Saturday, February 28, 2009


My beautiful niece, Kelsey, who's 18, e-mailed me some of her graduation photos this afternoon. I chose two to feature in my blog, not only to show off a lovely girl (my sister's daughter) but because I was struck by the difference between the two pictures.
Obviously, the first is a black and white photo (they seems to be en vogue now for graduation photos but it's all we had when I was a high school senior) and the second one is in color. Now, this may just be a photography trick I am unaware of, but the background is the same in both.
And this has been exactly how our winter has looked. In the past I always associated February with sunshine and warmer temperatures, if only for the kindness of the afternoon sun streaming in through a south-facing window.
But this year, including February, the skies have been leaden and heavy and oppressive, and often snow-filled. We received another 5 inches this week, making it the second snowiest February on record for Bismarck and the 7th snowiest winter ever (remember when I reported in January that it was the 13th snowiest on record? Wow, we've moved up the charts!)
My interior world has also been gloomy and despondent. There's my usual SAD - or Seasonal Affective Disorder - which pretty much shuts me down from November through April.
Some people say they cocoon in winter; some say they hibernate. I go even further. It's as if I go underground, like Persephone, only allowed to emerge into the sunlight for a portion of the year.
Then, a month ago Monday I injured my knee. I had previously been so blessed and so spoiled in my life that I hadn't had an ailment that hasn't been fixed immediately by medication or surgery - except for carpal tunnel syndrome, and that was cured after four acupuncture treatments.
I have now had five acupuncture treatments on my knees (both, because I was overcompensating with the right knee) and do feel some relief, especially in being able to put weight on my left leg again. From a pain scale of 10/10, I am now at about a 2 or 3 in that respect. Wonderful! Regarding the soreness in the inner knee area, I have gone from 10/10 to 5/10. But I still have so much painful stiffness, especially in the mornings, or when I have been sitting a couple of hours. That pain level is still about a 7-8. And, I am still very shaky on my pins, not being able to stand still for more than a couple of minutes.
I was too overconfident yesterday, and went without my walker all day (for some reason I call it my "stroller", which a few find hilarious) and so I paid for it today. But I am improving and I will never again take my mobility for granted.
So what does all this have to do with Kelsey's photos? The beautiful color that emerged from the chemical soup, the fixative, the Kodachrome, the Technicolor that makes up a color photo. The color that somehow manages to come through the dullness, the greyness, the pea-soup-fogness of my life in winter.
It's the color that shines through into my life from my favorite people. My darling niece - you see the pink in her cheeks and in her top? She is the picture of health and promise and youth. And in her eyes, the presence of an ancient soul. (Yes, I have known this of Kelsey since she was an infant.)
Today, Kelsey, myself and my sister Glori had a wonderful (and cheap) lunch at the Chinese buffet. There was Kelsey, and I in my teal green, and there was Glori in her peachy orange, caring and comforting and warm and loving - the essence of a caregiver, which she is, in spades.
There is the clear blue of my co-workers, such amazing, competent, strong women. There is the vibrant red of my book club - witty, intelligent, hilarious, brilliant at times, comrades always.
There is the kaleidoscope of colors of my blogging friends, all so unique and individual. I treasure them all, and their colors. The lavender of Mary from "Back of the Moon" who sent me a beautiful handmade pendant of my favorite painting, Walter Crane's "Signs of Spring." The emerald green of Joyce from "The Secret Gardener", who spontaneously sent me the Barbie Irish Step Dance Doll, just because I write on Celtic subjects. The bright yellow of Sheila of "Simple Indulgences" who sent me her "old" digital camera after she upgraded, "Just Because." (Not to mention other, previous, gifts of the heart.)
Then there's the snowy white of Dan's hair and his dress shirts. That is the color of all outdoors now, and you might think I would not be able to separate him from the background, but I can see him vividly for his kindness in shoveling walks and starting cars and washing clothes and doing dishes.
There are all the shades of green that I and my daughter Kristen both love, and which shimmer through in her voice as she calls me each Sunday: celadon, sage, jade, mint, forest, grass, teal, aquamarine, turquoise - cool, calm, refreshing and wise (that's the sage!).
These are the colors that shine through, even in my bleached, frozen world. They are the colors of the people I love, and they sparkle -they just sparkle - against the tundra.
I want to thank all of you who wrote such wonderful comments on my "Andrew Wyeth" post. You have re-affirmed me in a time when I needed it most.
And I apologize for having been such a bad commenter this month. I am going to try to get around to all of my favorites in the next week or so.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I have a blogging friend who is feeling just plain lousy from a cold or the flu - sniffling, sneezing, stuffy, achy, feverish, the works.
I told her I was sending some scent molecules of dandelion wine her way via cyberspace. In fact, I think we all could use some dandelion wine about now. Here in North Dakota, we are only 2/3 through winter. We desperately need a pick me up - an elixir or tonic, as it were.
I first learned about dandelion wine in Ray Bradbury's book by the same name.

