The Sun festivals of ancient Ireland are still known by their old Irish names, Imbolg, Beltine, Lughnasa and Samhain. These Sun festivals are many thousands of years old; they have survived an imperial invasion and occupation for 800 years and the attempted erasure of indigenous consciousness by the catholic church for almost 1500 years. These Sun festivals are the gateway for todays Celtic Men and Women to celebrate with the Celtic Gods � Brigid at Imbolg, Bile at Beltine, Lugh at Lughnasa and Tlachtga at Samhain.
But the advice for anyone seeking connection to the Celtic Gods is to avoid the current catholic calendar of the so-called civilised world to time your ceremony. Pagans and Druids on a Celtic Path use Natural Time as their ancestors did � this means working with the alignments of the oldest temples to the four bright stars in the belt of the Zodiac. The Solstices and Equinoxes do not line up with particular Stars, they are turning points of the day / night balance such as when the Sun�s energy enters the ancient temple at Bru na Boinne (Newgrange) energising the God Dagda after the longest night of the year. The history and correct timing methods are shared below for those who wish to walk a Celtic Path.
Celtic Druid�s Imbolg
Imbolg means �in the bag� but is understood as �in the belly� and refers to the coming of milk and the sheep carrying lambs. It is also the availability of lamb meat during the cold season. Many celebrate Imbolg today without awareness to its significance in the past because they are disconnected. Today, our refrigerators protect us and a multitude of shops are open 24/7... But just imagine that there are no shops and its windy, dark, wet and cold and the only foods you have are the seeds for the next years crop / harvest and all the time you know that there are a multitude of young lambs �in the belly� and the importance of this cross-quarter day become real.
Imbolg is also called Imbolc, Oimelc, Candlemas, Feast of Lights, Groundhog Day (in USA) and Brigit's Day and this is so because the original connection to the daughter of the Dagda (Br�d) was displaced by succeeding religions that today honour St Brigid.
Brigid, Celtic Goddess
Brigid: this is her story, Breo Saighead, Brid, Brighid meaning - "Fiery Arrow or Power". Br�d is a pre Celtic three-fold goddess, the daughter of The Dagda, and the wife of Bres of the Formorians. As wife to Tuireann she bore three sons Creidhne, Luchtaine and Giobhniu. She has an apple orchard in the Otherworld to which bees travel to obtain it's magical nectar.
Brighid's three aspects are
(1) Fire of Inspiration as patroness of poetry,
(2) Fire of the Hearth, as patroness of healing and fertility
(3) Fire of the Forge, as patroness of smithcraft and martial arts.
The old legends of ancient Ireland tell us that on the eve of Imbolg, The Cailleach, or Veiled One (Hag aspect) drank from the Well of Youth at sunrise. Because of this the Hag was changed into her Maiden aspect and recognised as the young goddess called Brigid. Brid is the patroness and her father Dagda is the patron of the Celtic Dru� of then and now.
St Brigid and St Patrick were never canonized by any of the Catholic Popes. Brighid was known as Naomh Br�d or Holy Brigid. The Naomh meaning Holy was also applied to Patrick and many others. The Catholic Church in Ireland then decided to translate Naomh as Saint as it suited their purpose. The famous Brigid of the Catholic Church was said to be born in 453 at Faughart, County Louth, Ireland and she died on February 1st 523 at Kildare, Ireland. Note � the modern calendar was not in use at that time but the new festival for St Brigid deliberately displaced the old festival for the Goddess Brigid. Her death (St Brigid) is reported as being of natural causes and she was buried in Downpatrick, in east Northern Ireland with Saint Patrick and later on with Saint Columba. Her head was removed to a Jesuit church in Lumiar, 6mls from Lisbon, Portugal. No Pope would call her a Saint. The Jesuits have an obsession with collecting skulls but very few people know that the Jesuits in Lumiar, Portugal have the skulls of Brigid, Patrick and Columba while their 3 bodies are buried in Downpatrick in Northern Ireland.
It is not possible to fix the date of birth or death of this holy Brigid because there were no calendars at the time. The current calendar in use by the �white civilised� world was only agreed fully in the 1800�s and in Russia in 1917! Before that date there was utter confusion and no system of dating days of birth for annual celebrations was available for anyone. Details on this catholic system - False Time
In the Celtic World and in the time before it - there were no clocks, no calendars and the festivals of the year were measured in Ireland by the penetration of a sunbeam into designed passages in stone cairns (such as Newgrange) to exactly light up a section of a stone with carvings upon it. This happens even today so the ancestral calendar is 100% accurate. There is only one Cairn in Ireland with a standing stone inside it and it just happens to be made of Quartz, aka �Grian Cloch� as Gaeilge or Sunstone in English. This Quartz standing stone is aligned to be activated by the morning sunbeam on Imbolg when the Sun rises making an alignment with the star Formalhaut just below 10* of Aquarius to the Quartz standing stone inside the cairn.
