Tuesday 1 February 2011

Imbolc Ritual

Today in the Northeast has dawned bright and dreary with ice storms and sleet raining throughout the day.  As a ‘weather maven’ or follower of weather patterns this for me means that winter only has a few more weeks of a hold. I don’t need the Groundhog’s prediction to let me know that. I simply followed the rhyme:

If Candlemas be bright and fair
Winter will have another year
but if it be dark with clouds & rain
winter is gone & will not come again
Traditional Edwardian Saying

Today is a good day to pull out and bless all your candles for the year.

Last night, I placed a Bride’s Bed with the God’s wand which I made in front of the fire place, I also did a small releasing spell and a meditation. I started at midnight and ended close to one, (the Goddess loves to talk). The how of making these items and the little installation ritual came from the Llewellyn Sabbats book.
To make the Bride Bed you will need:

  • blue and white cloth 
  • blue and ribbon
  • some yarn
  • corn husks
  • cotton balls
  • a basket or shoe box top to make the bed
  • white cloth to act as bedding
  • beading for the goddess
  • wand or branches for the wand

Follow Patti's directions here on how to make your doll. My corn husks were fresh because I just purchased corn to make soup. I started at 1130 making the doll and finished just in time to go to the fire place by midnight.
To Make the Bed:
I placed the white cloth in the bottom of the box lid, then placed extra fabric at the head to make a pillow. You can decorate it if you feel like with blue and white paint. 
Installation Ritual:
Place the bed before the fireplace or on your altar. Light the two white candles and your incense. When I placed the Goddess in the bed I repeated the words found in the Sabbat book:
"Welcome the Bride turned from Mother to Maiden
to rest and prepare fot hte time fo the seed
Cleansed and refreshed from the labors behind her
with the promise of spring she lays before me"
Then place the wand beside the Bride and say:
"How soon comes the Lord 
how quickly he grows
the season will turn
before we know"

For my little releasing spell, I made the following:
incense:  equal parts: benzoin, sandalwood, and lavender powder
Scented parchment paper: each paper was scented with lavender essential oil and peppermint essential oil. 
On one paper I wrote all that I wanted to burn away in the fires of the forge, and the other I wrote all I wished to manifest this year. I burned the first list without reading it and told them goodbye. Then I summoned the Goddess as witness as I read what i wished to manifest then i added that to the fire, and let it burn.
In all my years I have never really worked with the Goddess Brigid for anything other than inspiration at this time of the year, but for the month of Feb I wish to work with her and get to know her a little better, since I haven’t gotten any visitations telling me to back off from her I'm guessing Morrigan is cool with her. 

So I decided last night to do the regular meditation of visiting the forge, but this time the Goddess took over and man she wasn't what I expected. i sat infront of the Bride's bed, one of the candles seemed to dance more in the 'wind' than the other, and the incense smoke danced and wove it's way around the flame, as I gaze inside i found myself walking through my backyard in the snow, and before me was a bridge, below was a spring river with water so clear I could see the fishes as they swam, beside me were hooks and rope with netting, I knew this is were I placed all my wordly worries and fears. I placed them in the netting, hooked the netting to a line and lowered them into the water, where they would we washed away, and the heavy ones would be lightened for when i return. I turn to walk and noticed that this side of the bridge isn't a frozen tundra like the other-side behind me, there are green shoots, and small spring flowers, crocuses are pushing up from the soil, even with the small patches of snow. I can hear the birds within the deep forest and walk the path that seems to be laid out for me, it's a dirt path the goes deep within the thick woods, where massive trees guard the sides. 

Soon I can hear the clang of the metal being worked and when I walked into the forge the heat hit me, and i saw a tall person wearing the gear of a metal worker, they had long blond hair braided back into a ponytail, and wore the thick heavy gloves, apron and boots of a blacksmith. The body shape from the back was the only way to tell that the blacksmith was in fact a woman (that and her blue ribbons around the white leggings, like the bows on a ballerina's legs), we are alone in the forge, and I walk closer. She turns with a huge flaming piece of metal to the anvil and starts working it. After a while she acknowledges me, tells me to grab a hammer and work the metal with her, i follow the rhythm she has set, she plunges the metal back into the fire, then into the bucket of water, and then works it some more. She doesn't talk as she works and I follow her lead, after awhile I stop working as she is now doing something more intricate and doesn't need my help. I realize she is carving something into the metal, as I lean closer i realize it's my name. 

I stand up as she does the last letter, and puts aside her tools. She looks at me and I quickly tell her why I am there, she cuts me of and finishes with my hearts deepest desires what i wouldn't have said, not yet, when I stare, she laughs, a deep rich laugh, and I smile I can't help it. She talks and when I make a comment she interrupts and tells me " I'm not a child or a genie, I am a Goddess, I cannot be commanded or bent to your will"  ohh oh, I look into her eyes, and feel the weight of her age, she looks young but she is older than time itself, there is something alien there in those blue eyes, something that has never been human, and sees way deeper than I wanted her to.
it is then I notice the clangs of another blacksmith, and look up and see the God, his back is to me, but his forearms and shoulders flex with muscles, and a fissure of desire runs through me, she turns and smiles as she sees him, there is a fleeting expression across her face, I attempt to step closer to see what he is working on, she cuts me off. "You aren't ready to see what is there, yet". She then turns and leads the way out the forge, I walk beside her, her longer legs eat up the ground and she pulls ahead of me, as I walk I notice the changes around me, the green is brighter, the birds sing louder, the trees are beginning to breathe deep again and there is a warmer breeze. I realize She is bringing Spring as she walks, I run to catch up, knowing I have to keep up, somehow we are back at the bridge again " We have much work to do to complete your project, it may take a lifetime, but it will be done.." (she says more things I wish to keep close for now), but then commands me across the bridge, as I go to retrieve my line, she tells me to leave them there, as those worries are no longer relevant. I walk across the bridge and return to my backyard, enter my home, walk to where my body sits waiting and sink back in. 

I have much work to do. How has your Candlemas been so far?
Happy Imbolc!!!

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