Reclaiming the Turning of the Year
🕯 IMBOLC 🔥
When I was younger and found out that Solstices and Equinoxes were times of ceremony that represented the turning of the year and adjusting to the seasons in pre-christian times, it made so much sense to me. Then I found out about the cross-quarter solar holidays too...
It was like I received basic human information that had been withheld. Maybe not intentionally by my parents, but in a way, had been like many other traditions of my ancestors, buried and hidden, or given different names.
And Imbolc is an interesting case of this. Known also as St. Brigid's day, it is a cross-quarter solar holiday where those of us in the North are halfway through Winter.
"In Ireland and Scotland, Imbolc was believed to be when the Cailleach - the divine hag of Gaelic tradition - gathers her firewood for the rest of the winter. Legend has it that if she wishes to make the winter last a good while longer, she will make sure the weather on Imbolc is bright and sunny, so she can gather plenty of firewood. Therefore, people would be relieved if Imbolc is a day of foul weather, as it means the Cailleach is asleep and winter is almost over." (1)
Sounds a lot like what we now know as groundhog's day...
There has been intentional appropriation and theft of pagan and Gaelic traditions, just like that of other indigenous practices and world views.
While we can't turn around time and undo these injustices, we can do our own work to reclaim them. Reclaim ourselves, reclaim our humanity, and repair relationships with humans harmed by this legacy as well as our connection to the Earth.
This is part of my work with my clients, reclaiming ancestry and finding what happened to our people - whether they were intentional settlers and migrants, forced into labor, or fled famine - we have some work to do to heal the wounds that have separated us from our ancestral lands in addition to repairing the wounds they may have inflicted.
And that looks like remember who we are, meditating on purpose and right livelihood, contemplating 'just exchange', allowing nature to be an ever present and guiding force that moves us in the direction of sacred understanding.
What I appreciate about Imbolc is the hope it brings.
Imbolc is a day to remember the seeds that we put in the ground in the fall, to remember that Spring is coming soon... Imbolc is the time to sing to the seeds to remind them that you are here waiting for them to rise, to come into the world to be just who they are. Imbolc reminds us that we too, in this collective dark night of the soul and in mid-winter, have seeds in us that are waiting.
I have a feeling that we are ALL ripe with fertile seeds waiting during this 'great pause'... waiting for the moment that the snow melts, and the sun shines, to RISE together in what I hope will be a very sacred Springtime given our collective experience of pandemic this past year.
If you are interested in reclaiming your roots, deepening in practices, and watering the seeds in you that empower you to embody your wholeness and purpose - ancestors and all - please reach out to me for a call.
And don't forget beyond winter and this 'great pause', there are seeds waiting for the spring.
🌀 💦 🌀
(1) sourced from National Botanic Gardens of Ireland FB post