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Ár nDraíocht Féin
Three Cranes
Chaos Matrix

January 31st, 2011

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09:58 pm - What I love about Imbolc
Standing in ritual yesterday, I had a sudden knowledge; a gnosis if you will, about why I love our Imbolc rite.

Essentially, this rite has a quality to it that none of our other rites really do. I have wondered about this quality for years, trying to put my finger on it, but I finally did last night: this rite is solemnly joyful.

Yes, it is a rite where our hearts sing at the rising light, where our bodies begin to shake the ice away from our frozen limbs. It is when the earth begins to soften and the waters begin to flow.

But it is also a time not-quite-ripe, not-yet-warm, and not-yet-light. It is still a time of darkness and solemnity.

It is the crocus, budded, yet unopened. . . and it is the joy and wonderment of that bud as it teeters on the brink of blooming.

At this rite, we are blessed with a bit of stage lighting, where we can dim the lights to a low level, where the focus is truly on the well, darkened with winter's icy grasp.

Then, one by one, we light the candles that surround the well: nearly every person comes forth, bringing their light and their brightness with them, adding the flame that burns within their hearts to the candles that surround the well. . . and that light begins to warm and illuminate the altar, the folk, and the entire cosmos.

Twenty flames touch nineteen candles, dancing in the darkness and showing us that the smallest light, when combined with others like it, can draw a world cast in darkness into an ordered, centered, bright world.

And once again, the wheel breaks free of the ice, and the year turns, unhindered, toward the summer. There is the bloom in the snow.

May the fire of piety never go hungry by your hand, Children of Earth.
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: awake
Current Music: "Morris' Nightmare", -JB

(13 comments Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:February 1st, 2011 05:37 am (UTC)
I love the crocus image. Visual win.
[User Picture]
Date:February 1st, 2011 09:01 am (UTC)
my mom was moved to tears.

[User Picture]
Date:February 1st, 2011 02:48 pm (UTC)
That's good. Right?


Really, I often wonder how moving this ritual is for others: we have the benefit of long-held associations and deep memories to guide us, but first-time folks don't have that. I am glad that folks find meaning in what we're doing :)
Date:February 1st, 2011 09:38 am (UTC)
Hmmmm... thank you. This gives something to think about while preparing for the Festival myself.
[User Picture]
Date:February 1st, 2011 02:22 pm (UTC)
I've found it really strange though moving to VT because Imbolc and even Ostara don't correspond with our seasonal reality here (although maybe this year you guys are in the same boat with the snow). Festivals that are supposed to be about blessing planting tools and getting ready to welcome back light/spring just don't mesh here. I can't plant most things until after Memorial Day (a few seeds can go to ground in early May) and we are a long way off from our crocuses poking up. It's been hard to adapt.
[User Picture]
Date:February 1st, 2011 02:45 pm (UTC)
We've started doing the tool blessing at Ostara, which often seems like a better place to put it to me, at least for this climate. Sounds like it might be best suited to Beltaine for you :)

The thing I've learned about the festivals is that while it's nice that they have fixed dates, you gotta be locally seasonal. Being part of ADF has made my very conscious of that fact, since we have members in the southern hemisphere, and so most everything we write, ritual wise, isn't tied to a specific date.
Date:February 2nd, 2011 08:09 am (UTC)

Imbolc in VT

I've found it interesting though, for me, as I did my Imbolc rite this morning. I read somewhere about a Welsh custom that says if it's fair weather on Imbolc, there's more winter to come, but if the weather is foul, it's at an end. A sort of groundhog's day, I guess.

I have my fingers crossed.
Date:February 1st, 2011 09:02 pm (UTC)
Joyfully solemn. I like that... Solemnly joyful.

It's such a moving ritual. And I swear it's the one where I feel the silliest too. Not "OMG I feel silly doing this" but I'm more likely to break out into spontaneous giggles, mid rite. I even tried to change where I stand, and no luck :)
[User Picture]
Date:February 1st, 2011 09:49 pm (UTC)
In my calendar, Spring begins on Imbolc precisely because the crocuses and snowdrops are coming up (as well as the tree buds getting ready to burst).
[User Picture]
Date:February 2nd, 2011 01:05 pm (UTC)
I miss Imbolc with the Cranes (though not the cold). I will never forget our first Imbolc together, nor our attempts to get that huge shelter at Highbanks warmed up more than outdoors those couple years before we moved it to Blacklick. It's impossible not to associate candles with Brighid after that ritual. *hugs to you all*
[User Picture]
Date:February 2nd, 2011 03:53 pm (UTC)
yeah the candles around the well is a very powerful, lovely, Brighid symbol...I wish we had an anvil to put on the alter. Maybe even in the middle of the well. Hugs back!
[User Picture]
Date:February 2nd, 2011 03:54 pm (UTC)
altar...sorry fingers faster than brain
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:February 2nd, 2011 06:45 pm (UTC)
It's the farewell portion of a greeting/farewell thing we're doing in our ritual studies classes. Upon parting, we say, "May the fire of piety never go hungry by your hand." The response is, "May your actions be my example."

The greeting is: "Within you, a good fire burns." The response is: "I have fed it daily since we last met."

It's all very "namaste," but less someone-else's-religion.


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