The festival of Imbolc occurs on the 1st and/or 2nd of February. It brings much joy as the days get longer and the sun slowly starts to climb higher in the sky. It represents the quickening of the year; the first stirrings of Spring. The emphasis is on light and this is represented by candles rising out of a dish of water. This is symbolic of the rising light of Spring emerging from the creative feminine waters.
In Scottish lore, the Cailleach, (kai-e-och) the Old Woman of Winter, journeys to the magical isle and founds the Well of Youth. She drinks from the water of the Well of Youth and is transformed into Bride, the fair maid of Spring.
In many Christian countries, this festival is known as Candlemas and is celebrated by candlelight processions when the candles are blessed for use at the altar.
Imbolc is the time when the days lengthen and the buds start to form on trees. Snowdrops bloom and other plants start to raise their heads above the earth. It is time to plant ideas, just as we plant seeds in the garden, and leave them to germinate. We can prepare for the coming changes through meditation, writing poetry and other creative projects. It is a time when we can bring out from within us all the ideas we have considered during the dark time of the year. It is now time for these to push their way outwards like the early spring plants which push their way through the soil.
We can let go of old things that we no longer need. This makes space for the new ideas to prosper and bloom. Our mothers always did spring cleaning at this time of the year but they often only cleaned the house. We can take this spring cleaning further and not only clean our homes but also our minds. Imbolc brings healing as well as initiation into another circle of seasons. We can make new resolutions at any time but this time of the year they seem more special.
On Monday evening some of us gathered together to celebrate Imbolc. We decided what we needed to get rid of in our lives and what we wanted to bring in. We lit candles for Brigid asking for her help with this. We also made personal shields to remind us of what we wished to bring into our lives.
My personal celebration of this festival is the publication of my book ‘ Poetry and Prose’ which also contains grey scale images of my photos and art work.
I am also hoping to set up a small group of those interested in learning about druidry. If you live in the Melton or Oakham are and would like to know more about this, then contact me through Facebook.