Lammas is a harvest festival and cross-quarter celebration in Anglo-Saxon and Western hemisphere countries particularly in folk culture. It is most commonly revered around August 1st but occurs between August 1st and September 1st. The holiday marks the annual harvest – usually centered around ‘wheat’ but can be observed around any harvest. It cycles around the wheat harvest though in origins. In Paganism, it is one of the eight sabbats in the Wheel of the Year as August 1st. In Christianity, it is common to bring a loaf of bread made from the new crop to church for Lammastide. This calendrically falls between Summer Solstice and Fall Equinox.

This loaf is blessed and used for magical rites in Anglo-Saxon culture, often broken into four bits that are placed at the four corners of the barn to protect the grain. Tenants also presented freshly harvested wheat to their landlords on or before August 1st.

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The Alien Craze in Roswell

That Crazy Alien City – Roswell
~ Roswell, New Mexico

My family moved to Roswell, New Mexico in 1973-1974 from New Rochelle, New York. I began school at El Capitan Elementary School then progressed to Sierra Middle School, and on to Goddard High School before moving off in 1986 to Florida to attend college at Florida State University. That whole period of 1973-1986, there was no hype about the rumored UFO crash, alien autopsies, or space visitors. The city was a progressive agriculture town, with a former military Cold War base and ilos towards exits outside of each direction of the city. It was known as an “All American City”. There were legends and tales about the UFO crash but that was about it. One of my dad’s friends, Mr. Bentley spoke about his abduction and proudly showed scars the aliens left on his stomach. He was a crazed inventor that my dad invested with. As a kid I was obsessed with the belief of Faeries, UFO’s, Ancient Egypt, and magic. I had a blue scrapbook I made of UFO sightings, crashes, and strange phenomena. There was very little in that book about Roswell. “The Incident” wasn’t talked about much. I remember even trying alternative science experiments for the science fair at El Capitan was severely frowned upon. So I moved on and advanced with real science.

It is all based on an event on June 14, 1947 where an un-identified object crash landed outside of Roswell. The rancher who owned the land W.W. “Mac” Brazel and his son Vernon called it “a large area of bright wreckage made up of rubber strips, tinfoil, and rather tough paper, and sticks.” They brought the wreckage into town to the local sheriff George Wilcox. Insiders claimed it was a UFO with alien bodies. This theory was quickly leaked to the Press and published. Others, including the military, later claimed it was a high altitude weather balloon that fell from the sky. Ex-military representatives however cried otherwise, leading to many conspiracy theories. The Sheriff contacted Colonel “Butch” Blanchard, commander of the Roswell Army Airfield’s 509th Composite Group. The Colonel was stymied and contacted his superior General Roger W. Ramey, commander of the 8th Air Force in Fort Worth, Texas. Intelligence officer Major Jesse Marcel was sent to investigate and collected all of the wreckage, trying to figure out what the materials were, and Marcel made a public statement claiming that it was a Flying Saucer. The local newspaper sensationalized it letting the public know that “The intelligence office of the 509th Bombardment Group at Roswell Army Air Field announced at noon today, that the field has come into the possession of a Flying Saucer.” It was after-all at the close of World War II and sensationalist about anything was popular news. The U.S. at this time had sent V2 rockets with payloads of corn seeds and fruit flies into outer space, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists had the “Doomsday Clock” ticking, and UFO’s were the rage in popular culture.

The military said it was a Mogul Experimental weather balloon that crashed. The 1948 government report “The Roswell Incident” was published and utilized by the Variety reporter Frank Scully who wrote “Behind the Flying Saucers” – a book that detailed alien encounters from the Pacific Northwest, Aztec – Farmington – and Roswell, New Mexico, and how aliens were now said to be landing their air craft in people’s backyards. World enthusiasm about the phenomena was global and widespread. Some claimed the Air Force propagated the lies to distract people from monitoring its nuclear weapons development, while others claimed the government was covering up the fact they had space craft and aliens in their possession.

Project Mogul was a secretive project, out of Washington DC being operated at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico launching high-altitude balloons in the area – these balloons would reach high altitudes and were 657 feet long from tip to tail, 102 feet taller than the Washington Monument and twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty – they would enter the upper jet stream toward Russia with a long tail equipped with different types of sensing and listening devices trailing behind it. This is the government’s explanation of the wreckage.

