Imbolctide!!!

So there is this idea in a lot of sources is of Imbolc as somehow being the first stirring of Spring.  Coming from Anchorage, Ak. and now living in Orlando, Fl. ~ I am really not all that into Imbolc as a stirring of Spring…

Although January and February do mark the Strawberry harvest, among others, in my locale!

For me, and this lack of Springy spirit may in part be due to the annual influence on my childhood of the Fur Rendezvous festival in the Anchorage, area.  Fur Rondy, is an annual Winter carnival that includes the World Championchip Sled Dog Races, carnival rides and games set up in downtown Anchorage, arts and crafts fairs and competitions, and social events of all sorts.  In part this is a celebration of the lengthening days as we move from Winter to Spring.

For me this returning of light and sense of renewal and creativity is the big part of what Imbolc is all about.  It’s why, despite my mixed past with the Celtic Gods, I really really dig Bride and the Poetry and Hearth and Crafts related aspects of Imbolc.

Imbolc is about  new beginings, creativity and invention are the themes for this season as we reach outward into the light half of the year.  This is a time of continued and growing engagement with the world around us, beyond our home and hearth, after the deep focus on our friends and families of Yule.  We start to look forward to the activities of Spring and Summer, we start looking towards the new secular year and the things we want to do…

I am realizing, that for me at least, on a very deep level the Wheel of the Year is overlaid with Spirals that wind in and out and intertwine with one another.  For half the year we are Spiraling outward from Samhain to Beltaine, from Death (and the mysteries of what lies beyond) to Birth and Beginigns and Growth and learning and LIFE…

Then, for half of the year we spiral inward from Beltaine to Samhain…

Death and Growth and Life and Learning and Death and Life again…

Time to pour a few libations in the chilly Florida air…

Peace foks,

Pax

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Imbolctide!!!

  1. Well, and as I mentioned on The Wild Hunt blog, let’s not forget the Thorrablot!

    Yes, in Iceland they do mark the Thorrablot with some really nasty-sounding foods, but really the point is to toast to Thor and how he employs Mjollnir to fight back the frost-giants in winter. For the Asatru, this is a celebration of Midgard’s great defender.

    Of course, being Floridians, our Thorrablot should be December 2nd, just a couple of days at the end of hurricane season, so we can see how well Thor held off Aegir’s storms and all, but what the hey. Any excuse for a nip of wiskey.

    Although I must confess to noticing a very strong Celtic bias (and almost rabidly anti-Germanic sentiment) in the eclectic pagan world. It’s almost like people have this thought in their minds: “Celtic = pagan.” As if no other people on the face of the earth were pagans. Hahahaha!

    But the focus is so strongly on Celtic stuff (not that I mind, being a descendent of MacArthurs myself) and a lot of people don’t even realize that fully half the wheel of the year are Germanic holy tides.

    Eh. I suppose I should save it for the Collegium, eh?

    I think this steroid is making me a little crazy.

  2. No, let’s not forget Thorrablot! Especially since it was mentioned last week or so on Wine and Cakes…

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/wineandcakes/

    and especially since it was mentioned in relation to a Kielbasa & Cabbage recipe that sounded rather yummy sounding…

    …I am guessing that some of the nasty sounding foods involve salted fish? or what?
    ~~~
    Uhm, ok WOW!! I just did a quick internet search on Thorrablot. uh, sign me up for a triple helping of the lamb please!

    ~~~
    You are quite right on the Germanic festivals…. in fact as a part of my ongoing re-examination of the Wheel of the Year I found that May eve was a time in parts of Germany and elsewhere in central Europe where bonfires were lit to keep away ghosts and spirits… Never mind Yule…

    Although it occurs to me that in the U.S. at least the most influence of the Occult/Pagan revival has been by way of Great Britain… so perhaps that is why there are such strong Celtic currents to things?

    Maybe you guys should host a couple of blots or something? Get folks on the local level realizng that oh, yeah there’s all sorts of Paganisms out there…

  3. Well, bear in mind when Gerald Gardner was writing his books, and bear in mind what he was.

    It was shortly after WWII. And he was English. Do you really think someone like him was going to have much of a sympathetic view of anything German at all at that time? In many ways, a lot of people still are not over the war; my grandfather served in it, remember.

    I think to a lot of pagan eyes, and especially American pagan eyes, the Celts are “safe” compared to anything Germanic or Nordic. They have happy little leprechauns and faeries and cheerful music and no reputation like what the Vikings have and they didn’t invade Poland. Compared to the Celts, the German and Nordic people are downright terrifying, quite frankly. And walking in this path can be demanding; it’s why sometimes I wonder if there’s a place for me at all in it, but Joe bloody well insists that there is. And he’s likely right; I just have to have the iron ovaries enough to carve it out for myself.

