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IMBOLC'S CAULDRON by Ruth Calder Murphy

 Imbolc is one of my favorite festivals...

 It’s celebrated on 1st February, in the Northern hemisphere,  and marks the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. It's the celebration of the end of Winter and the beginning of the “Light Half” of the year.

 Imbolc is a Pagan festival in honour of the Goddess, Brighid, but, as with many Pagan festivals, it was also celebrated by Celtic Christians and later by the Roman church, who called it “Saint Brighid’s Day” or “Candlemas”. 

All these celebrations - and similar festivals in other traditions at this season - are a joyful acknowledgement of Light, physical and spiritual, coming into the world.

I have suffered with a sunlight deficiency condition since I was a child and our dark British winters, though possessed of a certain beauty, are particularly difficult.  Imbolc is, for me, the Stirring time - the Quickening time - when I begin, like the spring flowers, to push my way through the dark and cold and feel the tingling of green leaves and bright blossom again.

 It’s a time when I start to re-awaken all over again, to life, and love, and the joy of being.
Art by Sharon Legg
Imbolc’s Cauldron

Beneath the frost-hard earth a stirring sigh -
a pulse, though faint, beats unashamedly -
and whispers into cloud-wrapped, wintry sky,
and echoes in the pounding of the sea:

“Awake! Awake, for Quickening Time is here
and Mercury runs warm through every vein,
The snow-kissed Earth feels Springtime drawing near
and Imbolc’s Cauldron bubbles once again.”

The belly of the Goddess swells and blooms
and feels, with every dream-drenched, pre-dawn breath,
new life a-stir in Winter’s Catacombs
and Resurrection rides the back of Death.

“The Spring is near!” birds call from leafless bough;
“The Quickening Time is here; the Time is Now.”
 Photographic Art by Katarina Silva 

Ruth Calder Murphy is a writer, artist, music teacher, wife and mother living in London, UK. Her life is wonderfully full of creativity and low-level chaos. She is the author of one published novel, “The Scream,” several books of poetry and one or two as-yet unpublished novels. She is passionate about celebrating the uniqueness of people, questioning the unquestionable and discovering new perspectives on old wonders. She is learning to ride the waves that come along—peaks and troughs—and is waking up to just how wonderful life really is. You can visit Ruth and view more of her art on her website here, or on her Facebook page. Her latest book is available on Amazon here, and here

~If you are interested in seeing your poetry appear in this blog, or submitting a poem by a woman that has inspired you, please click here for submission guidelines. I greatly look forward to hearing from you!~ 


  1. That went past my eyes and past my brain and straight into my heart. Thank you.

  2. Wow, this was beautiful! I had never heard of this holiday before. Thank you! I'm going to share this on fb. :)

  3. Almost two years later and I've discovered these comments! Thank you so much, both.


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