I am She
Spring is coming! Spring is coming! Spring is coming! Happy Imbolg! Merry Brighid Fires! Today begins the Fire Festivals known in the Pagan world as Imbolc (Imbolg). Feb 1 and Feb 2 are celebrated around the world as days to acknowledge the promised warming of Earth for the cultivation of planted life. Remember in much of the European world, where Paganism is prominent (quiet as kept), the winters can be brutal. The land freezes solid and no vegetation thrives. Many lose their lives and livestock to the unforgiving cold. On Imbolc, the community fires are rekindled and people give offerings of gratitude for the continual cycling of the Seasons. The mythological Oak King begins his annual journey home. A journey that ends during the Summer Solstice, the longest days of Sunlight during the natural year, where he defeats the Holly King and reigns in all his vitality! (1)
"Aint that grand?!?"
Refer to the Wheel of the Year and notice that Imbloc is the midpoint between the seasons of Winter and Spring. Today is the day Earth-Gaia begins to awaken from Her hibernation and gradually thaws as Cailleach Beira throws her Crone staff under her sacred trees to mark the coming of Spring. Farmers will begin sprouting their seeds indoors in anticipation of transplanting them into their beloved gardens during the quickly approaching growing season.
And what about Brigid? The Fire Queen. Yall, while we are definitely in the realm of fantasy and mythology, understand that the world as we know it is crafted upon these tales of old... I certainly wont waste words in attempts to convince non-believers. Thats foolish. We've come into the wisdom that "everythang aint for everybody." Some will cling to the belief of a Supreme Godhead in absence of Supreme Goddess... this blog aint for those folks. And thats okay. The truth remains. It is documented and common knowledge that the Roman Catholic Church of the Roman Empire placed their Christianized cannons and holy edifices conveniently on the top of Pagan sacred sites. This was in attempts to convert their newly conquered populations without causing endless rebellions. (2) As we've witnessed by the continuing global violence over opposing belief systems worldwide, folks will kill over their Gods...
Where was I? Ah, Lady Bridgit. Her name is spelled many ways because she has visited many lands over the ages: Bride, Bridey, Brighid, Brigit, Briggidda, Brigantia, Brigid... (3) To name a few. "My Bride, My Heart." She is the Goddess that keeps the fires burning during the famines of Winter, both the fires in home and heart. Today alongside the rituals of Imbolc, Brigid is venerated as the Great Mother sustainer. She is one of the most powerful Fire Goddesses of the European pantheon. Note- Goddess has 10,000 names... as many names as Nations of peoples have come and gone. Therefore she will share many semblances with other Goddesses. And that's okay. For whatever reason, her traditions were adopted and carried by the Catholic Church into the present, which is the primary reason the little we know of her is more than the little we know of the many, many others..... I will stop here for now. Check tomorrow's post for more on St. Brighid.
Now lets list the 7 major rituals occuring 7 days East and 7 days West of Today, Feb 01:
January 28: The Grammy's
January 29: Tax Season Kick-Off
January 30: State of The Union
February 01: Imbolc
February 01: Black History Month begins
February 02: Candlemas, Feast of The Blessed Virgin Mary of Purification
February 04: SuperBowl LII
...and #8 Feb 02: Groundhog Day and #9 Feb 01: Oya Festival... thrown in for good measure!
Coincidence? I mean, its possible. Not probable tho.
(1) "The symbolism of the Horned God is also played out the theme of the Holly King and Oak King. The Horned God is the Holly King and the Oak King, two twin gods seen as one complete entity. Each of the twin gods rule for half of a year, fights for the favor of the Goddess, and dies. But the defeated twin is not truly dead, he merely withdraws for six months, some say to Caer Arianrhod, the Castle of the ever-turning Silver Wheel, which is also known as the Wheel of the Stars. This is the enchanted realm of the Goddess Arianrhod where the god must wait and learn before being born again. Arianrhod means "silver wheel" and the castle is the Aurora Borealis. She is the goddess of the astral skies and there she rules as goddess of reincarnation.
The golden Oak King, who is the light twin, rules from midwinter to midsummer. The darksome Holly King rules the dark half of the year from Midsummer to Midwinter."
(2) 'These sacred sites were established as part of a Roman imperial policy which sought to destroy non-Christian religion in the land of the Bible and develop a focus for Christian piety there', says Dr Taylor, a fellow in Religious Studies at Waikato University in Hamilton, New Zealand.
'The 4th century Church systematically appropriated pagan shrines and other non-Christian religious sites, in order to create Christian holy places', she says. 'This marks out the region as a Holy Land - a zone of spiritual significance.
'This contrasts with the situation prior to the 4th century, for in the 1st to 3rd centuries Christians had rejected the idea that earthly sites could be sacred, deeming it to be a pagan notion', she says.
(3) "Her stories retain remnants of other Goddesses from the ancient worlds and the worship at Her later convent at Kildare was said to resemble that of Minerva. Some of Her symbols are identical to the Egyptian Goddess, Isis. Her embroidery tools, which are also Minerva‚s symbols, were preserved at the chapel at Glastonbury, along with Her bag and Her bell, symbolic of healing. Her colours - white, black and red - are those of Kali and show an ancient connection there."