everyone! x x
        Hawthorne recently posted..Belated Happy New Year!My Profile

  6. Alison Wiley
    February 13, 2013 | 6:21 pm

    You’re one of the precious few people I know besides myself who embraces both Christianity and the old goddess religion. I love them both, and of course they intersect a lot, including the three faces of the divine.

    How am I celebrating the return of the Maiden? I’m getting ready to plant my spring garden — but not alone. I’m looking for a creative, skilled gardener who wants to work (garden) in exchange for rent (we have a big house). I’ve done this three springtimes in the past with beautiful, verdant results, both garden-wise and friendship-wise.

    On a separate topic, thanks for your responses to my post on climate change and the need to stop the Keystone XL tar sands project. I just replied to your comment.