“Let your light shine so brightly that others can see their way out of the dark”
– Timber Hawkeye
Imbolc/Imbolg – ‘in the belly.’ This refers to the time of year where ewes are pregnant with lambs and the stirrings of life around us begin again after the freeze of Winter. It is also deeply connected in symbolism with the Yew tree which although signifying death in mythology, gives birth to a bolus of new life within the hollow of its trunk upon dying and therefore perfectly demonstrates to us a perfect example of the birth/life/death/rebirth cycle.
Also known as Candlemas and St Brigid’s Day, blessed Imbolc is here! This is an ancient festival that is reported by some historians to have been celebrated since neolithic times since there are a series of tombs in Celtic lands which appear to align with sunrise at both Imbolc and Samhain (Halloween.)
With the advent of Christianity, the Celtic Goddess Brid was adopted as Saint Brigid and the time of year where still nothing appears to grow above ground but where beneath the soil, seeds and bulbs are shaking themselves out of slumber, is celebrated by Christians and non-Christians alike. Our ancestors knew when to rest, when to play, when to plant and cultivate, when to harvest and when to let die. However we choose to refer to the Divine presence within our lives, we as humans are not new to giving thanks to the big thaw and the return to green glades and growth in abundance.
This is a time of year for endings and beginnings. In a recent article we wrote about Standstill. We explored the immense benefits of allowing the Spirit to be still. We practised releasing the impulse to struggle and desisting from growth and the removal of obstacles – just for the short period of time where the festival of Yule is over but nothing yet grows.
Imbolc signifies that the time for stillness is now over.
It is not yet Spring. We cannot prune, water and feed. The midday sun is still too weak to promote growth and the tips of any leaves that dare to poke above the soil are subject to the risk of freezing where they stand – this is not a time for cultivation - it is a time for planning.
Refreshed and replenished by our period of hibernation we can now look to the future – but softly and with care and deliberation. We are wise to proceed slowly out of standstill so that those things that we manifest in the coming year are what we truly want or need. Attempting to manifest without clear intention and a semblance of order may well create overwhelm and chaos for us. Moving too quickly into our hopes and dreams might result in our tender stems becoming frostbitten in our eagerness for change – gently does it as we thaw out.
When we are walking a path towards personal enlightenment, Imbolc is a perfect time for setting intentions.
To inspire you to do this we suggest that you consider the following questions:
What is it that lights your fires of creativity?
What exactly do you want to manifest?
What do you want to let go of?
And remembering that death is always followed by the birth of something new:
What do you want to birth?
There are many alternative ways to mark the passing of this festival. Here are some of our suggestions:
Take a mindful walk in nature and take in any subtle signs of stirrings of above the hard earth.
Light a candle to reflect and welcome the lengthening days and the prospect of the coming of Spring.
Tend carefully to your sleeping plants both inside and out, appreciating their talent for knowing when to wake.
Plant some seeds
May the shaking of the world into wakefulness bring you joy, growth and abundance!
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