Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Imbolg - Celebrating She Who Heals

ו' שבט ה'תשס"ז

Imbolg (also called Imbolc) is one of the four Greater Sabbats of Celtic witchcraft. The Welsh name for Imbolg is Gwyl Ffraed. Typically, Imbolg is observed February 1/February 2 in the northern hemisphere. Purification, healing and recovery, prophetic poetry and smithcraft are linked with the Divine Feminine power ruling this sacred time.

Transliterating the word Imbolg into the mystical alphabet I am familiar with, that is Hebrew, we have the letters: אם בלג

The first two letters "im" (אם) spell "mother". "Mother" is from the 3-letter root אמה which means "pillar" and "support" [1]. Significantly, the word and the root begin with the letter aleph (א). Aleph symbolizes air and the central pillar of the sefirotic array. It also is bound specifically to the feminine sefirah Malchut (kingship/queenship), the sefirah through "which all other sefirot (divine emanations) are expressed" [2]. Consequently, the root implies balance, a quality of hishtavut (mystical equanimity), and Divine rulership.

The final three letters form the root BLG (בלג), meaning "strengthening", "supporting" and "recovering" [1]. The meanings in this root fit well with the healing message of Imbolg.

Taken together, we can see that Imbolg is a Celtic Sabbat celebrating the divine She Who Heals, where She Who Heals goes by the Celtic name Brigid, by the Welsh name Ceridwen, and by the Hebrew designation, the Shechinah.


[1] Etymological Dictionary Of Biblical Hebrew, R' Matityahu Clark

[2] Sefer Yetzirah, R' Aryeh Kaplan translation (p.153)

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