"Dandelion wine", he wrote, "The words were summer on the tongue. The wine was summer caught and stoppered."

Young Doug Spaulding, the book's main character, envisions, while helping pick and press the dandelions on a June day, that a precious bottle would be opened many months later on a day "with snow falling fast and the sun unseen for weeks or months. " (That's what the winter of 2008-2009 has been for us!)

Anyone going down to his grandparents' cellar, thought Doug, would see the dandelion wine bottles on the shelves, "row upon row, with the soft gleam of flowers opening at morning, with the light of this June sun glowing through a faint skin of dust." You could take a bottle and "Peer through it at the wintry day - the snow melted to grass, the trees were reinhabitated (sic) with bird, leaf and blossom like a continent of butterflies breathing on the wind. And peering through, color sky from iron to blue.

You could "Hold summer in your hand, pour summer in a glass, a tiny glass of course, the smallest tingling sip for children; change the season in your veins by raising glass to lip and tilting summer in."

"Even Grandma," mused Doug, "when the snow was whirling fast, dizzying the world, blinding windows, stealing breath from gasping mouths, even Grandma, one day in February, would vanish to the cellar.

"Above, in the vast house, there would be coughings, sneezings, wheezings and groans, childish fevers, throats as raw as butcher's meat, noses like bottled cherries, the stealthy microbes everywhere.

"Then, rising from the cellar like a June goddess, Grandma would come, something hidden but obvious under her knitted shawl. This, carried to every miserable room upstairs-and-down, would be dispensed with aroma and clarity into neat glasses to be swigged neatly. The medicines of another time, the balm of sun and idle August afternoons, the faintly heard sounds of ice wagons passing on brick avenues, the rush of silver skyrockets and the fountaining of lawn mowers moving through ant countries, all these, all these in a glass.

"Yes," Doug imagined, "even Grandma, drawn to the cellar of a winter for a June adventure, might stand alone and quietly, in secret conclave of her own soul and spirit, as did Grandfather and Father and Uncle Bert, or some of the boarders, communing with a last touch of a calendar long departed, with the picnics and warm rains and the smell of fields of wheat and new popcorn and bending hay. Even Grandma, repeating the fine and golden words, even as they were said now in this moment when the flowers were dropped into the press, as they would be repeated every winter for all the white winters in time. Saying them over and over on the lips, like a smile, like a sudden patch of sunlight on the dark.

"Dandelion wine. Dandelion wine. Dandelion wine."

