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Author Topic: questions about imbolc/ wheel of the year alternatives  (Read 20050 times)
Altair
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« Reply #30: January 28, 2010, 11:33:47 am »

I do a kind of modified Wheel.  I'm mostly interested in the Solstices and the opposites represented by Beltane/Samhain.  But I'm not a Wiccan of any stripe, so my reinterpretations are very, very liberal.



Sorry I'm so late to this thread.

My paganism is Wiccanish. Because as a nature-based pagan I'm very conscious of the seasons, I find myself in a place very much like Brina: celebrating the Wheel in my own way.

Solstices are most important to me, followed by equinoxes, because I'm always aware of how much sunlight I'm getting. I'm big on the same 2 crossquarter days as Brina, mostly for cultural/personal reasons (I love Halloween, and Mayday signals life returning to full flower).

The early February and early August crossquarter days go virtually unnoticed by me. I don't even have names for them.

Speaking of which, I don't use Celtic or Wiccan names for the Wheel's holidays; those names aren't culturally relevant for me. I stick to Winter Solstice (or sometimes more poetically, Night of Nights), Spring Equinox, Mayday, Summer Solstice (or Day of Days), Autumn Equinox, and Halloween.
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« Reply #31: January 28, 2010, 11:53:11 am »

Is Imbolc one of the cross quarters? Also, if there's anyone out there who's in the same boat, how do you celebrate Imbolc (and what do you call it)? I'd feel like an idiot using an idea for a ceremony or whatever that was symbolic of Brigid in some way when I don't even worship her. Tongue What is the "message" of Imbolc to you (as in, why do you celebrate it)? What are some good ways to celebrate it?

Yes, it is one of the cross quartes. My coven calls it February Eve. If we were in England, this would be the first indication of springtime.

Like otheres here, since my coven practices in the wilds of western Canada, February Eve is celebrated as candlemas. We light scads of candles, and remark that oooooh, look, the sun is not setting until after 5:00 pm... as opposed to the 4:30ish sunsets we were seeing @ mid winter. Winter real is going to end......one day.....
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Altair
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« Reply #32: January 28, 2010, 12:02:54 pm »


Forgot to mention, I haven't really decided when the liturgical new year starts for me. The two best candidates are Winter Solstice (since the sun starts coming back) or Spring Equinox (since the Earth, or rather our part of it for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, starts waking up again).

But Halloween? Nope, not the start of the new year for me.
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« Reply #33: January 28, 2010, 03:18:51 pm »

I've been thinking about the upcoming holiday of Imbolc. I'm not really centered on goddesses or gods in general, and I have no relationship with Brigid, so I don't think I'd celebrate Imbolc in that sense. However, I do celebrate the equinoxes, solstices, etc. Is Imbolc one of the cross quarters? Also, if there's anyone out there who's in the same boat, how do you celebrate Imbolc (and what do you call it)? I'd feel like an idiot using an idea for a ceremony or whatever that was symbolic of Brigid in some way when I don't even worship her. Tongue What is the "message" of Imbolc to you (as in, why do you celebrate it)? What are some good ways to celebrate it?

Also, I know that certainly not everyone uses the wheel of the year, but many people seem to celebrate holidays at the same times. So what calendar do you use? I mean, do you consider Samhain to be the new year, etc.

Thanks! I know this is a little scatterbrained, as usual Tongue , but i appreciate the replies!

Hi sparrow.

In my local community the cross quarters are observed and celebrated differently and with different focus depending upon which specific group people choose to be a part of. But we tend to join in with each other out of respect and a sense of gathering.

The common themes are brigid, springtime, fire and candles, ewe milk, return of life, birth, the hearth, sunset to sunrise, brideog (doll made of rushes/straw), and water.

Most of the rituals occur around the eve and day of february 1st. Yes as a cross quarter.

Some of us also hold a ritual at the nearest crescent new moon, which we will be doing on pre dawn of 14th february (if i remember the date correctly.) Fire torches are lit from the hearth and a procession carries them to a local spring. (about two miles away)  partly along an ancient sacred path. At the sacred spring a fire bowl is waiting to be lit by the torches. There we hold our ritual, which is usually 'quiet' by comparison to most fire rituals. We place candles in the stream and let them float with the doll that is carried by a reed boat. Some light drumming and chanting. Invocations offerings etc. to witness (hopefully) the dawn and new moon. It is a beautiful ceremony, though of course often very cold. The candles and fire reflecting in the water. Some of us then swim in the stream! Smiley It gives a wonderful physical sense of new beginnings.

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« Reply #34: January 29, 2010, 12:41:38 am »

Some of us then swim in the stream! Smiley

OK, bearing in mind the fact that I am very well aware of the temp in the UK at the moment, I just have to say that you are freaking nuts! There is no way in all the realms you would get me into a stream at this time of year-even the fish are in bloody thermal clothes! I'm freezing just thinking about it. Let me know how you get on please? Just avoid the icebergs....
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« Reply #35: January 29, 2010, 10:51:17 am »

OK, bearing in mind the fact that I am very well aware of the temp in the UK at the moment, I just have to say that you are freaking nuts! There is no way in all the realms you would get me into a stream at this time of year-even the fish are in bloody thermal clothes! I'm freezing just thinking about it. Let me know how you get on please? Just avoid the icebergs....

LOL. We'd have to break the ice on the stream before had.......
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« Reply #36: February 03, 2010, 02:24:47 pm »

LOL. We'd have to break the ice on the stream before had.......

There was an Australian guy here a while back who talked about "swimming in the ocean every day" (assuming one lives nearby) as part of a well-rounded spiritual life.  But he agreed that swimming in the ocean here (where the average water temps are 50° F year-round) was ill-advised.  Wink

Brina
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Altair
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« Reply #37: February 03, 2010, 06:45:21 pm »

There was an Australian guy here a while back who talked about "swimming in the ocean every day" (assuming one lives nearby) as part of a well-rounded spiritual life.  But he agreed that swimming in the ocean here (where the average water temps are 50° F year-round) was ill-advised.  Wink


It's also ill-advised in much of Australia (the north coast, anyway), unless you want to become lunch for one of their enormous saltwater crocodiles!
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« Reply #38: February 03, 2010, 08:58:08 pm »

It's also ill-advised in much of Australia (the north coast, anyway), unless you want to become lunch for one of their enormous saltwater crocodiles!

Not to mention nasty jellyfish and it's way too hot. Lucky not many people live that far North. In Perth I would go paddling at least even in winter when I could as the sea was warmer than the air.
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« Reply #39: February 15, 2010, 05:58:53 pm »

OK, bearing in mind the fact that I am very well aware of the temp in the UK at the moment, I just have to say that you are freaking nuts! There is no way in all the realms you would get me into a stream at this time of year-even the fish are in bloody thermal clothes! I'm freezing just thinking about it. Let me know how you get on please? Just avoid the icebergs....

Smiley hi midnightsharonb

i must be nuts then lol Well i didn't go swimming but i did get skyclad and in. .... and yeh it was colllllldddddddd.

Bet you are envious really!

beautiful ritual. very simple. fire and water. about a dozen or so of us i guess.
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« Reply #40: December 27, 2010, 09:35:47 pm »

Hi sparrow.

In my local community the cross quarters are observed and celebrated differently and with different focus depending upon which specific group people choose to be a part of. But we tend to join in with each other out of respect and a sense of gathering.

The common themes are Brigid, springtime, fire and candles, ewe milk, return of life, birth, the hearth, sunset to sunrise, brideog (doll made of rushes/straw), and water.

Most of the rituals occur around the eve and day of february 1st. Yes as a cross quarter.

Some of us also hold a ritual at the nearest crescent new moon, which we will be doing on pre dawn of 14th february (if i remember the date correctly.) Fire torches are lit from the hearth and a procession carries them to a local spring. (about two miles away)  partly along an ancient sacred path. At the sacred spring a fire bowl is waiting to be lit by the torches. There we hold our ritual, which is usually 'quiet' by comparison to most fire rituals. We place candles in the stream and let them float with the doll that is carried by a reed boat. Some light drumming and chanting. Invocations offerings etc. to witness (hopefully) the dawn and new moon. It is a beautiful ceremony, though of course often very cold. The candles and fire reflecting in the water. Some of us then swim in the stream! Smiley It gives a wonderful physical sense of new beginnings.



So lovely!

I wont lie, I just love any excuse to celebrate something! I do! While I don't have a deep emotional connection to Brigid, she does command my absolute awe at being one of the Old Goddesses that wasn't demonized by the Christian church, but rather absorbed into the constellations of Saints as St. Bridget.

