I notice, that now I’m being more social by being active in facebook and twitter – Yay to my modern self – that people are gently inspiring eachother towards Imbolc. Ofcourse I know the term, and i get a general idea of what it is. But in my language, the word imbolc doesnt exist, the goddess brigid doesn’t exist in our folktales, and so on.
What does exist however is the strengthening and inspirational force of the sun, the first glimpses of life in the drumming of the woodpeckers, some small bushes opening tiny leaves, and sometimes the strange sense of recognising spring. IF it really starts in one or two days, I doubt it – Here that feeling is atleast for the last 2 weeks. Most likely caused by the lengthening of days, and the growing of the moon.
So since everyone has their mythos on brigid and stuff, very interesting articles about straws, crosses, all sorts of customs – I want to have the deeper understanding how exactly this is such a happening – and luckily I have plenty of books that might help me understand what the fuzz is all about 😀
And indeed – looking in the first book it reports: sapstreams starting, first green, first tiny flowers and first lil lambs.
Im-bolc – in the belly and when the first sheep are milked, or sheepmilk. I never had sheepmilk haha, maybe i should jump into a meadow and milk one – appearantly they have it now 😀
Bolc refers to milking (melken) based upon a indo european stemword that means zuiveren – purifying (we still call milkproducts zuivel producten) – cleansing products lol. Its the time of ritual cleansing – yes I did that yesterday.
The latin word Februa means cleansing also – I didnt know that. In rome they celebrated Lupercalia to honour Faunus – latin god of wild nature, protector of acres and hurds ond February 15th – I’m not going to describe the entire ritual, but I know these rites lol, they are practised still in the more distant villages in austria, switserland and germany on different dates. Search for Krampus, perchten etc. on youtube and you can see the fertility rites alive still these days. Also dancing corn-men etc belong to the festivities. I do know about those things because they arent on the other side of the sea haha.
Before the farmers went plowwing, they drove arround with a goddess statue. That I know too, most commonly worshipped in this region for the earth would be Nerthus I think. In the book they call her Hetha or Aertha – which makes sends: Aertha = aarde = earth, Hetha= haard= hearth, the place where the fire is kept and heat is given, thus fertility.
The book is being nice and indeed compares the celtic brigid to the germanic nerthus, yay – why didnt they say that right away :-D. Brigit protects 3 fires they say: fire of inspiration, smitties and healing. She is quite famous, so there’s plenty to find with a bit of googling. It is odd how the brittish isles (England, Ireland, Scotland etc) are being so popular lol and “we” – the mainlanders completely not. All that magical air surrounding that part. But for us lol, well it’s like we came falling out of the sky. Yes, it’s unfair. As if we do not exist lol…. We invented England lol – I live in a village named Angelslo (not angels winged creatures, but Ang-els – the tribe of Ing – But fair enough Ireland is hip, we are not. Wouldn’t like to have hordes of tourists anyway :-P.
But good, to proceed all of the sudden comes god with a capital G in to play lol. 40 days after giving birth according to jewish tradition every woman had to cleanse herself in the temple, mary, the mother of jesus was no exception. She did that by giving the rabbi a sheep or dove to offer. She did the same with a first born boy, so it would be seen as property of the G o d with capital. It seems that jesus was being acknowledge by Simon and Anna – who probably everyone knows, except for me lol. Followed by a whole description of maria-cultus, customs and songs which I will spare you, but mainly myself of.
Its good to get extra strength in preparation of new spring. We want to be fresh and energetic. Trees do the same, they get rid of old branches or get a bit help by people cutting them off for them .
Its also the month of collecting the fallen branches to cook and keep warm, and alot of partying … Think : Carnaval haha, if you don’t know what carnaval means in these regions, youtube for Vasteloavend or Karneval or alaaf :-D. After that comes the time of Fasting – not eating/drinking, well ofcourse we dont do that lol. We party yes, but then we move on, yes it’s terrible I know – That is why we are called heathens: We walk by the year, celebrate our feasts, but we understand very well that a church has nothing to do with that. We honour our customs and traditions, the churchy thing isn’t ours, I know nothing about it, have nothing with it, nore against it. Just like I know nothing about islam, I know nothing about the bible. It simply doesn’t have my interest, we have our own stories that are plenty to read.
Basically it comes down to cleansing, preparing, celebrating the return of the son, taking good care of the fertile mother etc. – the land is pregnant, so treat the land as if u would your pregnant wife.. Well indeed we are happy that the sun returns. I still dont feel the need to run arround with a straw puppet….. Here we hit the land awake with sticks and fires :-D, not with puppets. But of course to each it’s own, the diversity is what makes the world special. That’s why we should protect the diversity, the customs, the traditions. Each culture has it’s wealth. Even the very small ones. And yes we very certain do have a culture and roots.. Even when not being an indian, a celt in ireland or a siberian in a yurt, we did not come falling out of the sky.
So in the end, I allready did instinctively do all sorts of “imbolcy” things without realising there was a whole thing arround it. It’s good that it is written down, but I see it more as a thing of common sense. Here it is normal to do these things this time of the year. It goes naturally. But still it holds fun facts as where it is derived from, although I also dare doubting that everything we do stems from romans or greeks haha. Again a glorification that might suggest some type of superiority, again a concept setting the ridiculous image that it were the romans that have brought us civilisation and culture. It is odd to see that they can write pages filled with explaining the mary cult, a page with the brigid cult, and only 5 lines of the Nerthus. I think I made my point painfully clear.
Well have a happy sheepmilkparty! I will just continue doing my thing, and honour the pregnant mother by smiling at all the soft and gentle playfullness she brings these days.
She knows that I do not need an altar or make kneedrops in order to apreciate her presence – me and her maintain a good relationship haha.. Trust in me, she does as well 😉