The Pagan festival of the green man
As the days start to grow longer and the signs of new life spring forth all around the countryside of England small communities celebrate the pagan festival of Imbolc. The pagan wheel of the year has eight events or sabbates and one of the most spectacular is “the fire festival” celebrated when the moon is full and the first gentle spring flowers push their green shoots up through the winter’s soil.
Imbolc is a festival between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, it starts with the Druids coming forth carrying fiery torches and ends with a fight between the Green man and Jack Frost. Its roots, spring from ancient Celtic cultures and the spring rites and customs from Scandinavia, Imbolc was also a time for initiation ceremonies
Imbolc fire ceremony
In Marsden a village in West Yorkshire they stage a large Imbolc where around 2,000 people from all around come to witness the fire display team and watch an amazing fireworks display in this 2,000 year old ceremony. Part of the events includes a spectacular torchlight procession through the village. It was originally dedicated to the goddess Brigid, later adopted as St Brigid’s Day.
Imbolc was and is celebrated by the Gaels Celts and Neopagans and is not just confined to England it is also celebrated in Scotland where the festival is known as Là Fhèill Brìghde, in Ireland it’s known as Lá Fhéile Bríde, and Wales it’s Gwyl y Canhwyllau.
Lá Fhéile Bríde
Forecasters of the year to come often follow the old tradition of watching to see if serpents, bears or badgers came from their winter dens, by this they will make their predictions for the coming year, this could well be where the American Ground hog day came from. It was a very important time in Ireland where ancient inhabitants, had tombs set so that the light of the rising sun was caught by a clever alignment of passageways which shone onto the inner part of the tomb
There are many dates where it is claimed to be the start of Imbolc, a lot of these depends on the region, a lot of was the birth of the first lamb, and the Blackthorn is said to blossom at Imbolc.
Imbolc is also known as ‘The festival of Lights’ ‘Candlemas ‘ and ‘St. Bridigs day’ now she was the patroness of poets, healers, and smiths so as a poet myself I feel very close to her.
A poem to celebrate
Let’s end with an earth poem.
Listen to the rain, fall upon the flower petal
Then bounce right back down, to the soil
And finally there to settle
Feeding the ground, with its life given power
Until the time comes, for another shower
See the flowers colour, to attract the honeybees
See the rain a’falling, upon their gentle wings
Refreshing up the colours as pollen flies upon the breeze
Listen to the gentle rain and see all that it brings
To feel the crispness beneath your feet
To smell the freshness of the mornings air sweet
To see the Deer play happily
To watch the foxes dart around the tree
To make the first frosty footprint in the snow
To feel the first Autumn breezes blow
To be alive on this Autumn morn
To see the rabbits with their new born
This is my wealth, this with my health
What more could I want , I will tell you true
What more could I ask for
then to share all this just with you ~ johnnydod 2009