Don't those words make you wish you had a half dozen bottles of dandelion wine in your cellar? I hope that by printing these paragraphs, I have give you a whiff of summer, a sudden patch of sunlight. I hope I "changed the season in your veins" for just a moment.
I've actually tasted dandelion wine. While we were living in Langdon Dan and I and a friend took a Saturday afternoon road trip. Sitting at the bar in a tiny tavern in Wales, ND, we somehow got to talking about the book "Dandelion Wine."
The bartender perked up. "Dandelion wine?"he asked. "Wait right here." He went back to a storeroom and returned with a dusty bottle of dandelion wine which he opened and we sampled. Maybe it was because I had so loved Ray Bradbury's book, but that dandelion wine had a touch of magic to it.
While looking for images for this post, I learned that a winery right here in North Dakota makes dandelion wine:

The website says, "Just the yellow dandelion flowers are hand picked for this signature Midwestern prairie wine. A taste like a cross between a light chardonnay and corn on the cob, this wine has become a delicacy across the United States."
Hmm, like corn on the cob? I don't know if I'd like that in a wine. I think I'd rather try their Dakota Pear wine, or their Lilac wine - only if because of the Jeff Buckley song:
"I lost myself on a cool damp night
I Gave myself in that misty light
Was hypnotized by a strange delight
Under a lilac tree
I made wine from the lilac tree
Put my heart in its recipe
It makes me see what I want to see
and be what I want to be."

Getting back to "Dandelion Wine," the book, if reading these words didn't make you want to go out and borrow or buy this book, I don't know what will. Except maybe printing the first paragraph. Remember in my last post I spoke of memorable first lines? Well, here's a memorable first paragraph from a memorable book set in Green Town, Illinois, in 1928:
"It was a quiet morning, the town covered with darkness and at ease in bed. Summer gathered in the weather, the wind had the proper touch, the breathing of the world was warm and long and low. You had only to rise, lean from your window, and know that this indeed was the first real time of freedom and living, this was the first morning of summer."

Monday, February 16, 2009


ANDREW WYETH, American Realist
July 12, 1917 to Jan. 16, 2009

Above, one of Wyeth's "Helga" series of paintings. Below, one of his most-recognized paintings, "Christina's World."

Somehow I missed the news of Andrew Wyeth's passing last month. I only learned about it this weekend, but I wanted to pay him tribute here, not only because of his wonderful paintings, but also because of what he meant to me as a teenager.

When I was 17 I found a copy of one of his paintings in a magazine. It was of a long expanse of greenish looking snow, with a farmstead in the background. (I googled it tonight but couldn't find it.) I clipped it out and tacked it to the bulletin board on my bedroom door. It reminded me of North Dakota, certainly, but the main reason I clipped it out was because of its muted colors and subtlety.

And it had a profound effect on me in a much larger way. It was part of my effort to educate myself, culturally. I grew up in a rural, isolated part of North Dakota. I went to a one-room elementary school and then to a marginal, at best, high school with definitely marginal teachers. It offered a foreign language only one year that I was there and speech, not at all. No art instruction, no art appreciation, no music appreciation. In English class, we read just two novels, one in junior year and one in senior year.

So, I undertook to broaden my horizons. I subscribed to the Saturday Review of Literature and devoured it every week. I read reviews of books I would never read, read cartoons I didn't understand, even tried to learn chess via the weekly chess puzzles. My mother, I'm sure, thought I was an odd child, but didn't say a word. My stepfather was openly scornful.

I babysat frequently and used the money to subscribe to the magazine, and to buy books and records. I joined as many book clubs as I could, including the International Collectors Library, which sent you books in (faux) leather and gilded bindings of all the great classics. I read them too. I especially remember reading "War and Peace" in the Columbus laundromat, waiting yet again for dad to pick me up, and hearing the background noise of dryers tumbling clothes while I was far away in Russia, entrenched in the world of Pierre, Prince Andrei, Natasha and the rest of the Rostov family.

I also crossed the Russian Steppes with Dr. Zhivago and Lara, ran through the streets of Dickens' London with Oliver Twist, roamed the moors with Catherine and Heathcliffe, suffered along with Jane Eyre. I watched breathlessly from the gallery as Atticus Finch's children watched their father give a magnificent oration. Along with the constantly knitting Madame LaFarge, I watched heads roll during the French Revolution.

