Imbolc Ritual at the SPC
Last night I attended an Imbolc ritual at the Sacred Paths Center, our local Pagan/alternative religion community center. There were probably about 20 people there, it was a good mix of different ages and traditions. They did not cast a circle, but they did bless the space and went around anointing the participants with oil. Then the directions & elements were called. They did this quite creatively, rather than simply calling on each power, then went outside the circle spreading the element in some way- for air, the children blew bubbles, water was sprinkled, a candle was carried around for fire, and stones were set around the circle for earth. (Though we had to be careful not to trip on them!) Then the Ancestors, Nature Spirits and Gods & Goddesses were called- Brighid & Angus macOg specifically. We were then anointed with the element associated with each- water for Ancestors, earth for Nature Spirits and air (sage smoke) for the Deities. Then we each approached a cauldron and whispered what seeds (plans) we wished to plant for the spring. After that we had a spiral dance and each filled a small bag with seeds from the cauldron. Then the reverse of the opening was performed.
I noticed several similarities to Mists’ ritual structure- anointing for each of spiritual beings, and calling on Brighid and Angus mac Og. Brighid is obvious since Imbolc is a festival in her honor, Angus mac Og is a God of spring, youth and love. He is also Brighid’s brother, they are both children of the Dagda.
We also sang “Walk with Wisdom” at the end, which is a song used both by ADF, Mists and presumable Keltria.
I liked the ritual as a whole, and how they included the children by giving them a role/task. The main problem is that gathering the seeds didn’t work very well with the spiral dance, as you need to hold hands and it was confusing what you were supposed to do after getting the bag of seeds. The room, while a good size for a medium sized group, was not big enough to accommodate a spiral dance. It’s a very tricky dance to begin with, and I think it is best performed by a group that is practiced in it. It also doesn’t work for anyone with mobility issues, or simply those of us who are clumsy or uncoordinated!
Well, Mists’ ritual is tonight, so I’m definitely getting my Imbolc on!
Note: Please do what you can to support the SPC! It is so important to have our own place to gather as a community!