NOLLAIG NA MBAN
Nollaig na mBan – to hell with the housework!
January is most definitely the time for reflection, setting goals for the coming year and shedding old things (and people!) that no longer make us shine. It’s also a time to celebrate according to the tradition of Nollaig na mBan.
I decided to repost this blog feature from 2019 when I got to spend the most relaxing and inspiring day with a wonderful group of women at Benburb Priory Library & Museum. I attended this event to help celebrate Nollaig na mBan, as I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to ‘scrap the crap’ from the previous year and welcome in the new with open arms.
So what is Nollaig na mBan?
For those of you that don’t know what Nollaig na mBan is, I’m happy to help share some facts about this special day. Traditionally in Ireland, Nollaig na mBan is the day on which all the Christmas decorations must come down. Not before or after, for fear of risking bad luck for the rest of the year. Women would come together to celebrate and unwind after catering for everyone over the festive period. It has now developed into a day that helps celebrate the contribution of women to society.
In days of old, holly was really the only Christmas decoration in Irish homes. It would be taken down on this day and burnt, as a symbol of endings and letting go. This creates space to allow the new to be welcomed in. Nollaig na mBan (pronounced as “nulug na mon” ) translates from Irish as ‘Women’s Christmas’ and falls on the 6th January. There has been a resurgence of the age-old tradition of Nollaig na mBan and I, for one, couldn’t wait to see what was in store.
When I saw this ‘Meditation, Creation & Manifestation’ event online, I just knew that I simply had to go along. Andrea Givan is the beautiful lady that made this event happen & she was our guide and inspiration on the day. I can’t say enough good things about this girl – she is the embodiment of everything spiritual, creative and such a good heart.
I have visited Andrea a couple of times previously for treatments and guidance. She offers a range of holistic treatments and has been a great inspiration to me over the years regarding my business and personal journey.
We had been told in preparation for the event to bring along a crystal that holds special meaning to us. This would be incorporated into the exquisite merino wool wish doll that we would be making on the day. I brought along my favourite Tigers Eye stone that carries special meaning for me – this crystal brings confidence, strength, courage & protection.
A little piece of heaven
On arrival, I opened the door into our workshop space and was met with the most divine scent. The essential oils filled the air and immediately helped soothe the soul & mind. It was lovely to see a few familiar faces from years back and also meet some new friends.
We started off by choosing a card and a piece of salt to help guide us as part of the cleansing work. I was drawn to a card that had the message ‘Peace’ and featured the goddess Eireen. It was lovely to read the meaning – the card symbolised the need to let go, to focus on enjoying life and to express gratitude even for the little things. It also encourages us to welcome more blessings into our lives. Sounds just about perfect!
Next step, we had to write down in our journal what our goals & aspirations were for the year ahead. This really helped me focus on what’s important in my life & where I want to grow this year. Andrea advised that we could add to our list following on from the meditation as sometimes other desires come through that we didn’t even know were in there!
Using meditative practices, Andrea helped guide us align with your heart’s desires for the year ahead. I generally find it very difficult to relax and meditate as my mind tends to wander onto the list of things that need done in my head. However, I really tried hard and was surprised that I managed to (mostly) stay in the zone. Think the essential oils, soothing music and her gentle voice definitely helped.
It was so calming and I was surprised at the things that came to me during the meditation. I saw colours of green, following into yellow and then culminating in a shining white iridescent glow. The feeling of empowerment and working with children also featured strongly.
Meditation – that’s all you need …
To be honest, I felt a little emotional whilst meditating. I wasn’t entirely sure why at the time and was embarrassed when tears came to my eyes. It felt like a release. Like I needed to let go of something in my life and move on. When I chatted to some of the other ladies afterwards, it started to make sense and it was good to hear that I wasn’t the only eejit with tears running down my face. What I will take away from the experience is the feeling of intense love – positive and powerful, a oneness of women and kindred souls.
Merino Wool Wish Dolls
After lunch and a brisk walk outdoors, we spend the rest of the afternoon making our Merino wool wish dolls. Andrea is a so talented and has made some stunning dolls that you can see on her page Soul inSight. We incorporated colours, herbs, oils, and crystals into our creations, infusing our wish doll with all your intentions.
We were provided with helpful explanations as to what the different herbs/plants, plants & oils represented and Andrea invited us to choose 9 herbs and 3 oils to integrate with our crystal and doll. I selected Rose Buds, Lavender, Hawthorn Berries, Patchouli, Eucalyptus, Oregano, Rowan, Jasmine Flowers & Broom along with Frankincense, Geranium & Mandarin Oils.
I thoroughly enjoyed creating my doll and was really pleased with the end result. I’m not entirely sure what she represents or symbolises. When I look at her I see a powerful, strong woman who isn’t afraid to face her fears. She is a protector, a warrior and inspiration. Someone told me she looked like one of the cards in front of them and asked if I had based her on that card. I hadn’t even noticed the card but when I compared the two, there were similarities alright.
The card I received was The Gatherer – it symbolises a time of abundance. ‘Everything around you is ripe and ready for harvest. Banish the notions of scarcity that have limited your choices and coloured your destiny.’ I’ll take that any day of the week!
I’m going to share some of the other dolls created on the day by my friends below. There was such a range of colours, styles, interpretations all representing the diversity and creativity within the group.
We finished off a perfect day celebrating Nollaig na mBan with a fire ceremony, singing songs and telling stories of past traditions and our heritage. There is something magical and mesmerising when you watch the flames crackle and spark up into the air. I kinda get the whole fire watching thing now – beats staring at an iPhone any day.
Hugs were given, numbers exchanged and a promise made to meet up again very soon at Andrea’s next event. I came home feeling invigorated, grounded and surprisingly optimistic at what the year ahead would bring ….