Imbolic

(Swelling Belly)

 

Calendar Event - February 3 or 4

 

 

 

Imbolic was a 2-day calendar event with a 3-day festival on either side.  In Ireland the festival was in honour of the fire deity Brighid (the bride) who was the wetnurse to the sun god.  This was the time when the cows began to lactate, the time of the Water Bearer in the zodiac calendar and the tree month Luis (Rowan) tree of substance food of the gods.  A needfire of Rowan wood was lit, and fire wheels in the shape of right-facing swastikas were constructed from rush and set ablaze.  The Imbolic festival also marked the beginning of spring season (Earrach).

 

Sacrifices were offered, food and mead was in abundance and with the help of music and chants the Celts danced themselves into a frenzy, inviting the fire goddess to inhabit someone's body and walk among them.  The Celts prayed that she would nourish the newborn sun deity and that he would grow strong and friendly.  Tea, a Celtic fertility goddess, was the patron of the feast (Feis Tara) that was held in honour of Brighid.  There was a prescribed order of presentation of the food served, with Bride cakes and dishes with rowan berries having special importance.  After the feast followed games of skill, music and stories by bards, entertainment by poets, horse races, foot races, and meetings between families, clans and friends.  Mead was the drink of all the calendar events dealing with the sun god and any breach of the divine peace was instantly punishable by death.

 

 

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