- Category: Wheel of the Year
- Published: 05 January 2014
- Hits: 1535
Midwinter (early February) was the time of many ancient Pagan festivals, which have continued under Christian guises. The wild Lupercalia of ancient Rome was replaced by the austere Festival of the Purification of the Virgin, or Candlemas. Modern America's midwinter celebration is Groundhog's Day, an Erisian holiday which has shed all serious religious and cultural pretensions.
The Celtic Imbolc, or Brigid, is a time for purification and new beginnings. Besides being a time of warming and melting snows, Imbolc is a time of mental and physical cleaning, as well as spiritual renewal. Imbolc anticipates spring, although the vernal equinox is seven weeks away. The word Imbolc refers to the pregnant condition of ewes at Midwinter. Their fertility was a good sign to the ancient Celts who depended on sheep for food and clothing.
This sabbat is also called Brigid in honor of this Celtic Triple Goddess. Brigid is anything but dainty and symbolizes a strong woman leading and providing for her people. She is a war Goddess and a patron of martial arts, and her soldiers were the brigands or outlaws, as the Christians called them. She is also the goddess of fire, poetry, fine arts, smithcraft, and the healing arts including midwifery.