On this day, after a long rest, the Air Element is the first to awaken. In the world of men, Air is the supervising element, and the Mental body – its product – is meant to equalize the need of the supraconscious and the need to survive which is in turn dictated by the subconscious. Man is an unstable creature and constantly tries to break out of the general rhythm of processes. In order for the magical law of equilibrium to work in man just like it dies in the rest of the Universe, there needs to be a regulator in the consciousness, a gyroscope. This regulator will bring the consciousness into resonance with the general processes so that neither a single man nor humanity as a whole at some point become unneeded, foreign creatures that not don’t do not help the universe to develop but even interfere with it. The pagan holiday of Imbolc aims to do just that.
Despite the fact that Air is considered to be a male, ‘invading’ Element, ritual-wise this day is related to the goddess Brigit – the mother of gods. She is the keeper of tradition. well-versed in all crafts, she bestows the gift which we call inspiration. The triune goddess, like a goddess of fate, determines the necessary changes which must take place during the year. Her trifold essence is reflected in the human consciousness as the unity of the subconscious, consciousness, and the supraconscious. Precisely the law of unity and the law of the world equilibrium is launched by the power of Air as the main operational system.
In antiquity, the goddess Brigit was portrayed in the shape of a bird with a human head, and only later on she took on a fully human form, having become the mother of crafts. But her most ancient function is to allow. The tri-faced goddess that is somehow or other present in this quality in all pagan traditions symbolizes the will of Mother-Earth. She lets out the wind, is the carrier of information from other realms and, simultaneously, serves as the environment for its dissemination. She came as a bird, unheard of or ever seen before. Those who could see would know based on her look and song, which facet will the goddess choose to manifest her will: the Sirin bird or the Alkanost, prophetic Gamayun, the crows Morrigan and Badb, Hecate’s strigoi – the mighty manifestations of Mother-Earth as the force of the world order.
A bird as a part of the image of the goddess reveals its destiny in this quality: right now she is a messenger. Her element is Air, and she. flying through gates among the worlds that are only open to the power of Air, carries information with her wings – the knowledge of other realms. The dust of strange roads, carried over the the Air Element, will settle in this wirld, inevitably changing reality, In six months, the Air element will travel to other realms and then, the dest of our roads will be carried, by the strenght of Mother’s winds, to where changes are destined to take place. this is how equilibrium is achieved on this level: any information must be taken into account. No world exicts by itself – everything is connected to everything. The power of the Air Element is marching in from of the rest of the Elements as a pioneer. Like a harold before the king, preparing the space for the necessary changes to take place.
The mages and druids of old times used to set this current, turned into the information which the Air brought, while the wisdom and century-long magical knowledge helped decipher it correctly and provided the correct understanding: which changes must be expected, what must happen, what trials one must prepare for in order for each to pass them honorably and with minimal losses for all.
The people on Earth, acting as participants of the Imbolc ritual, gave offerings to Bridgid, the mother of Winds – milk, bread, grain. They would cajole the goddess so that ‘she would ask her sons to take away the misfortunate and bring fortune’. Ritual-wise, this holiday was connected to cleansing – this what people were taught by the sages, priests of primordial gods, magi and druids – the mages that maintained the connection with the masters of a given Earth. For jumans, cleansing is to get your consciousness to synchronize with the general breathing of the Universe; it is to activate the law of equilibtirum in the consciousness.
People, living with their small sandesses and grievances, hopes and dreams, as a rule do not worry of the fates of the world. They are more interested in their own well-being, and that of their children and family. The cause and effect relationships of ‘all and everything’ are sensed by them on the level of a reflex. but as a rule are not perceived by the conscious mind. This was, it is, and it will be. However, a mage. leading its tribe, its people. must concern himself not with a single person, or a single family, but with the entire tribe. A mage’s understanding of the processes in the bond man-nature-world can not only be intuitive. This is why the magi and druids of the olden days, the mages of the ancient tradition, understanding the true meaning of rituals of awakening and flling asllep of the elements, would in parallel with people created (and still do) their rituals of synchronization with forces of the world scale.
