I have a problem with Imbolc / Candlemas / St Bride’s Day / Groundhog Day. It’s not a holiday that I relate to very well. I prefer that my holy days have deep personal meaning. It’s hard to worship when I can’t find that deep heart connection. Without that connection, I tend to forget the dates.
I don’t relate to the Great Goddess becoming purified after recovering from the birth of the unconquered son and transforms from Mother / Crone to the Maiden. I don’t personally worship a Great Goddess with this mythology. The association with the agrarian cycle and lambing season doesn’t work for me. As great as Lady Bride is, I’m not moved to include Her in my worship even if I find the keeping of the perpetual flame fascinating. Predicting how long winter lasts just doesn’t seam enough to justify making a religious holiday out of it. I’m in a pickle over this.
For me, Imbolc is rather….. just not mine. But for this point in the wheel my thoughts turn toward one of my Gods rather than one of the Goddesses. I find the divine masculine extremely worthy of my worship. Particularly at this cusp of winter and spring, between life and death and the budding potential of fecundity, I am moved to ecstatic worship of my God.
For many years I’ve celebrated this season by lighting a sacred flame, offering song and prayer to my Lord and milk and incense to the trees. I’ve always milked my trees. grins I’ll admit that I’d often miss the Imbolc Sabbat and go for one of the moon phases. But over time the phase of the moon has changed the mood for me. I’ve found that I prefer the celebrate on the New moon in all that glorious darkness of night.
This little preference doesn’t seam like much at first but for me it’s huge. I had been doing some research on phallic deities and I came across information about Lord Shiva and the Maha Shivaratri Festival. It so happens the Maha Shivaratri Festival falls just before the New Moon. This year the festival is on February 12th and for my area the New Moon is on the 13th. I found that my personal rites and the puja for the festival, shared a few common elements.
This discovery is perplexing. Perhaps I should be reassured that human nature is itself cyclic. I’m not sure if this coincidence is a calling to a greater awareness of Lord Shiva or not. I really adore Lord Shiva but many of my ideas about Him are unorthodox. I’m not sure I’m willing to place my UPG beneath doctrine, even if it is about Lord Shiva.
But in all of this, I feel reassured that I’m on the right path, that my worship is genuine and heart felt. The more I learn about my Lord, the more He changes and the greater He becomes.
May this season poke you and fill you full of buds.