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IMBOLC NEWSLETTER

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Blessings of Imbolc to you and yours. Imbolc is a Gaelic traditional festival marking the beginning of spring. Most commonly it is held on 1 February, or about halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. It is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals along with Beltaine, Lughnasadh and Samhain.

At Imbolc, Brigid’s crosses were made and a doll-like figure of Brigid, called a Brídeóg, would be paraded from house-to-house. Brigid was said to visit one’s home at Imbolc. To receive her blessings, people would make a bed for Brigid and leave her food and drink, while items of clothing would be left outside for her to bless. Brigid was also invoked to protect homes and livestock. Special feasts were had, holy wells were visited and it was also a time for divination.
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In Irish mythology Brigid was the Celtic goddess of fire, poetry, unity, childbirth and healing. She was the daughter of Dagda a High King of the Tuatha Dé Danann. Sacred wells were always places of pilgrimage to the Celts. They would dip a clootie (piece of rag) in the well, wash their wound and then tie the clootie to a tree. Generally a Whitethorn or Ash tree, as an offering to the spirit of the well. It seems only natural that these traditions would be carried forward into modern times in the form of St Brigid. Today’s pilgrimages to holy wells usually take place on the Saints feast day or Pattern or Patron days.

Although now a small well maintained park, the site still has an aura of ancientness, a very spiritual place. The well is fed by a spring that then flows underground before appearing again under a stone archway. The stones below the archway are known as St Brigid’s slippers. The stream then flows past a modern bronze statue of Saint Brigid. The rag tree near the well displays many clooties. Usually the rags are placed there by people who believe that if a piece of clothing from someone who is ill, or has a problem of any kind, is hung from the tree, the problem or illness will disappear as the rag rots away. The votive offerings are left in gratitude to the Saint for curing a loved one.

According to tradition Saint Brigid was born in Faughart, Co Louth, where there is a shrine and another holy well dedicated to her. The Saint found a convent in Kildare in 470 that has now grown into a cathedral city. There are the remains of a small oratory known as Saint Brigid’s fire temple, where a small eternal flame was kept alight for centuries in remembrance of her. She is one of Ireland’s patron Saints and known as Mother of the Gael. She is said to be buried along with St Colm Cille and St Patrick in Downpatrick. Throughout Ireland there are many wells dedicated to St Brigid. A visit is strongly recommended, a very peaceful and sacred place long before Christianity came to Ireland.

 
 Reflection Seeds

✤Sunset 31st January to sunset 2nd February
✤Beginning of Spring for the Celts 
✤Cross Quarter Day
✤Time to sort your seeds for the coming year
✤Time to plan your hopes and dreams
✤Welcome in the hope of new life
✤Spend time outdoors noting the changes
 
A Seasonal Message from the Goddess Brigid:


Vote With Your Feet. Understand your power as a consumer to influence the world around you. Showing retailers there is demand from the buying public for change is the only way they will change.


Original Egg Tempera Painting and Text by Jen Delyth © Poem excerpt Caitlin Mathews
 
Imbolc Meditation:

The season of Imbolc starts with Imbolc day; 1st and 2nd February and is the great festival and honouring of the Goddess known as Bride, Bridie, Brighid, Brigit and Brigantia (so loved was she as a pagan Goddess that her worship was woven into the Christian church as Saint Brigid). She is a Goddess of healing, poetry, fire, of the sun and of the Hearth. She brings fertility to the land and its people. 
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Imbolc Inspiration:

Create an Imbolc Altar. Try placing a fresh white cloth on a table and decorating it with pots of the earliest Spring flowers such as narcissi and snowdrops. You could also add white or green candles, as well as Brighid crosses and perhaps a Bridie doll. A pretty glass of milk or a bowl of cream would also be suitable as an offering to place out on the land every day or so, reminding us of Brighid's generosity. Be sure to replace the milk and flowers often so your altar stays fresh. 
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Recommended App: 

Karma is the multi-award-winning food waste app for buying delicious surplus food from restaurants, cafes, and grocery stores at a discounted price. The perfect partner in crime for tonight's dinner, tomorrow's lunch, or the in-between snack.
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Recommended Book:

A Legacy Of Wisdom by Judith L. Nilan: The Genius, Power, and Possibility of Ireland’s Indigenous Spiritual Heritage.
We search for spiritual grounding. We seek wisdom to create meaning in our lives, to nurture our souls, and to guide us to the wholeness, power, and potential of who we are as sacred people. In our quest, many paths open before us. For those of us with Irish ancestry, we often long for the resonance of a wisdom tradition that is uniquely and authentically ours. This book is an exploration of that wisdom tradition.
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Team Profile: Adrian Parkes

On a sabbatical from his love of teaching Adrian left for the big city and launched Celtic Whispers in 2019. Inspired by Entrepreneurs like MJ DeMarco and Tim Ferris, as well as Appreneurs like Chad Mureta and George Berkowski, Adrians goal is the creation of a Celtic inspired fantasy app trilogy that can help millions of people improve their mental health and develop a more meaningful way to live in harmony with their community and the environment. 

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Celtic Living for the 21st Century:

Take a Forest Bath: Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, is a Japanese wellness practice that is spreading worldwide. According to Shirley Gleeson of Ecowellness Consulting, "Research has shown that breathing in the phytoncides (chemicals emitted by trees) can help lower blood pressure, reduce stress levels, and enhance your immune system. When walking in nature, focus on what you can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. Watching the light dancing in the trees, the smell of the forest floor, the taste of sweet ripened blackberries, the feel of cold water in the running stream, the sound of the ancient call of the wood pigeon. The stronger our emotional connection to the natural world is, the more likely we are to fight for it and protect it. 
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Recommended Movie: The Last Druid
 
A documentary describing the life of the late Irish druid, Ben McBrady. Ben McBrady, known as Brady of the Name and Herenach of the Two Kilmores, was Aircinneac and Herenach of a pre-Druid Megalithic Order called “The Old Gaelic Order,” often referred to simply as “The Order.” Ben McBrady is believed to have been the last member of “The Old Gaelic Order.” Because of this he was called “The Last Druid.” He passed away in January of 1996.
 
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Celtic Whispers Shop:

If you like the artwork and style of Celtic Whispers we also offer our designs on physical products as well. We invite you to visit our shop and see if any of our Celtic Designs would look good on a t-shirt, mug or sticker.
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Beannacht :


May Brigid Goddess and saint bless each one of us and renew us into the wholeness of our true selves as we move into a new a springtime. May she guide us into a way of living and being that are in harmony with the well being of all life.


Slán agus Beannacht!

 
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