Blessed Imbolc

snowdrops in snow

Imbolc, also called St. Brigid’s Day, is a quarter day festival halfway between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. Like the more secular Groundhog’s Day, it acknowledges that eventually winter will actually end. It’s usually at this time of the year that lambs are born in Scotland, Ireland, and Wales.

Originally, Imbolc was a festival of the Goddess Brigid. When the Celtic lands were Christianized, it became the festival of Saint Brigid, who is associated with cows and butter, protection, and learning.

Here is a herding blessing, from Power of the Raven, Wisdom of the Serpent by Noragh Jones. Blessed Imbolc to you all!

I will place this herd before me

As was ordained by the King of the World,

Brigid to keep them, to watch them, to tend them

On ben, in glen, on plain.

 

Arise, you Brigid, the gentle and fair,

Take you your lint, your comb and your hair,

Since you made to them the lovely charm

To keep them from straying, to save them from harm;

Since you made to them the lovely charm

To keep them from straying, to save them from harm.

 

From the rocks, from the drifts, from the streams,

From crooked passes, from destroying pits,

From the straight arrows of the slender banshee,

From the heart of envy, from the eye of evil;

From the straight arrows of the slender banshee,

From the heart of envy, from the eye of evil.

 

Mary Mother, tend you the offspring all,

Fair-handed Brigid, encompass my herd,

Kindly Columba, saint of many powers,

Nurture the cow mothers to bring me more beasts

Kindly Columba, saint of many powers,

Nurture the cow mothers to bring me more beasts.

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