For many of us, we have been in the depths of Winter for a couple months now. It may not seem that we are closer to Spring, but with Imbolc coming upon us this week we in fact are!! The time from the Winter Solstice until now holds so much for us. There are many celebrations and holidays that we are a part of and then comes a period of rest, hibernation, and self-reflection. I know that I am still in hibernation mode and have been taking this time to really evaluate where and how I want to see myself evolve this year, but the time is coming for me to start nurturing the seeds of self-change that I have planted. With that Imbolc has arrived.
Imbolc is the Mid-Winter point for us in the Northern Hemisphere. It is a time to celebrate as the Sun King is becoming stronger and making his presence more known. The days are getting longer a little bit at a time and with that the light brings us hope and excitement of things to come. Plant and animal life are starting to awaken and stir as Mother Earth starts to thaw. It may seem like a slow process, but some things are worth waiting for!
Now is the time to honor Brighid, Goddess of Fire. She encompasses what it is that we are looking for during these cold Winter months. She brings hope for renewal, rebirth, and warmth. There are many ways to celebrate her during Imbolc such as, lighting candles in every room in your home, burning any evergreen decorations that are left from Yule, hanging a Brideog (Brighid’s cross) over the doorway to your home, and cleaning your home of clutter and any old stagnant energy. These are just a few ways that you can incorporate the blessings from Brighid to help move you forward as you are planting the seeds of things to come and setting your intentions for what you will be creating come Springtime.
People have been celebrating Imbolc for centuries as farmers would start to prepare for their planting season. They would also start to repair any farm equipment that they needed to sow their lots. Animals would be preparing to birth their young as well, and all of this was a time of celebration as the harsh Winter’s would be ending soon. You may have even heard about Groundhogs Day which is a modern celebration in the U.S. That also stems from ancient lore and celebrations of many Pagans. It is said in Celtic lore that Cailleach (a Divine hag) would go out to collect wood on this day. If she wanted Winter to last longer she would make it a bright sunny day so she would have more time to collect more wood to get her through six more weeks of Winter. If she made it a cold and cloudy day she would only expose herself to the elements for a short time to collect the wood she would need which would stipulate only a short amount of time until Spring arrived. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?? It really is amazing to learn how so many of our modern celebrations are truly based on ancient celebrations and festivals.
So as we are aware of the beginning of the thaw, it is time for us to put into perspective what we can do for ourselves at this time of year as well. We should be well aware of the intentions that we are setting, the seeds that we are planting (literally and figuratively) and prepare to nurture and care for everything that we are ready to create in our lives. This is a special time for us as we can start to come out of our own hibernation and grow our excitement for what is to come! Enjoy this most beautiful celebration as we can start to see what the future holds for us…Happy Imbolc!