There was the radio broadcast “War of the Worlds” that shook America. Hollywood produced many movies and television shows taking advantage of the enthusiasm, such as Close Encounters of the Third kind, E.T., and Star Wars. Everyone wanted to “believe” we were not alone. Rumors exploded across the countryside, every U.S. military base that had a cloak of secrecy over it (and even some that didn’t) was suspected of housing crashed space ships and aliens. Enter in “Area 51” – a secret air strip in Nevada that rumors were created stating the aliens recovered in Roswell were kept there with their ship. The U.S. Government didn’t help dismiss the rumors, as they just placed large “No Trespassing” and “Use of Deadly Force Authorized” outside the areas.

By the 1990’s there was a notable industry built up around the belief in aliens, UFO’s, and extra-terrestrial existence. With this came books, movies, films, broadcasts, memorabilia, gadgets, toys, posters, and stuffed alien dolls. It was around this time that the International UFO Museum and Research Center decided to make its home in Roswell. I left in 1986 upon graduation, it was soon after they arrived.

Years later the craze infected the city and the old downtown city theater we used to go see Rocky Horror Picture Show was sold and altered into a UFO museum. It was strange to see such a historical landmark as that theater to disappear into space. Then I hear UFO festivals brought millions in tourism to the town, every other fading downtown store front turned into a UFO and alien gift shop, maze, or themed eatery. The city’s lamp posts were topped with alien heads. Every store eventually had their own alien statue sitting out in front of it or had alien heads somewhere on their signs, glass windows, or billboards. The local McDonalds built their play area to be shaped like a giant spaceship. Even the local Walmart added aliens to their frontage. It was nuts. North of the city off Highway 285, the crash site was identified, and a large sign erected to identify its location. New Mexico State University conducted an excavation there to investigate what happened and if any evidence still remained. The crash site now is unmarked with the sign removed, some say “no trespassing” signs exist on site, although my June 2018 visit to the site just had an un-marked skeletal frame that once listed the incident location. Oddly the Roswell UFO Crash Site is just 1/4 mile south of one of the Roswell Missile Silos.

The hype definitely brings tourism to Roswell. Residents love and hate this. For a brief moment of time there was an anti-alien organization camped out in a storefront across the street from the Roswell UFO Museum. They promoted their mission with stickers of alien heads with the “no” symbol crossed over it. They were responsible for much of the vandalism of the crash site sign, as they left the stickers with their damage on location. They no longer exist at least on Main street. If they are still in operation today I have no idea.

The landing of the UFO enthusiasts certainly changed the city. For the good or the bad, no one really knows – but certainly has placed Roswell as a popular tourist destination and hot spot. Of course the hype is not constrained to “Roswell” alone … According to the Public Policy Polling Survey around 12 million people in the United States believe that interstellar lizards in people suits rule our country. Around 66 million Americans believe that aliens landed at Roswell, New Mexico; and around 22 million people believe that the government faked the moon landing.

~ Article by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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2014 Fairy Human Relations Congress


2014 Fairy Human Relations Congress
* June 27-29, 2014 * Skalitude Retreat * Twisp, Washington * *

Every year around the Summer Solstice in June, Fairies and Humans gather together to network, communicate, co-create, and bridge relationships on Planet Earth. Specifically focusing more on Nature Spirits, Devas, and the Faery Realms rather than on the Sidhe, Fae, and Faerie, the more human-like races also attend this spiritual gathering. The Congress was first held in the early 1950’s by Daphne Charters in England, but migrated to the United States under directorship of Michael Pilarski at Skalitude near Twisp Washington. The first American gathering was held in 2001 and became an annual event ever since. It was the early ones that I first attended and then with my travels around the world and moving away from the Pacific Northwest, I haven’t had the chance to return until this year. Amazingly it has retained its same beautiful community natured cohesion, peacefulness, center of love and harmony I remembered from 2003-2004. It has grown a bit with more attendees, but never infected with the riff-raff you get at most other festivals. It still has the trustworthiness and balance I remembered loving about the first Pagan gatherings and festivals I went to. Not having to worry about theft, violence, disorderliness, nor people with ulterior motives. The Congress is like the very first spiritual Rainbow Gatherings (before Rainbow fell apart and decayed with riff-raff) meeting a Pagan academic conference. Peace, Love, Healing, and Community empowered the grounds the entire space of the event. I felt recharged and rejuvenated albeit it I was unable to attend many workshops or rites since I was chasing around our little one and watching our festival booth The Tree Leaves Oracle.

