Women are having a moment. Rather, women are having a movement. It feels as if nothing will be the same again.
This time has been coming since what seems like the dawn of our civilization. However, early cultures actually had things figured out far better than we can fathom in many respects.
In ancient Ireland, for example, the Gaelic people honored a great goddess named Brigid for her wisdom, healing abilities and promise of fertility. In modern paganism, she is the incarnation of the Triple Goddess – the maiden, the mother and the crone, and thus a female figure to whom all women can relate. Whether the power of the fertility goddess for you is related to birthing a child or symbolically creating a new version of yourself, this is a potent time to employ Brigid’s influence.
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The beginning of February marks the holiday of Imbolc. Primeval writings suggest that this was one of the four sacred celebrations that made up the Wheel of the Year in Gaelic Europe, but especially in Ireland. Imbolc is Brigid’s Day, and as the Christians began mass conversions across Europe, the holiday became known as such.
Among religious scholars, there is debate about what day the holiday actually falls upon. Some believe it to be February 1 as a mid-winter celebration, while others believe the date itself is more fluid and marks the thawing of the land and hope of the sweet spring to come. Regardless of this contest, we can recognize the event in a few different ways.
At Imbolc, it is traditional to cleanse the home – both physically and spiritually – for the coming of the next season and to light fires in honor of Brigid, symbolizing the rebirth of the earth and the warm sunlight to come. But if we look at our renewed interest in self-care at this particular point in modern society, Imbolc can mark an annual tradition of lighting your fire within. One method for doing so is beginning a Book of Shadows – a journal, but a particularly sacred one, used to record your spiritual path.
Start by simply finding a blank book that speaks to you. It can be soft- or hard-cover and feature lined or blank pages – just choose one that resonates with you. Make it a place to recount your dreams, your meditations, your moon rites and rituals, your tarot readings…anything that stirs your soul. You can even fill it with recipes for herbal tinctures or dishes you’ve created during feasts honoring the Wheel of the Year. It is your book of magic.
Creating a Book of Shadows will help light your internal bonfire of renewal, mindful wellness and self-discovery – just like Brigid would urge all women, ancient and modern, to do.