The First of February marks a key point in the old Pagan ritual calendar, in that in Ancient Britain and Ireland it coincided with an age old festival that falls midway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. The Festival, known variously as Brigantia, or Imbolc, is a Lunar Festival associated with the Pagan Goddess Brigid; who subsequently gave her name, and many of her attributes, to the later Christian Saint, Brigid. Both Goddess and Saint are likewise associated with both cattle and milk production simultaneously. So, it is perhaps significant, in view of the fact that this year the entire festival was destined to be dominated by a portentous Astronomical event, in the form of a much hyped Super Blue Blood Moon Total Lunar Eclipse; which took place on Wednesday 31st January: the Eve of Brigantia, that Brigid, whose manifestation as Brigantia, the Celtic Athena, is likewise associated with the Moon.
Unlike many Celtic festivals Brigantia, Imbolc or Imbolg, has two different names, two different points of reference and a whole myriad of interrelated associations. The fact that its more widely used name, Imbolc, reads somewhat differently to the way in which it is generally pronounced, the ‘b’ being silent when spoken, giving us the name ‘Oimelc’ in its oral form, has led to an age old association with sheep as well as cattle: ‘Oimelc’ translating literally from the Old Irish as ‘ewe’s milk’, according to the tenth century Prince Bishop of Munster Cormac mac Cuilennáin (d. 908). In the Christian Calendar Imbolc falls directly before Candle Mass on February 2nd. A time when traditional folk customs are known to have included the lighting of white candles made of mutton or beef tallow: fat from the two animals associated with the two fold aspects of the Festival.
Another well known tradition associated with Brigantia and its celebration is the making of Bridie dolls. These are a late Winter or early Spring version of the traditional Corn Dolly: another ancient pagan symbol popular at late Summer and Harvest Festivals. These usually comprise a sheaf of oats dressed up in women’s clothing, which is ritually buried in the earth as a fertility rite. In ancient times this was possibly done as part of, or a substitute for, a human sacrifice. A more benign version of this self same ritual involved the placing of the Bridie doll in a basket like cradle of woven wheat, generally referred to as the ‘Bride’s bed’. This in turn would be placed near the front door, or hearth, of a dwelling with a white candle close at hand.
In some parts of Scotland and Ireland the Bridie Doll is referred to as the Brideag. In other parts of the same regions, in Scotland and in the area around Glenshellish in particular, the Brideag has a curious male aspect in the form of a bat with a human face. According to Moncreiffe of that Ilk, writing in his monumental work on ‘The Highland Clans‘, several old tombstones of long deceased members of Clan Fergusson that can be found at Strachur in Argyll are adorned with ornamental winged heads. These supposedly depict an aspect of the Brideag which is beleived to ‘flutter eerily at the window when a Glenshellish Ferguson is about to die.’ Moncreiff expounds the theory that the male aspect of the Brideag is in some way connected with the Ancient Pictish Throne Name of ‘Bruidhe’ or ‘Bruide’, which ‘was given to each successive king as well as his own name’: and is therefore linked to the ancient institution of sacral kingship.
Elsewhere in ‘The Highland Clans’ Moncreiff refers to how in ‘pagan times’ the name ‘Bruide’, which has been passed on to the modern day Morayshire Clan Brodie, who are universally acknowledged as being of Pictish descent, was viewed ‘as constituting the male manifestation of’ the ‘ancient pagan goddess’ Brigid or Brigantia. The link with Sacral Kingship is therefore an interesting one, in that the so called ‘Mound of the Hostages‘ on the Hill of Tara in Ireland, a megalithic structure closely linked to the ancient tomb of Newgrange, is possessed of an inner chamber and passageway which are illuminated at dawn on the mornings of Samhain and Imbolc respectively. Both of these ancient monuments predate Stonehenge by many centuries. A fact that may well form the basis of the legend, recounted in Geoffrey of Monmouth, that at least the knowledge, if not the actual stones, with which Merlin was accredited with building Stonehenge by the Mediaeval Welsh Bards, actually originated in Ireland.
In view of the portentous nature of this year’s Super Blue Blood Moon Eclipse then, and the fact that the last time such an Astronomical event took place was in 1866, it is somewhat surprising that nobody went so far as to make any serious Astrological predictions in connection with its occurrence. Indeed, this is especially significant when taking into consideration all of the ‘prophecies’ people had been making in the run up to another great Astronomical event back in September of last year. This involved what was referred to by some commentators as a ‘mirror in the sky to ‘signs’ from the Bible’s Book of Revelation; and was followed up a few weeks later with yet more predictions of gloom and doom which likewise never materialized.
A similar lack of detailed predictions among Eastern Astrologers was also in evidence in connection with January’s event, which has led me personally to conclude that in some quarters at least there has been a tendency to shy away from making bold detailed Astrological predictions; since last year’s media hyped ‘revelations’ ended up manifesting little more than a damp squib in comparison with what had actually been forecast. Given the fact that the previous day it had been announced that yet another ‘revealatory’ document relating to the so called ‘Russia investigation‘, which has proved to be the source of so much trouble for the Trump Administration in the United States, had come into the public domain, and that the Moon in Leo was about to oppose the Sun in Aquarius at the height of this great Astronomical event, one should not be surprised at what has been happening in the United States over the course of early February. The Astrological significance of these events falls right into place when one considers that both Russia and Syria, two nations that are at the very centre of a series of major political events and upheavals with which the Trump Administration is presently preoccupied, are among several countries that are ruled by the Astrological sign of Aquarius.
Equally significant is the fact that both Afghanistan and North Korea are likewise ruled by Leo. This considered it should come as no surprise that a major terrorist incident took place in Afghanistan in the run up to the Eclipse and the President’s State of the Union speech the following day; resulting in an announcement by the President himself that ‘new rules of engagement‘ would apply for US Military personnel stationed in the region. And, as this post was in the process of being put together, it was revealed by German intelligence sources that North Korea’s Berlin Embassy was being used by that country’s renegade regime as a major centre of operations in its international hunt for missile technology. More portentous still, given the fact that Sweden, like Russia, is also ruled by Aquarius, was the announcement on Candlemas itself that the remains of large numbers of Viking warriors that had previously been excavated in Derbyshire, but whose exact origins were still unclear, were in fact members of the Great Heathen Army led by Ivar the Boneless; who had himself ruled over a region comprising parts of modern Denmark and Sweden back in the Ninth Century.
Is this the fate that awaits the US Military in Syria or on the Korean Peninsular if Trump’s bellicose Foreign Policy Agenda is allowed to continue? Only time will tell! Interestingly though, as I was in the process of editing this blog update in the run up to posting, news began to filter in through the BBC World Service that stock markets in the United States had suddenly plummeted less than a week after the President’s claim, during his much hyped State of the Union speech, that he had presided over the greatest economic boom since the Great Crash of 2007. Boasts that had previously been echoed in the Right Wing press back in January.
With powerful Astrological influences at work in the immediate aftermath of the Super Moon, and a difficult aspect between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn, the President may be in for a bumpy ride in the weeks and months to come. And, with recent claims that the latest US air strikes in Syria have actually claimed Russian lives, Uranus’s transit through the Astrological Ruling Sign of War and martial activity, Aries, could have catastrophic consequences for many if the Plutonian aspect by which it is currently afflicted manifests itself in some sort of nuclear detonation. Pluto, after all, is the ruler of Atomic energy and nuclear weapons.
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