As the world has been seeing a full blossom of Fairy and Faerie festivals popping up around the globe, this is the only one that I’ve ever attended that is primarily knowledge and spirituality based unlike some of the others that are music festivals wrapped around the faerie cloak, commercial malls, fantasy dress-up balls, role-playing game conventions, and what-not on a different level than you experience here. This is a true community with more rituals than a normal human can handle and great workshops abound. The music scene is primarily drum circles, although some bands and entertainers will take the small stage in the evenings. The entertainment is drumming, dancing, meditating, yoga, frolick, and education. Of course all the fairy / faerie festivals I attend all have a spiritual nature and rites/rituals embedded in their fabric, but many you have to be “in the know” or hunt around for those aspects if you seek them. Not here, they will be an essential part of your experience. It was good to be back after a 10-12 year hiatus.

Every year, world renown authors and experts on faerie/fairy wisdom hold workshops and classes at the event. Next to the rites and rituals, this is the prime purpose of the Congress. This year, the congress secretly began on thursday and ended on monday as opposed to the flier posted dates – with a special immersion workshop thursday evening by Michael Dunning on “The Dragon Body”. Friday Morgan Brent did “songs from the Garden”, Kirsten Sogge did Eurythmy, Aimee Ringle a Meadow Walkabout, followed by a communal breakfast, opening ceremony and morning circle, Joanna Schmidt on “Opening and Nurturing Your Intuitive Gifts”, Diane Pepper “Meeting Your Multi-Dimensional Selves”, Maia Klevjer “Introduction to Shamanic Journeying for Young Adults”, Joseph Freeman on “Animal Communication”, Ellen van de Viss on “Gardening with the Joyful Devas and Nature Spirits”, Saphir Lewis on “Standing Up as a Human in the Co-Creaetive Relationship”, followed by a communal lunch, then David Spangler on “Understanding the Subtle Worlds: A Foundation for Partnership”, Orion Foxwood on “Growing the Tree of Enchantment: A Journey of Fairy/human Co-creation and Companions”, Laurence Cole: “Listening Deeply to the Emergent song of Now”, Michael Dunning: “Standing in the Power of the Spiritual Stream of Human Becoming”, Creeksong: The Taoist 5 Element(al)s: Using Ancient Sounds as Invocations”, Bridget Wolfe & John Curtis Crawford: “The Alchemy of Unity: When the Whole is more than the Sum of its Parts”, Evening Yoga with Kat Allen, Integration Hour, Circle, a communal dinner, Ecstatic Dance and Drumming with Burke Mulvaney and Friends.


Saturday saw repeat performances and presentations of Friday morning, with added in the afternoon Jacqueline Freeman: “Shrines: Doors to the Fairy World”, Michael Dunning: “21st Century Grail Stream and its Guardians”, David Spangler: “Partnering with the Subtle Worlds: Rules of the Road”, Flora LaRayne and Fransisco: “Blossoming: A Souls Longing”, Deborah Koff-Chapin: “Bringing the Subtle Beings into Form Through Touch Drawing”, Shoshana Avree: “The Essence of Existence, Essence of your Soul”, followed by communal lunch, and then
Rj Stewart: “Elizabethan Fairy Magic”, Orion Foxwood: “Clearing the Soul Cage: Cultivating Presence, Clarity and Wonderment”, Saphir Lewis: “Attunement for Powerful Co-Creative Communication”. Ellen Vande Visse: “Gardening with the Joyful Devas and Nature Spirits”, Bridget Wolfe & John Curtis Crawford: “Being in the Other: A New Perspective o Co-Creation”, followed by repeat activities from friday night of yoga, integration, and communal dinner. After dinner was the main Ritual and Fairy/Human Parade, Acousitc Concert in the Lodge with RJ Stewart, Drumming/Dancing/ and Merriment all night long. Sunday had repeat activities from friday and saturday morning, but after Circle held the spectacular “Angel Wash” in the meadows, and the afternoon presentations of Anastacia Nutt on “Celtic Fairy Traditions: Herbs, Charms and the Wise Ones Who Made Them”, Creeksong “Cernunnos: Lord of the Forest, Lord of the Wild Things”, Orion Foxwood: “The Re-Sourcing Prayer: A Technique for Attunement and Alignment”. Jacqueline Freeman: “Honeybees: The Vibratory Voice of Transformation”, Dolores Nurss:”Dreaming with Fairies”, Closing Circle followed by Yoga, Integration Hour, and communal Dinner. Monday had a special Immersion workshop by RJ Stewart of “The Four Cities of the Tuatha de Danann: Beyond the Hidden Crossroads”. It was a most spectacular weekend with clear weather, good sun, fun nature, and a charming community. All meals were communal and included in the festival fees – good wholesome vegan, vegetarian, and free-range organic foods. The food alone was worth the 12 hour drive we had entering this realm.

