Knitwhitties: A Little Knitting Nothing

I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge of the complex. - Oscar Wilde

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Happy Imbolc!




Imbolc ("IM-bulk")is an ancient festival generally celebrated on January 31, February 1, or February 2. It is also known as Candlemas, Brighid ("breed"), and Oimelc ("EE-mulk") which means ewe's milk. Imbolc is a Greater Sabbat in the Wiccan year.

The celebration signals the middle of the season of long nights and anticipates the upcoming season of light. Celebrants make Corn Maidens from corn and wheat. The Maidens are dressed up and placed in a cradle known as a "Bride's Bed". A wand, usually tipped with an acorn or other large seed, is placed in the bed with the Maiden. The Maidens are generally kept year round as a symbol of fertility.

Other interrelated interpretations of the festival center around the Irish Goddess Brighid, known for her healing, smithcraft, and poetry gifts. Additional interpretations revolve around the birth of lambs and the lactation of the ewes. Still others celebrate Imbolc as the recovery of the Earth Goddess after giving birth to the Sun God.

Imbolc Chant
Now I banish winter.
Now I welcome spring:
Say farewell to what is dead
And greet each living thing.
Now I banish winter.
Now I welcome spring.
BLESSED BE!

And this poem always gave me hope that spring would return:
"Summer is a-coming in,
Loud sing cuckoo;
Groweth seed and bloweth mead,
And springeth the wood new,
Sing cuckoo!

Ewe bleateth after lamb,
Loweth after calf the cow;
Bullock starteth, buck verteth,*
Merry sing cuckoo.

Cuckoo, cuckoo, well singeth thou cuckoo,
Thou art never silent now.
Sing cuckoo, now, sing cuckoo,
Sing cuckoo, sing cuckoo, now!"

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