Cylch Blodeuwedd

Druidic Grove in North-West Wales

Notes on Gwyl Fraid

by gillian - January 4th, 2012.
Filed under: Wheel of the Year.

1) Gwyl Ffraid is the time when we celebrate the promise of spring. Although the days are still cold and wet, or white with frost, the darkness doesn’t have such a dark quality about it. The daylight is lighter and brighter; the air is differently scented; the birdsong is louder and more melodious. Even in the darkest time of winter, spring was never really that far away; bulb spears have been breaking the earth and pushing upwards since the end of November; buds have been tightly formed on the trees since before the last leaves fell. Now, everything is pushing harder, swelling and changing… have you noticed the way that the branches of the trees change colour as the new life quickens within them, particularly the willow and birch? Lambs can be seen in the fields and byers and the ewes are in milk. The whiteness of snow and frost is being replaced by the lightness and warmth of new life.

2) Although this is a time to celebrate the promise of spring, it is also a reminder that it is just that – a promise. Nothing is certain during the early steps on any journey. It is therefore also a time to be wary, a time to call on our reserves of strength. Our ancestors knew this only too well. By this stage of the year, they had survived the actual winter, but still had a very long way to go before the new spring crops would be ready to feed the people. Their own supplies from the previous summer would be getting low now, and the next crops could still be blighted by frost and flood.

3) Life in its early stages is always precarious,be it for the lamb, the human child, the seedling or the community. And so it is for the spirit. There comes that stage in the journey when our first reserves of enthusiasm for what is new have worn low and we see before us the real length of the journey. Just as many people feel that the winter will never end, so many on the spiritual path despair that they ever understand, that the goal they have set themselves can ever be won. But this is also a time for healing, reseeding of focus and resolution, intuition and of rededication to your own principles and goals.

4) At Lammas, opposite Gwyl Ffraid on the wheel of the year,consciousness began its descent into the inner realms and the dark, to find inner wisdom and regeneration. Here at Gwyl Ffraid the unconscious is re-emerging from the inner realms, revitalised, potent and fertile. The unconscious and the conscious join and unite to bring about growth, fertility and manifestation, on all levels. This is the time for initiation and healing, for reclaiming what has been forgotten. It is a time for invocation of the life-force and working with the dynamics of its potency. The intuitive flashes, the sparks of inspiration are needed more than ever to complement the active rational approach which dominates our western life-style. The returning active phase of the solar year brings with it an opportunity to use the Fire from within, to combine the dynamic inner power with the dynamic expansive energy of the year’s cycle.

5) Imbolc means “in the belly” …. ewes milk, referring to the lactation of the ewes as their young reach out from the womb to gambol innocently through the moist, pale green fields of our land. Here in Wales, Ffraid, the young maiden goddess in her infant form prances across the landscape, beckoning the summer greens that lie hidden beneath the earth. Ffraid is the Welsh name of the goddess Brigit, (pronounced in Irish as “Breed”). This is the time for honouring the Goddess, Woman and the Land who are all imbued with the responsibility of bringing forth new life. Ffraid / Breed, in common with many other Celtic deities, is triple- aspected, a goddess of healing and fertility, a goddess of smiths, a goddess of poetry… all of which are associated with fire and flame, with the hearth, with creativity. But she is also a goddess of water and patron of many healing wells. For Ffraid / Breed, fire and water go together. Fire is the potential of inspiration and new life in the waters of the womb.

6) Ffraid is a lady of principle. She is assertive in an elegant manner. She knows how to achieve her goals without alienating her associates and friends.

Above all, she is an idealist who will achieve through dedication and perseverence.
She is a winner.
And she is compassionate, caring, loyal, unselfish, and feminine.
She is strong in insight and intuition.
She is fun-loving and can show a tendency towards flirtatious and mischievous acts.

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