Tuesday, January 31, 2012

February 1 - the festival of Imbolc

The Wheel of the Year focuses on the cycles of the seasons and the natural rhythm of the earth. On February 1, the Wheel has turned to the festival of Imbolc, also known as Candlemas.

Though winter still prevails, Imbolc shows us that spring is not too far away. Imbolc heralds the approaching time where we can gather the inner peace and regeneration of our winter hibernation to utilize in the outer manifestation of our daily lives. The movement of the season is the outward birth from winter to springtime - the seed of spring is held within the womb of the earth. It is the lambing season, the birthing of baby lambs. The name Imbolc refers to the lactation of the lambs, the flow of life nourishing milk that heralds the return of life affirming spring. During this time in England, the flower called the snowdrop peeks above ground and blooms delicate white petals.
snowdrops at Chalice Well garden

Imbolc is primarily celebrated as the festival of Brighid (also called Briget or Bride), the triple goddess of poetry, smithcraft, and healing. Brighid has been venerated as a great goddess for centuries in England, Scotland, and Ireland. The Ancient Celts of Britain called upon the goddess Brighid to warm, heal, and inspire. Brighid reminds us to use her creative inspiration to guide our daily tasks, to be grateful for and tend the fire of the hearth that warms us, and to rely on nature’s herbs to help nourish and heal us.

In Ireland and Scotland, groups of young girls, symbolizing the newness and maidenhood of Brighid, processed through the village streets carrying a corn sheath dolly from home to home. The dolly was presented to those within the homes who would honor her by decorating her with flowers, shells, stones, and ribbons. When I lived in Glastonbury, I participated in creating a Brighid dolly which was processed around the ancient Brighid Slipper Chapel and then laid upon ‘Brighid’s bed’ alongside the other Brighid dolls from the two years prior – the mother and grandmother ancestry. My novel, The Keys to Remember, describes a fictionalized Imbolc procession in detail.

Another popular Imbolc custom was the making of Brighid crosses to hang high in house and byre. These were crosses of a triskele shape, to symbolize the three fold nature of Brighid. The crosses were made of rushes or braided straw. Rushes were traditionally laid down in the birthing place as they carry the symbol of new life. Today, Brighid crosses are often made with white and red yarn.

The goddess Brighid later became known as the Christian Saint Brigit. Imbolc, dedicated to the light-bearing qualities of Brighid, was renamed Candlemas. Candlemas was Christianized as the feast of the purification of the Virgin Mary, and was celebrated as a festival of lights. Candles burnt during Candlemas kept away storms, demons, and other evils. In this Christian version, Brigit was the foster mother of Christ and the midwife at Christ’s birth. As such, she was often invoked for her assistance at childbirth.

Legends say that Saint Brigit was the daughter of a druid who had a vision that she would be named after a great goddess. She was born at sunrise and she was reared on the milk of a special white cow with red ears, an animal often found in the Celtic Otherworld. You can see a carved representation of Brighid and her totem cow on St. Michael’s tower atop the Tor hill in Glastonbury, England. Also in Glastonbury is the famous St. Brigit’s mound, located in a field west of the town. Supposedly, in centuries past, there was a Brigit nunnery there. Some say it was earlier a convent dedicated to Mary Magdalene.

Saint Brigit founded a famous Christian abbey at Kildare, Ireland, in the heart of Leinster. There, in her convent, burned a perennial flame which became known as one of the three inextinguishable fires of Irish monasteries. The candle is reported to have burnt perpetually from the 5th to the 16th centuries, with Saint Brigit’s nuns tending and guarding the flame. The foundations of Saint Brigit’s fire temple where Brigit and her sisters tended the sacred flame still exist. Brigit's flame has now been rekindled and is being tended to. Many healing wells and springs are named after Saint Brigit/ the goddess Brighid. Nearby the abbey at Kildare, about a mile away, stands a famous Saint Brigit Well.

Rituals for Imbolc:

1.     Light a white candle to honor the sacred perpetual flame of Brigit. Make a prayer for Brighid's flame to symbolically spark the divine luminousity inherant within you. Ask Brighid to inspire you in whatever project you may want help for in your life.

2.     Pick dandelion leaves and eat them in your salad. This common weed, with their golden flower faces, remind us of the sun’s return.
3.     Leave a red or white silk ribbon on your doorstep for Brighid to bless on the eve before Imbolc. The ribbon can then be used for healing purposes.

4.     Make your own Brighid’s cross – instructions can be found here

 ~Jodine Turner, visionary fiction and magical fantasy author. http://www.jodineturner.com

Friday, January 20, 2012

Carry on the Flame: Ultimate Magic now on Kindle. Plus enter to win my two book give-away!

Carry on the Flame: Ultimate Magic Book Two is now available in Kindle format.

To celebrate my award winning series I am excited to offer you an opportunity to win a copy of both Carry on the Flame books - Destiny's Call and Ultimate Magic. Through adventure and suspense filled story, my urban fantasy novels carry keys to how to embody love, how to unite your Sacred Lovers within, as well as magical meditation practices.

"The Love you desire is within."

Simply follow these 3 easy steps for your chance to win:

1. Go to my Twitter page here and 'follow' me.

2. Go to my Facebook Author Page here and 'like' the page.

3. Lastly, leave me your email address in the comment section  below so I know how to contact you if you win! And please feel free to browse my blog articles and follow me here! 

The winner of my book give-away will be randomly selected and will receive a copy of both books in their choice of paperback or e-book format (PDF - with easy instructions on how to download onto a Kindle). Contest ends February 6th, 2012.

I am happy to be offering my novels to one lucky winner and I truly appreciate your support! Good luck!

"The Ultimate Magic is Love"
Born into a lineage of priestesses in modern day Glastonbury, England, Sharay is chosen by the Goddess of the Stars and the Sea to help humankind move through the fear and chaos of today’s world. To do so, she has to face her grief, loss, and her own dark side. Her way is blocked by her jealous Aunt Phoebe, who uses black magic against Sharay to steal her fortune and her magical powers. When Phoebe accuses her of insanity and murder, it’s the elder, eccentric wizard Dillon who sets Sharay on the Celtic ‘Imram,’ a quest designed to awaken her magical abilities as a priestess. And it’s Dillon’s grandson Guethyn who shows Sharay how to open her heart in the Beltaine Ritual, the ancient Celtic ceremony of sacred union.
Hunted by the police, stalked by a demonic Tracker conjured by her aunt, and torn from everyone she loves, Sharay struggles with the temptation to fight Phoebe’s dark powers with her own. She must transform her fear and hatred for her aunt in order to uncover the mystery held deep within her cells that will allow her to fulfill her destiny – a secret only she can discover. When separated from Guethyn’s protection, Sharay continues on her Imram alone, in this spellbinding conclusion to Carry on the Flame.

"If you have not yet discovered the magical and visionary work of Jodine Turner, now is the time."
~ Kathleen McGowan, International bestselling author