While other kids were joking around in study hall, I sat with one leg tucked under me, arms curled around my book, so deeply absorbed I was not really there. No, I was arriving at Manderley for the first time along with the ever-nameless new wife in "Rebecca". (It's still my favorite suspense book of all time and my all-time best villain, the dastardly Mrs. Danvers. )

Hearing first lines of my favorite books still gives me the shivers:

"Last night I dreamed I went to Manderley again."

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times" ("A Tale of Two Cities.")

"When he was nearly 13, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow." ("To Kill A Mockingbird")

"Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show." (David Copperfield)

"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth." ("The Catcher in the Rye")

I ordered a poster book of the 100 Greatest Paintings ever and memorized the artists and their works. I even found, in one of those Sunday newspaper supplement magazines, an illustrated vignette of Richard Burton's five favorite poems. I can remember at least three of them, and memorized them all: "Fern Hill" by Dylan Thomas, "Miniver Cheevy" by Edwin Arlington Robinson, and "The Windhover" by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

In short, I was this thin, shy, gawkish sponge, soaking up little tidbits of knowledge wherever I could find them. Of course, I also haunted the school library, such as it was, and the Crosby library. I fell in love with Ancient Britain for life when I eagerly, blissfully, researched and wrote a term paper on Stonehenge.

I ordered classical music LPs and played them over and over, trying to discern the different composers' styles. Again, my mom never said a word (and I didn't play them when dad was home).

It wasn't long before I didn't have to look so hard or so determinedly for knowledge. When I went to the University of North Dakota, a whole new world opened up for me as I pursued an English Lit degree: Novel after novel after novel and poems read gloriously aloud as they were meant to be, stimulating class discussions, annual writer's conferences, theatre, avant-garde and "serious" films, art galleries, guest lecturers (Truman Capote among them!) and concerts.

But I like to think that I put those first few drops of knowledge in my bucket all by myself. And I thank Andrew Wyeth for being one of those first drops.

(Ever since the film "The Bucket List" came out, people have been making their own bucket lists. But I've had the same bucket list forever and I'm still trying to top off the bucket by reading every good book I possibly can.)

My favorite Wyeth painting, "Master Bedroom"

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Happy Almost-Over Valentine's Day! Valentine's Day is a non-holiday in our house. We pretty much haven't observed it since Kristen went away to college. Dan thinks it's all a ploy by the florists, candy manufacturers, jewelers and card makers. He absolutely refuses to take part. Although I was miffed in the beginning, I have come to agree with him. I don't need a dozen roses as proof of his love for me. He has shown me his love by warming up my car for me every cold morning this winter, and helping me do practically everything since I hurt my knee on February 2.

Unfortunately, my knee is no better. I have been using a walker - which, by the way, Dan had the idea to rent for me, as the clinic did not offer me crutches or walker. I took the full regimen of 10-days' worth of anti-inflammatory/pain pills, and still ended up with a pain scale of 10/10. The doctor at the clinic had told me that if the pills didn't work, the next step would be cortisone shots and/or physical therapy. Neither one appeals to me, especially the PT, since it did nothing for my hands when I had moderate-to-severe carpal tunnel syndrome last winter. I had ultrasound, hot wax and fluidotherapy treatments to no avail.

What did help my CTS (100%!) was acupuncture, so I have decided to go that route with my knee. I had my first treatment on Thursday afternoon. I'm hoping it doesn't take too many treatments (it took four for my hands). So I have been pretty much housebound for a couple of weeks. I never left the house at all the first week, and this past week I went to work but nowhere else.

My sister took me to lunch today, which was great, and then she did something even nicer. She offered to take me for a drive! I felt like I had been released from jail - or the loony bin. It was a beautiful day. It wasn't all that warm, but the sun was shining - a rare occurrence this winter. It was warm in the car, the snow on the pavement was melting, and I was free to sit back and enjoy the scenery.

