Imbolc has several themes worth contemplating…the first stirrings of life under the sleeping earth, the Goddess as she changes from Crone to Maiden, cleansing and purification, the growing power of the Sun, the lengthening days, the germination of seeds both literal and metaphorical…all of these add to the magic of this cross-quarter sabbat. We honor Brigid at Imbolc, the Celtic goddess of healing, smithcraft, poetry, and midwifery. This year, I was drawn to the flames of Her forge as a catalyst for change and transformation, so I wrote a meditation to share with you. Enjoy and Blessed Be.
Begin by taking a deep breath…inhaling slowly for a count of five and exhaling…making the in breath match the out breath…and one more time…inhaling slowly and exhaling…breathing in perfect rhythm. With each breath that comes in and goes out, you feel your body begin to let go and relax. You feel the tension washing away from your forehead, your eyes and your jaws, as though someone were pouring a warm, cleansing libation over you. The tightness in your shoulders falls away, and this wonderful healing waterfall works its way down through your arms, your chest, your belly, your sacral chakra and on down into your hips and your lower back, your sit bones, feeling all tightness and tension drain away…down through your legs and feet…down through your toes…into the rich, black soil of Mother Earth.
Feeling calm and free, you find yourself walking on a path through a lush pine forest. You breathe in the invigorating scent of the evergreens on this late winter’s day. The sky is clear and blue as a robin’s egg, and the sunlight filters down through the trees, warming your shoulders and lifting your spirits. The birds are chirping happily overhead, and you hear the faint rustlings of squirrels and other little forest creatures as you pass by. Being in this natural place puts you at ease, and you feel perfectly safe as you walk along the trail. You know that you are part of this woodland, and it is also part of you. The path widens up ahead and you can see that it opens up into a grassy, rolling meadow. A thin trail of smoke is rising from just over the next hill, and you begin to walk in that direction. As you crest the hilltop, you see that the smoke is coming from a blacksmith’s forge.
Something about the place calls to you, as if you had been there before in some other time, so you make your way down the grassy hill. As you get closer to the forge, you can feel the heat from the glowing embers of the hearth. You look around and see all of the blacksmith’s tools—the anvil, the bellows, and various sets of tongs and hammers. You sense that someone is near, and then you see her: she seems to glow and shine from within, a soft white light illuminates her face, and her long red hair cascades down in waves over her emerald green dress. You know her at once. She is Brigid, the ancient Celtic goddess of the forge, and she welcomes you.
She hands you a scrap piece of metal and asks you to think about what it could become as you place it in the red-hot coals of the hearth. What will you create with your own unique gifts and talents? Can you take something rough and plain and make something of beauty? Can you make something useful and practical? How will the fire from Brigid’s forge shape and mold your dreams? How will the fire transform you?
Brigid takes the metal from the hearth and begins to shape it. Sparks fly as she wields her hammer, and when she is finished, you see that she has created a symbol just for you to remind you of your divine purpose. When the metal has cooled, she places the symbol in your hands and tells you that it will give you strength and courage to pursue your destiny. You give thanks to the goddess as you leave the forge and make your way back up the grassy hill and into the forest. The sun is lower in the sky now, and his healing rays are glowing in brilliant shades of orange, just like the fire in Brigid’s forge. You walk out of the forest and back into your own sacred space, feeling grounded in your body again as the energy returns to your arms, your legs, your hands, and your feet. Take a few deep breaths…and then open your eyes, feeling grateful for the symbol you have received and the lighter days ahead as winter begins to recede. So Mote It Be.
© 2015 Jennifer R. Miller