2017 Imbolc Festival
By: Minette Quick
FOUNDATION CENTRE - IRELAND
February 4th, 2017
Despite initial showers of rain, it soon turned into a perfect day to celebrate Brigid, Goddess and Saint. Indeed, in the end we were all delighted we had decided to set off around the grounds, and hadn’t missed the beauty of the exquisite spring borders peeping out everywhere between the shrubs and trees. Crossing back across the bridge from the Rose Garden, the grass in the Orchard suddenly revealed golden gleams of early crocuses peeping through, and to avoid trampling mud into the Temple from the Yew Walk, we took the central steps down from the formal lawns, and were greeted by a breath-taking display on both sides of the gravelled path down to the Wilderness! Clump after clump of pure white snowdrops interspersed with perennial hellebores in a range of enchanting, subtle colours, their rose-like blooms drooping elegantly over their slate blue leaves, reminded us how blessed we are to be able to enjoy the changing seasons in these well-loved and cared for gardens.
Brigid is especially dear to many people in Ireland who feel a close personal connection to her, and we had a lovely gathering of visitors with their children on this occasion. The visits we make at each Festival to The Rose Garden, Grove and Abbey provide special opportunities to explain the ways in which we still connect with the spirit which inspired the Foundation of the Fellowship worldwide.
As we gathered to invoke Persephone at her entrance to the Temple the sun came out which was lovely as we filed in to celebrate together in keeping with the time of year. All our ceremonies commence with Invocations and readings from the liturgy, and are followed by the tradition of offering individual Blessings from the Goddess with water from the Well; and thus each participant is welcomed in an essentially personal way. The Temple is regularly cared for by the priesthood and it is a real delight each time we meet to sense how potently it responds to the loving dedication they offer. It provides a space within which each of us may be at peace, knowing that we are all totally accepted here, as unique and much-loved children of the divine, regardless of race or creed.
On this occasion our Oracle was from Brigid, and her main message was powerful in its simplicity. In a world where control of our everyday lives is ever on the increase, there is nothing like watching seeds germinate, grow and thrive under our care, providing delicious food we can eat to truly nourish ourselves and our children, who love to engage in the whole process, growing up themselves to relate deeply to our Mother Earth. This was followed by the sounding of the Immas, a short period of quiet reflection, and then we were called back by the sounding of the Immas again.
The many remarkable qualities associated with Brigid were a feature of the whole ceremony, and there are many traditional stories to attest to them – Fire and Water, of course, are foremost in fame, and we were treated to a wonderful array of offerings in poetry, song and story, all speaking of her unfolding magnetic capability, first as Goddess and then Saint, to bring about unity and justice in many ways. She showed us for instance the three-fold power of Fire as in ‘The Fire in the Head, the Fire in the Forge, the Fire in the Cauldron burning’- which refer of course to Inspiration, Metal work & Transformation. As Saint her wise counsel and healing power was sought widely during her lifetime and thousands around the world still love and call actively upon her assistance today.
In place of a Journey this time, we had a Fire Blessing and song, and joined together in prayer for those known to us who have passed on or are in special need. Thanks were given to Deity and coming to an early close, it was possible to offer healing and counselling sessions to a number of people who sought them on this occasion. We then repaired to the village for refreshments as ever. However, those wishing to join us for upcoming ceremonies in 2017 do please note that our Festivals are no longer being held in the afternoon. To avoid disappointment, please refer to the appropriate FAQ on www.fellowshipofisis.com for contact details and information. (Events Page)
February 6th, 2017
Snowdrops © M. Quick
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(Many thanks to Minette for sharing her reports!)
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