We took River Road north along the Missouri River. On the east side of the road were the majestic bluffs of the river valley, and on the west was the great Mighty Mo. The area is heavily wooded, interspersed with meadows covered by deep, untrammeled snow. The snow was dazzling to the eye against the brilliant blue sky. We had fun pretending that the snow-covered bluffs to the north were mini-mountains (the ND mountain removal project was completed some years ago - LOL!), speculating on the price of riverfront property and wondering about a tiny sign that said "The Road to Nowhere." (I wasn't able to - and she wasn't inclined to - check it out.)


As we went along, I realized I was getting a mini history lesson. Bismarck has a wonderfully rich cultural heritage. It is comprised - in part - by the presence of the aboriginal occupants of this land, the Native Americans; the incredible journey of Lewis & Clark to explore the great unknown continent; the Indian Wars and the colossal Missouri itself, including the days of the paddle boat.

The land by the river in Bismarck is dotted by at least four parks, which contain monuments depicting the area's history. As we stopped at replicas and statues, I was dreaming of days long ago, when Lewis & Clark took on the Missouri with keel boats like the one shown above. What courage it took! In fact, if you want to read about L &C and their historic voyage, you can't do better than "Undaunted Courage" by Stephen Ambrose. (Forgive me, but we NoDaks consider Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to be our own. They went up the Missouri in 1804 and came back down in 1806. The first year, they overwintered with the Mandan Indians at Washburn, not far north of Bismarck, and found Sakakawea there. (Her statue is on our State Capitol grounds.)

The Lewis & Clark paddle boat is in dry dock for the winter. This boat is a pleasure boat holding dinner and evening cruises on beautiful summer nights. But I was imagining the summer day when another paddle boat, Far West, landed in Bismarck in 1876, carrying the news about/survivors of the Custer Massacre in Montana. The Bismarck Tribune telegraphed reports found with slain Tribune reporter Mark Kellogg and other news about the great national catastrophe. (Remember that I once worked for the Tribune - what a legacy!)

"THUNDERBIRDS," a sculpture by students
at United Tribes Techical College in Bismarck

And of course, there are the days when The People - the Lakota (Sioux), the Mandan, the Arikara, the Hidatsa and the Chippewa - held sway over the land. The days when the lands of The People spanned an area from the Missouri to the West Coast.
Over and over again, the Eagle theme presented itself to us. The case can be made, wouldn't you think, that the Thunderbirds statue above depicts eagles? This sculpture is meant to show four archetypal thunderbird myths from four geographical regions of the United States. This sculpture, along with the keel boat, is in Keelboat Park along the river.

"RISING EAGLE" sculpture by UTTC students

Farther north, in Pioneer Park, we found "Rising Eagle, also created by United Tribe students.

Another view of "RISING EAGLE"

And finally, my favorite sculpture of all, "Reflections" (below), an eagle whose wings surround a reflecting ball. This native sculpture is meant to represent Mother Earth and the area's natural beauty.

"REFLECTIONS" sculpture by UTTC students

Unfortunately, and sadly, both "Rising Eagle" and "Reflections" were vandalized during or shortly after installation. I don't even have words for these despicable acts and the people who perpetrated them. All I can say is thank God - or Great Spirit - that at least one group in our North Dakota population still respects and reveres Mother Earth.

There are more eagle sculptures in Bismarck that we did not explore today. There is a magnificent eagle in full wingspan in Custer Park in the center of Bismarck not far from where I live, and I understand that there are eagle sculptures at Dakota Zoo in Sertoma Park in the south end of Bismarck.

One of these days (but in summer time) I will take you to to the west side of the river - where the Mandan Indian population thrived in a stationary agricultural settlements along the Missouri, and to Gen. George Custer's Fort Lincoln - located in the same spot but centuries later.


I know, I know: Some of these pictures were taken in the winter and some in the summer. Not having a digital camera, I had to find the pictures on the Internet. But that will soon change, I hope. A dear blogging friend has offered me the use of her "old" camera as she updates to a newer one. Thank you, Miss S! (I will let you remain anonymous unless you want me to print your name.)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


"BRIGID MAKING HER WAY" by Elizabeth Phillips

I really put a lot of work into writing it and finding the artwork, so I wanted to make sure I posted it. But I had a good reason for not finishing it yesterday. Robbie Burns, that old Celt, said it best: "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft a-gley."

