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Bride with her white wand is said to breathe life into the mouth of the dead Winter and to bring him
to open his eyes to the tears and the smiles, the sighs and the laughter of Spring. The venom of the
cold is said to tremble for its safety on Bride's Day, and to flee for its life on Patrick's Day.
Imbolc, (pronounced "IM-bulk" or "EM-bowlk"), also called Oimealg, ("IM-mol'g"), by the Druids, is the festival of the
lactating sheep. It is derived from the Gaelic word "oimelc" which means "ewes milk". Herd animals have either given birth
to the first offspring of the year or their wombs are swollen and the milk of life is flowing into their teats and udders. It is
the time of Blessing of the seeds and consecration of agricultural tools. It marks the center point of the dark half of the
year, the halfway point between winter and spring. Imbolc is a fire festival, and at this time of waxing light we call upon our
own inner fire and work for inspiration, healing and illumination. It is the festival of the Maiden, for from this day to March
21st, it is her season to prepare for growth and renewal. Brighid's snake emerges from the womb of the Earth Mother to
test the weather, (the origin of Ground Hog Day), and in many places the first Crocus flowers began to spring forth from
the frozen earth. The full moon at Imbolc is called the Quickening Moon.
Another traditional symbol of Imbolc is the plough. In some areas, this is the first day of ploughing in preparation of the first
planting of crops. A decorated plough is dragged from door to door, with costumed children following asking for food, drinks,
or money. Should they be refused, the household is paid back by having its front garden ploughed up. In other areas, the
plough is decorated and then Whiskey, the "water of life" is poured over it. Pieces of cheese and bread are left by the
plough and in the newly turned furrows as offerings to the nature spirits. It is considered taboo to cut or pick plants during
Various other names for the Greater Sabbat are Imbolgc Brigantia (Caledonni, Imbolic (Celtic), Disting (Teutonic, Feb.
14th), Lupercus (Strega), St. Bridget's Day (Christian, Candlemas, Candlelaria (Mexican), the Snowdrop Festival. The
Festival of lights, or the Feast of the Virgin. All Virgin and Maiden Goddesses are honored at this time.
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Last updated 2-1-2014.
Odess Moondragon HP )O(