We will be shortly rounding the year to Imbolc, the second Wiccan Sabbat of the year and the gateway to spring. You can already notice just slightly the evenings becoming a little lighter and dare I say it, despite the cold weather the light has warmed just a fraction. Imbolc sits opposite to Lughnasadh and around both these Sabbats you can actually see a physically change in the quality of the light – look out for it around the 3rd February – it will happen! Overnight the quality of the light will shift from blue/green to gold – it is magical. I can only assume it has something to do with the angle of the earth towards the sun. It is no coincidence Sabbats occur around these dates in my opinion.
Imbolc is also known as Candlemas and St Brigids day, it is a feminine fire festival – but with more focus on light than heat. It represents the start of the growing season and is a good time to start seeds in green houses or in doors. You can also start ‘chitting’ your potatoes around now for early planting. In fact I think a wonderfully easy and appropriate way to mark to Imbolc is to begin to grow a seed from scratch of any plant that takes your fancy and can be germinated on a windowsill – use a plastic bottle cut in half with holes in to act as a mini green house.
Imbolc marks the real beginning of the waxing of the light and corresponds in the northern hemisphere with a full moon! The Wold/Storm/Snow or Ice Moon depending on which Moon names you follow. It occurs exactly 6 weeks after the Winter Solstice and is Irish for ‘in the belly’. This is a fitting name as Imbolc symbolises the triumph of life over death, light over dark and hope over despair.
Use this time to welcome the new, make plans for the season ahead and be ready to let the light back in to all you do.
The wonderful image is Isadora Duncan at the Portal of the Panthenon 1921 – taken by Edward Steichen.