I badly wrenched my knee yesterday afternoon and now cannot put weight on it. I can scarcely walk on it, and only with a great deal of pain. I spent a couple of hours sitting in a wheelchair at the after hours clinic after work.

The result is that I have an order to stay off my feet for a few days, and got a pain/anti-inflammatory prescription and the recommendation to use a heating pad.

By the way, I have nothing but bad to say about Dr. Dipwad, the after hours clinic doc I saw. He was all brusque and business and very much in a hurry. He never once asked me how much pain I was in or even touched my knee! What an a--hole! Thank goodness the nurses and clerks were so nice. They had the extra detail of wheeling me from reception area to waiting room to exam room to the bathroom to the x-ray lab to the pharmacy and back to the front (where my dear husband took over from there). Thanks, ladies!

I had a very restless night last night, so I am going back to bed, from which I won't venture for a few hours, except to crawl to the bathroom. The only reason I am out here right now is that I had to get my medication, which I had left on the dining room table, and to get the phone to call my office. Must go make that phone call right now.


A friend had e-mailed me this joke but I didn't read it until this afternoon:


Boy, if this doesn't hit the nail on the head, I don't know what does!

Two patients limp into two different medical clinics with the same complaint. Both have trouble walking and appear to require a hip replacement. The FIRST patient is examined within the hour, is x-rayed the same day and has a time booked for surgery the following week. The SECOND sees his family doctor after waiting 3 weeks for an appointment, then waits 8 weeks to see a specialist, then gets an x-ray, which isn't reviewed for another week and finally has his surgery scheduled for a month from then. Why the different treatment for the two patients?

The FIRST is a Golden Retriever. The SECOND is a Senior Citizen. Next time take me to a vet!

I agree! Our family vet is much nicer, and at least he would have patted me on the head and checked my paw. BTW, Dr. Dipwad isn't my regular doc. Dr. Jeff is a good dude. In fact, I think he would have had a great deal of sympathy for me, having had knee surgery a couple of months ago.

Monday, February 2, 2009


By Lisa Iris

Aine of the Celts here ~

On our Celtic Wheel of the Year, today is Imbolc, the Midwinter Festival that is one of our four major holidays of the year. It falls exactly halfway between Yule, the winter solstice, and Ostara, the spring equinox. Here in Britannia, snowdrops are peeking through, the first sign of spring. Ravens are building their nests, and larks are singing overhead.

Sheep are also lambing, and they give this holiday its name. It marks the onset of lactation in ewes soon to give birth. Imbolc means "in the belly (of the mother)". Another name for Imbolc is Oimelc, which means "ewe's milk". With the lambs comes milk, our first fresh food of the season.


Today is sacred to the Goddess Brighid (also spelled Bride (breed), Brigid, Brigit, Bridget, Briganta, Brigan, Brid and other variations). Her name means Bright One, High One or Bright Arrow. In Scottish Gaelic, her day is "La Fheill Brighide". In Irish Gaelic, it is "La Fheile Bride".

Brighid is the goddess of healing, which makes her special to me, a healer. However, she is a Triple Goddess, being also the goddess of poetry and the goddess of smithing (blacksmithing, goldsmithing, metalsmithing and household crafts).

Artist Unknown

Purification and fire are important aspects of this feast. The lighting of fires today represents the return of warmth and the increasing power of the sun. The presence of Brighid reminds us that the strength of women is manifest in the invincible fire that burns steadily through the heart of winter, no matter how dark and cold the world. Another name for this day is "The Feast of the Waxing Light".

For us, the success of the new farming season is of great importance. At this time of year, our precious food stores are getting low. We perform Imbolc rites to harness Brighid's divine energy so as to ensure a steady supply of food until the harvest in six months.

"BRIDE OF IMBOLC" by Jennifer Galasso

Women and girls make Bride dolls and beds and decorate them prettily with beads, shells and flowers. They also make Brighid crosses.