The same solar alignment that determines the correct time for Imbolg is also the exact same alignment for Samhain but with star Antares behind the Sun, more on this at Celtic Druid�s Samhain.
If you were to stand outside of Cairn �L� at Sliabh na Callighe or the Cairn on Tara Hill on Imbolg and look 117* east of north the star Formalhaut would be behind the Sun rise over the Lambay Volcano to shine in through the passage and onto the Quartz standing stone inside.
Brigid / Imbolg as a Star
The reason that 10* of Aquarius is the timing for Imbolg is because of the presence of the bright star Fomalhaut, Piscis Austrinus sitting just below 10* Aquarius (Aquarius pours water from a jug and it enters the Eye of the southern Fish aka Fomalhaut, Piscis Austrinus) - we reckon this star was called Brigid meaning �Fiery Arrow� and the time of year was referred to as Imbolg meaning �in the bag / belly� by our ancestors. There are 4 bright stars making an equal armed cross on the belt of stars we call the zodiac and each star marks an important Celtic festival.
Fomalhaut, Piscis Austrinus was one of the four guardians of the heavens to the ancient Persians, the other guardians were Aldebaran in Taurus, Antares in Scorpius, and Regulus in Leo. Some may know of these 4 bright stars as The Man, The Bull, The Scorpion and The Lion. They were demonised as the four beasts of the apocalypse as an attempt to direct people away from Natural Time and into church time. We refer to these four bright stars as Brigid, Bile, Lugh and Tlachtga.
Fomalhaut, Piscis Austrinus is white to bluish white coloured star, although some have referred to it as red. It is the 18th brightest star in the sky. Fomalhaut can be seen from all of Ireland and northern Europe and as far north as 60 degrees latitude so it is visible even in southern Alaska. It stays low just skimming the southern horizon. This Star is also a Sun and it has a planet in orbit � it is known as Fomalhaut b. Fomalhaut is hotter and more massive than our Sun. (Based on info by Richard Hinckley Allen) Fomalhaut�s position is RA: 22h 57m 39s, dec: -29� 37′ 19″.
God, Goddess and Archangels
When the Sun and Moon were not visible the time of the seasons and the time of night could be obtained by looking to the bright star in the night sky. This placed the four bright stars next to God and Goddess in order of importance. These four bright stars form an almost equal armed cross within the circle or belt of stars we call the Zodiac. When the Sun rises making an alignment with the bright star Fomalhaut their combined Light enters the Cairn at Tara and at Cairn 'L' on Sliabh na Callighe which has the Quartz standing stone inside it. So the combined essence of the Sun (God) and the Star (Archangel) is received under the roof so to speak. This is the ancestors timing for Imbolg and it is not a mathematical mid-point as some propose but instead it is a glorious archaeo-astronomical feat of Sun and Star light engineering bringing the energies of God and Archangel to Earth. The star Fomalhaut, the Sun, Lambay volcano, the passage Cairn and the Quartz standing stone inside all make an alignment stretching many millions of miles once a year and this shows the correct timing for Imbolg.
Earth�s magnetic field
This is one of Eightfolds of the Solar Year of the Tuatha De Danann. Samhain and Imbolg share the same alignment to Cairn �L� on Sliabh na Callighe, Beltine and Lughnasa share the same alignment to Cnoc Lugh (Lyons Hill), the two Equinoxes share the same alignment to Summerhill, the Summer Solstice has its own alignment to the Hill of the Fair Gods on Tallaght Hill and the Winter Solstice has its own alignment to Br� na Boinne or Newgrange. All these alignments for the Eightfold Solar year have the fulcrum or pivotal point of the leaking energies from the volcano being wrapped back into the solar wind. This is earth magnetism and landscape healing at an extraordinary level. In magical terminology � this is the Stellar essence overlaying the Solar Word wrapping the Volcanic leaking energy into itself as it connects to the acupuncture of the Quartz standing stone inside Cairn �L� on Sliabh na Callighe � activating and harmonising the magnetic grid here on Earth.
A detailed explanation of timing for the celebration for Imbolg as given in Ireland�s Druidschool is explained in depth at Celtic Druid's Calendar
At Druidschool, we will guide you to find and express your Celtic Spirit by helping you discover the Three Realms, Three Cauldrons and Natural Time - this creates a strong foundation for becoming a Celtic Druid. We train students and pathworkers from all over the world who seek to know and express Sacred Knowledge and Indigenous Spiritual Traditions so that many seekers can walk a distinctly Celtic Druid Path. See our clearly defined training plan here