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Imbolc is fast approaching and I find myself without an organized idea of what I want to do. I do, however, feel like I have a slightly deeper understanding of what this sabbat means to me. Yesterday I had the realization that it was still light out at 5:30 in the evening. This may not seem like a big deal, but when you live in a place with deep, powerful winters, the psychological boost of seeing light at 5:30 in the evening is immeasurable.

This realization led me to another: this is what Imbolc is all about. In the past, Imbolc has been sort of a confusing holiday for me, especially because in February in Michigan, we are still usually deep in the throes of winter. If you pay attention to the world around you, however, you see that this is also the time that the days are finally noticeably longer and we can see and feel that we’re just starting to come out of the dark sleep of winter.

This is what Imbolc is for me. It’s a gentle awakening from the hibernation of winter. We open our eyes and stretch sleepily as we blink into the gradually increasing light. The deep, inward dreams of winter begin to fade as we start to look outward again, ready to begin anew.

What are we ‘beginning?’ Well, anything, really. Perhaps we’ve learned something during our introspective winter and with the return of the light, we can begin the work that goes along with that learning. Maybe we simply find ourselves with a stirring of energy that we can now start to stoke and work into a blazing fire of activity. Whatever it is for you, now is the time to reflect on it and begin to, well, begin.

This can also be a good time for a bit of ‘spring cleaning.’ Even though it may still be cold where you are, consider opening your windows just a crack (if you’re sure they won’t freeze open, that is) for 15 minutes or so just to let some fresh air sweep through. While you do that, do some general spring cleaning activities or even simply decluttering. Add to this a house cleansing and already you can feel the energies in your house change. Vitality will stir, ready to be stoked by you.

I’m looking forward to Imbolc and just the act of writing this post has given me ideas for what I’d like to do. I think I will turn on all the lights in my house as well as light a few candles to symbolize and welcome the returning light. I’ll spend some time meditating on the deep of winter and visualize the gradual return of the light as I feel the spark inside me stir. I, personally, don’t see this as a ‘return’ of the Goddess, but more as a changing. She is always with us, regardless of season, She simply changes form. From an introspective Goddess, guiding us through the dark and teaching us about ourselves, She now gradually guides us towards becoming more active, towards using the knowledge and energy we’ve stored up during the winter. She guides us to starting anew. I think I’ll also start some seeds for my garden. Just the thought of doing that makes me smile.

What are your favorite ways of celebrating Imbolc? What does Imbolc mean to you?

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Such a lovely article.

gather

5-deer9

In the old nature religion (in which the divine was often perceived as feminine) it was the female horned reindeer who reigned supreme as the great goddess of the winter solstice. It was when we “Christianized” the pagan traditions of winter, that the white bearded man i.e. “Father Christmas” was born.
1-deer5
Today he chariots Rudolph and his steed of flying reindeer across our mythical skies and we have forgotten the power of the Deer Mother, the female horned Reindeer. Stronger and larger than the buck, it is she who leads the herds.

5-deer1
And it is her beloved image that adorns the Christmas cards and Yule decorations we are so familiar with today. Because, unlike the male who sheds his antlers in winter, it is the Deer Mother, who carries the life-giving sun safely through winter’s darkest, longest night in her horns. stag2 Across the North, since the Neolithic, from the British…

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Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it today!

Last night my husband and I had our own Thanksgiving feast since today is going to be a bit busy with spending time with family. I would like to share what I recited before we ate. It’s from Everyday Witch A to Z Spellbook by Deborah Blake. I changed it for us so it applied to multiple people as it is written for a solitary.

“I am grateful

For the blessings bestowed upon me this day

And every day

I am conscious

Of the gifts that have been given

And the wishes granted

I am aware

That not everyone shares my good fortune

And that others suffer

I am hopeful

That my good fortune continues

And is spread to others

I am grateful

Blessed be”

More of my Thanksgiving posts from Thanksgivings past:

Animal Totems: Turkey

A Ritual of Thanks

Two Simpsons clips to sum up Thanksgiving 😉

 

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Every year on Samhain, I light a candle for my departed loved ones and to honor my ancestors. I don’t do anything fancy or ceremonious. I keep things simple. I find that for most rituals, simple is the best for me.

This year was no different. Before the trick or treaters came, I spent some quiet time at my altar, invoking the spirit of the season and lighting candles, communing with the Elements and the Goddess and the God. I asked to be open to receiving messages or impressions from departed loved ones. Just like every Samhain, nothing happened.

Now, I have experienced the dead. I have felt and ‘heard’ ghosts numerous times. I have interacted with fae and animal guides and others that I simply have no name for. I’m very sensitive to things the 5 senses don’t pick up. So, why do I never hear from my dead loved ones? Samhain night I almost always sleep like a rock. No dreams. No feelings or impressions.

I have thought about making my Samhain ritual more complicated, adding herbs and crystals to give it extra oomph, but will that really make a difference? Part of me feels like there’s a reason my loved ones don’t communicate with me, but what is it? Maybe it’s because even after all these years, thinking about them makes me cry? Maybe because I have a lot of guilt associated with the two I want to hear from the most? Is it because I’ve never specifically called to them on Samhain? I just leave the invitation open for any of my departed loved ones or ancestors. If that’s the case, though, why has no one ever communicated with me? Or why have I never been able to sense them near me?

Has anyone else experienced this or had different experiences during Samhain?

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I’ve had this song stuck in my head for the last few days so I thought I would share it for the start of the week!

Bright blessings!

 

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What is the difference between Paganism and Wicca? What is Witchcraft? What does it mean to be a witch? This article by Marietta over at her blog Witchy Words does a nice job of simplifying the differences and the definitions to help you know the basic definitions of these so commonly used terms.

Do you agree with her definitions? What do these terms mean to you?

 

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This is so powerful. I love this.

 

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