“Imbolc Imbolc, The Season of Rebirth. Feel the infant stirring in the waters of the Earth. Imbolc, Imbolc, The Light will soon return, Born to Earth this winter night, Let the candles burn”
The above words come from a song called “Imbolc” by Aeolian Songspell. They wrote some wonderful songs but they seem to have disappeared from the music scene. Luckily I still have their songs, in the old fashioned tape form.
Those who follow the rhythym of nature known as “The Wheel Of The Year” are paying heed to the cycle of light and dark. Everyone knows that it gets darker earlier after the longest day at Midsummer and gradually the daylight is extended after the shortest day at Midwinter. Then we have two midpoints during the year when the daylight and nightly absence of light are balanced, just for a short time. These are the Spring and Autumn Equinox.
What does Imbolc signify on the cycle? It is a fire festival. It marks St Brigid’s Day and the end of winter. The candles that are burned in processions represent the light from the Sun which is gradually becoming more present and increasing in power. Some areas put on parades and let characters enact roles in dramas to represent aspects of nature that we all know about and see around us. The suitable one at this time would be Jack Frost and the Green Man battling for supremacy in a mummers play. This would of course represent in dramatic form how Spring wins against Winter.
The word “Imbolc” or Ol-melc” means “ewe’s milk”. Around this time, around February 1st and 2nd, sheep would start to lactate as they were preparing for birthing the lovely lambs that we see in Springtime. The Imbolc rituals would be performed at least in part to ensure a new crop of healthy lambs.
Another name for Imbolc is Candlemas and the tradition is to light a procession of candles to welcome back the waxing/growing Sun. As Above So Below. As Within So Without. The Sun links to the heart and the heart waxes with love during this month too on St Valentine’s Day. The days spent indoors by the hearth are almost over and it is time to be more awake and go outside in the world and instead of focussing within yourself (the unconscious/dark) you start to look outwards and think about being out and about again in the coming months (the Conscious/Light).
Farmers start to prepare their land and gardeners begin to clear the top surface of the soil and plan what to plant. Start to clear your mind and house of clutter from the winter to make room for new projects. Draw up the blinds or open the curtains wider to welcome the light back into your life. Do some groundwork. What do you plan to plant and grow in your life during the coming Spring and Summer? It is the time that people start browsing and ordering from seed and garden catalogues. Start to plan in your head which wyrd life seeds you are going to plant and where. Think of the details, what actions from you would help them to grow and flourish. As you clear your physical garden of old twigs, dead branches and twigs, envisage that you are removing those aspects of your personality and life that are no longer serving you, that you are tidying your inner world, your mind and making room for new growth and fresh ideas. As you repair and sharpen your gardening tools, think that you are also repairing your thought process and sharpening your powers of perception. As you repair fences think in terms of setting your boundaries, that you are and you plans are safe and that only those seeds that you mindfully plant will grow on your patch. Stand and take a deep breath and project yourself forward in time. Visualise the luscious growth and the beautiful colours that will fill your garden, breathe in the scents and feel the joy of the feeling of seeing what you have planted manifesting in such splendour.
Start being like the ewes. Prepare for the birth of your fresh new ideas and ventures which you carry within you. Know that the Sun is growing in strength and so is your inner fire, your heart, and that your plans will receive all they need to grow and prosper from the passion and strength of the solar fire that is within, above and about you.
St Brigid is the patron goddess of poetry. Snowdrops are a symbol of Imbolc. Here is a delightful poem:
To the Snowdrops – Melinda Kennedy
Oh snowdrops, I think that
You came in the night,
In only your nighties
And that’s why you’re white.
The world was all sleeping
With never a sound,
You wanted to see it
So came through the ground.
I think that you’re smiling,
But still feel too shy
To lift your sweet faces
To smile at the sky
Wishing You A Blessed Imbolc Filled with Solar Light and Inspiration.