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The Golden Wattle of Imbolc

August 4, 2011

Imbolc is usually celebrated August 1st /2nd in the Southern Hemisphere and the start of February in the Northern Hemisphere.

The actual Moment of Imbolc/Lammas – the cross-quarter between Solstice and Equinox – is at 20:37 UT (“Universal Time” as it is called) on the 7th August. That is 6:37 on the 8th August at my place – EST Australia.

Photograph by A J Campbell of a woman amidst the blooms of a Cootamundra wattle Acacia baileyana

In Australia Wattle day is also celebrated around this season, and is a highly appropriate use of flower for Imbolc as the land bursts into this bright, joyous and abundant flower. This rich maiden time is often used as a time to bless the home and garden, let go of the old and prepare for new growth. Herbs, mixed with milk, honey and white or yellow flowers are used to bless the garden and traditionally young girls in white would bless the fields.

We stand on the threshold of another Australian Spring – a particular time when the whole land is in beauty, arrayed with Wattles all abloom in the most exquisite tints and tones of yellow, and there from is ascending like a continual oblation, an invisible cloud, the soft, sweet perfume of pure wattle incense. (read full article here)

Saint Mary of the Cross, (15 Jan 1842 - 8 Aug 1909)

Redfern artist John Jewell holds an unfinished bust of Mary MacKillop. Photo: Steven Siewert

Winter-Spring Earth Wisdom

By Glenys Livingstone Ph.D.

The Early Spring/Imbolc celebration is traditionally a time of dedication to the nurturance of the New Young Being. Once again, this is no wimpy task: it is for the brave and courageous, whether one is committing to the new being in another or in one’s self. The Great Goddess Brigid of the Celtic peoples is traditionally invoked for such a task. She has been understood for millennia as the One Who tends the Flame of Being: a Brigid-ine commitment is one that is unwavering in its devotion to the central truth of each unique particular self. The stories of Old speak of Brigid in three primary capacities – that may need spelling out in our times, as they are almost forgotten skills: She is imagined as Blacksmith, Physician and Poet … all three.

Blacksmith is one who takes the unshapely lump of raw metal, melts it, then takes the fiery hot form and shapes it … this is no stereotypical “feminine” act: the Goddess of Old is not bound by such patriarchal dualisms. She is spiritual warrior, shaman – this is Her eternal Virgin quality, never separate from the Mother quality or the Old One quality, and no need to characterize such power as “masculine” or dissociate it from “nursery” activity.

Physician is one who understands the “physics” of being, of matter … how a body relates within itself and within its context, functions harmoniously and thus may heal/whole. In this role, Brigid is scientist, healer … none of it separate. Her physics is biologically connected – an understanding of dwelling within a whole and seamless Universe.

Poet of Old is one who speaks the metaphors, the stories of cultural knowledge, the sacred language of Creativity – one who “spells” what may be so. It is a power of spirit: the voice enabled by air, resonant with the winged ones – the birds – whose perspective transcends boundaries. The ancients knew Poetry as a sacred and powerful task – that with our words, we do create what is so. Brigid’s “motherhood statements” are statements of the Mother/Creator, Who once again is never separate from Her whole self – the Young One and the Old One – represented in the Triple Spiral dynamic.

The coming into Being that Winter Solstice and Early Spring celebrates, is an awesome thing. It takes courage and daring. It has taken courage and daring – always. In these times of change, it is perhaps particularly so. Our times require the melting down of so much that no longer works, that will not carry us through. These times require the re-shaping and speaking of new realities – an aboriginal magic of new connections, with what is already present within us, if we can but plumb it, open to it deep within. This is a great seasonal moment to get with the plot of Creativity, to align ourselves with our Native Wisdom …the Wisdom that in fact brings us all into being. We may re-spond to the gift of being by receiving it graciously – and thus become re-sponsible. Though we may feel inadequate, we are not – and we need to begin.

Sometimes it has been a useful exercise to re-write prayers or songs learned perhaps too well as a child or later, to re-speak them and imbue them with new understandings. It is a way of spelling one’s self, of changing one’s mind – to articulate with each word and phrase what one truly believes to be so. And besides, many of the prayers and praises that are found in patriarchal religions of recent human history are often founded upon the expressions of some earlier Earth-based Goddess religion that is now unmentioned and buried. So any re-writing and listening to one’s own interpretations of the pattern of the prayer may end up being closer to its original sense, as well as speaking a new moment.

I offer the following, addressing the Universe as Mother:

Our Mother
Who is with us,
Holy is our Being.
Thy Kin-dom is present.
Thy Desire is felt throughout the Cosmos.
We graciously receive your infinite daily abundance.
May we forgive each other our lack of skill and insensitivity.
May we understand our inner guidance,
and perceive each other’s needs.
For Thine is the Kin-dom, the Power and the Story,
forever and ever.
Blessed Be3
.

© Glenys Livingstone 2008.

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