In previous years, the notable speakers and workshops were done by Peter Tompkins (Secret Life of Plants), Findhorn co-founders Dorothy Maclean and David Spangler, and teachers in the Celtic Faery tradition RJ Stewart, Caitln Matthews and Orion Foxwood. Other presenters also included flower essence specialists, animal and plant communicators, shamanic practitioners and herbalists, wildcrafters, fairy seers, intuitives, geomancers, Bards and Druids, and Native American storytellers.

The founders and organizers feel this event is very important as the Congress affects the planet by joining with the nature, devic, and other higher realms to bring more peace, love, and understanding into the world with a goal of not escaping the outer world but to positively affect it. It is a time on the globe wheras multiple crises are affecting humanity and they feel it is very important to seek alliances with as many light forces as possible in other realms. Although many deny their existence, the fairy realms and Mother Earth are big players in what is happening on the planet and this vanguard event bring these people together with an intent for communication and cooperation for ourselves and humanity. They feel that the event has more fairies, devas, and light being in attendance both seen and unseen, albeit registration for 2014 was over 250 in attendance, with a feel of close to 300+ frolicking in the meadows. It was a perfect sized event and one I hope to return to again and again for years to come. It has been a long time since I’ve had a good recharge like I did at this event which makes it worth all the more.

~ Leaf McGowan, Druid, Ovate, Faeid, & Healer
founder of the Faeid Fellowship, Tree Leaves Folk Fellowship & Pirate Relief


Photos from the Event:




The Leaf and Dragon


Join us at our new storefront at 33 North First Street, Suite 1, Ashland, Oregon 97520 as we embark upon our newest phenomena as

The Leaf and Dragon

The combined efforts of The Tree Leaves Oracle and The Jelling Dragon bringing together their hordes of treasures from their travels around the world specializing in Viking, Pirates, Faeries, Fantasy, Folklore, and Medieval Re-enactments, supplies, gifts, clothing, jewelry, herbs, oils, candles, art, crafts, and sundries.

Now open – Mondays through Saturdays, 10 AM until 5 PM excluding holidays and Faerie festivals we attend.

Web shopping carts open 24/7. Toll free: 1-800-605-9705.



Elf Fest 2013


Elf Fest 2013
Lothlorien Nature Sanctuary * 559 McFadden Ridge Road * (Bloomington / Bedford / Needmore, Indiana) * *

Every year the Elf Lore Family (ELF) and Holy Order of Mother Earth (HOME) put on the Elf Fest at the Lothlorien Nature Sanctuary just south of Bloomington. A great community-based festival, small and family sized event in the heart of the 100+ acres of sacred woodland in Indiana. It takes place late May annually. (In 2014 it will be May 21st through 26th) It is billed as a “Community Fertile Earth Folklife Festival” open to all. This 2013 event I attended was their 30th year of existence celebrating community and sanctuary. The event consists of theatrical and musical performances, drumming, vending, camping, meetings, workshops, may pole dances, seasonal rites and ceremonies, Paganism, Earth Spirituality, primitive camping, fellowship, kid’s activities, bands, discussing circles, dancing, feasting, and revelry. It is a annual fundraiser for the Lothlorien Nature Sanctuary and Elvin Home, Inc. (401(c)3 non profit) The site has altars, temples, circles, shrines, camping areas, a feasting hall, lending library, self-composting toilets, hot showers, dish washing station, drinking water, fire wood, fire pits, drumming circle, hiking trails, stages, and performance space. It is the largest event held at Lothlorien annually as a Spring festival with rituals, fire dancing, drumming, dancing, shopping, workshops, rites, and celebrations. In the past, they’ve had may pole dancing, a labyrinth, blessing of cars, spiral dancing, saunas, sweats, plant walks, women’s circles, magic shows, comedy, puppets, bands, theater, with a variety of workshops. Swimming is also available in the creek. During Elf Fest there is the Cauldron Cafe open for breakfast and lunches. Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5





