What’s an Imbolc? Or an Oimelc, for that matter? These are two of the Gaelic names for a special holiday that happens about February 1st, and will be celebrated at Ardantane south of Jemez Springs on that date, which is a Friday.
Imbolg means “in the belly,” and refers to the season when sheep are pregnant, and are about to herald the spring by giving birth to cute little lambs. Oimelc means “ewe’s milk,” and refers to the food supply for said lambs.
Though not many of us raise sheep these days, the holiday is still honored by people of Celtic heritage and modern Pagans, or people who honor nature in their spiritual path. It also happens to be Brigit’s Eve, when the goddess Brigit (or St. Bridget, to Catholics) has her special feast day. She is associated with healing, inspiration, fire, and smithcraft, and in her Christian form founded a great abbey at Kildare in Ireland during the Dark Ages.
The holiday also marks the end of winter and the very first signs of spring, promising that warmth and more light will return to the land.
For the event at Ardantane, we will gather about 6:30 pm and begin the ritual at 7:00. The public is invited to wear Brigit’s colors of red and white, or anything comfortable for that matter. There will be a potluck feast afterwards, so bring a dish or beverages to share. There is no charge for this event, although donations to defray expenses are always appreciated. For more information, including directions, contact Amber at 505-469-7777.