Imbolc is the one of the four main feasts of the Celtic Pagan Wheel, which celebrates the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Later celebrated as Candlemas by ancient Christians then St. Brigid’s Day, we now celebrate this holiday as Groundhog’s day. All three iterations of Imbolc celebrate the end to the darkest days of the year and attempt to predict the arrival of spring weather. Also, the tradition of spring cleaning has origins in Imbolc.
Imbolc represents Mother Earth’s transition from crone to maiden embodied in the goddess Brigid (Gaelic goddess Brigit) who later was depicted as St. Brigid in the Catholic faith. Brigid is the original Green Witch whose magical power is using the power of the earth to grow clovers and crocuses in her wake from whom I derived the magical aspects of Alison (from Strawberry Shifters Book 1: Bear with Me available here). Brigid is a fire goddess often described as a blonde or red-head. Here is Grant’s description of Alison:
“The only ray of sunshine on this gray morning finds its way through to spotlight her. Her shiny dark red hair oscillates under her chin like a fiery headdress. It matches the angry glow in her golden eyes, adding to her mystical appearance. She looks like the Celtic goddess Brigid, rising like a living flame to mingle with the common people. It takes all my strength to keep my jaw off the ground as she approaches.”
In ancient times, pagans would check the ewes for milk as an indicator for spring while looking for Brigid’s crocuses. While neo-pagans still wait to plant their gardens until the crocuses pop throw the snow, the groundhog’s shadow announces the coming or denying of spring. Despite the outcome, my house will spend the holiday weekend emptying each room in the house to be cleaned from top to bottom. Spring cleaning here we come!
As Alison’s sister, Bad Girl Betty (from Strawberry Shifters Book 3: Go Scorch Yourself coming in 2021 from The Wild Rose Press) has many ties to Brigid too. Her black, white, and red rockabilly outfits are the colors of Imbolc. Her story spans the maiden emersion period of the calendar year from Yule to Imbolc as Betty’s softer maiden emerges from her tough exterior. Brigid’s powers of detox and healing are central themes to Betty’s journey. Her story touches upon losing a loved one to drug addiction, terminal illness, and survivorship guilt. We get out first taste of the parallel when Alison feeds Betty her favorite food on Christmas Day. The savory rosemary rolls, which Alison shapes into trees, are the traditional food served on Imbolc with potato soup. I can’t wait to share this book with you about fiery sisters who embody the healing spirit of the Celtic Goddess Brigid.
Happy cleaning, or at least turn on your robot vacuum and hope for the best!