Lothlorien Nature Sanctuary


Lothlorien Nature Sanctuary
* P.O. Box 1082 * Bloomington, IN * 47402-1082 * / * Needmore, Indiana * *

I remember the first time hearing about Lothlorien … it was by a member of the Omneopoia band in Eugene, Oregon in the early 1990’s as a place I must go for the folk there were like me. I made it there in the late 1990’s as I attended Wild Magic and Elf Fest. I was in awe and completely impressed by how this Elvin community cooperatively live together and manage the Lothlorien Nature Sanctuary. The estate is a center for spiritual retreat as well as a land sanctuary green haven all centered around community and the Earth. It is owned and operated by Elvin H.O.M.E., Inc. – The Holy Order of Mother Earth. In its origins it was known as E.L.F. but changed names when confused with a radical eco-group under the same acronym. They possess federal 501(c)3 status as a non-profit spiritual and ecological entity (since 2008). Lothlorien consists of 109 acres of forest, hills, and valleys along the southern edge of Indiana’s limestone belt. Operated by volunteer labor by means of community, love, ecology, and faith – the center is open to anyone for visitation and attendance to festivals. It is also a nature based campground where sponsors and members can come camp and share in its growth, perpetuation, and regeneration. It was founded by the Elf Lore Family (ELF) in 1983 as a woodland meeting ground, survival education center, and a retreat for Elves. It has since evolved to a sanctuary for all earth-respecting faiths, religions, paths, and beliefs. Members, volunteers, ELF, and HOME all consider themselves Earth Stewards – coming to the land working it, shaping it, and transforming it. They hold several festivals every year, have community gardening, landscaping, lawn-care, path clearing, building of structures and shrines, and repairing those existing as their sacred duties. In addition to the garden, there are several self-composting permanent toilet teepees, a Long hall where meetings, gatherings, and feasts held, a loaning library, a kitchen, campgrounds, communal showers, stages, sacred circles, a thunder dome for drumming, altars, shrines, and temples. Camping season runs from March 21st until October 31st. Definitely a magical model I’d love to follow, create, or be a part of … if only it existed on the west coast! Rating: 5 stars out of 5.





New York Faerie Festival 2013


New York Faerie Festival 2013
* * Ouaquaga, New York *

Each summer towards the end of June a special portal opens to the Faerie Realm in the farmlands of New york state just east of Binghamton on a very magical nature sanctuary dedicated to the Fae. We decided this year to venture forth to this magical event. On our 2013 visit we came to enjoy the fantasy lands from June 28th until June 30th as the portal remained open. We were first to pass over the slippery muds from the rainstorms that dotted the event. Meeting goblins, mermaids, trolls, and orcs definitely sparked the imagination as we hiked along the paths to the stone circle, bathed on the mermaid beach, crossed the troll bridge, met the tooth fairy, and admired various altars. Frolicking with the Faerie queen, pixies, and elves … dancing to the amazing music of a plethera of talent on its stages. It was family fun for all ages. The merchant village had great artists and craftsmen, food stuffs, and goodies, and amazing faerie chai teas. Time in the realm, albeit wet, was wonderful as the festival was added to one of my current favorites. Rating: 5 stars out of 5





Shakefest 2012: May 26th – Charleville Castle, Tullamore, Ireland

2012 Shake Fest: Charleville Castle, Tullamore, Ireland

Shakefest 2012
May 26-27th, 2012 * Charleville Castle * Tullamore * Ireland * *

This year will be Shakefest’s “7th” Annual Dance and multi-cultural festival held at the historic epic Charleville Castle. The festival grounds is starting to bustle with activity as preparations are in the flow to welcome local and international community, visitors, friends, and family to celebrate culture. Since 2006, Shakefest has been bringing together an eclectic mix of Middle Eastern, Cultural Dance, and Artistic Workshops ending with a multi-cultural evening of dance performances. This year, Shakefest is expanding into more folklore, diversity, performance art, crafts, and themes for all ages, sexes, and cultures. This year features numerous workshops, classes, performances, and activities such as a “Faerie Glen” to get lost in, A “Madhatter’s Tea Party”, A bouncy Pirate Ship, Indian Cuisine, Performances by Tullamore’s “The Red Embers”, Galway Bellydance, Appolonia Tribal Bellydance, Sheeoneh, Nicole Volmering, and Aoife Hardiman.

