Saturday, 25 January 2014

Imbolc Approaches..........

As the title says, the Sabbat (or Festival) or Imbolc approaches, Feb 2nd is the traditional day to celebrate, traditionally it is a festival of returning light, the fires of Brighid are kept alight for the full day, the symbolism of the first Lamb's being born, an agricultural festival of the first births of the animals for the coming year, the Ewe's are 'in milk', hence the origin of its name.

And yet, although the first buds are appearing on the trees (or have been for the past 4 weeks), it doesn't feel like mid winter, it still feels autumnal, the weather feels strange, milder than it should be, a lot wetter than normal, stirrings are apparent in the countryside, the dawn chorus is louder than it has been, but for me it still feels as though we are yet to experience Winter, the Holly King may have been defeated, but he still has some power left. I would not be surprised to see snow before winter is truly out, my feelings tell me it will come, but whether it does or not I am sure only time will tell!

So, if you choose to Celebrate Imbolc, then I wish you well, may the light of the fires of Brighid warm your homes, may your first Lamb's be born healthy and may the seeds of the coming year's harvest receive good portents.

For me, I'm afraid Imbolc will be celebrated when it feels right, I know this isn't an accepted 'Neo Pagan' view, but my path is a Crooked One, where I walk as directed by the Old Ones, listening to and feeling the energies of the land and responding in the manner that feels right, if this means I am out of step with other Pagan's, then so be it, I am not one to follow the herd, but one who walks her own path, alongside those who also feel the same pull and honour the Old Ones in a similar manner.

Monday, 6 January 2014

A New Year?

So, A New Year is upon us, 2014 CE, if you follow the accepted labeling of time as per the Roman Calendar, and yet, in these Isles those of our Ancestors who lived pre-Christianity measured the year from another point, rather than some arbitrary date a week after the Christian celebration of Christmas (which itself is nothing more than an attempt by the church to supersede the Roman festival of Saturnalia and usurp the festivities to their own ends) our Ancestors celebrated the New Year as starting after Samhain.

Neo-pagans tend to celebrate 8 festivals, Yule at the midwinter solstice, Imbolc at the first cross quarter, Ostara at the Spring Equinox (another celebration usurped in name and imagery by the church into Easter), Beltane at May Day (2nd cross quarter), Litha/Lughnasadh at the Summer Solstice, Lammas at the 3rd cross quarter, Mabon at the Autumn Equinox and Samhain at the last cross quarter.

This has become the accepted Ritual Calendar for most Pagans, and yet, were all of these festivals actually all celebrated by our Ancestors, and were they on the dates we are told?

Certain of these festivals come from different regions and pantheons, Ostara is distinctly Saxon in origin, Yule is Norse, Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain are from the Celtic world, it is fairly unlikely that today's Ritual Calendar was followed by the Witches of Old, but aspects of it, correspondences and certain ritual aspects would definitely have been used, although exactly what, when and how is something that only you can judge for yourself.

Never be afraid to question the accepted norm, to ask questions that others may consider strange, never be afraid to follow your own heart, go with what feels right for yourself and ignore that which does not work. For in doing so you will be crafting your own Crooked Path, one that has meaning and personal validity, something that many seek but ultimately do not find by blindly following what is accepted by most.