Imbolc, sometimes called Candlemas, celebrates the turning point from winter to spring. Here in New England, the nights are still long and the weather is cold, though the days grow longer and a bit lighter.
It’s the time when we plant the seeds of the spiritual work we want to pursue this year. We carefully craft our intentions, letting the growing light feed them as the Wheel begins to turn slowly toward spring.
As part of our celebration, we make and bless the candles we’ll use in this year’s rituals.
Our work at Imbolc might encompass setting new goals, releasing old patterns, creating healthy habits or planning new ways to become active in the Pagan community.
The early signs of spring appear: buds sprouting on the trees, snow beginning to melt and perhaps even a crocus or two coming up (though often we must wait for Spring Equinox for actual flowers).
We are anxious for spring to arrive so we can once again take walks outside and work in the garden. Yet we still face wintry weather, such as snow, ice storms and chilly winds. We learn to be more patient, watching the slow progress of the land’s awakening.
In Celtic lands, Imbolc was also known as Brighid’s Day, honoring the Goddess of poetry, smithcraft and healing. We create crafts and poems and include them in our rituals. We have time to explore indoor pursuits such as learning about astrology, designing a garden or practicing martial arts. We may have the opportunity to help those who are in a crisis situation and need our healing energies. We explore ways to simplify our daily lives.
During the last few weeks of winter, burrowing under the icy surface to work with deeply felt emotions can be very powerful spiritual work. We can learn to flow with our own emotions and those of others.
Imbolc is a good time to practice deep listening and pay closer attention to our inner landscape. We might find new ways to meditate, becoming more mindful or exploring our senses in more detail.
As we shed light on our hidden depths, we watch the days grow gradually longer and warmer, lifting our spirits as the Wheel turns toward spring.
NOTE: This post is an excerpt from my book Starcat’s Corner: Essays on Pagan Living. You can get your copy here.