Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

Preparing for Imbolc

Triple Goddess, © Briar
There, at the foot of the tree, belonging to no man,
A silver apple falls.

There, amongst the branches, the mother sits.

Weaver of dreams against the weft of the wood,

Insight falls like gentle rain on a moon-bathed garden.

Song to Hecate, by Alison Jones

Now is the time to prepare for Imbolc, sometimes called Candlemas or Brighid. In many places, the dates that roughly correspond to Feb. 1 through the 3rd are celebrated as the midpoint between the darkest night at Yule and the perfect balance of light and dark that comes at Ostara, the Spring Equinox.

The Sun’s path has returned to where it was at Samhain. Take some time to notice the quality of the light, for it is the same now as that shimmering magical glow of late October. But instead of the season of dark and silence before us, the season of light and growth lies ahead.

And so we prepare ourselves with rites of renewal, cleansing, and commitment. We celebrate the first stirrings of Spring. The days are noticeably longer, and life awakens all around us. While some of the fiercest Winter weather may still lie ahead, birds are already beginning their courtships, cold-hardy sprouts are poking from the earth, and the first lambs are being born (hence the name Imbolc, which means “ewe’s milk” for the nursing mothers). After long months of only the stored food of Winter, the first fresh milk returning was a tremendous blessing, often meaning the difference between survival or death.

Imbolc is a traditional time for dedication, or beginning a new path of initiation and spiritual study. The commitment that students of the Craft make to “a year and a day” traditionally begins at this time.

Today is sacred to the Norns, in the Norse traditions. The Norns are the Norse Goddesses of Fate, who we will be discussing in detail, later in this year of our journey to Graceland. Also in the Norse traditions, today is sacred to the Valkyries, Odin‘s maidens of Valhalla. They are the fierce ones who choose the winners and losers in human battles, and carry the heroic dead to final glory.

Today is also, of course, the last day of the month, and so is sacred to Hecate. One of the Great Mysteries at Imbolc is that of the Triple Goddess, as She changes from Her Dark Mother and Crone aspect to the Maiden once more.

And so on this last day of January, as on all final days of each month, we honor the Crone aspect of the Great Goddess Hecate, Goddess of Witches, She who guards the crossroads. It is Hecate, Queen of the Night, who teaches us the ancient Mysteries which we will be learning in the days ahead. We always honor her on the last day of each month, but especially this one, being the point of Her mighty transformation and renewal.

What transformation are you in the process of creating? I invite you to use these days before the purification and dedication of Imbolc to consider what you wish to give your attention to, over the next year and a day. A new skill? A special healing or gift for our planet? Has a special God or Goddess called you to service?

Listen with your heart and may the Star of Wisdom illuminate your path as you consider what is next for your soul’s journey.

Blessed be.

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  • January 31, 2008, 9:39 am bella

    I can’t remember where I first found your blog. I’ve been reading for a while.
    And I am finally compelled to comment.
    These words sang to me.
    Thank-you.
    Hecate has long been a figure for me of comfort and clarity, showing up in my dreams and work.
    I was captivated by this idea, this image, of her shifting.

  • January 31, 2008, 10:36 am Copper Asetemhat Stewart

    Thanks for reminding about the Sun’s position and the slant of light… too easy to forget that there’s this huge fiery God/dess we’re annually circumabulating.
    😉

    In Egypt, the Serpent Power you’ve been writing about is frequently iconically linked to the Sun, much more frequently than in Indian iconography.

    I believe that seasonal attunement is one of the ways Pagans are given to nurture the ascension of this energy, and it’s also why I think it’s a useful practice to orient daytime prayers towards the Sun at regular times of day (besides the fact that I think the Sun and Moon work as giant deflectors and amplifiers).

  • January 31, 2008, 7:58 pm Hecate

    What a lovely post!

  • February 1, 2008, 6:55 am Beth Owl's Daughter

    Thank you one and all.. It means a lot to me that you visit here. I am honored to share this journey with you.

    Blessings of the new dawning to all!
    — Beth