The ancient Celtic peoples were very keenly aware of the solar and other celestial movements and the division of the seasons. They were also fond of dividing blocks of time and many other things. Thus they took the clearly observable feast days of the Equinoxes and Solstices and carefully divided the days between them and created other festival dates. Imbolc is one of those. It has been said to mark the increase of the light as the sun is about a quarter of the way back to the highest point so days are longer again. But heat had not yet begun to build as winter still has a grip on the northern climes. So light-without-heat is symbolic of the day.
Our Groundhog Day has many roots in this ancient celebration since it shares the date. In ancient times, these holidays were marked as starting at sundown and lasting until the next sundown so Imbolc began as the sun fell below the horizon this evening and will last until sunset tomorrow.
The goddess Brigid, also spelled Brighid, Brigit, Bride and several other ways is celebrated by this holiday as well as her traditional date of Mayday. She was such a powerful figure in ancient mythology and beliefs as Christianity began to be established in the Celtic lands that she evolved into a Saint. My theory is the church fathers followed a modified "if you can't beat them, join them" approach to such things. Clearly, they could not allow a female deity but if she becomes a saint, a level of veneration and honor is permissible! Thus we had St Brighid who is still popular in Ireland, at least in some more rural areas.
As a student of the old Druid ways and the spirituality of my ancestors, I do observe these celebrations to some degree. I honor Brighid in the mystery of fire on water--floating a tea light candle in a small bowl of water purified by exposure to the sun and the full moon in recent days and will let an electric candle burn through the night.
This observance is placed beneath an imaginative vision of the goddess created by a friend and one who was most instrumental in growing my interest in these old ways. I find it very beautiful although I tend to envision the goddess as a tall woman with very dark auburn hair and strong but handsome features, past the flush of youth but not yet aged. The other emblem is a Bridhid's cross, traditionally fashioned of reeds or straw after the grain is threshed from it. I have a small pendant in silver in the same design.
Blessed Imbolc to one and all! You can read a lot more about this festival by simply putting the word into your search engine. A lot of supposed wisdom and knowledge should be taken with a grain of salt but there is some factual reality in most of the modern interpretations.
Welcome to my World
Welcome to the domain different--to paraphrase from New Mexico's capital city of Santa Fe which bills itself "The City Different." Perhaps this space is not completely unique but my world shapes what I write as well as many other facets of my life. The four Ds figure prominently but there are many other things as well. Here you will learn what makes me tick, what thrills and inspires me, experiences that impact my life and many other antidotes, vignettes and journal notes that set the paradigm for Dierdre O'Dare and her alter ego Gwynn Morgan and the fiction and poetry they write. I sell nothing here--just share with friends and others who may wander in. There will be pictures, poems, observations, rants on occasion and sometimes even jokes. Welcome to our world!