Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Imbolc and my Power Animal
Last week I celebrated Imbolc with my witchletts. We had a fab time - we always do! Imbolc is the mid winter festival of Brigid; A time of poetry and inspiration in the midst of snow and frost. Let me quote from the blurb inside my Starchild Imbolc incense,
The ice is melting and the ground turns muddy and soft. The water cleanses and prepares the earth womb to become fertile once again. In the hidden depth of the earth hitherto dormant seeds are beginning to germinate and life is stirring. The Sun Child is gathering strength, the days are getting longer and light and warmth are beginning to return. Almost imperceptibly the earth is quickening and the buds are beginning to swell.
Imbolc is a time of fasting and cleansing. The larder is getting sparser. It is time to clean out and get rid of old stuff in preparation of next season's growth.
That explains some of the festival - or what it means in the Wheel of the Year, and the cycle of birth, growth and death. Clear out the old, prepare for the new - be inspired because Winter will not last long. Imbolc, as most pagan festivals did, got pinched and incorporated into other faith or folk customs. Groundhog Day, Pancake Day all carry similar themes.
But the really exciting bit ... I mean really really exciting is that we got to go on an Astral Journey, a kind of deep trance that is so vivid it’s like you are really there, WITHOUT the use of any kind of dodgy herbage. Once of our little group is a Shaman so she whipped out her drum and off we went. It’s a curious sensation to float out of your body and observe yourself lying on the floor! The purpose of the travel was to discover our power animal. We were taken on a guided visualisation and asked to watch out for the animal that appeared three times. There were a number of candidates that appeared for me, at one point I was rather alarmed as I thought a mouse was going to come forward. Nothing against mice (I used to keep them as pets) but it was not what I wanted to see.
In the nick of time a great big leopard came running over the horizon towards me. She was beautiful and powerful. Just what I need right now! Leopards are one of the stealthiest predators ... silent.... patient.... ultimately deadly. Phew! My leopard is very welcome.
Now whatever you may think - and yes I mean you, rational boys - trance is an effective way of making contact with the subconscious mind, the deep child wants and fantasies, and the unconscious process that motivates all of us out of our awareness. My power animal epitomises the qualities that I value right now and has given an outward focus for such qualities.
Power that can be called upon at any time; latent, present and swift.
Power Animals and guides are important in Native American spiritual beliefs – I am happy to go along with that (with my fondness for psycho spirituality) - they are metaphors for who we are inside, and the qualities we need to survive the habitat of our lives in the here and now.
I am really interested to know, dear readers, what you would like your power animals to be. Reasons optional, but simply focusing on the qualities will help bring them into sharp relief.