Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Imbolg

February has begun with the Celtic festival of Imbolg, traditionally held on the 1st or 2nd of the month.  At this time the goddess Bride is said to be reborn in her maiden state – having turned into a shrivelled and ancient hag during winter, she dies and is reborn. Imbolg is a celebration of returning light, of the first glimmerings of life and new growth as days grow longer and the darkness of winter begins to recede. It is a time when the first snowdrops appear and ewes are about to give birth to their lambs – new life is anticipated with joy as the Earth begins to awake from the dormancy of winter. In truth this is the start of Spring – but it is a delicate flickering of returning life, while the Earth is still held in a wintery tomb. The days are getting longer, but it takes time to thaw out and warm the soil and the oceans... thus the official start of Spring will not be until the Vernal Equinox next month. The main thing I notice at this time of year is that very earliest of indications of the imminence of Spring – leaf buds have appeared – like morse-code or lace on the twigs of trees, whose sap has begun to rise again with the increased hours of daylight.....

Bride
The dowager in her coffin
dressed in immaculate lace -
woven from sky
and the leaf-bud life-nodes
that shall unfurl –
(fresh life green)
as the softest blush of rose
shall touch her grey cloud lips,
her cheek of bare brown soil–

it is but a moment,
an instant –
slender as a sudden bird-call
and hidden as the water
the lamb swims in
within his mother's womb

 February
from Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry

Recently I came across the magically detailed illustrations in Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (The book of Hours of the Duc de Berry). The depiction of the passing of the seasons through the 12 months of the year in this 15th century illuminated manuscript re-awoke my very pagan interest in that subtle shift of cycling that takes place in the earth every year. It has always been my pre-occupation and source of inspiration and the calender I have creating for this blog is the final result of drawings and sketches that I have been working on for decades. This is the culmination of half a lifetime's fascination with the Celtic festivals and goddesses in particular, and the entire wealth of Mother Earth Lore that is preserved in the mythologies of ancient cultures in general.
Work in Progress:
furniture and crockery for the Gnome House

I think I have discovered my true vocation in life... and it is to create truly miniature, teeny, teeny, tiny, minuscule ceramic vessels for gnomes. Joe has been working on a gnome house and I have been making bowls, tumblers, jugs, mushrooms and other microscopic entities for the gnomes that will live in it. I must say that I really love it, even though it stretches my concentration and ingenuity to the limit to work on such a small scale. I have discovered that I truly come into my own when I work on  a scale of fairy-like proportions. My drying cupboard is now full of tiny gnome bowls and  a series of jugs and wash-bowls for the gnomes to wash themselves in... or perhaps not – hopefully these strangely misshapen and ambiguous vessels will be turned into all manner of wonderments in the imagination of the children who will play with them.

4 comments:

  1. Really fabulous post, hope you had a fantastic Imbolc :) and I love that gnome crockery!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Sammi and Joe, thank you for dropping by my blog. I am really interested in learning about paganism and Celtic mythology and I will follow your blog with interest. I too love that gnome crockery, it appeals to my inner child! Have a great weekend x

    ReplyDelete
  3. thanks so much
    your interest is much apreciated♥

    ReplyDelete