Monday, February 1, 2010


Febuary 1 and 2 are pagan feast days of Imbolc. This is when the earliest signs of spring are shown in the world, when the young Bride makes her youthful appearance. Three signs of spring associated with today are:

1. Sheep and goats begin lactating, in preparation for having babies. Imbolc is also called "Oimelc" which means roughly, in Old Celtic, "Ewe's Milk." For us, our goats are in the process of kidding now, which is just another reaffirmation that spring is on its way. :) In fact 2 more goat kids were born last night.

2. The days are growing lighter. Brigit, the goddess/saint honored on this day, is the representation of light-in-darkness... the hidden spring that waits under a blanket of snow to be revealed when the snow melts. Today marks the end of winter darkness and the slow unfolding of the sun. Traditionally a candle is given away representing the passing of the need to carry a candle while doing morning work. Unfortunately, I still need a flashlight to do morning and night chores...

3. "Groundhog's Day" (which was never originally a groundhog). In Scottish tradition, it was a serpent who was said to emerge from its hibernation underneath the hill, and if it stayed outside and became active, an early thaw was predicted. If it went back into its hole, winter would stay another month. The serpent is a divine animal, able to sense the future. An invocation (from the Carmina Gadelica) goes...
Moch maduinne Brhride (On Brede's morn the serpent)
Thig an nimhir as an toll. (Will come out of the hole)
Cha bhean mise ris an nimhir, (I will not harm the serpent)
Cha bhean an nimhir rium. (Nor will the serpent harm me)

...Which, to me, makes a lot more sense than a groundhog being scared of its shadow.


  1. So, funny thing about Imbolc. 6 years ago I was doing a rit with a group of friends, and in the middle of it I suddenly had a flash that I was pregnant. I knew it, deep down in my bones. Which was weird, because I was on the pill and the ex was supposedly sterile. I ended up waiting another two weeks for my period before I broke down and got a test, and yup, I was preggers.
    To this day that feeling I had that day, of such happiness and light when I knew I was pregnant is one of the most amazing I've ever had. I have always thought the kiddo is a bit more special because of that. But then I'm a sentimental Irish woman, LOL.

  2. Hi there-

    I never heard the word "Imbolc" before today. Thank you for teaching me of such tradition of pagan feast days. Wow!! You are so fascinating. Have a great day.

    Love Gail

  3. wow leigh, i've had a couple flashes like that but not about pregnancy... still, they are always kind of creepy and kind of wonderful. :)

    gail, thanks! :) i enjoy your comments and find your posts fascinating as well.

  4. Hello,

    #2 resonates a lot in my hometown these days. I used to consider snow the saving grace of winter, but after all the shoveling we've been doing in the eastern US it's hard not to say Job was wrong about snow coming from heavenly storehouses, and the Zoroastrians were right about winter being evidence of demons among us! :)

    And may I say I enjoy all your "mom" posts because my wife is going through something of a difficult pregnancy, and your "brainy" posts because they are fun and educational. This one on Imbolc is a little of both I guess. Anyway kudos on a really charming blog.