Today is Imbolc (also known as Candlemas)- a Celtic day of celebration and a calendar marking the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and the coming Spring Equinox. This time is ripe with the seeds of joy and the grief of what has been lost, left behind with Winter. As we look to, and embrace the fecund light, we still feel the cold hands of loss within our bones.
It is typical on this day to call in Brigid- the Celtic goddess of creativity, the Sun, sacred fire, poetry, and the hearth. However, sitting down with the energies of the Imbolc, I feel called to call in Hera.
In this post, I will discuss some of the ways you can embrace the beauty of Imbolc and some of the teachings with Hera, and why I chose to call her in.
The Teachings of Imbolc:
There are many different ways to celebrate Imbolc; in fact, there is no one true way to celebrate this day. However, there are some key themes that come up in plethora of literature. I have included a few ways to embrace this day, but this list is by no means exhaustive.
- Light a candle: A candle symbolizes the growing light, illuminating that which has been hidden in the depth and darkness of winter.
- Honor the Goddess Brigid: making the Brigid’s cross, or placing a Bridey doll on your altar. Brigid is the triple Goddess, but Imbolc honors the Maiden state. She is also the goddess of wells and waterways, so cleansing ritual baths or time with both water and earth honors the state of coming fertility
- Celebration through food: Food, seeds, and drink celebrate the gift of life. Make or celebrate the joys here and now through feasting.
- Divination: As the light grows, so does clarity. The liminal space of both light and dark allows a connection between the spectrum. Use any divination tool you may wish to honor and embrace the liminal and the magickal.
- Milk offering: Milk + milk substitutes + water can be used as a libation to signify the gift and gratitude of nourishment.
Click on these links to see and read from the resources that I used for this list.
What does this have to do with Hera?
So, what does this Celtic day have to do with Hera, the Greek Goddess? Why am I choosing to specifically call in Hera on this day? There is two reasons. One, Hera has been coming up a lot for me in my own personal space. I do not take her invitation lightly, and I am happy to oblige this growing between us. Two, because one of the energies that I am really feeling into on this Imbolc is the cornerstone between Death and Life.
Imbolc is a beautiful day, and there is so much to be grateful for. The symbolism of coming life, of earth warming and loosening, and of nourishment no longer as a promise is gorgeous. Who wouldn’t want nourishment as a stable force in their lives? However, Imbolc also reminds us of what has died in the cold hands of Winter. It is a reminder that as much as we relish and embrace joy, so to must we contend with the stabs of pain.
Hera is a beautiful embodiment of this, and her energy needs to be reclaimed. She is not simply a jealous wife. She is not merely left to endure the indiscretions of her husband. These elements are there, but she is so much more. She is fully in joy, walking with women into sacred merging continuously. She is also an embodiment of how pain moves us. In her pain, she releases her wrath. Her wrath comes from her beautiful sense of dignity, and her promise to be heard when she has been wronged.
She also symbolizes the ability to endure. She was built to endure, and anything strong that confronts her is matched and overcome. She is the Queen of the Heavens. She is the goddess of overcoming. Overcoming is not glamorous, and her history (written for so long by men) needs to be rewritten. Her endurance also brings forward the space of asking us how we show up as partners, as participants in this world? How do we co-create and collaborate for the bigger picture?
It is for this reason that I am working with Hera and this blessed day. Her endurance and steadfast strength are reminders that we cannot control the cycles of life and death, pain and joy, but we can embrace dignity and mergings and the ability to see as sacred. The fires of Imbolc- help light the way. As above, so below. So mote it be!
Click here for a great resource on Hera