Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Family Imbolc Celebrations

Imbolc has come and gone (except for Prairie Shadow Protogrove's ritual next weekend), and it was a nice, though busy, holiday for us.  My daughter's birthday is in early February, and so she had a big party this weekend with all her friends.  Despite the cake-baking, cleaning, and decorating (all of which honor Brigid in their own way), we managed to find some time to celebrate the holiday together as a family.

I am part of a flametending Cill on, a wonderful forum I've been a part of for many years.  My shift was on the 30th, and the group as a whole tended flame on both the 31st and 1st; so I had Brigid's flame lit on my stove throughout the weekend.  I've always found flametending to be a wonderful tradition, easy to make a habit out of, and the presence of the flame is a constant helpful reminder to keep Brigid in mind.  Personally, I like to say a short prayer at sunset when I light the flame, and another the next day at sunset when putting it out; and in between I do cleaning and baking and home things while keeping the thought of honoring Brigid in mind.  There are so many other ways to do it though, and so many groups - I know ADF has a Cill for flametending, and I believe Gaol Naofa, a Celtic reconstructionist organization, does as well though they only accept women.

Together, my children and I put out some milk as an offering to Brigid, saying a short and Pagan-ised version of the Descent of Brigid (many examples can be found here at Brigit's Forge).  We also laid out a brat I received from a Imbolc exchange - a brat is a piece of cloth that is laid out overnight on Imbolc Eve, and is said to be blessed by Brigid when She passes by in the night.  Throughout the next year, it is used as a talisman for healing and comfort.  I've already had a chance to use it for my son, who is miserably fighting a cold today; laying him down in his crib, I gave him the brat to hold close to as he slept.

Next year, I'm hoping to be able to make some time for a full feast of corn beef and cabbage, and if I'm feeling adventurous, perhaps some homemade butter for our bread!  If I decide to attempt it, I'll be sure to document the process and let you all in on the craziness!

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