Other sacred rituals include blessing our seeds and decorating and consecrating our farming tools. We clear the fields and sprinkle ashes on them. We leave offerings of bread, milk, grains and seeds for Brighid. We clean and purify our homes and light new hearth fires dedicated to the goddess. From these, we start a giant outdoor bonfire. We set torches alight and circle the fields in procession. Afterward we hold a great feast.

"BRIGHID" by Teri Rosario

Bridghid is also associated with sacred wells. On this day, Calleach, the ancient hag, bathes in her sacred well and becomes Bride the maiden. Brighid has a holy well in Kildare, Ireland. The Sacred Flame at the well is kept by 19 virgin priestesses called Daughters of the Flame. No man is allowed near the well, and the preistesses do not consort with men.

"BRIGHID" by Sharon McLeod"
As I peer into the future, I see that Brighid is one of the few Celtic goddesses who survived after the days of us pagans. Her sway over Ireland was so strong that the Church "borrowed" her and turned her into Saint Brigid or Brigit. The Christians say that St. Brigit was the daughter of a Druid who was converted and baptized by St. Patrick. Catholic nuns now tend Brighid/St. Brigit's sacred flame.
This day is also celebrated by the church as Candlemas, the day to bless all the candles that will be used in the following liturgical year. It is also called the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary.

Imbolic/Brighid's Day is a time of rebirth and inner transformation, of inspiration and creativity. I hope you experience all these today.

Gina McGarry


Julie here: Did you spot all the symbols for Brighid in today's and yesterday's images? In addition to the snake I mentioned in my previous post, there are: fire/light/sun, snowdrops,
white candles (and candle crowns a la St. Lucia), sacred wells, the wolf (February is the wolf moon in Britain), the swan, pregnant women to symbolize fertility, sheep and lambs, brooms or spinning wheels in honor of the keeper of the hearth, a white cow with red ears, arrows, spears, the new moon and Brighid's cross.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


"IMBOLC" by Wendy Andrew

Tomorrow is the day usually chosen to celebrate Imbolc, one of the four major holidays of the Celtic Wheel of the Year. However, Imbolc - also called La Fheile Bride (Breed) in Gaelic, or Brighid's Day - is celebrated by some on February 1, so I thought I would write a post today to feature many of the wonderful Imbolc images I found on the Internet.
In fact, I found so many images that there are plenty left for tomorrow's post when Aine will tell us all about Imbolc/La Fheille Bride.
Many of the artists used symbols associated with Imbolc in their artwork. (I attributed as many of the paintings as I could.) See how many symbols you can identify.

"IMBOLC" by Karen Bagnard

Imbolc card from Healings of Atlantis

"IMBOLC" by Wendy Andrew

"IMBOLC" by Wendy Andrew

Imbolc card by Magical Omaha

"IMBOLC" by Sharon McLeod

"IMBOLC" by Karen Cater

"IMBOLC" by Susanne Iles

Added Monday:

I tried to eliminate all images that contained pentagrams, for I do not want it thought that I am a Wiccan. However, I see that one image slipped by me. Sorry about that. I also did my best to not show Imbolc images containing snakes, as I hate snakes. However, the snake is a symbol of the goddess, and one image here does show a snake - however, it is the smallest image so perhaps you didn't even spot the snake.

I also apologize if some of the images are haunting, as one commenter said, or startling or unsettling. I have seen so many images in my research that I am used to them, but some viewers might think them very vivid.

ADDED TUESDAY: I had to add the comment by Sue, The Purple Pixie, of The Creative Spirit. She wrote:

"Happy Imbolc Julie, and wonderful pictures. The pentacle doesn't always mean you're wicca, we use it as a symbol of the 5 elements of man, Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit. also I know many Druid friends who wear them too. It's a sign of protection and also one of Paganism. I know the symbol has been over used in far too many spookie, horror films.... much to my amusment. lol."

Good to know this, Sue!