Department of AD LIB. Wheel if the year. Pagan holiday Imbolc.
A series of pagan holidays “Imbolc” (Gromnitsa).
1st of February
On this day, after a long rest, the element of Water awakens the first. Air is the ruling element in the world of people. It creates the mental body which is meant for balancing the need for learning of the superconscious and the need to survive of the subconscious. A human is an unstable being that is always trying to break out of the general rhythm of what is happening. In order for the magic law of balance to work in people as well as in the whole Universe, consciousness needs a regulator, a gyroscope, which will bring it (consciousness) into resonance with the general process, so that neither individuals, nor humanity as a whole become redundant and turn into alien beings that not only do not help the universal evolution but even get in its way.
In spite of the fact that air is considered to be a masculine “penetrating” energy, as far as rituals are concerned, it was associated with the goddess Brigit (Brigitte) – mother of the gods. She is the keeper of the tradition, knowledgeable in all the arts and crafts, giving what is called inspiration. The triune goddess, like the goddess of destiny, determines the major changes that have to occur throughout the year. Her threefold nature is reflected in the consciousness as a union of the conscious, the subconscious, and the superconscious. The power of the element of Air starts the basic operating system, and this system is the law of unity and the law of the world’s equilibrium.
In ancient times, goddess Brigitte was portrayed as a bird with a human head and only later, after she became the mother of crafts, she acquired a purely human form. Her oldest function is to decide on matters. The three-faced goddess is present in this or another way in all the pagan traditions. She represents the will of the Mother-Earth. She is the one releasing the wind carrying information from the other worlds and, at the same time, she is the environment for the spreading information. She appeared as a bird never seen or heard before. Those who were able to see her, understood by her look and her song how the Goddess showed her will: the Sirin bird or The Alkonost, the prophetic Gamayun, the Morrigan and Badb crows or Hecate – these are the great manifestations of the Mother-Earth as the power of the order of the world.
A bird as part of the image of the goddess shows its purpose in this aspect: now it is the messenger. Its element is the Air. She flies through the gates between the worlds open only to the power of the Air and on her wings, she carries information – a knowledge about other worlds. The dust of the foreign roads, brought by the element of Air will settle down in this world and it will inevitably change reality. In 6 months the element of air will travel into the other worlds and the dust of our roads will be carried by the power of the winds of the Mother to a place where changes are destined to happen. This is how balance is created on this level – all kinds of information need to be taken into account. None of the worlds exists by itself – everything is connected to everything. The power of the element of Air is at the forefront of all the other elements. Like a messenger that goes before the king, it prepares the space for the necessary changes.
Magicians and druids of the old times captured this flow and received the information brought to them by the wind. Their wisdom and ancient knowledge helped them interpret it correctly giving them important knowledge: what kind of changes they should expect, what definitely needs to happen, what trials one needs to get ready for so that they can all go through them with dignity and minimal losses.
People of the earth who participated in the ritual of Imbolc would bring offerings to Brigitte, mother of the winds. Those were milk, bread, and grain. People tried to appeal to the goddess so that she would “convince her sons to carry the misfortunes away and bring the joy”. On this holiday, the rituals of the people were related to purification. This is what the sorcerers, priests of the ancestor-gods, wizards and druids taught the people. These magicians maintained a connection with the keepers of that particular Land. For a human being, purification means liberation from what is not needed. For a magician, it means synchronization of his consciousness with the breath of the whole Universe, it is the activation of the law of equilibrium in his consciousness.
People live through their small grievances and sorrows, joys and hopes and they are not concerned about the destiny of the world. They are primarily interested in their own well-being, the well-being of their own children and family. They can feel the cause and effect relationship of “everything with everything” on the level of instinctive reaction, but as a rule, they can not understand them on the level of their mind. This is the way it was, is, and will be. But the magician who leads his tribe and his people needs to be concerned not about a separate individual, not about a certain family but about the whole nation. His understanding of the connection between the people, nature, and the world must not be intuitive. This is why wizards and druids of the old time and magicians of the old tradition understood the true meaning of the rituals of awakening and falling asleep of the elements. They performed and are still performing their rituals of synchronization with the powers of different worlds.