Joana Saahirah ~ photo courtesy of Shakefest

This year’s International Guest Instructor is Oriental Dancer Joana Saahirah of Cairo, Egypt providing authentic education on Egyptian History and Folklore as well as Oriental Dance instruction in Classical, Saiidi and Alexandria of Mellaya styles. Declan Kiely will host a special workshop on how to “Dance like Michael Jackson”. Hip Hop, Jazz, Poi & Ribbon Dancing, Bachata and Argentinian Tango classes are also offered. There will also be African dance, poetry, open-mic sessions, a kid’s gigantic Dragonfly and butterfly hunt, punch and judy, juggling & stiltwalking by Stagecraft Ireland, Drum Circles, and a magic show. This year will also be breaking ground on a live history section with the KHI Medieval Re-enactors treating audiences to combat simulations of the Crusader’s Knight’s Templar with medieval tents, a full try-on armoury and archery for all ages.

KHI Medieval Re-enactors ~ photo courtesy of Shakefest

Featured musical performances by 40’s Swinging The Bugle Babes, Our Annual Multi-cultural Hafla, daring fire show by The Red Embers & Babylon’s Inferno, The North Strand Kontra Band from North Dublin. Dazzling Romanian and Bulgarian instrumental band is expected to finish off the fest with explosive energy and lively dance accompanied by original and traditional tunes from clarinet, saxophone, trombone, keys, banjo, double bass, and drums. If you’re travelling through Ireland this weekend or live in the magical isles, this event is not to be missed. Gates open at Noon on Saturday the 26th with admission only 10 general entry, 10 camping, 20 family day pass or only 15 for evening entertainment. All proceeds will be going towards Charleville Castle Restoration Fund Operation Raise The Roof project in which money will be raised towards putting a protective roof on the castle chapel. We’ll be covering this event, so come back here for photos, review, and the stories we weave from the experience …

North Strand Kontra Band ~ photo courtesy of Shakefest



February 1st-2nd: Imbolc or Oimelc, Candlemas, St. Brigid’s Day

Imbolc or Imbolg a.k.a. Candlemas, Groundhog Day, St.Brigid’s Day, L’ Fh’ill Br’ghde, L’ Fh’ile Bride, Feast Day of St. Brigid, Spring Festival.

Celebrated February 1st or 2nd annually in the northern hemisphere, and August 1st or 2nd in the southern hemisphere.

Cultures: Gaels, Irish, Scottish, Manx, Neo-Pagans, Celtic Reconstructionists, Neo-Druids, Wiccans, Druids, Pagans.

Represents: hearth, home, lengthening days, early signs of Spring, birthing of ewes, milking of Ewes, milk, first stirrings of Spring, St. Brigid, candles, and first feasts.

“I mbolg” is Irish for “in the belly” and refers to the pregnancy of ewes. It has also been referred to as Oimelc referring to “Ew’s milk”. Imbolc is a popular Pagan holiday celebrating the marking of the first stirrings of Spring. Most commonly taking place traditionally on February 1st or 2nd, can take place also as late as February 12th in the Northern Hemisphere, and by new European settlers in the southern hemisphere celebrated around August 1st. It is a cross-quarter sabbat in modern Pagan faiths as a halfway mark between the Winter Solstice (Yule) and the Spring Equinox. The festival was first recorded to have been celebrated in the Middle Ages in Gaelic Ireland and was referred to as the “Tochmarc Emire of the Ulster Cycle” and was a cross-quarter day festival in Irish Mythology as one of four. The other four cross-quarter day festivals were Samhain, Beltane, and Lughnasad. Many believe it first celebrated the Goddess Brigid and later turned to represent the Saint Brigid. With growth of the Neo-Pagan movement of Shamanism, Celtic Spirituality, Druidism, Wicca, and Witchcraft, especially in relation to Celtic reconstructionism, “Imbolc” was revitalized as a Neo-pagan religious festival. As it was followed by Candlemas on February 2nd, as the Irish “L Fh’ile Muire na gCoinneal” or “feast day of Mary of the Candles”, Welsh “G?yl Fair y Canhwyllau” the two festivals became blended together. Because some Irish Neolithic monuments are aligned to this date, such as the Mound of the Hostages at Tara, it is believed the holiday was celebrated much earlier than the Middle Ages. It appears however for the first time from folklore collected during the 19th-20th century in Rural Ireland and Scotland. The holiday represents the hearth, home, lengthening days, early signs of Spring, birthing of ewes, milking of Ewes, milk, first stirrings of Spring, St. Brigid, candles, and first feasts. It is celebrated with hearth fires, butter, milk, bannocks, divination, seeking of prophecy, omens, oracles, candles, bonfires, weather divination, Groundhogs, badgers, snakes, festivals of light, early Spring celebrations, celebrations of Fire, purification, the Goddess Brigid, or St Brigid.

