Orla created Imbolc postcards and set them out last night to catch Brigid’s magic dew on Imbolc Eve. Lucky are we who might benefit from a bit of this fairy dust in the form of a postcard.
In this episode of The Postcardist Podcast, Orla Hegarty and I talk about Imbolc; making postcards to honor the holiday; cognitive awe as we look out over the ocean; the mesmerizing qualities of humpback whales Orla sees from her living room window; giant potatoes and Irish immigration in Prince Edward Island; iron-on patches in school uniforms; and how Orla helped a small class of students in Labrador get a large number of postcards from around the word. Postcards connect people — and knowing smart people like Orla helps us connect to the world around us.
First, I’m imagining some of you might be wondering about Imbolc and its meaning. I’d heard of it as a kid growing up, but I didn’t know enough. Let’s all start with a little grounding about what Imbolc signifies.
Imbolc, which means in the belly as in the pregnant belly of a sheep, was a time when the breeding cycle of sheep started and ewes began to lactate. It’s a time of rebirth. The onset of spring. The modern holiday is also now known in Christianity as St. Brigid’s Day. You can listen here to a a little more about the ritual In Ireland in this 10-minute Almanac of Ireland podcast that’s a compilation of schoolchildren from the 1930s telling about the tradition. Plus, you can hear slight variations on the pronunciation of the word.
And if you’d like to listen to a pretty song about Imbolc, here’s Lisa Theil’s song of that name:
Now that you have some grounding in Imbolc (listen to the podcast to get a whole lot more from Orla), here are some of Orla’s Imbolc postcards in process. You can see the pieces of cloth and the St. Brigid’s Cross she refers to.
Orla and I also talked about Max Dashu’s book, Witches and Pagans: Women in European Folk Religion. This video is a good summary of the author’s work on the book.
We also talked about P.E.I. and the world’s largest potato. You can visit this 14-foot tall super spud at The Canadian Potato Museum in O’Leary, Prince Edward Island. This definitely has to be a stopover on The Peace, Love & Postcards Tour. Who’s with me?
And we talked about the postcard project Orla promoted for the school children at Labrador Straits Academy in L’Anse au Loup, Labrador, Canada.
In this show, we also talked about the word “wyrd” and its link to fate and weaving; postcard goggles; and whale watching from the beach at St. Vincent’s. This is the view Orla has from her house. Now that’s a connection to the sea.
Finally, I’d like to leave you with something Orla said that still has me laughing. Challenge accepted, Orla. Challenge accepted.