Nature spirits are awakened together with the Air. That is why particularly on this day of awakening of Air, people needed to perform certain rituals for the human children. Being the true children of the Mother-Earth, nature spirits are more connected to her breath and rhythm than humans. The spirit world, as well as the representatives of other races, would not see a human being as “one of them” if his consciousness created dissonance with the whole rhythm of the breath of nature. That is why many spirits and forces perceive the human mind as their enemy and they treat humans accordingly. Old legends tell us how forces and spirits of nature can bring a thousand misfortunes and diseases to a person who offended them (and even his whole family) and on the contrary, they can give him health and amazing wealth if they “like” this human being.
That is why at the moment of the awakening of Air, the moment of the awakening of spirits, magicians of old times – wizards and druids – performed rituals that united them all. They nourished the awakened forces, they called them with what they had, as if saying: we are one family; let’s stay together since we all face challenges. Hence it is clear that to make offerings to the Three-faced mother means to nourish everything that her airy form is made of: all the winds, air spirits, sylphs, fairies, and prophetic birds. Their presence next to the world of people will help maintain order and won’t allow anything terrible to happen. They will avoid the disaster of the whole by eliminating the local cause of the problem: they will punish one but save all. If the spirits turn away from a human being then one person´s mistake can ruin the whole tribe.
Ancient magicians realized the true power of the children of Brigitte, children of the Mother-Earth. They performed rituals that had to guarantee the security of all the people, of the whole tribe. By contrast, participating in the ritual, bringing their offerings and gifts, people did a simple but very important job – they turned off any resistance of their consciousness and made the spells and rites of the magician more potent through their agreement with the general law of Nature: the law of unity of everything with everything. In the Slavic tradition, Imbolc was called Gromnitsa. It was believed that only on this day, there can be thunder in the sky (which is actually true and this belief works to this day). It is believed that from this moment the “dark period” is over and the new cycle begins. The Slavs didn´t celebrate Gromnitsa as widely as the Celts celebrated their Imbolc (we will mention the reasons for that below) and nevertheless, they did participate in the global rituals. But if the ritual part of the synchronization with the element of Air was meant only for the caste of the wizards, the rest of the ordinary folk joined the process of connecting to nature in their own way: they cleaned and washed their homes, smoked their cattle, honored Veles – the god that connects the worlds and looks after the order in the world of people and non-people. And of course, they honored the spirits – our dear Russian evil spirits.
Right after the holiday of Imbolc, viewed as a point of power by the Slavic tradition, Gromnitsa has come to this day as a holiday that follows it and is called Kudesi. It is domovoy´s birthday. Domovoy – is a household spirit (Celts called it brownie, Scandinavians called it nisse) that has an airy nature. He was also awakened at this time period. The holiday was assigned for the 10th of February and on this day, according to tradition, people would cajole “their dear” domovoy with presents, offerings, kind words, saying to him who represents a good household: be with us, grandfather, we are not your enemies, we are your family. Domovoy, as a connection between the world of people and non-people, could protect from the negative forces and attract the positive ones. But that was not for the whole tribe, not for all the people but only for one individual family.
Today on the Internet, in the crazy information flow meant to revive the old pagan traditions, you can find a huge amount of information that in general repeats itself. This mindless copying of texts creates grey noise in the information field. This noise is meant to make it impossible for people to see that the information about the old pagan tradition is generously mixed with its Christian match as well as the attempts to merge the unmergeable – monotheism and paganism. Most notorious in this respect is Wicca – a neopagan system that is somehow trying to revive the old cult of worshiping “the God and the Goddess”.
Unfortunately, the effect is zero, since the only way to revive the old tradition is to carefully separate it from the new one and not mix the mutually exclusive ingredients in one cauldron. The rough needs to be separated from the subtle carefully and with great art, as it is said in one hermetic treatise. But if you try to bow to all directions at the same time then you will have to do it all the time – it draws you in. That is why the true meaning of the rituals was slowly but steadily leaving the information field and memory of the people, but fortunately, it didn’t leave them completely. There is a rule of keeping the pure knowledge, it was preserved in the West European school (which includes not only the Celtic but also the Slavic and Northern traditions).
If you manage to understand the magical meaning of each ritual, then the ability to perform it, as well as the knowledge of what is true and what is false about it, will come to you naturally, as part of your ancestral memory, as the memory of the blood. Imbolc is a calendar holiday and it is attached to a certain date – the 1st of February. But the actual ritual period can last longer: from the 31st of January to the 2nd of February inclusive.
Extract from Menshikova K.E book “Health through the power of the Elements”