The Annals of the Four masters records Brigit to having died February 1st, 525 AD. Others believe this was the date of her birth. Because St. Brigid was believed to have died or born on February 1st, the date has been dedicated to her. The date also coincides with the Festival of St. Brigid of Kildare at this time. The association with Brigid / Brighid / Bride / Brigit / Brid, the festival is also related to holy wells, Brigid’s crosses, sacred flames, healing, poetry, smithcraft, and magic. In Gaelic tradition, Imbolc also is the time of the “Hag” or the “Cailleach” who gathers her firewood for the rest of winter. If she desires a longer winter, she makes sure the weather on this date is bright and sunny so she can gather more wood. If she’s ready for it to be over, this date will be overcast, cold, or with foul weather. If the snakes come out of their holes, badgers come to the surface, or the groundhog sees its shadow, there will be more winter. If they do not come out, then they are asleep and winter is almost over. The lighting of fires, candles, bonfires, and hearths represents the return of warmth and the growing power of the sun. As the Feast of St. Brigid, L’ Fh’ile Bride, and Li Feabhra – Candlemas and Imbolc is celebrated as the official first day of Spring. Craft-wise this is honored by the handcrafting of the Brigid’s Bed when young unmarried girls would create a corn dolly representing Brigid called the Brideog (Little Brigid) adorned with ribbons, shells, and stones lying on a bed. On St. Brigid’s Eve (January 31st) the girls would gather in a house for an all nighter sleepover with the Brideog, only later to be visited by the single young men of the community to come treat them and the corn dolly with tribute. As Brigid is believed to manifest of Imbolc Eve, another tradition is the leaving of a strip of cloth or clothing outside for Brigid to bless. Fires that night when extinguished would have their ashes raked smooth, and in the morning, the fire caretakers would inspect the ash for any kinds of markings for a sign that Brigid came through the hearth. Cloth and clothing left out that night would be brought back into the house and believed to possess magical healing and protective energies. On Imbolc, the girls carry the Brideog through the community from house to house where offerings are given to her. The date is also celebrated by the weaving of Brigid’s Cross.

Neopagan celebrations of this festival vary from tradition to tradition, religion to religion. Much of the traditional rites associated with the practices today are based on reconstructionist theory in its beginnings evolving to new traditions today. As previously said, it is a time of purification, and therefore a time of initiations and new beginnings.


  • Adler, Margot. 1979: “Drawing Down the Moon”. Boston: Beacon Press.

  • Bonewits, Isaac. 2006: “Essential Guide to Druidism”. New York: Kensington Publishing.

  • Carmichael, Alexander. 1992: “Carmina Gadelica: Hymns and Incantations”. Hudson: New York, Lindisfarne Press.

  • Chadwick, Nora. 1970: “The Celts”. London, Penguin books.

  • Cultural Heritage Ireland. “Festival of Imbolc and St. Brigit”. Website referenced March 2012.

  • Danaher, Kevin. 1972: “The year in Ireland: Irish Calendar Customs”. Dublin, Mercier Books.

  • Hutton, Ronald. 1996: “The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain”. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • MacKillop, James. 1998: “Dictionary of Celtic Mythology”. New York: Oxford University press.

  • Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. “Imbolc”. Website referenced March 2012.

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Visit us at the 2012 ShakeFest!

2012 Shake Fest: Charleville Castle, Tullamore, Ireland

Come visit us as the Tree Leaves Oracle and Pirate Relief will be teaming up to present a Faerie Glen on site as well as activities. We encourage you to dress up in your finest Faerie, fantasy, Medieval, and Pirate garb! Discounts for admission if in costume or fancy dress!