The shadowy druids looked on from their darkened hoods, their eyes glistening with malice as the poured the blood into the fire. A baby’s cry pierced the silence and the golden sickle was revealed….
Is NOT how it went.
Sorry, bit of dark humour there. Hello! Merry Imbolc!
The Imbolc ceremony we had took place on Tuesday 3rd Februaury 2015 on the night of the full moon! And a gorgeous night it was too.
Photo by Michael S. Yamashita, National Geographic.
Yes, it was cold, the sky was open and showing the Moon and stars, the air was chill and the ground still had frost and even the remains of snow.
During our planning in January Imbolc had no one leading it, so as soon as I told the other members of the GOC I had an idea, that was it. Go me.
I wanted to work with the idea of ‘lactation’ being the literal translation of Imbolc. So I wanted to include milk in the ceremony. According to the Order, especially in the Druid Plant Oracle, Druidic practice used the offerings of milk and honey to give thanks to the Gods. I rather liked the idea of that, last year I performed this on a separate Imbolc ceremony from the Grove. I dedicated it to Brighid and I got my answer, it just took a BIG push for me to do what I needed to. So this year, I wanted to do something similar but not to any specific deity. Following recent talks with the Grove members (good talks, lots of interesting and revealing informative talks!) I have come to accept that not all members of the GOC worship or honour deities. So I kept it general.
When setting up, me and Strider worked with the stars and were a little confused when North turned out to be in a slightly different place. Luch Dorca even questioned this (quite rightly), but no! According to the Pole Star and my compass… North was indeed THAT direction…. we’d been doing it slightly wrong for a few years. Whoops!
I’d requested folks to bring lanterns, this was because I wanted us to have a bringing in of the light. That and it looked cool. There was no wind and the fire was burning brightly. Yes! An actual fire compared to last year’s sorry attempt at lighting one (that was one of mine, too).
I gave a little talk on Imbolc being a time of the harshest part of Winter, yes the nights were getting shorter, but that doesn’t mean it was getting any warmer. Imbolc marks the ending of the season and the arrival into Spring and I wanted this to be an actual celebration of giving thanks, instead of asking for something in the New Year. I knew 2014 was a bad year for quite a few people of the GOC, myself included. In fact I’ll say it as it is: It was a right bastard! But, there were things we could still be thankful for and it was these things, great and small, I wanted to reflect on. It was these small flames of hope in what was an otherwise dark year that kept us going I wanted to be thankful. So with an oat biscuit, a smidgeon of honey and a pouring of goats milk onto the earth, I gave thanks to Brighid in her Smith aspect. It was her that allowed me to forge my getting back on track to being a performer. Part of that forging process had my life change completely!
Others gave their thanks and offerings, all were honest and heartfelt and I was proud to be amongst such friends who could feel comfortable enough to share their gratitudes whether it was deity, friends and family, the Grove, a project. Those who didn’t share, no problem, the whole thing was voluntary anyway.
Briseilid revealed she found the Goat’s milk funny because it reminded her of being given it fresh (literally, from a milked goat!) when she was much younger. Luch Dorca didn’t find it funny… all the honey had oozed all over the altar cloth. Sorry.
This was Vyvyan’s first ceremony with us and she seemed to enjoy herself and even joined in the banter. Hopefully we’ll have both her and her husband, Taleteller, with us for Alban Eilir.