The Quickening. IMBOLC, Festival of the Maiden Goddess.


Blessed Brigit at your Sacred Forge
Take me, gently
Shape me, at your anvil
Beating me, to bring up my strenght
Warm me, to be able to change
Blessing me with your Sacred Flame,
let me be your light in the world.

Anna, Imbolc 2015

Imbolc, which comes around February 1st/2nd, is the festival of the Maiden Goddess. This is the time of the Quickening, when Maiden Nolava retrieves the White Rod from the Cailleach, who has held it through the long winter, readying it for transformation into the Green Rod of springtime. At Imbolc we honour Thitis the Maiden Morgen who envisions the future.
In Brigits Isles the Maiden Goddess is best known as the much loved Bride, Brighde, Bridie, Breeje and Brigit, Goddess of Fire, Poetry, Healing and Smithcraft, Goddess of the Sun and Moon, known as ancient Goddess and Saint Bride of the Kindly Fire, St. Bride of the Shores, and Mary of the Gael, Fiona Macleod, the gifted mystical voice of writer William Sharp, wrote of Her,

Bride the Beautiful, the Fair Woman of February, Daughter of Morning, who held sunrise in one hand as a little yellow flame and in the other the red flower of fire without which men would be as beasts who live in caves. She (is) that ancient Goddess whom our ancestors saw lighting the torches of sunrise on the brows of our thrusting the quenchless flame above the horizons of the Sea.” (Collected Works, Heinemann)

Bride is the quickener, the touch of Her fiery rod quickens the life that is lying dormant in the seeds in the cold earth, heralding the return of springtime. She is the Incarnator who calls us into life.

Through January the sunlight slowly increases each day, as the earth continues on its journey around the sun. Small delicate flowers begin to appear, pushing their way seemingly against all odds, up through the cold hard earth. The first snowdrops signal Brides return. In the fields the ewes give birth to lambs and their milk begins to flow. Imbolc or Oimelc means ewes milk, Birds search for food as the last of the winter berries are eaten and nothing grows. It can still bevery cold with frost and snowfalling here In the Summerland. As the light slowly increases our attention begins to move slowly outwards. There is hope once again, the possibility of renewed life.

We celebrate Maiden Bride as the Incarnator and Quickener, Inspiration, Healer and Mystress of the Forge. We make Bridie Dolls in Her Image, and Bridie Crosses and Eyes. We pour libations of milk onto Her Images and upon Her sacred earth. We make and share barley cakes. We write poetry and remake language in Her honour.

Nolava the Maiden

Nolava the Maiden is the Innocence of the child, who welcomes incarnation on this beautiful planet, who is unafraid of the future, who is excited to be alive. She gives and receives love from all those around her. She needs to be honoured, nurtured and cared for, by all who seek Her inspiring touch. In Glastonbury’s sacred landscape Nolava the Maiden is visible in Her epiphany of the Swan, which appears in the contours of the land as a giant bird with long neck and wings outspread, flying over the Summerland from the northeast to the southwest. This giant swan shape can be seen clearly in the shape of the land on contour maps, from the sky above and when we stand on top of the Tor.

Nolava is the Swan Maiden, the young woman of folklore who is both swan and maiden. She is the beautiful royal bird who nests in the rhynes and rivers that surround the Isle of Avalon. Just as in the fairytales She carries new babies suspended from Herbeak, into incarnation. As we vision ourselves lying upon Her swans back She transports us between the middle and upper worlds, into familiar realms where the Goddess dwells. She transports us across the watersto Avalon. On special occasions She removes Her feather cloak to reveal beneath Her beautiful violet etheric form.

To the southwest of Nolava’s main Swan-shaped island is the small mound known as Brides Mound, made in the image of Nolava’s daughter Bride. It is here that St Bridget, the Christianised form of the earlier Goddess Brigit, is said to have lived for a time in the fifth century.

Nolava the Maiden is new reborn from the old. She is all that is rebirthed after the dead days of winter and discarnation. She is the returning Light after Darkness, Her days slowly lengthening, allowing new plants to grow in the still cold earth. She is new incarnation, new manifestation in form, out of spirit. She is the new brought to birth many times here in Avalon, and expressed in the outerworld of Glastonbury and beyond, New ideas, new concepts, new ways of thinking are birthed in this sacred place,which then move out into the world. This is where new ideas are dreamed and nurtured, ideas of our common spirituality expressed in many different forms, living in harmony and peace together, which have become manifest here. An example of this is the creation of the first new publicindigenous Goddess Temple in Brigits Isles for perhaps 1500 years and more, brought to birth in Glastonbury in 2000CE.

(taken from Kathy Jones’ book Priestess of Avalon, Priestess of the Goddess, Ariadne Publications)