Any female that can pull that off has my firm respect. So, this year I'll be having a fire, candles, learning to make straw crosses and I'll place my alter cloth on a bush outside to have Brigid bless it. Midwives used to do it to add power to their cloth relics and use them for healing and smooth births by placing the blessed cloth beneath the bed or over as a covering.

Although I don't have a hearth, I think that I'll craft a little bed for Her also. I feel that as long as it is done in joy there will be great benefit.

Joyous Imbolc everyone!
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« Reply #41: December 28, 2010, 01:42:07 am »

Also, if there's anyone out there who's in the same boat, how do you celebrate Imbolc (and what do you call it)?

I suppose I can use this as a jumping off point. Before November 30th, I didn't have an interest in following Brighid. There is is a part of me that is very disconnected with how many view Her, and I'm still trying to tease out what those are, and how they are related to one of the neopagan festivals attributed to her as being a time of new milk, birthing, and spring. Those do not all connect for me. I do not live in an environment where all three of those intersect, so it's pretty useless imho for me to celebrate it. (Note: I am attempting to follow a very earth-defined path that is local to my own. So that colours what I'm trying to do here, and I don't apologize for it in any way. I just want people to be aware of the distinction between "my stuff" and "other stuff") So trying to look at Brighid with those particular filters on, makes me kind of tilt my head and go "huh?". So, most neopagan themed stuff goes out the window, because it applies either to a version of Brighid I don't work with, know, or understand, or it applies to an environment I am currently not experiencing, and that's not very useful to me.

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I'd feel like an idiot using an idea for a ceremony or whatever that was symbolic of Brigid in some way when I don't even worship her. Tongue

So don't. Why do you need to celebrate Imbolg? Are you doing it because it's what "other witches do"? Are you trying to get into a group? Are you in a group? Are you just doing it to fit in with others? I think you should seriously look at why you would celebrate this kind of festival, and if its worth it. You don't have to celebrate a festival because others are. That's like holding an invisible gun to your head, and it's unnecessary.

Quote
What is the "message" of Imbolc to you (as in, why do you celebrate it)? What are some good ways to celebrate it?

Well, Imbolg comes from the Old Irish "i molg" meaning "in the belly", which referred on one level to the pregnancy of sheep, and the beginning of their lactation (Was it only sheep, though? I do wonder if cattle were involved in this.). When I began building my own calendar, this one stuck for some reason, despite me never giving it two flipping thoughts in the past. I'm still teasing it out,  but there are a lot more layers to this day that I've uncovered, that I think people gloss over. I mean seriously sometimes I find elements in these things that scream "underworld, otherwordly, dark, transformation" and instead everyone is spouting about rainbows, bunnies, baby lambs and unicorn's farts for gods' sakes.  Roll Eyes A Goddess is giving birth (or y'know, at Yule, whatever; things are giving birth all the time), and it isn't some quiet, calm, tranquil thing.. it's a screaming, bloody, painful miracle that brings life and death within a hair's width of each other.

...Sometimes I wonder how much different I am from a large majority of pagans.

I couldn't tell you what I'm doing for it yet, because I have no idea what. I have concepts and fragments and ideas of certain things and particular Gods that in particular want to be involved.. but nothing coherent yet.

Quote
Also, I know that certainly not everyone uses the wheel of the year, but many people seem to celebrate holidays at the same times. So what calendar do you use? I mean, do you consider Samhain to be the new year, etc.

My New Year is on December 31st/January 1st. I tried for a while to celebrate a spiritual "New Year's" and it just didn't work. I do have a lunar calendar, and a solar one, but they don't really .. end. Not in the way our 12-month, beginning-to-end one does. Maybe I'll try again.

I have a personal calendar. A majority of dates and festivals others celebrate as well, including Samhain, Anthesteria, the Solstices, the Equinoxes, etc. I'm still in the middle of changing names, because I feel like a majority of them I have no real relation to the festival celebrated by others, or was practiced in the past. And that's cool with me. I'm following my own path, with my own days and my own deities. Five years ago I would have never done this, because I was terrified to leave Wicca and be "alone". I'm probably as pretty alone as I've ever get spiritually-wise, and while it's difficult, I have a strong need for independence and sense of self, which is hard when one follows completely another path made by someone else. It's why adjustments are required, changes are made. It's why there are so many variations of things. So I'm always confused why people feel compelled to celebrate something they don't really know or want to, just because others are, or because they feel that if they don't, they won't be a "real pagan" or some other crap.
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