Wednesday, February 01, 2006

This week in Diversity

Imbolc ("IM-bulk") is an ancient festival generally celebrated on                 
January 31, February 1, or February 2. It is also known as
Candlemas, Brighid ("breed"), and Oimelc ("EE-mulk") which means
ewe's milk. Imbolc is a Greater Sabbat in the Wiccan year.


The celebration signals the middle of the season of long nights
and anticipates the upcoming season of light. Celebrants make
Corn Maidens from corn and wheat. The Maidens are dressed up and
placed in a cradle known as a "Bride's Bed". A wand, usually
tipped with an acorn or other large seed, is placed in the bed
with the Maiden. The Maidens are generally kept year round as a
symbol of fertility.


Other interrelated interpretations of the festival center around
the Irish Goddess Brighid, known for her healing, smithcraft, and
poetry gifts. Additional interpretations revolve around the birth
of lambs and the lactation of the ewes. Still others celebrate
Imbolc as the recovery of the Earth Goddess after giving birth to
the Sun God.

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