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IMBOLC or OIMELC The first festival of spring



Imbolc January 31 to February 2

Imbolc means ‘In the belly of the Mother ‘and refers to the potential for growth in whatever way is most relevant in your life.

In the northern hemisphere Imbolc is January 31 to February 2; in the southern hemisphere it is July 31 to August 2.

The first festival of spring often when the land is still frozen is a reminder that new life stirs within the Earth and within people long before the effects are seen or felt externally. 

This was the all important time when sheep and cattle give birth to their young and so fresh milk and dairy products were first available to the community after the long winter in early agricultural societies.

This was in a number of pre Christian traditions the festival of the young maiden goddess. But it is also linked with the story of the newly delivered mother of the sun king whose milk is mirrored by the milk of the ewes who gave this festival its name of Oimelc or Ewe’s milk. 

The Dark twin is still powerful as reflected in the cold weather and dark days but the young God of light is growing in power as he is nursed by the Goddess.

The Christian Candlemas, the festival of candles, took place on February 2, the day of the Purification of the Virgin Mary on which she took baby Jesus to the temple for the first time.

Ways of marking the festival in the modern world

 



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