The reason that it is precisely on this day, the day of awakening of Air, specific rituals for the children of men were conducted lies in the fact that the spirit of nature awaken along with Air. Being the true children of Mother-Earth, they are somewhat more attuned to the rhythm of her breathing than humans. For the world of spirits and representatives of other races. man will not be perceived as ‘self’ if our consciousness will bring dissonance into the general rhythm of nature’s breathing. For this reason, many spirits and forces perceive the human mind as a hostile one which reflects their attitude towards humans. Old legends foretell that the forces and spirits of nature may bring a thousand curses and illnesses upon a juman that insulted them. Or on the contrary. they may bestow health and boundless wealth, should they take a liking to that human creature.
Therefore during the moment of awakening of the Air, during awakening of the spirits, the mages of the past – magi and druids – concocted rituals to unite with them, they fed the awakened forces, beckoned them with what they had themselves, as if showing them; we are one family; since we are all going to face challenges, let us be together. From this it is clear that the ritual offerings to the Triune mother – is to feed all those that her Air face consists of – all the winds, spirits of air. sylphs, fairies and prophetic birds. Their presence along the world of men will help maintain order during the year, it will not let anything irreparable happen. They will divert a big misfortune by mitigating a local problem. They will punish one but will save the rest. But should tht spirit turn their faces away from man, then the mistake of man may destroy the entire tribe,
The ancient mages, knowing full well the trut power of the children of Brigit. the children of Mother-Earth, conducted rituals that would ensure safety of the entire community, the entire tribe. People by their mere participation and giving offerings served a simple yet a very important function – they turned off resistance of their consciousness and strengthened the spells and rituals of the mage by agreeing with the general law of Nature: unity of all with everything.
In the Slavic tradition, Imbolc is called Gromnitsa. It was believed that only on this day you can hear thunder in the sky (which, by the way, is trut and believe me – works to this day). It is believed that from this point forward, the dark period is over and a new cycle is beginning. The slavs, despite not celebrating Gromnitsa to the same extent that the Celts celebrated their Imbolc, too, participated in world-scale ritualistic processes. But if the ritual part that had to do with synchronizing with the Air element pertained only to the magi, then the rest of the good folk entered the process of unitying with nature via their own method. They cleaned and scrubbed their houses, smudged the cattle, venerated Veles – the god connecting the worlds, the god watching over order both in the juman and non-human world. and the spirits too of course – our russian, close-to-heart nechist’
Immediately after Imbolc (as a point of power in the Slavic tradition Gromnitsa, in today’s world, gave rise to the holiday Kydesi – domovoy’s birthday. Domovoy is a household spirit (Brownie for Celts, Nisse for Scandinavians) of Air nature who also awakened during this time. Kudesi fell on the 10th of February and on this day it was customary to cajole one’s own domovoy. with gifts. offerings, kind words as if showing him, the representative of an elemental good home, ‘be with us. grandpa, we are not your enemies, we are your family. A domovoy as a ling between the human and non-human world could protect from evil forces and help attract the good ones. But this, not for the entire tribe or covvumity, but only one specific family.
Right now on the internet, in a massive information current that is directed to restore the old pagan traditions, one can find plenty of information that by and large all repeat each other. This thoughtless copying of texts creates a grey noise in the informational realm which purpose is to not let people see that the infromation about old pagan traditions is thoroughly laced with christian canons, and the attempts to combine uncombinable – monotheism and paganism. the Wicca is especially known for this – a neopagan system that, in theory, attempts to resurrect the old cult of venerating the ‘God and Goddess’. The effet is unfortunately nonexictent since it is only possible to resurrect an old tradition by separating it from the new one, and not mixing mutually exclusive ingredients in the same cauldron. The rough must be separated from the fine with great precision as said in one hermetic tractat. But if one tries to please everyone, then this is what that person is going to do – it pulls you in. Due to this, the true meaning of rituals slowly but surely escaped from the informational field and generational memory, but fortunately, not completely.
There is a rule of conservation of pure knowledge and it was preserved in the western european school (which include Celtic, Slavic, and the Norse traditions). If you are able to understand the magical meaning of every ritual, then the ability to perform it, as well as the knowledge of what is true and false about a given ritual based on the information provided, will come naturally as part of generational memory, as blood memory.
Imbolc – is a calendar holiday and is tied to a fixed date, February 1st. But the ritualistic period may last longer: from January 31st till February 2nd included.
Excerpt from the book “Heath through the Power of the Elelments” by Ksenia Menshikova.
Other pagan holidays of the Weel of the Year: