On February 1st (the traditional date), we celebrate the fire festival of Imbolg (aka Imbolc) in the Northern Hemisphere and Lúnasa (aka Lughnasadh aka Lammas) in the Southern Hemisphere.
Rather than looking at these as different events, let us consider the commonality of these two festivals and how they might complement each other — perhaps a waxing and waning view of the same energies — with their Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine aspects, i.e. the goddess (bandia in Irish) Brighid at Imbolg and the god (dia in Irish) Lugh at Lúnasa.
These gods had much in common: besides being in the Celtic pantheon of the Tuatha Dé Danann, they are patrons of two of the four fire / cross-quarter festivals in the Wheel of the Year. What else do we know? Both had triform aspects. Both were considered “bright ones”. Both had many skills (and pretty much the same skills!).
You may know Brighid as the goddess of healing, poetry & other arts, and smithcraft (and her three cauldrons) but also animals, crops, childbirth and more.
Lugh was also considered multi-skilled, and known to some as Samhildánach (“possessing many arts”); he too was a smith, a poet, healer and a keeper of the flame.
Imbolg and Lúnasa are times to honour our cruthaitheacht (creativity in Irish), inspired by both Brighid and Lugh, both allies and patrons of poets and the arts, whose light ignites and inspires us. That inspiration is known as Imbas Forosnai (illuminated inspiration, in Irish) and Awen (creative inspiration or creative flow, in Welsh).
Let Brighid and Lugh inspire your cruthaitheacht (creativity in Irish, see footnote below) as you prepare to celebrate in activities such as:
Imbolg: lighting a candle for Brighid, creating your Brighid’s Cross, dressing your altar, and preparing your Brat Bhrídhe (strips of red cloth representing Brighid’s mantle) for placing outside at dusk on Imbolg Eve to gather Brighid’s healing dew. Celebrate the new beginnings this first Spring brings.
Lúnasa: creating your corn husk dolls, making a fresh incense, baking breads (and use in a protection spell!), dancing and celebrating this first harvest of grains and more.
On this cross-quarter fire festival day, reflect on your skills, gifts and creativity, and their connection or source from Brighid or Lugh…. or both?
How do you use and honour your gifts, and which you have yet to explore?
Create something new for Imbolg or Lúnasa… Perhaps a poem, inspired by the patrons of the bards?
Celebrate YOU and your gifts… and tap into them as you celebrate in your locale as either Imbolg or Lúnasa!
cruthaitheacht (Irish), n., creativity
Pronunciation (approximate) per teanglann.ie (click link to listen)
- Connacht dialect: croy-(h)ee-uhkt
- Ulster dialect: crew-vee-acht
- Munster dialect : croy-hah-huckt