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"What's Past Is Prologue." - William Shakespeare

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Magic Is Reality, Reality Is Magic: Imbolc

Magic is Reality, Reality is Magic is a series that highlights aspects of religions, particularly Paganism. We pull things from everyday life to use in our fiction. Magic is one of the key attributes of fantasy. Why not explore the realm of magic that many people already have in their lives?

Picture By Culnacreann
February 1 (or 2, depending on what text you read or who you ask) is the sabbat of Imbolc--also spelled Imbolg, or called Candlemas. This is the holiday that celebrates the slow return to spring. The days are slowly getting longer now, as mentioned in the last post on Yule, and the Goddess will soon bring the light back to the world. As many people know, Groundhog Day lands on February 2 as well--both holidays represent the eagerness for spring to return!

A candle wheel is the biggest symbol of Imbolc, especially when worn on the head during ritual, a representation of the sun returning, of spring approaching. Another symbol is the Grain or Corn Dolly. This doll is woven from sheaves of grain. Sun Wheels or Brigid's Crosses made out of vines are also used. Red and white are associated with Imbolc. Perhaps a precursor to Valentine's Day? The goddess Brigid or the Triple Goddess aspect are usually the focus in any rituals on Imbolc, as can be seen by the many symbols.

Of course there is more information on Imbolc than I've listed here (I only offer a taste!). So, if you'd like to know more, you may wish to look at these websites: History of Imbolc, Imbolc Lore, and Imbolc (Candlemas) Sabbat.

Further Reading Suggestions:

K, Amber. Candlemas. St. Paul: Llwellyn Publications, 2001.

I hope you found this tidbit interesting! If you would like me to touch on a particular topic that fits in this series, please don't hesitate to contact me with suggestions.

NEXT UP: Monthly Update

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