2016 Imbolc Festival
IMBOLC at FOUNDATION CENTRE, IRELAND
By: Minette Quick
February 6, 2016
Spring has come so early this year that snowdrops have been peeping out of the ground since early January, and daffodils are appearing everywhere. Despite heavy rain all morning it abated a little as our members and guests filled the bright and cheerful tea rooms, following which everyone was invited to move into the warmth of the refurbished Theatre and take part in a topically themed impromptu play, such as Olivia used to pluck out of the air with such aplomb! During a break in the clouds, following the traditional spiral dance, we then took the short gravelled walk through the damp but still beautiful formal gardens to the Temple.
The time of Brigid, recognised from early times as both Goddess and Saint is very precious to us all in Ireland, as her spirit recognises the true unity of spirit upon which the Fellowship was founded. So gathering at the Well for Imbolc, invoking Deity, and offering Her Blessings in particular, we vividly recalled the lively and practical wisdom expressed in the Planetary Alchemy of Brigid, that we should ‘never forget to laugh’ lest we succumb to ‘a creeping death of dogma’ and forget our divine essence whilst performing our roles within this earthly play.
The central theme of Brigid threaded its way throughout our ceremonies and the Temple was beautiful, lit by candles from the High Altar, which cast both light and shade amongst us as we settled to hear Her Oracle and connect with the wise counsel given on releasing inner conflict by expressing love in our daily lives. Her presence was palpable throughout and grew during moments of reflection, whilst a delightful, gentle air on the harp was played, and was felt particularly powerfully as we joined in offering prayers for the well-being of those dear to us and to those in the world who are suffering at present.
We received with particular delight the generous gift of a special dance, dedicated to Brigid, offered by one of our guests, who is studying the use of dance in ritual at University. Many thanks to her, and to her fellow student, for travelling quite a way to be with us.
Later, in the context of our Mystery Play, which continued the central theme of the rise of Brigid’s light at this time of year, we were reminded that all the arts originally arose in the context of Temple worship. Certainly dance is an absolutely beautiful way of expressing the sacred using the body as a channel of the divine.
And, of course our journey offered yet another opportunity to unite with Brigid, Goddess of justice and compassion, by gazing on the light of a candle before bringing it within to meet her in person.
Our ceremonies having been brought to an end and thanks given to Deities for their presence amongst us, it was a joy to hear from many present how much this special time had meant to them. For us it is a blessing to be able to continue the work of the Co-Founders and meet the needs of our members and guests. Many people availed of the offering of particular blessings and short healing sessions, before going down to the village for tea and relaxation with old and new friends.
February 7, 2016
© Minette Quick
Painting of Brigid Na Mara, Well Chapel.
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