Belated: Happy Imbolc

To everyone reading this, firstly I’d like to wish you happy Imbolc! Sorry the post is  a bit late, but I got caught up in my own workings.

Imbolc marks the beginning of spring, when the solar fires once again begin to return and winters grip begins to loosen.  It certainly hasn’t felt that way in England as of yet! A mild but constantly rainy weather pattern seen this be a very strange January, and  I can only hope that going forward it will calm down allowing for more workings outside to be performed. Although it can’t be said to be unwelcome, keeping everywhere around here relatively warm.

The cross quarter sabbats, are for me, emphasised more than the solstices. The liminality, the crossing points, are for me the times were I seem to combine solitary work with celebrating the event with the wider pagan community. This is something, as a solitary practitioner, I seldom do but feel is essential to prevent myself from falling into a disconnected state.

I often get asked if there is a reason behind this, in an objective fashion, but it simply more of a personal preference that for me. The answer I often give is simple.  The solstices and equinoxes become more of a personal experience for me, simply due to practicality. Not as a rule but as a guide, using the cross quarter days for communal and introspective work, and the quarter days for more workings with an objective, it allows for multiple expressions of my practice where  the staggering of priorities encourages me to take part in all of the Sabbats on some level. Not out of only a sense of duty, but missing out! Of course this isn’t roughly stuck to – if I feel prodded in a certain direction, I roll with it and do workings or rituals or whatever as required.

I participated in an interesting ritual the night before Imbolc which revolved around the Goddess Brighid and the Spirit of the Swan. This involved a guided meditation of a journey to a lake, where upon the Swan would be met, and a message potentially received.

For me it was rather interesting, and played out far differently that I could have expected. I entered a forest from the minds eye that was filled with silver light. The trees and the land itself seem infused with silver, and I felt of reduced weight. It wasn’t long before I reached a lake – the lake was a deep, sapphire blue, in vivid contrast to that of the surrounding land. On it, a swan swam, xrayed, it’s skeleton viewable through its skin. It flickered between this and a more solid corporeal appearance, as it swam towards me.

When it got close, I felt it an aura extend from it to myself. Quite quickly this enveloped me,  surrounding me in a deep sapphire light. At this point, I entirely lost any sense of being connected within anyone else present. I felt the bones push out from my skin and reach down into the ground, piercing into the roots of a great tree. My minds eye was dominated by a giant, white and blue searing eye, and a voice spoke through the swan delivering its message. The energy felt not too dissimilar from that of Belial’s, and completely overtook my body. Eventually once the message was delivered, the experience slowly became less intense, before finally my bones retracted back towards my body, and the swan began to swim away. Even as it did so, it felt like the scene and my own aura was collapsing inwards, and soon i was surrounded by a pitch blackness.

800px-Imbolc_Festival_February_3rd_2007

Imbolc celebration in Marsden

In the distance, I could see an orange light so I stumbled towards it. As i got closer, I could see a skeletal figure, which looked like a ram or goat, except it possessed human hands and stood upright on it’s hindquarters. Like the swan, it flickered between this skeletal visage and a solid form. In this case, the solid form was of a creature covered in black deep fur,  with bone bleached antlers. I could see it stirring a dark, black cauldron, in which a clear, warm liquid that had the consistency of treacle circled, vortex like. As I came closer, the figure reached up, and tore off its own head, to reveal an angelic male figure underneath. This figure glowed like white hot metal, and long flowing blonde hair descended around the narrow face like streams of plasma .There was a feeling that the air around him (for the figure felt distinctly male) was electrified. The skin of the goat fell away entirely , and the figure walked over to me and extended out his right hand, and placed it on my head. There was no feeling of heat, but instead I felt an immense jolt of energy, and suddenly became aware of my own physicality. At that point, I slowly came to, and opened my eyes..

All in all it was a very rewarding and interesting journey, although far different and expanded than  what I expected or the goal of the working itself. It was interesting that I experienced no feelings from Hecate or any other feminine energies.

After everything was over, the person who was leading the ritual also gave to me and other participants a wonderful present: a hand sewn Imbolc bracelet, made out of a white material that also  bore a small charm. As someone who works with knots, knows how much concentration to create it would have taken and appreciates how much intense focus can create a powerful object, it was a very, very nice gift. It was taken home and placed on the altar immediately, and I intend to wear it close to the body between now and Beltane.

On the Sabbat night I prepared the offerings, tying them with red and white string. This included several apples, an alcoholic libation, and some walnuts. One of these walnuts was opened, and filled with the ashes from burnt incense and a small piece of coloured quartz, one I have had since being a small child. As such, i felt it would make an ideal gift. Associations were not thought of here in any large amount – just the desire to return something to the spirits for their continued presence and as  a thank you for the previous experience.

On Monday, I plan to take these offerings to an appropriate place, somewhere secluded where they are unlikely to be bothered. I hope you have all had a similarly interesting few days.

~S~

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