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Aligning Your Life With Spirit
Imbolc or Imbolg, also called Brighid's Day, is a Gaelic traditional festival marking the beginning of spring. Most commonly it is held on 1 February, or about halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.
Brighid has much to teach us about Alignment, for her influence extends through all areas of our lives: body, feelings, mind and soul.
As a goddess of Earth, she brings us back to our bodies after winter, when they are often in most need of attention– either because they are overly full of holiday food and drink, unexercised due to cold weather, or weakened by winter flus and colds. On Oíche Fhéile Bríde, the eve of her festival in Ireland, country people eagerly watched for her visit to their home, for she brought with her the blessing of health, nourishing food, well children and thriving farm animals.
So at this time of year, we can tune into our bodies to listen to their needs and ask for Bride’s Blessing upon our physical well-being. Another custom at Imbolc in many traditional societies is to go through a period of cleansing and purification. The name of this month comes from the Roman Februa, after a goddess whose purification rites took place this month. De-toxing and inner cleansing may be recommended for your body – although the point is to listen to your body and align yourself with its own unique requirements rather than what your mind thinks it needs!
As a goddess of Water, Brighid teaches us that the secret to emotional peace lies in the art of flowing with the divine current of life. Many sacred springs and holy wells are named after her, along with rivers in Ireland, Wales and England. A river will slowly and persistently carve out a path for its journey to the sea in harmony with the elements. Never dead straight, it winds its way irresistibly around obstacles big and small, and becomes its unique self not only through its own constantly active efforts but also by letting itself be shaped by the contours of the land. A river can teach us when to press ahead and when to gracefully surrender to unforeseen events, trusting always in a deeper wisdom to shape the journey of our lives.
As a goddess of Air, Brighid is a source of inspiration to our minds. In old Ireland she was the beloved Muse of the Bards, presiding over the druidic art of filidhect, which included both poetry and seership. Before we get caught up in the dance of the year, this is a good quiet time to consider what we would really like to create in our lives when the new growing season arrives. To be in-spired is to allow spirit to enter into our minds, so once again Brighid teaches us to open up to higher guidance, freely given, and allow the Awen, or Flowing Spirit, to inform our ideas and plans.
As a goddess of Fire, Brighid kindles the sacred flame of the soul. In Ireland she presided over a fire sanctuary in which burned a perennial flame, one of the three inextinguishable fires of the Irish monasteries, which miraculously burned without ash for a thousand years. While those of us in the Northern Hemisphere may long for the warmth of the physical sun at this time of year, we are always able to access the Inner Flame within the Inner Sanctuary. Just as the Celts lit fires upon the hillsides to encourage the return of the sun, the kindling of the Inner Flame is a signal to the Sun behind the sun to shine within our hearts. This is a very simple process in which you sit quietly before a candle and visualize a flame in your heart center, growing brighter with each breath that you take. Guaranteed to illumine every one of your days whatever the season!
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