    Anyway, with the Celts, there’s also the stereotype of being happy-go-lucky alcoholics, thanks to St. Patrick’s Day. :sigh:

    Not that I have a problem with Celtic stuff. I’m descended from MacArthurs on Dad’s side, after all. I am a daughter of Scotland too, just as much as I have Dutch ancestry on Mom’s side and English on Dad’s side. But it is just a shame to me that everything gets pegged as Celtic and so much that is so worthwhile in the Germanic traditions gets blown off – until one gets to the runes, of course, and then “oooh, how cool!”

    Take Maypoles, for example. Those never caught on in Gaelic speaking countries; they were introduced there by Germanic-speaking peoples (read: English) and represented the very unwelcome influence of the English people upon the Gaelic people. Not only that, but to this day, many Germanic and Scandinavian countries still dance around Maypoles, even through to Midsummer. They have always been a huge part of Germanic culture, but not Gaelic culture.

    Do blots? Yes, we have done blots for WRCF. We’ve done Yule, we’ve done Harvest, Kym said she’d like to see us do Samhain (but Samhain is Gaelic; for the Germanic tradition it would be Winternights) and we’d like to do a moon circle. We we have just found out that not only did western Europeans have a moon God and solar Goddess, but so did eastern Euroepans, and this causes us to think that the usual Wiccan perspective that “the moon is always female” is not really an accurate statement.

    We TOTALLY shocked someone at the last ritual studies class when we said that the northern European people had a lunar God and solar Goddess. SO MANY people do not know that and just assume that all Goddesses are somehow always lunar in nature.

    We are hoping that Joe will be able to do the upcoming Ostara festivities for the WRCF; he planned to sacrifice a chocolate bunny. HAMMER TIME! Hahahaha!!! But since his work schedule is so chaotic right now, and involves a lot of weekend work, we might have to contact the Board and tell them to have a plan B ready. I don’t even know if my own voice will be cleared up enough to do it myself by then. Gods I hope so!

  4. PS: I do apologize for the ramble, but I wanted to add this, as I think it’s kind of important.

    When Joe was in the Army, he was stationed in Germany for three years. He loved it over there; he found the German people to be very warm and welcoming and charming in every way. He’s a Wilke, and his great-grandmother came to the US from Germany in 1920, shortly after the end of WWI. He grew up hearing her and his grandmother speaking German. His mother can speak a little German too.

    But one thing he did mention about his time in Germany – the world has not allowed the German people to forget their roles in either World War. The world still punishes them, at least psychologically, for those events. He said there really is a pall or dark cloud over German conssciousness because of this; it’s like they have been branded for life and will never be forgiven, and thus anything German will always be regarded with suspicion by the rest of the world. Vast quantities of Germanic history and language and whatnot are just ignored in the face of the two world wars.

    To this day, think of how we are taught about WWI and WWII. Germany = enemy. Germany = bad. We see stark black and white movies of Hitler giving speeches and a bunch of troops marching around and whatnot, usually with scary music on it. The stereotype is reinforced in our minds, even if we are too young to have been born during those conflicts.

    There is also the unfortunate connection that many have in the 21st century of white supremacism and that whole “Aryan nation” thing with all things German. We do not believe that Asatru supports racism, but some people believe that and are very vocal about it. Where Wiccans get the “are you a Satanist” question, Asatru and other heathens get “are you a Nazi?” It is very hard to get past that. Joe has an Iron Cross on his (German-styled) motorcycle helmet, and I was worried that he would be taken as a Nazi with that on it. I sometimes wear a Maltese cross (with its 8 points) and people have looked askance at it.

    It’s tough, it really is. There is a level of reclaiming of German heritage that many Asatru and other heathens go through, and it is not smooth sailing.

    One thing that Joe and I have noticed about a lot of ordinary Wiccan books: they seem to ignore the fact that the West has always had its own indigenous tradition and mystery tradition. It has taken the form of Asatru right now, but to read a lot of Wiccan history, you’d think that Germany and Austria and whatnot didn’t even exist. Most of the books somehow go from the Mediterranean, with their Greek and Roman Divine powers, straight to Britain and Ireland and completely bypass Germany, etc. There’s this complete black hole of knowledge that isn’t getting passed along.

    And it’s probably fueled by unconscious anti-Germanic sentiment.

  5. Tracie,

    I think you have, at the very least, a few Essays on Asatru and on German culture and identity in you! I agree that there is a lot of confusion regarding racism and Asatru, and more than likely a lot of …psychological baggage?!… in the Western world regarding Germany as a result of the First and Second World Wars.

    I would be happy to sit down face to face sometime with you and discuss these ideas, and especially some of the things you have read about Witchcraft and Wicca.

    Peace,
    Pax

So what do you think?! Opinions? Ideas? Beuller... Bueller?!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s