imbolc, the day of fire

sometimes things work out real well. the other day i found the yellow monday meme and was wondering how i might participate. and then it all started falling into place. like this:


in the pagan tradition, today is Imbolc, also known as oimelc. this is usually translated from the gaelic as “ewe’s milk” – the time when the ewes get their milk, ready for the newborn lambs. some also say that “imbolc” means “in the belly”. like other festivals around this time of year (valentine’s day!), it is a festival of fertility and of greeting the coming sun and the spring.

imbolc is also often referred to as brigid’s day; brigid the maiden of the tripartite goddess maiden, mother and crone; brigid, goddess of fire and hearth; and brigid, goddess of arts and crafts, specifically bards, smiths and physicians. brigid is the feminine counterpart of lugh, a god with whom, along with hekate (the crone aspect of the tripartite goddess, by the way), i feel i have a special connection.

brigid represents women’s potential. she is the eternal flame burning in the heart and hearth of every woman: ‘moon-crowned brigid of the undying flame’. brigid also stands for poetical inspiration and healing, and the fire of the divine forge.

imbolc is celebrated by lighting sacred fires. the roman catholic church turned this celebration into candlemas. (with thanks to two pagans)

so … in the spirit of imbolc, below are some notes i made a little while ago for a fire ritual; i’d like to share them with you. may the fire be with you.

  • associated with fire: tuesday, 3rd chakra, lion, summer solstice, noon, zodiacal point cancer, gold, mustard, brigid.  colours: yellow, gold, red, white, ascension (smoke), transformation, red-bellied salamanders
  • fire cannot be treated as an impersonal thing, every fire has a personality à name the fire
  • ashes
  • “cooking the world” – what the brahmans do in fire rituals
  • put negatively charged objects into the base of the fire, throw positively charged objects into the fire as it is burning
  • “may you never be cold”
  • connecting trance, breath, movement to fire
  • the fire that drives the drive (the fire that comes from the core)
  • fire in the dark
  • fire that enhances / supercharges the heat of midday
  • fire that prepares for the day to come (first thing to do in the morning is to light the fire)
  • the russian hearth
  • shiva
  • grandfather stones at the sweat lodge
  • agni, the divine fire
  • buddhist goma/homa rituals
  • volcanoes
  • fire, the ultra-living element
  • fire to cook
  • fire as the mouth/ear of the gods
  • dancing around the fire
  • singing/chanting around the fire (e.g. earth our body, fire our blood)

special thanks to cobalt for her beautiful image

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