Imbolc window display
A couple of weeks ago, Steve and Gypsy changed the window display to celebrate the Spring (which is on its way) and Imbolc specifically. Here is a bit of information about the window display and some photos of it too.
The Wheel of the Year
The Ancient Festivals
The year can be divided into eight major festivals which mark the passage of the Sun through the year and relate directly to the agricultural cycle. This is significant to many people (including witches) The current festival is:
Imbolc or Candlemas
1st or 2nd February
Imbolc marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring. From now on the days get noticeably longer and seeds that have been dormant all winter start to stir.
Sacred to the ancient Goddess Bride, Bridhe or Bridget. A time to visit one of the many Holy wells so loved by Bride the healer. In Ireland it is the feast of St Brigid (the Christianised Pagan Goddess).
The Winter is passed, the return of the Sun King is evident. Celebrate by lighting candles.
The Christian Church has adopted this festival as the feast of the Purification of the Virgin.
This is the time of year to hang a ‘Brides Cross’, in your house as protection.
Stag’s Head by Artist Marti Dean
Of the animals connected with witchcraft and magic, the stag is closely associated with the Horned God of Witchcraft. With roots set in the pagan histories and traditions of Europe, the symbolism of the stag has been represented in a variety of ways, from the Neolithic painting of the antlered ‘Sorcerer’ within the cave Trois-Frères in France, to the Gundestrup Cauldron, a piece of Iron Age silverwork depicting the Celtic antlered god Cernunnos.
For some modern witches, the stag–god Cernunnos is recognised as the horned god of nature and magic, and thus is celebrated in the rituals, art, and magic of modern witchcraft. This anthropomorphic sculpture of a green stag with branch-like antlers symbolises the magic of the regenerative force in nature. The objects hung on the antlers will be changed throughout the coming year.
For Imbolc, the stag’s antlers have been decorated with Bride’s Crosses and a Bride’s Girdle (made by Gillian Nott).
Objects in the Window Display
On the stag’s antlers
The stag’s antlers are decorated with various Bride’s Crosses which were made for the Museum by Gillian Nott. These were traditionally made on Saint Bridgit’s Eve (January 31st) and were hung in honour of Bridgit and to gain her protection.
There is also a Bridgit’s Girdle on the antlers (it is the large woven hoop). The following information is adapted from “The Year in Ireland” by Kevin Danaher (1972).
The crios bride or Briget’s Girdle is a straw rope, eight to ten feet long, with a number of crosses plaited in straw attached to it.
A party of young people would go from house to house. At each house visited, the occupants were expected to pass through the crios, thus obtaining the protection of Bridget and freedom from illness (especially pains in the bones) for the coming year.
Snowdrops and candles
Bridgit is associated with things that are white: milk, lambs, white candles and snowdrops. There are several Irish songs which make mention of “Bridget, dressed in white.” Snowdrops and candles symbolise the returning of light and spring. It is a custom to light all the lights in your house at this time to welcome back the light.
Outside of the Museum, things are looking good, the bulbs are coming through and the wishing well has been cleared out too.
Strange to think that this time last year little Miss Agnes was still “in the belly”, look at her now…!