Title: Imbolc: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for Brigid’s Day
Writer: Carl F. Neal
Publishing House: Llewellyn Publications
Date of Publication: December 8th 2015
Rating: 4 stars
‘’When the dark days of winter seem to have gone on forever, the first sign of spring refreshes our souls. It is a promise that winter will not last forever and that warm and fertile days will come again soon. Even through snow, the daffodils will push their heads up with a startling flash of green and yellow against the otherwise unbroken glare of winter’s white.’’
As February arrives, it is time to reflect on the winter that is slowly heading towards its end and the spring that will be with us before we even realise it. As the days become warmer and the light lasts a little bit longer, we have the chance to reflect and decide.
This lovely little book is a quiet meditation on the role and influence of Brigid in the Celtic tradition and her (ingenious) transformation from a Celtic goddess to a Christian Saint. The protector of poetry, inspiration, the refuge of women, the comfort of the farmers. She who protects the hearth and the crops with crosses and corn dollies.
We learn about the Februalia and the orgiastic Lupercalia honouring Romulus and Remus, the mythical founders of Rome. The Native American traditional celebrations and ceremonies, the ancient Egyptian customs honouring the goddess Renenunet who protected the mothers fighting during the birth of their children before we are transported to our times and the special, even quirky, Groundhog Day, the beautiful celebrations of Mardi Gras and the mysticism of Candlemass.
And as tiny flowers begin to push through the snow, we are more than ready to prepare for the rejuvenation of Spring and the excitement of a more carefree Summer…
‘’Imbolc is the light at the end of the tunnel, the birth of the new spring. It is a small light, like a candle seen in the distance because spring is still some distance away. It makes it only right to celebrate Imbolc with candles rather than torches of the blazing balefires that will mark our summer celebrations.’’