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Imbolc

Snowdrops

The Quickening

Winter turns to Spring

1 February

About Imbolc:

The name Imbolc originates from “Imbolg,” which translates as “in the belly.” At this time in the year, something amazing is happening. In the belly of the Earth, the womb of our Mother Gaia, the quickening is happening. Women who have experienced being pregnant will remember the feeling of the quickening within the very center of their being; when they first felt the awakening of life, like a newly emerged butterfly drying its wings in the sun. And that is what is now happening within Gaia’s womb and within each of us…the quickening…the seeds are stirring and life is awakening.

 

The seed is both a literal and symbolic representation of Imbolc. Literally the seed represents the beginning of work and life and the nourishment that will result from it. The seed also serves as a symbolic representation of Imbolc because it represents pure potentiality – the unplanted, unsprouted seed can manifest into anything. 

 

Occurring midway between Yule (the Winter Solstice) and Ostara (the Spring Equinox), Imbolc is a turning point in the year, when one season melts into the next. It is the light at the end of the tunnel, like a candle seen in the distance. At this time, the small white flowers known as Snowdrops appear signaling that life is beginning to awaken from its winter sleep and anticipate the warmer and longer days that will soon arrive. 

 

Imbolc is a very introspective and reflective time. A time about transformation and change. As the beginning of Spring, Imbolc is a time of cleansing, renewal, and rebirth. It is a time to prepare for what is to come by “spring cleaning” both within and without; to rid ourselves of anything that no longer serves our future path, anyone or anything that is holding us back. It is a perfect time to remove obstacles and clear out the energies standing in the way of our life’s blossoming spring.

 

Imbolc is the lambing time and long ago it was the signal to shoo the animals out of the barns and homes and into the fields, so that all of the dwellings could be cleaned out and scrubbed down after the long winter hibernation. And then the hearth fires would be relit and all would celebrate with fresh milk - a treat they had been without for many, many months. For Imbolc is not only the promise of rebirth, but also proof of how resilient and interconnected life is. Therefore, it is a celebration of community and how we support each other through the darker times. We come together to lift everyone’s spirits, remembering that even though supplies are running low, when we gather together, there is enough for everyone.


Imbolc is the perfect time for:

  • Cleaning out clutter and negativity – physically, figuratively, and spiritually

  • Clearing away energies that stand in the way of your life’s blossoming spring

  • Planting seeds – physically, figuratively, spiritually

  • Making plans for the future

  • Making new connections

  • Doing something you've never done before, acting out of character, stepping out of your comfort zone

  • Celebrating with foods that contain milk/dairy

A Call to the Goddess and God of Imbolc 

by Maria Ede-Weaving

At the heart of Imbolc is the Goddess Brigid. She is a Goddess of many forms and presents herself as all three aspects of the Earth Goddess:  maiden, mother, and crone. Brigid is the Goddess of fire and flame, change and transformation. She is the Goddess of poetry, inspiration, creativity, and prophesy.


At Imbolc, we call upon the Goddess Brigid, a powerful shapeshifter and the embodiment of the triple goddess, who presents herself as all three aspects: the maiden, mother, and crone.  She is the Goddess of the Sacred Flame, Maiden of the Snowdrops and the first stirrings of spring. Her seemingly fragile blossoming is filled with the strength of the inner fire of life, surviving the harshest frosts, snows and storms, just as the light of our spirit survives the darkness and cold, her love protecting it like hands cupped round a flame. She is that moment of magic as the first glow of light emerges from the dark horizon, signaling the coming of dawn.

She comes with her warmth and energy and quickens the seeds of our new life; she comes with the life-giving heat of her fire to thaw all that is frozen and trapped within us; she comes with the melting release of her healing waters, cleansing away the staleness of our spirits, the winter debris of our hearts. She is the liberation of the land from winter’s grip; freeing us from our own stagnation. She is the bright spark of life and inspiration that burns in us all; the hearth fire at the center of our homes and hearts, sustaining and warming; a place to gather and draw inspiration, nourishment and comfort. She is the fire of passion that animates our creativity that we may create our world anew, that we too may become the spring. Goddess of the Sacred Flame and the Healing Waters, we open to you now.

We call upon the God of this time of quickening, he who has been held in the still darkness awaiting the warming and life-giving touch of the Goddess’s heat. Her fiery kiss melts the stillness and the first flow, barely perceptible, begins; the movement of new life ever building and strengthening. As the God of renewing life, at the edge of our senses, we begin to feel his energy increasing, visible in the growing light of Imbolc. Like seeds that feel the stirrings of growth in the dark soil, we feel the first call of his desire, a sense that we must soon stretch, moving up from the warmth and safety of the dark to the ever-quickening call of the light.  God of youth, beauty and love, we open to you.

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