Saying Au Revoir to Imbolc. - The Witches Table
 
_Usually Imbolc is one of those festivals which leaves me a bit meh!

It comes in the depths of Winter and whilst intellectually I know that this is the festival to celebrate the first, imperceptible stirrings
of Spring, in my heart it feels like darkest Winter.  Unlike Solstice
which gets caught up in the general festivities of Christmas the rest
of the world is not celebrating with me and it feels iron and cold.
This year Imbolc has been different, I have been thinking about it
differently and feeling differently even though the iron cold is here
as Siberian winds are chilling the whole of the UK.

This year when my working group started to talk about Imbolc, instead of going with the flow I really started to engage.  It was like my brain had tripped into a gear that it previously hadn't worked with before. I could feel the idea of Imbolc starting to form in my mind from that point on, at work, on the train, on my long walks I was aware of something burning away and it was Imbolc.

When I feel so very moved to celebrate a festival then I like to spin
it out over several events.  Yule/Christmas is perhaps the best
example of this, putting up a tree, feasting on both the 21st and
25th, attending solstice ceremonies and of course lots of kissing
under the mistletoe.  Easy to do when the Western world is celebrating at the same time. This creates a sort of carnival of festivities and provides many opportunities for me to connect with the spirituality behind the season.  Festivals where I rock up to one single religious ceremony for a couple of hours just don't do it for me in the same way.  Because Imbolc is so moving me  and so I am trying a new way of celebrating the year as a continuing wheel rather than as single points of light and with a strike of inspiration I though how much this has to do with Immanence.

Immanence is the concept that the divine is in the material world,
rather than Transcendence where the divine exists outside the physical .

By bringing much more of Imbolc into my life and having it glowing
away in the back of my mind as I go about my daily business I am
bringing my spiritual and the physical closer together. There are so
many great Pagan books which give you sample rituals and ideas for
celebration but very few which explicitly state that whilst we have
a special day for each festival, the week before and week after can also have a similar resonance which we can attune to.  

So my Imbolc celebrations this year started around the beginning of January when my working group first discussed the festival, on the 29th January I took a mini-spiritual retreat at home alone for the afternoon and this included setting up my Imbolc altar, making offerings of milk and mead and offering up prayers to Bridgit. I read and enjoyed many blog posts, poetry and songs about Imbolc and Bridgit, posted on the web. January the 31st I attended an Imbolc celebration with my working group and on 2nd February itself I ate a special meal of lamb casserole and baked custard, quiet by candlelight in honour of the season…and of course as the dust settles on Imbolc I am rounding it up by posting my own blog entry. 

How amazing would it be to keep this going for a full cycle, to be constantly celebrating the wheel of the year not as special events to look forward to as a break from daily life but as a way of living a fully spiritual and enchanted Life every day.
2/12/2012 23:10:35

Loved this post, Antara! It reminded me of a particularly awesome birthday I had one year where, between celebrating my birthday on my own, with family, with my husband, with a then-secondary partner and with friends, I ended up stretching out my birthday celebrations for over a week. I love the idea of doing the same thing with the quarters and cross-quarters :-)

Blessings - TANJA

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2/13/2012 13:29:27

I am so pleased you liked it. My partner always spreads out his birthday over about a week and a half and I think it really works. I am going to be experimenting with it all year and will definitely update and see how I am going. I am just winding down the Imbolc altar and already starting to plan for Ostara.

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2/13/2012 11:15:07

Yes indeed, I too am spreading myself out over this holiday/time. Almost like easing into a nice hot bath experiencing it's energy in waves, till the tides change and a new focus for the energy takes hold.

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2/13/2012 13:32:56

Waves is the perfect description. I feel like I am swelling, cresting and receding on the festival energy at the moment. I am so interested to spend a year in this place, seeing what new insights come.

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2/14/2012 02:49:04

I love this idea. It always happens for me at the Winter Solstice, as I follow the ancient tradition of the Twelve Days of Saturnalia, but extended feast days at other parts of the year is certainly extremely appealing! And, paradoxically, much easier to integrate into daily life.

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2/14/2012 12:16:52

It is funny but you are right, celebrating over a longer period of time, does make it easier to integrate into daily life. I hadn't really realised it but weaving little rituals into everyday rather than rushing around for one big bang was much easier!

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2/14/2012 10:44:36

The very first time I read Starhawk's description of immanence it made so much sense to me. Since then I've tried to invoke a sense of sacredness into every day. These festival days celebrated over a period of time certainly helps that along.

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2/14/2012 12:18:42

Oh I love Starhawk, she was absolutely vital to me in my early Pagan life and still has so many important lessons. It may well be time to get Spiral Dance out for another reading since I am going back to basics with Immanence at the moment. Thanks for the reminder!

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